But, you may ask, is the slave-owner really a man-stealer? My answer is, he takes that which does not belong to him, and that, I believe, constitutes a thief. A robber is one who by force takes possession himself of that which rightfully belongs to another. Do not slave-holders do this? Do I belong to myself, or do I not? If I do, has not the blackest negro in America an equal right to claim himself (cheers). I know I have a right to myself. How do I know this? Because God has given me power and faculties. If He did not intend that I should think, He would not have given me the ability to think. He gave me these hands, this head, these shoulders, (which the head so much ornament)—(laughter). These are my own—my birth right as a human being; but the slaveholder takes them from me. He strikes down all right in striking down one right—(hear). The right of one man to himself is the right of every man to himself. How do you establish your rights? Not by the colour of your skin, not by the texture of your hands, not by the cast of your features. Your rights to yourselves are self-evident, and to strike down those rights is to strike down the fundamental right—the right to which all other rights are attached—(cheers). A slave-holder is as much worse than an ordinary thief as a murderous pirate is worse than a common pickpocket—(cheers). He destroys body and soul; he claims the intellect; he binds the soul in fetters; he strikes down the man and reduces him to the level of the brute.
Will you reject the sheep-stealer, and hug to your bosoms the man-stealer? Should this be done? It should not. Yet it is done—done in Christian England. There are at this moment representatives of slaveholding states in the Evangelical Alliance, which meets in London; there are men thieves there—(hear, hear). They have met to denounce the Roman Catholics. One of their objections to Roman Catholicism is, that it does not allow the laity to read the Scriptures. Yet they punish with death any among the three millions of slaves in the United States who dare to read the Scriptures—(hear, hear). Should not Taunton speak out against this inconsistency?—(loud cheers). If your Christian communion confers a Christian character, ought it to be conferred upon the slaveholders?—(No, no.) I do not believe a slave owner can be a Christian— (cheers). I do not believe the spirit of Christ can rest in that bosom which is filled up with chains and gags and thumbscrews—(loud cheers). If Christianity were allowed to have a full and fair hearing, slavery would be abolished for ever.
I love Christianity. I rely upon it for the redemption and emancipation of my fellow creatures. I love the precepts of Christianity, because the founder of it was one who came to deliver the captive from chains and dungeons. I love the world embracing principle which makes it the duty of its votaries to do to others as they would others should do to them—(cheers). If you claim freedom for yourself, grant it to your neighbour. Once blot out the sin of slavery, it would never be heard of again. There would be no more war, no more bloodshed. Nations would merge into one another, their boundaries being only subservient to carrying forward the great principles of Christianity and establishing equal rights among mankind