“But Providence interposes
to prevent the permanent triumph of
evil. It interposes, not visibly or by the thunderbolt, but by
inspiring and sustaining high moral effort and heroic lives.
“You commenced your crusade against slavery in isolation, in weakness, and in obscurity. The emissaries of authority with difficulty found the office of the Liberator in a mean room, where its editor was aided only by a negro boy, and supported by a few insignificant persons (so the officers termed them) of all colors. You were denounced, persecuted, and hunted down by mobs of wealthy men alarmed for the interests of their class. You were led out by one of these mobs, and saved from their violence and the imminent peril of death, almost by a miracle. You were not turned from your path of devotion to your cause, and to the highest interests of your country, by denunciation, persecution, or the fear of death. You have lived to stand victorious and honored in the very stronghold of slavery; to see the flag of the republic, now truly free, replace the flag of slavery on Fort Sumter; and to proclaim the doctrines of the Liberator in the city, and beside the grave of Calhoun.
“Enemies of war, we most heartily wish, and doubt not that you wish as heartily as we do, that this deliverance could have been wrought out by peaceful means. But the fierce passions engendered by slavery in the slaveowner, determined it otherwise; and we feel at liberty to rejoice, since the struggle was inevitable, that its issue has been the preservation, not the extinction, of all that we hold most dear. We are, however, not more thankful for the victories of freedom in the field than for the moderation and mercy shown by the victors, which have exalted and hallowed their cause and ours in the eyes of all nations.
“We shall now watch with anxious hope the development, amidst the difficulties which still beset the regeneration of the South, of a happier order of things in the States rescued from slavery, and the growth of free communities, in which your name, with the names of your fellow-workers in the same cause, will be held in grateful and lasting remembrance.
“Once more we welcome
you to a country in which you will find
many sincere admirers and warm friends.”