mastery between two giants—a test of strength in tossing mountains of law. The excitement was natural.1 I stand up here in a more solemn court, to assist in a far greater cause; not to impeach the character of one man, but of a whole people; not to recover the sum of a hundred thousand dollars, but to obtain the liberation of two millions of wretched, degraded beings, who are pining in hopeless bondage—over whose sufferings scarcely an eye weeps, or a heart melts, or a tongue pleads either to God or man. I regret that a better advocate had not been found, to enchain your attention and to warm your blood. Whatever fallacy, however, may appear in the argument, there is no flaw in the indictment; what the speaker lacks, the cause will supply. Sirs, I am not come to tell you that slavery is a curse, debasing in its effect, cruel in its operation, fatal in its continuance. The day and the occasion require no such revelation. I do not claim the discovery as my own, that “all men are born equal,” and that among their inalienable rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Were I addressing any other than a free and Christian assembly, the enforcement of this truth might be pertinent. Neither do I intend to analyze the horrors of slavery for your inspection, nor to freeze your blood with authentic recitals of savage cruelty. Nor will time allow me to explore even a furlong of that immense wilderness of suffering which remains unsubdued in our land. I take it for granted that the existence of these evils is acknowledged, if not rightly understood. My object is to define and enforce our duty, as Christians and Philanthropists. On a subject so exhaustless, it will be impossible, in the moiety of an address, to unfold all the facts which are necessary to its full development. In view of it, my heart swells up like a living fountain, which time cannot exhaust, for it is perpetual. Let this be considered as the preface of a noble work, which your inventive sympathies must elaborate and complete. I assume as distinct and defensible propositions, I. That the slaves of this country, whether we consider their moral, intellectual or social condition, are preeminently entitled to the prayers, and sympathies, and charities, of the
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1 The case was that of Farnum, Executor of Tuttle Hubbard, vs. Brooks, and was heard in the Mass. Supreme Court. The ‘two giants’ in opposition were William Wirt, ex-Attorney-General of the United States, and Daniel Webster. Wirt's eloquence made a great impression. (Boston Traveller, June 23, 30, 1829; Columbian Centinel, June 27.)
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