Unit 12 maternal mortality


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Unit 12 maternal mortality

  1. 1. Scientific Unit 12: Maternal Mortality tical Reasoning & Problem Solving in Comparative World Perspective Unit 12: Maternal Mortality Maternal mortality deaths are 113 Omes more likely to occur in Malawi than in the United Kingdom. What are three causes of maternal mortality? Drah a proposal in which you explain the problem, analyze the scienOfic literature, develop a methodology or design secOon, and present a Omeline for your actual research. Unit Descrip?on: The travesty of maternal mortality is garnering increased visibility in many African countries, along with the watch on HIV/AIDS rates. Malawi is one of these currently watched countries. In this unit, the issue of maternal death rate in Malawi is compared to the rate in the United Kingdom. Research leads to problem solving and proposal formaOon to address the issue of Malawi’s maternal mortality rate. Unit Narra?ve: While becoming acquainted with the condiOons of people on the “other side of the world,” students will have the opportunity to collaborate on possible methods that could posiOvely affect the issue of the maternal mortality rate in the African country of Malawi. Their collaboraOve thoughts are presented in a proposal, which is the prime goal of this unit. In the process, students perform guided research on the greatest causes of the maternal mortality rate in Malawi and perform a comparaOve study of this same rate in the much beIer health funded United Kingdom. As students research ways to address the idenOfied causes, they also learn to compose a well‐wriIen proposal, which consists of an explanaOon of the problem, an analysis of the scienOfic literature, and development of a methodology secOon. The proposal is therefore the vehicle used to assess the accomplishments of students in this unit. Students work cooperaOvely to produce the end product. Ques?on: Maternal mortality deaths are 113 Omes more likely to occur in Malawi than in the United
  2. 2. Kingdom. What are three causes of maternal mortality? Task: Drah a proposal in which you explain the problem, analyze the scienOfic literature, develop a methodology or design secOon, and present a Omeline for your actual research. 71 Outline of 6‐8 Classes: Day 1: 1. IntroducOon to Malawi 2. Explore Census InternaOonal Database (CID) Online and linked data sites (class demo) 3. Look at CID Glossary and define Maternal mortality deaths 4. Brief comparison to United Kingdom, United States, and/or other countries (See CAUSAL FACTORS AND ISSUES OF MATERNAL MORTALITY IN MALAWI in Appendix.) Assignment: Have students research causes for maternity mortality and bring back their personal lists for the next class. Day 2: 1. Discuss maternity mortality death rates and decide on the top three causes that will be conquered in this unit. 2. Discuss how some enOOes have combated the problem of maternity mortality deaths around the world. 3. Explain the end assignment, form working groups, and introduce student peer raOng sheets for proposal presentaOon. (See CAUSAL FACTORS AND ISSUES OF MATERNAL MORTALITY IN MALAWI in Appendix.) Assignment: 1. Review of scienOfic research (assigned arOcles) 2. DirecOons for independent research by students Day 3: 1. Discuss scienOfic research arOcles 2. “How to Write a Proposal” Workshop Sources for Proposal Wri?ng Instruc?on: 1. Instructors should bring in short sample proposals, such as those found at www.wriOng.engr.psu.edu/workbooks/proposal.samples.html. 2. Instructors should review Ops for wriOng proposals, such as those in the aIached PDF from the U.S.‐Israel Science and Technology FoundaOon ‐ hIp://www.usisL.org/04_B_Ops.html. 3. Instructors should provide examples for each of the required secOons that groups will
  3. 3. produce: 1) explain the problem, 2) analyze the scienOfic literature, 3) develop a methodology or design secOon, and 4) present a Omeline for actual research. Per the instructors’ direcOons, some secOons may be required and some may not. 72 Day 4: 1. ConOnue to discuss scienOfic research arOcles 2. In‐class group work on proposal construcOon 3. Drawing for presentaOon order Day 5: In‐class group work on proposal construcOon Days 6‐8 (instructors decide on schedule): Group presentaOons of proposal and Peer criOques due NOTE: Instructors may choose to invite local speakers, such as a medical team member from the Na‐ Oonal BapOst ConvenOon, USA or a JSU faculty/staff member in InternaOonal Studies/Programs, who makes an annual trip to Malawi. Major Assessment: Group presenta?on Students will be placed into cooperaOve research/presentaOon groups. Each group will present their proposal results for combaOng causes of maternal mortality deaths in Malawi. Each group will be responsible for creaOng an oral presentaOon on their proposal, which is guided by an electronic visual aid (such as PowerPoint). Each group will have 10‐15 minutes to showcase their oral presentaOon. Groups may also be required to submit a hard copy of their full presentaOon to the course instructor. Students will be scored in the areas of parOcipaOon, understanding of subject maIer, oral communica‐ Oon skills, quality of electronic visual aids, and presentaOon of research. The presentaOon will be scored by the instructor(s) and classroom peers, using a rubric. 73 Readings The Interes?ng Narra?ve of the Life of Olaudah Equiano Olaudah Equiano, b. 1745 CHAP. II. The author's birth and parentage‐‐His being kidnapped with his sister‐‐ Their separa5on‐‐Surprise at meeting
  4. 4. again‐‐Are finally separated‐‐Account of the different places and incidents the author met with 5ll his arrival on the coast‐‐The effect the sight of a slave ship had on him‐‐He sails for the West Indies‐‐Horrors of a slave ship‐‐Arrives at Barbadoes, where the cargo is sold and dispersed. I HOPE the reader will not think I have trespassed on his pa5ence in introducing myself to him with some account of the manners and customs of my country. They had been implanted Page 46 in me with great care, and made an impression on my mind, which 5me could not erase, and which all the adversity and variety of fortune I have since experienced served only to rivet and record; for, whether the love of one's country be real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an ins5nct of nature, I s5ll look back with pleasure on the first scenes of my life, though that pleasure has been for the most part mingled with sorrow. I have already acquainted the reader with the 5me and place of my birth. My father, besides many slaves, had a numerous family, of which seven lived to grow up, including myself and a sister, who was the only daughter. As I was the youngest of the sons, I became, of course, the greatest favourite with my mother, and was always with her; and she used to take par5cular Page 47 pains to form my mind. I was trained up from my earliest years in the art of war; my daily exercise was shoo5ng and throwing javelins; and my mother adorned me with emblems, aSer the manner of our greatest warriors. In this way I grew up 5ll I was turned the age of eleven, when an end was put to my happiness in the following manner:‐‐Generally when the grown people in the neighbourhood were gone far in the fields to labour, the children assembled together in some of the neighbours' premises to play; and commonly some of us used to get up a tree to look out for any assailant, or kidnapper, that might come upon us; for they some5mes took those opportuni5es of our parents' absence to aOack and carry off as many as they could seize. One day, as I was watching at the top of a tree in our yard, I saw one of those people Page 48
