The New York Times
Unsigned Reprint
12 May 1853

Abolition and Anti-Slavery Societies.

  A good deal of confusion vexes the public as to the distinctive characters of the two Anti-Slavery Societies that held their Anniversaries yesterday. Agreeing essentially in very many things they do not by any means enjoy each other's heartiest good wishes, nor fancy being confounded.

  The "American Anti-Slavery Society" which held its meetings in the Chinese Assembly Rooms, is the old parent society, with whose history WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON has always been identified. In the old times, that is 1835, -6, -7 and so forth, it enjoyed the monopoly of all the mobbings that forced the subject of Abolition into notice and fanned it to a flame. But it grew unmanageable with its surfeit of mobbing and abuse, in 1839, it took so heavy a freight of non-resistance Woman's Rights, Sabbath, Church and Clergy denunciation on board, that the cooler portion found it necessary to get into another boat or all go down together. The seceders, under the lead of LEWIS TAPPAN and men of that stamp, withdrew and formed the "American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society," which Society from its formation, we believe, has had its Anniversaries in this City, while the other, since the RYNDERS row a few years ago, has met in Syracuse until now.

  The GARRISON men seem willing to be called Abolitionists, and never shrink from the responsbility of their history. Their organ is the Standard. They deprecate political action. Whether or not they do it on their old ground of opposition to human Governments, we are not informed. The "American and Foreign" members prefer to be known as "Anti-Slavery" men, and do not court the odium of the other's name. When the other Society is not about, they are radical enough in all conscience; but when the Garrisonians are in town, they suffer an eclipse. Their meetings seem tame, their speeches guarded, and their resolutions moderate. At the public meetings of the Garrisonians, MAY, BURLEIGH, WENDELL PHILLIPS, FRED. DOUGLASS, ABBY KELLY FOSTER, and LUCY STONE, are the favorite speakers. A digression in favor of Bloomerism, a thrust at the Church, a broadside into the Clergy, an appeal for Disunion, a rant about the iniquity of voting, or even a sturdy attack upon the "Slaveholder, GEORGE WASHINGTON," would not be out of order. The speakers never carry weight; they are rousing engines, without trains attached. They fire up and dash off at their own sweet wills. Collisions are in their line. Plunging against stonewalls and immoveable abutments, is down in the bill, and must not be wondered at. Hence their meetings are always full of interest, and very thickly attended.

  The other Society seems to work for the sake of the cause, and less for the sake of reforming. They enjoy the same speakers who are more at home in the other wigwam. They preach the same doctrine, so far as slavery is concerned, but they omit some of the cant and unctious twang. When the steam is up they go it with a rush, but they like to have the draws down, and would deign brake up, if they saw a rock on the track. They both own stock in the underground railroad, and make no bones of drumming up passengers for it. They are droll, earnest, amusing company, view them from any point, but the down-Easters, the Garrisonians, the "American Anti-Slavery" people are a little the drollest. To look at them when in a business meeting, where blacks and whites, men, women and Bloomers are mingled together on an equal footing, to see the delicate, tender-looking women, the withered Junos, the tough, husky sun-burnt, thin-faced subjects, who look as if each one had his one idea, with which each muscle of his body was thoroughly saturated, and in it pickled, the only smooth, subtle, mild, gently-worded men, keen as razors, and of extraordinary temper, to see the bearded ones, beards flaming red, hanging down to the breast, with unbarbered long hair hanging in curls or in unwaving lines, Quakers in broad-brims, and Quakeresses with their knitting work in hand, to see them as they are always to be seen on such occasions is worth a trip from Key West to New-York on horseback. Such incarnations of so many and such impracticable reforms we do not anywhere else see together; and, so long as people are wise, they will let them hurl their harmless thunders and enjoy the spectacle. If Southerners have any fears from the organized Abolitionists, this is not the Society they need to watch. The "American and Foreign" is a working institution, of business-like habits. They are the ones that claim the Mrs. STOWES, and are busy pulling at the rusty links about the Uncle Toms. What tools they are laboring with, what success rewards their labors, and how they feel about it, may be seen in the abstracts of yesterday's proceedings, as elsewhere set down by our diligent Reporters.