But much as Lundy loathed the business of the slave-dealers and slave-drivers, he then had no idea of attempting its abolishment. He married and settled down to the prosecution of his trade, and had he been like other people generally he would have been content. But he could not shut the pictures of those street scenes in Wheeling out of his mind and out of his heart.
The first thing in the reformatory line he did was to organize a local Anti-Slavery society in the village in which he was then living in Ohio; at the first meeting of this society only five persons were present.
About this time Lundy made some important discoveries. He learned that he could write what the newspapers would print, and give expression to words that the people would listen to. He was quick to realize the fact that the best way to reach the people of this country was through the press. He started a very small paper with a very large name. It was ambitiously nominated The Genius of Universal Emancipation. He began with only six subscribers and without a press or other publishing material. Moreover, he had no money. He was not then a practical printer, though later he learned the art of type-setting. At this time he had his newspaper printed twenty miles from his home, and carried the edition for that distance on his back.
But insignificant as Lundy’s paper was, it had the high distinction of being the only exclusively Anti-Slavery journal in the country, and its editor and proprietor was the only professional Abolition lecturer and agitator of that time.
Afterwards, in speaking of his journalistic undertaking, Mr. Lundy said: “I began this work without a dollar of funds, trusting to the sacredness of the cause.” Another saying of his was that he did not stop to calculate “how soon his efforts would be crowned with success.”
As Lundy spent the greater part of his time in traveling from place to place, procuring subscriptions to his journal and lecturing on slavery, he could not issue his paper regularly at any one point. In some instances he carried the head-rules, column-rules, and subscription-book of his journal with him, and when he came to a town where he found a printing-press he would stop long enough to print and mail a number of his periodical. He traveled for the most part on foot, carrying a heavy pack. In ten years in that way he covered twenty-five thousand miles, five thousand on foot.
He decided to invade the enemy’s country by going where slavery was. He went to Tennessee, making the journey of eight hundred miles, one half by water, and one half on foot. That was, of course, before the day of railroads.
He continued to issue his paper, although often threatened with personal violence. Once two bullies locked him in a room and, with revolvers in hand, tried to frighten him into a promise to discontinue his work. He did not frighten to any extent.