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GEO. THOMPSON IN SPRINGFIELD. The Springfield Republican of yesterday has the following:-

Abolitionism.This evening according to announcement, George Thompson, the English abolitionist, accompanied by Wm. L. Garrison and Wendell Phillips, will make his appearance at Hampden Hall, for the purpose, we presume, of denouncing the American Constitution, libelling the Christian Church, and abusing the greatest and best men, living and dead, that ever impressed their names upon our country's history. We allude to this meeting more in sorrow than in any stronger or harsher sentiment, for we presume that it will be made like its long line of predecessors, in this and other towns, the scene of pitiful fanaticism, blind perversion of truth, and such handling of sacred things as shall wound the moral sense like the naked blow of blasphemy. The audience, if composed alone of sympathizers, will be very small, and we trust that such only will be present. The way to treat such men is to let them alone,- to keep away from them. Let them rail at each other, and the walls. Curiosity to hear and see them, and opposition to them, form the very blood on which they live.

A subsequent article in the Republican gives us information that the citizens of Springfield were in no wise disposed to have a Thompson Lecture delivered to them at the present time, and a meeting of citizens, without previous preparation, decided that Mr. Thompson should be informed thereof, and be told of the consequences of the carrying out of his mission.

On Saturday night, the effigies of Messrs. George Thompson and John Bull were hung up at Springfield, upon trees in the court square of that town, and affixed to them were written certificates of the characters of the individuals represented, not very complimentary, indeed, but rather plain spoken. They were cut down the next day at noon, by order of the Sheriff of the county. Meantime, a hand-bill had been circulated, calling upon "Regulators" to appear and put down "the machinations of a British spy," who was here to endanger the safety and the permanence of the American Union,- which was dressed in strong and very exciting language, and was signed "Lexington." The Republican states that the hand-bills were pulled down or defaced upon soon after they were put up, and also that the owner of the hall would probably shut its doors against the meeting. The Selectmen had a meeting to take action to preserve the peace.

Since the above was prepared, we have the following, by telegraph, from the Springfield Republican:-

Hampden Hall was closed against Thompson by the owners, through fear of damage. The selectmen gave them notice that they would not be responsible for injury to it, if the meeting went on. No other place could be obtained, and consequently, Thompson did not speak. It is presumed that an attempt will be made to have him speak on another day.

This evening some hundreds of men and boys crowd the streets between Hampden Hall and the Hampden House, where Thompson is stopping, and are making some little noise, but no overt acts have been committed. Probably all will pass off quietly to-night.

Many people have come from other towns to participate in the proceedings, and a part of the Irish population have been excited against him, which with other elements that have been, and are at work, render it highly probable that he will not be allowed to speak here, unless it may be in the day time.

9 1-2, P.M. The streets have been very noisy for the last hour. Fire-crackers, music, tar-barrels, bells, etc., have made quite lively times. Thompson is to speak at nine o'clock to-morrow morning, in Washington Hall, with Wendell Phillips and Edmund Quincy.

10 o'clock. Washington Hall has now been refused for Thompson to lecture in to-morrow, and it is doubtful whether a suitable place can be obtained for him to speak in. The crowd is thinned, but the real rioters, a strong and rowdy band, are still making night hideous, with drums, fifes and bonfires. A bonfire has been started in Court square. Had the meeting gone on to night, there would have been a terrible row.

George Thompson spoke in a small hall to a crowded audience in Springfield, on Tuesday forenoon. Mr. Elder presided, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Osgood and Mr. Morris, Judge of Probate. No tumult ensued.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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George Thompson (1804-1878) was an English abolitionist who came to the United States for the second time in October, 1850. He had visited this country in 1835 and aroused the anger of people whose livelihood relied on the cotton industry. After an anti-slavery lecture in New Hampshire, Thompson and John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) were pelted with rotten eggs and Whittier was injured with a stone. The writer of this article in the Boston Courier denounces Thompson and describes how the owners of both Hampden and Washington Halls in Springfield, Massachusetts, refused to let him speak for fear of damage. While there were many people in the North who were in favor of abolition, there were also many who opposed the movement.

 

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"Geo. Thompson in Springfield" article from the Boston Courier newspaper

publisher   Boston Courier
date   Feb 20, 1851
location   Boston, Massachusetts
width   2.25"
height   9.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.055


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See Also...

"Miss Harriet Martineau" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper

"Congress Jan. 9" article from Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper

"Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society" article in Gazette and Courier newspaper


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