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All along the Erie canal, from Albany to Buffalo, there was apathy, indiffer-
ence, aversion, and sometimes mobocratic spirit evinced. Even Syracuse,
afterwards the home of the humane Samuel J. May, and the scene of the
"Jerry rescue," where Gerrit Smith, Beriah Greene, William Goodell, Alvan
Stewart, and other able men taught their noblest lessons, would not at that
time furnish us with church, market, house, or hall in which to hold our
meetings. Discovering this state of things, some of our number were dis-
posed to turn our backs upon the town, and shake its dust from our feet, but
of these, I am glad to say, I was not one. I had somewhere read of a command
to go into the hedges and highways and compel men to come in. Mr. Stephen
Smith, under whose hospitable roof we were made at home, thought as I did.
It would be easy to silence anti-slavery agitation if refusing its agents the use
of halls and churches could effect that result. The house of our friend Smith
stood on the southwest corner of the park, which was well covered with
young trees, too small to furnish shade or shelter, but better than none.
Taking my stand under a small tree, in the southeast comer of this park, I
began to speak in the morning to an audience of five persons, and before the
close of my altemoon meeting I had before me not less than five hundred. In
the evening I was waited upon by officers of the Congregational church, and
tendered the use of an old wooden building, which they had deserted for a
better, but still owned; and here our convention was continued during three
days. I believe there was no trouble to find places in Syracuse in which to
hold anti-slavery meetings thereafter. I never go there without endeavoring
to see that tree, which, like the cause it sheltered, has grown large and strong
and imposing.

I believe my first offence against our Anti-Slavery Israel was committed
during these Syracuse meetings. It was on this wise: Our general agent, John
A. Collins, had recently returned from England full of communistic ideas,
which ideas would do away with individual property, and have all things in
common. He had arranged a corps of speakers of his communistic persua-
sion, consisting of John O. Wattles, Nathaniel Whiting, and John Orvis, to
follow our anti-slavery conventions, and while our meeting was in progress
in Syracuse, a meeting, as the reader will observe, obtained under much dif-
ficulty, Mr. Collins came in with his new friends and doctrines, and proposed
to adjourn our anti-slavery discussions and take up the subject of commu-
nism. To this I ventured to object. I held that it was imposing an additional
burden of unpopularity on our cause, and an act of bad faith with the people,
who paid the salary of Mr. Collins, and were responsible for these hundred
conventions. Strange to say, my course in this matter did not meet the

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