The Voice of Duty (XHTML)
"Undo the heavy burdens—let the oppressed go free."
COMMUNITY PRESS, HOPEDALE, MILFORD, MASS.
We are here to honor liberty and to denounce slavery. To assert the rights of man, and to testify against oppression. To invigorate the love of freedom, and to deepen the detestation of tyranny. To proclaim the dictates of eternal justice, and to rebuke the wrongs done by man to man. We are here to do all this without respect of persons, without favor, and without fear. Man is man wherever he may exist. Liberty is liberty, and slavery is slavery wherever found. Justice is justice, and wrong is wrong, between men of all countries, complexions and conditions—alike. "As ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them," is the golden rule for all human beings. By this rule we must measure the justice of man to man, and determine the right or the wrong of his actions.
It is usual for our fourth of July orators to glorify liberty as the especial birth-right of American white men—while they overlook the condition of American colored men. To denounce British slavery, oppression and tyranny—while they are silent concerning American slavery, oppression and tyranny. To flatter their own countrymen with bombastic encomiums on their devotion to liberty, and the excellence of their republican institutions, instead of faithfully reproving them for their systematic violations of all their professed principles. It is time to be ashamed of this self-glorification, and to consider that an ounce of genuine reform is better than tons of panegyric. We honor liberty only when we make her impartial—the same for and to all men. We honor the memory of our patriot fathers only when we are faithful to carry out their highest professions. We are the friends of all really good institutions only when we disfellowship and endeavor to abolish those bad institutions which have grown up on the same soil. Even the good tree must be pruned that it may bring forth still fairer fruit. It is a pitiful weakness to crave perpetual flattery, and to be offended at wholesome reproof. We Americans have exhibited full enough of this weakness. We have lived on flattery long enough. We have been children long enough. We have been wheedled and befooled long enough by the sops and sugar plumbs of demagogues. It is time to be men—time to know our own faults—to understand our own diseases—to repent of our sins, and put away our reproach. To do this is to be men—to be wise, to be honorable, to be happy. "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Politicians thrive by trimming to the whims and caprices of the 'people—by managing them. True philanthropists and patriots by reforming the public sentiment; by bringing the people to identify their honor and prosperity with righteousness; by learning them to govern themselves. The only government that can meet the wants of man is one founded in the moral sense of the people—sustained by an enlightened public conscience. And no political institutions, however specious in
profession, or sacred in the veneration of the multitude, can endure, if erected on the sandy foundation of injustice and hypocrisy.
Yet it shocks many people to hear the least intimation that the fundamental laws of their country are false and unjust in any important respects—that they need and must receive essential amendments, in order to conform them to the law of God.— They take a man for a public enemy, or at least for a hair-braind fanatic, who tells them that the Constitution of the United States, so far as it is a league to uphold negro slavery, is a league to commit sin against God, man, and the self-evident truths of the national creed. They look on such a man as the defamer of his forefathers, the slanderer of republicanism, and virtually a traitor to the government. And yet what candid man can deny that this is the sober truth ? I hold it to be so. In saying this do I villify the memory of our patriot forefathers ? Do I give them no honor? Do I allow them no credit? I honor them with all my heart for their devotion to right principles, for all the truly noble traits in their character, for their fidelity to their own highest light. But because I honor their love of liberty, must I honor their compromises with slavery? Must I worship their weaknesses? MustI hallow their errors? Must I swear to trample on the rights of black men, and consecrate my heart's blood to maintain eternal oppression, because in an evil hour they were either deceived or betrayed into a guaranty of wrong? Am I to follow them farther than they followed truth and righteousness? Or must I renounce all power to judge and determine what is right—implicitly consenting and obliging myself to all that they judged expedient. O great and venerated men, speak from the land of shades, and forbid us to follow you farther than you followed liberty and justice! Ye were noble and great, but only so as ye were good. Ye are now where all delusions have passed away, and I know that equity and rectitude are paramount with you to all fame and all policy. So let them be with us.
And the Constitution of the United States, am I obliged to place it above Christianity—above the laws of Jehovah? May I not approve what is right in it, without sanctifying its wrong? Because I admire a handsome face, must I also admire the cancer on it which I see beginning to eat away all its beauty! I stand on a higher platform than any mere human compact. I try all human constitutions and laws by the criterion of the divine law—by those great fundamental principles of moral rectitude which are coeval with God himself, and which can never be violated without subverting the welfare of creation. It is not in the power of man, no not of all the wise men on earth, assembled in one grand deliberative convention, to make hatred right, injustice right, cruelty right, or any single action right which is inherently wrong. Men may expound and apply the laws of divine rectitude to the social relations of a people, but they cannot make or unmake right. Here we plant our feet, and here we assume to reject and denounce all the works of iniquity whenever, or in whomsoever exhibited. Washington, Adams, Hancock and their patriot compeers stand before this judgment seat on the same level with Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, and the meanest of mankind. The right and the noble, the good and the true shall here be honored. The wrong and the base, the vile and the false be condemned. Persons are here put second to principles; names and forms to things. At the same bar we try the Constitution of the United States and the British Charter. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, in spite of all human opinions, customs, constitutions and governments. And the man that does not take this sublime position is unfit to expound human duty, or guide mankind into happiness. "For if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch together." If
I am taken to be the enemy of man, of my country, or social order for occupying such ground as this, I can afford to suffer all the reproach and injury which ignorance and selfishness may be permitted to inflict upon me. But I persuade myself that I am surrounded by men and women on this occasion who sympathise with me, and can respond cordially to the utterance of such truths. And believing this I demand the verdict of this congregation on the case of american slavery. Is this nation guilty, or not guilty? I mean the whole American people, who are confederated under the national constitution, and who are in league to govern and be governed according to the prescriptions of that instrument. In sorrow I charge this great nation, North and South, East and West, with the guilt of slaveholding. With having solemnly covenanted together to uphold slavery and all its necessary concomitant evils, by legislative, judicial and military power. Is this a true and just charge? Who can deny it? And what is the guilt involved in this charge? Is it a light and venial guilt? Is it a small sin for a professedly free, moral and religious people to commit? What would it be for the greatest tyrant on earth who acknowledged no higher principle than that 'might makes right;' what would it be for him to send his minions to these free hills and ravish away one family from your midst—doom one father, mother, son and daughter to the condition of American slaves!—declare them to be henceforth things, 'chattels personal,' mere human cattle—to abolish the sacred tie of marriage between them, the relation of parent and child, the obligation of brother and sister; so that the fond husband must see his wife forced into the arms of a brutal overseer whenever lust prompted, or carried off in a coffle to a distant region to toil under a more scorching sun, and be compelled to bear offspring by other men—and those offspring in turn subjected to a similar or worse fate. So that the father and brother must not only drink the bitter cup to its dregs, but have no right to protest like men against the most flagitious wrong which could be done to a wife, a daughter, a mother and sister—nor they be suffered to pour their tender sympathies into the lacerated bosoms of their dearest kin! O that horrible condition—man a thing! the property of man! Imbruted as if a beast; watched and punished as if a human being; mocked with the form of marriage; tantalized with the obligations of husband, parent, child, yet allowed to act the part of neither, except at the will of an owner! Commanded to keep the whole law, yet compelled to break every precept in the decalogue—to worship God and do only his will, yet make a master's whims the highest law! Robbed of all that exalts and ennobles human nature! Purchased with the blood of Christ, and urged to be a Christian, yet owned, sold, trafficked in, worked, scourged, killed, by inches, even by professed members of the church of Christ! Prostituted, polluted, degraded, outraged! My soul is sick, my heart is pained at the bare thought of slavery in its most moderate aspect. How could I go down and grind in that, prison house! How could I see my bosom companion, my dear son, or daughter reduced to that condition! What bribe would induce me to consent to it? What but the direst necessity would bring me to such a fate? But if a whole nation should league together to reduce me and my family to this same slavery; if they should agree to sit and make laws with my oppressor, whereby to keep me down; if they should pledge all their property and military force to my master, to compel me back again when I ran away, and put on my shackles again when I should dare to revolt from him, O what then could I do! what hope but death, or the awful vindication of God himself, would remain to me? There you all stand consenting with the oppressor. He says I am his property; you say amen. He says he has as good a right to control
and dispose of me, as you have of your horse or your dog;and you consent that it is even so. He says he will scourge or kill me, if I dare resist his will; you swear that you will help him execute his threats. He has got your word, your promise, your bond, your very oath, that you will assist him by force and arms to keep me and all my posterity in slavery as long as he chooses. You are in intimate fellowship with him. You make merry with him on the lash-extorted earnings of his slaves. You call him a respectable gentleman and a Christian. You give your daughters in marriage to his sons, and ask his daughters to wife for your sons. You sit and make laws with him. You put him into the chief places of power. You make merchandise of what he calls property, and grow rich by the prodigality which his indolence engenders. You go to war and fight by his side. You sit down in the house of God with him and profess to observe the ordinances of religion, as if all these things were acceptable to the supreme God. And whenever a man dares to plead for these dumb sufferers, and to rebuke you for consenting to all this iniquity;you bid him mind his own business, denounce him as a fanatic, a treason plotter, a
disturber of the church and state. What does all this mean? Is there not a cause? Again I ask, if all this were done by a tyrant, or a nation of tyrants, who made no pretensions to freedom, republicanism or morality, would it not be a horribly sin against humanity and God?
But now all this, and a thousand times more of wrong than I can describe is done in the name, by the authority, with the consent, and under the solemn sanction of the liege citizens of these United States. By a people professing to hold as self-evident truths, that all men (black and white) are created equal; are endowed with certain inalienable rights—"among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." By a people who disdained to pay even a three penny tax to England, without a voice in her parliament, because it was an infraction of their natural rights. By a people who spent millions of money, and rivers of blood to maintain their own independence. By a people whose poets, orators, senators and statesmen are forever glorifying liberty, and extolling themselves as its greatest votaries. By a people whose land is full of Churches, Theological Seminaries, Bible Societies, Missionary societies, Tract Societies, Education Societies, &c. &c. This is the people who can coolly impose a bondage on two and a half millions of their fellow beings "one hour of which" as Jefferson says, "is fraught with more misery than ages of that which their fathers rose in rebellion to resist." This is the people who, as Pinckney says, can "sermonize it with liberty for their text and oppression for their commentary." Who can piously send the Bible to Hindoostan, and at the same time prohibit it to their own slaves. Who can sell a man to equip a missionary for the antipodes while they multiply heathen at the rate of 60,000 a year in their own country, and forbid this same heathen to be taught how to read the New Testament under the severest penalties. Some of whose churches can own a part of their own members; and occasionally sell one to purchase communion plate! Is there a God? and is he just? Does he love righteousness and hate robbery for burnt offering? And will he not visit for these things? Will not his "soul be avenged on such & nation as this!" And when he rises up to judgment, who, shall stand in his presence? Give your verdict; is this nation guilty or not guilty, even this whole people, who are in league to uphold these complicated and tremendous wrongs? Guilty, guilty! must be your verdict. Then repent. Let every man, woman and child make haste to repent of this great sin—of all participation, consent or aid in this system of iniquity. By all the
professions of republicanism which you are making before the world, by all the dictates of reason, by all the impulses of humanity, by all the awful sanctions of religion, by every consideration of temporal and eternal good which can move a conscientious mind, I conjure you to separate yourselves and wash your hands forever of this horrible abomination. Let no man of you lay down to sleep again till he can honestly say, "I am clear of the blood of these 2500,000 slaves. I neither own any of them, nor help hold them in bondage, nor consent to the wrongs done them, nor fellowship their oppressors politically or religiously, nor refrain from pleading their cause by word and deed before the world. Their wrongs are my wrongs, their rights are my rights, their case is my case; I will do unto and for them, as I would have them do unto and for me, were I in their place and they in mine." This is all I ask, as the friend and advocate of our common humanity. Less than this you cannot render and be innocent. Do you render all this? Will you render it? Consider well what you promise before you give your pledge; and then fulfil it.
But you will ask me if this is my method of abolishing slavery? It is. And what other so true and effectual can be devised? Do you doubt either the practicability or success of this method? If every individual on this side Mason and Dixon a line would take this stand, the current of public sentiment would immediately sweep slavery from the whole South. Public opinion sustains slavery; public opinion only can abolish it. And public opinion is nothing but the confluence of individual opinion. If only one hundred persons in every town of the so called free States, all good, true and consistent, would take the stand I have conjured you individually to take, slavery would fall before their combined moral efforts within five years. Let these one hundred persons include the leading influences of every town, those who are considered the first men and women, the religious, literary, professional, respectable characters, and the work would be done in two years time. Will they volunteer in so good a cause? Will the professed ministers of Christ take this stand? Will the lawyers, physicians, merchants and school teachers take this stand? Will the best families, who wish to be considered at the head of society, take this stand? Will our candidates for civil office take this stand? Or is the sacrifice too great for these leading characters to make? Shall we have those with us who ought to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth? Or must we depend on the plain common people, or perhaps on the publicans and sinners to take this noble stand? Must it be as it has been so many times before, that "the last shall be first and the first last?" Be it so, if so it must be to the glory of God. If these things must be hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes—if "not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; if the foolish things of the world have been chosen to confound the wise, and weak things to confound the mighty, and base and despised things to bring to nought the things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence," all we can say is "even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." But the work will be done, and blessed are they who willingly lend themselves as instruments through self-sacrifice, and reproach to accomplish the glorious result.
But says one, "if I take your position, I can never hold office again under the present Federal Constitution." Why not? Because I must swear or affirm to support that Constitution, as it is." Will they not allow you to go to Congress, or to sit on the judicial bench protesting against the pro-slavery parts of the Constitution, and reserving your rights of conscience, your allegiance to God? 'No.' Then, for righteousness' sake, never take office again under that Constitution till it is
amended. Will you go into office swearing to a lie and binding yourself to uphold all the crimes forbidden in the decalogue, for the sake of its honors and emoluments, or even for the sake of any imaginable good you could do your country? If you could not have office except by first committing robbery, or adultery, would you accept it on such conditions? But if you commit slave holding either as principal, or accomplice, you commit indirectly, or at least give your sanction to, daily thousands of robberies and adulteries. You ought to be horror-struck and ashamed to take office on such terms. You have no right to do evil that good may come. But say you, "if for these reasons I cannot take office under the Federal Constitution so neither can 1 vote any one else into office under it, as my representative or agent." Why not? "Because I must be a qualified citizen before I can vote, and to be a qualified citizen I must be under an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. I must be a consenting, covenanting party to it. I must bind myself to abide by it as the rule of my political practice. If I am not under allegiance to the Constitution, I am a mere subject of the government, not a qualified participant in it—not a voter. Besides, how can I put another into a place which I could not myself occupy? So then I cannot even vote under the Constitution without endorsing it as it is, pro-slavery and all." Well then, I say, if this be so, quit the ballot-box. If you cannot even cast your vote without consenting to the rightfulness of slavery, without getting your hand and seal to a bond which obliges you to uphold this concentration of all crimes and abominations, for righteousness' sake, for the sake of all that is good and great, become a mere subject of the government. Cease tobe a governing citizen; cease to appear at the ballot-box; fall back upon your simple manhood; depend only on such means for reforming and governing as God and nature have given to every individual human being. Would not this be nobler than to sacrifice your principles and your conscience? "But if I should do so the profligate and unprincipled would have full control, and they would laugh good men, thus shorn of political power, to scorn. It would suit them right well. This is just what they want. Then all manner of crime would ride rampant through the land, unchecked and unrestrained." And so you must call light darkness, and put bitter for sweet, and turn judgment into wormwood and gall, for the sake of the political checks and restraints you could put on crime by voting and holding office! The end sanctifies the means, does it? It is right to do evil that good may come, is it? It is expedient to swear away the self-evident truths of religion and the declaration of independence, in order to get political power enough to restrain vice! Alas, for such short sighted wisdom—such self-thwarting expediency. If you mean to restrain crime, are you not bound to restrain a system which engenders and involves all crime? And do you propose to restrain that system by avouching its virtue and swearing to uphold it with all your might? I tell you, my friend, you are most deplorably mistaken in your notions of restraining crime, and in your estimate of political power. He who openly, constantly, conscientiously and consistently testifies against iniquity, by scrupulously disfellowshipping and abstaining from all participation in it, wields ten times, nay one hundred times, the real power against it, which he possibly could with any political force he might acquire by first consenting and swearing to support it. With armies and navies, police guards and prisons at his command, he would be weak, after once allowing himself to be shorn of his moral strength. Because he would then be but an armed hypocrite, forcing others by brute power to abstain from crimes far less dangerous to human welfare than those which he was obliged to commit in order to obtain office. We cannot cast
out Satan by Satanic power, nor put down sin with sin. You say that the profligate and vicious left in political power will laugh you to scorn. I tell you that those characters will then respect and dread you. They may affect to laugh, but their knees will soon begin to smite together in despair, as they see the handwriting of moral rebuke on the wall of their palaces. What can such characters do when stemming the great Mississippi of concentrated public sentiment? Can they bear to be loathed and abhorred by a whole virtuous people—to be shunned and detested as unfit to be received into decent society? Not they. Besides, many that we might think profligate in their moral principles are susceptible of being convicted and converted by these very means which you imagine they will laugh at. Some of the most determined slave holders, who are now willing to use our northern doe-faces as tools, hold them in sovereign contempt. They despise, they loathe them as most contemptible renegades to the principles of their moral education. And if one must be despised and hated by such men, would he not choose to be so as an honest consistent out-spoken abolitionist, rather than as a poor toad-eating traitor to anti-slavery moral principle? Well, say you, "let the religious influences move in this reform; let the ministers and churches denounce and disfellowship slavery, and we will not be behind them."
Do you hear this, ye ministers and professed disciples of him who came to preach deliverance to the captives; and who placed himself in the condition of a slave and a malefactor to redeem the world? Are you yet stumbling blocks in the way of the Lord, which is being cast up for his ransomed? What hinders you from solemnly declaring for a right public sentiment on this subject? You ought to lead; do ye wait for the multitude? Do you know the love of God as it is in Christ, and still not abhor slavery with your whole heart? Is there one of you who has a spirit to justify, apologise for, or treat with tolerant indifference this monstrous system of iniquity? If so I cannot argue with you; argument would be vain; but I forewarn you with grief that the day is approaching when the people shall come from the east and the west, the north and the south, and sit down with the emancipated slaves in the kingdom of God, while you will have a portion with the hypocrites and unbelievers. If there are such ministers and such professors, their house will be left unto them desolate. They shall not see the face of the Lord's annointed, till they bless his coming in every great work of reform. And you of the ministry, and church who see and feel your duty, will you lead off in this work? Or had you as lief that the publicans and harlots should get the start of you. If you do not move soon, the very slave drivers will come up from the far south and preach to you with penitent tears, as the reformed drunkards have to the moderate drinkers on temperance. Do you mean to wait for this? "What shall we do," you ask with anxiety "if our minister and the majority of our covenant brethren and sisters will not act, in this matter, and censure us for moving in it? What can we—what shall we do? Alas! is it so that these professed lights of the world will neither let their own light shine for the slave, nor allow you to let yours. It is a painful position that you are placed in. But there is no alternative; you must do your duty, whoever may approve or condemn. What would you do if a professed minister and church of Christ should treat unfashionable sins as they do the sin of slave-holding? If there were a body of horse-thieves and shop-lifters in the neighborhood, who had the effrontery to keep up the forms of public worship and a solemn profession of religious and moral respectability, and your minister and church fellowshipped, and apologised for or refused to testify against them, what would you do? If this same
clan should keep open a public brothel in their precinct, and this was connived at by your minister and church, or not unqualifiedly disfellowshipped and denounced, what would you feel obliged to do? Would you not feel bound to rebuke and withdraw from such a church? Could you esteem it the true church? Can there be concord between Christ and Belial? But say you "our minister and church can not see that slaveholding is necessarily sinful? Can they see that horse-stealing, sheep-stealing, fornication, adultery, gambling and sabbath-breaking are great sins, and yet riot see that man-stealing is sinful? Can they not see that a man is better than a sheep or a horse? And do they not know that slaveholding began with man-stealing; that it is neither more nor less than man-stealing persisted in? Do they not know from the impartial testimony of Jefferson, Breckenridge and a hundred other slave holders of the better sort, that the system of slavery is essentially a system which involves murder, adultery, robbery, theft, profanity and all manner of wickedness? How then can they make so much of ordinary unfashionable vices in detail, and not feel called on by every dictate of divine justice, truth and grace to denounce and utterly disfellowship this great complex iniquity of slave holding? If they do not see so plain a thing, labor in meekness to make them see it. If they proudly and self-righteously refuse to consider the matter, pity them, weep over them, but by all means separate from them. If Ephraim be a cake not turned, if he have joined himself to his idols, leave him alone. Such a minister and such a church have no title to your confidence or fellowship. They are not of the family of Christ. "For if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Again; "by their fruits shall ye know them. Men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles." Be meek and patient towards all, but fellowship not the works of darkness. Be not partakers of other men's sins. "Come out, be separate, touch not the unclean thing, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty.
The true church of Christ cannot and will not walk in fellowship with flagrant iniquity. If any church do fellowship such iniquity, the true Christian must disfellowship that. There is no other remedy. If this is the difficulty under which any of you labor, I know of no other escape for you. Be tender hearted, sincere, frank and faithful to the delinquent, but firm and uncompromising in principle, and you will prevail over all opposition.
But I will indulge the pleasing hope that our ministers and churches will ere long-learn to walk as becometh godliness in this matter; that they will redeem their reputation, and hasten to prepare the way of the Lord, by removing every stumbling block out of his path. If they neglect or refuse to do so, the work will be wrought by other hands. If the Jews count themselves unworthy of the honor which will crown the faithful in this great enterprise, we must turn to the Gentiles, to the common people. Here I know we shall not be disappointed. The bone, muscle, common sense and humanity of the middle classes of society are fast preparing for this blessed mission. They will "come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty." And when they move, church, state, gentry and all must move. Glorious developments are at hand. I look for the day when the slaveholding system will be abhorred and denounced as it deserves to be by the great mass of the people. When anti-slavery truth will be so diffused through all classes of society, that it will meet the monster of oppression at every corner and turn of the great social thoroughfare. O for that day, when a man shall feel insulted at the bare offer of political power by slaveholding hands; at the suggestion of going down south to seek a fortune; at the mere idea of making money out of southern prodi-
gality; at the idea of marrying a slave holder, or a slave holder's son or daughter while adhering to the foul system; at the idea of being a lawyer, a clergyman, a physician, a merchant, a banker, a planter, a familiar associate, consenting in any way to live out of, or tolerate slavery. To this complexion it must come at last. We must be the real friends of the slaveholder as well as of the slave, but he must be made to feel that we utterly loathe and abhor the thing—that we cannot tolerate its presence in any of the relations of life—that the sunny south with all its natural beauties and charms is a moral Sodom to us, so long as it remains a land of slavery—that no blandishments, no suavity of manners, no proffered hospitalities, can induce us to regard him in any other light than as an oppressor and destroyer of humanity. We have deceived him long enough. He is our brother, no worse by nature than we are, and not even so guilty in this same matter as many living under the northern lights. He has felt misgivings about the accursed system; but we have consented with him. He has been countenanced and encouraged by men high in church and state. We have flattered him to think that we were willing to share the profits and honors of his peculiar institution. We have worshipped with him as a brother Christian without reproof. We have legislated and judged by