William Lloyd Garrison.

Selections from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison. With an appendix .. online

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days ; but the very first Christmas after emancipation, the
Governor made a proclamation, stating that, in consequence
of the abolition of slavery, it was no longer necessary to
resort to such a precaution.' In fact, the main constabulary
force is now composed of emancipated negroes, living on
the estates. So, there can be no more slave insurrections
in Antigua, though it is not impossible that there may now
and then be a mob of ' gendemen of property and standing.'
No more is heard about Paul sending Onesimus back to
his master — the passage ceases to be translated, ' Slaves,
obey your masters' — not an allusion is made to the exam-
ple of the patriarchs — the Levitical code has suddenly
become obsolete, in the light of the British Constitution and
the Gospel of Christ ! As to the willingness of the emanci-
pated slaves to work, there is abundant testimony. We
have a proverb among ourselves, that one can tell whether
a mechanic is at work by the day or by the job, by listening
to the sound of his hammer. If by the day, the tune is

^ Largo,'' thus: — 'By the day! by the

day ! ' If by the job, it is ' Prestissimo'' — ' By the job, job,
job ! ,by the job, job, job !' That is human nature ; that is
the instinct of self-interest, which is indeed ' a great matter '
to white and black alike. It is just so in Antigua. The

laborei^ work very industriously by the day, though

they receive but eleven cents as compensation ; but they
work still better hj the joh. One planter testifies — ' When
they had jobs given them, they would sometimes go to work
by three o'clock in the morning, and work by moonlight.
When the moon was not shining, he has known them to


kindle fires among the trash, or dry cane leaves, to work
by. They would then continue all day, working until
four o'clock, stopping only for breakfast, and dispensing
with the usual intermission from twelve to two.' So much
for the laziness of the negroes, which nothing but a cart-
whip can stimulate ! When we consider how small is the
pittance which they receive, it is amazing to learn 'how
that the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty
abounds unto the riches of their liberality.' For, besides
supporting their families, they are contributing to Sunday
schools, missionary objects, the support of religious worship,
the distribution of the Bible, and to a multitude of benevo-
lent and moral associations, to the amount of thousands of
dollars annually ! Injured, calumniated, wonderful people !
Lord Brougham, as a proof of their extraordinary indus-
try, asserts that, ' during the year which followed the first
of August, 1834, twice as much sugar per hour, and of a
better quality, as compared with the preceding years, was
stored throughout the sugar districts ; and that one man, a
large planter, has expressly avowed, that with twenty
freemen, he could do more work than with a hundred
slaves, or fifty indentured apprentices. Now, I maintain,'
continues Lord Brougham, ' that had we known what
we now know of the character of the negroes, neither
would the compensation (of ^20,000,000 sterling) have
been given to the slave-owners, nor we have been guilty of
proposing to keep the negro in slavery five years, after
we were decided that he had a right to his freedom. The
money had, in fiict, been paid to them by mistake; and,
were the transaction one between man and man, an action
for its recovery might lie.'

Such are some of the glorious 'consequences' which
have attended the immediate overthrow of slavery in Anti-
gua ; such they will be in Jamaica and the other islands,


and in the Southern States of America, whenever a similar
event takes place. Think you there is one person in Great
Britain, male or female, rich or poor, who has signed one
memorial, or offered up one prayer, or made one effort, or
contributed one mite, for the extinction of the West India
slave system, that regrets the deed ? O, no ! They recur
to it with pleasing satisfaction, lamenting only that they had
not been more fervent in spirit, more liberal in giving, and
more zealous in hastening so blissful a consummation !

Some people are quite astounded at the prosperous state
of things in Antigua. They seem to regard it as almost
miraculous. It is no miracle at all ! It is no more surprising
than the autumnal harvest obtained from sowing the seed in
spring time. It is the natural result of well-doing, unat-
tended by aught that is mysterious or incredible. Remem-
bering what man is — in whose image he is created — what
are the motives by which he is made to be controlled —
under what government the Almighty has placed him,
a free, moral, accountable agent — what promises that glori-
ous Being holds forth to those who let the oppressed
go free — I am surprised at nothing which has transpired in
any of the West India islands. My surprise would have
been unfeigned, my disappointment great, had there been a
different result. As a believer in Divine Revelation — as a
worshipper at the shrine of Christianity — is it for me to be
astonished when God exactly fulfils his word ? No. When
he fails, in a single instance, to maintain his veracity, then
may I well distrust him for ever !

What has God wrought ! God, I say ; not man — not
any body of men — but God !

* Him first, him last, him midst, and without end ! '

The means, the principles, the measures, the weapons,
by which this mighty victory has been achieved, are all


of Him. To Him, tliercforc, be ascribed all the honor,
renown, praise and glory — exclusively, universally, eter-
nally! Yea, 'let all the earth fear the Lord; let all
the inhabitants of the earth stand in awe of him; for he
spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast.'
But, while 'no flesh shall glory' in this matter, we are per-
mitted, and it is our duty, to remember with admiration and
gratitude the instruments which God has used to effect
his great design. This day, then — as philanthropists,
lovers of our race, co-workers in the cause of human
liberty — let us unite in proffering our heartfelt acknowl-
edgments to the faithful and fearless, the indefatigable and
uncompromising, the generous and victorious friends of
negro emancipation across the Atlantic — the noble men
and women of Great Britain — by whom, under God, the
cause has been carried through to a triumphant termination.
Animated by their example, and taking fresh encourage-
ment from their success, let us redouble our exertions to
deliver our own oppressed countrymen from the yoke of
slavery. I have called them noble men and noble icomcn ;
for let it never be forgotten, that the doctrine which has an-
nihilated the slave system in the West Indies, and will yet
subvert it in the United States, — the doctrine of immediate
EMANCIPATION^ — was first promulgated in Great Britain by
a WOMAN — the late Elizabeth Heyrick, ■ an estimable
member of the Society of Friends. Her memory shall be
cherished by future generations, and diffuse

' Through tlic dark clci)ths of Time its vivid flame'

To recite the long catalogue of those who have been instru-
mental in achieving this unparalleled work of mercy would
require a large amount of time. How impossible it is, then,
to do justice to their merits on this occasion ! But tiiey
need no panegyric, and most surely have their reward.


Friends of bleeding humanity, our work is before us ! —
The slaveholders have impeached our motives, libelled our
characters, and threatened our lives. No indignity is too
great to be heaped upon us — no outrage too shocking to be
perpetrated upon our persons and property. And now,
we will have our revenge! God helping us, we will still
continue to use all lawful and Christian means fOr the over-
throw of their suicidal slave system ; so that when it
falls, — as fall it must, — we will repay them with all
the rich blessings that abound in Antigua. We will remove
from them all source of alarm, and the cause of all insur-
rection ; increase the value of their estates tenfold ; give an
Eden-like fertility to their perishing soil ; build up the old
waste places, and repair all breaches ; make their laborers
contented, grateful and happy ; wake up the entombed
genius of invention, and the dormant spirit of enterprise ;
open to them new sources of affluence ; multiply their
branches of industry ; erect manufactories, build railroads,
dig canals ; establish schools, academies, colleges, and all
beneficent institutions ; extend their commerce to the ends
of the earth, and to an unimagined amount ; turn the tide
of Western adventure and of Northern capital into South-
ern channels ; unite the North and the South by indissolu-
ble ties ; change the entire moral aspect of society ; cause
pure and undefiled religion to flourish ; avert impending
judgments and secure heavenly blessings ; and fill the land
with peace, prosperity and happiness! Thus, and thus
ONLY, will we be revenged upon them for all the wrongs
and outrages they have heaped upon us, personally and
collectively, — for all the evil they are now doing, or may
hereafter do to us, — past, present, and to come !


!0B0t SeHu (gmnnrijnitinn,

Lo ! the bondage of ages has ceased !

The chains of the tyrant are riven !
No more, as a chattel or beast,

Shall man to his labor be driven :
Where the groans and the shrieks of despair

From heart-broken victims were heard,
Songs of rapturous joy fill the air,

More sweet than the notes of a bird !


Lo ! the gloom and the blackness of night

Have suddenly vanished away.
And all things rejoice in the light

Of Freedom's meridian day !
Eestored to their sight are the blind —

No longer they grope for the wall ;
All who seek may with certainty find,

For clear is the vision of all !


Hark ! a voice from the Isles of the Sea !

Its echoes are heard round the world ;
O, joyful its message — ' We are free !

To the dust Oppression is hurled !
We are free as the waves of the deep,

As the winds that sweep o'er the earth ;
And therefore we Jubilee keep,

And hallow the day of our birth ! '


Praise, praise to the name of the Lord I
What wonders his right hand hath done !

How mighty and sure is his word !
How great is the victory won I


The Power that Jehovah defied,

In ruin and infamy lies :
O spread the intelligence wide —

For marvellous 'tis in all eyes !


Columbia ! O shame on thee now !

Repent thee in ashes and dust I
There is blood on thy hands — on thy bi ow

And thou art by Slavery cursed I
Thy millions of vassals set free,

Away with the scourge and the rod —
Then join with the Isles of the Sea,

In a shout of thanksgiving to God !

SnJtBpii&BiirB Siii[


The bells are ringing merrily,

The cannon loudly roar.
And thunder-shouts for Liberty

Are heard from shore to shore ;
And countless banners to the breeze

Their * stars and stripes ' display :
"What call for sights and sounds like these ?

' T is Independence day !


Our fathers spurned the British yoke,

Determined to be free ;
And, full of might, they rose and broke

The chains of tyranny !


O, long they toiled, with zeal unfeigned,

And kept their foes at bay.
Till, by their valorous deeds, they gained

Our Independence day !


They fought not for themselves alone,

But for the eights of all,
Of every caste, complexion, zone,

On this terrestrial ball :
To God they made their high appeal,

In hope, not in dismay ;
For well they trusted He would seal

Their Independence day !


Their creed how just — their creed how grand !

* All men are equal born ! '
Let those who cannot understand

This truth, be laughed to scorn !
Cheers for the land in which we live,

The free, the fair, the gay !
And hearty thanks to Heaven we '11 give.

For Independence day !


O God ! what mockery is this !

Our land how lost to shame I
Well may all Europe jeer and hiss,

At mention of her name !
For, while she boasts of liberty,

'Neath Slavery's iron sway
Three millions of her people lie.

On Independence day !



She may not, must not, thus rejoice,

Nor of her triumphs tell :
Hushed be the cannon's thvmdering voice,

And muffled every bell !
Dissolved in tears, prone in the dust,

For mercy let her pray,
That judgments on her may not burst

On Independence day !


Lo ! where her starry banner waves,*

In many a graceful fold —
There toil, and bleed, and groan her slaves,

'And men, like brutes, are sold !
Her hands are red with crimson stains,

And bloody is her waj' ;
She wields the lash, she forges chains,

On Independence day !


Friends of your country — of your race —

Of Freedom, and of God !
Combine Oppression to efface,

And break the tyrant's rod ;
All traces of injustice sweep,

By moral power, away ;
Then a glorious Jubilee we'll keep,

On Independence day !

' United States, 3'our banner wears
Two emblems — one of fame ;
Alas ! the other that it bears,
Reminds us of your shame.
The white man's liberty, in types,
Stands blazoned by your stars;
But what's the meaning of your stripes?
They mean your Negroes' scars ! ' — Campbell.


€ a 1 n 3 E t Ij ,

Amidst the roar of public acclamation —
The tempest-greetings of a mighty throng —

The cannon's thundering reverberation —

The civic fute, with toast, and speech, and song

The grand * All hail ! ' of a rejoicing nation,
A million times repeated, loud and long —

Can one lone voice, all tremulous with feeling.
Be heard by thee, O glorified Kossuth,

To all thy noblest attributes appealing.

As one who knows Oppression's bitter fruit;

And to thy listening ear the truth revealing.
When sycophants and cowards all are mute ?

My claims for audience thou wilt not discredit,
For they are based on kindred love of Right ;

And as for Liberty, world-wide to spread it,
I, too, have suffered outrage, scorn and slight ;

Known what the dungeon is, yet not to dread it,
And still am zealous in the moral fight.

Thou dreaded foe of Austrian oppression.
With earnest love of liberty imbued,

Since through America's strong intercession,
Thy liberation has at last ensued,

'T is meet thou comest here to give expression
To thy sincere and heartfelt gratitude.

But, while thy obligation thus admitting,
O let it not thy generous soul ensnare !

Act thou, while here, a manly part, befitting
Thy name and fame as one to do and dare,

Whatc'er the peril of the hour, — acquitting
Thyself right valiantly, a champion rare.

Is it for thee to deal in glowing fiction ?

To call this land great, glorious and free ?
To take no note of its sad dereliction



From all that constitutes true liberty ?
To feel upon thy spirit no restriction

By aught that thou canst learn, or hear, or see ?

While this republic thou art warmly thanking,
For aiding thee once more to breathe free air,

Three million slaves their galling chains are clanking,
Heart-broken, bleeding, crushed beyond compare,

At public sale Avith swine and cattle ranking,
The wretched victims of complete despair !

The government that thou art now extolling.
As well-deserving measureless applause,

By its strong arm these millions are enthralling,
And persecuting those who plead their cause ! —

O, rank hypocrisjs and guilt appalling !

Like Draco's code, in blood are writ its laws.

For 't is by law the father, son, and brother,
Know nought of filial or parental ties ;

By law the sister, daughter, wife, and mother,
Must claim no kindred here beneath the skies ;

All, at the fiendish bidding of another,

Their God-given rights must basely sacrifice.

By law the fugitives from stripes and fetters,
AVho seek, like thee, a refuge safe and sure

From murderous tyrants and their vile abettors,
Are hunted over mountain, plain and moor;

Dragged back to slavery, as absconding debtors.
To toil, like brutes, while life and strength endure.

By law 'tis criminal the slave to pity.

To give him food and shelter from his foes ;

For him no hiding-place in town or city;
He must be hunted wheresoe'er he goes ;

And they are branded as a vile banditti,
"Who for his freedom nobly interpose !

Behold what scenes are in our courts transpiring !
Behold on trial placed the good and brave


For disobedience to the law requiring

That he whom God made free should be a slave !

Arraigned as traitors with a zeal untiring,
And, if convicted, hurried to the grave !

Thou hast proclaimed, in tones like ringing clarion,

That freedom is the gift of God to all ;
That as a man, not as a mere Hungarian,

In its defence thou 'It bravely stand or fall ;
For Jew and Greek, for Scythian and Barbarian,

Alike are summoned by its trumpet-call.

I take thee at thy word, out-spoken hero !

Forget not those who are in bondage here ;
For our humanity now stands at zero,

And threatens utterly to disappear ;
Rebuke each merciless plantation Nero ;

Reprove our land in accents loud and clear !

While praising us wherein we are deserving,

Tell us our faults, — expose our crime of crimes ;

Be as the needle to the pole unswerving,

And true to Freedom's standard in all climes ;

Thus many a timid heart with courage nerving
To meet the mighty conflict of the times.

Say slavery is a stain upon our glory.

Accursed of Heaven, and by the earth abhorred ;

Show that our soil with negro blood is gory,
And certain are the judgments of the Lord ;

So shall thy name immortal be in story,
And thy fidelity the world applaud.

Yet first, for this, thou shalt be execrated

By those who now in crowds around thee prc?s ;

Thy visit shall be sternly reprobated ;

Thy friends and flatterers grow less and less ;

Thy hopes for Hungary be dissipated ;
America shall curse thee, and not bless.


But if, alas ! thy country's sad condition,
And need of succor, a pretence be made,

"Why from thy lips should fall no admonition,
Lest she should lose our sympathy and aid ;

No blessing can attend thy selfish mission —
The cause of freedom thou wilt have betrayed.

O, shall the millions here in bondage sighing.
Branded as beasts, and scourged with bloody whips.

The ' property ' of tyrants God-defying,
Hear not one word of pity from thy lips ?

O be not dumb, to thy reproach undying —
And thy great fame save from a dire eclipse !

Courage, Kossuth ! Be true — fear not the trial !

Pluck out thy right eye, and thy right hand lose !
Though on thy head be poured out every vial,

To w-ear a padlock on thy lips refuse !
And thou shalt gain, through lofty self-denial,

A brighter crown than all the world can choose.*

* Lewis Kosslth, the Hungarian leader, having fled to Turkey for protection,
after the subjugation of Hungary by the allied forces of Austria and Russia, was
finally extricated from his perilous situation through the intervention of the British
and American governments, and arrived at New York, December 4th, 1851, where he
was received with unparalleled popular demonstrations. The hope that he would
prove true to the principles of impartial freedom, by at least an expression of his
sorrow and surprise that there should be more than three millions of slaves in a laud
claiming to be Christian and republican, was soon dissipated by his public declara-
tion, that it was his determination ' not to mix, and not to be mixed up T\ith what-
ever domestic concerns of the United States ' —meaning, that he vras resolved to be
deaf, dumb and blind, concerning American slavery, in order that he might sub-
serve Hungarian liberty ; acting on the Jesuitical maxim, that ' the end sanctifies
the means ' !


ln|ir fnr l\)t cEhbUiujJi

Ye who in bondage pine,
Shut out from light divine,

Bereft of hope ;
"Whose limbs are worn with chains,
"Whose tears bedew our plains,
"Whose blood our glory stains,

In gloom who grope : —


Shout I for the hour draws nigh.
That gives you liberty !

And from the dust,
So long your vile embrace,
Uprising, take your place
Among earth's noblest race —

'Tis right and just !


The night — the long, long night
Of infamy and slight.

Shame and disgrace.
And slavery, worse than e'er
Rome's serfs were doomed to bear.
Bloody beyond compare,

Recedes apace !


Lorn AfTicn, onro more,
As proudly as of yore,

•Shall yet be seen
Foremost of all the earth
In learning, beauty, worth —
By dignity of birth,

A peerless Queen !


Speed, speed the hour, O Lord !
Speak ! and, at thy dread word.

Fetters shall fall
From every limb — the strong
No more the weak shall wrong.
But Liberty's sweet song

Be sung by all !

Hopper ! thou venerable friend of man.

In heart and spirit young, though old in years ;
The tyrant trembles when thy name he hears,

And the slave joys thy countenance to scan.

A friend more true and brave, since time began.
Humanity has never found : — her fears
By thee have been dispelled, and wiped the tears

Adown her sorrow-stricken cheeks that ran.

If like Napoleon's appears thy face,*
Thy soul to his bears no similitude ;

He came to curse, but thou to bless our race —
Thy hands are white — in blood were his imbrued

His memory shall be covered with disgrace,
But thine embalmed among the truly great and good.

* The resemblance of this venerable Philanthropist, in person and features, to
Napoleon, was said, by Joseph Bonaparte, to be most remarkable.



Up, yc slumberors, one and all !

"Welcome in the smiling May !
Hear ye not her thrilling call ?

Will yc waste in bed the day ?
'Tis a morn for old and young,
Prodigal of joy and song.


See ! the watch-fires of the night,
One by one, are vanishing:

What a glorious tide of light
Issues from Morn's golden spring !

Flooding every land and clime,

Up the sun goes — slow — sublime.


Birds of every kind and hue

Airily are glancing by,
And with notes expressive, true.

Fill the air with melody :
Who would lose their joyous strain ?
Who, inert, abed remain?


Maiden, witli the flashing eye.
Quench its brilliance not in sleep ;

Let thy blushes, mounting high.
Shame Aurora's color deep ;

Gather flowers to braid thy hair :

For a (iuecnly state prepare !


Child, absorbed in sportive dream,
Be not Slumber's pretty dupe ;


Up, and drive the mimic team,

Fly the kite, or whirl the hoop ;
Let the music of thy mirth
In a merry shout have birth !


Youth, in sweetest visions lying,
Building worlds with busy thought ;

Now exulting, smiling, sighing.

O'er the labors thou hast wrought ;

Fairest scenes, by Fancy drawn,

Cannot match so fair a morn.


Manhood, lift thy stately head —
Stand erect. Creation's lord !

Leave the couch by dalliance spread —
O'er thy empire walk abroad ;

Earth and sky were made for thee,

Dressed in royal pageantry.


All who pine in secret love,

All whose hopes are high or low,

Ugly folks, Avho M-ould improve,

Handsome, who would prettier grow

Kich and poor, gay, wise and witty,

Leave, at earliest dawn, the city.


Exercise will use his brushes

With a Painter's matchless skill,

Covering palest cheeks with blushes,
Giving eyes new power to kill :

O, then, slumber not, I pray —

Go, and welcome jocund May !


Another year, devoted to thy cause,

O Liberty ! has swiftly fled away :
Not till the war is over would I pause,

Nor for my spirit seek a holiday :

It needs none, for its strength knows no decay.
This is no time for loitering, while thy foe,

Oppressiox, seeks thy precious life to slay :
His hand is raised to give the fatal blow,
That he may gorge himself afresh with human woe !


Dispensing with all forms, I consecrate
Anew, this day, my soul to God and thee,

Keckless of what may be my earthly fate :
For this I know, that all shall yet be free.
And God and thou shall gain the victory.

What though these eyes may ne'er behold the time ?
A coming age shall hail the jubilee,

"When men of every caste, complexion, clime.

Online LibraryWilliam Lloyd GarrisonSelections from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison. With an appendix .. → online text (page 28 of 33)