Antislavery Progress

The following letter was read to the meeting by Mr. McKim:— (¶ 1)

Boston, October 11, 1860 (¶ 2)

My Dear Friend: (¶ 3)

Since I promised to attend the anniversary of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society at Kennett, I have been suffering a severe attack of bronchitis; and though at the present time it is considerably mitigated, I am under positive medical prohibition, in reference to public speaking, for some time to come; hence I must again disappoint my Pennsylvania friends—most deeply to my own regret and loss, for their magnetic presence is ever most delightful and strengthening to my spirit. I can only beg to be affectionately remembered to them all, and invoke upon their deliberations the blessing of the Infinite Father. (¶ 4)

Twenty-five years ago this evening, I was in a cell in the Leverett street jail in this city—a device of the city authorities to save my life against the murderous designs of an infuriated mob of (so caled) gentlemen of property and standing on account of my anti-slavery principles. Previous to my imprisonment, I was in the hands of the rioters for a time, who tore the clothes from my body as they dragged me through the streets, and who made the most desperate efforts to take me where they could apply a coat of tar and feathers, and commit such other outrageous as their ungovernable malignity might suggest. Rescued at last, by the Mayor and his posse, it was deemed indispensable to my personal safety to commit me to prison! This was the only governmental protection that was vouchsafed to me. You remember all the circumstances of that memorable event, and I need not repeat them. Nearly all the prominent actors therein have been called to their final account, but the sacred and glorious cause which they madly attempted to overthrow is now shaping the destiny of the nation. (¶ 5)

So far as the North is concerned, a marvellous change for the better has taken place in public sentiment in relation to the anti-slavery movement. The struggle for freedom of speech and of the press has every where been fought, and the victory won. A general enlightenment has taken place upon the subject of slavery. The opinions of a vast multitude have been essentially changed, and secured to the side of freedom. The conflict between free institutions and slave institutions is seen and acknowledged to be irrepressible—not of man’s devising, but of God’s ordering—and it is deepening in intensity daily, in spite of every effort of political cunning and religious sorcery to effect a reconciliation. The pending Presidential election witnesses a marked division between the political forces of the North and of the South; and though it relates, ostensibly, solely to the question of the further extension of slavery, it really signifies a much deeper sentiment in the breasts of the people of the North, which, in process of time, must ripen into more decisive action. (¶ 6)

So far as the South is concerned, she has apparently waxed worse and worse—grown more and more desperate—revealed more and more of savage brutality and fiendish malignity, until her crimes and atrocities, not only as perpetrated upon her dehumanized slaves, but as inflicted upon Northern citizens and strangers within her limits, have become too numerous for record, and almost too horrible for belief. (¶ 7)

But all this is the sign that the end is rapidly approaching. Peaceably, or by a bloody process, the oppressed will eventually obtain their freedom, and nothing can prevent it. Trusting that it may be achieved without the shedding of blood, I remain, (¶ 8)

Yours, for liberty and equality for all mankind,

Wm. Lloyd Garrison