his side without rebuke. We have made family alliances with him without hesitation. In fine we have done all we could, by word and deed to make him feel that slave-holding was acceptable to God and ourselves. And now he is angry with those of us who tell him the sober truth. He is a spoiled child, and cannot bear to be cured. Slavery has done him almost as much injury as it has his degraded servants. He is in an unhappy state of mind. But if the mass of his northern brethren repent and do their duty, he will begin to think and feel as he ought. He has a great soul by nature—deep, generous good feelings—only they have been blunted, paralysed and pent up. He has a great conscience too, and when it shall have been fairly aroused by the power of truth, he will come out for anti-slavery with a spirit of self-sacrifice, and with a fervor of zeal which will put to shame our own tardy, reluctant philanthropy. Already the best souls at the south respond to the truths of the Anti-slavery creed. A little while, if we are faithful, and we shall see slave holders standing forth in the midst of their emancipated blacks, testifying against the great abomination, shedding tears of contrition in streams, and.followed every where by the joyous shouts of their grateful freedmen and women. O the luxury of a slave holder's repentance—the zest of that moral enthusiasm which he must feel in breaking the yoke, and seeing his negroes stand up repossessed of their natural rights! How many happy servants will cluster around their converted masters, and vow to live, and die with them! How many masters will rejoice to act as fathers and counsellors to their confiding dependents! Slavery will be abolished—not many years hence! The people will be happy! The cancer that is eating out the vitals of this republic will be removed. God will put away in mercy the guilt of five hard-hearted generations. The now angry masters of the south, and the most radical abolitionists of the north, will be the best of friends. This nation will renew a glorious career of moral enterprise, and be renowned for works of peace and love to the remotest bounds of the habitable earth. The negro race, elevated, purified, enlightened and brought into the practical virtues of Christianity, will be a chosen people to fulfil the great law of kindness. I see all this beaming in the verge of hope's horizon.
"O, that will be joyful, joyful, joyful,
the work of reform among the emancipate colored people. When they who once talked only of tar and feathers, or the hempen cord for our necks, shall meet us with a hearty, salutation—" God bless you, friends; we once hated you, but now we love you. You told us the truth, and we were enraged. We thought you our worst foes, but now we esteem you our truest friends; come, live and die with us!"Fathers, mothers, brethren, sisters, young men, maidens and little children interesting throng—Who of you will not labor for such a consummation as this? What heart here does not leap for joy at such a prospect? What bosom does not throb with new animation in this righteous cause? Is there one present who could bear to remember that he was cold and indifferent about the overthrow of this dreadful iniquity? While too many are celebrating the national independence by emptynoise, vain hilarity, and self complacent glorification, it has been our favored lot to honor it by contemplating the rights of the enslaved and the duties of a people that for more than sixty years have been inflicting the most grievous wrong; those whom they acknowledged equals with themselves in the great natural rights of man. It has been good to be here. Truths have been uttered, moral principles taught, hopes awakened, and generous sympathies strengthened, which canennoble and adorn all who cherish them. Let us go away resolved to double our diligence in the prosecution of this humane enterprise—to walk worthy of our anti-slavery calling—to be faithful unto death. Some of us will be called hence from our labors without beholding in the flesh the heart-stirring scenes of that glorious jubilee for which we are laboring. I hope to witness them before I leave this tabernacle. Yet if I do not, if many of you do not, it shall be well; God's will be done. But you, ruddy young men, blooming maidens, sprightly children, most of you, will probably see such a day of rejoicing and of public gladness, as we have never experienced. Liberty will be proclaimed "throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof." The bells of all our churches will then for once be rung in earnest sincerity. Our poets and orators will for once find honest scope for their sweetest, most eloquent strains. The fourth of July will then for the first time be celebrated "without partiality and without hypocrisy." The American people will then have become truly free, independent and honorable among the nations. The heavens will be bowed in benediction to the earth, and the dawn of universal peace streak the eastern sky. Man will begin to feel the ties of his original brotherhood, and to know that his own and his brother's good are one and indivisible. O, let "hope on and hope ever," labor on and labor ever, in the vineyard of reform, all be realized which was comprehended in the angelic song, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men."