outset he is looked upon with contempt, and treated in the most opprobrious manner, as a wild fanatic or a dangerous disorganizer.
In due time the cause grows and advances to its sure triumph; and in proportion as it nears the goal, the popular estimate of his character changes, till finally excessive panegyric is substituted for outrageous abuse.
The praise on the one hand, and the defamation on the other, are equally unmerited.
In the clear light of Reason, it will be seen that he simply stood up to discharge a duty which he owed to his God, to his fellowmen, to the land of his nativity.
Continuing, the speaker passed in rapid review his antislavery career and the origin of the Liberator
, of which he held up the tiny first number; paid by the way his never forgotten tribute to Benjamin Lundy
; and gratefully acknowledged once more the indispensable pecuniary1
support given him by Samuel E. Sewall
and Ellis Gray Loring
To complete the retrospect, he read some of the menacing letters he had been accustomed to receive from the South
, and confessed his early expectation of martyrdom in the cause, especially after the State of Georgia
had offered its reward for his abduction.2
But enough in regard to the insults and dangers of the3 past.
If the Liberator has wrought any change in public sentiment in favor of those who are meted out and trodden underfoot, it has been solely through the power of truth.
No person shall deceive me with the idea that I deserve anything.
Oh, if I can only say that I have done my duty—that I have not failed to “remember them that are in bonds as bound with them” —it is all I desire.
One thing I can truly affirm:—I have counted nothing too dear to peril in the cause to which my life is devoted.
For that cause I have sacrificed whatever is desirable in a good reputation, or pleasant in human friendship, or alluring in worldly advancement.
For it I have broken the strongest political ties, and divorced myself from once venerated religious associations; assured that whatever is hostile to its progress must be inherently corrupt or erroneous, whatever its pretensions to patriotism or piety.
Here I must pause.
I am wholly unable to express my feelings.
I thank you for this kind manifestation of your regard.
But, without your cooperation, what could I have