MR. CHAIRMAN, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN:—It is hard to follow an address of such extraordinary beauty, simplicity and power; but it now becomes my duty at your command, sir, to move an address of hearty congratulation to our distinguished guest, William Lloyd Garrison. (Cheers.) Sir, this country is from time to time honored by the presence of many distinguished, and of a few illustrious men; but for the most part we are contented to receive them with that private cordiality and hospitality with which, I trust, we shall always receive strangers who visit our shores. The people of this country are not pre-eminently an emotional people; they are not naturally fond of public demonstrations; and it is only upon rare occasions that we give, or can give, such a reception as that we see here this day. There must be something peculiar in the cause which a man has served, in the service which he has rendered, and in our own relations with the people whom he represents, to justify or to account for such a reception. (Hear, hear.) As regards the cause, it is not too much to say that the cause of negro emancipation in the United States of America has been the greatest cause which, in ancient or in modern times, has been pleaded at the bar of the moral judgment of mankind. (Cheers.) I know that to some this will sound as the language of exaggerated feeling; but I can only say that I have expressed myself in language which I believe conveys the literal truth. (Hear, hear.)
I have, indeed, often heard it said in deprecation of the amount of interest which was bestowed in this country on the cause of negro emancipation in America, that we are apt to forget the forms of suffering which are immediately at our own doors, over which we have some control, and to express exaggerated feeling as to the forms of suffering with which we have nothing to do, and for which we are not responsible. I have never objected to that language in so far as it might tend to recall us to the duties which lie immediately around us, and in so far as it might tend to make us feel the forgetfulness of which we are sometimes guilty, of the misery and poverty in our own country; but, on the other hand, I will never admit, for I think it would be confounding great moral distinctions, that the miseries which arise by way of natural consequence out of the poverty and the vices of mankind, are to be compared with those miseries which are the direct result of positive law and of a positive institution, giving to man property in man. (Loud cheers.) It is true, also, that there have been forms of servitude, meaning thereby compulsory labor, against which we do not entertain the same feelings of hostility and horror with which we have regarded slavery in America.
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