Anti-slavery anniversary.Read at the semi-centennial celebration of the American Anti-Slavery Society at Philadelphia, on the 3d December, 1883.
oak Knoll, Danvers, Mass., 11th mo., 30, 1883.I need not say how gladly I would be with you at the semi-centennial of the American AntiSla-very Society. I am, I regret to say, quite unable to gratify this wish, and can only represent myself by a letter. Looking back over the long years of half a century, I can scarcely realize the conditions under which the convention of 1833 assembled. Slavery was predominant. Like Apollyon in Pilgrim's Progress, it ‘straddled over the whole breadth of the way.’ Church and state, press and pulpit, business interests, literature, and fashion were prostrate at its feet. Our convention, with few exceptions, was composed of men without influence or position, poor and little known, strong only in their convictions and faith in the justice of their cause. To onlookers our endeavor to undo the evil work of two centuries and convert a nation to the ‘great renunciation’ involved in emancipation must have seemed absurd in the last degree. Our voices in such an atmosphere found no echo. We could look for no response but laughs of derision or the missiles of a mob.