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[473]

‘When the anti-slavery cause was launched,’ he said,

it1 was baptized in the spirit of peace. We proclaimed to the country and the world that the weapons of our warfare were not carnal, but spiritual, and we believed them to be mighty through God to the pulling down even of the stronghold of slavery; and for several years great moral power accompanied our cause wherever presented. Alas! in the course of the fearful developments of the Slave Power, and its continued aggressions on the rights of the people of the North, in my judgment a sad change has come over the spirit of anti-slavery men, generally speaking. We are growing more and more warlike, more and more disposed to repudiate the principles of peace, more and more disposed to talk about “finding a joint in the neck of the tyrant,” and breaking that neck, “ cleaving tyrants down from the crown to the groin,” with the sword which is carnal, and so inflaming one another with the spirit of violence and for a bloody work.2 Just in proportion as this spirit prevails, I feel that our moral power is departing and will depart. I say this not so much as an Abolitionist as a man. I believe in the spirit of peace, and in sole and absolute reliance on truth and the application of it to the hearts and consciences of the people. I do not believe that the weapons of liberty ever have been, or ever can be, the weapons of despotism. I know that those of despotism are the sword, the revolver, the cannon, the bomb-shell; and, therefore, the weapons to which tyrants cling, and upon which they depend, are not the weapons for me, as a friend of liberty. I will not trust the war-spirit anywhere in the universe of God, because the experience of six thousand years proves it not to be at all reliable in such a struggle as ours. . . .

I pray you, abolitionists, still to adhere to that truth. Do not get impatient; do not become exasperated; do not attempt any new political organization; do not make yourselves familiar with the idea that blood must flow. Perhaps blood will flow—God knows, I do not; but it shall not flow through any counsel of mine. Much as I detest the oppression exercised by the Southern slaveholder, he is a man, sacred before me. He is a man, not to be harmed by my hand nor with my consent. He is a man, who is grievously and wickedly trampling upon the rights of his fellow-man; but all I have to do with him is to rebuke his sin, to call him to repentance, to leave him without excuse for his tyranny. He is a sinner

1 Lib. 28.90.

2 See Adin Ballou on this point, Lib. 29.176.

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W. L. G. Lib (2)
Adin Ballou (1)
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