Support for Garrison in his argument with clerics

A long letter to Garrison from a James Boyle, from Rome, Ashtabula Co. Ohio

The letter supports Garrison in his divisions with some clergy over issues of the Sabbath, in particular, but also in other aspects of his abolitionist position.  The writer affirms the importance of moral suasion in these words:  ” …We are to exert no other than a moral influence on the slaveholder.  We can effect nothing unless we can bring him to see his sin, and voluntarily to renounce it.  But, to me, insurmountable difficulties are in the way, so far as mere moral suasion is concerned.  The oppressor, with the obstinacy and desperation of a demon, has closed up every avenue of access to his understanding and his conscience, so far as this has been within his power.  He has transformed the pages of the Bible into brazen shields, to ward of every arrow of truth…..” (Here this idea is expanded to attack a “Judas-like” priesthood.  Boyle goes on to acknowledge faith that the Lord can overcome these obstacles, but then wonders, ” what reason have we to expect, that he will interpose his all-conquering arm to rescue such a nation as this?…”
…..  then continues with a long excoriation of the nation, and concludes with a conviction that abolition is a great “moral school” for the nation.)  Of course, Garrison responds with “a thousand blessings on you and yours.  Amen.”