The justice of the war on the part of the North, and its effect on the fate of Slavery at the South, were never subjects of doubt in the mind of Mr. Garrison, and he quickly recognized the force of events which had taken from the abolitionists the helm of direction, and reunited them with their countrymen in the irresistible flood which no man’s hand guided, and no man’s hand could stay. An agitator from conviction and not from choice, he was only too glad to lay down the heavy burden of a life-time, and retire to well-earned repose, after such a vision of faint hope realized as certainly no other reformer was ever blessed with. He had lived to see the disunion which he advocated on sacred principles, attempted by the South in the name of the sum of all villanies; the uprising of the North; the grand career of Lincoln; the proclamation of emancipation; the arming of the blacks—his own son among their officers; the end of the rebellion; and the consummation of his prayers and labors for the salvation of his country. He had taken part in the ceremonies at the recovery of Sumter, had walked the streets of Charleston, and received floral tokens of the gratitude of the emancipated. To him it seemed as if his work was done, and that he might, without suspicion or accusation, cease to be conspicuous, or to occupy the public attention in any way relating to the past and recalling his part in the anti-slavery struggle. Notoriety, no longer a necessity, was eagerly avoided; and the physical rest which was now enjoined upon him the liberality of his friends having enabled him to secure, he settled down into the quiet life of a private citizen, whose great duty had become to him merely one of the duties which every man owes his country and his race. His sweet temper, his modesty, his unfailing cheerfulness, his rarely mistaken judgment of men and measures; his blameless and happy domestic life, and his hospitality; his warm sympathy with all forms of human suffering—these and other qualities which cannot be enumerated here, will doubtless receive the just judgment of posterity.
As a fitting adjunct to the foregoing sketch, extracts from some of the speeches made at the London breakfast so magnanimously extended to Mr. Garrison in 1867, are here introduced. As presiding officer on the occasion, John Bright, M.P. spoke as follows: