Frederick Douglass, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

5 July 1852

Occasion: Meeting sponsored by the Rochester Ladies'
Anti-Slavery Society, Rochester Hall, Rochester, N.Y. To
illustrate the full shame of slavery, Douglass delivered a
speech that took aim at the pieties of the nation -- the
cherished memories of its revolution, its principles of liberty,
and its moral and religious foundation. The Fourth of July, a
day celebrating freedom, was used by Douglass to remind his
audience of liberty's unfinished business.

Editorial note: Footnotes from the source copy have been placed
immediately following their respective paragraphs.

Prepared by: D. L. Oetting

Accepted: 1 September 1996
Last updated: 3 February 1997

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who
could address this audience without a quailing sensation, 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 little
 experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in
 country school houses, avails me nothing on the present

 The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th
 [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the
 common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege
 to speak in this beautiful 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 platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped,
 is considerable - and the difficulties to be overcome in getting
 from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I
 am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as
 of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have
 to say. I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with
 any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less
 learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and
 imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous
 indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you. 3 "May [the
 reformer] not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of
 truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older,
 the patriot's heart might be sadder, and the reformer's brow heavier.
 . . . There is consolation in the thought that America is young."

 This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of
 July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of
 your political 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 celebration also marks the beginning of another
 year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic
 of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens,
 that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a
 good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a
 nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for
 individual men; but nations number their years by thousands.
 According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the
 beginning of your national career, still 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 times; but his
 heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is
 young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her
 existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of
 justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny?
 Were the nation 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. There is
 consolation in the thought that America is young. Great
 streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the
 course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately
 majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the
 earth with their mysterious properties. 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 nations.

 Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on
 the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story
 of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were
 British subjects. The style and title of your "sovereign people"
 (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under
 the British 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 prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children,
 such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature
 judgement, 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 justice 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 submitted to. I scarcely need say,
 fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully
 accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration 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 time 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, plotters
 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 petitioned and
 remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal
 manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. 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.

 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 British statesmen admitted its justice, and
 the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But,
 with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of
 tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the
 British Government persisted in the exactions complained of. 8

 The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now,
 even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our
 present rulers.

 Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were
 wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive
 under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims 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 separation of the colonies from the
 crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than
 we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the
 prudent (as has been intimated) 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 matter how great the good to
 be attained, 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

 These people were called tories in the days of your
 fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same
 idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less
 euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied
 to some of our old politicians.

 Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was
 earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted
 vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea
 moved on, and the country with it.

 On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to
 the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of
 property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of
 national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and
 as we seldom hit upon resolutions, 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 British Crown; and that all
 political connection between them and the State of Great
 Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."

 Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. 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 nation's history - the very ring-bolt in the chain
 of your yet undeveloped destiny. 16

 Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you
 to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have
 said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to
 the chain of your nation's destiny; 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. 18

 The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances,
 is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations,
 there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of
 this republic an event of special attractiveness.

 The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple,
 dignified and sublime.

 The population of the country, at the time, stood at the
 insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor
 in the munitions of war. The population was weak and
 scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There
 were then no means of concert and combination, 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 Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the
 fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of
 Independence were brave men. They were great men too -
 great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often
 happen to a nation to raise, at one time, 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
 admiration. 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 better 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 admiration of liberty, they
 lost sight of all other interests.

 They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to
 peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but
 they did not shrink from agitating 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 "settled" that was not right. With them, justice,
 liberty and humanity were "final;" not slavery and oppression.
 You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were
 great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands
 out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

 How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their
 movements! How unlike the politicians 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
 defence. Mark them!

 Fully appreciating the hardship to be encountered, firmly
 believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the
 scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to
 heaven to attest 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
 inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the
 great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of
 the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in
 grandeur around you.

 Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our
 eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm.
 Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din
 of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have
 quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the
 stirring 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 martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation,
 echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast
 continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal
 interests nation's jubilee.

 Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the
 causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand
 them better 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 separation of the colonies from the
 British 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 legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household
 words. They form the staple of your national poetry and

 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 national trait - perhaps a
 national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the
 wealth or for the reputation 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 question may be safely left 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!


 My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the
 present. The accepted time with God and his cause is the
 ever-living now.

 "Trust no future, however pleasant,
 Let the dead past bury its dead;
 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
 motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past,
 we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time.
 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 doubtful one.
 There are illustrations 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 to-day? 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 fill 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 after them,
 The good is oft' interred with their bones."

 "What have I,
 or those I
 represent, to do
 with your

 Fellow-citizens, 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 national independence? Are the
 great principles of political freedom and of natural justice,
 embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to
 us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble
 offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and
 express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your
 independence to us?

 Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an
 affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these
 questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy
 and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation's
 sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead
 to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully
 acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and
 selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs
 of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been
 tom 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 justice, 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 fetters 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, citizens, 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 nation
 whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by
 the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in
 irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament
 of a peeled and woe-smitten 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 captive, 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-citizens; above your national, tumultous joy, I
 hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy 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-citizens, is AMERICAN
 SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular
 characteristics, from the slave's point of view. Standing,
 there, identified 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 nation never looked
 blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to
 the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the
 present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and
 revolting. 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 fettered, in the name of the
 constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and
 trampled upon, dare to call in question 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 judgement is not blinded by
 prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not
 confess to be fight and just.

 But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just
 in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists 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 anti-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 acknowledge it 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 committed by a black man, (no matter 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
 admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with
 enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, 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 cattle on your hills, when the fish of the
 sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the
 slave from a brute, their will I argue with you that the slave is a

 For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood
 of the negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are
 ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical
 tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships,
 working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that,
 while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting 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 cattle on the hill-side, living,
 moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as
 husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and
 worshipping the Christian'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 entitled to liberty?
 that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have
 already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery?
 Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the
 rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great
 difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of
 justice, 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 relatively, and positively, negatively, and
 affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous,
 and lo 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 relations to their fellow men, to
 beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load
 their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at
 auction, 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 pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better
 employments for my time 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 proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time
 for such argument is past.

 At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing
 argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach
 the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of
 biting ridicule, blasting 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 nation must be quickened; the
 conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation
 must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its
 crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. 45

 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 injustice and cruelly to which he is the
 constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your
 boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness,
 swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and
 heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted
 impudence; your shouts 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, deception, impiety, and
 hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would
 disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth
 guilty of practices, 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 despotisms 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 practices of this nation, and you will say with me,
 that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America
 reigns without a rival.


 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
 mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This
 trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is
 carried on in all the large towns and cities 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 contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade)
 "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 nation, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it,
 to put an end to it, this nation 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 extirpate and destroy it,
 is admitted 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 execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged
 in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between
 the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed

 Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade,
 the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and
 American 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 nation, 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
 cotton-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 captives!
 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 fetters
 clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted
 with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre 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 this drove to New Orleans.
 Attend the auction; 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 scattered multitude.
 Tell me citizens, WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle
 more fiendish 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 often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on
 Philpot Street, Fell's Point, Baltimore, and have watched from
 the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the
 shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable
 winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that
 time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by
 Austin 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 captivating 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 victims by dozens, and
 drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. 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
 antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

 In the deep still darkness of midnight, I have been often
 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 often 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 rattle
 of the chains, and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find
 one who sympathised with me in my horror.

 Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active
 operation 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 fettered humanity, on
 the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like
 horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I
 see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice
 and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the

 "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 still 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 nationalized in its most horrible and
 revolting form. By that act, Mason & Dixon's line has been
 obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power
 to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves
 remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an
 institution of the whole United States. The power is
 co-extensive with the star-spangled banner and American
 Christianity. 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 hunting 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 citizens to engage in this hellish sport.
 Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles,
 and ecciesiastics, 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
 excruciating 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, justice,
 humanity, not religion. The Fugitive 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 remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He
 can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice
 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-hating,
 people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice 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 violation of justice, in shameless disregard of
 the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to
 entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive
 Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I
 doubt if there be another nation 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 matter, and feels able to
 disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable
 time and place he may select.


 I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of
 Christian 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 utterly silent in respect to a law which
 robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly
 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 smitten by the thunder of a
 thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the
 church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! And it would
 go hard with that politician who presumed to solicit the votes
 of the people without inscribing this motto 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 Knox, to the beautiful, but
 treacherous queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church
 of our country, (with fractional exceptions), does not esteem
 "the Fugitive Slave Law" as a declaration 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 active benevolence, justice, love and
 good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy;
 psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above
 practical 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 tithe of
 mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier
 matters of the law, judgement, mercy and faith."


 But the church of this country is not only indifferent to
 the wrongs of die 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 sanction of religion and
 the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that
 man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation 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 Christianity.

 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
 writings 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 action, nor bowels of
 compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the
 throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion
 for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that "pure
 and undefiled religion" which is from above, and which is "first pure,
 then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits,
 without partiality, 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 land and
 nation - a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority
 of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of
 God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well
 addressed, "Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination
 unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I
 cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 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 judgement; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless;
 plead for the widow."

 The American church is guilty, when viewed in
 connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is
 superlatively guilty when viewed in connection 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 uttered
 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 meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible
 and tract associations of the land array their immense powers
 against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of
 crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that
 they do not do this involves them in the most awful
 responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

 In prosecuting the anti-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 redemption of the slave, by the church
 and ministry of the country, in battle 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 utter denial of the
 authority of Him, by whom they 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

 My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men
 can be supported, as the "standing types and representatives
 of Jesus Christ," is a mystery which I leave others to
 penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it
 be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the
 religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I
 thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered
 all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher
 of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed
 friend* on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say
 further, that upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks
 with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the
 great mission of the slave's redemption from his chains.
 [*Rev. R. R. Raymond]


 One is struck with the difference between the attitude of
 the American church towards the anti-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 ameliorating, elevating, and improving the condition
 of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of
 the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There,
 the question of emancipation was a high[ly] religious question.
 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 anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church
 movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in
 prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in
 this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when
 the church of this country shall assume a favorable, instead or
 a hostile position towards that movement. Americans! your
 republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are
 flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your
 superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the
 whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two
 great political parties), 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
 Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be
 the mere tools and bodyguards of the tyrants of Virginia and
 Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression
 from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with
 ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them,
 and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives
 from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill.
 You glory in your refinement and your universal education;
 yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever
 stained the character of a nation - 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, till 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 nation who
 dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse!
 You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for 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 stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom
 to the storm of British artillery 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 nations 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 Creator 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-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national
 inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country
 brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a
 base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your
 moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It
 saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing,
 and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force
 in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and
 endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy
 of improvement, the deadly foe of education; 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 reptile is coiled up in your nation'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


 But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I
 have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by
 the Constitution of the United States; that the right to hold and to
 hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution 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
 practised 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 Constitution of the United
 States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe.
 There is not time now to argue the constitutional question 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 Gerritt Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think,
 fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to
 support slavery for an hour. 70 "[L]et me ask, if it be not somewhat
 singular that, if the Constitution 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-citizens! there is no matter 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 Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither
 warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but,
 interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a
 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 question on the present occasion, let me
 ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution
 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 drawn up, for the
 purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a track of land, in
 which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of
 interpretation, 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
 question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is
 not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has
 a fight to form an opinion of the constitution, 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 citizen
 would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas
 tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind
 can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further
 says, the constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and
 is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our
 fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tell us that the Constitution is the
 fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our
 liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in
 understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass,
 and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as
 sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that
 it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that

 Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading,
 and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On
 the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes,
 entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

 I have detained my audience entirely 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 nation, I
 do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation,
 which must inevitably 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 Declaration of
 Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius
 of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the
 obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in
 the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No
 nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world,
 and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without
 interference. The time was when such could be done. Long
 established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence
 themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity.
 Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged
 few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a
 change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled
 cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of
 commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city.
 Intelligence is penetrating the darkest comers 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 nations together.