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The Narrative of William W. Brown

FROM The Liberator, 26 November 1847.

From the Boston Whig.

MR. EDITOR:—The unvarnished tale of any person of his own experience, whether in slavery or elsewhere, must always prove instructive to the minds and hearts of mankind generally. We imagine to ourselves, (or are very apt to,) that we can fathom this incarnation of all that is wicked and abominable, (slavery,) because, perhaps, we know many of its outlines, and may be, some of its workings. But eternity alone can make manifest the depravity which is consequent from a system of unrequited servitude. The truest picture that ever was given of a slave, or ever can be, can never make one feel its true enormity. More, the living witness of all its workings, in any, or every place imaginable, is insufficient to begin to estimate its evil. Indeed we know this often has a contrary effect. The testimony of Gen. Eaton in Algiers, that he had looked upon slavery in his own country, though far worse than he there saw, unmoved, proves sufficiently the hardening influence it has upon the human heart. The narrative of this fugitive from a land of whips and chains, I doubt not will make slavery more hateful in the eyes of every true lover of his race. Would that all our literature was such as to make vice in all its forms hateful, as this will make slavery. In reading this narrative of the emotions that were struggling in the breast of this fugitive for a land of liberty, and of the thousands that must be at this very moment, one cannot but think him the happiest being on earth who could but once have the privilege of assisting one solitary being to a land of freedom. Wells Brown, the Christian philanthropist, who fed, clothed and otherwise assisted this panting fugitive, and to whom this little book is dedicated, is truly a happy man. This act of humanity, though among perhaps the hundreds in his life of a similar character, and in defiance of law solemnly made, will, I doubt not, redown [sic] even to his everlasting happiness.

The thoughts and feelings which naturally arise from the perusal of this little narrative, make all questions of party and sectarian rivalry appear utterly insignificant. The voice of God here speaks in tones which puts all human contrivances to shame. Here let the apologist look and see an exhibition of himself, if peradventure he should go away even and forget what manner of person he is.

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