I am here to retract not a single word of what I have ever said. Every act of my life has tended to make the welcome I give this war hearty and hot. Civil war is a momentous evil, and needs the soundest justification. I rejoice before God, that every word I have said has counselled peace; and I rejoice, for the first time in my anti-slavery life, I stand under the stars and stripes, and welcome the tread of Massachusetts men. [Great applause.] No matter what may have been done in the past. To-day the slave asks but a sight of this banner, and calls it the twilight of his redemption; to-day it represents sovereignty and justice. The only mistake I have ever made is in supposing Massachusetts wholly choked with cotton dust and cankered with gold. [Laughter.] The first cannon shot upon our forts has put the war-cry of the Revolution on her lips. I cannot acknowledge the sentiment, “Our country, right or wrong.” In a moral light, it is knavish and atheistical; but it is sublime to see this rallying of a great people to the defence of the national honor; a noble and puissant nation, arising like a strong man from a sleep and shaking his locks. She is thus collecting her scattered elements and rousing her dormant thunder. How do we justify this last appeal to arms? I always cry for peace; and the anti-slavery banner has that name upon it. We have thought to set free the millions of slaves, and the North has responded. It is in the increasing education of our people, and in that moral sense which is fast gaining ground, that we are to accomplish this. No man can prevail against the North in the nineteenth century. It thinks. It can appreciate the argument. The South is the fourteenth century. Wat Tyler and Jack Cade loom up on the horizon. There the fagots still burn, and men are tortured for opinion. Baron and serf are names which form too flattering a picture. Sumner stamped them the barbarous States. The struggle now is, not of opinion, but of civilization. There can be but two things,—compromise or battle. The integrity of the North scorns the first; the general forbearance of nineteen States has preceded the other. The South opened with a cannon-shot, and Lincoln showed himself at
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