I have suffered much, but nothing in comparison to thousands of others. I wear on my back the marks of the slave drivers’ whips, I have four sisters and one brother dragging out a miserable existence in slavery. I know what it is by experience; and although I was tenderly treated, according to the standard of tenderness erected among slave-holders, I have suffered deeply and severely. My master, the man who claims to own these hands and this body, who says I am his property, who writes me down in his ledger among his horses, sheep and swine,—who calculates on bequeathing me at his death to his children,—who expects that my children will be the property of his own—he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America—(cries of “shame,” and “oh! the hypocrite”). His name is Thomas Hall [actually Thomas Auld]. I have seen him take up a young woman, and cause her to stand like this (the speaker displayed a painful posture) for four hours at a time. I have seen him make bare her back and lash her until the warm blood trickled at his feet—(sensation). At this bloody deed he would use these words “He that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes”— (expressions of horror). You can scarcely believe it; but I speak what I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears…

Human beings are there kept in the most abject state of ignorance and degradation. Without speaking of the cruelties enacted there, think of this—Three millions of human beings live without marriage, live in a state of universal concubinage, universal pollution—(hear, hear). Women are subject to the absolute control of their beastly owners, and if in defence of their own dignity as human beings they raise their hands against their carnal masters, they are liable to be put to death—(expressions of horror). This is slavery in the United States. It is almost too bad to be believed, yet it is true, and the darker features of slavery yet remain to be brought forward…

Various bodies calling themselves Christians defend the system and encourage it. These bodies are the Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Universalists, and others. The churches in the southern states are corrupt to the very core. They have men-stealers for members, for ministers, for class-leaders, for sabbath-school teachers, and for every office from that of steward up to that of minister—(hear, hear). We have men-stealers to build our churches—human beings sold to buy Bibles for the heathen!—(hear hear, and “it’s too bad.”) The pulpit and the auctioneer’s platform stand near each other. The Blood-stained gold goes to support the pulpit, and the pulpit covers the infernal business with the garb of Christianity—(hear, hear). The man who preaches “Thou shalt not steal,” is he who keeps the slave in bondage, and steals not only his body, but destroys his soul. He who preaches, “Thou shall not commit adultery,” denies to millions the rite of marriage. He who stands forth and says “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye have eternal life,” makes it punishable with death to learn any portion of them—(hear, hear)…

16. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other, revivals of religion and revivals of slavery going hand in hand; the prison and the church standing near each other, the groans of the slave drowned in the pious shouts of his master—(hear, hear). This is no extreme picture. I will prove that it is not overdrawn, by the words of the masters themselves, as published in the newspapers of the southern states. Slaves frequently escape from bondage, and live in the woods. Sometimes they are absent eight or nine months without being discovered. They are hunted with dogs, kept for the purpose, and regularly trained. Enmity is Instilled into the blood-hounds by these means:—A master causes a slave to tie up the dog and beat it unmercifully. He then sends the slave away and bids him climb a tree; after which he unties the dog, puts him upon the track of the man and encourages him to pursue it until he discovers the slave. Sometimes, in hunting the negroes, if the owners are not present to call off the dogs, the slaves are torn in pieces—(sensation); this has often occurred.—Mr. Douglass then read some of the advertisements which had been published by masters, for the discovery of runaway slaves, and in which they were described as having marks of the whip upon them, as wearing chains on their legs, as being branded with the owner’s name, &c. The process of branding was this—A person was tied to a post, and his back, or such other part as was to be branded, laid bare; the iron was then delivered red hot (sensation), and applied to the quivering flesh, imprinting upon it the name of the monster who claimed the slave. It was also a common practice to draw the teeth of slaves, although sound, in order to be able the better to identify them, should they run away…

17. The wretched condition of slaves, he said, is evident from the fact of their running the risk of a terrible death in their efforts to escape from it. I know a young woman, on an estate in Alabama, who attempted to escape from her master, and as a punishment her fingers were nailed to a post. In her agony she made a convulsive effort, and tore her flesh in a most horrible manner. After reading several advertisements, Mr. Douglass said—The publication of these show that in the southern states of America there is no public sentiment against the barbarities practiced upon the slaves. The slave-holders publish their infamy with impunity— (hear, hear). No one hears of these things with emotion there. The slave is protected by no one. What would be said of the man who in this town should brand his horse? Would not the concentrated indignation of the inhabitants descend upon him? No one would dare to publish a deed, or if he did he would himself be branded with infamy—(cheers). In the United States three millions of human beings are subjected to the branding iron—(hear, hear). Let the Press, let the Pulpit, thunder against the foul iniquity—(cheers). Let the press of England blaze with anti-slavery indignation. Let it call upon the Americans to abolish slavery—to tear down their star-bespangled banner and bind the wounds of their slaves up with it. Let every man there know that England holds America in the utmost reprobation for her slave-holding character…

The President of the United States is a man-stealer…The ministers plenipotentiary to all the courts in Europe are men-stealers. Members of Congress, of the Senate, of the Cabinet, of the Church, of the Supreme Court, are men-stealers

If the sheep stealer is excluded [from Christian communion], so ought the man-stealer. It is no greater sin to steal a sheep than to steal a human being (cheers).


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