In the same neighborhood was a young preacher who had shortly before come into it from somewhere farther North. In the course of one of his regular services he offered up a prayer in which he expressed the hope that the good Lord would find a way to break the bands of all who were in bondage. That smacked of Abolitionism and at once there was a commotion. The minister was asked to explain. This he declined to do, saying that his petition was a matter between him and his God, and he denied the right of others to question him. That only increased the opposition, and in a short time the spunky young man was compelled to resign his charge.
About that time there appeared a lecturer on slavery—which meant against slavery—who carried credentials showing that he was a clergyman in good standing in one of the leading Protestant denominations. In our village was a church of that persuasion, whose pastor was not an Abolitionist. As in duty bound, the visiting brother called on his local fellow-laborer, and informed him that on the following day, which happened to be Sunday, he would be pleased to attend service at his church. On the morrow he was on hand and occupied a seat directly in front of the pulpit; but, notwithstanding his conspicuousness, the home minister, who should, out of courtesy, have invited him to a seat in the pulpit, if to no other part in the services, never saw him. He looked completely over his head, keeping his eyes, all through the exercises, fixed upon the back pews, which happened, on that occasion, to be chiefly unoccupied.
Such incidents, of themselves, were of no great importance. Their significance was in the fact that they all occurred on the soil of a free State. They showed the state of feeling that then and there existed.
ONE OF THEIR TRAITS
The writer has spoken of the courage of the Abolitionists. There is another trait by which they were distinguished that, in his opinion, should not be passed over. That was their extreme hopefulness—their untiring confidence. No matter how adverse were the conditions, they expected to win. They never counted the odds against them. They trusted in the right which they were firmly persuaded would prevail some time or another. For that time they were willing to wait, meanwhile doing what they could to hasten its coming.
Benjamin Lundy, the little Quaker mechanic, who was undeniably the Peter-the-Hermit of the Abolitionist movement, when setting out alone and on foot, with his printing material on his back, to begin a crusade against the strongest and most arrogant institution in the country, remarked with admirable naivete, “I do not know how soon I shall succeed in my undertaking.”
William Lloyd Garrison, when the pioneer Anti-Slavery Society was organized by only twelve men, and they people of no worldly consequence, the meeting for lack of a better place being held in a colored schoolroom on “Nigger Hill” in Boston, declared that in due time they would meet to urge their principles in Faneuil Hall—a most audacious declaration, but he was right.