Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ray Potter to William Lloyd Garrison, November 28, 1834

PAwTUCKET, Nov. 28, 1834.

MR. GARRIsoN: — Mr. Thompson has made a powerful, happy, and, I trust, lasting impression in favor of the cause of emancipation in the city of Providence. In the providence of God, I was prevented hearing him; but the tree is known by the fruit, and of that I can say it is good and abundant.

Whatever of prejudice might have been entertained by any of his audience against him personally, was vanquished forthwith, and lost in a conviction of his disinterested love to God and man, and his honesty of purpose; and that in his mission and labors, he is moved by the invincible agency of Christian philanthropy. He said that “he was accused of being a foreigner, but that could not be his fault, for he was not consulted respecting the place of his birth; had he been, he might have chosen to have been born in the good city of Providence.”

Of his eloquence, I have heard but one sentiment expressed, viz. that it is of the very first order. An acquaintance of mine, a political editor, said, that he did not hesitate to pronounce him the most eloquent speaker he had ever heard. Nor were his hearers merely delighted and entertained with his fascinating powers of oratory: his arguments seemed to carry all by the board, and I have reason to believe made a multitude of converts.

Yesterday we had the unspeakable satisfaction of welcoming Mr. Thompson to our village, and of hearing him address a large and attentive audience in the first Baptist meeting-house. He was extremely interesting, although it was said, by those who had previously heard him, that it was far from being one of his most happy efforts. He said that he did not speak easy at all. This difficulty, I think, may partly be attributed to the house not being the most happily constructed for easy speaking, especially for a stranger, and partly to the unhappy time of the day which we fixed upon for the commencement, which circumscribed him in respect to time, and must have been peculiarly embarrassing. The audience, however, so far as I am informed, were highly gratified, and the unanimous desire expressed is to hear him again.

Mr. Thompson was literally thronged with company at his lodgings, at the house of our friend, Mr. WILLIAM ADAMS, who were no less instructed than delighted with his most agreeable demeanor, and appropriate and pertinent conversation.

I thank God for such a laborer in the cause. My dear Brother, what hath God wrought! Some four years ago, you were almost alone in your labors in this cause in New England: now a host have been raised up in the length and breadth of the whole land, who have joined the holy standard; and, in addit[i]on to this, brethren from beyond the seas fly to our aid, helping onward the invincible cause with their prayers, untiring toil, and eloquence almost commensurate with the merits of the cause they so dearly love. Generations yet unborn shall rise up to call STUART and THoMPsoN, with the American Philanthropists who have jeopardised their earthly all in the cause of abolition; I say, they shall rise up, and call them blessed.

One circumstance transpired yesterday, which was, to me, as I trust it was to all who witnessed it, most solemnly affecting and impressive, which I must not omit mentioning. After we had been a few moments seated in the pulpit, I perceived that some one was endeavoring to gain, although with extreme difficulty, the ascendancy of the pulpit stairs; and on opening the door, who do you think it was found to be A mobocrat, ready to seize on Mr. Thompson, tear him from the house, and tar and feather him? Nay; it was the venerable Moses BRowN, at the advanced age of ninety-seven, pressing forward, as if sent by God to place himself on the platform by the side of his trans-atlantic brother, not only to hear from his lips the doctrines which he himself has so long advocated, and reduced to practice in his life, but also to sanction, by his patriarchal and venerable presence, the cause of philanthropy in which he was engaged !

We hope soon to be blessed with another visit from Mr. Thompson.

Yours sincerely,

SOURCE: Isaac Knapp, Publisher, Letters and Addresses by G. Thompson [on American Negro Slavery] During His Mission in the United States, From Oct. 1st, 1834, to Nov. 27, 1835, p. 27-9

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