On 24 DEC 1859, just 22 days after the hanging of John Brown, an account of a lecture in which Remond speaks of him appeared in the Leeds Mercury, a newspaper, published 3 times a week in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
[Our thanks to Alice Keesey Mecoy’s blog “John Brown’s Kin” for this citation.]
Miss REMOND then addressed the meeting in remarks characterised by great impressiveness and eloquence. She said she stood there to represent a race deprived of every privilege and even of hope. The American law had declared that black men and women had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.
To her, that was a solemn and a sad hour. Every letter she received from across the Atlantic brought her tidings of the excitement rocking that land from its centre to its circumference, and she was constantly told—“Old John Brown sleeps to night in amartyr’s grave.” She had no word of censure for him, or for the means which he took to carry out his great idea.
She had the honour of being identified with the ultra, the fanatical, the Garrisonian abolitionists of America, and having watched them from childhood’s hour, she thought they now occupied a more sublime position than they had ever before realised. What was the condition of America, enfolding within her warmest sympathies and encircling by her strong influence a system so foul and hideous that it called forth the execrations of the civilised world? