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foulest stain which rests upon our national escutcheon; and to secure to the colored population of the United States all the rights and privileges which belong to them as men and as Americans-come what may to our persons, our interests, or our reputations-whether we live to witness the triumph of Liberty, Justice, and Humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this great, benevolent and holy cause.
Done at Philadelphia, the 6th day of December, A. D., 1833.
FOR MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THY SALVATION.
[From his Speech at the Thirty-Second Anniversary Meeting of the American AntiSlavery Society, 9 May, 1865.]
REJOICE to stand here no longer as an isolated Abolitionist, to be looked at as though I had seven heads and ten horns; and that, as a drop is lost in the ocean, my abolitionism has ceased to be distinctive. The guns of the American Anti-Slavery Society, thank God! are spiked, because slavery is abolished. I promised, years ago, that if the people would abolish the "peculiar institution," I, for one, would be ready for the abolition of the American Anti-Slavery Society; and now that they have done it, what need of any more anti-slavery agitation? We are one people, united in sentiment as against slavery; hence, our work no longer being peculiar as Abolitionists, let us mingle with the millions of our fellow-countrymen, join with them, as they will join with us, in putting into the grave of slavery everything that has sprung out of slavery. Whatever of complexional prejudice, whatever of proscription, as against those whose skins are not colored like our own, whatever of injustice toward that race, now exists, must be buried in the same common grave. Man is man, and we must recognize him wherever he appears on our soil. We have opened our vast country to all the world besides to aliens, to strangers and foreigners, to the most besotted and ignorant of mankind; we take them into our arms of brotherly love, and we say, "You shall be citizens here; you shall find freedom here; you shall have all the rights of human nature guaranteed to you here." Shall we say less to those who are native-born; who have made our soil gory with their blood, and who have received nothing hitherto at our hands but injustice and cruelty; and who, in our hour of peril and despair, forgave us all that we had done against them, and came to our rescue? It is through their aid, and by the blessing of God, the nation is saved. We have not saved it ourselves. Two hundred thousand stalwart men, transformed from chattels into freemen,
have thrown themselves into the scale, and rebellion, slavery, and treason have kicked the beam.
My friends, I will not detain you longer. I thank God that the day has arrived when we can blend like kindred drops into one, and look to the future for the Divine blessing upon our whole country and people. Though the South is at present a desolation, and the North is still wailing for her lost, yet there is in store for us, because we have resolved to put away the evil thing from among us, abiding peace and abounding prosperity. I rejoice that I have been permitted to see this day. My country! may the windows of heaven be opened, and may such blessings be poured down upon thee that there shall not be room to receive them!
HIS WITHDRAWAL FROM THE ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, AND PLEA FOR ITS DISSOLUTION.
[Speech at the Business Meeting, 10 May, 1865.]
HEN the American Anti-Slavery Society was organized, and until four years ago, the religious bodies of our country were against us, and against the slave; they are now for us, and for the slave, and for the extermination of the slave system. The government was then against us; it is now for us. The People were then against us; they are now for us. Then we held up our little torch, because it was thick darkness throughout the land; but now that the heavens are all aflame, and effulgent day has succeeded murky night, we are admonished of the vast importance of keeping our little torch burning, as of old! Though abolition is now the most popular sentiment in the United States-though it pulls down and lifts up-though it is as irresistible as Niagara in its onward course we are earnestly and pathetically conjured not to dissolve an association which has not the means to send an agent into the field, and which has made no annual report since 1861!
My friends, let us not any longer affect superiority when we are not superior let us not assume to be better than other people, when we are not any better. When they are reiterating all that we say, and disposed to do all that we wish to have done, what more can we ask? And yet I know the desire to keep together, because of past memories and labors. is a very natural one. But let us challenge and command the respect of the nation, and of the friends of freedom throughout the world, by a wise and sensible conclusion. Of course, we are not to cease laboring in
regard to whatever remains to be done; but let us work with the millions, and not exclusively as the American Anti-Slavery Society. As co-workers are everywhere found, as our voices are everywhere listened to with approbation and our sentiments cordially endorsed, let us not continue to be isolated. My friend, Mr. Phillips, says he has been used to isolation, and he thinks he can endure it some time longer. My answer is, that when one stands alone with God for truth, for liberty, for righteousness, he may glory in his isolation; but when the principle which kept him isolated has at last conquered, then to glory in isolation seems to me no evidence of courage or fidelity.
Friends of the American Anti-Slavery Society, this is no "death-bed scene" to me! There are some in our ranks who seem to grow discouraged and morbid in proportion as light abounds and victory crowns our efforts; and it seems as if the hour of the triumph of universal justice is the hour for them to feel the saddest and most melancholy! We have had something said about a funeral here to-day. A funeral because Abolitionism sweeps the nation! A funeral? Nay, thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, it is a day of jubilee, and not a day to talk about funerals or death-beds! It is a resurrection from the dead, rather; it is an ascension and beatification! Slavery is in its grave, and there is no power in this nation that can ever bring it back. But if the heavens should disappear, and the earth be removed out of its place-if slavery should, by a miracle, come back-what then? We shall then have millions of supporters to rally with us for a fresh onset!
I thank you, beloved friends, who have for so many years done me the honor to make me the President of the American Anti-Slavery Society. I never should have accepted that post if it had been a popular one. I took it because it was unpopular; because we, as a body, were everywhere denounced, proscribed, outlawed. To-day, it is popular to be President of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Hence, my connection with it terminates here and now, both as a member and as its presiding officer. I bid you an affectionate adieu.
George Washington Bethune.
BORN in New York, N. Y., 1805. DIED in Florence, Italy, 1862.
[Ways of the Spirit, and Other Essays. 1877.]
ALL conscious being springs from a root unknown. Of all life the
origin is lost to itself in blank unconsciousness. We reach back with our recollection and find no beginning of existence. Who of us knows anything except by report of the first two years of earthly life?
Who remembers the time when he first said "I," or thought "I"? We began to exist for others before we began to exist for ourselves. Our experience is not co-extensive with our being, our memory does not comprehend it. We bear not the root, but the root us.
What is that root? We call it soul.
speaking it is not ours, but we are its.
Our soul, we call it properly
It is not a part of us, but we are a part of it. It is not one article in an inventory of articles which together make up our individuality, but the root of that individuality. It is larger than we are and older than we are, that is, than our conscious self. The conscious self does not begin until some time after the birth of the individual. It is not aboriginal, but a product, as it were, the blossoming of an individuality. We may suppose countless souls which never bear this product, which never blossom into self. And the soul which does so blossom exists before that blossom unfolds.
How long before, it is impossible to say; whether the birth, for example, of a human individual is the soul's beginning to be; whether a new soul is furnished to each new body, or the body given to a pre-existing soul. It is a question on which theology throws no light, and which psychology but faintly illustrates. But so far as that faint illustration reaches, it favors the supposition of pre-existence. That supposition seems best to match the supposed continued existence of the soul hereafter. Whatever had a beginning in time, it should seem, must end in time. The eternal destination which faith ascribes to the soul presupposes an eternal origin. On the other hand, if the pre-existence of the soul were assured, it would carry the assurance of immortality.
An obvious objection, and one often urged against this hypothesis, is the absence of any recollection of a previous life. If the soul existed before its union with this present organization, why does it never recall any circumstance, scene, or experience of its former state? There have been those who professed to remember a past existence; but without regarding those pretended reminiscences, or regarding them only as illusions, I answer that the previous existence may not have been a conscious existence. In that case there would have been no recorded experience, and consequently nothing to recall. But suppose a conscious existence antecedent to the present, the soul could not preserve the record of a former organization. The new organization with its new entries must necessarily efface the record of the old. For memory depends on continuity of association. When the thread of that continuity is broken, the knowledge of the past is gone. If, in a state of unconsciousness, one were taken entirely out of his present surroundings; if, falling asleep in one set of circumstances, like Christopher Sly in the play, he were to wake in another, were to wake to entirely new conditions; especially, if during that sleep his body were to undergo a