Garrison, on controversy regarding Constitution

SECOND ANNUAL MEETING OF THE GARRISON ASSOCIATION    Circumstances beyond control preventing an address from being delivered on the anniversary of Mr. Garrison’s birthday, December 10th, a large audience assembled in Belknap Street Church, on Monday evening, December 19th, 1853.    Mr. William C. Nell introduced the speakers.  Garrison spoke in defense of his view of the Constitution .   “In regard to the American Constitution, he would not attempt, at that late hour, to discuss its provisions.   Believing that the American people could not have mistaken, for more than sixty years, the design of that instrument, respecting slavery; that the legislative and judicial action of the country could not have been ignorantly concurrent on the subject;  that the Constitution did give governmental strength and protection to the system;  he could not conscientiously or consistently give it his support.   He would never voluntarily enter the American Union, until the slaves, redeemed and disenthralled, could accompany him.   If others, like his esteemed friend Gerrit Smith, could satisfy their understanding, that the Constitution is, and was designed to be, an Anti-Slavery instrument, and acted consistently with their declarations,  he not only would have no controversy with them, but be foremost to give them all due credit.   But such a construction was virtually a dissolution of the Union.      (Liberator, January 6, 1854, pg 1)