They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission.
When a sufficient number has been collected here, a ship is chartered for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. They who did so were accounted in their day plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it , may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. All he wrote about his time being a slave and how horrible he was treated to show how wrong slavery is. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity.
This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation as embodied in the two great political parties is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. When the class or you challenges an answer, require teams to support it with reasoning. The tone of this speech is provoked and enraged. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own.
I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. Trust no future, however pleasant, Let the dead past bury its dead; Act, act in the living present, Heart within, and God overhead. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. Were the nation older, the patriot's heart might be sadder, and the reformer's brow heavier. This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. Still we are not treated with equality.
Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. He criticizes American ideology as inconsistent. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham's great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell's Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. A book signing will follow the program.
Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. Is that a question for Republicans? It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. Oppression makes a wise man mad. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. They are plain, commonsense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law.
Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in that Declaration of Independence extended to us? Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness. The time was when such could be done. Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. This attracted the public to the college, and it boosted its image. For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing.
They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. Because just as quickly as we got it we can have it taken back. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! It is quite obvious that the answer to that is no.
But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. At a time like this scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. When from their galling chains set free, Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny Like brutes no more. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
Were the nation older, the patriot's heart might be sadder, and the reformer's brow heavier. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. It includes a copy of the text, a student activity handout, and links for background information and definitions of key terms. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties.