Since the great law was enacted, which made all men, black or white, equal in political rights—as they were always equal in the sight of God—Mrs. Mott has made it her business to visit every colored church in Philadelphia. This we may regard as the formal closing of fifty years of work in behalf of a race which she has seen raised from a position of abject servitude, to one higher than that of a monarch’s throne. But though she may have ended this Anti-slavery work, which is but the foundation of the destiny of the colored race in America, her influence is not ended—that cannot die; it must live and grow and deepen, and generations hence the world will be happier and better that Lucretia Mott lived and labored for the good of all mankind.
More vividly than it is possible for the pen to portray, the subject of this sketch recalls the struggles of the worst years of Slavery, when the conflict was most exciting and interesting, when more minds were aroused, and more laborers were hard at work in the field; when more anti-slavery speeches were made, tracts, papers, and books, were written, printed and distributed; when more petitions were signed for the abolition of Slavery; in a word, when the barbarism of Slavery was more exposed and condemned than ever before, in the same length of time. Abolitionists were then intensely in earnest, and determined never to hold their peace or cease their warfare, until immediate and unconditional emancipation was achieved.
On the other hand, during this same period, it is not venturing too much to assert that the slave power was more oppressive than ever before; slave enactments more cruel; the spirit of Slavery more intolerant; the fetters more tightly drawn; perilous escapes more frequent; slave captures and slave hunts more appalling; in short, the enslavers of the race had never before so defiantly assumed that negro Slavery was sanctioned by the Divine laws of God.
Thus, while these opposing agencies were hotly contesting the rights of man, James Miller McKim, as one of the earliest, most faithful, and ablest abolitionists in Pennsylvania, occupied a position of influence, labor and usefulness, scarcely second to Mr. Garrison.
For at least fourteen of the eventful years referred to, it was the writer’s privilege to occupy a position in the Anti-slavery office with Mr. McKim, and the best opportunity was thus afforded to observe him under all circumstances while battling for freedom. As a helper and friend of the fleeing bondman, in numberless instances the writer has marked well his kind and benevolent spirit, before and after the formation of the late Vigilance Committee. At all times when the funds were inadequate, his aid could be counted upon for sure relief. He never failed the fugitive in the hour of need. Whether on the Underground Rail Road bound for Canada, or before a United States commissioner trying a fugitive case, the slave found no truer friend than Mr. McKim.