The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

77.
Speech by Sarah P. Remond
Delivered at the Athenaeum, Manchester, England 14 September 1859

Because they sidestepped partisan disputes, black abolitionists enhanced their access to divergent British antislavery factions. Sarah P. Remond's 1859 British lecture tour is a case in point. During mid-1859, Remond traveled to London, where she addressed several meetings sponsored by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. By early September, she was in Manchester where with her American friend and colleague Samuel J. May, she participated in a well-attended meeting of local Garrisonians at the Athenaeum on Wednesday evening, 14 September. The meeting was addressed by several reform notables, including Rev. Francis Bishop of Chesterfield, Rev. S. A. Steinthal of Liverpool, and peace advocate Henry Vincent. Ivie Mackie, mayor of Manchester, presided and introduced Remond, who spoke about the link between slavery and northern racial prejudice. At the conclusion of the meeting, a collection was made at the door for the American Anti-Slavery Society. ASA, August, October 1859; NASS, 9 July, 24 September 1859; WS, 5 February 1859.

Miss REMOND, having stated the subject of her lecture, remarked that she appeared as the agent of no society--speaking simply on her own responsibility, of her own knowledge and experience; but that in feeling and in principle she was identified with the Ultra-abolitionists of America. She continued: Although the anti-slavery enterprise was begun some thirty years ago, the evil is still rampant in the land. As there are some young people present--and I am glad to see them here, for it is important that they should understand this subject--I shall briefly explain that there are thirty-two states, sixteen of which are free and sixteen slave states. The free states are in the north. The political feelings in the north and south are essentially different, so is the social life. In the north, democracy, not what the Americans call democracy, but the true principle of equal rights, prevails--I speak of the white population, mind--wealth is abundant; the country, in every material sense, flourishes. In the south, aristocratic feelings prevail, labour is dishonourable, and five millions of poor whites live in the most degrading ignorance and destitution. I might dwell long on the miserable condition of these poor whites, the indirect victims of slavery; but I must go on to speak of the four millions of slaves. The slaves are essentially things, with no rights, political, social, domestic, or religious: the absolute victims of all but

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