  5. 5. come into the yard of our next neighbour but one, to kidnap, there being many stout young people in it. Immediately on this I gave the alarm of the rogue, and he was surrounded by the stoutest of them, who entangled him with cords, so that he could not escape 5ll some of the grown people came and secured him. But alas! ere long it was my fate to be thus aOacked, and to be carried off, when none of the grown people were nigh. One day, when all our people were gone out to their works as usual, and only I and my dear sister were leS to mind 74 the house, two men and a woman got over our walls, and in a moment seized us both, and, without giving us 5me to cry out, or make resistance, they stopped our mouths, and ran off with us into the nearest wood. Here they 5ed our hands, and con5nued to carry us as Page 49 far as they could, 5ll night came on, when we reached a small house, where the robbers halted for refreshment, and spent the night. We were then unbound, but were unable to take any food; and, being quite overpowered by fa5gue and grief, our only relief was some sleep, which allayed our misfortune for a short 5me. The next morning we leS the house, and con5nued travelling all the day. For a long 5me we had kept the woods, but at last we came into a road which I believed I knew. I had now some hopes of being delivered; for we had advanced but a liOle way before I discovered some people at a distance, on which I began to cry out for their assistance: but my cries had no other effect than to make them 5e me faster and stop my mouth, and then they put me into a large sack. They also Page 50 stopped my sister's mouth, and 5ed her hands; and in this manner we proceeded 5ll we were out of the sight of these people. When we went to rest the following night they offered us some victuals; but we refused it; and the only comfort we had was in being in one another's arms all that night, and bathing each other with our tears. But alas! we were soon deprived of even the small comfort of weeping together. The next day proved a
  6. 6. day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced; for my sister and I were then separated, while we lay clasped in each other's arms. It was in vain that we besought them not to part us; she was torn from me, and immediately carried away, while I was leS in a state of distrac5on not to be described. I cried and grieved con5nually; and for several days I did not Page 51 eat any thing but what they forced into my mouth. At length, aSer many days travelling, during which I had oSen changed masters, I got into the hands of a chieSain, in a very pleasant country. This man had two wives and some children, and they all used me extremely well, and did all they could to comfort me; par5cularly the first wife, who was something like my mother. Although I was a great many days journey from my father's house, yet these people spoke exactly the same language with us. This first master of mine, as I may call him, was a smith, and my principal employment was working his bellows, which were the same kind as I had seen in my vicinity. They were in some respects not unlike the stoves here in gentlemen's kitchens; and were covered over with leather; and in the Page 52 middle of that leather a s5ck was fixed, and a person stood up, and worked it, in the same manner as is done to pump water out of a cask with a hand pump. I believe it was gold he worked, for it was of a lovely bright yellow colour, and was worn by the women on their wrists and ancles. I was there I suppose about a month, and they at last used to trust me some liOle distance from the house. This liberty I used in embracing every opportunity to inquire the way to my own home: and I also some5mes, for the same purpose, went with the maidens, in the cool of the evenings, to bring pitchers of water from the springs for the use of the house. I had also remarked where the sun rose in the morning, and set in the evening, as I had travelled along; and I had observed that my father's house was towards the Page 53 75
  7. 7. rising of the sun. I therefore determined to seize the first opportunity of making my escape, and to shape my course for that quarter; for I was quite oppressed and weighed down by grief aSer my mother and friends; and my love of liberty, ever great, was strengthened by the mor5fying circumstance of not daring to eat with the free‐born children, although I was mostly their companion. While I was projec5ng my escape, one day an unlucky event happened, which quite disconcerted my plan, and put an end to my hopes. I used to be some5mes employed in assis5ng an elderly woman slave to cook and take care of the poultry; and one morning, while I was feeding some chickens, I happened to toss a small pebble at one of them, which hit it on the middle and directly killed it. The old slave, having Page 54 soon aSer missed the chicken, inquired aSer it; and on my rela5ng the accident (for I told her the truth, because my mother would never suffer me to tell a lie) she flew into a violent passion, threatened that I should suffer for it; and, my master being out, she immediately went and told her mistress what I had done. This alarmed me very much, and I expected an instant flogging, which to me was uncommonly dreadful; for I had seldom been beaten at home. I therefore resolved to fly; and accordingly I ran into a thicket that was hard by, and hid myself in the bushes. Soon aSerwards my mistress and the slave returned, and, not seeing me, they searched all the house, but not finding me, and I not making answer when they called to me, they thought I had run away, and the whole neighbourhood Page 55 was raised in the pursuit of me. In that part of the country (as in ours) the houses and villages were skirted with woods, or shrubberies, and the bushes were so thick that a man could readily conceal himself in them, so as to elude the strictest search. The neighbours con5nued the whole day looking for me, and several 5mes many of them came within a few yards of the place where I lay hid. I then gave myself up for lost en5rely, and expected every moment, when I heard a rustling among the trees, to be found out, and
  8. 8. punished by my master: but they never discovered me, though they were oSen so near that I even heard their conjectures as they were looking about for me; and I now learned from them, that any aOempt to return home would be hopeless. Most of them supposed I had fled towards home; Page 56 but the distance was so great, and the way so intricate, that they thought I could never reach it, and that I should be lost in the woods. When I heard this I was seized with a violent panic, and abandoned myself to despair. Night too began to approach, and aggravated all my fears. I had before entertained hopes of geqng home, and I had determined when it should be dark to make the aOempt; but I was now convinced it was fruitless, and I began to consider that, if possibly I could escape all other animals, I could not those of the human kind; and that, not knowing the way, I must perish in the woods. Thus was I like the hunted deer: ‐‐"Ev'ry leaf and ev'ry whisp ring breath "Convey'd a foe, and ev'ry foe a death." I heard frequent rustlings among the leaves; and being preOy sure they were Page 57 snakes I expected every instant to be stung by them. This increased my anguish, and the horror of my situa‐ became now quite insupportable. I at length quiOed the thicket, very faint and hungry, for I had not eaten or drank any thing all the day; and crept to my master's kitchen, from whence I set out at first, and which was an open shed, and laid myself down in the ashes with an anxious wish for death to relieve me from all my pains. I 76 was scarcely awake in the morning when the old woman slave, who was the first up, came to light the fire, and saw me in the fire place. She was very much surprised to see me, and could scarcely believe her own eyes. She now promised to intercede for me, and went for her master, who soon aSer came, and, having slightly reprimanded Page 58 me, ordered me to be taken care of, and not to be ill‐treated. Soon aSer this my master's only daughter, and child by his first wife,
  9. 9. sickened and died, which affected him so much that for some 5me he was almost fran5c, and really would have killed himself, had he not been watched and prevented. However, in a small 5me aSerwards he recovered, and I was again sold. I was now carried to the leS of the sun's rising, through many different countries, and a number of large woods. The people I was sold to used to carry me very oSen, when I was 5red, either on their shoulders or on their backs. I saw many convenient well‐built sheds along the roads, at proper distances, to accommodate the merchants and travellers, who lay in those buildings along with Page 59 their wives, who oSen accompany them; and they always go well armed. From the 5me I leS my own na5on I always found somebody that understood me 5ll I came to the sea coast. The languages of different na5ons did not totally differ, nor were they so copious as those of the Europeans, par5cularly the English. They were therefore easily learned; and, while I was journeying thus through Africa, I acquired two or three different tongues. In this manner I had been travelling for a considerable 5me, when one evening, to my great surprise, whom should I see brought to the house where I was but my dear sister! As soon as she saw me she gave a loud shriek, and ran into my arms‐‐I was quite overpowered: neither of us could speak; but, for a considerable 5me, Page 60 clung to each other in mutual embraces, unable to do any thing but weep. Our mee5ng affected all who saw us; and indeed I must acknowledge, in honour of those sable destroyers of human rights, that I never met with any ill treatment, or saw any offered to their slaves, except tying them, when necessary, to keep them from running away. When these people knew we were brother and sister they indulged us together; and the man, to whom I supposed we belonged, lay with us, he in the middle, while she and I held one another by the hands across his breast all night; and thus for a while we forgot our misfortunes in the joy of being together: but even this small comfort was soon to have an end; for scarcely had the fatal
  10. 10. morning appeared, when she was again torn from me for ever! I was now more miserable, Page 61 if possible, than before. The small relief which her presence gave me from pain was gone, and the wretchedness of my situa5on was redoubled by my anxiety aSer her fate, and my apprehensions leS her sufferings should be greater than mine, when I could not be with her to alleviate them. Yes, thou dear partner of all my childish sports! thou sharer of my joys and sorrows! happy should I have ever esteemed myself to encounter every misery for you, and to procure your freedom by the sacrifice of my own. Though you were early forced from my arms, your image has been always riveOed in my heart, from which neither 5me nor fortune have been able to remove it; so that, while the thoughts of your sufferings have damped my prosperity, they have mingled with adversity and increased its biOerness. Page 62 77 To that Heaven which protects the weak from the strong, I commit the care of your innocence and virtues, if they have not already received their full reward, and if your youth and delicacy have not long since fallen vic‐ 5ms to the violence of the African trader, the pes5len5al stench of a Guinea ship, the seasoning in the European colonies, or the lash and lust of a brutal and unrelen5ng overseer. I did not long remain aSer my sister. I was again sold, and carried through a number of places, 5ll, aSer travelling a considerable 5me, I came to a town called Tinmah, in the most beau5ful country I had yet seen in Africa. It was extremely rich, and there were many rivulets which flowed through it, and supplied a large pond in the centre of the town, where the people washed. Here I first saw and tasted cocoa‐nuts, Page 63 which I thought superior to any nuts I had ever tasted before; and the trees, which were loaded, were also interspersed amongst the houses, which had commodious shades adjoining, and were in the same manner as ours, the insides being neatly plastered and whitewashed. Here I also saw and
  11. 11. tasted for the first 5me sugarcane. Their money consisted of liOle white shells, the size of the finger nail. I was sold here for one hundred and seventy‐two of them by a merchant who lived and brought me there. I had been about two or three days at his house, when a wealthy widow, a neighbour of his, came there one evening, and brought with her an only son, a young gentleman about my own age and size. Here they saw me; and, having taken a fancy to me, I was bought of the merchant, and went home with them. Her house and Page 64 premises were situated close to one of those rivulets I have men5oned, and were the finest I ever saw in Africa: they were very extensive, and she had a number of slaves to aOend her. The next day I was washed and perfumed, and when meal‐5me came I was led into the presence of my mistress, and ate and drank before her with her son. This filled me with astonishment; and I could scarce help expressing my surprise that the young gentleman should suffer me, who was bound, to eat with him who was free; and not only so, but that he would not at any 5me either eat or drink 5ll I had taken first, because I was the eldest, which was agreeable to our custom. Indeed every thing here, and all their treatment of me, made me forget that I was a slave. The language of these people resembled ours so nearly, that we understood Page 65 each other perfectly. They had also the very same customs as we. There were likewise slaves daily to aOend us, while my young master and I with other boys sported with our darts and bows and arrows, as I had been used to do at home. In this resemblance to my former happy state I passed about two months; and I now began to think I was to be adopted into the family, and was beginning to be rereconciled to my situa5on, and to forget by degrees my misfortunes, when all at once the delusion vanished; for, without the least previous knowledge, one morning early, while my dear master and companion was s5ll asleep, I was wakened out of my reverie to fresh sorrow, and hurried away even amongst the uncircumcised. Thus, at the very moment I dreamed of the greatest happiness, I found myself
  12. 12. Page 66 most miserable; and it seemed as if fortune wished to give me this taste of joy, only to render the reverse more poignant. The change I now experienced was as painful as it was sudden and unexpected. It was a change indeed from a state of bliss to a scene which is inexpressible by me, as it discovered to me an element I had never before beheld, and 5ll then had no idea of, and wherein such instances of hardship and cruelty con5nually occurred as I can never reflect on but with horror. 78 All the na5ons and people I had hitherto passed through resembled our own in their manners, customs, and language: but I came at length to a country, the inhabitants of which differed from us in all those par5culars. I was very much struck with this difference, especially when I came among Page 67 a people who did not circumcise, and ate without washing their hands. They cooked also in iron pots, and had European cutlasses and cross, bows, which were unknown to us, and fought with their fists amongst themselves. Their women were not so modest as ours, for they ate, and drank, and slept, with their men. But, above all, I was amazed to see no sacrifices or offerings among them. In some of those places the people ornamented themselves with scars, and likewise filed their teeth very sharp. They wanted some5mes to ornament me in the same manner, but I would not suffer them; hoping that I might some 5me be among a people who did not thus disfigure themselves, as I thought they did. At last I came to the banks of a large river, which was covered with canoes, in which the people appeared to live Page 68 with their household utensils and provisions of all kinds. I was beyond measure astonished at this, as I had never before seen any water larger than a pond or a rivulet: and my surprise was mingled with no small fear when I was put into one of these canoes, and we began to paddle and move along the river. We con5nued going on thus 5ll night; and when we came to land, and made fires on the banks, each family by themselves,
  13. 13. some dragged their canoes on shore, others stayed and cooked in theirs, and laid in them all night. Those on the land had mats, of which they made tents, some in the shape of liOle houses: in these we slept; and aSer the morning meal we embarked again and proceeded as before. I was oSen very much astonished to see some of the women, as well as the men, jump into the water, dive to the Page 69 boOom, come up again, and swim about. Thus I con5nued to travel, some5mes by land, some5mes by water, through different countries and various na5ons, 5ll, at the end of six or seven months aSer I had been kidnapped, I arrived at the sea coast. It would be tedious and uninteres5ng to relate all the incidents which befell me during this journey, and which I have not yet forgoOen; of the various hands I passed through, and the manners and customs of all the different people among whom I lived: I shall therefore only observe, that in all the places where I was the soil was exceedingly rich; the pomkins, eadas, plantains, yams, &c. &c. were in great abundance, and of incredible size. There were also vast quan55es of different gums, though not used for any purpose; and every where a great deal of Page 70 tobacco. The coOon even grew quite wild; and there was plenty of red‐wood. I saw no mechanics whatever in all the way, except such as I have men5oned. The chief employment in all these countries was agriculture, and both the males and females, as with us, were brought up to it, and trained in the arts of war. The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor, and wai5ng for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror when I was carried on board. I was immediately handled and tossed up to see if I were sound by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had goOen into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. Their complexions too Page 71 79
  14. 14. differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, (which was very different from any I had ever heard) united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand worlds had been my own, I would have freely parted with them all to have exchanged my condi5on with that of the meanest slave in my own country. When I looked round the ship too and saw a large furnace or copper boiling, and a mul5tude of black people of every descrip5on chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejec5on and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell mo5onless on the deck and fainted. When I recovered a liOle I found some black people about me, who I believed were Page 72 some of those who brought me on board, and had been receiving their pay; they talked to me in order to cheer me, but all in vain. I asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces, and loose hair. They told me I was not; and one of the crew brought me a small por5on of spirituous liquor in a wine glass; but, being afraid of him, I would not take it out of his hand. One of the blacks therefore took it from him and gave it to me, and I took a liOle down my palate, which, instead of reviving me, as they thought it would, threw me into the greatest consterna5on at the strange feeling it produced, having never tasted any such liquor before. Soon aSer this the blacks who brought me on board went off, and leS me abandoned to despair. I now saw myself deprived Page 73 of all chance of returning to my na5ve country, or even the least glimpse of hope of gaining the shore, which I now considered as friendly; and I even wished for my former slavery in preference to my present situa5on, which was filled with horrors of every kind, s5ll heightened by my ignorance of what I was to undergo. I was not long suffered to indulge my grief; I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a saluta‐ 5on in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life: so that, with the
  15. 15. loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to cat, nor had I the least desire to taste any thing. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, Page 74 one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across I think the windlass, and 5ed my feet, while the other flogged me severely. I had never experienced any thing of this kind before; and although, not being used to the water, I naturally feared that element the first 5me I saw it, yet nevertheless, could I have got over the neqngs, I would have jumped over the side, but I could not; and, besides, the crew used to watch us very closely who were not chained down to the decks, lest we should leap into the water: and I have seen some of these poor African prisoners most severely cut for aOemp5ng to do so, and hourly whipped for not ea5ng. This indeed was oSen the case with myself. In a liOle 5me aSer, amongst the poor chained men, I found some of my own na5on, which in a small degree gave ease to my mind. I Page 75 inquired of these what was to be done with us; they gave me to understand we were to be carried to these white people's country to work for them. I then was a liOle revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my situa5on was not so desperate: but s5ll I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among any people such instances of brutal cruelty; and this not only shewn towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves. One white man in par5cular I saw, when we were permiOed to be on deck, flogged so unmercifully with a large rope near the 80 foremast, that he died in consequence of it; and they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute. This made me fear these people the more; and I expected Page 76 nothing less than to be treated in the same manner. I could not help
  16. 16. expressing my fears and apprehensions to some of my countrymen: I asked them if these people had no country, but lived in this hollow place (the ship): they told me they did not, but came from a distant one. 'Then,' said I, 'how comes it in all our country we never heard of them?' They told me because they lived so very far off. I then asked where were their women? had they any like themselves? I was told they had: 'and why,' said I, 'do we not see them?' they answered, because they were leS behind. I asked how the vessel could go? they told me they could not tell; but that there were cloths put upon the masts by the help of the ropes I saw, and then the vessel went on; and the white men had some spell or magic they put in the water Page 77 when they liked in order to stop the vessel. I was exceedingly amazed at this account, and really thought they were spirits. I therefore wished much to be from amongst them, for I expected they would sacrifice me: but my wishes were vain; for we were so quartered that it was impossible for any of us to make our escape. While we stayed on the coast I was mostly on deck; and one day, to my great astonishment, I saw one of these vessels coming in with the sails up. As soon as the whites saw it, they gave a great shout, at which we were amazed; and the more so as the vessel appeared larger by approaching nearer. At last she came to an anchor in my sight, and when the anchor was let go I and my countrymen who saw it were lost in astonishment to observe the vessel stop; and were now convinced it was Page 78 done by magic. Soon aSer this the other ship got her boats out, and they came on board of us, and the people of both ships seemed very glad to see each other. Several of the strangers also shook hands with us black people, and made mo5ons with their hands, signifying I suppose we were to go to their country; but we did not understand them. At last, when the ship we were in had got in all her cargo, they made ready with many fearful noises, and we were all put under deck, so that we could not see how they managed the vessel. But this disappointment
