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Chapter 11: last years.—1877-79.

Garrison's bodily failing is accompanied by no falling off in mental power or diminution of interest in public affairs. He condemns Senator Blaine's support of the faithless bill to restrict Chinese immigration, and arouses public sympathy for the destitute colored refugees from Mississippi and Louisiana who flock to Kansas. In April, 1879, he visits his daughter in New York for medical treatment, and dies in that city on May 24. his remains are interred in Boston.

If his summer in Great Britain did not materially check the progress of the disease which had for years been undermining Mr. Garrison's health, it certainly must be credited with the fresh vigor and spirit which he manifested during the brief remainder of his life. In reviewing his movements and undertakings in the succeeding year and a half, it is difficult to realize how much debility and weakness he really experienced, or how steadily his vital powers were being sapped.

His undiminished interest in public affairs, and his deep solicitude as to the fate of the colored population of the South, now practically denied all the political representation, influence, and power to which they were numerically and legally entitled, were manifested soon after his return from England. In a letter to the New York Times he condemned the Southern policy of1 President Hayes as ‘totally at variance with all his fair-spoken words and pledges, a deplorable betrayal of a most sacred trust, a discount upon inflexible loyalty, and a bounty upon rebellious usurpation’; and in January, 1878, he2 returned to the theme in another letter, which was widely circulated.

The social enjoyments of the fall and winter were3 many, between the frequent intercourse with old friends, and the numerous lectures and concerts which continued to attract him. An affectionate interchange of letters took place between himself and Whittier in December,4 when the latter's seventieth birthday was celebrated; and to the many public tributes paid the poet, Mr. Garrison [288] contributed a friendly and critical estimate in blank verse, through the columns of the Boston Literary5 World.

A new friendship, which he greatly enjoyed, was formed in the spring of 1878, when he became acquainted, through Mrs. Child, with the gifted sculptress, Miss Anne Whitney of Boston, and was invited by her to sit for his portrait bust. During the months of March, April, and May he made frequent visits to her studio, and gave her full opportunity to study his features and character. His mobility of expression in animated conversation revealed to her the difficulty of her task—a difficulty enhanced, in respect to the eyes, by the fact that spectacles cannot well be reproduced in sculpture.6 She succeeded admirably, however, and the bust, when completed, received the emphatic and unanimous approval of Mr. Garrison's children and friends. With no abatement of strength and dignity, it happily portrays his sweet and serene expression, and the firm repose of his later years.7 [289]

He had spent the Christmas holidays of 1877 with his children in New York, and was with them again in May, for a fortnight. The greater part of July, August, and September, 1878, he passed with his daughter and her family at Tarrytown, on the Hudson, a region appealing strongly to his love of the beautiful and romantic in nature. There he rested quietly for weeks, enjoying the lovely outlook upon the Hudson and Tappan Zee, playing at ninepins with his grandchildren, driving to Sleepy Hollow and other places in the vicinity, and making excursions up the river to the Military Academy at West8 Point, and to Vassar College at Poughkeepsie, by way9 of contrast. He also spent a few days at Osterville, on10 Cape Cod, and in September went to Philadelphia to see Lucretia Mott and other friends.

In June he had been summoned to Florence, Mass., to speak at the funeral of Charles C. Burleigh,11 and early in12 [290] October he was apprised by cable that George Thompson had passed away. He at once prepared a long13 biographical sketch of his old coadjutor for the New York and Boston papers,14 rehearsing his labors and achievements, and paying a fervent tribute to his memory.

The 13th of October was the sixtieth anniversary of15 Mr. Garrison's apprenticeship to the printing business, and by way of celebrating the event he visited Newburyport on the morning of the 12th, and once more essayed16 the task of setting type in the office of the Herald. It proved to be the last time he ever visited his birthplace or handled the composing-stick. For ‘copy’ he took three of his own sonnets,—the ‘Freedom of the Mind,’17 that on ‘Liberty,’ and the one written on his thirty-fifth birthday,—and he set them, the editor of the Herald18 testified, ‘in a time which many a younger printer might emulate.’ The type ‘was a little formidable to look at, if one might describe it so,’ said Mr. Garrison; “it was nonpareil type, and that for seventy-three years was rather a task, but nevertheless I was able to achieve it; I did not squabble a line, and, on taking a proof of what I had set, there was not a single error.” Speech at Franklin Club Dinner, Oct. 14.

The sonnets were printed in the Herald of the 14th, and on the evening of the same day a dinner in honor of his anniversary was tendered to Mr. Garrison by the New England Franklin Club, an association of printers, at Young's Hotel in Boston. Mr. Henry O. Houghton, the founder of the Riverside Press, presided, and the leading printers of Boston, as well as some from New York, were present. Mr. Garrison's address was wholly extemporaneous and colloquial, but spoken with unusual ease and charm of manner. Naturally reminiscent and biographical, in the main, as he recounted his early experiences [291] in the printing-office, and described his various editorial experiments until he established the Liberator,19 he closed in this cheerful and inspiriting strain:

Now, of course, I am here to look you in the face as brother20 printers, as members of the same craft; and this welcome is extended to me in view of our relations in that matter, not as an endorsement of my anti-slavery labors, certainly, for that question will stand by itself. But, however we may have differed in opinion in regard to the modus operandi in seeking the abolition of slavery, I am quite sure of one thing at this hour, that there is but one feeling on this question, and that is one of thankfulness to God that chattel slavery no longer curses our land. And if there is anything in my career that is suggestive, that may be of use to those who may hereafter come into conflict with great and colossal wrong, it will be that by not compromising with the wrong, by speaking the truth and applying it boldly to the conscience of the people, there is no need of despairing of the final result. Nobody ought to despair whose cause is just. Nobody is justified in despairing if he has a righteous cause to uphold. It may not be given to him to see it triumph, but that is only a question of time. . . . None can ever defeat it in the end. God himself is pledged to its final victory.

