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[458] fourth article vindicating James G. Birney against the African Repository. Recalling his words on this subject in the very first number of the Liberator, he continued:

The above was written four years ago. At that time, there1 was scarcely a man in all the land who dared to peep or mutter on the subject of slavery; the pulpit and the press were dumb; no anti-slavery organizations were made; no public addresses were delivered; no reproofs, no warnings, no entreaties were uttered in the ears of the people; silence, almost unbroken silence, prevailed universally. Even the doctrine of gradual emancipation was rarely enforced; and an indignant essay, in view of the horrid condition of two millions of slaves, was an anomaly. Well, without a single friend to stand by me, without encouragement, and without a subscriber,—and admonished on all hands how much injury I was doing,—I commenced the Liberator. My readers will bear witness that, from the first number to the present, its tone, and temper, and principles, have been unchangingly the same. Now then, I ask, has the cause of emancipation been injured or benefited by my advocacy?

What has transpired since the Liberator was established? In referring to this subject by way of self-defence, (and I am rarely induced to say one word defensively,) they who accuse me of dealing in scandalous accusations, will also accuse me of egotism. With no pride of heart, however, but with much confidence of right action, with much virtuous accusation, and with real gratitude to God, I survey the past, and challenge mankind to produce an instance in which the cause of moral reform, surrounded by equal difficulties and dangers, has advanced more rapidly than the present. In seizing “the trump of God,” I had indeed to blow “a jarring blast” —but it was necessary to wake up a nation then slumbering in the lap of moral death. Thanks be to God, that blast was effectual: it pierced the ears of the deaf, it startled the lethargic from their criminal sleep, and it shook the land as a leaf is shaken by the wind. Within four years, I have seen my principles embraced, cordially and unalterably, by thousands of the best men in the nation. I have seen hundreds of anti-slavery societies organized on the principle of immediate emancipation. I have seen prejudices which were deemed incurable, utterly eradicated from the breasts of a great multitude. I have seen national and State anti-slavery conventions assembled in solemn deliberation, and a national

1 Lib. 4.207.

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James Gillespie Birney (1)
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