without hesitation and stammering. I trembled in every limb.1 I am not sure that my embarrassment was not the most effective part of my speech, if speech it could be called. At any rate, this is about the only part of my performance that I now distinctly remember. The audience sympathized with me at once, and, from having been remarkably quiet, became much excited. Mr. Garrison followed me, taking me as his text; and now, whether I had made an eloquent plea in behalf of freedom, or not, his was one, never to be forgotten. Those who had heard him oftenest, and had known him longest, were astonished at his masterly effort. For the time he possessed that almost fabulous inspiration, often referred to but seldom attained, in which a public meeting is transformed, as it were, into a single individuality, the orator swaying a thousand heads and hearts at once, and, by the simple majesty of his all-controlling thought, converting his hearers into the express image of his own soul. That night there were at least a thousand Garrisonians in Nantucket!2
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When the young man [Douglass] closed, late in the evening, though none seemed to know nor to care for the hour, Mr. Garrison rose to make the concluding address. I think he never before nor afterwards felt more profoundly the sacredness of his mission, or the importance of a crisis moment to his success. I surely never saw him more deeply, more divinely, inspired. The crowded congregation had been wrought up almost to enchantment during the whole long evening, particularly by some of the utterances of the last speaker, as he turned over the terrible Apocalypse of his experiences in slavery. But Mr. Garrison was singularly serene and calm. It was well that he was so. He only asked a few simple, direct questions. I can recall but few of them, though I do remember the first and the last. The first was: “Have we been listening to a thing, a piece of property, or to a man?” “A man! A man!” shouted fully five hundred voices of women and men. “And should such a man be held a slave in a republican and Christian land?” was another question. “No, no! Never, never!” again swelled up from the same voices, like the billows of the deep. But the last was this: “ Shall such a man ever be sent back to slavery from the soil of old Massachusetts?” --this time uttered with all the power of voice of which Garrison was capable, now more than forty years ago. Almost the whole assembly sprang with one accord to their feet, and the walls and roof of the Athenaeum seemed to shudder with the “No, no!” loud and long-continued in the wild enthusiasm of the scene. As soon as Garrison could be heard, he snatched the acclaim, and superadded: “ No!—a thousand times no! Sooner [let] the lightnings of heaven blast Bunker Hill monument till not one stone shall be left standing on another!”Compare a similar scene in the Boston State House on Jan. 27, 1842 (Lib. 12.26).
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