Chapter 4: the reelection of Lincoln.—1864.Thompson lands in February, and is made the object of marked public attention, lecturing in the National Capitol before the President and the leaders of Congress. A division arises in the abolition ranks over the reelection of Lincoln, Wendell Phillips opposing it with much vehemence, and Garrison favoring it with equal earnestness, as does Thompson also. Garrison attends as a spectator the National Convention of the Republican party at Philadelphia, which unani-mously renominates Lincoln, while demanding the utter extinction of slavery. He proceeds to Baltimore, and finds the jail in which he was confined in 1830 demolished; visits Washington for the first time, and is heartily received by the President, and very courteously in the Senate chamber. In a controversy with Professor F. W. Newman of London, he defends the renomination of Lincoln, whose reelection presently crowns the repeal by Congress of the Fugitive Slave Law, and the abolition of slavery by Maryland.
The new year opened with the shadow of a great sorrow resting upon the household in Dix Place. On the night of December 29, 1863, Mrs. Garrison was prostrated by a severe stroke of paralysis, which entirely crippled her left side, and for several days made her recovery doubtful. The blow was utterly unexpected, for she had ever enjoyed the best of health, and her energetic exertions, not only in the management of her domestic affairs, but in outside works of kindness and benevolence, were unceasing. Early in the month she had accompanied her husband and two of their sons to the Decade Meeting at Philadelphia, to her great enjoyment and the gratification of her friends in that city, for her devotion to home and children had seldom allowed her to indulge in such excursions. She returned happy in the memory of her delightful experience, and in the thought that she might attempt such visits oftener in future, now that her children no longer needed her constant maternal care, and that the approaching downfall of slavery promised more opportunities of relaxation for her husband. She had seldom looked more fresh and blooming than on the day which proved to be her last of active, vigorous health, and the friends on whom she called, on an errand in behalf of the freedmen, were impressed by her fine appearance. In the evening she attended a lecture with her husband and children, and an hour or two after she had retired for the  night, the blow fell which crippled her for the remainder of her life.1 The physical strain put on Mr. Garrison in the first moments of his wife's helplessness temporarily disabled him also; but he was able, in the latter part of January, to attend the Anti-Slavery Subscription Festival, and the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery2 Society. At this meeting Mr. Phillips made an elaborate speech on the danger of a premature reconstruction of the seceded States, and the importance of demanding the political enfranchisement of the freedmen in any scheme that might be devised, as the only means of preventing the enactment of apprenticeship or other oppressive laws by their late masters. His text was a resolution, introduced by himself, in these terms:
That, in our opinion, the Government, in its haste, is ready to sacrifice the interest and honor of the North to secure a sham peace, thereby risking the introduction into Congress of a strong Confederate minority to embarrass legislation, and leaving the freedmen and the Southern States under the control of the late slaveholders, embittered by their defeat in war, and entailing on the country intestine feuds for another dozen years; and we listen in vain, either from the leaders of the Republican party or from its journals, for any such protest as would arrest national attention, or create a public opinion definite enough to avert the sacrifice. Lib. 34.22.There was good reason for exclaiming against the crude and hasty methods by which the President seemed anxious to reestablish the machinery of local self-government (by the whites) in the conquered territory held by the Northern armies, and for demanding that no State should be readmitted to the Union until equal rights, fair-play, and protection to the freedmen had been fully secured; but  to the opening sentence of the resolution Mr. Garrison, with his usual scrupulousness of phraseology, felt compelled to take exception, and he did so as follows:
Mr. President, in consequence of a severe domestic3 affliction and of bodily debility, I am not mentally or physically in a condition to make a speech; and, therefore, I shall not attempt to make one. But I wish to propose an amendment to the resolution which was submitted to the meeting by my friend Mr. Phillips this forenoon, and which he advocated with his usual ability and eloquence. As it now stands, it reads thus: “Resolved, That, in our opinion, the Government, in its haste, is ready to sacrifice the interest and honor of the North to secure a sham peace,” etc. I am not prepared to bring this charge, nor to cast this imputation. I believe that there is only one party at the North that is ready to make such a sacrifice for such an object, and that is the party of Copperheads. I would therefore propose that the resolution be amended as follows: “Resolved, That, in our opinion, the Government, in its haste, is in danger of sacrificing,” etc. This, Mr. President, is what I am willing to admit, and what I believe; but I would always rather err on the side of charitable judgment than of excessive condemnation. The resolution, as offered, is an impeachment of motives, not of ability or vigilance. It commits us to the assertion, that we believe the Government—meaning Mr. Lincoln in particular—is ready to do a most infamous act, namely, “to sacrifice the interest and honor of the North to secure a sham peace,” whereby the President's Emancipation Proclamation shall be rendered null and void, and the slave oligarchy restored to their original supremacy. Now, sir, I do not believe a word of it, and therefore I cannot vote for it. To be ready to do a base thing for a base end implies both will and purpose; it means something more than liability: it amounts to perfidy. There was a time when I had little confidence in Abraham Lincoln, and very little respect for him: it was when, for almost eighteen months after secession had taken place, he was evidently averse to seeing that slavery had any vital connection with the rebellion, and so refused to strike a blow at its existence. . . . But the time  came at last when the President, unless he was determined to be wilfully and wickedly blind, was compelled to see that slavery and the rebellion were indissolubly bound up together. Then came the proclamation of unconditional and everlasting emancipation to three million three hundred thousand slaves, leaving not one to clank his fetters in any rebel State; and then, all that is vile and seditious in the Copperhead, pro-slavery, rebelsympathizing element in the North burst forth against him, and to this hour continues to pour every vial of its wrath upon his head. Since that event, and in view of what has followed in the enrolment of tens of thousands of colored soldiers, I have changed my opinion of Abraham Lincoln. In proportion as he has fallen in the estimation of the disloyal portion of the North, he has risen in my own. True, he is open to criticism for his slowness, and needs spurring on to yet more decisive action; but I am not willing to believe that he is “ready to sacrifice the interest and honor of the North to secure a sham peace” with the rebels. That is a very grave charge.The amendment was earnestly opposed by Mr. Phillips, who instanced the President's attitude towards the4 Missouri radicals, his pains to humor Kentucky (‘the Gibraltar of the Border-States obstacle’), and his recent Amnesty proclamation, in confirmation. Mr. Garrison5 had no apology to make for the Amnesty, which he had ‘elsewhere condemned in unequivocal terms,’ nor for the Government's course in paying the negro troops as laborers instead of as soldiers.6 But he maintained his objection to the resolution. The vote of the Society was so close as to be doubtful for a moment, but the amendment  was finally declared defeated, and the resolution adopted by a narrow majority. So unusual a divergence between the two foremost leaders of the anti-slavery movement naturally attracted general attention and comment, and caused no little7 disturbance of mind in some of their immediate followers; but both protested that the difference was simply one of opinion and judgment, and not of fundamental principles, and Garrison defended Phillips against some of the sharp criticisms of the press, and warmly eulogized him. “The honesty of his conviction is not to be impeached,” Lib. 34.34. he declared, ‘while its soundness may be questioned without any personal feeling.’ ‘I was glad to see that you were able to be at the anti-slavery meetings,’ wrote Samuel J. May to Mr. Garrison, “and to attempt to qualify the only expression that marred the excellence of what Mr. Phillips said. It does seem to me that Mr. Lincoln has shown himself anxious to be and to do right, though liable to err through the influences of his education, of his evil advisers, and the complicated difficulties which beset his course of action.” Ms. Feb. 10, 1864. And J. M. McKim wrote: “Wendell's speech and resolution not only laid him open to criticism, but demanded and made necessary criticism. It was due to us all that there should be some objection, some disclaimer, and you were the person to make it. We can admire genius, love virtue, and honor fidelity, without surrendering to either, or to all combined (as in this case), our judgment.” Ms. Feb. 9, to W. L. G.
Early in February, George Thompson landed in Boston13 on his third and final visit to America. Both in the Liberator and in speeches and resolutions at the various antislavery conventions of the preceding months, Mr. Garrison had done his utmost to insure a fitting welcome for his bosom friend;14 and the farewell soirees with which Thompson's admirers in London, Manchester, and15 Liverpool had honored him, were but a prelude to the series of ovations awaiting him in the land which he had so long loved and served, and which was ready now to recognize his heroism, his sacrifices, and his magnanimity. For whereas, in 1835, he had been secretly hurried out of16 Boston harbor, he was now received with special courtesies by the Customs officers of the United States, and treated as a distinguished visitor. The Collector of the port solicited17 his presence at a levee, a few days after he landed, and in18 a company comprising the representative men of the city and State he was greeted with the heartiest cheers. His first public appearance was at Music Hall, on February 16, when he addressed an immense audience on “The Popular Sentiment of England in regard to America and the Rebellion,” Lib. 34.31. and described the agitation which had  kept the British Government from interfering in the American struggle. A week later, the same hall was19 packed to its utmost capacity on the occasion of a formal reception tendered to Mr. Thompson by leading citizens of Massachusetts, the name of John A. Andrew heading the list. Governor Andrew presided with rare felicity, declaring it to be an agreeable service, and in the direct20 line of his public duty, to attempt the chairmanship of the meeting, and ‘to accord an honorable welcome to George Thompson,’ both for his earlier achievements and21 for his recent services in behalf of the North. Mr. Thompson's response was worthy of himself and of the22 magnificent occasion. Mr. Garrison would fain have kept in the background, preferring that the welcome to his friend should be seen to be a spontaneous and popular one; but the audience insisted on hearing him, and gave him three cheers as he came forward to express his delight at the atonement which Boston and Massachusetts were now offering. Addressing the Governor, he said:
Sir, it has been the custom of those who have occupied the23 Executive chair in this State, to close their Fast Day and Thanksgiving proclamations with the exclamation: “God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!” Now, sir, in view of the altered state of things among us, in view of this glorious meeting, justly and fairly representing the people of Massachusetts, and in view of the fact that your Excellency is here to preside on this occasion, I have to say that at last I believe Massachusetts is saved—saved from her old pro-slavery subserviency and degradation—saved from her blind, selfish, calculating slaveholding complicity with the South—saved to honor, justice, humanity, and impartial freedom.The Boston reception was speedily followed by one at24 Cooper Institute, New York, with General John C. Fre--25 mont in the chair; by another at Plymouth Church,26 Brooklyn, with Henry Ward Beecher presiding; by others27 still in Springfield,28 Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, and  Worcester, and especially at the Academy of Music in29 Philadelphia, on the invitation of the most prominent30 citizens, and with Horace Binney, Jr., presiding. But the climax of dramatic contrasts to the incidents of the Englishman's first visit to America was reached at Washington, where the House of Representatives voted him the use of its Hall for the lecture which John Pierpont and others had invited him to deliver at the Capital.31 Vice-President Hamlin presided, and the hall was thronged32 by a brilliant audience, which included President Lincoln,33 members of the Cabinet, and a majority of both Houses of Congress. At the close of the lecture, the President, Speaker Colfax, and many Senators and Representatives congratulated Mr. Thompson. Among them was Senator Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, only a few years before counsel on the pro-slavery side in the Dred Scott case, but now an earnest advocate of the Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery, which passed the Senate (38 to 6）34 two days after Mr. Thompson's lecture. Marked35 attentions were also shown the latter in the House and Senate, the following day; by Mr. Lincoln at the White House; and by Secretaries Stanton, Seward, and Chase. Mr. Garrison had at first intended to accompany Mr. Thompson to Washington, but decided not to do so, because, as he wrote to Oliver Johnson, who enjoyed that privilege in his stead—
I wish him to be the one sole object of attention, and to have concentrated upon him all the honors that might be divided between us, provided we were together. I want him thus to be individually and conspicuously noticed for various reasons— especially for international ones: it will tell well in England,  and help to strengthen the ties of friendship and amity between both countries. Possibly, but not probably, I may conclude to visit Washington before the final adjournment of Congress. Ms. Mar. 14, 1864.
Mr. Thompson's lecture engagements throughout the year were numerous, and took him as far west as St. Louis, in December. On the fifth of that month he wrote from Cincinnati to Mr. Garrison: ‘Within the42 last forty-eight hours I have been in two slave States, yet here I am, safe from harm, with not so much as the smell of tar upon me.’ Stranger, almost, was what befell him in Connecticut in July.
As early as January the movement in favor of Mr. Lincoln's nomination for a second term had begun to take shape in the resolutions passed by several State legislatures in favor of that course, and found constant expression in many other ways. In his speech at the January51 meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Mr. Garrison had alluded to these manifestations of the popular will as proving that the loyal people did not believe the President ready ‘to sacrifice the interest and honor of the North to procure a sham peace,’ and he added, for himself:
Taking all things into consideration,—especially in view of the fact that he has not only decreed the liberation of every slave in Rebeldom forever, but stands repeatedly committed, as no other man does, before heaven and earth, to maintain it so long as he is in office,—in my judgment the reelection of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States would be the safest and wisest course, in the present state of our national affairs, on the part of those who are friendly to his Administration. No other candidate would probably carry so strong a vote in opposition to Copperhead Democracy. Such, at least, is my conviction. Lib. 34.23.In March he repeated and emphasized this opinion in52 an editorial, on ‘The Presidency,’ which attracted wide attention. Declaring the approaching election to be ‘a matter of the gravest consideration in its relation to the stability of the Government, the suppression of the rebellion, and the abolition of slavery,’ he deemed it none too early to discuss who should be the Republican candidate, in view of the various schemes that were already on foot to prevent Mr. Lincoln's re-nomination, and to push53 Chase, Butler, or Fremont for the position.54
Standing, as we have stood for more than thirty years, outside of every party organization,—yet taking the deepest  interest in every political struggle of national concernment as indicative of progress or retrogression,—we occupy a position not only absolutely independent of all party ties and obligations, but sufficiently elevated and disinterested to make our judgment impartial, if not conclusive to others. The crisis is too solemn to justify heat or dogmatism, or even that personal preference or rivalry which, under other circumstances, would be allowable and attended with no danger. Never was the apostolic injunction more impressive than now: “ Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind ” —and act in accordance with his clearest instincts and his highest convictions. There are, and there will be, honest differences of opinion among those who are thoroughly loyal to the Government, as to the best course to be pursued; yet it is none the less certain that the fewer these differences can be made, the less danger will there be of the success of that party at the North which is essentially, brutally, persistently pro-slavery, and eager to strike hands with the rebels of the South in an arrangement that shall be mutually satisfactory, by allowing the latter to dictate terms and have their own way. In stating our convictions, we ask no approval of them on the part of our readers beyond what may seem reasonable and just.The policy of the Copperhead party, continued Mr. Garrison, was clearly to sow dissensions in the Republican ranks, and profit by their division, but Secretary Chase had already bowed to the adverse decision of his own State55 to his candidature, and had withdrawn his name. Fremont could have no hope of success as opposed to Lincoln, than whom no man living had so strong a hold on the mass of the people.
Not that Mr. Lincoln is not open to criticism and censure;56 we have both criticised and censured him again and again. Not that there is not much to grieve over, and to be surprised at, in his administration, on account of its inconsistent and paradoxical treatment of the rebellion and slavery; of this we have spoken freely. Nevertheless, there is also much to rejoice over and to be thankful for; and a thousand incidental errors and blunders are easily to be borne with on the part of him who, at one blow, severed the chains of three million three hundred thousand slaves—thus virtually abolishing the whole slave  system (the greater necessarily including the less) in quick progression, as an act dictated alike by patriotism, justice, and humanity.This declaration gave great satisfaction to the loyal press and public, and was a welcome evidence to Mr. Lincoln that he was not to have the influence of the abolitionists against him in the pending struggle, but could rely on their forbearance and faith in his purpose to carry the nation through to peace and freedom. Hitherto his own utterances respecting the emancipation policy had had, as George Thompson said, “the alloy of expediency.” Ante, p. 68. Now, for the first time, he seemed to recognize the divine hand in chastisement for national oppression, and to regard the war as something more than a struggle for the Union and the Constitution, in which the question of slavery had only a subordinate part. In his honest and thoroughly characteristic letter of April 4 to A. G. Hodges of Kentucky, after frankly stating the rule which had guided his course with regard to the suppression of the rebellion, and under which, while himself ‘naturally anti-slavery,’ and believing ‘if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong,’ he had done no official act in deference to his mere abstract judgment and feeling on slavery, he concluded with a passage which was the forerunner of the solemn utterances in his final message to Congress and his second inaugural:
In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle, the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man, devised or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new causes to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God. Raymond's History of Lincoln's Administration, pp. 482-3.57 The Presidential theme occupied the attention of the May meetings of the American and Massachusetts Societies, to the exclusion of almost everything else, and the debates at times were earnest and exciting. Mr. Phillips, at the opening session in New York, introduced his speech58 with a, resolution that, “while we do not criticise the wishes of the Administration, still, as abolitionists, we feel bound to declare that we see no evidence of its purpose to put the freedom of the negro on such a basis as will secure it against every peril” Lib. 34.81.; and he proceeded to criticise the delays and shortcomings of Mr. Lincoln and his advisers, and the attempts to patch up a reconstructed State in Louisiana without giving suffrage to the negroes. ‘My charge,’ he said, ‘against the Administration, as an abolitionist, is, that it seeks to adjourn the battle from cannon shot to the forum; from Grant to the Senate-house; and to leave the poisoned remnants of the slave system for a quarter of a century to come’; and he manifested his decided opposition to Mr. Lincoln's renomination, accusing him of having, by his dilatory course respecting slavery, solidified Southern sentiment against the Union, and made a Confederacy where Jefferson Davis had only made a rebellion. ‘To-day,’ he continued, “the man who takes the helm of the vessel of State in his hand has a tenfold harder work to do than Abraham Lincoln had in March, 1861, for he has got the South, as near as such a thing can be, unanimous against him.” Lib. 34.81. In the business meetings of the Society, Mr. Phillips was even more sweeping and extravagant in his language, for he declared that he would sooner have severed his right59 hand than taken the responsibility which his dear and  faithful friend Garrison had assumed in favoring Mr. Lincoln's reelection. ‘There are no hundred men in the country,’ he continued, ‘whose united voices would be of equal importance in determining the future of the Government and country. A million dollars would have been a cheap purchase for the Administration of the Liberator's article on the Presidency.’ And at the final session he60 closed his despondent speech with a renewed avowal of his hostility to Lincoln, the day of whose reelection, he said, “I shall consider the end of the Union in my day, or its reconstruction on terms worse than Disunion.” Lib. 34.86. Mr. Garrison's rejoinders to these speeches were in harmony with his previous charitable consideration for Mr. Lincoln, in view of the perils which had surrounded him,—“perils and trials unknown to any man, in any age of the world, in official station” Lib. 34.82; and he quoted Mr.61 Phillips's own words the year before, which contemplated Mr. Lincoln's being President four or eight years longer, in these terms:
I told him myself, and I believed it then, and I believe it now,—I meant it then, and I mean it now,—that the man who would honestly put his right hand to the plow of that proclamation, and execute it, this people would not allow to quit while the experiment was trying. Whoever starts the great experiment of emancipation, and honestly devotes his energies to making it a fact, deserves to hold the helm of the Government until that experiment is finished. Lib. 33.110.Mr. Garrison's hopeful view was shared by Miller McKim and George Thompson, in their speeches, and62 at all the public sessions the sympathy of the audiences was clearly with them and in favor of Lincoln. At the business meetings of the Society, Mr. Phillips was63 supported by Stephen S. Foster and Parker Pillsbury, and the resolution offered by him at the outset was adopted by the close vote of 21 to 18. The regular series of resolutions introduced by Mr. Garrison, and unanimously adopted, made no allusion whatever to the Presidential question, but urged the enactment of the Thirteenth  Amendment to the Constitution, and cited the massacre of colored soldiers at Fort Pillow and elsewhere as justifying the severest accusations of the abolitionists against slavery, of which it was the natural outgrowth.
Before the Boston meetings occurred, Mr. Phillips had carried his hostility to Lincoln so far as to seek and accept, for the first time in his life, the votes of a political caucus, and he appeared as a delegate from his Ward in Boston67 at the State Convention to elect delegates to the approaching National Republican Convention at Baltimore. In this new role he made a speech in opposition to the68 resolution endorsing Mr. Lincoln, but without the slightest effect, for it was carried by acclamation. His utter failure  to influence the Convention69 served to intensify the bitterness with which, in a speech before the Emancipation League, four days later, he spoke of Mr. Lincoln,70 declaring that, as the President had delayed so long before touching slavery, while he had suspended habeas corpus (‘the barriers of liberty set up two hundred years ago’) in sixty days, no negro in America owed anything to him. Mr. Lincoln, he asserted, did not desire to crush the rebellion, and he pledged himself to leave no stone unturned, from that time until November, to defeat his reelection. At the New England Convention, the same week, he71 went still farther, and accused the President of “carrying on the war now to reelect himself, to conciliate the disloyal white man.” Lib. 34.93. As at New York, he was sustained in these extreme views by the Fosters and Parker Pillsbury,72 while the defence and vindication of the President fell to Mr. Garrison, Henry C. Wright,73 and George Thompson. The final evening meeting of the two days sessions was intensely interesting and exciting. Mr. Phillips renewed his arraignment of Lincoln, and sought to depreciate George Thompson's eulogy of the latter by impeaching his competency as a foreigner to judge as to the state of affairs in this country. This reflection elicited a rare outburst of eloquence from Thompson, who showed all74 his pristine fire and power, and roused the audience to  the highest pitch of feeling. Mr. Garrison quoted, as the75 most effective reply possible to Mr. Phillips's present attacks on the President, from speeches which his colaborer had made in 1861 and 1862, before either proclamation of emancipation had been issued, and in which he had repeatedly praised Lincoln as in advance of public sentiment, and declared himself satisfied with the rapid progress of events. Passing from these, he replied specifically to Phillips's current criticisms and complaints, expressing his conviction that the people could not do better, politically speaking, than to reelect Lincoln, and that they ought, as a matter of justice and to vindicate the democratic principle, to keep him in office until he should be the acknowledged President of the whole United States. He also animadverted upon the Convention which was to meet in Cleveland the following week,76 to nominate Fremont for the Presidency:
Gen. Fremont, as yet, has not shown a single State, a single77 county, a single town or hamlet in his support. Who represents him from Massachusetts, on the call for the Cleveland Convention? Two men, both non-voters, I believe, and neither of78 them has a particle of political influence. Now I call that the step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Is that the best Massachusetts can do for Fremont? For, remember, I am speaking now of the “coming man” in the next election, who is to run Abraham Lincoln off the track. If I were speaking on a moral issue, I should speak in a very different manner of those whose names appear on that call; for the man who stands alone in a moral cause, though all the world be against him, if God be for him, stands in a majority, and is conqueror. But when you come to politics, that is another sphere. Then you must have79 men and money; then you must have votes; then you must have something of political influence and respectability. But, with one exception, the signers to the call for the Cleveland80 Convention have not one ounce of political weight in this country. Mr. President, we are getting on well. We are to have all our friends contend for, in the end. There is no difference among us in this respect. We all go for equal rights, without regard to race or color. We have not relaxed our vigilance or  our testimony; and I am sorry to hear any intimation thrown out that we do not call for the amplest justice.Mr. Phillips was dissatisfied because the National A. S. Standard would not commend the Cleveland movement and oppose Lincoln, but the course of the paper was sustained by the Executive Committee. ‘If I am required either to set the Standard in opposition to Lincoln's reelection,’ wrote Oliver Johnson to Mr. Garrison, “or to suppress my honest convictions in regard to the Fremont movement, its candidates and platform, I shall resign the editorial chair.” Ms. June 20, 1864. The Republican National Convention met in Baltimore on the 7th of June, and unanimously nominated Mr. Lincoln for a second term. Among those who witnessed its proceedings, from the gallery, was Mr. Garrison. He was revisiting Baltimore for the first time since 1830, having just come from the Progressive Friends' Meeting at Longwood, with Theodore Tilton, editor of the New York Independent. Of the Convention Mr. Garrison wrote, on his return:
It was well worth going from one end of the country to the81 other to witness its proceedings; yet it came in my way incidentally, and I was glad to have the opportunity to be “a looker — on in Venice.” As a delegated body representing all the loyal States and Territories in the Union, it presented an imposing appearance, and indicated, both in the choice of its candidates and platform it adopted, the overwhelming sentiment of the people. Prior to its coming together, all the loyal States had, with a unanimity unexampled since the days of George Washington, officially declared in favor of the reelection of Abraham Lincoln; so that its duty was simply to record its votes for the man thus unmistakably designated. From Maine to Oregon, the response was the same, with the single exception of the Radical delegates from Missouri, who, on the first ballot, voted for General Grant, in accordance with their instructions; and then transferred their votes to Abraham Lincoln, making the grand total of 519 for his reelection. Though this unanimity was strongly to be desired for the weightiest considerations, it was hardly to be expected; for what had the enemies of the Administration left undone to create division in the ranks?  When the result was announced, the enthusiasm was indescribable; and yet it was not comparable to the electric outbreak which followed the adoption of the following resolution:3. Resolved, That as slavery was the cause and now constitutes the strength of this rebellion, and as it must be always and everywhere hostile to the principles of republican government, justice and the national safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the republic; and that we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by which the Government, in its own defence, has aimed a death-blow at this gigantic evil. We are in favor, furthermore, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the people in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the existence of slavery within the limits or the jurisdiction of the United States.The whole body of delegates sprang to their feet as by one impulse, giving vent to their feelings in prolonged cheering and warm congratulations,—again and again renewing their joyful demonstrations in the most enthusiastic manner. Was not a spectacle like that rich compensation for more than thirty years of universal personal opprobrium, bitter persecution, and murderous outlawry? It is impossible for me to describe my emotions on that occasion—for what had God wrought! It was the first national verdict ever recorded, in form and fact, in letter and spirit, against slavery, as a system “incompatible with the principles of republican government,” and therefore no longer to be tolerated in the land. It was the sublime decree— “Let the covenant with death be annulled, and the agreement with hell no longer stand!” It was a full endorsement of all the abolition “fanaticism” and “incendiarism” with which I had stood branded for so many years. The time for my complete vindication had come, from the Atlantic to the Pacific—the vindication of all who had labored for the extinction of “the sum of all villanies,” whether through evil report or good report—yea, the vindication of Eternal Truth and Justice!
