We are living under an awful despotism--that of a brutal slave
oligarchy. And they threaten to leave us if we do not continue to do
their evil work, as we have hitherto done it, and go down in the
dust before them!
Would to heaven they would go! It would only be the paupers clearing
out from the town, would it not? But, no, they do not mean to go;
they mean to cling to you, and they mean to subdue you. But will you
I tell you our work is the dissolution of this slavery-cursed Union,
if we would have a fragment of our liberties left to us! Surely
between freemen, who believe in exact justice and impartial liberty,
and slaveholders, who are for cleaning down all human rights at a
blow, it is not possible there should be any Union whatever. "How
can two walk together except they be agreed?"
The slaveholder with his hands dripping in blood--will I make a
compact with him? The man who plunders cradles--will I say to him,
"Brother, let us walk together in unity?" The man who, to gratify
his lust or his anger, scourges woman with the lash till the soil is
red with her blood--will I say to him: "Give me your hand; let us
form a glorious Union?" No, never--never! There can be no union
between us: "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" What union has
freedom with slavery? Let us tell the inexorable and remorseless
tyrants of the South that their conditions hitherto imposed upon us,
whereby we are morally responsible for the existence of slavery, are
horribly inhuman and wicked, and we cannot carry them out for the
sake of their evil company.
By the dissolution of the Union we shall give the finishing blow to
the slave system; and then God will make it possible for us to form
a true, vital, enduring, all-embracing Union, from the Atlantic to
the Pacific--one God to be worshipped, one Saviour to be revered,
one policy to be carried out--freedom everywhere to all the people,
without regard to complexion or race--and the blessing of God
resting upon us all! I want to see that glorious day!
Now the South is full of tribulation and terror and despair, going
down to irretrievable bankruptcy, and fearing each bush an officer!
Would to God it might all pass away like a hideous dream! And how
easily it might be!
What is it that God requires of the South to remove every root of
bitterness, to allay every fear, to fill her borders with
prosperity? But one simple act of justice, without violence and
convulsion, without danger and hazard. It is this: "Undo the heavy
burdens, break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free!" Then
shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy darkness shall
be as the noonday. Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer;
thou shalt cry, and he shall say: "Here I am."
"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places;
thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou
shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to
How simple and how glorious! It is the complete solution of all the
difficulties in the case. Oh, that the South may be wise before it
is too late, and give heed to the word of the Lord! But, whether she
will hear or forbear, let us renew our pledges to the cause of
bleeding humanity, and spare no effort to make this truly the land
of the free and the refuge of the oppressed!
"Onward, then, ye fearless band,
Heart to heart, and hand to hand;
Yours shall be the Christian's stand,
Or the martyr's grave."
William Lloyd Garrison - December 2, 1859