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Chapter 11: first mission to England.—1833.

He arrives on the eve of the passage of the bill abolishing slavery in the British West Indies, is cordially received by the abolition leaders, and has interesting and affecting interviews with Buxton, Wilberforce, and Clarkson. He exposes Elliott Cresson and the Colonization scheme in Exeter Hall and elsewhere, and secures a protest against the latter headed by Wilberforce, who shortly dies and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Garrison attends his funeral, and then sails for America in August.

The passage was a reasonably short one, of twenty days, but ‘inexpressibly wearisome both to flesh and spirit,’ for Mr. Garrison was seasick within sight of1 Sandy Hook, leading all his fellow-passengers, and for the first week was unable to take food. He arrived out at Liverpool on May 22, and found the daily press filled with the absorbing topic of the hour—abolition in the2 colonies. It was universally conceded that slavery had received its death-blow since Lord Stanley's introduction of the ministerial measure in the House of Commons on May 14. Petitions were crowding in upon Parliament from all parts, including some monster ones signed by the women of Great Britain. Debate had been adjourned to May 30, and the friends of the bill, in their anxiety to insure its passage, accepted the features of apprenticeship and compensation, which made it seem to Mr. Garrison a go-between plan, worthy rather to be denounced than seconded. However, it was clear that he was unexpectedly to witness the closing scenes of the greatest moral struggle of modern times, and he hastened to present himself at the home of James Cropper. But Cropper, like a true soldier, was on the battle-field, having charged his sons to receive his American guest, which they did with great cordiality, introducing him ‘to several worthy3 friends, of both sexes,’ all of whom hailed his visit ‘as singularly providential.’ Some four days were spent in the city, of which Mr. Garrison gives his impressions in a manuscript fragment dated May 27, 1833: [349]

The population of Liverpool, including its suburbs, is about as large as that of New York. I have had but a cursory view of the place, and shall therefore avoid entering into the minute in my descriptions. Let this suffice: it is bustling, prosperous, and great. I would not, however, choose it as a place of residence. It wears strictly a commercial aspect; and you well know there is nothing of trade or barter in my disposition. Indeed, nothing surprises me so much on approaching Boston, after a short exile from it, (and I am always in exile when absent,) as a glimpse at its shipping; for I generally feel as little inclined to visit its wharves as to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. My instinct and taste prefer hills and valleys, and trees and flowers, to bales and boxes of merchandize; and tiny cataracts and gentle streams, to sublime waterspouts and the great ocean. Hence, another place for me than Liverpool; and such a place I could easily find, in almost any direction, within a few miles of it—that is to say, if I were friendly to colonization. My excellent friend James Cropper has a delightful retreat, called Dingle Bank, which nature and art have embellished in the most attractive manner. This great and good man is now in London, but there has been no lack of hospitality toward me on the part of those whom he has left behind. I have also been very kindly entertained by James Riley, a worthy and much respected member of the Society of Friends. My obligations to Thomas Thorneley, Esq., and Dr. Hancock, (the former, late the Parliamentary candidate of the friends of emancipation, and the latter, a consistent advocate of the cause of Peace,) likewise deserve a public acknowledgment.

Proceeding to London, to lay his credentials before the Anti-Slavery Society, and to secure its advice and cooperation, Mr. Garrison ‘took a seat in one of the4 railroad cars’—his first experience—‘and was almost too impetuously conveyed to Manchester,’ where he tarried only for a few hours, going thence by coach to the ‘august abode of the congregated humanity of the world.’ The Report proceeds:

As in duty bound, both by my instructions and my 5 obligations of gratitude, I immediately called upon James Cropper, in Finsbury Circus, at whose hands I experienced the utmost hospitality and kindness, and from whose lips I received congratulations [350] upon my arrival at the very crisis of the antislavery cause in England. He informed me that a large number of delegates, from various anti-slavery societies in the kingdom, were then in London, vigilantly watching the progress of the Abolition Bill through Parliament; that they took breakfast together every morning at the Guildhall Coffee House, and from thence adjourned to the anti-slavery rooms at No. 18, Aldermanbury, for the purpose of devising plans and discussing propositions for the accomplishment of their grand design; and that if I would attend, he would give me a general introduction.

My heart was full of gratitude to him for his kindness, and to God for ordering events in a manner so highly auspicious. Accordingly, I was prompt in my attendance at the Coffee House the next morning. About sixty delegates were present, most of whom were members of the Society of Friends.6 After the reading of a portion of the Scriptures, breakfast was served up, at the close of which Mr. Cropper rose and begged leave to introduce to the company William Lloyd Garrison, the Agent of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, from America. He then briefly stated the object of my mission, and expressed a hope that I would be permitted, at a suitable opportunity, to lay my purposes more fully before them. This request was afterwards readily granted. They individually gave me a generous welcome, and evinced a deep interest to learn the state of public opinion in the United States in relation to the subject of slavery and the merits of the American Colonization Society.

A further glimpse of the conferences at Aldermanbury is given in a letter to the Board of Managers, dated London, June 20, 1833: [351]

Some of the debates have been highly piquant, talented and7 eloquent—all of them pregnant with interest. Among the speakers are Lord Suffield, Buxton, Macaulay,8 Cropper, Stephen, Gurney and Thompson. Perfect unanimity of sentiment as to the wisest course to be pursued is not to be expected in so large a body; but whatever differences exist in regard to the Government plan, all are agreed upon these two fundamental points—namely, that the right of property in the slaves shall “instantly cease, and that, whatever relief or compensation may be granted to the planters, no part of it shall be paid by the slaves.”

With Buxton Mr. Garrison had had a curious experience:

On arriving in London I received a polite invitation by letter9 from Mr. Buxton to take breakfast with him. Presenting myself at the appointed time, when my name was announced, instead of coming forward promptly to take me by the hand, he scrutinized me from head to foot, and then inquired, somewhat dubiously, “Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Garrison, of Boston, in the United States?” “Yes, sir,” I replied, “I am he; and I am here in accordance with your invitation.” Lifting up his hands he exclaimed, “Why, my dear sir, I thought you were a black man! And I have consequently invited this company of ladies and gentlemen to be present to welcome Mr. Garrison, the black advocate of emancipation from the United States of America!” I have often said that that is the only compliment I have ever had paid to me that I care to remember, or to tell of! For Mr. Buxton had somehow or other supposed that no white American could plead for those in bondage as I had done, and therefore I must be black!

‘The worthy successor of Wilberforce, our esteemed friend and coadjutor, Thomas Fowell Buxton,’ had this picture drawn of him by his guest on his return to America:

Buxton has sufficient fleshly timber to make two or three10 Wilberforces. He is six feet and a half in height, though rather slender than robust. What a formidable leader of the antislavery cause in appearance! We always felt delighted to see him rise in his seat in Parliament to address the House, for his [352] towering form literally caused his pro-slavery opponents to “hide their diminished heads.” He is a very good speaker, but not an orator: his manner is dignified, sincere, and conciliating, and his language without pretence. But he has hardly decision, energy, and boldness enough for a leader. His benevolent desires for the emancipation of the colonial slaves led him to accede to a sordid compromise with the planters, and he advocated the proposition to remunerate these enemies of the human race, and to buy up wholesale robbery and oppression, not on the ground of justice but of expediency. This was done in opposition to the remonstrances of the great body of English abolitionists, and it furnishes a dangerous precedent in the overthrow of established iniquity and crime throughout the world. The results of the bargain do not [January, 1836] reach Mr. Buxton's anticipations. . . . Still, aside from this false step, Mr. Buxton deserves universal admiration and gratitude for his long-continued, able and disinterested efforts, amidst severe ridicule and malignant opposition, to break every yoke and set the oppressed free.

The prevailing excitement over West India 11 emancipation was unfavorable to the project of obtaining aid for the Manual Labor School; and by the advice of his English friends, Mr. Garrison practically put aside the leading object of his mission. There remained the exposure of Cresson, who, chancing to be in London, was disagreeably surprised by the tender of the following challenge:

To Mr. Elliott Cresson, agent of the American Colonization Society:

Sir—I affirm that the American Colonization Society, of12 which you are an Agent, is utterly corrupt and proscriptive in its principles; that its tendency is to embarrass the freedom and diminish the happiness of the colored population of the United States; and, consequently, that you are abusing the confidence and generosity of the philanthropists of Great Britain. As an American citizen, and the accredited Agent of the NewEng-land Anti-Slavery Society, I invite you to meet me in public debate in this city, to discuss the following Propositions:

1. The American Colonization Society was conceived, perfected, and is principally managed, by those who retain a portion of their own countrymen as slaves and property. [353]

2. Its avowed and exclusive object is the colonization of the free people of color, in Africa, or some other place.

3. It is the active, inveterate, uncompromising enemy of immediate abolition, and deprecates the liberation of the slaves except on condition of their being simultaneously transported to Africa.

4. It maintains that possessors of slaves, in the Southern States, are not such from choice but necessity; and that, of course, they are not, under present circumstances, blameworthy for holding millions of human beings in servile bondage.

5. Its tendency is, to increase the value of the slaves, to confirm the power of the oppressors, and to injure the free colored population, by whom it is held in abhorrence, wherever they possess liberty of speech and the means of intelligence.

6. It is influenced by fear, selfishness and prejudice, and neither calls for any change of conduct on the part of the nation, nor has in itself any principle of reform.

7. Its mode of civilizing and Christianizing Africa is preposterous and cruel, and calculated rather to retard than promote the moral and spiritual improvement of her benighted children.

These charges, Sir, are grave and vital. I dare you to attempt their refutation. Let them be taken up in their present order, and each discussed and decided upon separately. And may God prosper the right!

Yours, &c.,

Wm. Lloyd Garrison. 18, Addle-Street, Aldermanbury, June 4, 1833.

This letter had been entrusted by the writer to his13 esteemed friend Joseph Phillips, and was duly ‘presented to Mr. Cresson, who, in the most offensive manner, refused to receive it from Mr. Phillips. It was then tendered him by Mr. William Horsenail, of Dover, but he declined taking it, stating that arrangements had been made with Dr. Hodgkin and Joseph T. Price for an interview with me. Afterwards it was presented a third time by Mr. Jeremiah Barrett, and again rejected. Mr. Cresson was finally induced to receive it from the hands of Mr. Phillips, in the presence of Messrs. J. T. Price and Emanuel Cooper.’ His answer simply repeated the allegation [354] that he was in the hands of his friends, above named, to whom Mr. Garrison promptly addressed an enquiry as to their determination. They replied that a private interview ‘in the presence of a few friends impartially chosen’ would be ‘desirable in the first instance;’ but Mr. Garrison rightly looked upon this as a mere ruse to avoid a public meeting, and to obscure the fact that his business was ‘exclusively with the14 British people, and with Mr. Cresson in his public capacity as the Agent of the American Colonization Society.’ He followed up his advantage by an open letter in the London Times, repeating the challenge, which equally failed of effect. The sole course left was an exparte arraignment of the Colonization Society, which was appointed at the Wesleyan Chapel of the Rev. Thomas Price,15 in Devonshire Square, for Monday evening, June 10, 1833.

At this meeting, presided over by James Cropper, Mr.16 Cresson was present, no doubt reluctantly, and certainly ill-advisedly. For when the lecturer, after depicting the Colonization Society in the vein of his “Thoughts,” told how Clarkson had been deceived by its agent assuring him that its first object was to emancipate all the slaves, the chairman interrupted him, saying that this was a grave charge; Mr. Cresson was present—would he admit or deny having made such a statement? Cresson answered that he had done so,—a confession dictated not more by candor than by necessity, for Mr. Garrison was able to hand Mr. Cropper a pamphlet to which17 Cresson had furnished an introduction, declaring that ‘the great object of the Colonization Society is the final and entire abolition of slavery’; and Mr. George Thompson cited a placard of one of Cresson's meetings, headed, ‘American Colonization Society and the Abolition of Slavery.’ Mr. Garrison then described with what feelings he heard Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons18 [355] a few days before19 oppose the Emancipation Bill by referring to the operations of the Society as proof that emancipation was a curse to the blacks, rendering them a nuisance to be got rid of by deportation. He concluded by saying that ‘the abolitionists of Great Britain should indignantly order him [Cresson] back to his slaveholding employers, and bid him be thankful that he had not been detained on a charge of obtaining money under false pretences.’

Mr. Thompson next testified from his own experience20 to Cresson's false assurances as to the anti-slavery objects of the Society. ‘He also calumniated Mr. Garrison to me, and gave me such an account of him that he made me regard him as a pest of society.’21 And whereas Cresson never came near the abolition meetings in the British Islands, the platform at his own meeting was crowded with slaveholders. Mr. Thompson reiterated the charge of deception practised on the British supporters of the Society.

At this point Mr. Cropper announced that he had22 hoped for a debate in order that the audience might form its judgment between the parties, but that an opportunity for rejoinder would be furnished Mr. Cresson on the following evening after Mr. Garrison's lecture had been finished. Cresson thereupon declined to demean himself by entering into a discussion ‘under existing circumstances, and with such a chairman, such a lecturer, and such a meeting’; but, having the [356] floor, enlarged his abuse of Mr. Cropper, by whom, he asserted, he had been treated like a dog—and so left the chapel.

From the second meeting he carefully absented 23 himself, sending, however, to the Rev. Mr. Price a note thanking him for the offer of his chapel, and appointing a night; but when his messenger was asked whether a debate or a lecture was contemplated, he replied a lecture—a cool proposal, indeed, which met with a very proper refusal. Mr. Price's views with regard to the Colonization Society had, he publicly confessed, undergone a total change, and he was unwilling to open the chapel to it for unchecked propagandism. He moved resolutions to the effect that Mr. Garrison had fully established the truth of his charges against it, by evidence drawn from itself, and that all friends of civil and religious liberty should refuse it their sanction. To these there was but one dissenting vote. Resolutions of24 thanks to Mr. Garrison for his luminous and fearless exposure, and of unequivocal confidence and zealous support, of heartfelt sympathy for the colored people of the United States, and of cordial approbation for the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, were passed with equal unanimity, on motion of Mr. Thompson. But the crowning feature of the evening was James Cropper's announcement: ‘It is with very great pleasure that I can add the name of William Wilberforce as having changed his opinion. He now deeply regrets that he was ever led to say anything in approbation of the Colonization Society.’

An opportunity for confirming the great philanthropist in his altered views was speedily afforded Mr. Garrison. A few days after his lecture,25 in company with his already close friend, George Thompson, he took the night stage for Bath, where the latter was to reply to the West-India26 planters' advocate, Peter Borthwick, a familiar antagonist. [357] During their subsequent stay in the city occurred27 the interview with Wilberforce (at his residence) the bare prospect of which might well have decided the acceptance of the English mission.

‘It was in June, 1833,’ writes Mr. Garrison, years afterwards,28 with incidental comparisons of no little interest,

that we29 visited Mr. Wilberforce at his residence in Bath, accompanied by Mr. Thompson. It is seldom that men of renown meet the high expectations of the curious and enthusiastic as to their bodily proportions; for imagination is ever busy, in advance, in fashioning each distinguished object so as outwardly, as well as inwardly, “to give the world the assurance of a man.” Of all the truly great men whom we have seen, we think the physical conformation of Daniel Webster best agrees with the fame of his colossal mind. His body is compact, and of Atlantean massiveness, without being gross: his head is of magnificent proportions—the perfection of vast capaciousness: his glance is a mingling of the sunshine and the lightning of heaven: his features are full of intellectual greatness. De Witt Clinton was another rare specimen of the noble adaptation of the outward to the inward man. Washington, perhaps, was a third. When we were introduced to Mr. Wilberforce, his pygmean dimensions would have excited feelings almost bordering on the ludicrous, if we had not instantly been struck with admiration to think that so small a body could contain so large a mind! We realized the truth of Watts's spiritual phrenology, if we may so term it, (and Watts, like the apostle Paul, was weak and contemptible in his bodily appearance,) as set forth in the following verse:

Were I so tall to reach the pole,
Or grasp the ocean with my span,
I must be measured by my soul:
The mind's the standard of the man.

Wilberforce was as frail and slender in his figure as is Dr. Channing, and lower in stature than even Benjamin Lundy, the Clarkson of our country. His head hung droopingly upon his breast, so as to require an effort of the body to raise it when he spoke, and his back had an appearance of crookedness: [358] hence, in walking, he looked exceedingly diminutive. In his earlier years he was probably erect and agile; but feeble health, long continued, had thus marred his person in the vale of time.

At his kind invitation we took breakfast with him and his interesting family, and afterwards spent four or five hours in interchanging sentiments respecting American slavery and the American Colonization Society. His mind seemed to be wholly unaffected by his bodily depression: it was a transparent firmament, studded with starry thoughts, in beautiful and opulent profusion. His voice had a silvery cadence, his face a benevolently pleasing smile, and his eye a fine intellectual expression. In his conversation he was fluent, yet modest; remarkably exact and elegant in his diction; cautious in forming conclusions; searching in his interrogations; and skilful in weighing testimony. In his manners he combined dignity with simplicity, and childlike affability with becoming gracefulness. How perfectly do those great elements of character harmonize in the same person, to wit—dovelike gentleness and amazing energy—deep humility and adventurous daring! How incomparably bland, yet mighty—humble, yet bold, was the wondrous Immanuel! These were traits that also eminently characterized the apostles Paul and John. These were mingled in the soul of Wilberforce.

We were particularly struck with the strong and deferential affection which he seemed to cherish for Mrs. Wilberforce, a woman worthy of such a man, of singular dignity of carriage, approaching to the majestic in size, and all-absorbed in her kind attentions to him—and he not less attentive to her. She could not drop her thimble or her cotton on the carpet but he would stoop down to find it, in spite of her entreaties. What greatness of amiability! Another thing which we remarked with surprise and delight was, the youthful freshness and almost romantic admiration which he cherished for natural scenery. During our interview with him, he took a recumbent position upon the sofa; but as we were about bidding him farewell, he called for his shoes, and, infirm as he was, proposed walking up and down the “South parade” with us, in order to point out some of the beauties of the landscape in view of his residence; but we begged him not to make the effort, and satisfied him by going to a front window, from which he showed us with considerable pleasure the house which Pope the poet occasionally occupied, and other interesting and beautiful objects. [359]

In the Keepsake30 he is represented sitting in his favorite position, cross-legged, his head pendent and lateral, and his hands retaining the eye-glass with which he was accustomed to read.

There were in reality two interviews, which are thus described in Mr. Garrison's official report on his mission:

On the 19th of June, it was my privilege to be introduced31 to the venerable Wilberforce in Bath. He gave me a very gracious reception, as did also his excellent lady and son. I spent about three hours in his company, during which time his cautious and active mind was very inquisitive on the subject of slavery in the United States, and particularly in reference to the American Colonization Society. I endeavored to communicate, as briefly and clearly as possible, all the prominent facts relating to our great controversy. In expressing to him the grief which was felt by American abolitionists, and particularly by our free colored population, in seeing the name of Wilberforce enrolled among the friends of the Colonization Society, he said that his commendation of the enterprise had been restricted to the colony at Liberia; that, relying upon the information which Mr. Cresson had given him respecting the flourishing condition of that colony, he had been induced to believe that it was aiding essentially in the civilization of benighted Africa: that he never regarded the Society as providing a remedy for slavery; that he viewed with abhorrence the doctrine of the Society denying the practicability of elevating the colored race in the United States to an equality with the whites; and that he had repeatedly contested that wicked position with Mr. Cresson, and told him that he considered it fundamentally false and unchristian. He expressed much anxiety to learn how far Mr. Cresson had made use of his name to give currency to the Society, and desired his son to write down the following queries as he dictated them:

1. How far has Mr. Elliott Cresson made use of Mr. Wilberforce's name? Has he merely stated that Mr. Wilberforce approved of the colony as calculated to benefit Africa; or has [360] he said that Mr. Wilberforce approves of the principle of the Society—namely, that the blacks ought to be removed for the advantage of America, as well as for their own?

2. Did Mr. Cresson (aware that it must be considered as the fundamental principle of the American Colonization Society, that there is a difficulty, amounting to a moral impossibility, in the blacks and whites living together in prosperity and harmony, as members of the same free community) make it clear to those to whom he professed to state Mr. Wilberforce's sentiments, that the two classes might and ought to live together, as one mutually connected and happy society?

3. Has Mr. Elliott Cresson made it publicly known in England, that the American Colonization Society has declared that it considers that colonization ought to be a sine qua non of emancipation?

These queries were given to me to make such use of them as I might think proper.

At his urgent solicitation, I visited him the next morning, and sat down with him and his family to breakfast, which was served up in patriarchal simplicity. After an interview of about five hours,—too delightful and too important ever to be forgotten by me,—I bade him farewell, expressing my fervent wishes for a long continuance of his valuable life, and my hope to meet him in that world of glory where change, and decay, and separation are unknown. I impressed upon his mind, tenderly and solemnly, the importance of his bearing public testimony against the American Colonization Society, if he was satisfied that its claims to the confidence and patronage of the British nation were preposterous and illusory; especially as he was constantly quoted as the friend and advocate of the Society. “I offer you,” I said, “no documents or pamphlets in opposition to the Society, upon which to form an opinion of its true character. Here are its Fifteenth and Sixteenth Reports: the former contains an elaborate defence of the Society by its managers, which, in my opinion, is alone sufficient to seal its destiny. Read it at your leisure, and, judging the Society out of its own mouth, let your verdict be given to the world!”

The result of these interviews was that Mr. Garrison32 brought back with him to this country the original of a Protest against British support of the American Colonization Society, already made public in England, and [361] signed by Wilberforce, William Smith, Zachary Macaulay, William Evans, M. P., Samuel Gurney, George Stephen, Suffield, S. Lushington, M. P., Buxton, Cropper, William Allen, and Daniel O'Connell, M. P.33 They expressly rejected the claims of the Society to antislavery support as ‘wholly groundless,’ and its profession of promoting the abolition of slavery as ‘altogether delusive.’ The influence of Liberia on the slave trade would be limited to its petty territory. ‘The only effectual deathblow to that accursed traffic will be the destruction of slavery throughout the world,’ to which they were compelled to say they believed the Colonization Society ‘to be an obstruction.’ Englishmen ought not to be called upon ‘to contribute to the expenses of a colony which, though no doubt comprising some advantages, was formed chiefly to indulge the prejudices of American slaveholders, and which is regarded with aversion by the colored population of the United States.’

Our objections to it are, therefore, briefly these:—While34 we believe its pretexts to be delusive, we are convinced that its real effects are of the most dangerous nature. It takes its root from a cruel prejudice and alienation in the whites of America against the colored people, slave or free. This being its source, the effects are what might be expected: that it fosters and increases the spirit of caste, already so unhappily predominant; that it widens the breach between the two races—exposes the colored people to great practical persecution, in order to force them to emigrate; and finally, is calculated to swallow up and divert that feeling which America, as a Christian and a free country, cannot but entertain, that slavery is alike incompatible with the law of God and with the well-being of man, whether the enslaver or the enslaved.

On these grounds, therefore, and while we acknowledge the Colony of Liberia, or any other colony on the coast of Africa, to be in itself a good thing, we must be understood utterly to repudiate the principles of the American Colonization Society. [362] That Society is, in our estimation, not deserving of the countenance of the British public.

One name was conspicuous by its absence from among the signers to this tremendous Protest—that of Clarkson. To him, too, Mr. Garrison had paid a memorable visit:

Immediately after the meeting at Exeter Hall,35 I rode to36 Ipswich to see Thomas Clarkson, accompanied by my esteemed friend, the Rev. Nathaniel Paul. Here it is proper to state in what manner the mind of this venerable philanthropist became so strongly impressed in favor of the Colonization Society and of Liberia. It happens that the individual who, of all others in England, exerts the most influence over Clarkson's mind, is the main pillar of Mr. Cresson's support—namely, Richard Dykes Alexander, a wealthy and respectable member of the Society of Friends. As Clarkson has entirely lost his sight, this gentleman reads and answers many of his letters, and is emphatically his mouthpiece. He has therefore acquired a powerful control over the judgment, and secured the entire confidence of Clarkson. Mr. Cresson succeeded most effectually in duping Alexander, and Alexander in misleading Clarkson. Care was taken, both by Mr. Alexander and Mrs. Clarkson, to read chiefly to the sightless philanthropist those statements which served to represent the Colonization Society and Liberia in glowing colors, and to place their opposers in a disgraceful attitude. Under these circumstances, little authority or value ought to be attached to his opinions in favor of the Society and its colony.

On arriving at Ipswich, we found that we could easily gain access to Clarkson only through the medium of Alexander— of him whose mind we knew was strongly prejudiced against us both, in consequence of the flagrant misrepresentations of Mr. Cresson. But we did not hesitate to call upon him, and state the object of our visit to Ipswich. He treated us politely; and as Clarkson resided at Playford Hall, a distance of two or three miles from the town, he offered to postpone another engagement which he had made, and accompany us in his carriage.

The retreat chosen by the aged friend of the colored race in which to spend his few remaining years on earth,37 we found [363] to be very beautiful. On alighting at his door, Mr. Paul and myself, at the request of Mr. Alexander, strolled about the serpentine paths of the Park, while he went in to ascertain whether Clarkson's health would permit an interview at that time—as, a few days before, he had injured one of his legs severely against the shaft of his carriage. In about twenty minutes we were called into the house, and were met by Clarkson totteringly supported by Mr. Alexander. His mind was evidently full of distress: my own was deeply affected, almost beyond the utterance of words. In taking me by the hand, he observed — “I cannot see your face—I have now wholly lost my sight —but—” and here his emotion overpowered his feelings— “I believe I have lost it in a good cause.” My introductory remarks were few and simple. A burden of gratitude for his noble services in the cause of bleeding humanity, and of sympathy for his present affecting condition, pressed mightily upon my soul, which I earnestly desired to throw off by the power of speech; but, lest it might seem like premeditated flattery and artful condolence, I was awed into silence.

He immediately began on the subject of colonization; and, with a vividness of memory which surprised me, minutely stated the substance of all his conversations with Mr. Cresson from their first interview, and the circumstances which had led him to give his sanction to the Colonization Society. He had never regarded that Society as capable, in itself, of effecting the abolition of slavery in the United States, but only as an auxiliary to its abolition. Did he suppose that compulsion, either directly or indirectly, was used to effect the removal of the free people of color and such as were liberated from bondage, he should deprecate the measure as unspeakably cruel and wicked. Finding that his approval of the Society was regarded with grief by many of his dearest friends, in whose opinions he could not unite as to its evil character,38—and in order to obtain that repose of mind which his bodily infirmities imperiously demanded,—he had resolved to occupy neutral ground, and did not wish to be ranked on either side of the controversy. He saw no reason to change his decision. [364]

[‘He said to me, with great emphasis,— “Tell the people of39 the United States, Mr. Garrison, that Thomas Clarkson is now resolved not to give any countenance to the American Colonization Society. Tell them that he refused to comply with the solicitation of Mr. Cresson to become an honorary member of it; and also refused to give his sanction to the British Colonization Society. I occupy neutral ground. My letter to Mr. Cresson in favor of the American Colonization Society was extorted by his statement [what a statement!] that one hundred thousand slaves had been offered to the Society gratuitously, to be sent to Liberia. This unparalleled liberality seemed to me to be indeed the work of God.” ’]

Having listened to him with becoming deference, I spared40 no pains to correct the erroneous views which he had formed— beginning with the origin of the Society, and tracing it through all its ramifications; explaining its direful tendencies to corrupt the public mind, obscure the moral vision of the people, inflame their prejudices, deceive their hopes, and sear their consciences —and to perpetuate, by pruning, an overgrown system of oppression. I showed him that it was cruel mockery to say that the persecuted and oppressed exiles to Liberia had gone with their own consent, cheerfully and voluntarily; that the doctrines of the Society were abhorrent and impious; that it was the enemy not merely of the colored race, but of all genuine abolitionists; that good men who had taken it upon trust, on ascertaining its real purposes, were abandoning it in crowds, and using mighty exertions to overthrow it; and that all its doctrines, measures and designs were evil, and only evil continually. I also endeavored to convince him that he did not occupy neutral ground, but that he was everywhere, both in England and in the United States, regarded as the unfaltering friend of the Society; and that until he publicly requested to be considered as neither approving nor opposing the Society, he could not possibly be neutral in this great controversy.

The Rev. Mr. Paul also appealed to him in the most solemn and pathetic manner, and stated in what light the Society was universally regarded by his colored brethren, and in what manner it was operating to their injury. His disclosures seemed powerfully to agonize the mind of the venerable man, and sincerely did we pity him.

After an interview of about four hours, we took our leave of him, lamenting that he should still feel it to be his duty to occupy what he considered neutral ground. [365]

A short time after this visit, I unexpectedly received, to my exceeding joy, from a distinguished member of Parliament, duplicate copies of the Protest against the American Colonization Society, signed by Wilberforce and eleven of the most distinguished abolitionists in Great Britain, which has fallen like a thunderbolt upon the Society, and riven it in twain. In getting up this Protest I had no agency whatever. It was altogether unexpected by me; but to obtain it was alone worth a trip across the Atlantic.41

Mr. Garrison was recalled from Bath, directly after his last interview with Wilberforce, by a note from Captain Stuart informing him that Cresson had called a public meeting at Freemason Tavern, at which the Duke of Sussex was to preside, for the purpose of forming a British Colonization Society in open or secret affiliation with the American. ‘Punctual to the hour,’ says his 42 Report, ‘I went to the meeting,43 accompanied by my friends Capt. Stuart, Joseph Phillips, William Hume, Esq., of Dublin, and other gentlemen, expecting to find a large audience. Mr. Cresson and six or eight of his friends constituted the whole company in attendance, excepting those who went with me! The Duke of Sussex was absent, and Mr. Cresson therefore moved that the meeting be adjourned!’ Another meeting was shortly appointed for July 3 at the Hanover-Square Rooms, under the same auspices, whereupon Mr. Garrison addressed a letter to ‘His Grace the Duke of Sussex,’ desiring a private interview as the accredited agent of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, ready to prove Mr. Elliott Cresson a deceiver, and the Colonization Society ‘corrupt in its principles, proscriptive in its measures, and the worst enemy of the free colored and [366] slave population of the United States.’ He hoped that in consequence the Duke would refuse to give his countenance to the proposed meeting. In spite of his references for his official character to Buxton, Macaulay and Cropper, no answer was returned to this letter.

In the meantime, July 1, Mr. Garrison wrote home to the Board of Managers:

I think the results of my mission, (brief as it will prove,)44 may be summed up in the following items:—1st, Awakening a general interest among the friends of emancipation in this country, and securing their efficient cooperation with us, in the abolition of slavery in the United States. 2d, Dispelling the mists with which the Agent of the American Colonization Society has blinded the eyes of benevolent men in relation to the design and tendency of that Society. 3d, Enlisting able and eloquent advocates to plead our cause. 4th, Inducing editors of periodicals and able writers to give us the weight of their influence. 5th, Exciting a spirit of emulation, in the redemption of our slave population, among the numerous female anti-slavery societies. 6th, Procuring a large collection of anti-slavery documents, tracts, pamphlets and volumes, which will furnish us with an inexhaustible supply of ammunition.

There is now great certainty that Parliament will complete the scheme of emancipation this session, as the House of Lords has adopted, without any amendment, the resolutions of the House of Commons. To-night, the Bill, containing the details of the measure, will be read a first time in the latter House. It is now highly probable that the term of apprenticeship will be reduced from twelve years to one or two, and perhaps swept entirely away. Remonstrances are pouring into Parliament, from various parts of the kingdom, against the grant of £ 20,000,000 to the planters, but I fear they will prove ineffectual.

Mr. Elliott Cresson continues to skulk from a public controversy. In the leading city paper, the Times, of the 28th ultimo, I inserted a challenge to him, in which I stated ten Propositions, which I offered to maintain against the American Colonization Society. I also promised that if he would prove, to the satisfaction of a majority of the audience, the following charge against me in a letter which he published in the Baptist [367] Magazine for June—namely, “a violent pamphleteer, who often sacrifices truth to the support of his mistaken views, and whose very quotations are so garbled as entirely to pervert the real meaning of the speaker,” I would pay twenty guineas into the hands of the Mayor of New York, in aid of the education of the colored children of that city. The insertion of this article in the Times, although making less than three squares,45 cost me £ 6 6s., that is, about thirty dollars!! This is the usual advertising rate in that paper. Cresson's effrontery is truly surprising; for, notwithstanding these repeated challenges, he has advertised a meeting of his own, to be held on Wednesday next, at the Hanover Rooms, at which the Duke of Sussex is expected to preside! I have no hesitation in prophesying that it will be a complete failure. Of course, I shall endeavor to be present, as I anticipate some amusing collisions on the occasion, if not between me and the speaker, at least between him and some sturdy abolitionists. As an offset to this meeting, I propose to hold one next week, which many of the noblest friends of liberty in England will probably attend. The arrangements, however, have not yet been made; and perhaps another, and even more effectual, course may be adopted.46

The Hanover-Square meeting proved, indeed, a 47 complete failure. The attendance did not exceed 120 persons, ‘one-third of whom were on the platform by special invitation, and another third were abolitionists, opposed to the object of the meeting.’ Sussex was in the chair. Cresson made the leading speech, declaring that the proposed society ‘had no connection whatever with the American Colonization Society,’ as did every other speaker on his side, including Lord Bexley and the [368] noble Duke himself, who, according to Cresson, 48 presided with dignity, but ‘found it hard work to stem the torrent’ of opposition, represented by Macaulay, Stuart, and George Thompson, as well as by Mr. Garrison. The last endeavored to show the folly of suppressing the slave trade by coast colonies while the market for slaves still existed in any part of the world. ‘The tone of the discussion was vehement and even boisterous, but only a partial hearing was given to the abolitionists.’ Neverthe less, on a motion to form a British African Colonization Society, Mr. Thompson's amendment that there was no necessity for one was lost only by 26 to 33. Ridiculous as this was, the projected counter demonstration at Exeter Hall was not abandoned; and as the Duke of Sussex had declared Cresson's character to be above attack, Mr. Garrison sought once more to gain his ear by inviting his attendance. A formal propitiation was even necessary:

In my note of the 29th ultimo, I addressed your Royal49 Highness by the title of “Your Grace.” As the error, though trivial in itself, might seem to imply intentional disrespect, I must here apologize for the same. An American citizen, in Europe, is ever liable to err, through ignorance, in the application of hereditary titles, as they do not obtain in his own country. I am confident that your Royal Highness will most cheerfully pardon the blunder.

To this letter, also, no answer was returned; ‘and therefore,’ says the writer, ‘I am under no special obligations to the courtesy of royalty.’

‘Never was a more highly respectable assembly 50 convened in London’ than that which filled Exeter Hall, Strand, on the morning of Saturday, July 13, 1833. James Cropper presided, and in his opening remarks stated the object of the meeting to be an exposure of the American Colonization Society's anti-slavery pretences, and a demonstration of the real British feeling in regard to it. He read the following letter of regret from Mr. Buxton: [369]

Thomas Fowell Buxton to W. L. Garrison.

54, Devonshire Street, July 12, 1833.
51 my dear sir: I must trouble you with a line to excuse my non-appearance at the meeting to-morrow. The fact is, critical as has been the state of our great question often before, perhaps never was it so critical as now. My mind is intensely occupied, and every moment of my time so full, that I should be sacrificing my duty to this paramount object if I allowed anything else, however pressing and interesting, to divert me from it at this, the crisis of its fate. But you know my complete unity in the objects of your meeting, to which I most cordially wish all success. My views of the Colonization Society you are aware of. They do not fall far short of those expressed by my friend Mr. Cropper, when he termed its objects diabolical. Nor will you doubt my concurrence in the efforts of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, or any Anti-Slavery Society in the world.

Wishing you, therefore, all success, and entreating you to tell your countrymen, on your return, that we in England are all for the Anti-Slavery, not for the Colonization people, I am, my dear sir, with real esteem,

Yours respectfully,

Mr. Garrison was then introduced by George Thompson, and began a long address in the following terms:52

Mr. Chairman—It is long since I sacrificed all my national,53 complexional and local prejudices upon the altar of Christian love, and, breaking down the narrow boundaries of a selfish patriotism, inscribed upon my banner this motto: My country is the world; my countrymen are all mankind. It is true, in a geographical sense, I am now in a foreign territory; but still it is a part of my country. I am in the midst of strangers; but still surrounded by my countrymen. There must be limits to civil governments and national domains. There must be names to distinguish the natural divisions of the earth, and the dwellers thereon. There must be varieties in the form, color, [370] stature, and condition of mankind. All these may exist, not only without injury, but with the highest possible advantage. But wherever they are made the boundaries of human disinterestedness, friendship, sympathy, honor, patriotism and love, they are as execrable and destructive as, otherwise, they are beautiful and preservative.

