Monday, September 8, 2008

Wm. Lloyd Garrison’s Speech

We make the following extract from a speech by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, in answer to Wendell Phillips at Boston, on the anniversary of the American Anti-slavery Society, May 10, 1864:

Our friend Phillips has said, very truly, that the American people, have laid down the principle, that once in four years they mean to look their Administration in the face, and see if it is worth while to change it. But have not committed themselves to the one term principle – they have not been so foolish as that; they say that every four years they will look and see whether they will change their President or not; but they hold to the principle that they may keep him in office for eight, twenty or fifty years, if he and they live long enough, and they like each other well enough. {Applause.} So they are coming together this season to look at him and I can only express the conviction of my own mind, that when they shall come together, and shall look the fact in the face, that no man in this nation is now so hated and detested by the rebels of the South and all the north who sympathize with the rebels, as Abraham Lincoln, they will make up their minds that he will do to “run the machine” four years longer. {Enthusiastic applause.}

A voice – Butler is more hated.

The President continued – Grant there are many sad things to look in the face, grant that the whole of Justice has not been done to the negro; grant that here or there, there are things which are to be deplored and to be redressed; still, looking at the question broadly and comprehensively and philosophically, I think the people will ask another question – whether they themselves have been one hair’s breadth in advance of Abraham Lincoln? {Applause.} whether they are not conscious that he has not only been fully up with them, but on the whole a little beyond them? As the stream cannot rise higher than the fountain, so the President of the United States amenable to the public sentiment, could not, if he wished to do it, transcend public sentiment in any direction. {Applause.} For my own part, when I remember the trial through which he has passed, the perils which have surrounded him – perils and trials unknown to any man, in any age of the world, in official station – when I remember how fearfully corrupt was the public sentiment of the north, to say nothing of the south – when I remember how nearly a majority, even at this hour is the seditious element of the north – and then remember that Abraham Lincoln has struck the chains from the limbs of more than three millions of slaves; {applause} that he has expressed his earnest desire for the total abolition of slavery, that he has implored the Border States to get rid of it; that he has recognized the manhood and citizenship of the colored population of our country; that he has armed upwards of a hundred thousand of them, and recognized them as soldiers under the flag; when I remember that this Administration has recognized the independence of Liberia and Hayti [sic]; when I remember that it has struck the death blown at the foreign slave trade by granting the right of search; when I remember that we have now nearly reached the culmination of our great struggle for the suppression of the rebellion and its cause, I do not feel disposed, for one, to take this occasion, or any occasion to say anything very harshly against Abraham Lincoln. {Loud and prolonged applause.}

– Published in The Union Sentinel, Osceola, Iowa, Saturday, July 9, 1864

NOTE: The Date of Mr. Garrison’s Speech was printed in the paper as May 10, 1894, an obvious printer’s error. I have corrected the error here to avoid any confusion.

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