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DANIEL O'CONNELL'S SPEECH.
Clarkson then rose, and delivered a most affecting and eloquent address. Some parts of it were sublime. In alluding to himself, he said, "I can say with truth I think, that although my body is fast going to decay, my heart beats as warmly in this sacred cause now, in the eighty-first year of my age, as it did at the age of twenty-four, when I first took it up. And I can say further, with truth, that if I had another life given me to live, I would ask no better fortune, than to devote it all with firmer resolution and warmer zeal, to the same glorious work of redeeming humanity from oppression."
He closed with a benediction upon the assembly, and upon all the friends of human liberty, throughout the world. When he sat down, I believe there was not a heart in the Convention that was not deeply moved, nor an eye that was not filled with tears.
ANIEL O'CONNELL was called for. He rose and said: "This was a Convention, the most important that ever assembled. To it, came men from hundreds and thousands of miles distant; not with a selfish motive, not even alone for the pride and pleasure of participating in the great and ennobling work, but from sincere philanthropy to the human race-and it included delegates from all parts of the world, even from America; certainly from all parts of the British Empire, and none ought to be exempt from coöperation. In the chair he was happy to see the patriarch of liberty. He was glad that the venerable gentleman had lived to see the brightening of a day, the dawn of which the fervor of his youth could scarcely have hoped to see. His was the purest of all fame-that of doing good. They were not met here only to talk, or display talent; that would be insufficient; they must direct their minds to some practical movement: Forward must be the word. They must speedily adopt practical means for establishing correspondence, and coöperating societies all over the world. It was a gratifying thing to hear that Massachussetts had declared the
MRS. AMELIA OPIE.
first clause of American independence to be utterly inconsistent with slavery, and on that ground alone it should be abolished. At present, it was only in the East Indies that slavery, under British rule, existed. There, not only the laborers were slaves, but the great mass of the population were serfs, completely under the sway of the East India Company, to be ground down by the 'land-rents' exactions, at its will. There should be a glorious combination of anti-slavery societies all over the world, and no motives should be allowed to mar the disinterested sincerity of their efforts. He was rejoiced to see their chairman among them. He was happy to find himself in a Convention, to the members of which no selfish motives could by any possibility be attributed. Let them persevere in their efforts, and they would raise the entire of the human race from a state of slavery and degradation, to that liberty which was the best preparative for receiving the truths of Christianity, and the blessings of civilization."
At the close of O'Connell's speech the chairman was obliged to retire. The whole Convention rose, and as he left the Hall, leaning upon the arm of the Irish Orator, the feelings of the assembly were expressed by the most enthusiastic applause.*
* I was introduced to the celebrated Mrs. Amelia Opie, who was enjoying a green old age, She lived in Norwich, about 120 miles east of London, but, like everybody else, was spending "the season" in town. She had, long before, adopted the simple faith, and plain, rich costume of the Society of Friends, and suppressed several of her fictitious works, from conscientious scruples in regard to their influence. But she showed unbounded cheerfulness, and was certainly a delightful woman. I did not know her age, but she must have been over seventy, I think, although her cheek still wore the rich bloom of earlier years.
"It is very painful," she said, "to think that your great and free Republic should be desecrated by slavery. It is very lamentable. It is like some odious blemish on a beautiful painting; the eye would contemplate the beauties of the picture, but it cannot: the blemish fills the vision. Oh! I hope I shall live to see the day when there will not be a slave in all your beautiful land. It has been the home of freedom; there is no such land on earth; and this makes it so indescriably painful to think that it is a land of slaves."
"You have never visited our country, I think, madam ?"
"No, I have not; but there is no part of the world I so much desire to see.
TROUBLE FOR THE UNITED STATES.
World's Convention had a deeper meaning than any of
the men or women present dreamed of then, unless it may have been the instigators and abettors of a deep and well-laid scheme on the part of politicians, to create trouble for the United States.
Let us glance for a while at the course England took towards us twenty years later, after her statesmen and nobles had raised the "negro indignation" against the United States.
We Americans cheated ourselves most egregiously when we thought England-once the head of the slave-trade, and only a few years ago the front of the abolitionism of the worldwould turn her slavery-hating back on the only organized band of slavery propagandism on the earth!
Poor fools we! Just as though the British aristocracy— (the true name for the British Government)-meant anything but interference and trouble for us, when her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland chaperoned the gifted Harriet Beecher Stowe through the court of her Majesty, simply because Mrs.
It is a great pleasure to meet so many Americans here on this grand occasion. I never looked forward to a public meeting with so much hope. I well remember, many years ago, when the first efforts were made by the friends of liberty for the suppression of the slave-trade. It was a dark day then for the world; and, although philanthropists are quite apt to be too sanguine, yet who in this assembly ever expected to see such a day as this? It is a very sublime spectacle to see this representation of the philanthropy and piety of the world. What can be more grand than to contemplate the object which has called this Convention together? And that idea of O'Connell's was so fine-that we would elevate the whole human race to the possession of liberty-it is an affecting thought.
"But you will come and see me, I trust; I want to converse with you about America, your authors, your scenery, your great men. I shall be most happy to see you at any time you can make it convenient to call. Do not think that age has quite frozen up my heart. Indeed, if it had, I think this Convention would make it green as spring-time again."
I did see her again-often; and her grand and symmetrical character became to me more and more sublime and beautiful.
ANTI-SLAVERY MEETINGS IN ENGLAND.
Stowe, by writing a great dramatic novel against slavery, could be made a cat's-paw for pulling the chestnuts of the British aristocracy out of the fire!
Yes, abolitionism suited the purposes of the British aristocracy just then; and lords and ladies swarmed at negro-emancipation gatherings at Exeter Hall. On all such occasions three standing jokes were played off, to the infinite amusement of dukes and duchesses,-duchesses more particularly.
First. There must be a live American negro,-the blacker the better, sometimes; but they generally got one as little black as possible, and an octoroon threw them into the highest state of subdued frenzy admissible in the upper classes. The aforesaid negro must have escaped from the indescribable horrors and barbarities of slavery in the Southern States,-gashed, manacled (if he showed the manacles, so much the better)-a sample of American barbarism, and a burning shame on the otherwise fair cheek of the goddess of American Liberty.
"Oh, yes," said my Lord Brougham; "nothing stands in your way now but negro slavery. Abolish that, and every heart in England is with you."
Second. At these Exeter Hall meetings they must have a live American abolitionist,-once a slaveholder who had emancipated his slaves. Here they found their man in the noble Judge Birney, as in the first they found a splendid specimen of a runaway octoroon in Frederick Douglass, Esq.,-the black Douglass,—and who, by-the-by made a better speech by far than any aristocrat in England.
Third, and last of all, some ecclesiastical gentleman bestowed upon the proceedings "the benediction."
This would have been well enough,-certainly so far as the benediction was concerned,-had not future events proved beyond a doubt, that, at the very moment these curious things were occurring, the whole prestige of the British empire was invoked to sanctify and adorn a secret spirit of hostility to the Government of the United States, and that the solemnities of our holy religion were also invoked in the same cause.
POETS IN ENGLAND TO AMERICA'S POETS.
But to my unpractised eye it looked at the time very much as later events have shown it,—a thorough hatred of America by the ruling classes of England.
T one time Lord Brougham presided; again, O'Connell ; and again, the venerable Thomas Clarkson: they even got his Royal Highness Prince Albert to do it once, on a somewhat narrower scale, where even tender young duchesses could attend with impunity (the American negro always being present), and being fortified with a supply of highly-perfumed kerchiefs, the young duchesses managed generally to live it through, and revive after reaching the open air!
These farces were played off all through the British Islands; and the poor British people-who, from long habit, I suppose, go where their betters" go, when allowed to-joined in the movement, and "American anti-slavery societies" were everywhere established. Even chambermaids and factory girls contributed to raise a fund to send "English missionaries" over here to enlighten the North about the duty of the South to abolish slavery."
Some of these scenes were sufficiently vulgar; but they were occasionally got up in fine taste. One occasion I recal with the highest pleasure, which, although ostensibly an antislavery dinner, was limited chicfly in its company to the literary men of London.*
* Among the good things of that evening was a short poem, written for the occasion, by William Beattie, M. D., the gifted and well-known author of Scotland Illustrated, etc. I do not know if it has been published. I remember a few of the stanzas. It is an address from England's Poets to the Poets of America."
Your Garrison has fann'd the flame,
While here, hearts myriad trumpet-toned