  17. 17. was the least of my sorrow. The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any 5me, and some of us had been permiOed to stay on the deck for the fresh air; but now that the whole ship's cargo were Page 79 confined together, it became absolutely pes5len5al. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspira5ons, so that the air soon became unfit for respira5on, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died, thus falling vic‐ 5ms to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers. This wretched situa5on was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children oSen fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. Happily perhaps Page 80 for myself I was soon reduced so low here that it was thought necessary to keep me almost always on deck; and from my extreme youth I was not put in feOers. In this situa5on I expected every hour to share the fate of 81 my companions, some of whom were almost daily brought upon deck at the point of death, which I began to hope would soon put an end to my miseries. OSen did I think many of the inhabitants of the deep much more happy than myself. I envied them the freedom they enjoyed, and as oSen wished I could change my condi5on for theirs. Every circumstance I met with served only to render my state more painful, and heighten my apprehensions, and my opinion of the cruelty of the whites. One day they had taken a number of fishes; and when they had killed and sa5sfied themselves with as many as Page 81 they thought fit, to our astonishment who were on the deck, rather than give any of them to us to eat as we
  18. 18. expected, they tossed the remaining fish into the sea again, although we begged and prayed for some as well as we could, but in vain; and some of my countrymen, being pressed by hunger, took an opportunity, when they thought no one saw them, of trying to get a liOle privately; but they were discovered, and the aOempt procured them some very severe floggings. One day, when we had a smooth sea and moderate wind, two of my wearied countrymen who were chained together (I was near them at the 5me), preferring death to such a life of misery, somehow made through the neqngs and jumped into the sea: immediately another quite dejected fellow, who, on account of his illness, was suffered to be out of irons, Page 82 also followed their example; and I believe many more would very soon have done the same if they had not been prevented by the ship's crew, who were instantly alarmed. Those of us that were the most ac5ve were in a moment put down under the deck, and there was such a noise and confusion amongst the people of the ship as I never heard before, to stop her, and get the boat out to go aSer the slaves. However two of the wretches were drowned, but they got the other, and aSerwards flogged him unmercifully for thus aOemp5ng to prefer death to slavery. In this manner we con5nued to undergo more hardships than I can now relate, hardships which are inseparable from this accursed trade. Many a 5me we were near suffoca5on from the want of fresh air, which we were oSen without for whole days together. This, Page 83 and the stench of the necessary tubs, carried off many. During our passage I first saw flying fishes, which surprised me very much: they used frequently to fly across the ship, and many of them fell on the deck. I also now first saw the use of the quadrant; I had oSen with astonishment seen the mariners make observa5ons with it, and I could not think what it meant. They at last took no5ce of my surprise; and one of them, willing to increase it, as well as to gra5fy my curiosity, made me one day look through it. The clouds appeared to me to be land, which disappeared as they passed along. This heightened my wonder; and I was
  19. 19. now more persuaded than ever that I was in another world, and that every thing about me was magic. At last we came in sight of the island of Barbadoes, at which the whites on board gave a great Page 84 shout, and made many signs of joy to us. We did not know what to think of this; but as the vessel drew nearer we plainly saw the harbour, and other ships of different kinds and sizes; and we soon anchored amongst them off Bridge Town. Many merchants and planters now came on board, though it was in the evening. They put us in separate parcels, and examined us aOen5vely. They also made us jump, and pointed to the land, signifying we were to go there. We thought by this we should be eaten by these ugly men, as they appeared to us; and, when soon aSer we were all put down under the deck again, there was much dread and trembling among us, and nothing but biOer cries to be heard all the night from these apprehensions, insomuch that at last the white people got some old slaves from the land to pacify us. They 82 Page 85 told us we were not to be eaten, but to work, and were soon to go on land, where we should see many of our country people. This report eased us much; and sure enough, soon aSer we were landed, there came to us Africans of all languages. We were conducted immediately to the merchant's yard, where we were all pent up together like so many sheep in a fold, without regard to sex or age. As every object was new to me every thing I saw filled me with surprise. What struck me first was that the houses were built with stories, and in every other respect different from those in Africa: but I was s5ll more astonished on seeing people on horseback. I did not know what this could mean; and indeed I thought these people were full of nothing but magical arts. While I was in this astonishment one of my Page 86 fellow prisoners spoke to a countryman of his about the horses, who said they were the same kind they had in their country. I understood them, though they were from a distant part of
  20. 20. Africa, and I thought it odd I had not seen any horses there; but aSerwards, when I came to converse with different Africans, I found they had many horses amongst them, and much larger than those I then saw. We were not many days in the merchant's custody before we were sold aSer their usual manner, which is this:‐‐On a signal given, (as the beat of a drum) the buyers rush at once into the yard where the slaves are confined, and make choice of that parcel they like best. The noise and clamour with which this is aOended, and the eagerness visible in the countenances of the buyers, serve not a liOle to increase the apprehensions of the Page 87 terrified Africans, who may well be supposed to consider them as the ministers of that destruc5on to which they think themselves devoted. In this manner, without scruple, are rela5ons and friends separated, most of them never to see each other again. I remember in the vessel in which I was brought over, in the men's apartment, there were several brothers, who, in the sale, were sold in different lots; and it was very moving on this occasion to see and hear their cries at par5ng. O, ye nominal Chris5ans! might not an African ask you, learned you this from your God, who says unto you, Do unto all men as you would men should do unto you? Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friends to toil for your luxury and lust of gain? Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice? Page 88 Are the dearest friends and rela5ons, now rendered more dear by their separa5on from their kindred, s5ll to be parted from each other, and thus prevented from cheering the gloom of slavery with the small comfort of being together and mingling their sufferings and sorrows? Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, or husbands their wives? Surely this is a new refinement in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery. 83 What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
  21. 21. Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852 Mr. President, Friends and Fellow CiOzens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensaOon, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The liIle experience I have had in addressing public meeOngs, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion. The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oraOon. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have ohen had the privilege to speak in this beauOful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment. The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this plaLorm and the slave plantaOon, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulOes to be overcome in gesng from the laIer to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to‐day is, to me, a maIer of astonishment as well as of graOtude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say. I evince no elaborate preparaOon, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With liIle experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hasOly and imperfectly together; and trusOng to your paOent and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you. This, for the purpose of this celebraOon, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your NaOonal Independence, and of your poliOcal freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebraOon also marks the beginning of another year of your naOonal life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow‐
  22. 22. ciOzens, that your na‐ Oon is so young. Seventy‐six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a naOon. Three score years and ten is the alloIed Ome for individual men; but naOons number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your naOonal career, sOll lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous Omes; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is sOll in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of jusOce and of truth, will yet give direcOon to her desOny? Were the naOon older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. 84 There is consolaOon in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may someOmes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and ferOlizing the earth with their mysterious properOes. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss‐sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with naOons. Fellow‐ciOzens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associaOons that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were BriOsh subjects. The style and Otle of your "sovereign people" (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the BriOsh Crown . Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogaOves, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitaOons, as, in
  23. 23. its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper. But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the jusOce of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submiIed to. I scarcely need say, fellow‐ciOzens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaraOon of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a Ome when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, ploIers of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed. Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They peOOoned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respec Lul, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexcepOonable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back. 85 As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of BriOsh statesmen
  24. 24. admiIed its jusOce, and the lohiest eloquence of the BriOsh Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characterisOc of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the BriOsh Government persisted in the exacOons complained of. The madness of this course, we believe, is admiIed now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler. Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became res‐ Ove under this treatment. They felt themselves the vicOms of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separaOon of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of Ome, regard it. The Omid and the prudent (as has been inOmated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it. Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no maIer how great the good to be aIained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor. These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellaOon, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we ohen find in our papers, applied to some of our old poliOcians. Their opposiOon to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferaOons against it, the alarming and revoluOonary idea moved on, and the country with it. On the 2d of July, 1776, the old ConOnental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of naOonal sancOon. They did so in the form of a resoluOon; and as we seldom hit upon resoluOons, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. "Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the BriOsh Crown;
  25. 25. and that all poliOcal connecOon between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved." CiOzens, your fathers made good that resoluOon. They succeeded; and to‐day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your naOon’s history—the very ring‐bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped desOny. 86 Pride and patrioOsm, not less than graOtude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the DeclaraOon of Independence is the ring‐bolt to the chain of your naOon’s desOny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day—cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm‐tossed mariner to a spar at midnight. The coming into being of a naOon, in any circumstances, is an interesOng event. But, besides general considera Oons, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special aIrac‐ Oveness. The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The populaOon of the country, at the Ome, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the muniOons of war. The populaOon was weak and scaIered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combinaOon, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed. Fellow CiOzens, I am not wanOng in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the DeclaraOon of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does
  26. 26. not ohen happen to a naOon to raise, at one Ome, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiraOon. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. They loved their country beIer than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiraOon of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests. They were peace men; but they preferred revoluOon to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitaOng against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was "seIled" that was not right. With them, jusOce, liberty and humanity were "final;" not slavery and oppression. You may well cher‐ 87 ish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generaOon. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate Omes. How circumspect, exact and proporOonate were all their movements! How unlike the poliOcians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them! Fully appreciaOng the hardship to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scruOny of an on‐looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to aIest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiraOon of a glorious patrio Osm, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of jusOce and freedom, lay deep the corner‐stone of the naOonal superstructure, which has risen and sOll rises in grandeur around you.
