obnoxious dynasties, has long been looked upon as the world's best specimen of a “fanatic,” he would ordinarily be set down as a very Solomon beside the man who would undertake single-handed to overthrow such an institution as American slavery used to be. Such a man there was, however.
He really entered on the job of abolishing that institution, and without a solitary assistant.
Strange to say, he was neither a giant nor a millionaire.
According to Horace Greeley
, “Benjamin Lundy
deserves the high honor of ranking as the pioneer of direct and distinctive Anti-Slaveryism in America
He was slight in frame and below the medium height, and unassuming in manner.
He had, it is said, neither eloquence nor shining ability of any sort.
At nineteen years of age he went to Wheeling, Virginia
, to learn the trade of a saddler.
He learned more than that.
, as he tells us, was then a great thoroughfare for the traffickers in human flesh.
Their coffles passed through the place frequently.
“My heart,” he continues, “was grieved at the great abomination.
I heard the wail of the captive, I felt his pang of distress, and the iron entered into my soul.”
But much as Lundy
loathed the business of the slave-dealers and slave-drivers, he then had no idea of attempting its abolishment.
He married and settled down to the prosecution of his trade, and had he been like other people generally he would have been content.
But he could not shut the pictures of those street scenes in Wheeling
out of his mind and out of his heart.