I need not say, Mr. President, how mighty an instrumentality the press is in regard to the progress of mankind. Ours is “the art preservative of all arts,” and it stands at the head of all. Every craft is honorable [if] it is useful, but the printing craft is that which takes hold of the mind and intellect and soul. It is the power to move the world, and it is moving it. Some one has wittily said that the greatest stand in behalf of civilization is the inkstand, but I would add that it is the printer's stand, with a well-assorted case, and a compositor at that case with active brains and active hands putting

Thoughts that breathe and words that burn

into type to help the age onward and upward.

It is a grand era in which we are living. We must not despair of anything in regard to the final triumph of right. A great many people are troubled in their minds as to what is to befall this nation, and there are many evil signs, and many dark clouds. What then? Is this republic to go down after [292] having succeeded in abolishing slavery, which was its deadliest curse? Delivered from that, is it still doomed to perish? No; as long as we have a free press, free speech, free inquiry, and free schools, we shall never go down, Mr. President. We shall go upward and onward—Excelsior to the end. And so we are to have the great battle of the world fought out on our soil for all mankind. Thank God for our boundless domains, broad enough to take in the whole of the population of the globe; and all mankind are coming to us in samples and specimens, and large samples and specimens. And for the first time in the history of the world all races of men on our soil are looking each other in the face and asking the question whether they can dwell together in unity, whether they cannot stand by one another in regard to their rights and liberties. And thus far the experiment has mightily succeeded. For, whatever may be our political and party differences on the day of election, we do not find that nationalities are divided here, but issues pertaining to our own soil and our own institutions are the dividing lines, and we blend together in one mighty mass, though differing in our notions. I therefore say that it is the sublimest spectacle on earth that is now being presented to the gaze of mankind, and my hope is boundless as to the future.

Rev. E. W. Allen, a son of the old proprietor of the Herald, was present, and described in glowing phrase the apprentice boy who had lived in his father's house and21 won the affection of the whole family; and Mr. Frank W. Miller, son of Mr. Garrison's fellow-workman in those22 days, followed. Not the least interesting feature of this altogether delightful occasion was the confession by Mr. George C. Rand23 that he, as a printer's apprentice, had helped print and distribute the incendiary handbill which24 precipitated the mob of 1835.25 [293]

One week later, the forty-third anniversary of the Mob26 was celebrated by an impromptu gathering of the surviving veterans of the cause, at the rooms of the New27 England Women's Club, and, considering the shortness of the notice, a surprising number of them came together. Mr. Garrison, though suffering from a severe cold, spoke for upwards of an hour, recounting the history of the Mob, and reading the confession of its chief instigator, James L. Homer, given in a previous volume. Of the28 eyewitnesses of the affair who were present, Wendell Phillips, James N. Buffum, and A. Bronson Alcott gave their recollections, and the occasion was one of rare interest and pleasure.

The following frank note which Mr. Garrison wrote to Mr. Phillips at the close of this eventful month, had reference to a financial tract which the latter had written, and to his strange support of General Butler as a29 candidate for the gubernatorial chair of Massachusetts.

W. L. Garrison to Wendell Phillips.

Roxbury, Oct. 30, 1878.
30 my dear Phillips: . . . Thanks for your tract on the money question — a question which I do not profess to have mastered in all its bearings, though I do not deem it a difficult matter to discriminate between that which carries intrinsic value with it, and that which possesses no such value; in other words, between gold and a paper promise which may or may not be redeemed. With me, however, it is a very subordinate question, although it is assumed to be one of paramount importance at the present hour. While the freedmen at the South are, on ‘the Mississippi plan’ and by ‘the shotgun policy,’ ruthlessly deprived of their rights as American citizens, and no protection is extended them by the Federal Government on the ground of impotency, the old anti-slavery issue is still (and must be persistently insisted [on] as constituting) the paramount issue before the country.

I cannot endorse your estimate of Gen. Butler. Indeed, your praise of him is so lavish as to surprise me. He was re-elected with a virtual understanding and expectation that he, of all [294] others in Congress, would be the man to champion the cause of the outraged colored people at the South as against such haughty usurpers as Ben Hill, Gordon, and the rest; but on no occasion has he since, on the floor of the House, made any such issue, or protested against ‘bulldozing’ the loyal colored voters, or arraigned Hayes's ‘conciliatory policy.’ Besides, he is sustained by the worst elements in the Commonwealth, and opposed by the best. I hope for his defeat.

Yours for the triumph of the right,

In December, Mr. Garrison completed his 73d year, and31 his letters in reply to the congratulations sent him by his absent children betrayed a feeling that his earthly career was approaching its limit, and a cheerful readiness for the inevitable change, whenever it might come.

W. L. Garrison to W. P. Garrison.

Roxbury, Dec. 12, 1878.
32 Thanks for your congratulatory letter, with its filial remembrance of the day, which certainly completes at least seventythree years of my earthly pilgrimage. Notwithstanding this advanced period of life, to which so few comparatively attain, you propose for me additional ‘length of days,’ even to a centennial climax! However that may be, while it will be hard for me at any stage to part with my beloved children and grandchildren, I trust to be ready for the summons to ‘go hence,’ come when they may. The matter of death, regarding it as I do as simply an exchange of spheres for the better, grows more and more insignificant as I advance; and what may be a painful separation from loved ones here will, I doubt not, prove a joyful reunion with loved ones gone before. I shall not object to being permitted to see myself enrolled on the list of greatgrandfathers; but I could hope that I might pass on before my faculties are essentially impaired, or the body bowed down with hopeless infirmities. The first two I desire to meet on ‘the other side of Jordan’ are your fond mother and my own. It is something curious that, while my mother was only fortyseven years old when she died, and I am now seventy-three, I feel my filial impulses bounding within me as though I were again a child, whenever I think of the possibility of coming into her presence; and though our ages are reversed according [295] to earthly dates, there still seems to be the same relative distance between us, as to the point of time, that existed when she was here in the body.

The Christmas holidays were again spent by him33 New York, and he came back apparently much brightened and refreshed by the week with his children and grandchildren there. Both in December and January he plied34 his pen busily. The suppression of the colored vote at the South, and the helplessness of the blacks under the new regime, constantly engaged his thoughts, and four letters from him on the subject were printed during January.35 In these he urged that the cry of “the bloody shirt,” Boston Advertiser, Jan. 13, 1879. that ‘awful symbol (yet but faintly expressive) of the gory tragedies that have been performed at the sacrifice of a hecatomb of loyal white and colored victims,’ be made the rallying cry of the Republican party in the next Presidential campaign.

The time has come to make this device return to “plague the inventors,” by furnishing the occasion for such a fresh [296] elucidation of the fundamental principles of popular government, and such an exposure of the terrible wrongs perpetrated with impunity at the South, as shall enlighten, electrify, consolidate and render invincible a liberty-loving and libertyupholding North in the possession and administration of the national government.

On the evening of the 3d of February, 1879, the colored people of Boston held a Memorial meeting in honor of George Thompson, in one of their churches, and at the close of a long and admirable commemorative address by George W. Putnam, Mr. Thompson's secretary during his second visit to the United States, Mr. Garrison was called upon to speak. The hour was late, but the reminiscences of the thrilling scenes of 1835, which the orator of the occasion had graphically described, and the tribute to his dear English coadjutor, had greatly stirred him; and as he rose in the pulpit, a fine color suffused his face, his eyes were bright, his form erect, and he spoke with a clear, ringing voice which surprised his hearers. He seemed, indeed, as one of the subsequent speakers remarked, to36 have renewed his youth. It was the last flash of fire in the fading flame. He spoke but once again in public, and that was a last plea for the enfranchisement of women,37 before a hostile legislative committee, at the State House.

On the same day that he was thus vindicating human rights by advocating the equality of the sexes, Senators Blaine and Conkling, rival aspirants for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, were making their respective bids for the support of the Pacific coast by advocating, in the Senate at Washington, a bill to restrict Chinese emigration, in defiance of existing treaty obligations. The moral sense of the country was shocked by this wanton disregard of a solemn contract between nations, and startled by the recreancy to the fundamental theories of the republic manifested by party leaders of such eminence. The better newspapers of both parties (save those on the Pacific slope) opposed the bill, and commented freely upon the transparent motives of the ambitious [297] Senator from Maine. Mr. Garrison lost no time in denouncing, in an earnest letter to the New York Tribune,38 this base and demagogical action as adding ‘a fresh stain of caste proscription to the many that have sullied our national character,’ and calling for ‘the indignant protest of every lover of his country, every friend of the whole human race.’ After ridiculing the provision, in the proposed bill, that no vessel should bring more than fifteen immigrants at a time,—as if a sixteenth would be fatal to the safety of the republic,—and characterizing the Senate debate as, ‘with one or two honorable exceptions, most disgraceful to all who participated in it,’ he warned the Republican party against advocating such ‘utterly indefensible proscription,’ and continued:

The reasons advanced by Mr. Blaine in opposition to the Chinese were unworthy of his head and heart, and therefore unworthy of the least consideration, being based on contempt of race, a low selfishness, a blind and cowardly fear of consequences, and the gratification for party purposes of a local hatred (in its climax reaching to the diabolical) against a helpless, unoffending, industrious, frugal, and temperate class of inhabitants. They are such reasons as were formerly urged by some against allowing the Irish to emigrate to this country; and against emancipating the Southern slave population; and against labor-saving machinery, as reducing the wages of the laborer, etc., etc. They are not born of reason, or justice, or historical experience. N. Y. Tribune, Feb. 17, 1879.

Mr. Blaine betrayed his sensitiveness to this censure by a labored reply, which was sent broadcast over the country by the Associated Press, and in which he39 endeavored to break the force of it, and becloud the issue, by declaring that there had been no voluntary Chinese immigration to America, but only cooly importation; that the entire Chinese population of the Pacific coast were horribly vicious and depraved, and breeders of pestilence; that unless checked, the tide of Chinese immigration would overwhelm the western slope, reducing the white laborers to starvation; that having the power, the [298] United States Government had the right to abrogate its treaties at any time; and that the conversion of the Chinese to Christianity was an impossibility.

Mr. Garrison's rejoinder was prompt and emphatic.40 Recurring to Mr. Blaine's speech as going far, by its ‘vulgar assumption of superiority of race on the one hand, and a demagogical cropping out on the other, . . . to sap the foundation of personal confidence and respect,’ and as embodying, ‘in its spirit and special pleadings, whatever of contempt and proscription of race has been fostered and exemplified in the world, from the earliest period of history,’ he declared his elaborate letter to be ‘simply a repetition of the irrelevant allegations and empty fallacies contained in his Senatorial rodomontade, but more consecutively arranged under ten distinct heads. Of these ten there is but one that touches the real question at issue; the other nine are mere padding and clap-trap, ignobly resorted to to inflame race passions and prejudices.’ The one relevant point as to whether the Chinese Government had observed or violated the treaty was next considered, and the former affirmed; the ‘damning atrocities’ perpetrated against the unoffending Chinese were rehearsed in indignant terms, and the letter concluded with an earnestness and solemnity befitting the theme and the writer:

Mr. Blaine shows that he is not sincere— if that is too harsh41 a term, certainly not consistent—in basing his opposition to the treaty on the ground that we are having, or at least have had, under it, nothing but a profligate, cunningly devised cooly immigration from China. What he wants is virtual non-intercourse with that country. It is not simply a lot of degraded Chinese—duped and enthralled by contract—that he objects to; he despises the entire population of the Celestial Kingdom, and (oh, foolish pride!) vaunts himself on the superiority of his own stock! He says: “California is capable of maintaining a vast population of Anglo-Saxon freemen, if we do not surrender it to Chinese coolies.” Again: “The only question we have to regard is, whether on the whole we will devote that interesting and important section of the United States to be the home and [299] the refuge of our own people and our own blood, or whether we will continue to leave it open, not to the competition of other nations like ourselves [a sop to Irishmen, Germans, etc.], but to those who, degraded themselves, will inevitably degrade us.” There is nothing reasonable or manly, or even plausible, in this; it is narrow, conceited, selfish, anti-human, anti-Christian.

Against this hateful spirit of caste I have earnestly protested for the last fifty years, wherever it has developed itself, especially in the case of another class, for many generations still more contemned, degraded, and oppressed; and the time has fully come to deal with it as an offence to God, and a curse to the world wherever it seeks to bear sway. The Chinese are our fellow-men, and are entitled to every consideration that our common humanity may justly claim. In numbers they constitute one-third of mankind. Of existing kingdoms theirs is the oldest, the most peaceable, and apparently the most stable. Education is widely diffused among them, and they are a remarkably ingenious, industrious, thrifty, and well-behaved people. Such of them as are seeking to better their condition, being among the poorer classes, by coming to these shores, we should receive with hospitality and kindness. If properly treated, they cannot fail to be serviceable to ourselves or to improve their own condition. It is for them to determine what they shall eat, what they shall drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed; to adhere to their own customs and follow their own tastes as they shall choose; to make their own contracts and maintain their own rights; to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, or their ideas of religious duty. Such of them as may be in a filthy and squalid state we must endeavor to assist to a higher plane; and if we would see them become converts to Christianity, we must show them its purifying and elevating power by our dealings with them. To assert that they are incapable of being converted is as much at variance with facts as to limit the saving power of our religion to those of “ our own blood,” as Mr. Blaine egotistically terms it. The same assertion was formerly made in disparagement of our colored population. But it was false in their case, and it is not less false in the other.

It is pitiable to see how determined Mr. Blaine is to depict the Chinese immigrants as so utterly vile in their habits and morals as to be incapable of reformation, and too loathsome to be endured. He knows that there is a large portion of them who are neat in their persons, courteous in their deportment, [300] excellent in character, and trustworthy in an eminent degree, but he makes no exceptions. And if there were none to be made, still the Christian obligation would rest upon us to try to extricate them from the miry pit, to the extent of the means that we happily possess. Evidently no such thought enters into the mind of Mr. Blaine, and he would leave them to their miserable fate as unconcernedly as though they belonged to the brute creation. And as the climax of his speech, and also of his assurance, he declares: “We have this day to choose whether we will have for the Pacific coast the civilization of Christ or the civilization of Confucius.” Has he forgotten that, long before the advent of Christ, it was from the lips of Confucius came that Golden Rule which we are taught in the Gospel to follow as the rule of life in all our dealings with our fellow-men, and which, carried into practice, will insure peace, happiness, and prosperity not only to the dwellers of the Pacific Coast, but to all peoples on the face of the whole earth?

This is not a personal controversy with Mr. Blaine, but a plea for human brotherhood as against all caste assumptions and clannish distinctions; and I take my leave of him, earnestly hoping that he may be led to see and regret the great mistake of his public career.

W. L. Garrison to his daughter.

Roxbury, Feb. 20, 1879.
42 Ever since Saturday I have been confined to the house by43 the worst cold I have had since the death of your mother. The catarrh in my head has made great confusion of the brain, . . . and my throat has been so sore and inflamed as to make any attempt to swallow even liquids very painful. It has seemed as though it might be a case of incipient diphtheria, but I am somewhat relieved to-day. My other chronic ailments have also been very troublesome, which, with nightly loss of sleep, have made me ‘good for nothing’ indeed. All these are the natural indications, at my period of life, that the ‘outward man,’ being less and less capable of resisting exposure and disease, is steadily tending towards that dissolution which in every such case is wisely decreed.

Sick and miserable as I was on Saturday, I was so morally incensed at Senator Blaine's demagogical speech in the U. S. Senate, in favor of excluding Chinese immigration to these shores, and indecently discarding the Burlingame treaty, that I [301] was nerved to write the letter which appeared in the Tribune, and which has already been very widely approved. An abstract of it will appear in very many of the newspapers, and so its purport will become known to a great number of readers in various sections of the country. Of course, I am prepared to receive some hot denunciations from California, as I used to from the South for my anti-slavery articles. As far as I can learn, the press, here at the North, without distinction of party, is strong in its rebuke of the action of the Senate. The Boston Journal says that all the Republican newspapers on its exchange-list are united in condemning it. It is particularly noteworthy, too, that the Legislature of Connecticut has unanimously expressed its reprobation of the disgraceful proceeding.44 I wish I could believe (though I do hope) that President Hayes will interpose his veto; but what he will do remains to be seen.

To his son Wendell he wrote:45

I was much gratified to receive a letter from Harry46 yesterday, warmly commending my rejoinder to Mr. Blaine in the Tribune. Indeed, I am equally pleased and surprised to see how favorably it is regarded by the press generally. I am receiving on all hands the strongest expressions of satisfaction in regard to it.47 I need not say that your cordial approval was fully appreciated. [302] I am much obliged to you for sending me the printed comments upon my replication contained in your last letter. I wish the President's veto had been more emphatic and less48 technical, but, nevertheless, am thankful it has saved us from disgrace.49

The correspondence resulting from this discussion occupied and enlivened the early days of March, and helped to divert Mr. Garrison's mind to some extent from the bodily ailments which were increasingly trying and tormenting. Only his children knew how serious these had become; and the vigor of his writing, as well as of his daily conversation, made it difficult even for them to think that the culmination was near. An attack of sciatica prevented his attending the debate in the Massachusetts Senate (March 19), on the bill conferring school suffrage on women, but he was made happy by its passage a few days later. In spite of colds and frequent debility, he went often to the city, and was certainly less prudent in this respect than he should have been. ‘I have got to be quite a chicken in my old age, in the matter of exposure to the weather,’ he wrote to his daughter, “ my chronic catarrh growing worse and worse, and making me more and more susceptible. There is a final remedy for all human ailments.” Ms. Mar. 28, 1879. When obliged to keep to the house, he still wrote constantly; and letters commending a50 newlyinvented anti-fraud ballot-box, expressing his hearty interest in the formation of the Kansas Historical Society,51 and in response to an invitation to a Channing Memorial52 meeting at Newport, R. I., followed in quick succession.

In April the country was stirred by the sudden and [303] extraordinary exodus of indigent colored people from Louisiana and Mississippi, who fled en masse to Kansas as a promised land in which they could find work at fair wages, and the protection in their legal and political rights denied them in their old homes. Thousands obtained transportation by river as far as St. Louis, and thence made their way to Kansas, aided by the contributions which the reports of their utter destitution elicited from many quarters. An announcement by Mr. Garrison in the Boston papers that he would receive and forward any sums for these unfortunate people until a committee should be formed for the purpose, brought him numerous offerings from old anti-slavery friends, and again increased his correspondence in a pleasant manner. Several hundred dollars were acknowledged and transmitted by him to the efficient committee in St. Louis before Boston moved in the matter. He was too unwell to attend the meeting held in Faneuil Hall on the 24th of the month,53 and the letter which he addressed to this and to a similar meeting in New York was his last published utterance:

The spectacle of thousands of half-naked, empty-handed,54 despairing men, women, and children fleeing as for their lives from one part of the country to another, and preferring to risk starvation and death by the way rather than remain where they naturally belong, is one calculated to move pitying Heaven, and to awaken all that is sympathetic and generous in the human breast. Their claims for immediate charitable relief are equally just and imperative; and it is most gratifying to perceive a disposition in various directions to minister to the wants of these poor outcasts. By nothing that they have done, on the score of idleness, dissipation, or disorderly conduct, have they brought this suffering and exposure upon themselves. On the contrary, they have been the only industrious, unoffending, law-abiding, and loyal portion of the population in that quarter, with but few exceptions; and yet their safety is only in flight!

While, therefore, grave, exciting, and relatively important as the present exodus of a few thousands of colored refugees from Mississippi and Louisiana may be, it is only an incident of the hour, demanding succor and aid in various forms until they have time to select their dwelling-places. But what of the four [304] millions of colored people in the entire South? Their exilement is a question not to be seriously entertained for a moment, either as a desirable or possible event. The American Government is but a mockery, and deserves to be overthrown, if they are to be left without protection, as sheep in the midst of wolves. If the nation, having decreed their emancipation, and invested them under the Constitution with all the rights of citizenship, can neither devise nor find a way to vindicate their manhood, then its acts have been farcical, and the local usurpation of a contemptible body of aristocratic factionists is more than a match for the loyalty and strength of the American people; and it is the latter who are as effectually “bulldozed” and ruled by the “shotgun ” policy as the colored people themselves. . . .

