Chapter 3: the Proclamation.—1863.Garrison is applauded as part of the occasion at the celebration, on January 1, in Boston, of the issue of the President's irrevocable edict of emancipation. He urges as the next duty the immediate abolition of slavery in the Border States, to which Lincoln lends no encouragement. He makes known through the Liberator the invaluable endeavors of George Thompson and his fellow-garrisonian abolitionists in great Britain to fix popular sentiment on the side of the North, and welcomes an approaching third visit from his old friend and coadjutor. He joins in the notable celebration at Philadelphia of the thirtieth anniversary of the American Anti-slavery Society. His oldest son volunteers for the war as officer in a Massachusetts colored regiment.
Special preparations had been made in Boston to celebrate the promised edict of freedom on the first of January. The impressive watch-meetings held in the colored churches on New Year's eve were followed by meetings in Tremont Temple extending through the day and evening, and a grand jubilee concert in Music Hall was announced for the afternoon. It was confidently expected that the President's Proclamation would reach the city by noon, but as the day wore on without tidings of its issue, fears arose lest it might not, after all, be forthcoming, and the celebrations proceeded under a shadow of doubt and unrest. The Music Hall concert had been hastily but admirably arranged, and audience and musicians seemed alike animated by the occasion. Nothing could have been more uplifting than the fine orchestral and choral rendering of Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, alternated with the reading, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, of his ‘Boston Hymn,’ written for the occasion, and the singing of Dr. O. W. Holmes's ‘Army Hymn’;1 but the painful uncertainty about the President's action marred the otherwise perfect enjoyment of the great audience until a gentleman announced from the floor that the Proclamation  had been issued and was coming over the wires. The storm of applause which followed, and relieved the pent-up feelings of the listeners, culminated in nine rousing cheers for Abraham Lincoln, followed by three more for Mr. Garrison, who occupied a seat in the gallery, and the concert then proceeded to its triumphant finish. Surpassing even this scene was that at the evening meeting at Tremont Temple, to which a copy of the Proclamation was unexpectedly brought, just prior to adjournment, and read with thrilling effect by Charles W. Slack. As he concluded amid a wild outburst of cheering, Frederick Douglass stepped forward and led the multitude in singing, ‘Blow ye the trumpet, blow!’ with the chorus, never more fitting than then, ‘The year of jubilee has come!’ Mr. Garrison unhappily missed this, as he had gone to Medford with Mr. Phillips, Mr. Emerson, and other friends to witness the unveiling of a marble bust of John Brown, at the residence of George L. Stearns; but in the Liberator of the following day (which was held back from the press that it might contain the Proclamation), he uttered his ‘Glory, Hallelujah!’ 2 and hailed the ‘great historic event, sublime in its magnitude, momentous and beneficent in its far-reaching consequences, and eminently just and right alike to the oppressor and the oppressed.’3 From that hour a dishonorable compromise became impossible. The Government was irrevocably committed to the emancipation policy,  and pledged to make it effectual over all the territory covered by the Proclamation. The abolitionists had now to urge Congress and the President to complete the work and extirpate slavery by abolishing it in the Border States. This duty was set forth in the resolutions relative to the Proclamation which were adopted by the Executive4 Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and in those5 passed by the Massachusetts Society at its January6 meeting, all of which were drafted by Garrison.7 His speech8 at the same meeting was full of joy and hope. ‘Thirty years ago,’ he said, ‘it was midnight with the anti-slavery9 cause; now it is the bright noon of day, with the sun shining in his meridian splendor. Thirty years ago we were in the arctic regions, surrounded by icebergs; to-day10 we are in the tropics, with the flowers blooming and the birds singing around us. I say this simply as a matter of contrast and comparison.’11 From England came cheering reports of the revolution in public sentiment caused there by the Proclamation.
