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[81] which is moving all the world. No, gentlemen; light is spreading from the hills of Western Virginia to the extremest East. You cannot arrest its progress. It is searching the consciences; it is exercising the reason; it is appealing to the noblest characteristics of intelligent Virginians. It is no foreign influence. From every abandoned plantation where the profitless fern and thistle have sprung up under the heel of slavery; from every falling mansion of the master, through whose windows the fox may look out securely, and over whose hearth-stone the thin grass is creeping, a warning voice is sinking deeply into all hearts not imbruted by avarice, indolence, and the lust of power.

Abolitionist as I am, the intellectual character of Virginia has no warmer admirer than myself. Her great names, her moral trophies, the glories of her early day, the still proud and living testimonials of her mental power, I freely acknowledge and strongly appreciate. And, believe me, it is with no other feelings than those of regret and heartfelt sorrow that I speak plainly of her great error, her giant crime, a crime which is visibly calling down upon her the curse of an offended Deity. But I cannot forget that upon some of the most influential and highly favored of her sons rests the responsibility at the present time of sustaining this fearful iniquity. Blind to the signs of the times, careless of the wishes of thousands of their white fellow-citizens and of the manifold wrongs of the black man, they have dared to excuse, defend, nay, eulogize, the black abominations of slavery.


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