Nowhere, I am certain, will a more united response be given to these sentiments than in this Hall, and by those who are assembled on the present occasion. What exclamation have you put into the mouth of the African captive, kneeling in his chains with his face turned imploringly heavenward? It is this—the most touching, the most irresistible: “am I not A man and A brother?” Yes! though black as murky night— though born on a distant shore—though degraded, miserable, and enslaved—though ranked among the beasts of the field— still, “A man and A brother!” Noblest device of humanity! —Wherever, in all time, a human being pines in personal thraldom, the tones of that talismanic appeal uttered by him shall be swiftly borne by the winds of heaven over the whole earth, and stir up the humane, the brave, the honorable, the good, for his rescue; for the strife of freedom is no longer local, but blows are now struck for the redemption of the world. And glorious is the prospect before us. Wherever we turn our eyes, we see the earth quaking, and hear thunders uttering their voices. The genius of emancipation is visible in every clime, and at its trumpet-call the dead slaves of all nations are starting into life, shaking off the dust of the tomb, and presenting an immortal beauty through the power of a mighty resurrection.

Sir, I have crossed the Atlantic on an errand of mercy, to plead for perishing millions, and to discharge, in behalf of the abolitionists of the United States, a high moral obligation which is due to the British public. It would neither be modest nor proper for me, on this occasion, to make a parade of the sacrifices of time, of money, of health, or of labor, I have made, nor of the perils I have risked, or the persecution encountered, or the sufferings endured, since I first stood forth as the advocate of my enslaved countrymen,—not to banish them from their native land, nor to contend for their emancipation by a slow, imperceptible process, “half-way between now and never,” — but to demand their instant emancipation, and their recognition as brethren and countrymen. I shall make no such lachrymal display of my losses and crosses in this holy cause; although, [371] perhaps, I could give as long a list, and summon as many witnesses, and present as strong claims upon your sympathy and regard, as the agent of the American negro shippers in this country; for I know that in all things I come short, and I pour contempt upon all that I have endured for righteousness' sake. Whatever may have been the trials and dangers experienced by that agent, they are such only as attend a popular cause. His friends and supporters in the United States are as numerous as the oppressors and despisers of the colored population— constituting the great, the wealthy, the powerful, as well as the inferior classes. When he shall have stood forth, almost singlehanded, for a series of years, against and in the midst of a nation of oppressors, and been branded with every epithet that malice could invent or ingenuity apply, and incarcerated in the cell of a prison, and had large rewards offered for his destruction by private combinations and legislative bodies, for his advocacy of the cause of negro emancipation; he may then, I think you will all agree, with far greater propriety urge his claims upon your sympathy, than while he is receiving the puffs and compliments of a great and popular party in his own country.

I cherish not the least personal animosity towards that gentleman. I am sure that I can heartily forgive him as often as he wrongs me. Sorry am I for his own sake—sorry for the sake of the cause of truth—that the health of Mr. Cresson, according to his own statement, disqualifies him from meeting me in a public discussion of the principles and operations of his darling scheme, although it enables him to hold ex-parte meetings in favor of that scheme, ad libitum; nay, more—he can even take the lead publicly in the formation of a British Colonization Society, and make a long speech, (although it is declared that it has no connection with the American Colonization Society,) at the very moment he assigns his utter physical inability as a reason why he cannot hold a discussion with me, or with my gifted and eloquent friend, George Thompson, Esq. He has my best wishes for the complete restoration of his health.

Recurring to Cresson's complaint of persecution at the hands of Cropper, Macaulay, and Buxton, Mr. Garrison paid a passing tribute to each of these tormentors, and announced that Wilberforce must soon be added to the list in view of their recent conversation at Bath, and the [372] questions to Cresson which Wilberforce had dictated and which the speaker now read. Nor, in spite of his blindness, which compelled him to take things on trust, was it unlikely that Thomas Clarkson would soon be found among the enemies of the Colonization agent.

Mr. Garrison's proper theme, however, was ‘a delineation of American slavery and the American Colonization Society,’ and to this the remainder of his speech was devoted. It is only needful here to record some of its incidental features, beginning with this arraignment of his guilty country:

I cherish as strong a love for the land of my nativity as54 any man living. I am proud of her civil, political and religious institutions—of her high advancement in science, literature and the arts—of her general prosperity and grandeur. But I have some solemn accusations to bring against her.

I accuse her of insulting the majesty of Heaven with the grossest mockery that was ever exhibited to man—inasmuch as, professing to be the land of the free and the asylum of the oppressed, she falsifies every profession, and shamelessly plays the tyrant.

I accuse her, before all nations, of giving an open, deliberate and base denial to her boasted Declaration, that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I accuse her of disfranchising and proscribing nearly half a million free people of color; acknowledging them not as countrymen, and scarcely as rational beings, and seeking to drag them thousands of miles across the ocean on a plea of benevolence, when they ought to enjoy all the rights, privileges and immunities of American citizens.

I accuse her of suffering a large portion of her population to be lacerated, starved and plundered, without law and without justification, at the will of petty tyrants.

I accuse her of trafficking in the bodies and souls of men, in a domestic way, to an extent nearly equal to the foreign slave trade; which traffic is equally atrocious with the foreign, and almost as cruel in its operations.

I accuse her of legalizing, on an enormous scale, licentiousness, fraud, cruelty and murder. [373]

I accuse her of the horrid crime of kidnapping one hundred thousand infants annually, the offspring of slave parents.

I accuse her of stealing the liberties of two millions of the creatures of God, and withholding the just recompense of their labor; of ruthlessly invading the holiest relations of life, and cruelly separating the dearest ties of nature; of denying these miserable victims necessary food and clothing for their perishable bodies, and light and knowledge for their immortal souls; of tearing the husband from his wife, the mother from her babe, and children from their parents, and of perpetrating upon the poor and needy every species of outrage and oppression.

And, finally, I accuse her of being callously indifferent to the accumulated wrongs and sufferings of her black population, assiduous in extenuating her oppressive acts, and determined to slumber upon the brink of a volcano which is in full operation, and which threatens to roll its lava tide over the whole land.

He cited O'Connell's reply to the excuse that England had established and encouraged American slavery, with its tingling conclusion—‘The friends of humanity and liberty in Europe should join in the universal cry of Shame on the American slaveholders! Base wretches, should we shout in chorus—base wretches, how dare you profane the temple of national freedom, the sacred fane of republican rites, with the presence and the sufferings of human beings in chains and slavery!’ ‘Sir,’ continued Mr. Garrison, ‘never was a more just and fearless rebuke given to a guilty nation. . . . Whatever responsibility may attach to Great Britain for the introduction of slavery into the United States (and to talk of robbery and kidnapping as things that may be entailed is precious absurdity), the first moment the people of the United States published their Declaration of Independence to the world, from that moment they became exclusively accountable for the existence and continuance of negro slavery.’

The last of the long array of charges next brought against the Colonization Society was its denial that the free blacks could ever be elevated; which opened the [374] way for the following vindication from their champion in Exeter Hall:

Mr. Chairman, my soul sickens in turning over these55 masses of moral corruption, and I hasten to a close. I cannot boast, like Mr. Cresson, of defraying my own expenses; for he is opulent, and I am poor. All that I have is dedicated to this cause. But I am proud to say that the funds for my mission to this country were principally made up by the voluntary contributions of my free colored brethren, at a very short notice. I stand before you as their mouthpiece, and with their blessings resting upon my head. Persecuted, derided, yet noble people! never can I repay generosity and love like theirs. Sir, I am sorry to trespass a moment longer upon this meeting, but I beg a brief indulgence that I may discharge an act of justice toward that persecuted class. You have heard them described this day, by the American Colonization Society, as the most abandoned wretches on the face of the earth—as constituting all that is vile, loathsome and dangerous; as being more degraded and miserable than the slaves. Sir, it is not possible for the mind to coin, or the tongue to utter, baser libels against an injured people. Their condition is as much superior to that of the slaves as the light of heaven is more cheering than the darkness of the pit. Many of their number are in the most affluent circumstances, and distinguished for their refinement, enterprise and talents. They have flourishing churches, supplied by pastors of their own color, in various parts of the land, embracing a large body of the truly excellent of the earth. They have public and private libraries. They have their temperance societies, their debating societies, their moral societies, their literary societies, their benevolent societies, their savings societies, and a multitude of kindred associations. They have their infant schools, their primary and high schools, their Sabbath schools, and their Bible classes. They contribute to the support of foreign and domestic missions, to Bible and tract societies, &c. In the city of Philadelphia alone, they have more than fifty different associations for their moral and intellectual improvement. In fact, they are rising up, even with mountains of prejudice piled upon them, with more than Titanic strength, and trampling beneath their feet the slanders of their enemies. A spirit of virtuous emulation is pervading their ranks, from the young child to the gray head. Among them is taken a large number of daily and weekly newspapers, [375] and of literary and scientific periodicals, from the popular monthlies up to the grave and erudite North American and American Quarterly Reviews. I have at this moment, to my own paper, the Liberator, one thousand subscribers among this people; and, from an occupancy of the editorial chair for more than seven years, I can testify that they are more punctual in their payments than any five hundred white subscribers whose names I ever placed indiscriminately in my subscription book.

Mr. Garrison pointed to the Rev. Nathaniel Paul, who sat upon the platform, as a specimen of the calumniated race—‘a gentleman with whom the proudest or best man on earth need not blush to associate’; and after quoting from the Thoughts the anti-colonization resolutions of the free people of color, and describing the practical effects of the Society, he closed with an appeal for British support of the American anti-slavery movement:

Sure I am that my appeal in behalf of my oppressed 56 countrymen will be felt here, and in every part of this land. It is impossible that the British people, proudly standing, as they now are, upon the neck of colonial slavery—it is impossible for them to consider their work at an end whilst there remains a human being held as a chattel under the whole heavens. And let me assure them, for their encouragement, that all is not dark or hopeless in the United States. Thousands have caught a portion of their zeal; the abolition spirit is abroad in our land, with great power, and is traversing its length and breadth, conquering and to conquer; abolition societies are formed and multiplying, in every free section of our territory, on the principle of immediate and unconditional emancipation; four periodicals57 have been established expressly to maintain the cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor, and a multitude of our political and religious periodicals are now freely discussing the question of negro slavery; strong exertions are making for the repeal of all those laws which now disfranchise our free colored population, and schools are multiplying for their mental cultivation. The American Colonization Society is falling like Lucifer, never to rise again; and ere the termination of this year, I trust your hearts will be cheered with the intelligence [376] that a National Abolition Society has been formed in the United States of America.

In the midst of Mr. Garrison's address he was 58 interrupted by ‘deafening and long-continued thunders of applause,’ which greeted the entrance of Daniel O'Connell. The Irish Liberator, in a private interview with Mr. Garrison upon the subject of the Colonization Society, had asked, ‘Why don't you hold a public meeting in Exeter Hall?’ Upon which Mr. Garrison expressed his doubt whether the popular interest in the subject would ensure an audience. ‘Well,’ said O'Connell, ‘I'll come and make a speech for you.’ ‘Agreed,’ said Mr. Garrison, and the arrangements were begun. But when the meeting had assembled, O'Connell was wanting. Scouts were sent out for him, and he was found at a breakfast, just rising to his feet to make a speech: he had entirely forgotten the appointment. A note of reminder was slipt into his hands, and he at once excused himself. Driven rapidly to the Hall he came upon the platform, and at the proper moment ‘threw off his magnificent speech as he threw off his coat,’ as Mr. Garrison was fond of saying in after years.

This speech, humorous, disjointed, occasionally blundering (as where O'Connell expressed sympathy with the ‘oppressed State’ of South Carolina in the nullification controversy), was also characteristically eloquent, and calculated to probe American susceptibilities to the quick. ‘I will now go to America,’ said he, after a reference to59 the anti-slavery crisis in England and the pending issue of compensation and apprenticeship. ‘I have often longed to go there in reality; but so long as it is tarnished by slavery, I will never pollute my foot by treading on its shores.’ Of the American slave-owners he declared, amid cheering: ‘They are the basest of the base—the most execrable of the execrable. I thank God that upon the wings of the press the voice of so humble an individual as myself will pass against the western breeze—that it will reach the rivers, the lakes, the mountains, and the glens of America—and that the [377] friends of liberty there will sympathize with me, and rejoice that I here tear down the image of liberty from the recreant land of America, and condemn her as the vilest of hypocrites, the greatest of liars.’ With slight rhetorical variation he repeated his message: ‘Why, I tell the American slaveholder that he shall not have silence; for, humble as I am, and feeble as my voice may be, yet, deafening the sound of the westerly wave, and riding against the blast as thunder goes, it shall reach America, and tell the black man that the time of his emancipation is come, and the oppressor that the period of his injustice is terminated.’ Applying his sarcasm to the Colonization Society, he called it a humbug, and ‘the most ludicrous Society that ever yet was dreamed of.’ He moved a resolution that its fundamental principle was ever the colonization of the free people of color, ‘and abolition never the object, but on the contrary the security of slave property’; which was seconded by Captain Stuart and carried unanimously.

Cresson was as usual not on hand, but the Society had as defenders two members of Parliament and a converted Jew from Andover, Mass., to the former of whom Thompson made an admirable rejoinder. Resolutions in further denunciation of the fraudulent and oppressive character of the Society, and in cordial approbation of the 60 principles of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, were also passed without dissent, and the meeting came to an end. A few days afterward Mr. Garrison received the following emphatic letter from Zachary Macaulay, by whose61 prudent advice the object of the meeting had been made, not an attack on American slavery, but on the Colonization Society:

Zachary MacAULAYulay to W. L. Garrison.

Conway, North Wales, July 14, 1833.
62 my dear sir: Our friend, Mr. Cropper, will have informed you of the impossibility of my complying with your request, of sending you an explanation of the causes of my absence from your meeting yesterday. I certainly would not willingly have [378] been absent, for it was my desire to take every fair opportunity of testifying my utter and increasing disapprobation of the principles professed, on the subject of negro slavery, by the American Colonization Society. I can have no objection, indeed, to the plan of colonizing in Africa, with a view to its civilization, and to the extension of Christianity in that deeply injured quarter of the globe. On the contrary, I desire above all things to see such plans, conceived in the true spirit of philanthropy, multiplying on that coast. But the Colonization Society appears to me to adopt, as the basis of its schemes, not the love, but the hatred and contempt of the negro race, and to regard every one tinged with their blood as an object, not of kindness and brotherhood, but of abhorrence, and of exclusion from the common sympathies and affinities of our nature, and from that union and fellowship in that Saviour in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile, Barbarian nor Scythian, American nor African, black nor white, bond nor free, but we are all one in Christ Jesus.

The unchristian prejudice of color, (which alone has given birth to the Colonization Society, though varnished over with other more plausible pretences, and veiled under a profession of a Christian regard for the temporal and spiritual interests of the negro which is belied by the whole course of its reasonings and the spirit of its measures,) is so detestable in itself that I think it ought not to be tolerated, but, on the contrary, ought to be denounced and opposed by all humane, and especially by all pious, persons in this country. And it especially becomes those who have taken any active part on behalf of the negro race, whether in this country or in the United States, to keep aloof from all cooperation with a body whose evident purpose is adverse, not only to the liberty of the enslaved negro, but to the moral and political elevation of the free negro.

I beg to express my sense of the eminent services you have rendered to the cause of humanity, by your able and persevering exposure of the evil tendency of the principles on which the Colonization Society acts, and trust that your exertions will be crowned with success. I remain, my dear sir,

Yours very faithfully,

Clarkson visited, and a few parting shots sent after the ‘impostor’ Cresson63 (who was discovered to be on [379] his way to Ireland, ‘in company with an Irish female partisan,’ but would find that O'Connell's speech had reached Dublin before him), Mr. Garrison's mission seemed ended. The Providence, however, which had brought him to England in season to witness the passage64 by Parliament of the bill emancipating 800,000 slaves in the British West Indies, had in store for him an even more precious privilege. Three days after the reading of the bill for the second time in the House of Commons (July 26)65 Wilberforce breathed his last in London, and a week later still (August 5) his remains were interred in Westminster Abbey by the side of Fox and Pitt. In the unexampled train of mourners, behind ‘princes of the blood-royal, prelates of the church, members of both66 Houses of Parliament, many of England's proudest nobility, and representatives of the intellect, virtue, philanthropy, and industry of the land’—behind Wellington, Peel, Graham, Morpeth, Fowell Buxton, Lushington, Stanley, the Grattans—walked with his friend George Thompson the editor of the Liberator, the least observed and the least known of the funeral procession, yet the one upon whom, if upon any one, Wilberforce's mantle had fallen, and whose prominence in this historic scene must grow with the shifting perspective of time.

On Saturday, the 18th of August, Mr. Garrison embarked from London in the packet-ship Hannibal, Capt. Hebard, for the United States. At the end of a week Portsmouth was reached, and farewell letters despatched67 to his English friends, who had generously supplemented the deficiency of his travelling credit. Five weeks more must elapse68 before he could set foot on his native soil, where a reception awaited him as opposite as possible to that which he had met with in England.

1 Lib. 3.107.

2 Lib. 3.110, 127.

3 2d Annual Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 32.

4 2d Annual Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 35.

5 Ibid.


It is remarkable that while the Friends in England have been the courageous pioneers, the undaunted standard-bearers, in the anti-slavery conflict, and have liberally expended their wealth, and given their time and talents, to achieve a victory more splendid than any yet recorded in the pages of history, those in this country [United States], as a body, seem to have degenerated from their parent-stock, to have measurably lost their primitive spirit on the subject of slavery, and to have become ensnared by wicked prejudices, and by a cruel scheme to banish our colored population from their native to a foreign and barbarous land. There are many noble exceptions to this remark; and I am confident that ere long the example of the Friends in England will stimulate the great mass of those who reside in this country to “go and do likewise.”

7 Lib. 3.139.

8 Zachary Macaulay, father of the historian.

9 London Breakfast to W. L. G., p. 38.

10 Lib. 6.7.

11 Lib. 3.139, and 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 48.

12 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 36.

13 2nd Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 37.

14 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 38.

15 One of the editors of the Eclectic Review, and ‘a notable literary critic in his day.’

16 Lib. 3.126.

17 Report of Penn. Colon. Soc. for 1831.

18 Lib. 3.126, 167.

19 June 3. ‘Look at the consequences of emancipation in some of the Eastern States of America, where slavery had been abolished for some time. In these the price of labor was high; the emancipated slaves had every encouragement to labor; no prejudices existed against them as in other parts of the United States; wages were kept high; yet in these very States, such was the degradation and misery to which the emancipated slaves were introduced that philanthropy had no other remedy for the evil but sending them to a colony on the coast of Africa’ (Hansard's Parl. Debates, 18.339-357).

20 Lib. 3.126.

21 In a debate at Scarborough, Cresson ‘denied Mr. Garrison's competency as a witness, referring to some judicial proceedings against him’ in America, ‘and to his falsifications of the African Repository’ (Repository, July, 1833; Lib. 3.127).

22 Lib. 3.127.

23 Lib. 3.165.

24 Lib. 3.166.

25 Probably Monday, June 17, but possibly Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of the previous week.

26 Lectures of Geo. Thompson, p. VIII.

27 Lib. 6.7.

28 Lib. 6.7.

29 The editorial ‘we.’

30 The (British) “Christian Keepsake” for 1836, the occasion of the reminiscences. It contained also the portraits of the China missionary, Robert Morrison, T. F. Buxton, and Elizabeth Fry. Wilberforce's portrait Mr. Garrison declared ‘worth the price of the book: every other that we have seen is a failure.’ And again, of it and Buxton's: ‘They are “true to life” —so accurate that none need wish better.’

31 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 44.

32 Lib. 3.162, 170.

33 The fate of this precious document is unknown. A facsimile of the signatures is given in Mrs. Child's “Oasis,” p. 64.

34 Lib. 3.162.

35 July 13, 1833.

36 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 46.

37 Clarkson was at that time seventy-three years of age. He still had a long lease of life before him, surviving till 1846.

38 See the letters of James Cropper and Arnold Buffum to Clarkson, Abolitionist, pp. 8, 39. Clarkson wrote to John Fenwick, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Dec. 22, 1832 (Ms.): ‘E. Cresson is a man of estimable character in Philadelphia; the bosom friend of Robert Vaux. There is nothing against the Association but rumor. It will probably be balanced by the formation of anti-slavery societies in the United States.’

39 Lib. 3.189.

40 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 47.

41 The Protest bore the general date of July, 1833. ‘Mr. Wilberforce signed it about a week or ten days before his death [July 29]. His autograph is remarkably firm and plain. His testimony is almost like a voice from the grave, and, in giving it, he has made the last act of his life as useful and important in the destruction of prejudice and slavery as any other single act in his noble career of philanthropy’ (W. L. G. to the editor of the London Patriot, Lib. 3.201).

42 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 42.

43 Probably on June 20.

44 Lib. 3.143.

45 In printers' parlance, a ‘square’ of reading matter equals in length the width of the column; in advertisements, the square equals one inch.

46Garrison is here,’ writes Charles Stuart from London, on June 29, 1833, to Arnold Buffum, ‘zealous, uncompromising, untiring. You must not be surprised should his correspondence be interrupted. He is laboring like himself—the people, as they become acquainted with him, love and admire him. Cresson skulks from all collision with him, in a manner at once insolent and dastardly. Garrison's party in London consists of the great body of the practically religious people, of every order, as far as they are informed, especially the Friends, and of all the staunch anti-slavery spirits; Cresson's, of a few titled, wealthy, high-pretending individuals’ (Lib. 3.139).

47 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 43.

48 Lib. 3.151.

49 2d Ann. Report N. E. A. S. S., p. 44.

50 Ibid.

51 Lib. 3.178.

52 ‘I have, my dear Garrison,’ writes J. G. Whittier from Haverhill, Nov. 10, 1833 (Ms.), ‘just finished reading thy speech at the Exeter Hall meeting. It is full of high and manly truth—terrible in its rebuke, but full of justice. The opening, as a specimen of beautiful composition, I have rarely seen excelled.’

53 Lib. 3.178.

54 Lib. 3.178.

55 Lib. 3.179.

56 Lib. 3.179.

57 That is, Lundy's Genius, the Liberator, the Abolitionist, and the Emancipator.

58 Lib. 3.178.

59 Lib. 3.186.

60 Lib. 3.193, 197.

61 Ms. July 5, 1833, from Jas. Cropper.

62 Lib. 3.169.

63 See two letters to the London Patriot, dated July 22 and Aug. 6, 1833 (Lib. 3.169, 201). In the last, Mr. Garrison says, ‘I maintain that the guilt of slavery is national, its danger is national, and the obligation to remove it is national.’

64 Lib. 3.163.

65 It received the royal assent Aug. 28, 1833.

66 London Breakfast to W. L. G., p. 47.

67 Ms. Aug. 31, 1833, from Nath. Paul and Joseph Phillips.

68 The Hannibal left Portsmouth on Aug. 26, and reached New York on Sunday evening, Sept. 29, 1833.

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