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tion, discard the practice of the government, but you will drive us out, simply because you will it. Come and do it! You have sapped the foundations of society; you have destroyed almost all hope of peace. In a compact where there is no common arbiter, where the parties finally decide for themselves, the sword alone at last becomes the real, if not the constitutional, arbiter. Your party says that you will not take the decision of the Supreme Court. You said so at Chicago; you said so in committee; every man of you in both Houses says so. What are you going to do? You say we shall submit to your construction. We shall do it, if you can make us; but not otherwise, or in any other manner. That is settled. You may call it se. cession, or you may call it revolution; but there is a big fact standing before you, ready to oppose you—that fact is, freemen with arms in their hands. The cry of the Union will not disperse them; we have passed that point; they demand equal rights; you had better heed the demand. . . .
ENDELL PHILLIPS was born in Boston, in 1811. The descendant of a distinguished family, he was the heir to a fortune, and was educated at Harvard University. After graduating from the law school of that institution he began to practice at the bar in 1834, but was soon diverted to politics by his antipathy to slavery. For the quarter of a century preceding the outbreak of the Civil War his unparalleled speeches on the platform in behalf of the abolition movement rendered compromise impossible and armed collision unavoidable. After the close of the war he advocated woman suffrage, prohibition and labor reforms. In 1870 the Labor party and the Prohibitionists nominated him for Governor of Massachusetts, but he was not elected. He died in 1884.
BELIEVE in moral suasion. I believe the age of bullets is over. I believe the age of ideas is come. I think that is the preaching of our country. The old Hindu dreamed, you know, that he saw the human race led out to its varied fortune. First, he saw men bitted and curbed, and the reins went back to an iron hand. But his dream changed on and on, until at last he saw men led by reins that came from the brain, and went back into an unseen hand. It was the type of governments: the first a government of despotism, palpable iron; and the last our government—a government of brains, a government of ideas. I believe in it—in public opinion.
Yet, let me say, in passing, that 1 think you can make - (159)
a better use of iron than forging it into chains. If you must have the metal, put it into Sharpe's rifles. It is a great deal better used that way than in fetters—a great deal better used than in a clumsy statue of a mock great man, for hypocrites to kneel down and worship in a Statehouse yard. (Hisses.) I am so unused to hisses lately that I have forgotten what I had to say. I only know I meant what I did say. My idea is, public opinion, literature, education, as governing elements. But some men seem to think that our institutions are necessarily safe because we have free schools and cheap books and a public opinion that controls. But that is no evidence of safety. India and China have had schools, and a school system almost identical with that of Massachusetts, for fifteen hundred years. And books are as cheap in central and northern Asia as they are in New York. But they have not secured liberty, nor secured a controlling public opinion to either nation. Spain for three centuries had municipalities and town governments, as independent and self-supporting, and as representative of thought as New England or New York has. But that did not save Spain. De Tocqueville says that fifty years before the great revolution, public opinion was as omnipotent in France as it is to-day, but it did not save France. You cannot save men by machinery. What India and France and Spain wanted was live men, and that is what we want to-day; men who are willing to look their own destiny and their own functions and their own responsibilities in the face. “Grant me to
see, and Ajax wants no more,” was the prayer the great poet put into the lips of his hero in the darkness that over
spread the Grecian camp. All we want of American citizens is the opening of their own eyes, and seeing things as they are. To the intelligent, thoughtful, and determined gaze of twenty millions of Christian people there is nothing —no institution wicked and powerful enough to be capable of standing against it. In Keats's beautiful poem of “Lamia,” a young man had been led captive by a phantom girl, and was the slave of her beauty until the old teacher came in and fixed his thoughtful eye upon the figure, and it vanished, and the pupil started up himself again! You see the great Commonwealth of Virginia fitly represented by a pyramid standing upon its apex. A Connecticut-born man entered at one corner of her dominions, and fixed his cold gray eye upon the government of Virginia, and it almost vanished in his very gaze. For it seems that Wirginia asked leave “to be” of John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Connecticut has sent out many a schoolmaster to the other thirty States; but never before so grand a teacher as that Litchfield-born schoolmaster at Harper's Ferry, writing upon the Natural Bridge in the face of nations his simple copy: “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” I said that the lesson of the hour was insurrection. I ought not to apply that word to John Brown, of Ossawatomie, for there was no insurrection in his case. It is a great mistake to call him an insurgent. This principle that I have endeavored so briefly to open to you, of absolute right and wrong, states what? Just this: “Commonwealth of Virginia!” There is no such thing. No civil society, no government can exist, except on the basis of the willing submission of all its citizens, and by the performance of the duty of rendering equal justice between man and man. Everything that calls itself a government, and refuses that duty, or has not that assent, is no government. It is only a pirate ship. Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia! She is only a chronic insurrection. I mean exactly what I say. I am weighing my words now. She is a pirate ship, and John Brown sails the sea a Lord High Admiral of the Almighty, with his commission to sink every pirate he meets on God's ocean of the nineteenth century. I mean literally and exactly what I say. In God's world there are no majorities, no minorities; one, on God's side, is a majority. You have often heard that here, doubtless, and I need not tell you its ground in morals. The rights of that one man are as sacred as those of the miscalled Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia is only another Algiers. The barbarous horde who gag each other, imprison women for teaching children to read, prohibit the Bible, sell men on the auction blocks, abolish marriage, condemn half their women to prostitution, and devote themselves to the breeding of human beings for sale, is only a larger and blacker Algiers. The only prayer of a true man for such is: “Gracious Heaven! unless they repent, send soon their Exmouth and Decatur.” John Brown has twice as much right to hang Governor Wise as Governor Wise has to hang him. You see I am talking of that absolute essence of things that lives in the sight of the Eternal and the Infinite; not as men judge it in the rotten morals of the nineteenth century, among a herd of States that calls itself an empire, because it weaves cotton and sells slaves. What I say is this: Harper's Ferry was the only government in that vicinity. Respecting the trial, Virginia, true to herself, has shown exactly the same haste that the pirate does when he tries a man on deck and runs him up to the yardarm. Unconsciously, she is consistent. Now, you do not think this to-day, some of you, perhaps. But I tell you