Abolitionist Frederick Douglass speaks to a packed house in Cork on the subject of slavery.
“Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,—There is perhaps no argument more frequently resorted to by the Slaveholders in support of the slave system, than the inferiority of the slave. In the name of Christianity, I demand that people of these countries be interested in the question of slavery! In vain may the slaveowner tell you it is no concern of yours. Mr. President, it belongs to the whole nation of America; and to the Irishmen, not because they are Irish, but because they are MEN. Slavery is so gigantic that it cannot be coped with by one nation. In no sound philosophy can slavery be justified. ‘Tis at war with the best feelings of the human heart. ‘Tis at war with Christianity. Wherever we find an individual justify[ing] slavery on such a pretext you will find him also justifying the slavery of any human beings on the earth. ‘Tis the old argument on the part of tyrants. Tyrants have ever justified their tyranny by arguing on the inferiority of their victims. —Hence I would have the intelligence and humanity of the entire people of Ireland against that infamous system.”
Photo: Frederick Douglass mural on the Falls Rd, Belfast