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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass

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I shall never forget his first speech at the convention — the extraordinary emotion it excited in my own mind — the powerful impression it created upon a crowded auditory, completely taken by surprise — the applause which followed from the beginning to the end of his felicitous remarks. I think I never hated slavery so intensely as at that moment; certainly, my perception of the enormous outrage which is inflicted by it, on the godlike nature of its victims, was rendered far more clear than ever. There stood one, in physical proportion and stature commanding and exact — in intellect richly endowed — in natural eloquence a prodigy — in soul manifestly "created but a little lower than the angels" — yet a slave, ay, a fugitive slave, — trembling for his safety, hardly daring to believe that on the American soil, a single white person could be found who would befriend him at all hazards, for the love of God and humanity! Capable of high attainments as an intellectual and moral being — needing nothing but a comparatively small amount of cultivation to make him an ornament to society and a blessing to his race — by the law of the land, by the voice of the people, by the terms of the slave code, he was only a piece of property, a beast of burden, a chattel personal, nevertheless!
  
A beloved friend from New Bedford prevailed on Mr. DOUGLASS to address the convention: He came forward to the platform with a hesitancy and embarrassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensitive mind in such a novel position. After apologizing for his ignorance, and reminding the audience that slavery was a poor school for the human intellect and heart, he proceeded to narrate some of the facts in his own history as a slave, and in the course of his speech gave utterance to many noble thoughts and thrilling reflections.
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