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‘ [306] the subject of slavery.’ They were privately addressed by the writer to his brother, and are full of fraternal concern and tenderness, while unsparing in their exhibition of the essentially sinful, unchristian and cruel nature of slavery. Long residence in Tennessee and Kentucky1 had made him familiar with the system against which his heart revolted. No more forcible argument resting upon common morality, the Scriptures, and political economy, could have been framed for the time, or perhaps for all time, while some of the well-authenticated instances of slaveholding atrocity could be surpassed only in the dreams of a Nero.2 The ‘Letters’ became at once a powerful addition to the weapons of the abolitionists, and never ceased to be cited. Mr. Garrison's knowledge of Mr. Rankin appears to have begun at the time of their republication in the Liberator. It was also the beginning of personal acquaintance and friendship, as witnessed by the following inscription in a copy of his works presented by the former to Mr. Rankin in Cincinnati in 1853—‘With the profound regards and loving veneration of his anti-slavery disciple and humble co-worker in the cause of emancipation.’3

The ‘Letters’ had that ‘Scriptural pungency’ which4 Mr. Garrison found lacking in Evan Lewis's5 prize tract on “The Duties of Ministers and Churches of all Denominations to avoid the Stain of Slavery,” etc., but which so abounded in the Rev. George Bourne's “The book and slavery Irreconcilable” (1815), to which, next after the Bible itself, Mr. Garrison confessed his indebtedness for his views of the institution.6 Perhaps no

1 Rankin was born in Tennessee (Lib. 5.69).

2 Yet one of these, and the most shocking, involved a nephew of Thomas Jefferson. See Letter VIII.

3 See, also, p. 14 of Proceedings of the Am. A.-S. Society at its Third Decade.

4 Lib. 1.1, and Mss. Sept. 13, 1830, July 11, 1831, to E. Dole.

5 Editor of a Quaker anti-slavery journal called the Advocate of Truth.

6 Like Rankin, Osborn, and other early emancipationists, Bourne had seen slavery face to face (in Virginia). For tributes to his zeal and courage from Garrison and Lundy, see Lib. 2.35, 43, 133; 3.182.

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