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able change has taken place in public sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic in regard to the proper sphere of woman. I rejoice that there is a growing interest in her cause; for, rely upon it, whether as respects Church or State, laws or institutions, the better wiil these be in proportion to the extent of brains and hearts represented, and of responsibilities imposed, duties required, and rights enjoyed without regard to
I am glad to see on this platform one eminently distinguished for his intellectual powers and philosophical acuteness of mind [alluding to Mr. John Stuart Mill], who has recently stood up in his place in the House of Commons, and with masterly ability advocated the rights of woman-rights which pertain to all the human race, the exclusive possession of which cannot be safely entrusted to those who are for class interests and who reject the doctrine of human equality.
One of the most gratifying incidents of my life was to have been invited by the United States government with my eloquent coadjutor George Thompson to accompany MajorGeneral Anderson and his party on board of the “ Arago," in April, 1865, to see the star spangled banner once more unfurled on the walls of Fort Sumter. The time was when I refused to have that banner wave over my head because it was stained and gory with the blood of the slave. But now as a symbol of universal emancipation I am proud of it. On entering Charleston a public procession over a mile long was quickly extemporized by the freedmen, old and young, and with a band of music we and our associates were escorted through the principal streets of that proud but deeply abased city, the vast throng singing
" John Brown's body lies moldering in the grave,
and giving cheer after cheer for Abraham Lincoln and others
of their Northern friends. On our leaving Charleston they came down en masse to the Battery to give us the parting hand and the heartfelt benediction. Ladies and gentlemen, I began my advocacy of the anti-slavery cause at the North in the midst of brickbats and rotten eggs. I ended it on the soil of South Carolina almost literally buried beneath the wreaths and flowers which were heaped upon me by her liberated bondmen!
I have alluded to my friend George Thompson. Let me say here that he has no small share in hastening the downfall of American slavery. He was first, as you know, mightily instrumental in this country in bringing West India slavery to an end. I happened to be here just as the Emancipation Act was passing through Parliament in 1833—an Act with the success of which Earl Russell who was I believe at that time in the cabinet, had something to do—and I said to Mr. Thompson, "Now that your anti-slavery work is here accomplished will you go to the United States and plead the cause of the millions there in bondage ?" I had nothing to offer him—no money-no reward of any kind except that which ever comes from well-doing. I supposed he would meet with a good deal of opposition, but I did not invite him to martyrdom. I did not imagine that he would be subjected to such diabolical treatment as was afterwards shown to him. I only felt sure that if he could but obtain a fair hearing it would ere long be all over with slavery. I was confident that no audience would be able to withstand the power of his eloquence and the force of his arguments. But they would not hear him. Denounced as “ a British emissary who had come to the United States with his pockets lined with British gold for the purpose of destroying our glorious Union,” he was hunted for his life.
e. But he never flinched and was willing to
confront danger and death in every direction until his abolition friends and associates compelled him to leave the country, after laboring for more than a year as best he could under such circumstances, doing a mighty work in agitating the nation from end to end; for they would not have the garments of their infatuated countrymen stained with his blood. What an astonishing change he too has lived to witness in America! He has been received with high honors at Washington and a regenerated people hold him in admiration and recognize in him a disinterested friend and a noble benefactor. He deserves to have his name honorably remembered on both sides of the Atlantic to the latest posterity.
Let me say a single word in regard to my own country. And first, as respects the late war, I may say, as one who stood by the side of the government on the issue raised by the Confederate States that never was there a more causeless war in the world. The government of the United States had never at any time done anything in the way of injustice to the slaveholding States; and the people of the North had never dreamt of doing any injustice whatever to them. On the contrary even after secession took place such was the infatuation of the North that it was willing to enter into fresh compromises for the sake of keeping the Union together; and up to the time of the election of President Lincoln the slave power had always ruled our country and shaped our destiny. Even when he was chosen President he had only the House of Representatives on his side. The Senate and the Supreme Court of the United States were against him, and on the side of the South. There was therefore no justification for the rebellion whatever. The American government was wholly in the right, the South was wholly in the wrong.
How then could I doubt where I should take my position ? Yet there never was a war that came more necessarily and unavoidably, on moral considerations. It was not because of this thing or of the other thing specially; it was not because of the Abolitionists simply; for if the South had not had slavery there would have been no Abolitionists; but it was because of this—“Ye have not proclaimed liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor; therefore I proclaim a liberty to you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine;" and that is the whole story. We had slavery and there followed rebellion and war, for we deserved to be visited with chastisement; and I am profoundly impressed with the justice of God as meted out to our whole country. There was always this difference between the South and the North. The South wanted slavery and was willing to sacrifice everything in the world for it; and while the North did not want it at all, it wanted union and peace at any price. And so the slave power all the while was threatening—"If you do not yield to my demands then the Union shall be dissolved”-and the North all the while was yielding to the threat. The North ought not to have yielded whatever might have become of the Union. It was a Union which at that time deserved to be broken in pieces; for it was a covenant with death and an agreement with hell because of its pro-slavery compromises; because it provided for a slave representation in Congress in order to uphold the power of the slaveholder; because it provided for the seizure of fugitive slaves; and because it provided also for the suppression of any insurrection on the part of the slaves, should they think of imitating the example of those who on Bunker Hill rose up to achieve their independence. Thank God, that slaveholding Union has gone.
nant with death has been annulled the agreement with hell no longer stands; and now, instead of providing for the suppression of slave insurrections, the catching of slaves, and a slave representative Congress, it provides that no human being in the United States of America shall ever be held in bondage.
Before I sit down I desire to return my thanks to those on this side of the Atlantic, who, in the midst of our terrible struggle, were able to understand its nature and to give a clear and unequivocal testimony in behalf of the right. I may perhaps be permitted to name one or two for a noble example. The Duke of Argyll, a peer of the realm, who, I think, all will now confess, was, in point of clearness of vision, soundness of understanding, and accuracy of opinion relative to the real merits of the American struggle, without a peer. Then there is our respected and honored chairman. We always felt greatly encouraged and strengthened when we got hold of his telling speeches. They were exactly to our mind. I cannot of course enumerate all who stood up firmly in behalf of President Lincoln and his administration--a Mill, a Foster, a Stansfeld, a Hughes, a Potter, a Tay. lor, and a Monckton Milnes, now the Right Hon. Lord Houghton-but, without meaning to be invidious, I offer my thanks to those I have named. [A voice: “And Cobden.”] Yes, the lamented Cobden of course—who, if he had had been living now, doubtless would have been here on this occasion." Then there are Professors Goldwin Smith, Cairns, Newman, and Huxley. Amongst the newspapers, I must name the
*Mr. Cobden put his opinion on record thirty-three years ago, when he predicted that “the indelible stain " of negro slavery would serve to teach mankind “ that no deed of guilt or oppression can be perpetrated with im. punity, even by the most powerful," and " that early or late the invincible cause of truth will triumph against any assault of violonce or injustice." -Cobden's Political Writings, Vol. I, p. 96.