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MR. THOMPSON AT SOUTH READING.
South READING, Dec. 6, 1834. Mr. GARRISON--The numerous panegyrical notices of Mr. THOMPSON, which had for the last two months appeared in the columns of the Liberator, had put curiosity upon tiptoe in our little village to hear this disinterested, generous and eloquent MAN OF TRUTH, and ADVOCATE OF LIBERTY. He favoied us with his presence yesterday, and last evening lectured for the space of two hours in the Baptist meeting-house, with zealous fluency and triumphant argumentation. The audience was a large one, and highly respectable, notwithstanding the purposely slight and obscure notice of the meeting which was given by our congrega, tional minister, who is still on the side of gradualism and expatriation. . A considerable number of individuals, animated by various motives, came from the surrounding towns.-even as far as Salem,-among whom were the Rev. Mr. Grosvernor and Richard P. Waters, Esq. The meeting was opened with singing by the choir, and prayer by the Rev. Mr. Pickett of Reading; after which, Rev. Mr. Grosvenor made a few pertinent remarks, introducing Mr. Thompson to us, in which he reminded us that American liberty was won and established partly bý the valor of a foreigner-Lafayette ; and that the spiritual redemption of the world was effected through the instrumentality of another foreigner--the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of Mr. Thompson's lecture I shall not attempt to give you even the outlines. The topics were so various, the arguments so profound, the illustrations so rich and appropriate, the transitions from the pathetic to the severe, and
from the beautiful to the sublime, were so incessant yet natural, that my pen might as well attempt to give the sound of the mountain torrent, or mark the course of the lightning, as to state them in their order, with justice either to the subject or the orator.
Mr. Thompson in his exordium, at once secured the earnest attention of his hearers by remarking, with measured and solemn enunciation, that the question which he was about to discuss was one of immense magnitude and transcendant importance, in comparison with which, all others that are now agitating the minds of the American people, appertaining to the politics or the prosperity of the nation, dwindled into insignificance ; and he trusted that he might be able to go into its discussion with that candor and faithfulness which it merited, and that his auditors would listen with unbiassed, unprejudiced, and christian minds. If he should misapprehend, or misinterpret, or misstate, in any particular whatever; if he should swerve but a hair's breadth from the line of eternal rectitude, or fail in sustaining every assertion and every proposition that he might make ; he called upon every one present, who should detect him in error, to rise and expose his sophistry or his ignorance. But if he should speak understandingly—truly--with a zeal according to knowledge ; if he should show that slavery in the abstract and in the concrete was wrong, and that it was emphatically a national transgression—then it became each of those before him to say with repenting Saul - Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?'
With regard to this finding something to do, which many think is so difficult a matter, Mr. Thompson asked—Do you know of any abolitionists, who are at a loss what to do for the emancipation of the slaves ? Do they not say, that there are so many appropriate and important modes of action, that they are often puzzled which of them to select ? Do they not exclaim-0, that our zeal, our talents, our means, our influence, were increased a hundred fold! that we could be here-there-every where, rebuking, encouraging, convincing and reforming a perverse and cruel people!
But,—but,— We are as much opposed to slavery as we can be. This hypocritical and impudent profession was
most severely dealt with by Mr. Thompson, in a strain of burning satire. He interrogated those who made it, whether they remembered the slave in their prayers—in their intercourse with relations and friends ? whether they contributed aught of their substance to the furtherance of the anti-slavery cause, or circulated any petitions for the abolition of slavery in those portions of territory which are under the jurisdiction of the national legislature ? To which interrogation the reply uniformly was—0, no! we have done none of these ; but then-we are as much opposed to slavery as we can be!'
The speaker then made a death grapple with those who run to the Bible to find a precedent and a plea for southern slavery, and tore them limb from limb. He nobly vindicated that precious volume, and its great Author, from the impious aspersions which had been cast upon them by the apologists of slavery, who contended that they gave full warrant for the murderous system. All those of his audience who were jealous for the honor and glory of God, and the holy repute of the scriptures, must have rejoiced in the masterly exhibition of truth which was made on this interesting occasion.
We were gratified to see you in the assembly, Mr. Garrison : and we could not but rejoice anew at the glorious fruits of your mission to England, as seen in the speedy and utter overthrow of the agent of the American Colonization Society in that country-in the increasing sympathy of British christians for the slaves in our land in the efficient aid which they are giving to us in various channels and particularly, and above all, in securing to us, even ' without money and without price,' the invaluable services of GEORGE THOMPSON and CHARLES STUART-philanthropists whose hearts burn with patriotic as well as christian love for our great but guilty republic-whose only desire is, to make us that happy people whose God is the Lord'-and who duly appreciate and admire all that is truly excellent in our character as a people.
At the close of the lecture, Mr. Thompson again requested persons present, if there were any such, who had any difficulties yet remaining on their minds, or who were not entirely satisfied with his arguments, or who thought
he had erred either as to matter of factor of inference, to express their views or propound any questions without reserve. After a short pause, Rev. Mr. Grosvenor rose and said, that, as for himself, he had no objections to make to any thing that had been advanced by the speaker. He then alluded to the fact that, for his advocacy of the cause of the oppressed, he (Mr. Grosvenor) had lost his church and congregation in Salem ; but expressed a holy resolve that come what might, he would at all times and in all places be a mouth-piece for the suffering and the dumb. His remarks, though few, were made with much feeling and firmness; after which, he pronounced a benediction upon the assembly.
As yet, I have heard but a single individual who was not pleased with Mr. Thompson's lecture, although there may be others-for
• Men convinced against their will,
Are of the same opinion still.' He is a gradualist-a colonizationist-and, I believe, a member of an orthodox church ; and he says that Mr. T. ought to have had another brick bat thrown at his headalluding to the affair at Lowell. What an amiable temper ! what a benevolently disposed man! what a meek and forgiving christian !
We hope Mr. T. will visit us again shortly—but our brethren in Reading think it is their turn next.
MR. THOMPSON AT DOVER, N. H.
PORTLAND, Maine, Tuesday evening,
February 10th, 1835. My dear Brother-The following hasty and brief account of my labors since I parted with you on Wednesday evening, will, I believe, be interesting to you, and the result proves that the God of our cause does not permit us to labor in vain, nor spend our strength for nought.
Thursday, Feb. 5th. Left Boston for Dover, N. H. at eight in the morning, accompanied by Rev. Amos A. Phelps. Arrived at half past five, and were most kindly received and entertained by the Rev. D. Root, the Congregational Minister, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile. At eight o'clock, delivered a preliminary lecture in Mr. Root's Church, to a very respectable congregation.
Friday, 6th. Occupied the day in conference with the excellent ministers of the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches, the Rev. Messrs. Williams and Perkins, and found them devoted in heart and understanding to our holy enterprise. In the evening, delivered a second Lecture in the M. E. meeting-house. Although the weather was rendered inclement by a snow storm, the audience was numerous.
Saturday, 7th. In the afternoon, drove to Great Falls, accompanied by Mr. Phelps. Received a hearty welcome from Rev. Mr. Smith, of the Congregational Church. In the evening, at half past six, gave a lecture in the Baptist meeting-house, and obtained twenty-two subscribers