  27. 27. Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstraOons of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exulOngly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have quiIed his grasp on this day. The ear‐piercing fife and the sOrring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick marOal tramp of a great and mulOtudinous naOon, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast conOnent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests naOon’s jubilee. Friends and ciOzens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them beIer than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separaOon of the colonies from the BriOsh crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislaOve halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your naOonal poetry and eloquence. I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a naOonal trait ‐ perhaps a naOonal weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputaOon of Americans, and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans, if I say I think the American side of any quesOon may be safely leh in American hands. I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine! THE PRESENT. 88 My business, if I have any here to‐day, is with the present. The accepted Ome with God and his cause is the ever‐living now. "Trust no future, however pleasant, Let the dead past bury its dead;
  28. 28. Act, act in the living present, Heart within, and God overhead." We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring mo‐ Oves, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the Ome, the important Ome. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard‐ earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubLul one. There are illustraOons of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have "Abraham to our father," when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country today? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die Oll he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men, shout ‐ "We have Washington to our father." Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is. "The evil that men do, lives aher them, The good is oh‐interred with their bones." "What have I, or those I represent, to do with your naOonal independence?" Fellow‐ciOzens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to‐day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your naOonal independence? Are the great principles of poliOcal freedom and of natural jusOce, embodied in that DeclaraOon of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the naOonal altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout graOtude for the blessings resulOng from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmaOve answer could be truthfully
  29. 29. returned to these quesOons! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delighLul. For who is there so cold, that a naOon’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of graOtude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to 89 swell the hallelujahs of a naOon’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart." But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of jusOce, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in feIers into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, ciOzens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to‐day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a naOon whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that naOon in irrecoverable ruin! I can to‐day take up the plainOve lament of a peeled and woe‐smiIen people! "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away capOve, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth." Fellow‐ciOzens; above your naOonal, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy
  30. 30. and grievous yesterday, are, to‐day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then fellow‐ciOzens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characterisOcs, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, idenOfied with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this naOon never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declara Oons of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the naOon seems equally hideous and revolOng. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is feIered, in the name of the consOtuOon and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in quesOon and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery‐the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;" I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just. But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother aboli‐ Oonists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anO‐slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves
  31. 31. acknowledge it 90 in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy‐two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if commiIed by a black man, (no maIer how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admiIed in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalOes, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the caIle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the repOles that crawl, shall be unable to disOnguish the slave from a brute, their will I argue with you that the slave is a man! For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planOng and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecOng houses, construcOng bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, wriOng and cyphering, acOng as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and caIle on the hillside, living, moving, acOng, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the ChrisOan’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men! Would you have me argue that man is enOtled to liberty? that he is the righLul owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a quesOon for Republicans? Is it to be seIled by the rules of logic and argumentaOon, as a maIer beset with great difficulty, involving a doubLul
  32. 32. applicaOon of the principle of jusOce, hard to be understood? How should I look to‐day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relaOvely, and posiOvely, negaOvely, and affirmaOvely. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him. What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relaOons to their fellow men, to beat them with sOcks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at aucOon, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to bum their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with polluOon, is wrong? No! I will not. I have beIer employments for my Ome and strength than such arguments would imply. What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposiOon? They that can, may; I cannot. The Ome for such argument is past. At a Ome like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the naOon’s ear, I would, to‐day, pour out a fiery stream of biOng ridicule, blasOng reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the naOon must be quickened; the conscience of the naOon must be roused; the propriety of the naOon must be startled; the hypocrisy of the naOon must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. 91 What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injusOce and cruelly to which he is the constant vicOm. To him, your celebraOon is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your naOonal greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciaOons of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts
  33. 33. of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, decepOon, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a naOon of savages. There is not a naOon on the earth guilty of pracOces, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despoOsms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday pracOces of this naOon, and you will say with me, that, for revolOng barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival. INTERNAL SLAVE TRADE. Take the American slave‐trade, which, we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex‐Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He menOons the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiariOes of American insOtuOons. It is carried on in all the large towns and ciOes in one‐half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year, by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states, this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradisOncOon to the foreign slavetrade) "the internal slave trade." It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave‐trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government, as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words, from the high places of the naOon, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this naOon keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave‐trade, as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the laws of God and of man. The duty to exOrpate and destroy it, is admiIed even by our DOCTORS OF DIVINITY. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish themselves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execraOon is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave‐trade,
  34. 34. the men engaged in the slave‐trade between the states pass without condemnaOon, and their business is deemed honorable. Behold the pracOcal operaOon of this internal slave‐trade, the American slave‐trade, sustained by American poliOcs and America religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine‐drover? I will show you a man‐drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the naOon, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh‐jobbers, armed with pistol, whip and bowie‐knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the coIon‐field, and the deadly sugar‐mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood‐chilling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted capOves! There, see the old man, with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the feIers clank, 92 and the chain raIles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the center of your soul! The crack you heard, was the sound of the slave‐whip; the scream you heard, was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow the drove to New Orleans. AIend the aucOon; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shocking gaze of American slave‐buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scaIered mulOtude. Tell me ciOzens, WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish
  35. 35. and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave‐trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States. I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave‐trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was ohen pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, BalOmore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiOng for favorable winds to wah them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that Ome, a grand slave mart kept at the head of PraI Street, by AusOn Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming "hand‐bills," headed CASH FOR NEGROES. These men were generally well dressed men, and very capOvaOng in their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness. The flesh‐mongers gather up their vicOms by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at BalO‐ more. When a sufficient number have been collected here, a ship is chartered, for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the anOslavery agitaOon, a certain cauOon is observed. In the deep sOll darkness of midnight, I have been ohen aroused by the dead heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was ohen consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the raIle of the chains, and the heart‐rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror. Fellow‐ciOzens, this murderous traffic is, to‐day, in acOve operaOon in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of feIered humanity, on the way to the slave‐markets, where the vicOms are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest Oes ruthlessly
  36. 36. broken, to graOfy the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight. "Is this the land your Fathers loved, The freedom which they toiled to win? Is this the earth whereon they moved? Are these the graves they slumber in?" But a sOll more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been naOonalized in its most horrible and revolOng form. By that act, Mason & Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; 93 and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves remains no longer a mere state insO‐ tuOon, but is now an insOtuOon of the whole United States. The power is co‐extensive with the Star‐Spangled Banner and American ChrisOanity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave‐hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunOng ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your lawmakers have commanded all good ciOzens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiasOcs, enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciaOng torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there are neither law, jusOce, humanity, not religion. The FugiOve Slave Law makes MERCY TO THEM, A CRIME; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American JUDGE GETS TEN DOLLARS FOR EVERY VICTIM HE CONSIGNS to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell‐black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the
  37. 37. remorseless jaws of slavery! His own tesOmony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American jusOce is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side, is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant‐killing, king‐haOng, people‐loving, democraOc, ChrisOan America, the seats of jusOce are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, hear only his accusers! In glaring violaOon of jusOce, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this FugiOve Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislaOon. I doubt if there be another naOon on the globe, having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute‐book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this maIer, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable Ome and place he may select. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of ChrisOan Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it. At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are uIerly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it uIerly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the "mint, anise and cummin"—abridge the fight to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smiIen by the thunder of a thousand pul‐ 94 pits. A general shout would go up from the church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! And it would go hard with that poliOcian who presumed to solicit the votes of the people without inscribing this moIo on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old Covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by
  38. 38. Knox, to the beauOful, but treacherous queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country, (with fracOonal excepOons), does not esteem "the FugiOve Slave Law" as a declaraOon of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring acOve benevolence, jusOce, love and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm‐singing above right doing; solemn meeOngs above pracOcal righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as "scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, who pay Othe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omiIed the weighOer maIers of the law, judgment, mercy and faith." THE CHURCH RESPONSIBLE. But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave‐hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sancOon of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relaOon of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for ChrisOanity. For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel wriOngs of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty‐ hearted thing, having neither principles of right acOon, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, manstealers, and thugs. It is not that "pure and undefiled religion" which is from above, and which is "first
  39. 39. pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without parOality, and without hypocrisy." But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our 95 land and naOon ‐ a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abominaOon in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, "Bring no more vain ablaOons; incense is an abominaOon unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeOng. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow." The American church is guilty, when viewed in connecOon with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlaOvely guilty when viewed in connecOon with its ability to abolish slavery. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uIered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that "There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it." Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeOng, the great ecclesiasOcal, missionary, Bible and tract associaOons of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave‐ holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scaIered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves
  40. 40. them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive. In prosecuOng the anO‐slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redempOon of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in baIle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared‐men, honored for their so‐called piety, and their real learning. The LORDS of Buffalo, the SPRINGS of New York, the LATHROPS of Auburn, the COXES and SPENCERS of Brooklyn, the GANNETS and SHARPS of Boston, the DEWEYS of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land, have, in uIer denial of the authority of Him, by whom the professed to he called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example or the Hebrews and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach "that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God." My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the "standing types and representa Oves of Jesus Christ," is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be disOnctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizaOons of our land. There are excepOons, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scaIered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend on the plaLorm, are shining examples; and let me say further, that upon these men lies the duty to in‐ 96 spire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemp‐ Oon from his chains. RELIGION IN ENGLAND AND RELIGION IN AMERICA. One is struck with the difference between the astude of the American church towards the anO‐ slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in England towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of amelioraOng, elevaOng, and improving the condiOon of
  41. 41. mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There, the quesOon of emancipaOon was a high[ly] religious quesOon. It was demanded, in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, and Burchells and the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy. The anO‐slavery movement there was not an anO‐church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuOng that movement: and the anO‐slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anO‐church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable, instead or a hosOle posiOon towards that movement. Americans! your republican poliOcs, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilizaOon, and your pure ChrisOanity, while the whole poliOcal power of the naOon (as embodied in the two great poliOcal parOes), is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria, and pride yourselves on your DemocraOc insOtuOons, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and bodyguards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugiOves of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovaOons, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugiOves from your own land you adverOse, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal educaOon yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a naOon—a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, Oll your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the naOon who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the menOon of liberty for
  42. 42. France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a sOgma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of BriOsh arOllery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard‐earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe "that, of one blood, God made all naOons of men to dwell on the face of all the earth," and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you "hotel these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Crea‐ 97 tor with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country. Fellow‐ciOzens! I will not enlarge further on your naOonal inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your ChrisOanity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your poliOcians at home. It saps the foundaOon of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonisOc force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It feIers your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of educaOon; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible repOle is coiled up in your naOon’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever! THE CONSTITUTION.
  43. 43. But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sancOoned by the ConsOtuOon of the United States; that the right to hold and to hunt slaves is a part of that ConsOtuOon framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic. Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped "To palter with us in a double sense: And keep the word of promise to the ear, But break it to the heart." And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest imposters that ever pracOced on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape. But I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the ConsOtuOon of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not Ome now to argue the consOtuOonal quesOon at length ‐ nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq., by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by GerriI Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the ConsOtuOon from any design to support slavery for an hour. "[L]et me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the ConsOtuOon were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave‐holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it." Fellow‐ciOzens! there is no maIer in respect to which, the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon, as that of the pro‐slavery character of the ConsOtuOon. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sancOon of the hateful thing; but, interpreted as it ought to be inter‐ 98 preted, the ConsOtuOon is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither. While I do not intend to argue this quesOon on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the ConsOtuOon were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave‐holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally
  44. 44. drawn up, for the purpose of enOtling the city of Rochester to a track of land, in which no menOon of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretaOon, for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, common‐sense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the quesOon of the consOtuOonality or unconsOtuOonality of slavery is not a quesOon for the people. I hold that every American ciOzen has a fight to form an opinion of the consOtuOon, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this fight, the liberty of an American ciOzen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex‐Vice‐President Dallas tells us that the consOtuOon is an object to which no American mind can be too aIenOve, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the consOtuOon, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home‐bred, unsophisOcated understandings of our fellow‐ciOzens. Senator Berrien tell us that the ConsOtuOon is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberOes, which every ciOzen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The tesOmony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the consOtuOon. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumpOon in a private ciOzen to form an opinion of that instrument. Now, take the consOtuOon according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentaOon of a single pro‐slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, enOrely hosOle to the existence of slavery. I have detained my audience enOrely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion. "Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the naOon, I do not despair of this country." Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the naOon, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operaOon, which must inevitably
  45. 45. work The downfall of slavery. "The arm of the Lord is not shortened," and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the DeclaraOon of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American InsOtuOons, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. NaOons do not now stand in the same relaOon to each other that they did ages ago. No naOon can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The Ome was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurLul character could 99 formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the mulOtude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled ciOes and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetraOng the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link naOons together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparaOvely annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the AtlanOc are, disOnctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The CelesOal Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all‐pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God." In the fervent aspiraOons of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it: God speed the year of jubilee The wide world o’er When from their galling chains set free, Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny