What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

Frederick Douglass
July 5, 1852

Full text available here.
definitions & notes only words
  1. citizen
    a native or naturalized member of a state
    Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic.
  2. sensation
    a general feeling of excitement and heightened interest
    Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have.
  3. assembly
    a group of persons gathered together for a common purpose
    I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day.
  4. avail
    be of use to, be useful to
    The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.
  5. oration
    an instance of formal speaking
    The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration.
  6. privilege
    a right reserved exclusively by a person or group
    This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence.
  7. plantation
    an estate where cash crops are grown on a large scale
    The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight.
  8. latter
    the second of two or the second mentioned of two
    The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight.
  9. gratitude
    a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
    That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude.
  10. evince
    give expression to
    I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium.
  11. elaborate
    marked by complexity and richness of detail
    I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium.
  12. indulgence
    the act of gratifying a desire
    With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.
  13. emancipated
    free from traditional social restraints
    This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God.
  14. deliverance
    recovery or preservation from loss or danger
    It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day.
  15. republic
    a form of government whose head of state is not a monarch
    But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.
  16. accord
    concurrence of opinion
    I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers.
  17. linger
    remain present although waning or gradually dying
    According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood.
  18. horizon
    the line at which the sky and Earth appear to meet
    There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon.
  19. portend
    indicate by signs
    The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence.
  20. destiny
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny?
  21. patriot
    one who loves and defends his or her country
    Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier.
  22. shroud
    cover as if with a burial garment
    Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow.
  23. consolation
    the act of giving relief in affliction
    There is consolation in the thought that America is young.
  24. inundate
    fill or cover completely, usually with water
    They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties.
  25. wrath
    intense anger, usually on an epic scale
    They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship.
  26. accumulate
    collect or gather
    They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship.
  27. toil
    productive work, especially physical work done for wages
    They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship.
  28. hardship
    something hard to endure
    They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship.
  29. withered
    having lost all moisture
    But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory.
  30. abyss
    a bottomless gulf or pit
    But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory.
  31. sovereign
    not controlled by outside forces
    The style and title of your " sovereign people" (in which you now glory) was not then born.
  32. prerogative
    a right reserved exclusively by a person or group
    This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.
  33. impose
    inflict something unpleasant
    This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.
  34. colonial
    relating to a body of people who settle far from home
    This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.
  35. burden
    an onerous or difficult concern
    This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.
  36. deem
    keep in mind or convey as a conviction or view
    This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.
  37. infallibility
    the quality of never making an error
    But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints.
  38. absolute
    perfect or complete or pure
    But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints.
  39. unjust
    not fair; marked by injustice or partiality or deception
    They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to.
  40. oppressive
    marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior
    They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to.
  41. controversy
    a contentious speech act
    It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776.
  42. tyranny
    government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator
    Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies.
  43. colony
    a geographical area controlled by a distant country
    Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies.
  44. liberty
    personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression
    The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers.
  45. earnestly
    in a serious manner
    Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress.
  46. redress
    act of correcting an error or a fault or an evil
    Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress.
  47. petition
    request formally and in writing
    They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner.
  48. remonstrate
    argue in protest or opposition
    They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner.
  49. decorous
    characterized by propriety and dignity and good taste
    They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner.
  50. scorn
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn.
  51. eloquence
    powerful and effective language
    They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence.
  52. tyrant
    a cruel and oppressive dictator
    But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.
  53. oppression
    the act of subjugating by cruelty
    Oppression makes a wise man mad.
  54. restive
    being in a tense state
    Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment.
  55. grievous
    shockingly brutal or cruel
    They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity.
  56. remedy
    act of correcting an error or a fault or an evil
    With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression.
  57. prudent
    marked by sound judgment
    The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.
  58. intimate
    marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
    The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.
  59. appellation
    identifying words by which someone or something is called
    These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.
  60. euphonious
    having a pleasant sound
    These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.
  61. revolutionary
    markedly new or introducing radical change
    Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.
  62. dismay
    the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles
    On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction.
  63. sanction
    official permission or approval
    On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction.
  64. transparency
    the quality of being clear
    They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.
  65. absolve
    grant remission of a sin to
    "Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."
  66. allegiance
    the loyalty that citizens owe to their country
    "Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."
  67. patriotism
    love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it
    Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance.
  68. perpetual
    continuing forever or indefinitely
    Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance.
  69. foe
    an armed adversary
    Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.
  70. billow
    a large sea wave
    Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks!
  71. advent
    arrival that has been awaited
    But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.
  72. innumerable
    too numerous to be counted
    Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.
  73. compel
    force somebody to do something
    The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration.
  74. contemplate
    think intently and at length, as for spiritual purposes
    The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration.
  75. admiration
    a feeling of delighted approval and liking
    The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration.
  76. concede
    give over
    They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect.
  77. virtue
    any admirable quality or attribute
    They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect.
  78. submission
    the act of surrendering power to another
    They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage.
  79. bondage
    the state of being under the control of another person
    They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage.
  80. agitate
    try to stir up public opinion
    They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression.
  81. forbearance
    a delay in enforcing rights or claims or privileges
    They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits.
  82. circumspect
    heedful of potential consequences
    How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements!
  83. proportionate
    being in due magnitude or extent
    How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements!
  84. fundamental
    far-reaching and thoroughgoing in effect
    Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary.
  85. banner
    long strip of cloth or paper for decoration or advertising
    Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze.
  86. din
    a loud harsh or strident noise
    The din of business, too, is hushed.
  87. sermon
    an address of a religious nature
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  88. multitudinous
    too numerous to be counted
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  89. vast
    unusually great in size or amount or extent or scope
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  90. continent
    one of the large landmasses of the earth
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  91. universal
    applicable to or common to all members of a group or set
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  92. jubilee
    a special anniversary or the celebration of it
    Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.
  93. pulpit
    a platform raised to give prominence to the person on it
    They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words.
  94. legislative
    relating to a lawmaking assembly
    They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words.
  95. slander
    charge falsely or with malicious intent
    I shall not be charged with slandering Americans, if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.
  96. indolence
    inactivity resulting from a dislike of work
    You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence.
  97. remote
    located far away spatially
    There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern.
  98. repudiate
    refuse to acknowledge, ratify, or recognize as valid
    That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great.
  99. inter
    place in a grave or tomb
    The good is oft- interred with their bones."
  100. humble
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
  101. altar
    a raised structure on which sacrifices to a god are made
    Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
  102. devout
    deeply religious
    Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
  103. acknowledge
    declare to be true or admit the existence or reality of
    Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits?
  104. stolid
    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
    Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs?
  105. servitude
    state of subjection to an owner or master
    Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs?
  106. limb
    one of the jointed appendages of an animal
    Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs?
  107. disparity
    inequality or difference in some respect
    I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us.
  108. inheritance
    hereditary succession to a title or an office or property
    The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.
  109. prosperity
    the condition of having good fortune
    The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.
  110. bequeath
    leave or give by will after one's death
    The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.
  111. mourn
    feel sadness
    You may rejoice, I must mourn.
  112. fetter
    a shackle for the ankles or feet
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  113. illuminate
    make lighter or brighter
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  114. anthem
    a song of devotion or loyalty
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  115. mockery
    showing your contempt by derision
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  116. sacrilegious
    grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  117. irony
    incongruity between what might be expected and what occurs
    To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  118. mock
    treat with contempt
    Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?
  119. plaintive
    expressing sorrow
    I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
  120. lament
    a cry of sorrow and grief
    I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
  121. woe
    misery resulting from affliction
    I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
  122. smitten
    affected by something overwhelming
    I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe- smitten people!
  123. mirth
    great merriment
    For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
  124. cleave
    come or be in close contact with
    If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."
  125. tumultuous
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
    Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them.
  126. mournful
    expressing sorrow
    Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them.
  127. wail
    a cry of sorrow and grief
    Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them.
  128. treason
    a crime that undermines the offender's government
    To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.
  129. scandalous
    giving offense to moral sensibilities
    To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.
  130. solemnly
    in a grave and sedate manner
    America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.
  131. constitution
    law determining the fundamental principles of a government
    Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!
  132. denounce
    speak out against
    Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!
  133. perpetuate
    cause to continue or prevail
    Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!
  134. equivocate
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear
    "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;" I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.
  135. abolitionist
    a reformer who favors putting an end to slavery
    But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind.
  136. impression
    a portrayal of a person not based on facts or reasoning
    But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind.
  137. rebuke
    an act or expression of criticism and censure
    Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed.
  138. creed
    any system of principles or beliefs
    What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue?
  139. affirm
    to declare solemnly and formally as true
    For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race.