It is clear, therefore, that the battle of liberty and equal rights is to be fought over again, not in a party sense in the ordinary use of that term, but by the uprising and consolidating of a loyal, freedom-loving North, overwhelming in numbers, resolute in purpose, invincible in action, and supreme in patriotism based upon impartial justice and all-embracing citizenship.

Let the edict go forth, trumpet-tongued, that there shall be a speedy end put to all this bloody misrule; that no disorganizing Southern theory of State rights shall defiantly dominate the Federal Government to the subversion of the Constitution; that the millions of loyal colored citizens at the South, now under ban and virtually disfranchised, shall be put in the safe enjoyment of their rights—shall freely vote and be fairly represented—just where they are located. And let the rallying-cry be heard, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, “Liberty and equal rights for each, for all, and forever, wherever the lot of man is cast within our broad domains!”

Yielding to the entreaties of his daughter, who visited Rockledge in April with her children, Mr. Garrison consented to follow her back to New York and place himself under the care of her family physician. He arrived at the Westmoreland apartment house (Union Square), where she resided, on the afternoon of Monday, April 28, much exhausted, and the treatment began a day or two later, with immediate promise of good results; but the disease (an affection of the kidneys) was too deep-seated for any remedy. ‘I feel as if the machinery were giving way,’ [305] he said, and on the 10th of May he took to his bed, completely prostrated. His children were with him constantly, by turns, and when, on Tuesday, May 20, the symptoms became unmistakably alarming, they all hastened to his bedside and remained with him to the end.

The final changes proceeded slowly, and the death-struggle did not set in till half-past 10 o'clock on the evening of Friday. Up to that time Mr. Garrison, though55 disinclined to talk unless spoken to, or to indicate his wants, retained all his faculties, and recognized his children and grandchildren by voice and sight. His thoughtfulness for them and for others, his desire not to give trouble, and his affection, were repeatedly manifested. His illness had been in many respects a distressing one, even in comparison with the wretched months that preceded it; but the prevailing sense was of weariness— frequently expressed in a desire to ‘go home’—rather than in acute bodily pain, though that was not wanting. Once, in a wandering moment, he asked: ‘Am I in England?’ his mind evidently reverting to his last happy visit there. ‘What do you want, Mr. Garrison?’ said his physician to him on the morning of the 23d. ‘To finish it up!’ was the reply. The wish was not long denied. That evening his children sang for him the old hymns of which he was so fond,—‘Ward,’ ‘Hebron,’ ‘Amsterdam,’ ‘Christmas,’ ‘Lenox’ (the last three especial favorites), ‘Denmark,’ ‘Portuguese Hymn,’ ‘Coronation,’ ‘Confidence,’ and ‘Old Hundred.’ He could no longer speak, but he manifested his pleasure and consciousness by beating time both with his hands and feet, and was evidently happy in listening to the familiar words of spiritual cheer. An hour or two later the great change began; but so strong was his vitality that he lingered, unconscious, for twenty-four hours, and expired peacefully at a few minutes past eleven on Saturday evening, May 24, 1879.

A post-mortem examination having been made on Monday, Mr. Garrison's remains were taken on the same [306] night to Roxbury, where the funeral services were held on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 28. The spacious church of the First Religious Society, on Eliot Square,56 near Rockledge, was kindly placed at the disposal of the family and the public, and was thronged by the multitude who came to take a last look at the face of their old friend and leader. The gathering was remarkable for the number of his surviving co-laborers in the anti-slavery and kindred reformatory movements,57 and with these were present many of the race to whose redemption he had consecrated his life, and others who, formerly indifferent or hostile to the cause he advocated, now came to pay their tribute of respect. In accordance with Mr. Garrison's views of death, everything was done to avoid the appearance of mourning or of gloom. The blinds were opened to admit the cheerful light of the perfect spring day, the pulpit was tastefully decorated with flowers, and his favorite hymns were sung by a quartette of colored friends.

The services were conducted by the Rev. Samuel May, who read some of the passages from Old and New Testaments so often quoted by Mr. Garrison in antislavery days, and spoke briefly and with deep feeling. He was followed by Mrs. Lucy Stone, who acknowledged the debt which women owed to the deceased; the Rev. Samuel Johnson (who read a poem written by Whittier for the occasion); and Theodore D. Weld, whose emotions almost overpowered his utterance; after which Wendell Phillips delivered an address masterly in its analysis and characterization, and tender in its concluding words of farewell and benediction to his beloved comrade.58 [307]

The closing scene took place at sunset, when the body was interred beside that of Mrs. Garrison in the beautiful cemetery at Forest Hills, in the presence of a large number of friends, and with no other service or ceremony than the singing of an appropriate selection by the quartette.

The flags of the city and State were at half-mast on the day of the funeral. The Governor of the State, in his59 order respecting Decoration Day, invoked special honor60 to the ‘great citizen whose name will be forever associated with the cause and the triumph of the contest.’ In various Northern and Southern cities the colored61 people met in memory of their illustrious champion. The leading papers of the United States and Great Britain contained long editorial and biographical articles on the founder of the anti-slavery movement, which were, with rare exceptions, appreciative and eulogistic. Even the very sheets which had formerly caricatured and reviled him, joined in the general panegyric, and it was one of the bitterest of these which confessed, the morning62 after his death, that the life just ended ‘was lived with a simplicity, singleness of purpose, and unflinching devotion to a self-imposed task rare in the annals of any time or any land.’

1 Oct. 30, 1877.

2 Jan. 21, to W. E. Chandler.

3 1877-78.

4 Mss. Dec. 18, 20, 1877.

5 Dec. 1, 1877.

6 Mr. Phillips held that as the spectacles were not literally part of the face, a portrait for posterity should be painted without them, and he accordingly commissioned a Boston artist to make one of Mr. Garrison with the glasses omitted. The result was a picture which Mrs. Garrison failed to recognize as even intended for her husband, and Mr. Phillips consigned it to his garret. Two other busts of Mr. Garrison had been made before Miss Whitney executed hers,—one by S. V. Clevenger (in 1841), and the other by John A. Jackson (in 1858), neither of great excellence. In writing of the conflicting opinions of friends about the latter, Mr. Garrison said: ‘One thing is certain—for some reason or other, I have one of the most difficult faces in the world to take (owing, probably, to its changeableness of expression); all artists, at home or abroad, having failed to get a likeness generally satisfactory to my personal friends. . . Jackson acknowledges that he has never had one sit to him whose living expression it has been so difficult to catch as in my own case; nor has he ever had one sit to him so many times, or for whom he has exerted himself so laboriously to achieve success. Besides, there is an inherent difficulty with which he has had to contend, and which it is not possible for even genius to surmount, in making a bust of me. My spectacles are a part of my face,—few ever see me for a moment without them,—and they greatly modify the appearance of my eyes, and my general expression of countenance. In fact, when I lay them aside, I am almost another man’ (Ms. May 1, 1858, to Oliver Johnson).

7 A marble copy of the bust was cut in Italy, and was received in Boston in March, 1879, shortly before Mr. Garrison left home for the last time. ‘It is admirably executed,’ he wrote to his daughter, ‘and the marble is of the purest white. ... I do not think a more accurate “ counterfeit presentment” of your father's features could possibly be made; and I am particularly pleased that it has been achieved by a woman’ (Ms. Mar. 28, 1879, W. L. G. to F. G. V.). The bust, which is now (1889) at Rockledge, stands on a pedestal which brings it exactly to Mr. Garrison's height (5 feet 8 1/2 in.). An engraving of it forms the frontispiece of this work.

8 Aug. 2, 8, 1878.

9 Aug. 13.

10 Aug. 15-20.

11 Mr. Burleigh came to a premature death through injuries received from a passing railroad train. ‘For more than forty years,’ wrote Mr. Garrison of him, ‘he was almost constantly in the lecturing field, during which period he travelled many thousands of miles, addressed hundreds of thousands of hearers, cheerfully encountering every hardship, serenely confronting mobocratic violence, shrinking from no peril, heedless of unescapable ridicule (stimulated and intensified by the non-conformity of the outward man in the matter of dress, the wearing of the hair and beard); yet evincing such a mastery of his subject, such powers of argument and persuasion, such force of intellect and breadth of mind, such copiousness of speech and fertility of illustration on every question discussed, as made it an easy task for him to confound and vanquish all opponents. Indeed, he never found “a foeman worthy of his steel.” . . . He never lost his balance. Whoever else, in the heat and conflict of reform, might be led into extravagance of speech, or bitterness of invective, or error of reasoning, his self-control was absolute, his presentation of the case singularly dispassionate, his accusations and impeachments within the truth, his supreme effort not to “bring down the house” but to enlighten and convert it. At the bar, before a jury, he would hardly have found his peer; on the judicial bench he would have been chief’ (Ms. written for publication, but not used).

12 June 16.

13 Oct. 7, 1878.

14 N. Y. Times, Boston Journal and Transcript, Oct. 14, 1878. Mr. Garrison also wrote a briefer sketch to accompany a portrait of Mr. Thompson in Harper's Weekly (Dec. 21, 1878), and sent a heliotype copy of the daguerreotype taken in 1851—the same from which the engraving in Vol. I. of this work was made—to nearly a hundred of his friends in England and America.

15 1878.

16 Saturday.

17 Ante, 1.179; 2.432, 433.

18 Newburyport Herald, Oct. 14, 1878.

19 We have already borrowed freely from this address in our narrative of Mr. Garrison's early life (ante, 1: 36, 40, 140, 158).

20 Boston Traveller, Oct. 15, 1878.

21 Ante, 1.55.

22 Rev. T. H. Miller; ante, 1.41.

23 Mr. Rand left a sick bed to attend the dinner, and died two months later. He was the first printer of “Uncle Tom's Cabin.”

24 Ante, 2.9, 10, 11, 35.

25 ‘It was a very gratifying and handsome reception extended to me by the Franklin Club, and I am sure you would have greatly enjoyed the occasion, as all present manifestly did. My connection with the printer's craft is to me a source of unspeakable pride and delight, and it had everything to do with shaping my career, and literally putting into my hands the great instrumentalities for the final overthrow of the slave system. Had I not been a practical printer—an expert compositor and able to work at the press—there had been no Liberator’ (Ms. Oct. 23, 1878, W. L. G. to George W. Stacy).

26 Oct. 21, 1878.

27 4 Park St., Boston.

28 Ante, 2.10.

29 Benj. F. Butler.

30 Ms. copy.

31 Dec. 10, 1878.

32 Ms.

33 1878.

34 1878-79.

35 N. Y. Tribune, Jan. 4 and 25, 1879; Boston Advertiser, Jan. 13; Boston Traveller, Jan. 27. In the last of these Mr. Garrison quoted the testimony to him of a Northern lady, who, with her husband, was driven from South Carolina after the overthrow of the Chamberlain State Government. ‘In attempting to give you a faint outline of our experiences I am helpless. The truth cannot be told in many pages, and it almost exceeds belief. It does not seem possible in this age, in this land of boasted freedom. I could tell you of the horrors of the Hamburg massacre, which have never yet been made public; of the eight hundred poor creatures driven into noisome swamps, and there fired into as if they had been wild beasts; of women in the pangs of maternity while standing to their knees in the slimy waters of the swamp; of a poor deaf and dumb boy riddled with bullets because he did not answer these “chivalric gentlemen” (!) when they rode up and demanded the whereabouts of his parents and friends’ (Ms. Jan. 11, 1879, Elizabeth L. Palmer to W. L. G.). A description of the bulldozing tactics of the South Carolina whites in the campaign of 1876 followed. ‘The two Senators from South Carolina, at Washington, Hampton and Butler,’ wrote Mr. Garrison in his letter on the ‘Exodus’ (April 22, 1879), ‘are occupying seats to which they were not honestly elected, and their faces should become crimson every time they enter the Senate Chamber. If they had their deserts, instead of presenting their brazen visages in the Capitol, Hampton would be in the penitentiary, and “ Hamburg massacre ” Butler be lying in a grave of infamy, according as crimes are adjudged and punished in a civilized community’ (Boston Traveller, April 24, 1879).

36 Rev. R. C. Waterston.

37 Feb. 14, 1879.

38 Feb. 15, 1879.

39 N. Y. Tribune, Feb. 24, 1879.

40 Feb. 25. N. Y. Tribune, Feb. 27, 1879.

41 N. Y. Tribune, Feb. 27, 1879.

42 Ms.

43 Feb. 15.

44 Mr. Garrison tried to prod the Massachusetts Legislature to similar action, but without success.

45 Ms. Mar. 4, 1879.

46 H. Villard.

47 The Chinese Minister at Washington was one of the first to send his thanks. Among the many letters received by Mr. Garrison was one from Wong Ar Chong, an intelligent Chinaman (Ms. Feb. 28), closely dissecting and answering Blaine's charges, and another from W. H. Besse, a New Bedford sea-captain, who testified warmly in favor of the Chinese, from thirty years knowledge of them (Ms. Feb. 27). From San Francisco came an unexpected letter from John A. Collins (ante, 2: 277), from whom Mr. Garrison had heard nothing directly or indirectly for many years, and a pleasant correspondence and interchange of photographs followed. To his friend A. J. Grover of Chicago, Mr. Garrison wrote (Ms. March 7): ‘It is essentially the old anti-slavery issue in another form—whether one portion of mankind may rightfully claim superiority over another on account of birth, descent, or nativity, or for any other reason, and deny to them those rights and interests which pertain to our common humanity. After the successful struggle to emancipate the Southern bondmen from their chattelized condition and to elevate them to the plane of American citizenship, I did not imagine that any occasion could arise on our soil for the persecution of any other class, because “not to the manner born.” . . . The paradoxes of human nature are as grotesque as they are inscrutable.’ The colored people of New York protested, in public meeting, against the proscription of the Chinese, having known themselves ‘what it was to belong to a despised and persecuted race.’

48 President Hayes.

49 ‘Our common interest in the Chinese question leads me to report what was told me yesterday by a gentleman who had a talk with the President a few days since: that the President expressed great satisfaction with your discussion of the question, describing your letter as admirable and conclusive, but expressing the fear that the question was by no means settled, but was likely to be agitated again with the view of passing a new bill aimed at the same result. It is pleasant, I think, to find Mr. Hayes sound on this question, though he did put his veto on the narrowest possible ground, omitting altogether the broad ground on which you put it, and on which it really rests’ (Ms. March 9, 1879, D. H. Chamberlain to W. L. G.).

50 Mar. 18.

51 Mar. 25.

52 Boston Journal, Apr. 8, 1879.

53 April, 1879.

54 Boston Traveller, Apr. 24, 1879.

55 May 23, 1879.

56 Unitarian.

57 The pall-bearers were Wendell Phillips, Samuel May, Samuel E. Sewall, Robert F. Wallcut, Theodore D. Weld, Oliver Johnson, Lewis Hayden, and Charles L. Mitchell.

58 The proceedings were subsequently published in a small volume, “Tributes to William Lloyd Garrison at the Funeral Services, May 28, 1879.” Mr. Phillips's address is also printed in the Appendix to Oliver Johnson's “William Lloyd Garrison and his times.” See a striking article from him on ‘Garrison’ in the North American Review for August, 1879.

59 Thomas Talbot.

60 May 30.

61 Boston Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati, Raleigh, Atlanta.

62 N. Y. World, May 25, 1879.

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