and their advocates are under heavy obligations for his masterly vindication of their cause, his terrible castigation of American slavery, and his withering satire upon the colonization “humbug,” at this meeting. Now let the enemies of freedom foam and rage!—But the secret of their malice lies in the triumphant success of my mission. Had I failed to vanquish the agent of the American Colonization Society, or to open the eyes of British philanthropists to its naked deformity, there would have been no excitement on my return. These sensitive republicans who are so jealous of the reputation of their country, be it remembered, are the most sturdy upholders of the slave system, and the most ardent sticklers for the banishment of our free colored population to the African coast.1 They esteem it no disgrace to debase, lacerate, plunder and kidnap two millions of slaves, and tread upon the necks of half a million free colored citizens; but it is foul slander, in their impartial judgment, to declare before a British audience that such conduct is in the highest degree hypocritical and tyrannical. But their iniquity is not done in a corner, nor can it be hid under a bushel; and I tell them that I will hold them up to the scorn and indignation of the world— I will stamp the brand of infamy upon their brow, which, like the mark of Cain, shall make them known and detested by the friends of freedom and humanity in every country and in every clime. “Where there is shame, there may in time be virtue.” I have already crimsoned their cheeks with the bitter consciousness of their guilt; and through their shame I will never despair of seeing them brought to repentance. It is idle for them to bluster and threaten—they will find out, by and by, that I am storm-proof. If I had outraged common sense and common decency, by throwing all the guilt of our oppression upon the British Government; if I had dealt in the wretched cant that slavery was an evil entailed upon us by the mother country; if I had been as dishonest, as hypocritical, and as pusillanimous as the agent
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1 The same phenomenon has been observed in Brazil. ‘O trabalho todo dos esclavagistas consistiu sempre em identificar o Brazil com a escravidao. Quem a ataca é logo suspeito de connivencia com o estrangeiro, de inimigo das instituicoes do seu proprio paiz. . . . Atacar a Monarchia, sendo o paiz monarchico, a religiao, sendo o paiz Catholico, é licito a todos; atacar, porem, a escravidao, è traicao nacional e felonia’ (Joaquim Nabuco, “O Abolicionismo,” p. 192; and see pp. 248, 249). Such an identification of slavery with the whole people was, in the mouths of Northerners, to stultify their inquiry, What have we to do with slavery?
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