Chapter 8: the Anti-Sabbath Convention.—1848.In view of active Sabbatarian propagandism, and of the constant efforts of the clergy to put obstacles in the way of Sunday abolition meetings, Garrison plans with H. C. Wright an Anti-Sabbath Convention in Boston, draws up the call, and directs the proceedings. He watches the rise of the Free Soil Party. Review of the Life of Channing.
‘Garrison,’ as Wendell Phillips reported to Elizabeth1 Pease on February 11, 1848,
has quite recovered his flesh, looks quite hearty, and resumes work with ardor. His new Sabbath Call is finely drawn up, I think. I did not sign it, though agreeing with its principles; mainly because I feel no such necessity for a specific movement against the Sabbath as he and H. C. W. do. The popular mind seems to me2 clearing itself up fast enough for all practical purposes: these theological reforms have but a secondary interest for me.Quincy, too, was antipathetic.
Edmund Quincy to R. D. Webb, in Dublin.7 The Call for an Anti-Sabbath Convention in Boston had8 begun to be sent out for signatures late in December, 1847. The author of it advised S. J. May that it had been ‘drawn up with great care and deliberation, and sanctioned by a large committee of our best reformatory spirits’; but Mr. May could not yield entire sympathy or allow his name to be appended. ‘I am sorry,’ he responded on January9 15, 1848, ‘you are going to have a Convention, because it will help rather than hinder the project of the Sabbatarians. Opposition will give importance to their doings.’ He thought the Sabbath laws were a dead-letter. Theodore Parker, however, as in the time of the 10 ChardonStreet Convention, was less disturbed than his Unitarian brother: 13 the following signatures had been obtained: W. L. Garrison, Francis Jackson, Theodore Parker, Edmund Jackson, Charles F. Hovey,14 John W. Browne, Maria W. Chapman,  Charles K. Whipple, Samuel Philbrick, Loring Moody, Edmund Quincy, S. S. and Abby Kelley Foster, G. W. Benson, Andrew Robeson, Parker Pillsbury, James and Lucretia Mott, Edward M. Davis, C. C. Burleigh, H. C. Wright, J. Miller McKim, Thomas McClintock, and Joseph C. Hathaway. These were joined later by Samuel May, Jr., R. F. Wallcut, Increase S. Smith, William A. White, and Joshua T. Everett. The anti-slavery complexion of this list was unmistakable, and, in truth, if any experience could breed anti-Sabbath conventions, it had been precisely that of the abolitionists. On an earlier occasion, the Rev. Samuel May, Jr., had said: “The infidelity of the antislavery movement consists in this simple thing, that it has outstripped the churches of the land in the practical application of Christianity to the wants, wrongs, and oppressions of our own age and our own country.” Lib. 17.3. And since then, on his journeys as General Agent of the Massachusetts Society, he had “perceived that it was much more difficult to get the ear of the people at large, in order to lay before them the story of the wrongs and sufferings of their enslaved countrymen, on the first day of the week than on any other” Lib. 18.67.—thus making Sunday not the best but the worst day of the week. Contrary to Phillips's and Quincy's15 view, therefore, anti-Sabbatarianism must, for abolitionists, be allowed to have been a moral rather than a theological reform. As for Mr. Garrison himself, his emancipation from the traditional views of the Sabbath proceeded on lines already displayed in this narrative; and16  as far back as the summer of 1844, remarking the roving commission of the Rev. Justin Edwards, D. D., of Andover, for a year past, to enforce Sabbatarianism, he proposed a17 New England Convention to discuss the Sabbath. Occurrences meanwhile, on both sides of the Atlantic, had made such a meeting seem imperative, whether from the standpoint of an abolitionist or of a universal reformer. But now his rally was of anti-Sabbatarians who needed no converting, but should unite their voices in protest. Hence the Address (germinated a dozen years before)18
To the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty. the right of every man to worship God according to the19 dictates of his own conscience is inherent, inalienable, selfevident. Yet it is notorious that, in all the States, excepting Louisiana,20 there are laws enforcing the religious observance of the first day of the week as the Sabbath, and punishing as criminals such as attempt to pursue their usual avocations on that day,—avocations which even Sabbatarians recognize as innocent and laudable on all other days. It is true, some exceptions are made to the rigorous operation of these laws, in favor of the Seventh-Day Baptists, Jews, and others who keep the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath; but this freedom is granted in condescension to the scruples of particular sects, as a privilege, and not recognized as a natural right. For those (and the number is large, and steadily increasing) who believe that the Sabbath was exclusively a Jewish institution,—‘a shadow of good things to come,’ which vanished eighteen hundred years ago before the light of the Christian dispensation, and therefore that it constitutes no part of Christianity,—there is no exemption from the penalty of the law; but, should they venture to labor even for bread on that day, or be guilty of what is called ‘Sabbath desecration,’ they are liable either to fine or imprisonment! Cases of this kind have occurred in Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, within a comparatively short period, where conscientious and upright persons have been thrust into prison for an act no more intrinsically heinous than that of gathering in a crop of  hay, or selling moral or philanthropic publications.21 There is, therefore, no liberty of conscience allowed to the people of this country, under the laws thereof, in regard to the observance of a Sabbath day.22 In addition to these startling facts, within the last five years a religious combination has been formed in this land, styling itself ‘the American and Foreign Sabbath Union,’ whose specific object it is to impose the Sabbatical yoke yet more heavily on the necks of the American people. In a recent appeal made for pecuniary assistance by the Executive Committee of that Union, it is stated that the Secretary (Rev. Dr. Edwards) has visited twenty of the United States, and travelled more than thirty thousand miles, addressing public bodies of all descriptions, and presenting reasons why, as a nation, we should keep the Sabbath,—all secular business, travelling, and amusement be confined to six days in a week, —and all people assemble on the Sabbath, and worship God. Justin Edwards. A ‘permanent (?) Sabbath document’ has been prepared by the Secretary; and ‘what has already been done will put a copy of this document into more than three hundred thousand families.’ Still greater efforts are to be made by the ‘Union’ for the furtherance of its object. That this combination is animated by the spirit of religious bigotry and ecclesiastical tyranny—the spirit which banished the Baptists from Massachusetts, and subjected the Quakers to imprisonment and death, in the early settlement of this country —admits of little doubt. It is managed and sustained by those who have secured the enactment of the penal laws against Sabbath-breaking (all that the spirit of the times will allow), and whose disposition it manifestly is, if they can increase their power, to obtain the passage of yet more stringent laws against those who do not ‘esteem one day above another,’ but esteem ‘every day [alike]’—who are not willing that any man shall judge them ‘in respect of a holy day, or the new moon, or the Sabbath’—and who mean to ‘stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled again  with the yoke of bondage.’ Its supporters do not rely solely upon reason, argument, persuasion, but also upon brute force —upon penal law; and thus, in seeking to crush by violence the rights of conscience, and religious liberty and equality, their real spirit is revealed as at war with the genius of republicanism and the spirit of Christianity. Believing that the efforts of this ‘Sabbath Union’ ought to be baffled by at least a corresponding energy on the part of the friends of civil and religious liberty; . . . That the Sabbath, as now recognized and enforced, is one of the main pillars of Priestcraft and Superstition, and the stronghold of a merely ceremonial Religion; That, in the hands of a Sabbatizing clergy, it is a mighty obstacle in the way of all the reforms of the age,—such as Anti-Slavery, Peace, Temperance, Purity, Human Brotherhood, etc., etc.,—and rendered adamantine in its aspect towards bleeding Humanity, whose cause must not be pleaded but whose cries must be stifled on its ‘sacred’ occurrence; . . . We, the undersigned, therefore, invite all who agree with us essentially in these views of the Sabbath question, to meet in Convention, in the city of Boston, on Thursday and Friday, the 23d and 24th of March next, to confer together, and to decide upon such measures for the dissemination of light and knowledge, on this subject, as may be deemed expedient. In publishing this call for an Anti-Sabbath Convention, we desire to be clearly understood. We have no objection either to the first or the seventh day of the week as a day of rest from bodily toil, both for man and beast. On the contrary, such rest is not only desirable but indispensable. Neither man nor beast can long endure unmitigated labor. But we do not believe that it is in harmony with the will of God, or the physical nature of man, that mankind should be doomed to hard and wasting toil six days out of seven to obtain a bare subsistence. Reduced to such a pitiable condition, the rest of one day in the week is indeed grateful, and must be regarded as a blessing; but it is totally inadequate wholly to repair the physical injury or the moral degradation consequent on such protracted labor. It is not in accordance with the law of life that our race should be23 thus worked, and only thus partially relieved from suffering and a premature death. They need more, and must have more, instead of less rest; and it is only for them to be enlightened and reclaimed—to put away those things which now cause them to grind in the prison-house of Toil, namely, idolatry, priestcraft,  sectarism, slavery, war, intemperance, licentiousness, monopoly, and the like—in short, to live in peace, obey the eternal law of being, strive for each other's welfare, and ‘glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his’—and they will secure the rest, not only of one day in seven, but of a very large portion of their earthly existence.24 To them shall be granted the mastery over every day and every hour of time, as against want and affliction; for the earth shall be filled with abundance for all. Nor do we deny the right of any number of persons to observe a particular day of the week as holy time, by such religious rites and ceremonies as they may deem acceptable to God. To their own master they stand or fall. In regard to all such matters, it is for every one to be fully persuaded in his own mind, and to obey the promptings of his own conscience; conceding to others the liberty he claims for himself. The sole and distinct issue that we make is this: We maintain that the seventh-day Sabbath was exclusively Jewish in its origin and design; that no holiness, in any sense, attaches to the first day of the week, more than to any other; and that the attempt to compel the observance of any day as ‘the Sabbath,’ especially by penal enactments, is unauthorized by Scripture or reason, and a shameful act of imposture and tyranny. We claim for ourselves, and for all mankind, the right to worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences. This right, inherent and inalienable, is cloven down in the United States; and we call upon all who desire to preserve civil and religious liberty to rally for its rescue. . . . We are aware that we shall inevitably be accused, by the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the present time, as was Jesus by the same class in his age, as ‘not of God,’ because we ‘do not keep the Sabbath day’; but we are persuaded that to expose the popular delusion which prevails on this subject is to advance the cause of a pure Christianity, to promote true and acceptable worship, and to inculcate strict moral and religious accountability in all the concerns of life, on all days of the week alike. . . .The programme of the Convention, as it lay in Mr. Garrison's mind, embraced a number of essays on 25 sub-di  visions of the main topic, calculated to give a permanent value to the pamphlet report. These he assigned with much fitness, as when Edmund Quincy was pitched upon26 to treat of ‘the assumed judgments upon Sabbath-breakers.’ But he could not command the necessary collaboration, and his scheme was very imperfectly carried out. Three sets of resolutions were introduced, and furnished27 matter for debate—the longest by Mr. Garrison, others by John W. Browne28 and Theodore Parker; with supplementary ones by Charles K. Whipple. George W. Benson presided over the two days session in the Melodeon—an ill-lighted hall used on week-days for secular entertainments, and on Sundays by Mr. Parker's congregation as their meeting-house. The orthodox religious press, as represented by the Boston Recorder, voted Charles C. Burleigh the ablest speaker, yet added: “The most influential speaker, whose dictates, whether opposed or not, swayed the whole course of things, was the redoubtable Garrison himself. At every turn in the business, his hand grasped the steering-oar; and, let his galley-slaves row with what intent they would, he guided all things at his will.” Lib. 18.53. For example, the ‘Prince of New England infidelity,’ as the same paper styled him, successfully opposed such of Mr. Parker's resolutions as deprecated a29 Sunday ‘devoted to common work or amusements,’ and contemplated one dedicated “to rest—to religious, moral, and intellectual culture, to social intercourse.” Lib. 18.76. ‘I would not,’ said this clergyman, ‘keep the Sunday like a fanatic; I would not, like a fanatic, destroy it.’ We will not dwell on the proceedings of the Convention, in which the promoter's part was foreshadowed by the Call. They were published in successive issues of the30 Liberator, and finally in pamphlet form—not without a manifestation of Divine displeasure by the medium of a thief, who stole Mr. Garrison's overcoat containing the31  phonographic report, and whose remorse was so nicely graduated that he returned the garment without the papers. The odium redoubled upon Mr. Garrison by the32 religious press had a special regard to his abolitionism. Concern for the ‘sanctity of a day’ was, on both sides33 of the Atlantic, conspicuously manifested by those most indifferent to the ‘desecration of man.’ Thus, abroad, the Free Church of Scotland was raising money to34 support the operations of a Sabbath League. At home, a New England pro-slavery Sabbatarian press recoiled from the spectacle of the Rev. John G. Palfrey, a Massachusetts Representative in Congress, addressing to the Hon.35 Robert C. Winthrop, candidate for the Speakership of the House, a catechism as to his probable use of the office with reference to slavery and the Mexican War—on Sunday! But no pain was caused by Mr. Winthrop's replying, on the same day, in a way to forfeit his antislavery colleague's support. The Anti-Sabbath Convention adjourned, on motion of36 Henry C. Wright, to meet at the call of the publishing committee in the following year. Meanwhile, this reformer, making free use of the columns of the Liberator, ventilated his disquieting views of the divine authority of the Bible in connection with war and slavery, in rough, axiomatic fashion, as under the caption, “The Bible a self-evident falsehood, if opposed to self-evident truth,” Lib. 18.153. and the like. The editor defended his correspondent's37 right of private judgment, whoever might be shocked, and, later, welcomed from another quarter a call for a38 Bible Convention. At the Non-Resistance anniversary meeting held on the last two days of the year, he offered a resolution denying that God, “as a just, beneficent, and unchangeable being,” Lib. 19.3. ever did or could authorize war, ‘any scriptures (whether styled sacred or profane) to the contrary notwithstanding’; holding, nevertheless, ‘that Non-Resistance is taught in the precepts, and illustrated in the life, of Jesus Christ; and, therefore, that no man who rejects the doctrine is entitled to be called a Christian  or a disciple of Christ.’ ‘Why,’ he asked, “should we go to a book to settle the character of war, when we could judge of it by its fruits?” Lib. 19.3; cf. 19.6. As the spring approached, it became more and more manifest that Mr. Garrison's system had not recovered from the effects of his Ohio fever. Not only rest but treatment seemed necessary, and both inclination and counsel—H. C. Wright's above all others'—prescribed39 for him the water-cure. At Bensonville, near Northampton, Mass., the seat of the lately defunct Community of which George W. Benson had been a leading spirit,40 and still his home, a hydropathic establishment had been instituted by David Ruggles, a colored man of remarkable strength of character, who had lost his sight in the41 service of the ‘Underground Railroad,’—i. e., in sheltering fugitive slaves and speeding them on their way.42 In December, 1847, Dr. Ruggles, hearing of his relapse, had43 offered Mr. Garrison gratuitous treatment; but not until the following July did the patient present himself.44 Edmund Quincy, with inexhaustible self-abnegation, again granted this release to his friend by assuming the45 conduct of the Liberator, while Francis Jackson and Wendell46 Phillips conspired with others to defray Garrison's personal expenses and lighten his domestic burden.
W. L. Garrison to his Wife.The new movement had had a somewhat rapid development. From Cincinnati, in May, had issued a call for a60 People's Convention to be held at Columbus, Ohio, on June 21, to form a party based on opposition to slavery extension. Whigs, Democrats, and Liberty Party men mingled in the three thousand signers to the call. Mr. Garrison did not see in this combination and its object the ‘moral display’ which its promoters alleged. ‘Our gratification,’ he said,
 W. L. Garrison to his Wife.
W. L. Garrison to his Wife.
at this movement is found61 only in the evidence that it gives, that the anti-slavery agitation is spreading among all classes at the North. As for the issue that is presented—free territory—it is weaker than the spider's web; a single breath of the Slave Power will blow it away. Never again, while remaining in the Union, will the free States  present so unanimous and formidable an opposition to the demands of that omnipotent Power as they did in regard to the annexation of Texas; and in consenting to ratify that direful act, they proclaimed their readiness to sanction any fresh deed of villany that Slavery might perpetrate. Every other movement, except that of a dissolution of the Union, will be laughed at by the South.He had already, speaking for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, said of the Wilmot Proviso that it was interesting as a symptom of anti-slavery sentiment; but “we regard it as a matter of comparative indifference whether that Proviso receives the sanction of Congress or not, feeling that the attempt to restrain slavery by laws and constitutions is precisely equivalent to damming up the Mississippi with bulrushes, and that the man who expects anything but failure from such a plan has still the a b c of his country's history to learn.” Lib. 18.18. To this Proviso the four hundred delegates who met at Columbus62 pledged their votes and their concerted action, and ended by calling another convention at Buffalo, N. Y., on August 9. Meanwhile, a great mass convention on the same lines was held at Worcester, Mass., on June 28, under the63 presidency of Samuel Hoar and leadership of Stephen C. Phillips and Charles Francis Adams, and with the assistance of Joshua R. Giddings; and in other parts of the State, as Mr. Garrison's letters have just shown, the agitation was carried on during the month of July. The ‘Conscience Whigs’ of Massachusetts were in revolt64 against the action of their party at Philadelphia on June 7, when the popular hero of the Mexican War, Gen. Zachary Taylor, a Louisiana slaveholder, was nominated for President, in disregard of the claims of Clay and of Webster.65  Before the Buffalo Convention assembled, Mr. Garrison betook himself to the water-cure, and it fell to Quincy to counsel the readers of the Liberator in regard to the budding Free Soil Party. Though its aims were circumscribed, he said, abolitionists must incidentally give it66 help. ‘Their relation to it is of a totally different character from that they bore to the late Liberty Party,’ which was the antagonist and not the ally of the antislavery movement, and officered by deserters. The Free Soil movement sprang from an honest hatred of slavery, and it would be fed by the abolitionists—the first product of whose teachings was always political voters—as its predecessor had been.67 ‘It was our agitation alone,’ continued Mr. Quincy, ‘that kept the Third Party alive until it was merged in the Independent Democratic Party by the nomination of Mr. Hale.’68 Hale had, very deliberately, accepted the Liberty Party's69 nomination, declining to take the badge of its name, but consenting to its ends. Soon after, he gave the finishing stroke to the myth of sole heirship to immediate abolitionism so assiduously cherished by the Leavitt, Birney, and Stanton faction. Holding that faction's commission for the Presidency, he assured the U. S. Senate that “we desire no interference with, nor disturbance of, the existing institutions of the States. . . . Let us alone—it is all that we desire, all that we ask.” Lib. 18.30. Some weeks later  he denied, in the same place, that he had ever “counselled, advised, or aided in any way” Lib. 18.70.—or ever would—‘any encroachment upon the Constitution, in any of its provisions or compromises.’ So that his anti-slavery aggressiveness was purely in self-defence; and self-defence proceeded apologetically from the ground that slavery was no concern of the free States so long as the system kept within its own limits—but these limits were not those of 1789, nor of 1820, nor of 1845, but of any given year subsequent to the latest triumphant invasion of the national domain. ‘If it carry its point,’ said Quincy,70 of the Free Soil Party, ‘slavery will still exist and flourish’; but if it stop there, it had better never have been born. Whigs and Democrats managed the Buffalo71 Convention that resulted in placing before the country the nominations of Martin Van Buren for President, and Charles Francis Adams for Vice-President, on a platform of “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men [wherever slavery is not established already].” Lib. 18.142. The Liberty Party representatives were there to yield, not to dictate. They heard, with feeble protests, President Mahan of Oberlin claim the credit of the new movement for Ohio, and inquire whether, if they could have had the drawing up of the platform, they could have produced a better. In the conference committee over the nominations, Henry B. Stanton was authorized to say that John P. Hale would submit to the action of the Convention; and when Van Buren led largely on the first ballot, Joshua Leavitt completed the suicide of the Liberty Party by moving that Van Buren's nomination be made unanimous.72 ‘The Free Soil Party exists,’ wrote Quincy,73 ‘not because, but in spite of’ the Liberty Party. Van Buren had already come out against any further74  enlargement of the slave area, affirming the power of Congress in the premises, and refusing to support either Lewis Cass or Zachary Taylor. He had at once received the nomination of the Barnburners' Convention at Utica, which was thus imposed upon the Buffalo Convention. His letter of acceptance was adroit and plausible, and virtually retracted his pledge, made while President, to75 veto any bill abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Still, though the Liberty Party might swallow him without making a wry face, the venerable trickster could but excite the distrust of the abolition chiefs. Mr. Garrison wrote privately in August to Mr. Quincy from Northampton:
As for the Free Soil movement, I feel that great care is76 demanded of us Disunionists, both in the Standard and the Liberator, in giving credit to whom credit is due, and yet in no case even seeming to be satisfied with it. It is only placing the country in precisely the same condition, on the subject of slavery, that it occupied a quarter of a century since—to wit, that slavery ought not to be extended to new territories; that it ought to be abolished (when or how is not stated in the new creed) in all our Territorial possessions—(nothing, I believe, is said about its abolition in the District of Columbia); and that Congress has no Constitutional power to meddle with it in the several States—(another repudiation of Spooner's, Goodell's,77 and Smith's dogma on that point).78 ‘Our Disunion ground is invulnerable, and to it all parties at the North must come ere long. The temptation to vote, however, at the coming election, will be so great that I fear a considerable number of Disunionists, and even of professed non-resistants, will fall into the snare, and try to persuade themselves that, for this once, they may innocently, and even laudably, “bow down in the house of Rimmon.” Calm yet earnest appeals must be made to our friends to preserve their integrity, and not to lose sight of the true issue. Already, in this region, I hear it said that a number of those who have hitherto acted with us think they can now vote, even for Martin Van Buren! What infatuation!’79 Similar counsel, apropos of an impending anti-slavery meeting, was conveyed in a letter from Mr. Garrison to Samuel May, Jr., written after the Presidential election:
As for the “Free Soil” movement, I am for hailing it as a80 cheering sign of the times, and an unmistakable proof of the progress we have made, under God, in changing public sentiment. Those who have left the Whig and Democratic parties, for consciencea sake, and joined that movement, deserve our commendation and sympathy; at the same time, it is our duty to show them, and all others, that there is a higher position to be attained by them, or they will have the blood of the slave staining their garments. This can be done charitably, yet faithfully. On the two old parties, especially the Whig-Taylor party, I would expend—pro tempore, at least—our heaviest ammunition.The country found itself, in fact, as Mr. Garrison pointed out, where it was at the time of the Missouri81 controversy thirty years before, and on the eve of as base a compromise. The Free Soil Party arose as soon as possible after the enormous acquisitions of territory through the treaty with Mexico had intensified the dread of proslavery aggrandizement; but it was feeble in numbers on82 its first demonstration at the polls, and before it could be consolidated it was blighted by a settlement which temporarily removed the grounds of its agitation, and therefore of its excuse for being. It had no share, as a party, in the anti-slavery achievements of the year under consideration, when the South was forced to admit Oregon83 with its prohibition of slavery—Polk assenting on the84 pretext that the new State lay north of the Missouri Compromise parallel if protracted (as he, like Calhoun, would85 have had it); when, in the House of Representatives, the Committee on Territories was instructed to bring in a bill86 to organize New Mexico and California as free Territories; and the Committee on the District of Columbia, to bring87 in a bill abolishing the slave-trade there—a vote which sent the Southern Congressmen into a caucus breathing88 secession and revolution. Add the defeat by the House  of the Clayton compromise measure—the final Southern89 attempt to enforce the assumption that the free status of the Northwestern Territory was debatable, and to make a nominal concession to Oregon serve as a counter in the game to win New Mexico and California for slavery. Amid all this, the contemner of compromise, John C. Calhoun, passed most unhappy days. He had, as Secretary of State, engineered the annexation of Texas, in order to90 forestall British (and therefore abolition) possession, but he was no ‘manifest destiny’ filibuster, and he was filled with alarm at the wholesale dismemberment of Mexico91 contemplated by some of his section after the conquest. He dreaded the taking into a ‘white man's government’92 new States both free and inhabited by a mixed population. On that side, Actaeon-like (in Whittier's fine metaphor),93 he shook to hear the bay of his own hounds. On the other, the ‘defensive’ seizure of a vast, sparsely-settled wilderness to the north of the Gila and the Rio Grande, dedicated to freedom by the law of Mexico, and which slavery94 could not colonize as fast as freedom, returned to plague the inventor, by renewing his mortal apprehension of the95 loss of the slaveholding preponderance in Congress. He tried, by the Clayton makeshift, to gain time for Southern immigration and control, by forbidding the Territorial96 governments of New Mexico and California to take any action for or against the introduction of slave property. Beaten in this, he became frantic on the presentation,97 through Senator Benton, of a petition from the people of New Mexico asking for a Territorial organization exclusive of slavery. ‘Most insolent,’ he called it, from men whose confines had been conquered to the Union by the very slaveholders they wished to keep out. Equally wild and ruffianly (in slave-driving fashion) was his language in the98 debates growing out of the Drayton and Sayres adventure99 —a wholesale running off by, water of a large body of slaves from the District of Columbia. Even to his Northern lieutenant, Stephen A. Douglas, who warned him that100 he was making capital for the political abolitionists, he  retorted bitterly and offensively. In the Presidential canvass he had no heart and took no side. Party101 affiliations kept him from supporting Taylor, and for Cass he lacked the philosophy of Douglas, who advised the South102 generally to prefer doughface Presidents—i. e., Northern men with Southern principles. If the Wilmot Proviso ever becomes a law, said this sagacious politician, it will be by the signature of a Southern President. ‘You [of the South] may get the man, and they [of the North] the measure.’ The election of Taylor—a necessary choice of evils— had its chief significance for the abolitionists in the fact that his slaveholding gave no offence to the country at large. The Congressional debates of the year, touching every aspect of the slavery question, had vastly assisted their labors in moulding public sentiment. Their preeminent ally in that arena, John Quincy Adams, had, indeed,103 been taken away by death; but his place had been more than made good by Giddings, Palfrey, and Hale, as could be measured by their action to rid the District of slavery104 and the slave-trade. Mr. Garrison might well have left on record his deliberate judgment of the ex-President, but he chose rather to refer his readers to Theodore Parker's sermon upon him, tempering its excessive praise of his anti-slavery career by the nice, but absolutely just, qualification—‘In Mr. Adams, the slave never had a champion.’105 Chance, not long after, gave him an opportunity to revise his opinion of Dr. Channing. He read with great interest, and with much admiration for the execution of106 the work, William Henry Channing's Memoir of his uncle, upon its appearance. The following analysis of the character of the man whose hearty, personal cooperation Mr. Garrison had longed to secure, and who had met with silence the only advances that could in delicacy be made107 for an interview that might remove mutual misunderstanding, is perhaps not likely to be superseded. Its criticism is also, it need hardly be remarked, unconscious self-portraiture: 