  140. erect
    construct or build
    Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging go
  141. enterprise
    a purposeful or industrious undertaking
    Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging go
  142. immortality
    the state of eternal life
    Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging go
  143. beset
    assail or attack on all sides
    Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood?
  144. discourse
    an extended communication dealing with some particular topic
    How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively.
  145. canopy
    a covering that shelters an area from the weather
    There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.
  146. flay
    strip the skin off
    What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to bum their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters?
  147. sunder
    break apart or in two, using violence
    What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to bum their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters?
  148. imply
    express or state indirectly
    I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.
  149. blasphemy
    profane language
    My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the "standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ," is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate.
  150. scorch
    burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
    At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.
  151. wither
    lose freshness, vigor, or vitality
    O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
  152. sarcasm
    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
    O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
  153. stern
    of a strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect
    O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
  154. propriety
    correct behavior
    The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
  155. hypocrisy
    pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not have
    The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
  156. sham
    something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be
    The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie.
  157. vanity
    feelings of excessive pride
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  158. denunciation
    a public act of denouncing
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  159. impudence
    the trait of being rude and impertinent
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  160. solemnity
    a trait of dignified seriousness
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  161. bombast
    pompous or pretentious talk or writing
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  162. deception
    a misleading falsehood
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  163. impiety
    unrighteousness by virtue of lacking respect for a god
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  164. savage
    without civilizing influences
    To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
  165. monarchy
    autocracy governed by a ruler who usually inherits authority
    Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
  166. despotism
    dominance through threat of punishment and violence
    Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
  167. reign
    have supreme power
    Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
  168. rival
    the contestant you hope to defeat
    Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
  169. prosperous
    in fortunate circumstances financially
    Take the American slave-trade, which, we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now.
  170. execrable
    unequivocally detestable
    It has been denounced with burning words, from the high places of the nation, as an execrable traffic.
  171. extirpate
    destroy completely, as if down to the roots
    The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our DOCTORS OF DIVINITY.
  172. brethren
    the lay members of a male religious order
    In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish themselves on the western coast of Africa!
  173. condemnation
    an expression of strong disapproval
    It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.
  174. wretch
    someone you feel sorry for
    Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them.
  175. consume
    use up, as resources or materials
    Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the center of your soul!
  176. simultaneously
    at the same instant
    Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the center of your soul!
  177. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on.
  178. spectacle
    a blunder that makes you look ridiculous
    Tell me citizens, WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking.
  179. captivating
    capturing interest as if by a spell
    These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners.
  180. fate
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.
  181. depot
    a station for loading and unloading passengers or goods
    The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore.
  182. doleful
    filled with or evoking sadness
    In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder.
  183. slumber
    be asleep
    Are these the graves they slumber in?"
  184. obliterated
    reduced to nothingness
    By that act, Mason & Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States.
  185. peril
    a state of danger involving risk
    By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril.
  186. ecclesiastic
    of or associated with a church
    Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics, enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing.
  187. excruciating
    extremely painful
    Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture.
  188. torture
    infliction of suffering to punish or obtain information
    Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture.
  189. prey
    animal hunted or caught for food
    The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included!
  190. fugitive
    someone who is sought by law officers
    The Fugitive Slave Law makes MERCY TO THEM, A CRIME; and bribes the judge who tries them.
  191. pious
    having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity
    The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery!
  192. exemplary
    worthy of imitation
    The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery!
  193. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, hear only his accusers!
  194. diabolical
    showing cunning or ingenuity or wickedness
    In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation.
  195. annals
    a chronological account of events in successive years
    In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation.
  196. tyrannical
    characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule
    In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation.
  197. legislation
    the act of making or enacting laws
    In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation.
  198. infringement
    an act that disregards an agreement or a right
    I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.
  199. civil
    of or occurring between or among citizens of the state
    At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness.
  200. utterly
    completely and without qualification
    At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness.
  201. abridge
    lessen, diminish, or curtail
    Did this law concern the "mint, anise and cummin"— abridge the fight to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits.
  202. sacrament
    a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace
    Did this law concern the "mint, anise and cummin"—abridge the fight to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits.
  203. treacherous
    dangerously unstable and unpredictable
    A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox, to the beautiful, but treacherous queen Mary of Scotland.
  204. benevolence
    disposition to do good
    The fact that the church of our country, (with fractional exceptions), does not esteem "the Fugitive Slave Law" as a declaration of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and good will towards man.
  205. righteousness
    adhering to moral principles
    It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness.
  206. scribe
    someone employed to make written copies of documents
    The Bible addresses all such persons as " scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith."
  207. omit
    leave undone or leave out
    The Bible addresses all such persons as "scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith."
  208. bulwark
    an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes
    It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters.
  209. eloquent
    expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
    Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system.
  210. infidelity
    the quality of being unfaithful
    For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines!
  211. atheism
    the doctrine or belief that there is no God
    For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines!
  212. gospel
    the written body of teachings accepted by a religious group
    For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines!
  213. infidel
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done!
  214. repulsive
    offensive to the mind
    They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form.
  215. entreat
    ask for or request earnestly
    It is not that "pure and undefiled religion" which is from above, and which is "first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
  216. exalt
    praise, glorify, or honor
    But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man.
  217. oppress
    come down on or keep down by unjust use of one's authority
    But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man.
  218. abomination
    hate coupled with disgust
    All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation - a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God.
  219. vain
    characteristic of false pride
    In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, "Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting.
  220. iniquity
    absence of moral or spiritual values
    In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, "Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting.
  221. weary
    physically and mentally fatigued
    They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you.
  222. cease
    put an end to a state or an activity
    YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow."
  223. abolish
    do away with
    The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish slavery.
  224. ecclesiastical
    of or associated with a church
    Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.
  225. missionary
    someone sent on an assignment to a foreign country
    Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.
  226. redemption
    the act of purchasing back something previously sold
    We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee.
  227. theology
    the rational and systematic study of religion
    As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men, honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning.
  228. piety
    righteousness by virtue of being pious
    As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men, honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning.
  229. remonstrance
    the act of expressing earnest opposition or protest
    The LORDS of Buffalo, the SPRINGS of New York, the LATHROPS of Auburn, the COXES and SPENCERS of Brooklyn, the GANNETS and SHARPS of Boston, the DEWEYS of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land, have, in utter denial of the authority of Him, by whom the professed to he called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example or the Hebrews and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach "that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God."
  230. zeal
    a feeling of strong eagerness
    Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.
  231. ameliorate
    to make better
    There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating, and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty.
  232. emancipation
    freeing someone from the control of another
    There, the question of emancipation was a high[ly] religious question.
  233. philanthropy
    voluntary promotion of human welfare
    The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, and Burchells and the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy.
  234. hostile
    characterized by enmity or ill will
    The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable, instead or a hostile position towards that movement.
  235. ovation
    enthusiastic recognition
    You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill.
  236. avarice
    reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth
    You glory in your refinement and your universal education yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation—a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty.
  237. gallant
    having or displaying great dignity or nobility
    You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse!
  238. vindicate
    show to be right by providing justification or proof
    You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse!
  239. hail
    praise vociferously
    You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse!
  240. stigma
    a symbol of disgrace or infamy
    You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor.
  241. artillery
    large but transportable armament
    You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country.
  242. inalienable
    incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another
    You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you "hotel these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of you
  243. pursuit
    the act of following in an effort to overtake or capture
    You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you "hotel these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of you
  244. rebellion
    organized opposition to authority
    You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you "hotel these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of you
  245. antagonistic
    characterized by antipathy
    It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union.
  246. insolence
    the trait of being rude and impertinent
    It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes.
  247. vice
    a specific form of evildoing
    It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes.
  248. illustrious
    widely known and esteemed
    But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that the right to hold and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.
  249. imposter
    a person who makes deceitful pretenses
    And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest imposters that ever practiced on mankind.
  250. constitutional
    sanctioned by or consistent with or operating under the law
    There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length - nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed.
  251. vindicated
    freed from any question of guilt
    These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.
  252. preamble
    a preliminary introduction to a statute or constitution
    Read its preamble, consider its purposes.
  253. intelligible
    capable of being apprehended or understood
    He further says, the constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens.
  254. inevitably
    in such a manner as could not be otherwise
    There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work The downfall of slavery.
  255. impunity
    exemption from punishment or loss
    Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity.
  256. excursion
    a journey taken for pleasure
    From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion.
  257. annihilate
    kill in large numbers
    Space is comparatively annihilated.
  258. fiat
    a legally binding command or decision
    The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force.
  259. pervade
    spread or diffuse through
    No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all- pervading light.
  260. garment
    an article of clothing
    Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment.