Chapter 7: the National Testimonial.—1866.Without an occupation or accumulated savings, advanced in years, and with health impaired, Garrison contemplates a History of the Anti-slavery movement, but fails to begin it. His friends address themselves to raising a National Testimonial, which receives the most distinguished support, and in the end ensures him a competence.
No act of Mr. Garrison's could have afforded more convincing proof of his unselfishness than his voluntary discontinuance of the Liberator, and his joyful recognition of the accomplishment of its immediate object.1 Certainly it was not without a pang of regret that he gave up the paper and its office, the loss of which and of his long-established editorial routine made him feel, as he expressed it, ‘like a hen plucked of her feathers.’ Old habits he could not at once shake off. Many of his exchanges continued to come to him, and he would read and clip from them as industriously as though he were still purveying for the Liberator; and during the few weeks in which the office of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (which had also been the subscription-office of the Liberator) was continued, he went to it almost daily, as of old. The Society itself voted, at the January meeting, by a majority of three to one, not to2 disband, after a debate in which the argument in favor of dissolution was sustained by Mr. Quincy, Mr. May, and3 Mr. Garrison, who all withdrew from the organization. The importance of continuing it was urged with much intensity of feeling and language by Mr. Phillips and his supporters, whose imputation that the retiring members were deserting the cause was warmly resented by Mr.  Garrison in the debate, and subsequently in the N. Y. Independent. The Society whose existence was declared4 of such vital consequence continued the Standard, but did nothing more for the next four years than hold an annual meeting. Its office was closed. In February, Mr. Garrison made his second and final visit to Washington, for the sake of spending a few days with his daughter, who had recently become Mrs. Henry5 Villard and gone there to reside. He lectured in Philadelphia to a large audience, on his way thither, and spent6 ten days at the Capital at a peculiarly exciting time, when7 the apostasy of Andrew Johnson to the party which had elected him first became open and pronounced, through his veto of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, and his disgraceful harangue in denunciation of Congress to a crowd in front of the White House, on Washington's Birthday.8
 The Union League Hall was a small room holding but four hundred persons, but it was the only one that could be obtained for Mr. Garrison's lecture, all other halls and churches (including the Unitarian) being refused to the gentleman who had invited him to speak in Washington.22 The Odd Fellows' Hall was first engaged, but the proprietors, on learning the name of the lecturer, demanded a bond that no colored person should be admitted, which was of course refused. It was a larger and more enthusiastic assemblage which Mr. Garrison addressed in the Rev. Henry Highland Garnet's church, the following Sunday evening, and he23 received a fervent welcome from his colored friends. On both occasions he expressed himself with emphasis concerning the President's veto and speech; and, on his way northward, he lectured to a great audience at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn, declaring that the language24 in which Andrew Johnson had assailed Congress, in his speech at the White House, was in itself a sufficient ground for his impeachment and removal from office. This proposition he urged further in an article in the N. Y. Independent, the last but one that he was able to25 write that year, and in a lecture which he delivered in Auburn, Syracuse, and elsewhere.26 In the month of January he had experienced a severe fall in Boston, as he was on his way to spend the evening at the house of James T. Fields, with Mrs. Stowe,27 Governor Andrew, and other friends, and struck the icy pavement with such violence that his right hand and shoulder were badly bruised, and his arm almost paralyzed for a time. He had hardly recovered from the effects of it when he had the misfortune to fall a second time, as he was hurrying to a train, and again struck28 heavily on his right arm and shoulder. This accident caused him many months of suffering, and effectually disabled him from any literary or other work for the rest of the year. It supplied, too, a sufficient reason for his not attempting a task to which he was strongly urged by  his friends, namely, the preparation of a History of the Anti-Slavery Movement in the United States. While he was at work on the last number of the Liberator, he had29 received an earnest request to undertake such a work, from the publishing firm of Ticknor & Fields, who30 subsequently made a very liberal proposition to that end. Mr. Garrison provisionally accepted it, but he had many31 doubts and misgivings on the subject, and, after two years of alternating resolution and hesitation, he abandoned the idea. The only overt step he took towards it was the hiring of an office in the city, to which the files of32 the Liberator were taken for his examination and review; but the days and weeks he had proposed to devote to them were spent in writing letters and clipping the current newspapers, and the first line of the History was never written. ‘Be merciful!’ he wrote to one of his children, who was33 impatient to have him begin the work. ‘It is a matter requiring the gravest deliberation before I actually commit myself one way or another. I confess, I do not feel competent to the mighty task, and fear I shall make a failure of it, if I try.’ Nearly two years later, in writing to Samuel J. May, in commendation of the “ Recollections of the Anti-Slavery Conflict” which the latter was then publishing serially in the Boston Christian Register, he thus expressed himself:
I am now thinking seriously of devoting the next year, if34 spared, to writing a History of the Anti-Slavery Struggle, and shall feel grateful for any aid you can render me. Unfortunately, my memory of persons and events grows more and more like a sieve; and a good memory is a most important auxiliary in such a connection. How to shape the work will be puzzling —the subject is so vast, the actors so many, the incidents so multitudinous. You lovingly fear I shall not do justice to myself. Certainly, how to dispose of myself, without seeming to be egotistical by personal references on the one hand, or affectedly modest by omitting them on the other, will be a difficult and delicate task. But I shall try to avoid extremes, and to write with all possible simplicity and directness. It is of very little consequence in regard to any record of ourselves. Time  makes mockery of fame. Enough that the Right has triumphed, that Slavery is overthrown, and that God is glorified.During the spring and summer months of 1866, Mr. Garrison tried various treatments and remedies for his torturing pains, but time alone brought him relief or cure. Whist became a favorite diversion to him, and he spent many an evening playing the game with his children and with George Thompson, who had now become a neighbor in Roxbury and was almost daily interchanging calls with his old comrade. More than ever Mr. Garrison devoted himself to his wife, who, though sadly crippled, found much solace in reading and in correspondence with her absent children. The domestic event of the year was the birth35 at Rockledge of their first grandchild, whose advent gave36 them unspeakable delight, and whom Mr. Garrison never wearied of carrying in his arms, lulling to sleep, or entertaining with song or piano. He refused to sign a petition, presented by George Shea of New York, for Jefferson Davis's release from Fortress Monroe, and had no disposition to join Gerrit Smith and Horace Greeley in that movement. Always opposed to capital punishment, he declared that if Davis, with his colossal guilt, escaped the gallows, hanging ought certainly to be forever abolished. The election, in the fall of 1866, of a former compositor on the Liberator as the first37 colored member of the Massachusetts Legislature afforded him great satisfaction. Deprived of his income from the Liberator, prevented by his injuries from writing or lecturing, his wife permanently crippled, and his children not yet in a position to relieve him of pecuniary care, Mr. Garrison naturally contemplated his rapidly melting resources with much anxiety, unaware that a movement was already on foot to relieve him from all future concern on that score, and to make him comfortably independent for the remainder of his days. Near the end of March, a number of38 gentlemen met at the house of Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, and formed themselves into a Committee for the purpose of  raising a national testimonial to Mr. Garrison, in grateful and honorable recognition of his part in bringing about the great consummation of universal freedom and homogeneous institutions in the United States. Ex-Governor Andrew accepted the chairmanship with great39 heartiness, and wrote the Address to the Public, to which a national character was unmistakably given by the approving signatures—gladly appended in every case— of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Chief Justice of Massachusetts, the State's Senators and Representatives in Congress, Senators and Representatives from sixteen other States (including Missouri), the Chief Justice of the United States, the President of the Senate, the eminent40 poets and litterateurs of the country, and leading citizens41 of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago. The press also cordially endorsed the movement, which was so quietly initiated that Mr. Garrison knew nothing of it for several weeks, and was taken utterly by surprise when it was announced to him. The following is a transcript of the circular to the Public:
 Mr. Garrison often said that he prized this document, with its signatures, more than all the pecuniary results that might follow from it. As to these he was never sanguine, having seen many an ambitious attempt to reward public benefactors or commemorate popular heroes fail miserably, and knowing well that the career of even a successful reformer does not appeal to the popular fancy like that of a victorious general or an idolized political leader. And in truth, with all its weight of names, the Garrison Testimonial owed its success in a very large measure to the untiring devotion of the Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, Rev. Samuel May, Jr., to the practical work of securing subscriptions.43 For two years, under many disadvantages, he gave himself unremittingly to the task, until, in the spring of 1868, the result was announced to Mr. Garrison in the following letter:
The English contributions alluded to by Mr. Garrison aggregated nearly three hundred pounds, and some of these were transmitted through James Russell Lowell, who made it the occasion for writing the following note: