hard language? Now, I am satisfied that its strength of denunciation bears no proportion to the enormous guilt of the slave system. The English language is lamentably weak and deficient in regard to this matter. I wish its epithets were heavier—I wish it would not break so easily—I wish I could denounce slavery, and all its abettors, in terms equal to their infamy. But, shame to tell! I can apply to him who steals the liberties of hundreds of his fellow-creatures, and lacerates their bodies, and plunders them of all their hard earnings, only the same epithet that is applied by all to a man who steals a shilling in this community. I call the slaveholder a thief because he steals human beings, and reduces them to the condition of brutes; and I am thought to be very abusive! I call the man a thief who takes my handkerchief from my pocket; and all the people shout, “Right! Right! So he is!” and the court seizes him and throws him into prison. Wonderful consistency! . . . How, then, ought I to feel, and speak, and write, in view1 of a system which is red with innocent blood, drawn from the bodies of millions of my countrymen by the scourge of brutal drivers;—which is full of all uncleanness and licentiousness;— which destroys the “life of the soul” ;—and which is too horrible for the mind to imagine, or the pen to declare? How ought I to feel and speak? As a man! as a patriot! as a philanthropist! as a Christian! My soul should be, as it is, on fire. I should thunder—I should lighten. I should blow the trumpet of alarm, long and loud. I should use just such language as is most descriptive of the crime. I should imitate the example of Christ, who, when he had to do with people of like manners, called them sharply by their proper names— such as, an adulterous and perverse generation, a brood of vipers, hypocrites, children of the devil who could not escape the damnation of hell. . . . No! no! I never will dilute or modify my language against slavery—against the plunderers of my fellow-men—against American kidnappers. They shall have my honest opinions of their conduct.He appeals to them against the charge that he is inciting them to revenge against the whites, whereas he urges their mutual improvement through association.2
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1 Address before the Free People of Color, April, 1833, p. 12.
2 In a note to the Address at this point, Mr. Garrison records the gratifying fact that immediately at the close of its delivery in Boston, on his recommendation that his hearers should form a temperance society, 114 males and females subscribed, and when he left the city 150 had agreed to abstain from liquor. ‘Such acts as these, brethren, give me strength and boldness in your cause.’
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