An Address Delivered in Marlboro Chapel, Boston, July 4, 1838 (XHTML)
MARLBORO CHAPEL, BOSTON,
July 4, 1838.
BY WM. LLOYD GARRISON.
PUBLISHED BY ISAAC KNAPP,
No. 25, Cornhill.
Fellow Citizens: What a glorious day is this! What a glorious people are we! This is the time-honored wine-honored, toast-drinking, powder-wasting, tyrant-killing fourth of July—consecrated, for the last sixty years, to bombast, to falsehood, to impudence, to hypocrisy. It is the great carnival of republican despotism, and of Christian impiety, famous the world over! Since we held it last year, we have kept securely in their chains, the stock of two millions, three hundred thousand slaves we then had on hand, in spite of every effort of fanaticism to emancipate them; and, through the goodness of God, to whom we are infinitely indebted for the divine institution of negro slavery, have been graciously enabled to steal some seventy thousand babes, to increase of that stack, and expect to steal a still greater number before 'another glorious' anniversary shall come round! We have again struck down the freedom of speech in Congress, and utterly banished it from one half of the Union, by the aid of pistols, bowie-knives, and lynch-law. We have also
renewedly decided, in both houses of Congress, that the right of petition is not to be allowed to those who are the advocates of immediate and universal emancipation. As to the Indian tribes, we have done the best we could to expel and exterminate them; and the blood upon our hands, and the gore upon our garments, show that our success has almost equaled our wishes. We have driven the Cherokees, at the point of the bayonet, into a distant wilderness, from their abodes of civilization—violated the most solemn treaties ever entered into between man and man—and committed nameless and numberless outrages upon the domestic security and personal rights of these hapless victims,—all for the laudable purpose of getting their lands, that the 'divine institution' of slavery may be extended, and perpetuated to the latest generation, as 'the corner-stone of our republican edifice!' We have trampled all law and order under foot, resolved society into jacobinical clubs, and filled the land with mobs and riots which have ended in arson and murder, in order to show our abhorrence of those who 'plead for justice in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God.' Hail Columbia! happy land! Hail, the return of the fourth of July, that we may perjure ourselves afresh, in solemnly invoking heaven and earth to witness, that 'we hold these truths to be self-evident—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness!" 'Sound the trumpet—beat the drum!' Let the bells give their merriest peals to the breeze—unfurl every star-spangled banner—thunder mightily, ye, cannon, from every hill-top—and let shouts arise from every plain and valley; for tyrants and their
minions shall find no quarter at our hands this day!
I use strong language, and will make no apology for it, on this occasion. In contemplating this subject, no man, who is true to his nature, can speak but in the language of hot displeasure, and caustic irony, and righteous denunciation. Every word will burn like molten lead, and every sentence glow like flaming fire. What are they but a nation of dastards, who, making high pretentions to honesty and a sacred regard for the rights of man, are seen, year after year, openly and shamelessly reducing one-sixth part of the population to chains and slavery, herding the sexes together like beasts, robbing them of the fruits of a toil extorted by a cart-whip, and shutting out from their minds, as far as practicable, all knowledge, both human and divine? The catalogue of our crimes and abominations is without end; and there is nothing that can be tortured into an excuse or apology for their perpetration. Will any man call this declamation? Granted! The day is consecrated to the declamation, such as burst from the lips of James Otis, and Joseph Warren, and Patrick Henry, in the days when a three-penny tax upon tea was not to be endured, and when taxation without representation was deemed an outrage worth periling the lives of the colonists to dress!—Declamation? Who will venture to utter that taunt? Is the picture I have sketched overdrawn? Can the most lynx-eyed lawyer detect a single flaw in the indictment? The facts being admitted, metaphasics are rendered needless. As a freeman, I require no argument to convince me, that to enslave or oppress one of my race, is to lift the battle-axe of
sedition against the throne of God. Honest, righteous, soul-stirring declamation, against tyranny, is music in my ears. But what harmony is there between the clanking of chains, and the shouts of the forgers of those chains? Between the shrieks of lacerated and bleeding humanity, and the hauntings of those who wield the lash? Between the groans of toil-worn slaves, and the exultations of hypocritical freemen?
IMMEDIATE EMANCIPATION DEMANDED.
I present myself as the advocate of my enslaved countrymen, at a time when their claims cannot be shuffled out of sight, and on occasion which entitles me to a respectful hearing in their behalf. If I am asked to prove their title to liberty, my answer is, that the fourth of July is not a day to be wasted in establishing 'self-evident truths.' In the name of the God, who has made us of one blood, and in whose images we are created; in the name of the Messiah, who came to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; in the name of the Holy Ghost, whom to despise is to perish; I demand the immediate emancipation of all who are pining in slavery on the American soil, whether they are fattening for the shambles in Maryland and Virginia, or are wasting, as with a pestilent disease, on the cotton and sugar plantations of Alabama and Louisiana; whether they are males or females, young or old, vigorous or infirm. I make this demand, not for the children merely, but the parents also; not for one, but for all; not with restrictions and limitations, but unconditionally. I assert their perfect equality with ourselves, as a part of the human race, and their inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That this demand is founded in justice, and is therefore irresistible, the whole nation is this day acknowledging, as upon oath at the bar of the world. And not until, by a formal vote, the people repudiate the Declaration of Independence as a rotten and dangerous instrument, and cease to keep this festival in honor of liberty, as unworthy of note or remembrance; not until they spike every cannon, and muffle every bell, and disband every procession, and quench every bonfire, and gag every orator; not until they brand Washington, and Adams, and Jefferson, and Hancock, and fanatics and madmen; not until they place themselves again in the condition of colonial subserviency to Great Britain, or transform this republic into an imperial government; not until they cease to point exultingly toward Bunker Hill, and the plains of Concord and Lexington; not, in fine, until they deny the authority of God, and proclaim themselves to be destitute of principle and humanity; will I argue the question, as one of doubtful disputation, on an occasion like this, whether our slaves are entitled to the rights and privileges of freemen. That question is settled irrevocably. There is no man to be found, unless he has a brow of brass and a heart of stone, who will dare to contest it on a day like this. A state of vassalage is pronounced, by universal acclamation, to be such as no man, or body of men, ought to submit to for one moment. I therefore tell the American slaves, that the time for their emancipation is come; that, their own task-masters being witnesses, they are created equal to the rest of mankind, and possess an inalienable right to liberty; and that no man has a right to hold them in bondage. I warn them not to fight for their freedom, both on account of the hopelessness of the effort, and because it
is contrary to the will of God; but I tell them, not less emphatically, it is not wrong in them to refuse to wear the yoke of slavery any longer. Let them shed no blood—enter into no conspiracies—raise no murderous revolts; but, whenever and wherever they can break their fetters, God give them the courage to do so! And should they attempt to elope from their house of bondage, and come to the North, may each of them find a covert form the search of the spoiler, and an invincible public sentiment to shield them form the grasp of the kidnapper! Success attend them in their flight to Canada, to touch whose monarchical soil insures freedom to every republican slave!
Is this preaching sedition? Sedition against what? Not the lives of southern oppressors—for I renew the solemn injunction. 'Shed no blood!'—but against unlawful authority, and barbarous usage, and unrequited toil. If slaveholders are still obstinately bent upon plundering and starving their long-suffering victims, why, let them look well to the consequences. To save them from danger, I am not obligated to suppress the truth, or to stop proclaiming liberty 'throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.' No, indeed. There are two important truths, which, as far as practicable, I mean every slave shall be made to understand. The first is, that he has a right to his freedom now; the other is that this is recognized as a self-evident truth in the Declaration of American Independence. Sedition, forsooth! Why, what are the American people doing this day? In theory, maintaining the freedom and equality of the human race; and in practice, declaring that all tyrants ought to be extirpated from the face
of the earth! We are giving to our slaves the following easy sums for solution:―If the principle involved in a three-penny tax on tea, justified a seven years’ war, how much blood may be lawfully spilt in resisting the principle, that one human being has a right to the body and soul of another, on account of the color of his skin? Again:―If the impressments of 6000 American seamen, by Great Britain, furnished sufficient cause for a bloody struggle with that nation, and the sacrifice of hundreds of millions of capital, in self-defence, how many lives may be taken, by way of retribution, on account of the enslavement of more than two millions of American laborers?
DANGER OF INSURRECTION.
Oppression and insurrection go hand in hand, as cause and effect are allied together. In what age of the world have tyrants reigned with impunity, or the victims of tyranny not resisted unto blood? Besides our own grand insurrection against the authority of the mother country, there have been many insurrections, during the last two hundred years, in various sections of the land, on the part of the victims of our tyranny, but without the success that attended our own struggle. The last was the memorable one in Southampton, Virginia, headed by a black patriot, nicknamed, in the contemptuous nomenclature of slavery, Nat Turner. The name does not strike the ear so harmoniously as that of Washington, or Lafayette, or Hancock, or Warren; but the name is nothing. It is not in the power of all the slaveholders upon earth, to render odious the memory of that sable chieftain. 'Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God,' was our revolutionary motto. We acted upon that motto—what more did Nat Tur-
ner? Says George McDuffie, 'A people who deliberately submit to oppression, with a full knowledge that they are oppressed, are fit only to be slaves. No tyrant ever made a slave—no community, however small, having the spirit of freemen, ever yet had a master. It does not belong to men to count the costs, and celebrate the hazards of vindicating their rights, and defending their liberties!—So reasoned Nat Turner, and acted accordingly. Was he a patriot or a monster? Do we mean to say to the oppressed of all nations, in the 62d year of our independence, and on the 4th of July, that example in 1776 was a bad one, and ought not to be followed? As a christian abolitionist, I, for one, am prepared to say so—but are the people ready to say, that no chains ought to be broken by the hand of violence, and no blood spilt in defence of inalienable human rights, in any quarter of the globe? If not, then our slaves will peradventure take us at our word, and there will be given unto us blood to drink, for we are worthy. Why accuse abolitionists of stirring them up to insurrection? The charge is false—but what if it were true? If any man has a right to fight for liberty, this right equally extends to all men subjected to bondage. In claiming this right for themselves, the American people necessarily concede it to all mankind. If, therefore, they are found tyrannizing over any part of the human race, they voluntarily seal their own death-warrant, and confess that they deserve to perish.
'What are the banners ye exalt?—the deeds
That raised your fathers' pyramid of fame?
Ye show the wound that still in history bleeds,
And talk exulting of the patriot's name—
Then, when your words have a kindred flame,
And slaves behold the freedom ye adore,
And deeper feel their sorrow and their shame,
Ye double all the fetters that they wore,
And press them down to earth, till hope exults no
'THE 'RECREANT AMERICAN.'
You remember the meeting of citizens that was held in Faneuil Hall, in December last, to express sentiments of alarm and horror, in view of the bloody tragedy at Alton. Among the speakers, on that occasion was the Attorney General of this Commonwealth, who, (to use legal and technical phraseology,) 'being instigated by the devil, and with malice prepense,' wickedly stood forth as the condemner and slanderer of the martyred dead, and boldly justified the conduct of Alton rioters and assassins, capping the climax of his audacity by ranking them with those revolutionary patriots, who threw the tea overboard in Boston harbor! He should have been hurled from his office, as if struck by a flaming thunderbolt. With all the fertility of his malevolent genius, the sum total of his allegations against the lamented Lovejoy,— 'who, being dead, yet speaketh,'—was precisely this. 'In the State of Missouri,' he said, 'an individual undertook to establish a newspaper, the effect of which was to stimulate the slaves to deeds of violence and insurrection.' I need not stop to say, that the charge was false; let us see how it was usstained by the speaker. He says—'They [the slaves] were told of their rights.' And has it come to this, in republican America, the vaunted 'land of the free and home of the brave,' that it is a crime, worthy to be punished by assassination, for a citizen to maintain, that all men are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights? Then let every man, who shall venture to read the Declaration of Independence this day, be
shot down in the pulpit, or stabbed with a bowie knife in the streets! What is he doing but 'stimulating the slaves to deeds of violence and insurrection' ? Not tell men of their rights, under the pains and penalties of lynch law? I tell that 'recreant American,' if he hold to that doctrine, that he is better qualified to be a serf in Russia, than to fill the station he now occupies in the free Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Not to assert the rights of the oppressed, wherever pining in bondage, is to fall down and worship the Moloch of Despotism.
TELLING SLAVES OF THEIR WRONGS.
But Lovejoy, it seems, had the audacity to tell the slaves, not only 'of their rights,' but also 'of their wrongs'! That must have been a rare piece of information to them, truly! Tell a man who has just had his back flayed by the lash, till a pool of blood is at his feet, that somebody has flogged him! Tell him who wears an iron collar upon his neck, and a chain upon his heels, that his limbs are fettered, as if he knew it not! Tell him who wears an iron collar upon his neck, and a chain upon his heels, that his limbs are fettered, as if he knew it not! Tell those who receive no compensation for their toil, that they are unrighteously defrauded! O, but the Attorney General is facetious as well as ferocious! In spite of all their whippings, and deprivations, and forcible separations,—the husband from his wife, and the mother from her babe, like cattle in the market, it seems that the slaves must have realized a heaven of blissful ignorance, until their halcyon dreams were disturbed by the pictorial representations and exciting descriptions of the abolitionists! What! Have not the slaves eyes? have they not hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Are they not fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed
by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as freemen are? 'If we prick them, do they not bleed? If we tickle them, do they not laugh? If we poison them, do they not die, and if we wrong them, will they not revenge?' 'By no means—it is all a mistake!' retorts the Attorney General; 'the slaves of the south do not belong to our species, but are a collection of lions, tigers, hyenas, an elephant, a jackass or two, and monkeys in plenty,'—I am particular in quoting accurately his decent and dignified phraseology. Be it so, that the slaves are not men, but beasts. The crime of Lovejoy, then consisted in telling 'ANIMALS' of their rights, and of their wrongs'—and for this, he deserved to be murdered! And for this, too, his murderers deserve to rank in history with the patriots of '76! Now, I know of no law in this republic, which forbids any man telling donkeys and apes 'of their rights, and of their wrongs,' or establishing a newspaper, whether in Missouri or elsewhere, to plead their identity with the human race; and if he should dare to utter and publish the most inflammatory sentiments, and even call upon the beasts of the filed to arise as one man, in self-defence, I can scarcely apprehend that the Union would be endangered, or any blood spilt.
WHO ARE WILD BEASTS.
But, while the learned gentleman, in his eagerness to uphold the murderous slave-system, is thus compelled to argue like an inmate of Bedlam, now recognizing the slaves as human beings, and anon associating them with four-footed beasts and creeping things; while it is certain, that, whether black or white, whether bond or free, we are all made of one blood, and are all heirs of immortality—our Creator giving
to us all the same commands and the same promises, and requiring of us the same obligations, the same duties, and the same obedience, and warning us that we shall receive the same penalties or rewards, realize the same heaven or hell, be judged by the same standard, and inhabit the same eternity: yet it is indisputable that there is some portion of the American people, who seem to have degenerated into the fiercest of beasts, and to have lost every lineament of the divine image in which they were created—and they are the slaveholders of the South. Most graphically has that eloquent and renowned champion of universal emancipation, the great Irish patriot O'Connell, described them as 'two-legged wolves.' He who defends them partakes of their bestiality. And, surely, it needed the indwelling of a spirit, fierce and relentless as that of a tiger and hyena combined, for a sworn office; of the law to stand up before all the people, in the old Cradle of Liberty, and, first of all, committing rank perjury by justifying mobs, and eulogizing as patriotic a deed that has caused a shuddering sensation round the world, next proceeding to deny the immortality of his own species, and to charge the murdered champion of liberty, whose blood is crying unto heaven for vengeance with a voice drowning the roar of a thousand artilleries, with having died as a fool dieth!
FREEDOM A UNIVERSAL BIRTH-RIGHT.
Another charge brought against the Alton martyr, by the Faneuil Hall declaimer, was, that he told the slaves of Missouri, 'no power of man could JUSTLY held them in BONDAGE.' Indeed! And will the Attorney General dare to deny that proposition? Is it not one of the 'self-evident truths' of the Declara-
tion we profess to revere, next to holy writ? And, for giving it utterance, did Lovejoy deserve to be assassinated? Then every American, subscribing to that Declaration, ought to be as summarily exterminated, and thrown into a bloody grave—
'Unwept, unhonored, and unsung."
Hail, ye despots of Europe, with your Holy Alliance for the enslavement of a world! Rally your forces, and combine to blot out of existence the seditious republic of North America, for thundering in the ears of the victims of your tyranny, the insurrectionary doctrine, that all men are both free and equal; that it is 'better to die ten thousand deaths than be a bondman'; and that 'when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to THROW OFF such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.' And when you shall have succeeded, as peradventure you may, in quenching the light of this republic in the blood of its inhabitants—when there shall not be left one soul to give free utterance to its thoughts respecting your despotism, or to lift up the battle-cry, 'For God and Liberty,' in the ears of your servile population—then, having razed to the earth every building but FANEUIL HALL, now decorated with whips and chains, and guarded by the Genius of Tyranny, enter into it, and standing the very foot-prints of your illustrious predecessor, scornfully exclaim, in view of the havoc you have made, 'Died AMERICA as a fool dieth!' Tell the world, that there was at least one 'recreant American,' who gave you 'scripture for the deed.' And gravely admonish the horror-
stricken nations, that, as 'the best way to prevent mobs, is, to do nothing to excite a mob,* so the best way to prevent such terrible desolation, is, for mankind to do nothing to excite your despotic fury, but to wear submissively their chains!
But Lovejoy is arraigned on another specification by this lawless lawyer. In the Alton Observer, he says, 'what is termed a moral suasion was poured out upon their masters, to induce them to give freedom to their slaves, with the idea conveyed to their slaves that, if their masters did not give them their freedom, they might take it by force.' The charge is false—Lovejoy conveyed to the slaves no other idea than this, that they must not resort to violence, but trust for deliverance to those spiritual weapons which their friends were wielding so successfully, and which are mighty, through God, to the pulling down even of the strong hold of slavery. But, what if he did tell them, that, 'if their masters did not give them their freedom, they might take it by force?' What says Bunker Hill on that subject? What are those shoutings in the streets, and what all 'the pomp and circumstance' of this great jubiliee, but confirmation of this revolutionary 'idea?'
HORRORS OF SLAVERY.
Fellow-citizens! At this hour—O, blush for shame!—on this advent of Liberty, there are millions of our countrymen in chains, not in Turkey or Algiers, but in our very midst! And such a fate, and such woes, and such deprivations, and such liabilities, and such torments, as are theirs!—and such owners, and such over-
* Vide speech in Faneuil Hall.
seers, and such drivers, as are theirs!—and such breaking of heart-strings, and such darkening of intellects, and such ruin of souls, as are theirs!—'without God, and without hope,' without the bible, without marriage, without recompense for their toils, without the slightest personal protection, and without any prospect of escape!—ranked and herded with brute beasts and treated accordingly!—their bodies branded with red hot irons, or scarred by the flesh-devouring lash, or galled by the iron chain! and their spirits, 'which are God's' troddeth upon at every stride of despotism, till they are crushed to the earth—or if, by the power of the Holy Ghost, any of them chance be 'born again,' this fact is duly announced by the auctioneer whenever they are brought under his hammer for sale; for it is notorious, that christians bring higher prices as working cattle in the United States, then unbelievers—a 'Christ within' being considered as enhancing the value of every chattel!—These things are trite, because they are true; but are they less dreadful on that account.
WHAT SHALL BE DONE?
Now, what shall we do in this case? Shall we forbear to deliver those who are drawn unto death, and ready to be slain? Or shall we bid them be of good cheer, for their redemption draws nigh, and the dawn of emancipation is lighting up the east, and shining even unto the South and West? Shall we recognize them as one with ourselves, and tell them of their rights, and that 'no power of man can justly hold them in bondage?' Or shall we be recreant to our common humanity; recreant to the God who made us, by refusing to open our mouths for the suffering and the dumb? Shall
we join hands with their cruel oppressors, and forge new chains for their limbs, and sink them still lower in the abyss of misery? Shall we basely bow the knee to 'the dark spirit of slavery'—suffer gags to be put into our mouths, and padlock our lips—lest we put in peril the safety of the despot, and stir up rebellious feedings in the bosoms of his victims, by our free speech? That is the question—are we ready to decide upon it this day, while worshipping at the shrine of Freedom one and all? Do as you please—each to his own Master must stand or fall. For one, my decision is made up. It is not to be gagged, not to be fettered, and not to bow the neck or bend the knee—but still to
'Speak in a slumbering nation's ear,
As truth should e'er be spoken,
Until the dead again shall hear,
The fetter's link be broken.'
I am still resolved to link my destiny with that of the slave, to plead his cause, to rebuke his oppressor, and to AGITATE THE LAND, whether there be over my head a serene or a troubled sky—whether round about me are the elements of peace of strife, whether men will hear or forbear. The effect I have in view is godlike—the principles I enumerate are just, immutable, eternal and the result of the contest must be the downfall of slavery, either there with or without the consent of the plaintiffs, either by the power of moral suasion or by physical force, either by a peaceful or a bloody process. Die it must, and die soon—but whether a peaceful or a violent death, it is for us to determine.
AN UNEQUAL CONTEST.
It is useless, it is dreadful, it is impious for this nation longer to contend with the Almighty.
All his attributes are against us, and on the side of the oppressed. Is it not a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? Who may abide the day of his coming, and shall stand when he appeareth as 'a swift witness against the adulterers, and against false-swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger form his right?' Woe to this bloody land! It is all full of lies and robbery—the prey departeth not, and the sound of a whip is heard continually, "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yes, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil, maketh himself a prey.' The Lord sees it, and is displeased that there is no judgment; and he hath put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and is clad with zeal as a cloak—and, unless we repent by immediately undoing the heavy burdens and letting the oppressed go free, according to our deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies. 'The Lord extendeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.' 'O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that smote Egypt in their first-born: for his mercy endureth for ever. And overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.' 'Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.' 'Even so, Lord God Almighty, for so it seemed good in thy sight.' 'Who is like unto thee, O Lord,
among the gods! Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?'
I have said, that slavery and insurrection, like cause and effect, are inseparable. It has been so in all countries, and in all ages. Is this slaveholding republic to form an exception? Why? Because the enormity of its oppression is unsurpassed by any thing known in history? Insane reason! But what better can be given? Fellow-citizens, we ought not to be surprised, if the next mail from the South should bring us tidings that the slaves have risen upon their masters, and are spreading havoc and death on every side. Surely, they have manifested unexampled forbearance up to this hour; but endurance has its bounds. As one who dreads and deprecates such an explosion, as truly as I hate slavery, I shudder to think what a revolutionary spirit the joyous celebration of this anniversary is calculated to stir up in the breasts of those, who, according to Mr. Jefferson, are enduring a bondage, 'one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which we rose in rebellion to oppose.' Suppose they should revolt, en masse, and put forth their Declaration of Independence—
'Let not the favored white man name
Their stern appeal, with words of blame.
Hath he not, with the light of heaven
Broadly around him, made the same?
Yea, on a thousand war-fields striven,
And gloried in his open shame,
Kneeling amidst his brother's blood,
To offer mockery unto God.
As if the High and Holy One
Could smile on deeds of murder done!"
AN ADVOCATE OF SEDITION!
Will the Attorney General of this Common-
wealth venture to deny, that if the slaveholders will not give freedom to their slaves, they have a right to take it by force? He has falsely put that language into the mouth of Lovejoy, for a diabolical purpose: but will as truly put it into his own, because it is his own, for the purpose of covering him with shame and confusion of face. In a pamphlet* which he wrote some two years ago, in order to prove that abolitionists are stimulating the slaves to insurrection by their denunciations of slavery, he uses the following exciting language: —Mark it well, as I read it!
'If, when a man is unjustly made a slave for life, and his wife and children are made slaves with him, he may not rise, in his strength or his madness, and shake off his chains, and stand guiltless before God, with the blood of the oppressor on his hands, it is in vain to talk about human rights…Could we doubt a moment about this, if the law of Carolina should propose to detail every white traveler passing through its territory, and turn him on the plantation as a slave? Is there a heart in New England, that would not beat high with sympathy for the abused white man? Is there an arm that would not reach him a dagger if it could? Is there a tribunal on earth, or any law of heaven, that would not excuse—excuse, did I say?—that would not command him to watch for his opportunity, and make himself free!….The sentiment, that the individual is in no case to offer resistance to government, is fit only for a slave. It is the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, which was scouted from all human creeds with the same breath that blew away the divine right of kings, and the dogmatical pretensions of the clergy…If any government, foreign or domestic, was to doom the free born and gallant sons of our Commonwealth to slavery, and there was one of them that should tell you that government must not in such case be resisted, he would be fit for slavery to which he was destined—ay, truly, to be the slave of slaves.'
* This pamphlet was published anonymously, but its authorship was publicly ascribed to the Attorney General, and has never been denied by him.
I put it to you all, fellow-citizens, were sentiments more inflammatory, or better calculated to stir up every feeling of revenge and desperation in the soul of the southern slave, even uttered in any age or climate? Do they not involve him to watch his opportunity, plunge a dagger into the heart of his master, and make himself free? Do they not assure him, that he shall stand guiltless before God, with the blood of the oppressor on his hands; and that there is no tribunal on earth, or any law of heaven, that would not justify the deed? Do they not shout the doctrine of non-resistance, as absurd and wicked? And, withal, how eloquently they are oppressed—'in thoughts that breathe, and words that burn'! Their perusal must set the soul of every bondman on fire.
Incredible as it may seem, and as a startling proof of southern infatuation, ('for whom the gods purpose to destroy, they first render insane,') it is said that large quantities of the pamphlet containing those murderous sentiments were eagerly purchased by slaveholders for gratuitous distribution throughout the south, merely because it also contained the vilest accusations against the abolitionists!—Thus, a publication was put within the reach of the slaves, endorsed as excellent and true by their masters, which in one part, gives them, by their allegiance to God, to make insurrection, and in another, gives them the cheering information, that if they should raise the war-cry of 'Liberty or death' there is a powerful party at the North, called abolitionists, who stand ready to assist them!
PACIFIC VIEWS OF THE ABOLITIONISTS.
That no insurrection has since taken place
is indeed marvelous, and may be attributable to the fact, that the slaves are in some measure acquainted with the real sentiments of those who are pleading their cause, as expressed in the following resolutions, adopted unanimously by the Massachusetts A. S. Society in 1835, and responded to by abolitionists universally:
'Whereas, the southern planters are slanderously reporting of northern abolitionists, that they are in favor of a servile insurrection among the slave population, and are ready to assist them by violence and whereas, such reports are calculated to deceive the slaves, and may encourage them to resort to rebellion and massacre, by relying upon one co-operation: therefore,
Resolved, That we solemnly warn our colored brethren, bond and free, not to believe these charges—for they are not true.
Resolved, That by patient endurance of their wrongs, and unwavering trust in the promises of God, the slaves will hasten the day of their peaceful deliverance form the yoke of bondage—for God will continue to raise up friends and advocated to plead their cause, and by the power of truth will make them free indeed; whereas, by violent and bloody measure, they will prolong their servitude, and expose themselves to destruction.
Resolved, That the conduct of southern slaveholders, in filling the ears of their ignorant victims with insurrectionary charges against the friends of immediate emancipation, is alike cruel and suicidal: and that they alone will be responsible for all the consequences of a servile war, should the slaves revolt against them.
Resolved, That inasmuch as we have no access to the slave population, and as a measure of safety to themselves, and of justice to us, we earnestly entreat the holders of slaves to convey the spirit of these resolutions to all under their authority, and to assure them that these are the sentiments of all true abolitionists.'
It is very doubtful, whether these pacific resolutions obtained the slightest circulation at the south—the infatuated planters seeming to be determined to delude their slaves with the notion, that if they will only lift up the standard
of revolt, the abolitionists will fly to their aid. Suicidal conduct! Be the awful responsibility upon their own heads. If they perish, it will be in a fire of their own kindling. For why should not the slaves credit the oft-repeated assertions of their masters on this subject? Why should they not believe that which unnumbered wrongs, and learning desires for liberty, would naturally lead them hope to be true! Ignorant as they are, they have too much sagacity to imagine, for a single moment, that their masters are madly deceiving them. I say, then—with a heart filled awe and solemnity—that a widespread and merciless conspiracy, on the part of the slave population, is to be regarded as among the probable occurrences of every day. I say, that it ought to excite no surprise, if tomorrow's mail should bring us to the appalling intelligence, that insurrections had broken out in all parts of the God-abandoned south: that a hundred plantations had been fired, and a hecatomb of victims slain; and that neither age nor sex, neither youth not infancy, had been spared! O, the unutterable horrors of a servile war!
'Wo if it come with storm, and blood, and fire,
When midnight darkness veils the earth and sky?
Wo to the innocent babe, the guilt sire—
Mother and daughter—friends of kindred love
Stranger and citizen alike shall die!
Red-handed Slaughter has revenge shall feed,
And wild despair in vain for mercy plead,
While earth against shall shrink, and sicken at the deed!'
AWFUL CONDIITON OF SLAVEHOLDERS.
Will any men make a mock of this, as an idle apprehension? Is it an occurrence unheard of in the history of slavery? And if it has come to pass, in a swarm of instances, in times
by gone, why may it not take place again? Are not the slaveholders constantly assuring their slaves, that if they will not suffer themselves any longer to be robbed, and beaten, and famished, and herded with four-footed beasts; if they will but dash their galling chains asunder, and wade through blood to freedom, they shall be aided by a powerful abolition army? And is there not a tremendous account to be settled, for inalienable rights crumpled under foot, for bodily scars and mutilations, and for all conceivable outrages and sufferings—an account beyond the arithmetical powers of Humanity to calculate, running back for two hundred years? Let who will scoff at the thought of dangers, there is one man, who lawless in speech as he sometimes is, and hardened as he is on this subject, too well understands the natural workings of slavery, aside from any abolition excitement, to ridicule the fears I have expressed. I summon him as a witness on the present occasion. The Attorney General of this Commonwealth will please to come one to the stand, and testify as to the exact situation of his 'southern brethren.' What does the witness say? That he has given his evidence elsewhere, which may be adduced here. 'When and where was it given?' 'On the 8th of December, 1837, at the Lovejoy meeting in Faneuil Hall.' It is as follows:
'The condition of the people of a slave State can hardly enter into the imagination of our peaceful and quiet citizens. For them, there is no peace, by night or day! Their enemies are of their own household! Every moment is a moment of alarm! Life is wasted in the constant terror of destruction. The husband father, when he retires to sleep may commend his wife and daughters to the protection of Almighty God, but he must do it with the constant feeling of alarm that they may be murdered, and his dwelling burned, or
even a more horrible catastrophe happen before morning! He sleeps amongst the sleep of death; he is in more than the fear of death—a state of alarm and distress, which we cannot realize. We might read it in a novel, as a thing belonging to romance. The apprehension of an insurrection—the dread of a civil construction—and distress and anxiety of mind, pervade a slaveholders State!'—We may think these fears idle, but it is because we do not realize the condition of white people in a slave country.'
The testimony of false witness is absolutely appalling. It is given by a friend and champion of the south, and is therefore as favorable, we may suppose, as the circumstances of the case will admit. The description can apply no where else; for such a fearful state of society does not exist under any form of European or Asiatic despotism. The picture has no light, but its coloring is wholly of 'the blackness of darkness'—and the limner would have made it less hideous than it is, if such a thing had been possible.
TREATMENT OF THE SLAVES.
Now, what becomes of the assertion, that the slaveholders are honorable, humane and Christian men, and that their slaves are contented and happy!—so happy, that they deprecate nothing so much in the world as a state of freedom, and so contented that no wish of theirs is left ungratified! 'For the slaveholders,' we are told, 'there is no peace, by night or day; but every moment is a moment of alarm, and their enemies are of their household!' It is the hand of a friendly vindicator, moreover, that rolls up the curtain! What but the most atrocious tyranny on the part of the masters, and the most terrible sufferings on the part of the slaves, can account for such alarm, such insecurity, such apprehension that 'even a more
horrible catastrophe' than that of arson and murder may transpire nightly? It requires all the villany that has ever been charged upon southern oppressors, and all the wretchedness that has ever been ascribed to the oppressed, to work out so fearful a result:—and that the statement is true, the most distinguished slaveholders have more than once certified. That it is true, the entire code of slave laws—whips and yokes and fetters—the nightly patrol—restriction of locomotion on the part of the slaves, except with passes—muskets, pistols and bowie knives in the bed chambers during the hours of rest—the fear of the intercommunication of colored freemen and the slaves—the prohibition of even alphabetical instructions, under pains and penalties, to the victims of wrong—the refusal to admit their testimony against persons of a white complexion—the wild consternation and furious gnashing of teeth exhibited by the 'chivalric' oppressors, at the sight of an anti-slavery publication—the rewards offered for the persons of abolitionists—the whipping of Dresser and the murder of Lovejoy—the plundering of the U.S. mail—the application of lynch law to all who are found sympathizing with the slave population as men, south of the Potomac—the reign of mobocracy in place of constitutional law—and, finally, the Pharoah-like conduct of the masters, in imposing new burdens and heavier fetters upon their down-trodden vassal—all these things, together with a long catalogue of others, are not merely confirmations, but demonstrations of the truth of the terrific sketch of southern society, as drawn by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They prove that abolitionists have not 'set down aught in malice' against the south—that, they have exaggerated nothing. They warn us, as
with miraculous speech, that, unless justice be, speedily done, a bloody catastrophe is to come, which will roll a gory tide of desolation through the land, and may peradventure blot out the memory of the scenes of St. Domingo. They are the premonitory rumblings of a great earthquake—the lava tokens of heaving volcano! God grant, that while there is time and a way to escape, we may give heed to these signals of impending retribution!
SPIRIT OF ABOLITIONISTS.
One thing I know full well. Calumniated, abhorred, persecuted as the abolitionists have been, they constitute the body guard of the slaveholders, not to strengthen their oppression, but to shield them from the vengeance of their slaves. Instead of seeking their destruction, abolitionists are endeavoring to save them from midnight conflagration and sudden death, by beseeching them to remove the cause of insurrection; and by holding out to their slaves the hope of a peaceful deliverance. We do not desire that any should perish. Having a conscience void of offence in this matter, and cherishing a love for our race which is 'without partiality and without hypocrisy,' no impeachment of our motives, or assault upon our character, can disturb the serenity of our minds; nor can any threats of violence, or prospect of suffering, defer us from our purpose. That we manifest a bad spirit is, not to be decided on the testimony of the southern slave-driver, or his northern apologist. That our philanthropy is exclusive, in favor of but one party, is not proved by our denouncing the oppressor, and sympathizing with his victim. That we are seeking popularity, is not apparent from our advocating an odious and unpopular cause, and vindicating at
the loss of our reputation, the rights of a people who are reckoned among the offscouring of all things. That our motives are not disinterested, they who swim with the popular current, and partake of the gains of unrighteousness, and plunder the laborers of their wages, are not competent to determine. That our language is harsh, uncharitable, unchristian, they who revile us as madmen, fanatics, incendiaries, enemies of the Union, traitors, cut-throats, &c. &c. cannot be allowed to testify. That our measures are violent, is not demonstrated by the fact, that we wield no physical weapons, pledge ourselves not to countenance insurrection, and present the peaceful front of non-resistance to those who put our very lives in peril. That our object is chimerical, or unrighteous, is not substantiated by the fact of its being commended by Almighty God, and supported by his omnipotence, as well as approved by the wise and good in every age and in all countries. If the charge, so often brought against us, be true, that our temper is rancorous and our spirits turbulent, how has it happened that, during so long a conflict with slavery, not a single instance can be found in which an abolitionist has committed a breach of the peace, or violated any law of his country? If it be true, that we are not actuated by the best feelings of humanity, nor sustained by the highest principles of rectitude, nor governed by the spirit of forbearance, I ask, once more, how it has come to pass, that when our meetings have been repeatedly broken up by lawless men, our property burnt in the streets, our dwellings sacked, our persons brutally assailed, and our lives put in imminent peril, we have refused to lift a finger in self-defence, or to maintain our rights in the spirit of worldly patriotism?
WHO ARE THE COWARDS.
Will it be retorted, that we dare not resist—that we are cowards? Cowards! No man believes it. They are the dastards, who maintain that might make right—whose arguments are brickbats and rotten eggs, whose weapons are dirks and bowie-knives, and whose code of justice is lynch law. A love of liberty, instead of unnerving men, makes them intrepid, heroic, invincible. It was so at Thermopylae—it was so on Bunker Hill. Who so tranquil, who so little agitated, in storm or sunshine, as the abolitionists? But what consternation, what running to and fro like men at their very wit's end, what trepidation, what anguish of spirit, on the part of their enemies? How southern slavemongers quake and tremble at the faintest whisperings of an abolitionist?—For, truly, 'the thief doth fear each bush an officer'—and
''Tis conscience that makes cowards of them all!'
O, the great poet of Nature is right—
'Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just—'
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted!'
As greater than Shakespeare certifies, that 'the wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion.' In this great contest of Right against Wrong, of Liberty against Slavery, who are the wicked, if they be not those, who, like vultures and vampires, are gorging themselves with human blood? If they be not plunderers of the poor, the spoilers of the defenceless, the traffickers in 'slaves and the souls of men?' Who are the cowards, if not those who shrink from manly argumentation, the light of truth, the concussion of mind, and a fair field? If not those whose prowess, stimulated by whiskey potations, or the spirit of
murder, grows rampant as the darkness of night approaches; whose shouts and yells are savage and fiend-like; who furiously exclaim. 'Down with free discussion.! Down with the liberty of the press! Down with the right of petition! Down with constitutional law!'—who rifle mailbags, throw types and printing presses into the river, burn public halls dedicated to 'Virtue, Liberty and Independence,' and assassinate the defenders of inalienable human rights? And who are the righteous, in this case, if they be not those who will 'have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them;' who maintain that the laborer is worthy of his hire, that the marriage institution is sacred, that slavery is a system accursed of God, that tyrants are the enemies of mankind, and that immediate emancipation should be given to all who are pining in bondage? Who are the truly brave, if not those who demand for truth and error alike, free speech, a free press, an open arena, the right of petition, and no quarters? if not those, why, instead of skulking from the light, stand forth in the noontide blaze of day, and challenge their opponents to emerge from their wolf-like dens, that by a rigid examination, it may be seen who has stolen the wedge of gold, in whose pocket are the thirty pieces of silver, and whose garments are stained with the blood of innocence? Abolitionists cowards! When was it ever known for cowards to espouse the cause of down-trodden innocence, or to breast the tide of popular violence, or to run any hazard for the good of others? Have the Tappans, the Jays, the Smiths, the Birneys, the Welds in our cause—have the Grimkes, the Chapmans, the Motts—have any abolitionists, men or women, in any place or at any time—manifested a lack of firmness or
courage, even in the most terrible emergencies? If they may not be associated with 'the glorious company of martyrs,' who have suffered for righteousness' sake, in all ages,'—if they have not exhibited a martyr-like spirit of long-suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, uncompromising integrity, and stern endurance, —then it is because slavery has never existed in this country, and no mobs have risen up, and no lynchings have taken place, and no injury has been done to character, property, or life. For is there a religious sect, (excepting the Friends,) and perhaps one or two others, or a political party without an exception, in this country, who, if they had been called to pass through our fiery ordeal—if their meetings had been ruthlessly invaded, and their very lives and liberties put in jeopardy by lawless ruffians—would not have stood on the defensive, and given blow for blow, and clashed weapon with weapon!
OUR WEAPONS NOT CARNAL.
The charge, then, that we are beside ourselves, that we are both violent and cowardly, is demonstrated to be false, in a signal manner. I thank God, that 'the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual.' I thank him, that, by his grace, and by our deep concern for the oppressed, we have been enabled, in christian magnanimity, to pity and pray for our enemies, and to overcome their evil with good. Overcome, I say: not merely suffered unresistingly, but conquered gloriously.
'Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths!'
God grant that we may go on to the end, as we have begun! If it must be so, let the defenders of slavery still have all the brickbats, bowie-knives and pistols, which the land can furnish; but let us still possess all the argu-
ments, facts, warnings, and promises, which insure the final triumph of our holy cause. Let us take unto ourselves the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand—having our loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
A SERIOUS HINT TO THE SOUTH.
There is one hint I would throw out for the consideration of the South, and which I think they will regard as both solemn and weighty. Abolitionists, at the present time, constitute a powerful and ever increasing party. They have many presses enlisted on their side; their societies have multiplied, within a short time, from one hundred to fifteen hundred, swarming in all parts of the free States; they are opening new resources, continually, by which they are obtaining means to carry forward their great enterprise; physically, they are strong—intellectually, they are vigorous; and that they cordially detest slavery, and as heartily sympathize with the slave, is apparent to the whole world. It is not less certain, that they have entirely secured the confidence, love and gratitude of the free colored population of the United States; and, consequently, have acquired and are now exerting a mighty influence over them. Nor is it improbably that the slaves, as far as they understand their operations, regard them with equal reverence and affection, as their only hope of deliverance from bondage. Nothing, there-
fore, is easier than for the abolitionists, if they were so disposed, as it were in the twinkling of an eye, to 'cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, and fill this whole land with the horrors of a civil and servile commotion. It is only for them to hoist but on signal, to kindle but a single torch, to give but a single bugle-call, and the three millions of colored victims of oppression, both bond and free, would start up as one man, and make the American soil drunk with the blood of the slain. How fearful and tremendous is the power, for good or evil, thus lodged in their hands! Besides being stimulated by a desire to redress the wrongs of their enslaved countrymen, they could plead, in extenuation of their conduct for resorting to arms, (and their plea would be valid, according to the theory and practice of republicanism,) that they had cruel wrongs of their own to avenge, and sacred rights to secure, inasmuch as they are thrust out beyond the pale of the Constitution, excluded from one half of the Union by the fiat of the lynch code, deprived of the protection of law, and branded as traitors, because they dare to assert that God wills all men to be free! Now, I frankly put it to the understandings of southern men, whether, in view of these considerations, it is adding any thing to their safety, or postponing the much dreaded catastrophe a single hour,—whether, in fact, it is not increasing their peril, and rendering an early explosion more probable,—for them to persevere in aggravating the condition of their slaves by tightening the chains and increasing the heavy burdens—or in wreaking their malice upon the free people of color—or in adopting every base and unlawful measure to wound the character, destroy the property, and jeopardy the lives of abolitionists, and thus leaving no stone unturned
to inflame them to desperation? All this, southern men have done, and are still doing, as if animated by an insane desire to be destroyed. I ask them—not tauntingly, but seriously—whether such conduct is prudent or politic, especially if they really believe (as they affirm they do,) that the abolitionists are malicious and blood-thirsty men? For, as it respects their slaves, it is a mockery to talk of their not desiring liberty, or of their attachment to those who treat them like brutes. The Attorney General of Massachusetts uses the language of verity when he says—'For the slaveholders, there is no peace, by night or day. Their enemies are of their own household. Life is wasted in the constant terror of destruction.' How easy, therefore, it would be for the abolitionists, if they had any malice in their hearts, to stir up an insurrection!
A STARTLING FACT.
Let me state a fact, not less startling than instructive, to show how much the slaves are attached to their masters, or, rather, how deadly is the enmity subsisting between them. There are—God be praised! may their number be speedily doubled!—not less than ten thousand runaways from the slave States, in Upper Canada. So much did they love their masters, that though ignorant of the geography of the country, and unprovided with aught for their perilous journey as they were, they fled to the woods, choosing rather to be torn in pieces by wild beasts, or by the less merciful bloodhounds sent in hot pursuit, or to die of starvation, than to remain longer in slavery. And who shall attempt to recount what they endured in seeking 'a better country?'—their perils by day, their terrors by night, their watchings and fastings,
their numberless mistakes and deviations—now lost in the mazes of a vast wilderness, and anon nearly perishing in attempting to swim some unknown river—surrounded by enemies apprised of their escape, and eager to capture them, dead or alive—their flesh cruelly torn by briars and thorns—their hearts now cheered by a ray of hope, now sinking in despair! But, O, their exceeding joy and frantic exultation, as they approach the land of fulfillment as well as Canada lines, to cross which ends the woes and torments of slavery! And now it is but a step—the pursuers are in sight, hurrying on with whirlwind speed, and shouting to the victims to stop—but the lines are passed, and ten thousand chattels personal are instantly transformed into men, who stand erect in full view of their oppressors, without a chain upon their limbs, 'redeemed, regenerated and disenthralled by the irresistible genius of British emancipation!' Hail, Brittania!! Shame, America! But, perhaps these runaways are sighing for their iron yokes and rusty fetters, and pining to be put under their former taskmasters, that they may receive stripes instead of wages for their work! Let us see. For the past year, 'grim visaged War' has shown his 'wrinkled front' along the Canada lines, and every effort has been made by bands of lawless and profligate Americans, to invade and revolutionize the British provinces. Now, who have stood ready, and come forward the most promptly, to do battle for the crown and throne of England against the invaders? American runaway slaves! Who have volunteered to spill their blood, ay, lay down their lives, if need be, in defence of the youthful queen Victoria? American runaways? Who are now enrolled in companies with soldiers, with
officers selected from their own ranks, to insure victory to monarchical freedom over republican despotism? American runaways! Ought not this fact to fill this nation with deep concern? For what are those runaways but the representatives, both in spirit and action, of the two millions of slaves left behind?
The following paragraph is from an Upper Canada paper of the 3d ult.
We perceive that an addition of 300 colored men are wanted for Her Majesty's service, in order to complete a regiment now being raised at Chippewa, under Lieut. Colonel Creighton. An application can be made to Wm. A. Maingy, Esq. Ancaster, to whom we would recommend our colored friends.—Hamilton Gazette.
Fellow citizens, must it not be palpable to the dimmest vision, that, unless we abolish slavery in our country with that promptness which self-preservation as well as justice demands, we must expect soon to be involved in the horrors of a servile insurrection? Is there a day in the whole year, so full of incentives to fight for liberty, or which is so likely to be selected by our slave population to sunder their shackles, as the birth-day of our national independence, the fourth of July? If such an event should happen, what a spectacle would be presented to mankind! A people, boasting of their freedom, and celebrating their deliverance from a foreign yoke,—one moment calling heaven to witness, that all men are created free and equal, and the next engaged in a bloody strife to hold in slavery every sixth person in the land—millions in all!!
THE 'RECREANT' PRIEST.
Having done with the 'recreant' lawyer, I pass, for a moment, to the 'recreant' priest of Boston. It is not, exactly, 'a step from the
sublime to the ridiculous, but rather 'from bad to worse'—that is, from Fanueil Hall to Bowdoin street meeting house:—This is but one of a great multitude of priests in America, whose portraiture is so accurately drawn by the prophet Ezekial—who have violated the law of God, and have profaned his holy things; 'they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean.' I hesitate not to say, that the attorney is less deserving of infamy than the priest. Both of them, it is true, represented the martyred Lovejoy as justly perishing by his own folly and obstinancy: both took that occasion to calumniate the friends of liberty, and to utter language calculated to encourage fresh outbreaks of popular fury; both were guilty of high treason against God and their country, so far as it can be committed in terms. But the former makes no special pretensions to piety: the latter is professedly a minister of Jesus Christ, 'a watchman upon the walls of Zion,' one who is 'set for the defence of the gospel'! To think of such a man—just at the close of a bloody tragedy—on a day set apart for thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God in view of his manifold kindnesses—herein the metropolis of New England—from 'the sacred desk,' as it is reverently called—preaching a sermon, in which he has the presumption and folly to assert, that 'republican liberty is not the liberty to say and do just what one pleases—but liberty to say and do what the prevailing voice and will of the brotherhood will allow and protect'!—in which he slanderously declares, that the principles and measures of the abolitionists 'only tend to place the abolition of slavery at a more hopeless distance, or to fill the land with evidence and blood'!—in
which he avers, that he 'considers the mournful disaster at Alton, the legitimate result of these unchristian principles and measures'!—and in which he defames liberty by maintaining, that 'in all republican governments, a mob is the natural consequence' of opposing the views of the majority, and that 'it is in vain to call upon the civil magistrates to protect us, if we press too severely upon public sentiment'!—I believe before God, that the author of that sermon has more to answer for by its publication, than the wretched creature who shot down Lovejoy, for that murderous act. 'O, his offence is rank—it smells to heaven!'
But, mark!—Boston is still in spirit pro-slavery. Of all her spacious meeting-houses and commodious halls, at the present time, not one can be obtained for the delivery of an anti-slavery lecture, except this beautiful and convenient chapel in which we are assembled—and how this has been erected, and why it is we are permitted to occupy it, is well known. It does not take away any reproach from the city, though it reflects great credit on the moral enterprise and public spirit of individuals. As for Faneuil Hall, 'Ichabod' is written upon its walls, and no more may it resound with soul-stirring appeals in favor of universal liberty! The subserviency of the city authorities to 'the dark spirit of slavery' is abject. Now, whom have they selected to deliver the anniversary oration in the Old South church this day? Why—to be sure—the facile pastor of Bowdoin street church—a marvelous proper mouth-piece for the inhabitants of a city who have crucified Liberty in her very birth-place! But this choice only confirms what the scripture declares,―'And there shall be, like people, like priest,
and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings,' saith the Lord.
INCENTIVES TO PERSERVERANCE.
A word to those who dare to think for themselves, and to give free utterance to their thoughts—who care not what may be 'the prevailing voice and will of the brotherhood on any subject—the faithful followers of truth, through evil as well as good report—the uncompromising enemies of oppression in every form, technically called abolitionists, but stigmatized as fanatics by an insane multitude. If time had allowed an animating view of the progress of our sacred cause, since the last national anniversary, in all parts of the free States, might have been drawn, to cheer us in carrying on the conflict another year. New England has almost become one great anti-slavery society. The change that has been wrought in public sentiment, throughout the country, in favor of our principles and measures, calls for devout thanksgiving to God, and is full of encouragement. But, while so much remains to be accomplished,—while we know that a great crisis is at hand, which is to settle the destiny of this republic,—which while we perceive that slaveholding despotism is still fearfully in the ascendant, trampling under foot the Declaration of Independence as a seditious instrument, and treating the American Constitution as a 'blurred and tattered parchment,'—let us not stop to recount our victories, or to repose in the lap of complacency, but go forward to surmount new obstancles thrown up in our path, make new assaults upon the execrable system of slavery, and storm other intrenchments of the common enemy of God and man. What an example of tireless effort, of unwearied devotion, of indomitable
perserverance, of disinterested philanthropy, of triumphant success, has been set us by the friends of negro emancipation in Great Britain! O, blessings upon them all! Though for years struggling against fearful odds—though a thousand times repulsed on the right hand and on the left—though often deceived and betrayed by faithless representatives in Parliament, and by a corrupt ministry—still they have faltered not, they have doubted not, but pressed onward with almost superhuman energy, with a faith adequate to the removal of mountains, with quenchless zeal and victorious assurance, until they have succeeded in unloosing the chains of eight hundred thousand bondmen, who are soon to go forth and rank among the freest of the free. And their philanthropic labors have been the more remarkable, inasmuch as the victims for whose redemption they have so long expended their time, and means, and sympathies, reside in distant islands; while those for whom are plead on our soil. They had no dread of insurrection, saw no stains of blood, heard no clankings of chains or wailings of despair, and beheld no traffic in human flesh, among themselves; but we are in constant danger of a servile war in our midst, our soil is red with gore, every breeze from the south is laden with woe, and our shambles are crowded with husbands and wives, parents and children, destined to be torn asunder and sold like dumb beasts to the highest bidders! Having, then, so many stronger inducements to be up and doing than our English brethren have been necessitated to feel—the very existence of our beloved country, with all its precious institutions, being in peril, and our own lives and liberties at stake; having, moreover, not eight hundred thousand, but two millions and a half of slaves to liberate from
bondage shall we be less munificent, less active, or less consecrated to the cause of bleeding humanity, our transatlantic exemplars? O no! it cannot be—unless our faith is sparious, our profession hypocritical, our sympathy hollow-hearted, our hatred of oppression a fitful spasm, our ardor of spirit a transient glow; unless we hate our own flesh, and desire to see human blood spilt like water, and delight to trample upon our species, and are recreant to the God in whom we live, and move, and have our being!
'Friends of the cause of righteous liberty'
Shrink not, though yon be straitened in your course
Even as was Israel at the Red Sea wave.
Nerve every faculty—call every means,
And every energy of heart and mind,
Forth into action—summon up your strength—
Ply arguments, persuasion, eloquence—
Your property, time, talents, consecrate—
Bear patiently with deeply-rooted feelings
Of prejudice, self-interest, and all else
That may have twined round your opportunity hearts
Yet combat still—remove and overpower them—
Until no longer in our favored land
Is heard the voice of tyranny, and all
Who breathe the same pure air alike are free?
So may God bless you! And the franchised slave
Remember only in his grateful prayers,
That he has ever drained Oppression's cup,
And that he owes his liberty to you!'
[unnumbered page 43]
Written by P.H. Sweetsee, and sung at Marlboro
Chapel, July 1, 1838.
Who fought their country free me
From stern Oppression’s iron hand,
And braved the tyrant’s savage power,
To purchase freedom for this land!
Who, side by side with Washington,
For equal blessings did contend!
And who with Warren bled and died,
Their country’s honor to defend!
The blood of Afric’s sable sons
Has redden’d many a tented field!
The trophies of the fights they won
Are blazon’d on our country’s shield!
They shrunk not in that fearful hour,
When sternest patriotism quailed;
They smote Oppression’s hateful form,
And Freedom smiled, and Truth prevailed!
But hark! what means that cry of woe?
Man is transformed into a fiend!
Fair Freedom’s sons are captive now
To those whom their own sires redeemed!
Weep, Mercy, weep! The corner stone
Of Freedom’s temple rests in blood—
While vile attorneys shout, Amen!
And priests obey ‘the brotherhood!’
But truth and right will soon prevail,
And law and justice be restored—
And men of every caste shall know,
And love, and fear, and trust the Lord!
Shout, Freedom, shout! Oppression dies!
The monster, Slavery, gasps for life!
Sword of the Spirit, now awake,
And stay the foe, and end the strife!
[unnumbered page 44]
‘If the pulpit be silent, whenever or wherever there may be a sinner bloody with this guilt, within the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is false to its trust.’
Wake! children of the men who said,
'All are born free!'—Their spirits come
Back to the places where they bled
In Freedom's holy martyrdom,
And find you sleeping on their graves,
And hugging there your chains,—ye slaves!
Ay,—slaves of slaves! What, sleep ye yet,
And dream of Freedom, while ye sleep?
Ay,—dream, while Slavery's foot is set
So firmly on your necks,—while deep
The chain, her quivering flesh endures,
Gnaws, like a cancer, into yours?
Hah! say ye that I've falsely spoken,
Calling you slaves?—Then prove ye're not;
"Work a free press!—ye'll see it broken;
Stand to defend it!—ye'll be shot,—
O yes! but people should not dare
Print what 'the brotherhood' won't bear!
Then from your lips let words of grace,
Gleaned from the Holy Bible's pages,
Fall, while ye're pleading for a race
Whose blood has flowed through chains for ages;
And pray, —'Lord, let thy kingdom come!'
And see if ye're not stricken dumb.
Yes, men of God! ye may not speak,
As, by the Word of God, ye're bidden;
By the pressed lip,—the blanching cheek,
Ye feel yourselves rebuked and chidden;
And, if ye're not cast out, ye fear it;—
And why?—'The brethren' will not hear it.
Since, then, through pulpit, or through press,
To prove your freedom ye're not able,
Go, — like the Sun of Righteousness,
By wise men honored,—to a stable!
Bend there to Liberty your knee!
Say there that God made all men free!
Even there,—ere Freedom's vows ye've plighted,
Ere of her form ye've caught a glimpse,
Even there are fires infernal lighted,
And ye're driven out by Slavery's imps.
Ah, well!—'so persecuted they
The prophets' of a former day!
Go, then, and build yourselves a hall,
To prove ye are not slaves, but men!
Write 'FREEDOM,' on its towering wall!
Baptize it in the name of PENN;
And give it to her holy cause,
Beneath the Ǽgis of her laws;—
Within let Freedom's anthem swell;—
And, while your hearts begin to throb,
And burn within you Hark! the yell,—
The torch,—the torrent of the MOB!—
They're Slavery's troops that round you sweep,
And leave your hall a smouldering heap!
At Slavery's beck, the prayers ye urge
On your own servants, through the door
Of your own Senate,—that the scourge
May gash your brother's back no more,—
Are trampled underneath their feet,
While ye stand praying in the street!
At Slavery's beck, ye send your sons
To hunt down Indian wives or maids,
Doomed to the lash!—Yes, and their bones,
Whitening 'mid swamps and everglades,
Where no friend goes to give them graves,
Prove that ye are not Slavery's slaves!
At Slavery's beck, the very hands
Ye lift to Heaven, to swear ye're free,
Will break a truce, to seize the lands
Of Seminole or Cherokee!
Yes,—tear a flag, that Tartar hordes
Respect, and shield it with their swords!
Vengeance is thine, Almighty God!
To pay it hath thy justice bound thee;—
Even now, I see thee take thy rod,—
Thy thunders, leashed and growling round thee;
Slip them not yet, in mercy!—Deign
Thy wrath yet longer to restrain!—
Or,—let thy kingdom, Slavery, come!
Let Church, let State, receive thy chain!
Let pulpit, press, and hall be dumb,
If so 'the brotherhood' ordain!
The MUSE her own indignant spirit
Will yet speak out;—and men shall hear it.
Yes:—while, at Concord, there's a stone
That she can strike her fire from still;
While there's a shaft at Lexington,
Or half a one on Bunker's Hill,
There shall she stand and strike her lyre,
And Truth and Freedom shall stand by her.
But, should she thence by mobs be driven,
For purer heights she'll plume her wing; —
Spurning a land of slaves, to heaven
She'll soar, —where she can safely sing.—
God of our fathers, speed her thither!
God of the free,—let me go with her!
By W.L. Garrison.
Though distant be the hour, yet come it must—
Oh! hasten it, in mercy, righteous Heaven!
When Afric’s sons, uprising from the dust,
Shall stand erect—their galling fetters riven;
When from his throne Oppression shall be drive,
An exiled monster, powerless through all time;
When freedom—glorious freedom, shall be given
To every race, complexion, caste and clime,
And nature’s sable hue shall cease to be a crime!
Wo if it come with storm, and blood, and fire,
When midnight darkness veils the earth and sky;
Wo to the innocent babe—the guilty sire!
Mother and daughter—friends of kindred tie!Stranger and citizen alike shall die!
Red-handed Slaughter his revenge shall feed,And Havoc yell his ominous death-cry,
And wild Despair in vain for mercy plead—
While hell itself shall shrink, and sicken at the deed!Thou who avengest blood! long-suffering Lord!My guilty country from destruction save!
Let Justice sheathe his sharp and terrible sword,And Mercy rescue e’en as from the grave!O, for the sake of those who firmly braveThe lust of power—the tyranny of law—To bring redemption to the perishing slave—
Fearless though few—Thy presence ne’er withdraw,
But quench the kindling flames of hot, rebellious war!And ye—sad victims of base avarice!Hunted like beasts—and trodden like the earth;
Bought and sold daily, at a paltry price—The scorn of tyrants, and of fools the mirth—Your souls debased from their immortal birth!
Bear meekly—as ye’ve borne—your cruel woes;Ease follows pain—light darkness—plenty, dearth:
So time shall give you freedom and repose,
And high exalt your heads above your bitter foes!Not by the sword shall your deliverance be;Not by the shedding of your masters’ blood;
Not by rebellion, or foul treachery.Upspringing suddenly, like swelling flood:Revenge and rapine ne’er did bring forth good.
God’s time is best!—nor will it long delay:Even now your barren cause begins to bud,
And glorious shall the fruit be!—Watch and pray,
For lo! the kindling dawn, that ushers in the day!