Mr. Garrison was strongly urged by Gerrit Smith and29 other friends to visit England during the spring and add his efforts to those of George Thompson and the London and Manchester Societies, but he was unable to do so, and tried in turn to persuade Mr. Smith and Mr. Phillips to go together. The latter was at first disposed to consider it, but finally gave up the project, in spite of many entreaties. Subsequently, Henry Ward Beecher converted an ordinary tour in Great Britain into one in behalf of the Union cause, and held that brilliant series of meetings in which he did such effective service, and found how much the labors of the Garrisonian abolitionists had done towards familiarizing the minds of the English people with the anti-slavery question in America, and enlisting and strengthening that sympathy with the North which was so essential to the success of the Government.30 But to return to this side of the water, and to the American Anti-Slavery Society: 
As usual, Mr. Garrison presented a full budget of39 resolutions at the New York meeting, again urging the war-powers of the President over slavery in the border States, rejoicing in the vast progress already attained, and hoping that the Society might, at its approaching thirtieth anniversary in Philadelphia, be able to ‘celebrate the utter extinction of the rebellion, the liberation of every bondman, the prevalence of universal peace.’ Two weeks later, the opening session of the New40 England Convention was adjourned to witness the triumphant march through Boston of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, the first regiment of colored troops sent from any Northern State. During the spring months, while it was being recruited and drilled at Readville, near Boston, Mr. Garrison and Mr. Phillips had repeatedly visited the camp, and witnessed the transformation which a United States uniform and military discipline wrought, within a few short weeks, in the humble, timid, poorly-clad colored men arriving from all parts of the North in response to the call of Governor Andrew, who enlisted the aid, as recruiting officers, of Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Charles Lenox Remond. Robert G. Shaw, the youthful colonel of the regiment, was the son of Mr. Garrison's warm friends, Mr.Shaw and Mrs. Francis G. Shaw, of Staten Island, and among the subordinate officers were several young men of antislavery birth and training, who frequently visited his house and were intimate with his children.41 His heart  was deeply stirred as he contemplated the perils to which these high-souled youths were soon to expose themselves in encountering an enemy who had threatened enslavement to the black soldiers, and death to their white officers, if captured in battle,42 and whose bitterness would be intensified by the sight of their Massachusetts flag. He had not, however, anticipated the test that was soon to be brought home to himself. When it became evident that enough recruits would be obtained to form a second colored regiment, to be known as the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, a commission as second lieutenant in it was offered to his eldest son, and the latter, who had not imbibed his father's non-resistance views, and had longed to enter the army after the adoption of the emancipation policy, eagerly embraced this opportunity of serving the cause of liberty in the way of all others that he would have chosen. The father did not shrink from the test.
It was a proud day for the great War Governor of44 Massachusetts when, in the presence of Garrison and Phillips, he delivered the State and national colors for the regiment into the hands of Colonel Shaw, at the45 Readville camp, and nobly declared that his personal honor was identified with theirs, and that he should “stand or fall, as a man and a magistrate, with the rise or fall in history of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment.” Lib. 33.83. Prouder yet was it when he reviewed, on Boston Common, the dusky troops whom he had mustered and equipped in the face of bitter prejudice and contempt, on the one hand, and timid doubtings on the other, and saw them march through Boston streets, receiving enthusiastic greetings along the entire route, and displaying as soldierly discipline and bearing as any regiment that Massachusetts had sent to the war. As they marched down State Street, singing the John Brown song, Mr. Garrison stood, by chance, on the corner of Wilson's Lane, the spot over which he had been dragged by the mob of 1835, and there, with emotion too deep for words, he watched the solid ranks go by, the fair-haired officer at their head who was never to return. Editorially, two weeks subsequently, Mr. Garrison commented on the gratifying manner in which the emancipated slaves were vindicating the hopes of their friends and refuting the calumnious predictions so often made concerning them: 
Of the multitudinous disparaging allegations that have been brought against the slave population by the enemies of impartial freedom, not one has been verified by the events of the war. Instead of not desiring their freedom, they have invariably shown the greatest eagerness to obtain it wherever our army has gone; and great has been their lamentation when, for any cause, they could not be admitted within the lines. Instead of using their freedom injuriously to themselves or others, they have behaved with marked propriety, and evinced no disposition to commit any outrage, however slight. Instead of wishing to indulge in idleness or vagrancy, they have exhibited the utmost readiness to work even for a very inadequate remuneration, and they are fast learning the lessons of thrift.46 Instead of being a burden upon society or the Government, they more than pay their way when there is anything like a fair chance. Instead of indicating no wish to be taught, they manifest the strongest desire for rudimental instruction, and a remarkable aptitude to learn. Instead of being wild or intractable, none are so docile and obedient. Instead of showing a cowardly spirit when the heroic element is appealed to, they display as soldiers a courage for attack, and a disregard of danger and death, unsurpassed in the annals of warfare. Lib. 33.94.The steady progress of emancipation, and rapid enlistment of colored soldiers, increased the bitterness and virulence of the ‘Copperhead’ (i. e., pro-Southern) press and party. In March, there were barbarous anti-negro riots at47 Detroit, resulting in loss of life and the burning of forty48 or fifty houses. In July, the exultations over Gettysburg and Vicksburg were not yet spent when the country was shocked by the anti-draft riots in New York, during which49 negroes and soldiers alike were shot down, hung to lampposts, beaten, and thrown into the river, and hunted like wild beasts, and the Colored Orphan Asylum was burned to the ground. The Irish mob likewise sacked the Colored Sailors' Home, and the residence of those staunch abolitionists, Mr.Gibbons and Mrs. James S. Gibbons. There was an  attempt at a similar outbreak in Boston, and Mr. Garrison and his family deemed it prudent to leave their house in Dix Place for a day or two.50 Happily the riot was crushed in its incipiency by the prompt action of the authorities; but when the Fifty-fifth Regiment departed for the South, the following week, a dress parade on the Common was abandoned, and the troops marched across the city with loaded muskets, ready for a possible attack in the Irish quarter of the ‘North End,’ where they embarked on a steamer for North Carolina.
