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[77] churches, or in the open air. Before beginning their addresses their usual course was to challenge their opponents to debate, and to taunt them with lack of courage or principle if they failed to respond. Of course, they were in constant danger from mobs. They were stoned, clubbed, shot at, and rotten-egged, and in a few extreme cases tarred and feathered; but they were never frightened from their work.

They were by no means policy-wise. That was one of their peculiarities. Their idea seemed to be that they could drive people easier than they could lead them. They used no buttered phrases. They told the plainest truths in the plainest way. They gave their audiences hard words, and often received hard knocks in return. They called the slaveholders robbers and man-stealers. They branded Northern politicians with Southern principles as “doughfaces.” But their hardest and sharpest expletives were reserved for those Northern clergymen who were either pro-slavery or non-committal. They blistered them all over with their lashings. In speaking of one of the most noted among them, Lowell describes him as

A kind of maddened John the Baptist
To whom the hardest word came aptest.

The lecturer of whom I saw the most in those early trying days was Professor Hudson, of Oberlin College. While in that part of the field he made headquarters at my father's house, radiating out and filling appointments in different directions. He was exceedingly sharp-tongued and very fearless.

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Ellis Gray Lowell (1)
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