Archive for the 'Slavery' Category

God will bring down the nation

Nov. 6, 1837

Writing to his English friend, Elizabeth Pease, Garrison comments on the “present state of anti-slavery” in the United States.  “Upon the slaveholding States, we make no perceptible impression.  No opponent of slavery can tread upon their soil, as an abolitionist, without the risk of martyrdom.  I have relinquished the expectation, that they will ever, by mere moral suasion, consent to emancipate their victims. I believe that nothing but the exterminating judgments of heaven can shatter the chain of the slave, and destroy the power of the oppressor. … Repentance, if it come at all, will come too late. Our sins have gone up over our heads, and our iniquities unto the clouds, and a just God means to dash us in pieces as a potter’s vessel is broken…  my hope of the peaceful and voluntary overthrow of slavery in the southern states of this nation is very feeble, my faith in the promises of God, that he will maintain the cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor, and he will deliver the oppressed out of the hand of the spoiler, is unfaltering, invincible. ”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Sarah Grimke, on well-treated slaves

Nov. 22, 1836

In a letter to Helen, Garrison refers to the fact that the Grimkes, Angelina and Sarah, had been invited to speak whenever they think it proper, “and to state such facts respecting slavery as they may choose.” … “Sarah has just said, that, although brought up in the midst of slavery, and having conversed with hundreds of well-treated slaves, she has never found one who did not long to be free.”   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

Perjury of July 4th

July 5,  1836

“Yesterday, (for the sixtieth time!) the people of this vain and vaunting country perjured themselves afresh, in the presence of the world, by calling God to witness that they are a free people, that they abhor tyranny, and that they hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are created equal, and possess an inalienable right to liberty. O, the solemn farce, the comic tragedy! What a mingling of spurious patriotism and brazen hypocrisy, of glaring falsehood and open blasphemy! What ringing of bells, what waving of banners, what thundering of cannon, what blazing of bonfires, what long processions, what loud huzzas, what swaggering speeches, what sumptuous dinners, what alcoholic toasts, what drunken revels!  All in grateful and honorable observance of the Fourth of July!  A free country — and every sixth man on the soil a slave!”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI

American Slavery

Sept 13, 1830

“At the present day, American slavery is unequalled for cruelty: — antiquity cannot produce its parallel.  And yet it is boastingly proclaimed to the world, that this is the land of the free, and the asylum of the oppressed!  Was liberty ever so degraded in the eyes of mankind, or justice mocked with such impunity?  … I hold no fellowship with slaveowners.  I will not make a truce with them even for a single hour.  I blush for them as countrymen –I know that they are not christians; and the  higher they raise their professions of patriotism or piety, the stronger is my detestation of their hypocrisy… they are without excuse…”

Garrison on Slavery as Shame of the Nation

July 9, 1829

Garrison comments that it is common on the Fourth of July to praise the Declaration of Independence “to set forth the tyranny of the mother country, and to challenge the admiration of the world. But what a pitiful detail of grievances does this document present, in comparison with the wrongs which our slaves endure! In the one case, it is hardly the plucking of a hair from the head; in the other, it is the crushing of a live body on the wheel” … “Before God I must say, that such a glaring contradiction, as exists between our creed and practice, the annals of five thousand years cannot parallel. In view of it, I am ashamed of my country…”1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI