Chapter 9: Father Mathew.—1849.Father Mathew, having visited Boston on his temperance mission to the United States, is invited by the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society to renew his testimony against slavery (as a signer of the Irish Address of 1842) at a celebration of British West India Emancipation. Garrison drafts and presents the invitation, but is met with shuffling and refusal. He exposes this behavior in the Liberator, and makes Father Mathew's Southern tour both easy and difficult. Death of Charles Follen Garrison. Garrison vindicates free discussion of the Bible in the Liberator.
The historian of the anti-slavery cause—or of the country—for the year we have now reached, must tell of the two great tides of feeling and passion surging from North to South and from South to North, over the question of the Federal Territories. Should the Wilmot Proviso secure to California and New Mexico1 the freedom decreed them by the country from which they had been torn; should the Missouri Compromise line of 1820 be extended to the Pacific; or should the contention of the Southern extremists prevail, viz., that slave property had, equally with all other kinds of property, a right to be taken into any part of the national domain not definitively organized and admitted as one of the States of the Union? Should, again, the renewed efforts, described in the last chapter, to purge the seat of the national Government of2 the sin and scandal of slaveholding and slave-trading succeed, or be resisted even to the death of the Union itself? In the winter months of 1848-49 the North as a whole3 stood firm in its pledge to non-extension of slavery and emancipation in the District. On the other hand the South, through its legislatures and other organs of public4 opinion, was more truly unanimous in pronouncing for disunion in case either article of this programme should triumph in Congress. In spite of some reluctance in the  caucus of Southern delegates to take this menacing5 position, Calhoun's influence was paramount, and his Address6 in their name to their constituents was put forth, in the vain hope, by working upon Northern fears, to force the7 organization of California without the Proviso. It was, however, but a feeble document even in a rhetorical point of view, and did not march boldly up to the remedy of secession. As to slavery, it affirmed that the free and servile races at the South “cannot be separated, and cannot live together in peace and harmony, or to their mutual advantage, except in their present relation” Lib. 19.18.; for suffrage would follow in the train of emancipation, and the white race then become subject. The closing of the Thirtieth Congress, with the prayer of California for a free constitution unheeded, but also8 with no legislation to the contrary, leaving the situation9 unchanged, was not calculated to allay the excitement at the South. Armed immigration to that Territory was10 set on foot. In May a practical disunion convention was11 held at Columbia, S. C., and gave its approval to Calhoun's12 Address. In November a similar body assembled at13 Jackson, Miss.; and, in advance of the opening of the Thirtyfirst Congress, the Governors of Tennessee, Georgia, and14 Alabama took, in their messages, corresponding ground as representatives of Southern sentiment. A little later, joint committees of the legislatures of Georgia and South15 Carolina applied the secession screw to Northern doughfaces, in resolutions fit to precipitate a crisis if the new Congress should not prove more subservient than the last. Another cause helped to keep the South fretful and heated: the escape of slaves to the North was reaching alarming proportions, and recovery was blocked by the ‘personal liberty’ laws whose passage, at the instance of16 the abolitionists, has been noticed in the several States. This was particularly felt along the border, in Maryland,17 Virginia, and in the Ohio Valley. In the Virginia Legislature, Pennsylvania's withdrawal of State aid to kidnappers 18  was declared occasion for war between independent nations, and new guarantees were demanded of Congress19 and unsuccessfully attempted to be procured. From the same source and from Missouri, appeal was next made to20 the legislatures of the several States for cooperation in obtaining a new fugitive-slave law, investing any Federal postmaster or collector of customs with the authority of the Federal courts in the matter of apprehension, custody, conviction, and rendition of the unhappy victims. This Southern grievance had been fully ventilated in the U. S. Senate during the exciting debates growing out21 of the Drayton and Sayres case; and, on the complaint of Kentucky that her fugitive-slave processes were22 obstructed in Michigan, Senator Butler of South Carolina offered a bill to make slave-catching easy. Naturally, the23 subject was prominent in Calhoun's Address, and it was24 upon this portion that Mr. Garrison proudly but overconfidently commented, when he said:
The times have indeed changed, and a radical alteration25 has taken place in public opinion on this subject. Probably not another slave will be allowed to be seized, whether against law or in conformity thereto, on the soil of New England, to say nothing of the other free States, and hurried back to bondage. It would be at his peril for a slave-hunter to make his appearance in this quarter; and for several years past, ever since the famous Latimer case, no attempt has been made to26 recapture a fugitive slave here.At the New England Anti-Slavery Convention on May 29, Edmund Quincy spoke to his own resolution couched in these words:
Resolved, That it is our duty to agitate the question of slavery till the soil of New England is pure enough to free every man who sets foot upon it; and meanwhile, we pledge ourselves to trample under foot any law which allows the slaveholder to hunt the fugitive slave through our borders, and not only to make New England, so far as in us lies, an asylum for the oppressed, but to proclaim the fact so loudly that the glad tidings may reach every slave hut of the South. Lib. 19.89. And at the same Convention two days afterwards, in27 Faneuil Hall, Wendell Phillips pointed to the platform crowded with ‘fugitives from the Church and State of America,’ including Henry Box Brown and William and Ellen Craft;28 and, amid great applause, said of the former: ‘We say in behalf of this man, whom God29 created, and whom law-abiding Webster and Winthrop30 swore should find no shelter on the soil of Massachusetts —we say that they may make their little motions, and pass their little laws, in Washington, but that Faneuil Hall Repeals them, in the name of the humanity of Massachusetts.’ All this, with much more, as we have said, belongs to the general historian of the cause. Our main concern must be an incident personal to the subject of this biography, while yet of national interest and importance. In July, the Rev. Theobald Mathew, of world-wide fame as ‘The Apostle of Temperance,’ landed in New York, ostensibly in the prosecution of his mission, but also not31 without hope of bettering his pecuniary condition beyond the ‘paltry pension’ he received from England. Being32 an Irish Catholic, the importance of making political capital out of him, especially by the Whigs, who had no33 hold on the Irish vote, was not overlooked. President Taylor invited him to be his guest at the White House,34 and everywhere official receptions were tendered him of the most flattering character. Having administered the pledge of total abstinence to some twenty thousand persons in New York and Brooklyn, he first journeyed eastward, and arrived in Boston on July 24. A barouche35 and four horses and a municipal committee awaited him  at the city line. The temperance societies took charge of him, he was welcomed by Governor Briggs in the name36 of the Commonwealth, and addressed the people on the Common. Throngs of men, women, and children—and not Irish alone—took of him medals and pledges in37 Faneuil Hall. In one street, as Wendell Phillips wrote38 to Elizabeth Pease, where there were sixteen grog-shops, his presence closed all but three. In the midst of this popularity Father Mathew was suddenly made the subject of vehement discussion all over the country, and even in the Capitol itself. He was now well on in years, being nearly sixty, and ill-prepared on this score to maintain in America the anti-slavery pretensions lightly made in Ireland. He was, moreover, a Catholic and a priest; and doubtless, during his stay with Bishop Hughes in New York, had been warned by that39 slaveite to avoid contact with the abolitionists. The Bishop had already had to resort to the pious fraud of impeaching the genuineness of Father Mathew's40 signature to the Irish Address, and was not anxious to be confuted by the Apostle's action on this side of the Atlantic. But the Board of Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society had a plain duty—out of respect to Father Mathew's integrity as a man, and gratitude for the aid he had proffered them by lending his name to the Address—to join in the general welcome of him to America. The date of his Eastern visit afforded the fittest possible opportunity for extending the following invitation, drafted by Mr. Garrison, who was made chairman of the committee charged with presenting it:
What followed the application of this touchstone shall be related in Mr. Garrison's own words:
The report of this interview arrested public attention everywhere, being more or less fully copied by the press. Temperance organs, ex officio, invented apologies for Father49 Mathew. Catholic organs, ex officio, did likewise, but50 abusively of the abolitionists; political papers North, like Thurlow Weed's Albany Journal, generally extolled51 his behavior and denounced the anti-slavery conspiracy52 to limit his usefulness; and Southern editors for the most53 part condoned the crime of the Address in view of his present attitude towards the Garrisonians. To this chorus quondam Liberty Party voices were not wanting. Elizur Wright, in his Chronotype, pictured ‘Father Mathew put54 under the anathema maranatha of 21 Cornhill [i. e., the Anti-Slavery Office],’ and praised his refusal ‘to yield himself up to be used as the stock in trade of a certain clique of abolitionists,’ and resolve ‘to maintain his independence and catholicity.’ ‘We will not close,’ continued  this editor, ‘without expressing frankly what we think of Garrison—for the whole act is his, and not that of Jackson, Wendell Phillips, or Dr. Bowditch—from this55 act. We don't believe he cares the value of a copper cent56 for the cause of Freedom or Temperance, except so far as it will build up his own fame.’ More curiously (if not more lamentably) still, George Bradburn, in his Pioneer,57 could ‘conceive of many reasons, any one of which would have justified, not only, but demanded’ Father Mathew's declining ‘to show himself among the Disunionists at Worcester.’ Yet Bradburn had done what he could to58 utilize the Irish Address, saying, when it was unrolled, on January 28, 1842, in Faneuil Hall, that he wished Father59 Mathew or Daniel O'Connell were there to give fit utterance to the fact that ‘Slavery strikes at the interest of every laboring man’; and recalling, for the benefit of his Irish auditors, O'Connells scornful refusal to visit a slavepolluted America or to shake hands with American slaveholders, and entreaty of the Irish in this country to join the abolitionists. Mr. Garrison, with the best generalship, concentrating all his editorial batteries on one point, speedily demolished Father Mathew's pretence of maintaining that neutrality towards slavery which, in the Address, had been pronounced impossible. Page after page of the Liberator60 was given up to the discussion excited by the incidents above described, as well as to copious extracts from61 O'Connell's withering speeches on the blood-guiltiness of America. With unwonted persistency and regularity the editor addressed five open letters to Father Mathew,62 reviewing their relations, and confirming the great moral lesson of the Apostle's fall. Such education of public sentiment was the exclusive privilege of abolition journalism. No party sheet could have dreamt of it, for it had no relation to votes or ‘tickets.’ In his first letter, written a month after the interview, Mr. Garrison vindicated his report of it and the action of the Massachusetts Society: 
It is a singular fact, that nearly every journal that has come63 to your defence has affected to doubt the accuracy of the report, while it has professed to regard all that you are declared to have uttered as sagacious and commendable! Why doubt that which, instead of being unworthy of you, only redounds to your credit? Does not the expression of such a doubt fairly imply, that even your eulogists are conscious that the report places you in an unenviable position? But I have not heard—the public has not heard—either directly or indirectly, that you have any complaint to make of that report, or that you are prepared to deny its substantial accuracy. Your silence bears witness that I have not misrepresented you; that silence you would break, if you could, by impugning my statements. You certainly know how to write; but you seem determined not even to make your mark on paper, lest it should commit you “in black and white” on this subject. Policy like this may be crowned with temporary success, but its end is disaster and disgrace. The motives which actuated the long-tried friends of the slaves in extending to you such an invitation, were pure and praiseworthy, and need no defence. In Ireland, you professed to sympathize with the American slave; you addressed your countrymen here in earnest and emphatic language, calling upon them, by the most sacred considerations, to use their moral and political power for the abolition of slavery, and to join the abolitionists as the only true friends of freedom in the United States. What less, as a mark of their gratitude, respect, and veneration, could the abolitionists do, on your arrival here, than to thank you for the noble testimony borne by you at home against American slavery, and to signify to you the importance of your renewing that testimony on this side of the Atlantic? If they had not done so, would not their conduct have excited surprise and animadversion on the part of the seventy thousand who signed the Irish Address—not to mention the millions of hearts that are beating warmly for liberty in Ireland? If they had not done so, they could not easily have vindicated themselves from the charge of personal indifference or unpardonable forgetfulness. They purposely selected for you, as the most unexceptionable occasion that could be presented during your sojourn in this country, on which to express your feelings and sentiments on the subject of slavery, the anniversary of a world-thrilling event, the simultaneous emancipation of eight hundred thousand slaves in the British West India islands—an event in which it was believed you would take special pride and  interest as a Briton, as the most glorious recorded on the page of British history. In extending to you an invitation to attend an anti-slavery celebration, the friends of the slave evinced the same courtesy to you as they had shown to other distinguished transatlantic visitors. They acted neither invidiously nor singularly in this respect. Religious deputations have been repeatedly sent to this country from England, for various objects; and these have all been tested in a similar manner as to their anti-slavery principles, and in every instance they have exhibited a treacherous and cowardly spirit. At home, where it was reputable to be an abolitionist, they could declaim with zeal and fervor against slavery and all its abettors. As soon as they landed on these shores, where it is highly disreputable to be an abolitionist, they united with the traducers and persecutors of the uncompromising advocates of emancipation. Thus they were proved to be men destitute of principle, guided by a selfish expediency, “loving the praises of men more than the praise of God.”By way of illustration, Mr. Garrison cited the case of64 Drs. Cox and Hoby, in 1835, whose attempted neutrality, in the interest of the ‘paramount’ purpose of their mission, ‘amounted to positive hostility to the American Anti-Slavery Society,’ and directly imperilled the life of George Thompson. ‘The year 1835 was the most memorable of any that has occurred for pro-slavery violence and lawlessness; and that was the year made equally memorable by the presence and recreancy of those English delegates. How much of this violence and lawlessness will be manifested during your sojourn here,’ wrote the65 victim of the Boston mob to Father Mathew, ‘remains to be seen; but no small amount, if “ coming events cast their shadows before.” ’ The second letter introduced a personal comparison:
To shield you from censure, your defenders declare that you66 have a specific object in view—the promotion of temperance, especially among your own countrymen—from which it is quite outrageous to ask you to be diverted, even for a moment, to aid the noblest cause that ever enlisted the sympathies of the human soul. You are complimented, on all sides, for resolving to know nothing, say nothing, do nothing, except on the subject of temperance,  which, it is declared, is enough to exhaust your strength and fully to absorb your time. The acme of impudence is reached by your eulogists in denouncing me, in the same breath, for seeing but one object, having but one idea, and making the liberation of the slave the one great object of my life! So that what in you excites their highest approval and admiration, in me fills them with extreme disgust and righteous displeasure! How just, impartial, magnanimous is such a spirit! Says the Boston Pilot: “Father Mathew sagaciously and properly refused, saying that his own slavery-abolitionism was enough for his powers.” Says the same journal: “Why does Mr. Garrison suppose that the slavery of the American blacks is the only great evil, or devil, to be cast out of modern civilization? Why do his sympathies run rabid in one direction?” . . . And so on to the end of the list. All this is highly consistent—is it not? What renders it particularly ludicrous and audacious is the fact, that you allow your mind no scope as to other reforms, while I have never hesitated to countenance and aid a great variety, comprehending the rights and interests of the whole human family. I have not hesitated to grapple with any system of iniquity, however gigantic or hoary, whether pertaining to the Church or the State. I am constantly stigmatized as an “antichurch and ministry, anti-Sabbath, woman's-rights, non-resistance, no-government man,” aside from the odium that is heaped upon me as an abolitionist. This implies something of a discursive spirit of reform!The fifth letter concluded as follows:
Consider, now, what must be the effect of your example67 on the minds of your countrymen in the United States, whose number is at least as great as that of the slave population. Will they not feel justified in disregarding all the injunctions contained in your Address? Will they not consider you as virtually condemning the abolitionists, and all agitation of the subject of slavery? Hitherto, their prejudices against our free colored population have been peculiarly bitter; will they not be rendered even more inimical to that persecuted class by your apparent lack of sympathy? How can you ever consistently enjoin upon them again the duty to use all their moral and political power for the abolition of slavery, and to unite with the friends and advocates of immediate emancipation in one common effort? If you can find reasons to stand aloof from this question, will it be a difficult matter for them to do the  same thing in their own case Alas! the moral injury to them of your bad example, in this particular, is beyond calculation. You have confirmed them in their pro-slavery views and feelings, and made them at least the passive, if not the active, subjects of the Slave Power. Thus your mission to them, in spite of the success that may crown your temperance labors, will prove a curse instead of a blessing. Three or four millions strong, if they were abolitionists, how long could the foul system of slavery remain unshaken on our soil? Now that they are strengthened in their pro-slavery position, what hope is left that that system will be overthrown by moral and peaceful instrumentalities? Your anti-slavery defection will be known throughout Ireland. On the part of those who regard principles more than men, in your unfortunate country, it will excite grief and elicit condemnation; but the great mass of your countrymen, it is to be feared, will allow their reverence for you as a priest, and their regard for you as a temperance benefactor, to bias their judgment and blind their vision. In the nature of things, you cannot take a wrong step without leading them astray. In trying to defend your pro-slavery position in America, they will lessen their abhorrence of slavery, and injure their moral nature. Yours will be the guilt, theirs the degradation and suffering. How your course is regarded by the cruel oppressors in the South, is plainly indicated by the exultation of the press in that68 quarter. They are eager to give you the right hand of fellowship, and are lavish of their praises in your behalf. Such prudence, forecast, and wisdom, as you are displaying, in being dumb on the slavery question, they have always admired and commended. Yet they heartily despise you, beyond all doubt; but the blow you have inflicted on the anti-slavery cause fills them with inexpressible delight. It follows, “as the night the day,” that you have added to the anguish, horror, and despair of the poor miserable slaves, made their yokes heavier, and fastened their chains more securely! For, in a struggle like this, and at such a crisis, whatever gladdens the hearts of the slavemongers must proportionately agonize those of their victims.The press and the abolitionists of Great Britain69 promptly made Father Mathew's course a prominent topic in that country. Dr. Oxley, the venerable head of the temperance  cause in London, presided at a meeting in that city70 on September 27, to welcome the arrival of William71 Wells Brown (the fugitive-slave orator, then on his way to the Paris Peace Congress, as a delegate from the American Peace Society); and, rebuking his former associate for his want of moral courage in the land of slavery, pronounced ‘his recent conduct one of the greatest blots that could be affixed to his character.’ Another close colleague, and neighbor, James Haughton, had already written privately to Father Mathew in the same sense. The Apostle had refused to go to Worcester, Mass., and from Worcester, England, came the first municipal censure, uttered in the Guildhall, the mayor72 in the chair, at another reception to William Wells Brown. Punch threw its wit into the scale against the false priest. ‘Sambo’ writes to the editor:
Sar,—Him see by de Times correspondent at New York, dat73 some gentmen, members ob de Massachusetts Anti-Slabery74 Society, wait on Fader Mathew in Boston, and ask him to “tend annibersary in celebrashun ob de abolishun ob slabery in de British West Ingis. De bery rebberend Fader say no. ” Cause wy? Perhaps you tink him at work at him Pledge and him Pump. Not a bit ob it, Massa. Dis de way him trow him cold water on abolishun: ‘He abruptly declined the invitation, observing to the Committee that he was not aware of any passage in Scripture forbidding the existence of slavery.’ Beggin pardon ob Massa Mathew, de great Divine, me tink dere am passidge somewher dat tell you ‘whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ How Fader Mathew him like to be slabe? Whose niggar, tink you, him wish to be?Father Mathew uttered no word in self-defence, or in recognition of the controversy raging over him. He went on administering the pledge; uncivilly avoiding75 Protestant temperance societies anxious to cooperate with one who, confessedly, owed his conversion to the76 cause to members of the Society of Friends and Protestant  dissenters; refusing to denounce rum-sellers, but77 bearing heavily on the consciences of buyers and consumers. His New England harvest gathered in, he returned to New York, and straightway by word and deed justified Mr. Garrison's charge that he had gone over to the side of the oppressor. He granted with alacrity an interview to Henry Clay, declaring it an honor78 from the greatest man of the age, and directly began his Southern tour by way of the Federal capital. The South Carolina Temperance Advocate having cleared his character as a fanatic or anti-slavery helper, he had promised Judge John Belton O'Neall, President of the State Temperance Society—the same who would have hung John79 L. Brown for running off a female slave, and who brought upon himself all O'Connell's contempt and sarcasm— that he would visit the home of Calhoun. Meanwhile, however, he had been notified by Judge Lumpkin, President of the Georgia State Temperance80 Society, and evidently not a man of one idea, that the invitation extended by that body, and accepted, was revoked—at least pending an explanation. The Judge had been supplied with a copy of the Irish Address of 1842, with Father Mathew's signature, and wrote to ask81 him if the document was genuine. The Apostle hesitated long, and then sent the merest line in reply, saying82 nothing to the point, but referring his inquirer to the report of his interview with Mr. Garrison—an explicit endorsement of that for correctness. This the Judge naturally looked upon as shuffling, since it involved no recantation83 of the Address; and peace was not made till Father Mathew, choosing Forefathers' Day, in Richmond, wrote84 again to this ‘honored and dear sir,’ with profuse apology85 for not knowing he was a high and mighty judge and so addressing him before. He renewed his ‘solemn declaration [to Mr. Garrison] of being firmly resolved not to interfere, in any the slightest degree, with the institutions of this mighty Republic.’ More, he pleaded, should not be asked of him in ‘this emphatically free country.’  And thus placating Georgia, he earned the torchlight procession afterwards tendered him in Augusta.86 The Apostle had not performed his last act of servility in this direction when he arrived in Washington in December and (even on the very day he was dining at the87 White House) a motion to invite him to a seat on the floor of the Senate was offered by a Northern member. The Lumpkin exposure and the luckless Address were alleged against the proposed courtesy by an Alabamian88 ‘fire-eater’; but Clay nimbly came to the rescue, repaying the compliments received in New York, and offsetting the Address with Father Mathew's holding aloof from the abolitionists. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was implacable, saying he would exclude all abolitionists, foreign and domestic, from the chamber. John P. Hale proposed to vote for the resolution, but should be opposed to it as a sanction of the Apostle's course on the subject of slavery. Pearce, of Maryland, thought the precedent a89 bad one: to-day it was Clay's ‘Irish patriot,’ to-morrow it might be the Hungarian Kossuth. So the debate was prolonged, with much heat evolved; but the Southern Senators and their doughface allies were divided by90 considerations of political expediency, and Father Mathew was admitted by slaveholders to the dishonor of fellowship in their seat of power. ‘The Apostle’ was but an incident in Mr. Garrison's activity for the year 1849. He addressed, with Wendell Phillips, the Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts91 House in favor of disunion; he presided, at Worcester,92 over the celebration of West India emancipation, and at the fine anniversary of the American Society in New93 York;94 he attended the fall meeting of the Pennsylvania95 Anti-Slavery Society. He wrote freely in the Liberator,  and prompted articles for the Standard. Quincy wrote to him on July 16, 1849: “I wish you would give me some more topics for editorials. I have used up all you have given me. This week I treat of the Southern aspects. I should like suggestions which might be worked up into short articles as well as long ones.” Ms. This relation between the two friends lasted to the very end of the anti-slavery controversy. Mr. Garrison, further, gave practical effect to his ancient pledge to “go for the Rights of Woman to their utmost extent,” Ante, 2.204. by signing and circulating in Massachusetts the96 earliest petitions for woman suffrage—a movement now fairly organized by the women themselves.97 ‘The denial of the elective franchise to women in this Commonwealth, on account of their sex, is,’ he affirmed, “an act of folly, injustice, usurpation, and tyranny, which ought no longer to be persisted in.” Lib. 19.199. He was on the list of Bronson Alcott's “select company of gentlemen, esteemed as deserving of better acquaintance, and disposed for closer fellowship of Thought and Endeavor,” Printed circular. invited to meet at 12 West Street, Boston, on March 20, 1849, ‘to discuss the Advantages of organizing a Club or College for the study and diffusion of the Ideas and Tendencies proper to the Nineteenth Century; and to concert measures, if deemed desirable, for promoting the ends of good fellowship.’98 He would have attended the adjourned Anti-Sabbath Convention on April 4, having led the call, but for a grievous99 domestic affliction in which superstition might easily see the hand of Providence. At the end of March, 1849, he removed his family from Pine Street to 65 Suffolk Street (afterwards Shawmut Avenue), and in the course of this change of abode at a dangerous season the boy, Charles Follen, fell sick and  died. A cold brought on brain fever, the nature and100 gravity of the case were not realized, domestic medication was attempted, and in a defective steam-bath the unfortunate child was fatally scalded. The stroke to the parents was the more tremendous not only because of these circumstances, but because no one of their flock was so robust, blooming, and charged with vitality, or had so endeared himself to their affections. He bore a certain facial resemblance to Dr. Follen, and, in his father's words,101 gave ‘promise of future usefulness and excellence in some degree commensurate with the worth and fame of the truly great and good man after whom he was named admiringly, gratefully, reverently.’ His mother never fully recovered from the blow. “Every hour, indeed every moment,” Memorial of H. E. Garrison, p. 29. she wrote to a friend at the time, ‘he is before me in all his beauty and freshness; and I long to clasp him to my heart, and hear once more those joyous notes which would be music to my soul. I try to be resigned, I endeavor to be cheerful, but it is all forced; my heart is ready to break.’ Her husband's grief was hardly less poignant or lasting: Miss Pease and other English friends of the Liberator because of the Bible discussion tolerated in its columns:107
One excellent friend has discontinued the Liberator for108 consciencea sake, being unwilling any longer to receive or to circulate it! Another also declines taking the paper on the same ground. And you, in various letters to Henry C. Wright, Wendell Phillips, and myself, say that while the Liberator is the most interesting paper you receive, you feel it is a serious thing to circulate it while it contains so much which appears to you dangerous and, as you believe, “false doctrine.” Nay, you are deeply concerned when you think of leaving copies of it behind you, to fall into you know not whose hands, lest their everlasting salvation should be perilled by a perusal of such heresies! . . . Henry Vincent, too, it appears, is disturbed  at what has appeared in the Liberator, and intends writing faithfully to H. C. Wright on the subject.109The editor had not merely permitted Henry C. Wright to introduce and carry on the Bible controversy in his paper; he had manifested sympathy with him rather than with Henry Grew, or William Goodell, the chief defenders of inspiration in the same medium. Mr. Garrison had avowed in the Liberator his disbelief in the110 inspiration of the Scriptures, in the Mosaic cosmogony111 as being unscientific, in the atonement. He regarded the112 Bible as “a mighty obstacle in the way of the reconciliation of the rival sects of the day,” Lib. 19.82. nor saw ‘how it can be taken out of the way so long as that book is appealed to as absolute and final, in matters of faith and practice.’ On the whole subject he unbosomed himself to Elizabeth Pease in the letter to which we now return:
My dear friend, you, and——, and——,113 and Henry114 Vincent are certainly wrong in this matter. You are troubled where you ought to be serene; you are alarmed at what ought to make your repose perfect; you are not acting naturally; you occupy, in regard to these things, a sandy foundation; and therefore your anxiety, trepidation, grief! Come now, let us reason together, and see if it be not so. . . . You do not dislike to see both sides of the slavery question presented; and you would smile at the idea of secreting the Liberator because it contains many pro-slavery articles which might injuriously affect some minds. You are not troubled on seeing both sides of the peace or non-resistance question argued in its columns, but rejoice in proportion to the activity of its discussion—do you not? You are not alarmed when you see articles freely admitted, pro and con, into a publication on the subject of temperance. Neither you nor Henry Vincent would think of remonstrating against the free utterance of sentiments in favor of religious intolerance, provided no gag were put into the mouths of the advocate of religious liberty. . . .  But why are you willing that these things should be freely discussed? Simply because you are persuaded that your views of anti-slavery, peace, temperance, religious liberty, etc., are based on a solid foundation, and cannot be successfully overthrown; nay, the more they are attacked, the more truthful you think they will appear. Just so! Hence you invite, solicit, demand, the most thorough inquiry into their validity. But the slaveholder, the warrior, the rum-drinker, the bigot, do not like to see their views on slavery, war, temperance, and religious liberty brought into the arena of free debate; they are one-sided, and dread nothing so much as “a fair field and no quarter.” . . . Now what is true with regard to one subject or question, is equally true in regard to every other. Whoever holds to an opinion or sentiment which he is not pleased to see dealt with boldly and searchingly, gives evidence that he is conscious that it will not bear such treatment, or that he has taken it upon trust, usage, parental, educational, traditional authority, and not upon his own clear-wrought, unbiased convictions. Is it not so? Who shall presume to say to another, in regard to the examination of any creed, book, ordinance, day, or form of government—of anything natural or reputedly miraculous— “Thus far shalt thou go, but no farther” ? Beloved friend, are you not in just this state of mind, in regard to certain subjects the discussion of which you so much deplore? How is this to be accounted for? I will tell you. You were born a member of the Society of Friends; your religious opinions you received upon authority, and you accepted them as a matter of course, sincerely and trustingly, as I did mine, and as nine-tenths of those who are born in Christendom do. Your theological views of man's depravity, the atonement, eternal punishment, the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, etc., you received as confidingly as you did your Quaker views of peace, anti-slavery, temperance, etc.,—only, the latter you have advocated and carried out to an extent much beyond the ordinary teachings of Quakerism on these points. But the latter views are true, and susceptible of the clearest demonstration; and their examination you court. The former are all wrong (in my judgment, I mean, though I was brought up to believe them), admit of no satisfactory proof, much less of demonstration; and a free examination of them gives you positive uneasiness! Your peace and anti-slavery views commend themselves to your understanding, your conscience, and  your heart; perhaps you will discover that your theological views have really little to do with your understanding, your conscience, or your heart, independently and absolutely, like the others—pardon my frankness—for if they had, it seems to me you would no more be startled to see an impartial discussion of them in the Liberator, or any other periodical conducted on the same principle, than you now are to see pro-slavery and antipeace sentiments admitted into its columns along with those of an opposite spirit. Is there any flaw in this reasoning? Is there any link in this chain of logic unsound? Is not the parallel perfect, the analogy exact, the illustration pertinent, the conclusion inevitable? What is it that induces you to hide the Liberator from your friends? It cannot be that you have ever seen anything in it, from my pen, detrimental to the peace, liberty, or happiness of mankind. Is not its standard of rectitude exalted, unswerving, absolute? Is it not boldly and continually rebuking sin and sinners in high places and in low places? Is it not hated, feared, and persecuted by all that is pharisaical, intolerant, cowardly, time-serving, brutal, and devilish? Does it not advocate, in practical life, love to God and love to man—peace on earth— the brotherhood of all mankind? Is it not straining every nerve to overthrow, by sublime moral instrumentalities, that horrible system in this country by which millions of our brethren and sisters are reduced to the condition of things? Is such a paper to be secreted? Is its circulation to be a cause of disquietude to any pure mind, to any free spirit, to any philanthropic heart? I have never allowed a single number of it to go forth to the world without feeling that it would do something to redeem that world from sin and error. My mistakes and infirmities have been numerous, undoubtedly—for who is infallible?—but the moral tone of my paper, I am confident, has been uniformly pure and elevated. . . . My worthy friend at——comes right to the point in her letter, of which the following is the introductory paragraph: “ My dear sir, I am sorry to say that I cannot read the Liberator any longer. You will, therefore, not send any more papers to my address. Ever since the Sabbath and Scripture questions were brought forward, I have read it only to mourn over it. I know the Bible and the Author of it so well (?) that I have not any fears for my own sentiments being injured. But I cannot put it into the hands of my family, because I consider its sentiments on these points calculated to bring forth the grapes of Sodom and the apples of Gomorrah.”  Is this good woman as careful to suppress in her family those political or religious periodicals which sanction war, the army and navy, a monarchical government, conquests in India, and the like—all which serve to degrade, oppress, or depopulate the human race? . . . God forbid that I should ever take such a responsibility upon myself—that I should ever bring my children up in this one-sided manner! The one distinct and emphatic lesson which I shall teach them is, to take nothing upon mere authority—to dare to differ in opinion from their father, and from all the world — to understand, as clearly as possible, what can be said against or in favor of any doctrine or practice, and then to accept or reject it according to their own convictions of duty. . . . I doubt not that a sincere concern for the welfare of the anti-slavery cause, and the usefulness of the Liberator as its advocate, may give rise to the inquiry in your mind: Why discuss the merits of the Bible, or the question of the holiness of the first day of the week, in the Liberator? Is it not needlessly to deter persons from taking the paper who otherwise would be disposed to subscribe for it, being desirous to promote the abolition of slavery? My dear friend, it would give me great satisfaction to extend the subscription-list of my paper much beyond what it is at present; and most solicitous am I to see every slave free, and to join in singing the song of jubilee. But I beg you and my other English friends to bear constantly in your minds the fact, that the discussion of these questions has been forced upon us by the enemies of the anti-slavery and non-resistance movements. Their constant cry has been, that we are desecrating the Sabbath in pleading the cause of the slave on that day, and mixing up secular with holy affairs. Thus criminated, we have naturally been led to see how this doctrine of the holiness of days affects every reformatory enterprise, and to inquire into its origin and nature. We are enlightened as we proceed in our investigations, and led to perceive not only that there is no scriptural authority for the observance of the first day of the week as the Sabbath, but that time is sanctified only as we use it aright, without regard to particular days or seasons. In short, that holiness pertains to the spirit and to its acts, not to any external arrangements or observances; and that whatever it is right to do on one day, it is right to do on every other day of the week. That this discussion has already proved highly serviceable to our cause, we have the clearest evidence. Again, in advocating our non-resistance doctrines, our opponents have resorted to the Bible, and thought to silence us  by triumphantly referring to the exterminating wars recorded in the Old Testament as expressly commanded by Jehovah. It was not conclusive for us to reply, that what was obligatory once is not necessarily so now—that Christ has superseded Moses, and now forbids all war; for the answer was: If, as you assert, war is, like slavery, idolatry, and the like, inherently wrong, a malum in se, how could it be enjoined by a sin-hating God in the days of Moses, unless his moral character is mutable? Our answer to this is: Whoever or whatever asserts that the Creator has required, and may still require, one portion of his children to butcher another portion, for any purpose whatever, is libelling his goodness, and asserting what everything in nature contradicts. This position we believe to be impregnable. So, too, the controversies with the American church and clergy have all been forced upon us by those who love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. We are not the aggressors in any of these instances. Ought we to have abandoned our ground, and avoided the conflict? What would have been gained by it, either to the cause of the slave in particular, or of mankind universally?Miss Pease's essentially broad and noble nature was better appreciated by her American friend, who reasoned with it not in vain, than by herself. On the other hand, Wendell Phillips, becoming a party to the same controversy, stood up on strongly personal grounds for the Liberator. ‘On the great central question of inspiration, I am myself an inquirer,’—with many misgivings and perplexities,—he confessed to her in a letter written in October, 1849, of which but a fragment remains. The following passage the recipient was unwilling to destroy:
With these views, and feeling that I could ask for my115 children no better spirit than the pure, uncompromising, self-sacrificing, clear-sighted, Christian one breathed in the Liberator; and not knowing where I could find it so fresh and enthusiastic and impressive as in the life of Garrison, I should give them the Liberator, hoping they would be moulded like it, and guarding them myself, on those points where I think its writers wrong, against being led astray. They have got to meet those denials of doctrines among their associates, in the common press (you  do not shut them from it), and in general literature; why not show them the mistake boldly, and combat it? Is there anything, even with a child, so to be dreaded from the Liberator that you would submit, in order to avoid it, to lose for him the influence of such a spirit as W. L. G.'s? Were you dying, and leaving your child to grow up, would you pray that he might be much in the sight and shadow of some exactly orthodox friend of yours — but far from the company of W. L. G.? And could you hope, if your prayer were answered, that your child would meet you in heaven more closely modelled in spirit after his Great Master because you had never let him know our glorious Pioneer? I would prefer to mould my children wholly myself; but as this is impossible, and I must submit to the influence of others in some degree, let me bathe them in the spirit of G. rather than any other I know. The best prayer I could offer for any whose fate I was to influence, would be that they might be worthy to sit with him in another world.