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New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 8
ath their feet their own solemn and heaven-attested Declaration, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights-among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They had no lawful power to bind themselves or their posterity for one hour — for one moment — by such an unholy alliance. It was not valid then — it is not valid now. Still they persisted in maintaining it — and still do their successors, the people of Massachusetts, of New England, and of the twelve free States, persist in maintaining it. A sacred compact! a sacred compact! What, then, is wicked and ignominious? It is said that if you agitate this question you will divide the Union. Believe it not; but should disunion follow, the fault will not be yours. You must perform your duty, faithfully, fearlessly and promptly, and leave the consequences to God: that duty clearly is, to cease from giving countenance and protection to Southern kidnappers. Let them se
Milton, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
a text to fit a political emergency with such startling felicity as Garrison. Take for example, the text provided by him for Wendell Phillips's speech on the Sunday morning following Lincoln's call for troops in 1861. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not hearkened unto me in proclaiming liberty everyone to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine. I doubt whether Cromwell or Milton could have rivaled Garrison in this field of quotation; and the power of quotation is as dreadful a weapon as any which the human intellect can forge. From his boyhood upward Garrison's mind was soaked in the Bible and in no other book. His Causes are all drawn from the Bible, and most of them may be traced to the phrases and thoughts of Christ, as for instance Peace (Peace I give unto you), Perfectionism (Be ye therefore perfect), Non-resistance (Resist not evil), Anti-sabbatarianism (Th
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
after Garrison's denunciation of the Constitution as an agreement with Hell, the Annexation of Texas brought thousands of the most conservative minds in the country, including Channing, to the point of abandoning the Constitution; and when in 1854 Garrison publicly burned the Constitution on the Fourth of July, the incident was of slight importance. Civil War was already inevitable: the dragon's teeth had been sown: the blades of bright bayonets could be seen pushing up through the soil in Kansas. We see, then, the profound unity of Garrison's whole course, and may examine with indulgence some minor failures in logic which are very characteristic of him — very characteristic, indeed, of all practical-minded men who, after making one fault of logic, proceed to joggte themselves back again to their true work by committing a second. It is apparent that a man who assumes Garrison's grounds as to the importance of the spirit, and the unimportance of everything else, can never turn as
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
lawful power to bind themselves or their posterity for one hour — for one moment — by such an unholy alliance. It was not valid then — it is not valid now. Still they persisted in maintaining it — and still do their successors, the people of Massachusetts, of New England, and of the twelve free States, persist in maintaining it. A sacred compact! a sacred compact! What, then, is wicked and ignominious? It is said that if you agitate this question you will divide the Union. Believe it notssing yet another law, by which every one who shall dare peep or mutter against the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law shall have his life crushed out. When we learn, however, that the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 provided that the negro in Massachusetts might be identified through the mere affidavit of the slaveholder agent; that the slave could not testify himself; that there was no trial by jury; that the commissioner's fee was doubled if the slaveholder prevailed; that the bystander coul
Iceland (Iceland) (search for this): chapter 8
ometimes thinks of these men as stupid people who know not what they would be at. We should think of them as spirits who enact a lesson rather than as moralists who read a lecture. Let every man carry home what he can from the auto-da-fe. The prophets are hot volcanic lava, rolling out of some hidden furnace — which is really a distributive furnace, and overflows to a lesser degree in other men. The aerolites which fall in Terra del Fuego show much the same chemical nature as those of Iceland. So of these accusing, flaming aerolites of politics. The Jewish prophet is the most soft-hearted of them all, and it is to this variety that Garrison belongs. These men see the suffering of the world, and they see or feel the relation between the suffering of one man and the selfishness of the next. The greatest of them all speaks thus: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their f
America (Netherlands) (search for this): chapter 8
a glacial epoch — crawling out from a volcano that was all the time hidden beneath the ice-crust. It is through the hot breath of this salamander that verdure is to be brought back to the earth, and the benign climate of modern life restored to America. To the conservative minds of his own time he appeared to be a monster; and he was a monster---a monster of virtue, a monster of love a monster of power. Let us not judge but only examine him. Fortunately the materials are abundant, the recowance, indeed, than we ought to make. We have, by inheritance, rather weak eyes on this subject ourselves. The true cause for wonder as to the age of Abolition is not that Garrison was right, but that there should have been only one person in America with a clear head. Let us now turn forward over ten years of historyeluding all the pictures of struggle and incidents referred to in the earlier pages, and let us read Garrison's most famous exposition of his theme uttered in 1842: We a
United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 8
t alone; but even if the Union can be preserved by treading upon the necks, spilling the blood, and destroying the souls of millions of your race, we say it is not worth a price like this, and that it is in the highest degree criminal for you to continue the present compact. Let the pillars thereof fall-let the superstructure crumble into dust — if it must be upheld by robbery and oppression. This statement of Garrison's is, to my mind, the best thing ever said about slavery in the United States. There is no exaggeration in the statement: it is absolutely true. It is a complete answer to the Constitutional point; and makes all our antebellum public men (including Lincoln) appear a little benighted. They are like men who have been born in a darkness and have lived always in a twilight. They all have a slight, congenital weakness of the eye, which prevents them from taking the daylight view of this whole matter. We ourselves to-day are so habituated to the historic obfuscat
Switzerland (Switzerland) (search for this): chapter 8
it were, handed to Garrison from without from on high, from within. He puts it on, and enters the lists: he puts it off, and takes supper with his family. As for the kind of man which he really was, the testimony is universal and uniform. I copy one or two phrases almost at random, from among the innumerable descriptions of him. Richard D. Webb, an Irish Abolitionist, and a very old friend of all the Anti-slavery people, wrote: I . . . spent three weeks with the Garrisons in Paris and Switzerland. It was a time of intense enjoyment, for I exceedingly liked my companions .... As to Mr. Garrison himself, he is the most delightful man I have ever known — magnanimous, generous, considerate, and, as far as I can see, every way morally excellent. I can perceive that he has large faith, is very credulous, is not deeply read, and has little of the curiosity or thirst for knowledge which educated people are prone to. But, take him for all in all, I know no such other man. His children ar
Fairfield, Conn. (Connecticut, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
the floggings and the despair. A hundred volumes might be compiled out of old newspapers by culling advertisements like the following from the Charleston Courier in 1825: Twenty dollars reward. Ran away from the subscriber, on the 14th instant, a negro girl named Molly. She is 16 or 17 years of age, slim made, lately branded on her left cheek, thus, R, and a piece is taken off her left ear on the same side; the same letter is branded on the inside of both her legs. Abner Ross Fairfield District, S. C. Let any serious-minded man read a few pages of the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, or of Theodore D. Weld's book on American Slavery, before he decides to discountenance strong language. The people of the South did not know about the horrors of slavery, and taught their children not to see them; they glossed them over, as the inevitable unpleasantnesses of life are always glossed over. John S. Wise was a typical child of the South, save that he had a Northern mother. He wa
Garrison (Texas, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
strious citizens, were at that time fleeing to Canada;--when we remember these facts, we begin to feel that Garrison's language was by no means too strong. When all has been said in his favor, there remains a certain debauchery of language in Garrison, which came from his occupation: he was a journalist. If a man writes all the time, his mannerisms become intensified. Garrison became a common scold — and yet not a common scold, because his inner temper was perfect, and his subject the greatve that sin was the real evil. The evils were injustice, cruelty, murder, lust, egoism. These things he believed to be the outcome of Slavery. It is not, however, the harshness of language that we are quarreling with. What displeases us in Garrison is the element of policy, the wholesale element in his method. But let us beware lest in straining at a gnat we swallow a camel; and let us remember that what is offensive to us, physicked the nation. The young Garrison, the man of twenty-four
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