In his interview with the President, Mr. Garrison said to him: ‘Mr. Lincoln, I want to tell you frankly that for every word I have ever spoken in your favor, I have spoken ten in favor of General Fremont’; and he went on to explain how difficult he had found it to commend the President when the latter was revoking the proclamations of Fremont and Hunter, and reiterating his purpose to save the Union, if he could, without destroying slavery; ‘but, Mr. President,’ he continued, ‘from the hour that you issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and showed your purpose to stand by it, I have given you my hearty support and confidence.’ Mr. Lincoln received this good-naturedly, set forth the difficulties under which he had labored, and expressed his anxiety to secure the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, that the question might be forever settled and not hazarded by his possible death or failure of reelection. The resolution in favor of it adopted at Baltimore had been prepared and introduced at his own suggestion. The Amendment failed to pass the House of Representatives before Congress adjourned for the summer,96 but  was saved from final defeat by a motion to reconsider, which carried it over to the winter session. Thanks to the untiring exertions of Senator Sumner, the long spring session did not end until the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 had both been swept from the statute-books.97 One of the obstacles he encountered was reported in the following private note:
Not only was the repeal of both laws secured by Mr. Sumner, but through his efforts the coastwise slave-trade, which Mr. Garrison had earned his prison-cell by denouncing in 1830, was abolished, and the exclusion of colored witnesses from United States Courts prohibited. No less cheering than these gains was the action of the newlyreconstructed States of Arkansas and Louisiana, in adopting free Constitutions, the former by popular vote, and the latter by a Constitutional Convention; but in both cases  only a fraction of the voters of 1860 participated, and the influence of the Administration at Washington was controlling. Much more significant, therefore, was the regeneration of Maryland, which worked out its own salvation,101 and adopted, in June, a Constitutional amendment by which, on its ratification by the people in October, slavery was at once and unconditionally abolished, without any pecuniary compensation to the masters.102 In November came the triumphant reflection of Lincoln, an event whose importance was justly estimated by the friends of Union and Emancipation abroad, anxious103 watchers of the progress of the campaign. To these Mr. Garrison's support of the President had given the liveliest satisfaction, which was increased by his rejoinders to two letters written by Prof. Francis W. Newman of London104 University, a solitary sympathizer with the utter distrust of Mr. Lincoln shown by Mr. Phillips and his followers. In the first of these Mr. Garrison wrote:
I am neither the partisan nor eulogist of President Lincoln,105 in a political sense. Since his inauguration, I have seen occasion sharply to animadvert upon his course, as well as occasion to praise him. At all times I have endeavored to judge him fairly, according to the possibilities of his situation and the necessities of the country. In no instance, however, have I censured him for not acting upon the highest abstract principles of justice and humanity, and disregarding his Constitutional obligations. His freedom to follow his convictions of duty as an individual is one thing—as the President of the United States, it is limited by the functions of his office; for the people do not elect a President to play the part of reformer or philanthropist, nor to enforce upon the nation his own peculiar ethical or humanitary ideas, without regard to his oath or  their will. His primary and all-comprehensive duty is to maintain the Union and execute the Constitution, in good faith, according to the best of his ability, without reference to the views of any clique or party in the land, and for the general welfare. And herein lies the injustice of your criticism upon him. You seem to regard him as occupying a position and wielding powers virtually autocratic, so that he may do just as he pleases—yea, just as though there were no people to consult, no popular sentiment to ascertain, no legal restrictions to bind.106As we have already stated, one of Mr. Lincoln's chief offences, in the eyes of Mr. Phillips and his supporters, was his apparent willingness to have Louisiana readmitted to the Union without enfranchising the freedmen. They pointed to the fact that when the free colored men of New Orleans, who had raised a regiment for the defence of the city within forty-eight hours, pending a threatened rebel attack, had asked to be enrolled as voters at the election which soon after ensued for the reorganization of the State, the Military Governor who had112 invoked their aid, and was now ordering the election, and the General commanding the Department, refused their113 application. Military power could abrogate the provisions114 of the old State Constitution so far as to allow white soldiers and sailors to vote, but declined to recognize those who were black. The assumption that Mr. Lincoln was either hostile or indifferent to the matter was erroneous, however. On the contrary, he favored the extension of the suffrage to such colored men as were qualified by115 intelligence or by having borne arms in defense of the Union, and he suggested that a provision to that effect be made in the new Constitution.116 In May, Miller McKim wrote from Washington to Mr. Garrison: “I have had an interview with the President since I have been here— not of my seeking. I . . . have seen some of the correspondence between Mr. Lincoln and New Orleans. It is greatly to Mr. Lincoln's credit as a friend to the black man. Mr. Lincoln is in advance of his party on the question of negro suffrage. Not in advance of all, but of the majority.” Ms. May 5, 1864.  In his reply to Professor Newman, who had especially dwelt upon the Louisiana question, and condemned the President for not enfranchising the colored men of that State, Mr. Garrison asked:
‘By what political precedent or administrative policy, in any117 country, could he have been justified if he had attempted to do this? When was it ever known that liberation from bondage was accompanied by a recognition of political equality? Chattels personal may be instantly translated from the auction-block into freemen; but when were they ever taken at the same time to the ballot-box, and invested with all political rights and immunities? According to the laws of development and progress, it is not practicable. To denounce or complain of President Lincoln for not disregarding public sentiment, and not flying in the face of these laws, is hardly just. Besides, I doubt whether he has the constitutional right to decide this matter. Ever since this government was organized, the right of suffrage has been determined by each State in the Union for itself, so that there is no uniformity in regard to it. In some free States, colored citizens are allowed to vote; in others, they are not. It is always a State, never a national, matter. In honestly seeking to preserve the Union, it is not for President Lincoln to seek, by a special edict applied to a particular State or locality, to do violence to a universal rule, accepted and acted upon from the beginning till now by the States in their individual sovereignty. Under the war power, he had the constitutional right to emancipate the slaves in every rebel State, and also to insist that, in any plan of reconstruction that might be agreed upon, slavery should be admitted to be dead, beyond power of resurrection. That being accomplished, I question whether he could safely or advantageously—to say the least—enforce a rule, ab initio, touching the ballot, which abolishes complexional distinctions; any more than he could safely or advantageously decree that all women (whose title is equally good) should enjoy the electoral right, and help form the State. Nor, if the freed blacks were admitted to the polls by Presidential fiat, do I see any permanent advantage likely to be secured by it; for, submitted to as a necessity at the outset, as soon as the State was organized and left to manage its own affairs, the white population, with their superior intelligence, wealth, and power, would unquestionably alter the franchise in accordance with their prejudices, and exclude those thus summarily brought to the polls. Coercion would gain  nothing. In other words,—as in your own country,—universal suffrage will be hard to win and to hold without a general preparation of feeling and sentiment. But it will come, both at the South and with you; yet only by a struggle on the part of the disfranchised, and a growing conviction of its justice, “in the good time coming.” With the abolition of slavery in the South, prejudice or “colorphobia,” the natural product of the system, will gradually disappear—as in the case of your West India colonies—and black men will win their way to wealth, distinction, eminence, and official station. I ask only a charitable judgment for President Lincoln respecting this matter, whether in Louisiana or any other State.’118In the closing numbers of the Liberator volume, Mr. Garrison laid stress on the grave problems involved in the reconstruction of the rebellious States, at the hands of119 Congress, and on the duty of securing the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery. For this120 Amendment the President, in his Message to Congress, made an earnest plea, and solemnly renewed his vow never to retract or modify his Proclamation, or to return to slavery any person emancipated by its terms, or by any of the acts of Congress. ‘If the people should,’ he added,121 ‘by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to reenslave such persons, another, not I, must be their instrument to perform it.’ Once more the expediency of consolidating the Liberator and Standard was privately considered, the everincreasing cost of paper making it difficult to sustain  both,122 but it was finally decided to increase the price of each, and try to prolong their individual existence until the passage and ratification of the Amendment should warrant their discontinuance. To Oliver Johnson, who had strongly urged their union, on the ground that Mr. Garrison would thus be relieved of the toil of the printing-office, and could, by editorial correspondence with the Standard, easily satisfy the Liberator subscribers, whose interest in the paper was largely personal to him, the latter wrote:
I am not insensible to the compliment intended to be123 conveyed in the assurance, that it is what I write that alone interests the readers of the Liberator; but I am not willing to believe, after an editorial experience of thirty-eight years, that, aside from my own lucubrations, I have neither the tact nor the talent to make an interesting journal. This touches me too closely. If the Liberator has been at all effective in the past, it has been owing to its completeness, as a whole, from week to week, and not to what I have written. This is the true value of every journal. My selections have cost me much labor, and they have been made with all possible discrimination as to their interest, ability, and appositeness. The amount of communicated original matter has always been much larger than that of the Standard; and though not always of special interest or value,  it has made the Liberator less a transcript, and more readable on that account. The Liberator has an historic position and a moral prestige which would be lost should it be merged in the Standard. True, the loss would be the same should the paper be discontinued; but I shall try to prevent this by increasing the subscription price for the next volume. I confess to a strong desire to keep it along till the Amendment of the Constitution is secured, and slavery abolished. It will then have accomplished its antislavery mission. . . . Though you may still feel that the plan you have urged, as to the union of the two papers, is wisest and best, I know you will readily acquiesce in the decision to which I have come; especially as that decision seems to accord with the judgment of the Executive Committee at the present time. Accept, dear Johnson, a renewal of my grateful acknowledgments for your many kindnesses, and the lively interest you have ever evinced in my welfare and happiness. I have not a more attached or a more disinterested friend in the world than yourself. And the anti-slavery cause has never found a truer advocate or a more faithful laborer than you have been from the hour you espoused it.