My impressions of Dr. Channing were, that he was108 somewhat cold in temperament, timid in spirit, and oracular in109 feeling. But these have been greatly, if not entirely, removed by a perusal of this Memoir. I see him now in a new phase—in a better light. He certainly had no ardor of soul, but a mild and steady warmth of character appears to have been natural to him. I do not now think that he was timid, in a condemnatory sense; but his circumspection was almost excessive, his veneration large, and distrust of himself, rather than a fear of others, led him to appear to shrink from an uncompromising application of the principles he cherished. In the theological arena he exhibited more courage than elsewhere; yet, even there, he was far from being boldly aggressive, for controversy was not to his taste. In striving to be catholic and magnanimous, he was led to apologize for those who deserved severe condemnation. He was ever reluctant to believe that men sin wilfully, and, therefore, preferred to attack sin in the abstract than to deal with it personally. He was ready to condemn the fruit, but not the tree; for, by a strange moral discrimination, he could separate the one from the other. Hence, his testimonies110 were not very effective. In the abstract, the vilest of men are willing to admit that their conduct is reprehensible; but, practically, they demand exemption from condemnation. In a pioneering sense, Dr. Channing was not a reformer; sympathetically, and through a conscientious conviction, he was. If he had lived in the days of the prophets or the apostles, he would have deplored their excessive zeal, their denunciatory spirit, their indiscriminate condemnation, their rash procedure, their lack of charity and gentleness; yet he would have had no hand in their persecution, but would have commended them as111 actuated by a sincere purpose, and as having a righteous object in view. He would have felt that the priests and rulers who were subjected to their terrible rebukes were dealt with far too roughly; and this would have moved him to say a word in their favor, in order to mitigate the severity of the punishment; yet he would have confessed, and wept over, the prevalent guilt in the land, and acknowledged that both priest and ruler were largely to blame for it. This, it seems to me, was a serious defect in his character, and greatly impaired his moral usefulness. For example—he saw with great clearness, and deplored with much sincerity, the horrors of slavery and the injustice of slaveholding; but he did not like to hear slaveholders denounced,  and regarded many of them as worthy of Christian recognition. He was for drawing out leviathan with a cord, or ensnaring him as a bird—forgetting that the monster regards iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. No one ever seemed to be more deeply convinced of the iniquitous and desolating nature of war than himself; he was fervent in his pleas for peace; yet he held to the right of fighting in what is falsely called self-defence, and therefore failed to lay the axe at the root of the tree. It was so in his treatment of all other popular sins and sinners. He either lacked true moral discrimination, or stern integrity to principle. I believe he was a sincere man, and true to his own convictions of duty. I think, as far as he saw the light, he was disposed to walk in the light, however great the peril or startling the consequences. He had in an eminent degree selfrespect, which kept him from self-degradation by wilfully doing that which he knew to be wrong. His Memoir impresses me with a deep sense of his purity and uprightness. If he had given himself to any specific reform, without compromise, as a lecturing agent, or in any other way that would have brought him in daily contact with the people of the land, I think his moral vision would have been purged, and his judgment of men and things rectified. In such a conflict, he had no practical experience whatever; and, without that experience, he was not qualified to sit in judgment on the language and measures of those who were valiantly contending for the right against a host of evil-doers. He was studious, contemplative, closetbounded; it was impossible, therefore, for him to be in the stern battle of life, or to perceive in what quarter the assault was to be most vigorously made. Yet it is equally interesting and cheering, in reading his Memoir, to perceive his growing interest in reform and reformers. His voice of rebuke to a guilty nation was growing stronger, and his “all hail” to the true-hearted more emphatic, continually. We must judge him by the position that he occupied; we must compare him with others who moved in the same sphere of life; otherwise, we shall be liable to undervalue his merits. He was a clergyman—an office which it is scarcely possible for any man to fill without loss of independence, or spiritual detriment. In his case, it seems to have been merely technical, though he might have made it subservient to personal ambition and selfishness, as thousands of others have done. That he did not do so, is something to his credit. A pulpit Abdiel is  seldom found in any land. He was, moreover, a doctor of divinity—by title, one of the class so correctly described by the intrepid reprover, Isaiah (lvi. 10). But, though a D. D., he was not a “dumb dog.” Probably no one cared for titles less than himself. Compare him, in moral intrepidity, in popular112 usefulness, in reformatory labors, with the Rev. Dr. Codman,113 Rev. Dr. Woods, Rev. Dr. Humphrey, and a host of others, and what pigmies they are by his side! His preeminence was not intellectual—for he had not an extraordinary intellect— but moral, religious, humane, in the largest and best use of those terms. He was utterly divorced from bigotry and sectarism. He believed in eternal progress, and therefore never stood still, but went onward—if not rapidly, without faltering. He changed his views and positions from time to time, but only to advance—never to retreat. Theologically, he is to be regarded as a prodigy on the score of independent investigation and free utterance. In this field, his labors cannot be overestimated. Again—he moved in a wealthy and an aristocratic circle, or rather was surrounded by those who are the last to sympathize with outcast humanity, or to believe that any good thing can come out of Nazareth. To write and speak on the subject of slavery as he did—unsatisfactory as it was to the abolitionists, who yearned to have him take still higher ground —was, in his position, an act of true heroism and of positive self-sacrifice; and, for a time—extending almost to the hour of his death—cost him the friendship of many whose good opinions nothing but a sense of duty could induce him to forfeit. The Unitarian denomination, as such, was deeply afflicted114 and mortified at his abolition tendencies; and, in spite of its almost idolatrous attachment to him, it could scarcely be at peace with him. Now that he is dead and the times have greatly changed, there is nothing to which that denomination (especially when charged with being still pro-slavery) more complacently points, in the illustrious career of Dr. Channing, than to his efforts to extirpate slavery in the land. Much to my regret, I had no personal acquaintance with this remarkable man, though I longed for at least a single interview. But the Liberator was not to his taste, and my manner of conducting the anti-slavery enterprise seemed to him harsh, repulsive, and positively injurious. As he never115 expressed a wish to converse with me, I did not feel free to intrude myself upon his notice. For twelve years, he saw me  struggling against all that was evil in the land—in a cause worthy of universal acclaim—with fidelity and an unfaltering spirit—but during all that time he never conveyed to me, directly or indirectly, a word of cheer, or a whisper of encouragement. Consequently, we never met for an interchange of sentiments. Had we done so, though there is no probability that we should have seen eye to eye in all things, we might have been mutually benefited. I am sure that he misjudged my spirit, as well as misapprehended the philosophy of the anti-slavery reform; and I now think that I did not fully appreciate the difficulties of his situation or the peculiarities of his mind. His great mistake was—it amounted almost to infatuation—in supposing that a national evil like that of slavery, two centuries old, which had subdued to itself all the religious and political elements, and which held omnipotent sway over the land, could be overthrown without a mighty convulsion, or even much agitation, if wisely and carefully treated. He thought that it was the manner and the spirit of the abolitionists, and not the object they sought to accomplish, that so greatly excited the country, especially the Southern portion of it; and so, to set them a good example—to show them how easily they might propitiate the slaveholders while pleading for the emancipation of their slaves—he wrote his work on116 slavery, the circulation of which was deemed incendiary at the South, and the publication of which caused Gen. Waddy117 Thompson of South Carolina to exclaim, on the floor of Congress, that “Dr. Channing was playing second fiddle to Garrison and Thompson.” This was an instructive experiment to118 the Doctor, and he did not fail to profit by it.119 In Theodore Parker Mr. Garrison found the accessibility and sympathy which were lacking in Dr. Channing; and a colleague in the anti-slavery and other philanthropic causes; a preacher, too, whose discourses gave him moral and intellectual satisfaction, and of whose slender congregation he now virtually became a member, without theological profession or attachment. More intimately still,120 in April of this year, on the death of his loved infant, Elizabeth Pease, he naturally turned to Mr. Parker for ministrations of comfort which were gladly rendered at the funeral. ‘No strange thing,’ he wrote to this121 clergyman on the morning of the fatal day, ‘has happened unto us, in view of human mortality—nothing dark or mysterious; yet we feel our bereavement deeply and tenderly.’ The grief of the parents over this first inroad on their little flock was softened by the birth of another child— their last—on October 29, 1848. Him, for weighty reasons of friendship and of obligation, they named after Francis Jackson.