Matters assumed a brighter aspect as the fall advanced. The American Anti-Slavery Society multiplied its agents and meetings, and a petition to Congress for55 emancipation, circulated by the Women's Loyal National League, received one hundred thousand signatures.56 Mr. Garrison, who had spent the month of August at Plymouth, Mass., lectured frequently during the autumn, chiefly in cities and towns within easy reach of Boston. The fall elections resulted triumphantly for the Republicans, thus strengthening the Administration in its emancipation policy; and now two of the Border States were moving to abolish slavery within their own limits, and to bring themselves into the ranks of the free States. Both in Missouri and in Maryland a strong party had sprung up  advocating immediate and unconditional emancipation, and in the preliminary movements to that end which were among the issues of the November election, it found itself in the ascendancy in both States. In Tennessee and57 Arkansas, also, prominent slaveholders, perceiving that slavery was crumbling from mere attrition between the opposing armies on their soil, advocated immediate emancipation as the most sensible method of disposing of the vexed question and bringing matters to a settled basis, and they deemed it folly to talk of compensation. The Missouri emancipationists complained bitterly, however,58 that they received no encouragement or support from Mr. Lincoln, who deprecated haste and still argued in59 favor of gradualism, and they felt the weight of the Administration against their radical measures. The reluctance of the President to press upon the Border States the immediate abolition of slavery which he had decreed for the rebellious States, and his readiness to allow a small60 fraction of the (white) voting population in the latter to form new State governments and legislate for the freedmen, will be, and have been already in large measure, forgotten, while the brief address which he gave at61 Gettysburg, between his interview with the Missourians and his transmission to Congress of the Amnesty Message,62 will live as long as his name and fame.  “Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion,” Raymond's History of Lincoln's Administration, p. 427. recorded Mr. Lincoln in his December message, ‘full one hundred thousand are now in the United States military service, about half of which number actually bear arms in the ranks—thus giving the double advantage of taking so much labor from the insurgent cause, and supplying the places which otherwise must be filled with so many white men. So far as tested, it is difficult to say they are not as good soldiers as any. No servile insurrection or tendency to violence or cruelty has marked the measures of emancipation and arming the blacks.’ The editor of the Liberator had never expected to have war correspondence a feature of his paper, but he printed the letters which now came to him from the63 officers and soldiers of colored regiments, with infinitely more pleasure than he inserted the communications of two or three non-resistant friends who deemed it more64 than ever the time for them to bear their testimony. To the latter he yielded space now and then, with his usual fairness and generosity, but he steadily declined to be dragged into any extended discussion of the peace and non-resistance doctrine, for reasons which he had65 already fully set forth. Pursuant to adjournment from its annual meeting in May, the American Anti-Slavery Society met in Philadelphia on the 3d and 4th of December, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its formation, to rejoice over the emancipation, by the fiat of the American Government, of three million three hundred thousand slaves, and, in the words of the official invitation which Mr. Garrison, as President of the Society, extended to various friends of the cause, ‘not only to revive the remembrance of the long thirty years warfare with the terrible forces of Slavery, and to acknowledge the hand of a wonderworking Providence in guiding the way of the little Anti-Slavery army through great moral darkness and many perils, . . . but also to renew, in the name of humanity, of conscience, and of pure and undefiled  religion, the demand for the entire and speedy extinction of slavery in every part of our country.’ Concert Hall, the largest assembly-room in the city, was scarcely adequate for the throng of members and friends who gathered in joyful confidence that the end of their anti-slavery labors was near at hand; and in dramatic contrast to the conditions under which the Convention of 1833 had met, a slave-auction block now served as the speakers' stand, the national colors were festooned upon the walls, and a squad of colored soldiers from a neighboring camp (which bore the peaceful name of William Penn) occupied seats on the platform at the opening session. Of the forty-five survivors of the original founders of the Society, eleven66 were present; and the racy and delightful reminiscences of the first Convention which were given by Samuel J. May, J. M. McKim, and Lucretia Mott, with an account of the women's anti-slavery societies by Mary Grew, filled what was left of the first day's sessions after the great audience had listened to Mr. Garrison's welcoming address, to letters from absent friends, and to the reading, by Dr. William H. Furness, of the Declaration of Sentiments. The absence of Wendell Phillips and Edmund Quincy was greatly regretted. Others unable to attend, who sent letters which were read or printed, were John G. Whittier, David Thurston, Simeon S. Jocelyn, and Joshua Coffin, of the Signers of the Declaration; Arthur Tappan, Samuel Fessenden, John Rankin, Theodore and Angelina Weld, and Sarah Grimke, of the early supporters of the movement; and Joshua R. Giddings, Charles Sumner, Owen Lovejoy, B. Gratz Brown (then leading the emancipation movement in Missouri), and John Jay (subsequently Minister to Austria),67 of the political allies of the cause.  Although more than twenty years had elapsed since the cessation of personal relations between them, consequent on the division of 1840, Mr. Garrison could not refrain from sending a cordial letter of invitation to Arthur Tappan, in which he renewed his expressions of gratitude for the latter's early support and kindness, and his admiration for all he had done in the slave's cause. Mr. Tappan responded in the same spirit:
The notable speeches of the second day's sessions were by Henry Ward Beecher, just returned from his English70 triumphs, Senator Wilson of Massachusetts, whom the71 Convention greeted with especial warmth for his part in abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, and Frederick Douglass, who gave a graphic account of his recent interview with Mr. Lincoln, and paid an eloquent tribute to the President, who had won his entire respect and confidence. Mr. Beecher, who had not been wont to speak at the meetings of the Garrisonian abolitionists, said, in his brief remarks:
I am thankful for the privilege of looking on so many noble72 and revered faces, and so many young and enthusiastic persons, united together by so sacred a bond as that which unites you. I feel, not that I agree with you in everything, but that I am heart and soul with you in the main end. Toward that end we may take different paths, very likely, but when we come together at the end, we shall all be there. It is the end that crowns the beginning, rather than the beginning the end. I therefore feel that I am honored in being permitted to stand before you this morning, to utter these few words of sympathy and of greeting. Your cause is dear to you—just as dear to me. Your names, honored among yourselves, will never lack some wreaths, if I may be permitted to pluck any to place upon them. I thank God that he called you into existence. An uncanonical Church you are, a Church without ordination, but, in my judgment, a Church of the very best and most apostolic kind, held together by the cohesion of a rule of faith, and an interior principle.  Your ordinances are few and simple, but mighty through God. Your officers are not exactly elected. Whoever has the gifts, and the inspiration behind those gifts, he is your teacher and your leader. That is the truest form of the Church. I stand here in the midst of a part of God's great spiritual, earthly Church, happy to be in your midst; asking the privilege to call myself a brother only, asking the privilege of calling you that are advanced in years fathers and mothers, and asking the privilege also to work according to the light that is given me, and, where I differ from you, of having still your confidence that I mean right. I will never work against you, as I never have. I will work with you as far as you will let me; and we shall all be supervised by a higher Love and a diviner Wisdom, and, where mistakes are made, they will, after all, work together for the good cause. We shall meet, if not again on earth, in that land where no struggles are needed, where we shall rejoice and give thanks to Him who called, and guided, and crowned us with victory.A Memorial to Congress asking for a Constitutional amendment to prohibit slavery forever within the limits of the United States was adopted.73 Mr. Garrison having announced that George Thompson was soon to revisit the United States, a resolution of ‘fraternal welcome and warm congratulation’ in advance, and of recognition of his patriotic services in support of the American Government, was also adopted; and then Mr. Garrison, with characteristic thoughtfulness, recalled the name and labors of Benjamin Lundy, ‘that honor may be given to whom honor is due, to one whose memory ought to be preserved to the latest generation as the distinguished pioneer in this great struggle.’ ‘If,’ he said, ‘I have in74 any way, however humble, done anything toward calling attention to the question of slavery, or bringing about the glorious prospect of a complete jubilee in our country at no distant day, I feel that I owe everything in this matter, instrumentally, and under God, to Benjamin  Lundy.’ His concluding words were full of cheer, and hope, and rejoicing over the blessings to accrue to the South through emancipation. So ended the last decade meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Happy would it have been if the Society had felt warranted in making that its final gathering, and in disbanding then and there; for fate decreed that it should never again meet in such oneness of spirit.75