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Printed in the United States

Copyright, 1893, by the

[Registered at Stationers^ Hall, London, England]

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There is sometimes a crisis in the history of a
nation when a man is urgently needed to prick the
national conscience on a moral question. The man
need not be supremely wise after the fashion of
earthly wisdom, nor supremely strong after the
fashion of earthly strength. But he must be him-
self an impersonation of conscience. He must be
perfectly pure and disinterested, free not only from
ambition and cupidity, but from vanity, from mere
love of excitement, from self-seeking of every kind,
as well as brave, energetic, persevering, and endowed
with a voice which can make itself heard. Such a
crisis was the ascendency of the Slave Power in the
United States, and such a man was William Lloyd
Garrison. His character is interesting in its weak-
ness as in its strength, and the contemplation of it
is cheering, as it shows what a fund of moral force
a society sound at the core always possesses, dark

as may be the apparent outlook, and how that force


may be called forth, perhaps from the most uiisiis-
l)ected quarter, in the hour of need.

Garrison's life has been told by his children with
a loving care and minuteness which make the four
portly volumes through which it extends a model
of biographical industry. In those volumes are
comjDrised the archives of the moral as distinguished
from the political movement against slavery. They
claim a place in all libraries of American history,
but to libraries their bulk confines them. It fell to
the lot of the i)resent writer to notice them in two
numbers of Macmilluu's Magazine, and the inter-
est which he was led to feel in the subject, combined
with the reminiscences awakened in his own mind
by their narrative, induced him to compile this little
volume. More than a compilation the volume can
hardly pretend to be, since for its material it is
almost entirely beholden to the larger work, so far
as the facts are concerned. The opinions, of course,
are the author's own and formed from his own point
of view, which is that of an Anglo-Canadian who
sympathized with the American friends of the Anti-
Slavery cause. The authors of the larger work
have so far extended their confidence to the present
writer as to sanction his use of the materials col-
lected by them : they are in no way responsible for
his opinions. In forming his estimate of the char-
acter with which he had to deal he has had the ad-


vantage, on one side, of the memoir on "CTarrison
and His Times," written by Mr. Oliver Johnson, one
of the foremost, ablest, and stanchest of Garrison's
comrades in the great contest, and, on the other, of
the "Life of James G. Birney," written by Mr.
William Birney, also a most competent exponent of
his own side of the case. He has, of course, availed
himself of the general authorities for the history of
the time.

To the military heroism of the struggle against
the Slave Power, literary monuments, as well as
monuments of marble, numerous and splendid, are
being raised. Let the moral heroism also have its
due. The interest of its history, if less thrilling, is
not less deep.

In dealing with the story of Garrison's life,* an
Anglo-Canadian writer is not encroaching on Ameri-
can ground. Garrison was recognized as a fellow -
laborer with Wilberforce, Clarkson, and Buxton.
He belongs not only to the United States, but to
England, as the great emancipating nation, and to
Canada, as the asylum of the slave.

* William Lloyd Garrison [1805-18791 = The Story of His Life
Told by His Children. Vols. I. -IV., 8vo. New York : The Cen-
tury Co., 1885-89.



William Lloyd Garrison was born on the 10th
of December, l>!<»o, in the thriving mercantile town
of Newbiiryport, Massachusetts. His father, Abijah
Garrison, and his mother, Fanny, whose maiden
name was Lloyd, had migrated to New England,
as many then did and many have done since, from
the British colony of New Brunswick. Strange and
sad to say, three years afterward Abijah Garrison,
who was a seafaring man, forever deserted his wife
and children. He returned to New Brunswick and
is believed to have wandered on before his death to
Canada. He is said to have loved his wife and
children, and his reason for deserting them is a
mystery. But it is supposed to have been in some"^-
way connected with drink, the bane of society and
of seafaring men above all others in those days. ,
Mrs. Garrison, who was an excellent woman, cheer-
fully took up as a mother her lonely burden and
went out as a monthly nurse. She was not without
humble friends who were good to her in the evil
days. Lloyd learned to read and write at the pri-
mary school and was afterward for three months at


a grammar school, but this he was obliged to leave
that he might earn his bread by helping his mother's
friend, Deacon Bartlett, to saw wood, sharpen saws,
and peddle apples. This work he did not like, and
he ran away from the deacon's service, but was
brought back with the young companion of his es-
capade by the driver of the mail-coach. We are
told that he was a thorough boy in fondness for
games and sports, trundled his hoop barefooted all
over Newburyport, swam the Merrimac in summer
and skated on it in winter, was good at sculling a
boat, was expert at marbles, played at bat and ball
and snowball, and sometimes led the South-end boys
in their battles with the North-enders. He swam
three-quarters of a mile across the river and swam
back again against the tide, and in winter once
nearly lost his life by breaking through the ice. He
caught a seaport boy's fancy for going to sea, but
the infection took little hold, and he was afterward
thoroughly cured of it by sea-sickness. Like his
mother, he was fond of music, had a rich voice, and
joined the choir of the Baptist church. There was
no sign of anything eccentric about him as a boy,
unless it were his restlessness in the service of Dea-
con Bartlett. His fondness for pet animals showed
a tender disposition. It is evident from his corre-
spondence with his mother that he was a loving and

dutiful son. In after-years he said that he felt like

"^ (8)

a little boy when he thought of his mother, and
always spoke of her memory with passionate affec-

The mother's health and strength were beginning
to fail. It was necessary that Lloyd should earn
his bread, and he was apprenticed to a shoemaker.
He was only nine years old, and so small that he
seemed hardly bigger than a last. The work was
too heavy for him, and he always remembered with
horror the heavy lapstone and his fingers sore with
sewing, though he also remembered the goodness
of his Quaker master, Oliver, and his wife.

In 1815 Mr. Paul Newhall, a shoe manufacturer
of Lynn, removing with his staff of workmen to
Baltimore, took Mrs. Garrison and her two boys
with him. At Baltimore James, the elder boy, was
apprenticed at shoemaking, while Lloyd ran errands.
Mr. Newhall's factory failed, and Mrs. Garrison had
to take to monthly nursing again. She was not
only religious, but a missionary, evangelized the
workmen and set up a prayer-meeting for women.
She had need of such support as religion could give
her, for, besides the failure of her health, troubles
came upon her. Her eldest boy, James, ran away
to sea, where his career was wretched and degraded.
Its close forms a tragic but honorable episode in
Lloyd Garrison's life. Lloyd, his mother says, is
a fine boy, a church-goer, and likely to be a com-


plete Baptist. But he was unhappy at Baltimore
and yearned for Newburyport. To Newhuryport
his mother sent him for a year, hoping at the end
of that time to find a place for him again at Balti-
more. In this she failed, and she had to resign
herself to his prolonged absence from her side, which
she did in a pious and touching letter.

Lloyd was apprenticed to Moses Short, a cabinet-
maker at Haverhill, Massachusetts, who treated
him with kindness, and whose trade he did not dis-
like. But he still yearned for Newburyport, and ran
away from his master. The master, however, being
good-natured, and seeing his homesickness, freely
let him go back to Newburyport and Deacon Bart-
lett. Eepeated efforts were made to find a place
for him, but in vain, till Mr. Ephraim W. Allen,
proprietor of the Newburyport Herald^ wanting a
boy to learn the printer's trade, took him as an ap-
prentice. This was in 1818, when he was thirteen
years old. His foot was now on the lowest step of
the right ladder. He took to the work at once, be-
came very skilful in handling type, and felt pleasure
in it through life. Mr. Allen's house was near
Deacon Bartlett's, and the boy was happy in his
new home. Mr. Allen, writing to Mrs. Garrison,
says he never had a better boy. This she repeats in
a letter to Lloyd declining some Balsam of Quito,
probably a quack medicine, which he had offered to


solid her, and saying that she wishes for nothings
more than the Bahn of Gilead, which heals souls.
Mrs. Garrison's life was near its close. Her letters
henceforth chronicle the inroad^ of her malady.
That she was leaving her children alone and unpro-
vided for, was to her the sting of death. "Thank
God," she wrote to Lloyd, "I am well taken care of ,
for hoth black and white are all attention to me,
and I have everything done that is necessary. The
ladies are all kind to me, and I have a colored "^'
woman that w^aits on me, that is so kind no one can
tell how kind she is, and although a slave to man,
yet a free-born soul, by the grace of God. Her
name is Henny, and should I never see you again,
and you should ever come where she is, remember
her for your poor mother's sake." She contrasts
the bright morning of her life with its sad close,
and turns from the deceptive dreams of earthly hap-
piness to what she deems the happy realities of re-
ligion. She was too poor to send Lloyd as many
letters as he w^ould have wished, the postage being
twenty-five cents. But she managed in her inter-
vals of convalescence to get together for him a trunk -
ful of clothes, which she sent him as the last token
of her love. Before her death, in 1823, he went to
Baltimore and saw her once more.

Lloyd was getting on well with his trade, and
became so expert that he was made foreman of the


office. As a compositor, his rapidity and accuracy
were first-rate. Among the journeymen in his office
was Tobias Miller, afterward a clergyman and city
missionary, lovable in character, sensible and racy
in speech, from working by whose side he believed
himself to have gained much. Not that Tobias
Miller's wisdom seems to have been recondite.
"Patience and perseverance!" " 'Tisn't as bad as
it would be if it were worse!" "Never mind!
'Twill be all the same a thousand years hence" —
were the utterances of his philosophy when a des-
perate proof came for correction at midnight or a
form was "pied." Garrison, however, found com-
fort in them amid the trials of his after-years.
Probably it was the image of Mr. Miller's placid
resignation, enhanced by the sensitiveness of his
temperament, rather than his maxims, that con-

A young printer was pretty sure to take to writ-
ing if he had any gifts and tendencies that way.
Garrison had a strong taste for poetry and romance,
while for poetry he seems to have had himself no
mean gift had his stormy life permitted the regular
cultivation of it. His favorite poets were Byron,
Moore, Pope, Campbell, and Scott, and the imma-
turity of his taste might excuse him if he loved Mrs.
Hemans above them all. He took a healthy delight
in the Waverley Novels. An American in a vortex


of party politics could not fail to be a politician.
Garrison in his teens was an ardent Federalist and
wielded his chivalrous pen in defence of the heroes
of that party when fortune had left it stranded.
But his first literary essay was a communication to
the Herald, signed "An Old Bachelor," on a verdict
in a bre.ach of promise case which had excited his
indignation. The paper would not be received with
applause by a Woman's Eights Association, nor
would it have chimed in happily with Garrison's
own writings and speeches in after-days when he
was pleading for the admission of women to the
platform of the Anti-Slavery Association. " Wom-
en," he said, "in this country are too much idol-
ized and flattered; therefore they are puffed up and
inflated with pride and self-conceit. They make
the men crawl, beseech, and supplicate, wait ui^n
and do every manual service for them to gain their
favor and approbation: they (the men) are, in fact,
completely subservient to every whim and caprice
of these changeable mortals. " " Women generally
feel their importance," he continued, "and they use
it without mercy." This communication was ac-
cepted, and so were others, including an account of
a shipwreck— fabricated, we are told, by the fancy
of one glaringly ignorant of the sea. The editor
paid his gifted correspondent the compliment of
desiring an interview, but Garrison kept his secret


from all but his mother, who received the confidence
with mingled pride and misgiving. In a subsequent
letter she warns him of the garret, which is the com-
mon lot of authors, and thinks that he would have
been better employed if, instead of writing political
pieces, he had been searching the Scriptures for the

Garrison wrote two articles on South American
affairs, in which, touching on the outrages commit-
ted by the young republics on vessels belonging to
the United States after the sympathy shown their
cause by that power, the future apostle of moral
force and denouncer of all war recommends finish-
ing the controversy with cannon, while the destined
leader of the crusade against slavery glorifies with-
out reserve American freedom, and shares the
columns of the Herald with Caleb Gushing, who
maintained that slave-owning was not at variance
with republicanism because the sight of men de-
prived of freedom made others prize it more. On
the other hand, he had discernment enough to de-
preciate the election of Jackson. Like an orthodox
republican, he denounced the Holy Alliance and
declaimed upon the wrongs of Poland. He also
duly caught the Greek fever, and thought of going
to fight for Greece. His writing was mature and,
for the purposes of a journalist, good. At twenty
he seemed cut out for success as an editor. He was


g*K)d- looking and well dressed. His portrait pre-
sents him with a smooth face, abundance of black
hair, and a ruffled shirt. He was a favorite with
the ladies. He was healthy, social, mercurial, am-
bitious, filled with hope by the acceptance of his
writing. Nobody would have seen on his head a
social crown of thorns. He had an excellent con-
stitution, and was able to say toward the close of
life that, though he had lived on all kinds of food,
he had never known that he had a stomach ; so that
the reformer in his case was not the dyspeptic. To
add to his chances of success in a respectable career
he was, as his mother had foretold, a "complete
Baptist," a strict church-goer, a stanch supporter
of the clergy, and an uncritical believer in the Bible.
The twenty-first year of his age (1826) in fact
saw him editor and proprietor of a paper. The
Herald passed under a changed name from tke
hands of Mr. Allen into those of Isaac Knapp, and
from his into those of Garrison, who rechristened
it the Free Press, Mr. Allen showing his confidence
in his apprentice by advancing money. The motto
of the Free Press, "Our Country, Our Whole
Country, and Nothing but Our Country," gives
little indication of a future career of disloyalty to
the Union and loyalty to Humanity. The journal
also copied without comment the words of the
ineffable Edward Everett, once a Massachusetts

( I-'') )

clergyman, who had not only quoted the jS^ew Tes-
tament in support of slavery, but declared that
there was no cause in which he would sooner buckle
a knapsack on his back and put a musket to his
shoulder than the suppression of a slave insurrec-
tion at the South. The Free Press did indeed speak
of slavery as a curse, and a theme to dwell upon till
the country was rid of it; but this was a passing
remark, and there was nothing to show that the edi-
tor's thoughts were turned in that particular direc-
tion. The Free Press had the good luck to bring
out as a poet Whittier, then a Quaker lad working
as a shoemaker with hammer and lapstone at East
Haverhill. Little did the editor dream that he was
opening the gate of fame to the poetic champion of
wdiat was to be his own great cause. The paper
seems to have done fairly well, but it lost party
subscribers by taking an independent line, and Gar-
rison, probably seeing that no more was likely to be
made of it, sold it to Mr. John H. Harris, who at
once put it on the opposite tack.

Descending again from the dignity of editorship
to the level of the journeyman printer, Garrison
went to Boston in quest of employment. He was
some time in finding it. Meanwhile he gratified
his taste for politics by attending a caucus, and
proposing a candidate in opposition to the nomina-
tion of the leaders. He broke down in his si^eech


and was obliged to have recourse to the manu-
scrii3t ill his hat. There ensued a newspaper
tournament, in which, being rebuked for his pre-
sumption, he defended himself with force and
sprightliness against a sneer at his youth.

" I leave it," he said, " to metaphysicians to deter-
mine the precise moment when wisdom and ex-
perience leap into existence — when for the first time
the mind distinguishes truth from error, selfishness
from patriotism, and passion from reason. It is
sufficient for me that I am understood." In the
end he formed a connection with Mr. Collier, a Bap-
tist city missionary, the founder of the first temper-
ance journal. Of that journal, of which the name
was the National Philanthropist^ and the pro-
claimed object "the sui)pression of intemperance
and its kindred vices," Garrison was made editor.
In those days drinking was terribly rife, and after
the part it had played in Garrison's family misfort-
unes, his heart in fighting against it would be with
his pen. Other reforms, such as the better keeping
of the Sabbath, were combined with temperance.
The Philanthropist, if we may believe its editor,
was successful in improving public sentiment and
giving birth to reforming effort, but it was never
self-supporting. It was not likely that a paper
avowedly set up to plead a particular cause, would
interest the world in general enough to make it a


commercial success. Indeed, even for the advocacy
of a particular cause, it is better first to build your
pulpit, and then to preach from it. When a journal
has obtained a hold, by its general merits, on a
large circle of readers, it may press its views on any
special question with effect. In the second number
of his paper Garrison had commented on the bill
passed by the House of Assembly of South Carolina,
to forbid the teaching of blacks to read and write.
"There is," he said, "something unspeakably piti-
able and alarming in the state of that society where
it is deemed necessary for self-preservation to seal
up the mind and the intellect of man to brutal in-
capacity. We shall not now consider the policy of
this resolve, but it illustrates the terrors of slavery
in a manner as eloquent and affecting as imagina-
tion can conceive. . . . Truly the alternatives of
oppression are terrible. But this state of things
cannot always last, nor ignorance alone shield us
from destruction." These words, written in 1828,
ring up the curtain of a new scene in the drama of
Garrison's life. They heralded the arrival of Ben-
jamin Lundy at Boston. There was a happy con-
junction of two bright though small stars in the

firmament of humanity.



Garrison had his precursors. Elihu Embree,
the Quaker publisher of the first journal devoted to
the abolition of slavery, was one of them. But the
chief was Benjamin Lundy, also a Quaker, and a
true and admirable though most humble servant of
humanity. Lundy having lived at Wheeling, Vir-
ginia, had seen the coffles of negroes in chains go
by on their way to the South. He was a saddler,
prosperous in his trade, and made what for him was
wealth, but gave it all up to his cause. He fought
with the jDen in different journals against the at-
tempt to force Missouri into the Union as a Slave
State. Then he set up at Mount Pleasant, in Ohio,
a journal of his own called the Genius of Universal
Emancipation. It was brought out without a dol-
lar of capital and with only six subscribers, and for
a time he walked a distance of twenty miles each
month to Steubenville to get the journal printed,
and returned with the edition on his back. He
afterward moved with his journal to Tennessee,
and at last to Baltimore, whither he trudged with
his knapsack on his back, passing through south-


western Virginia and North Carolina, and sowing
the seeds of his doctrine by lecturing as he went. He
would seem to have been able to carry gunpowder
in a furnace ; but he was very gentle ; his doctrine
was gradual emancipation, and his policy was colo-
nization, which was accepted at the South. In the
interest of that policy he visited Hayti. He was
feeble in frame, somewhat deaf, and a bad lecturer,
having a weak voice, so that his efforts must have
been painful, and his motive cannot have been the
love of platform excitement or of self -display. At
Baltimore he continued to publish the Genius of
Universal Emancipatiou, going about to lecture
and form associations at the same time. Baltimore
was a port of the domestic slave trade, with a tur-
bulent and violent mob. Lundy's mildness did not
save him from a brutal assault by a slave-trading
ruffian. It was after this that he came to Boston,
made the acquaintance of Garrison, and, by plead-
ing the cause to him, fired a heart which was ready
enough to catch the flame. It appears that Garri-
son's heart was fired all the more easily from seeing
the coldness of the clergymen to whom Lundy ap-
pealed in vain, for he cries out upon "the moral
cowardice, the chilling apathy, the criminal unbe-
lief, the cruel scepticism, that were revealed on that
memorable occasion." Everybody in the room was
against slavery, but, then, the formation of a soci-


ety at Boston would enrage and alarm the South.
"Perhaps a select committee might he formed under
an inoffensive name." Lundy, however, was en-
couraged enough to revisit Boston, where (August
7, 1828) he held a meeting in the vestry of a
Baptist church, at which he discredited deportation
as a remedy, pointing out that the increase in the
numher of blacks at the South in a year was greater
than the Colonization Society could handle in half
a century. The meeting was brought to an abrupt
termination by the pastor of the church, who rose
and personally denounced the agitation against
slavery as offensive to the South and dangerous,
affirming that the States were gradually getting
rid of slavery by selling their slaves to those fur-
ther south. A committee of twenty, however, was
formed, and Garrison was one.

In the great Presidential campaign of 1828 Gar-
rison, having made his mark as a writer, was
invited by a committee of prominent citizens at
Bennington, Vermont, to come and edit a new
paper there in advocacy of the re-election of John
Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson. The
Journal of the Times was the name of the jDaper.
Its motto was Garrison's favorite quotation from
Cicero, "Eeason shall prevail with us more than
Popular Opinion." Though set up for a political
camj)aign, the Journal of the Times declared itself


independent of party. Independent of everything
but public morality and constitutional government it
might be in opposing the dictatorship of Jackson.
But it further declared that its editor had three

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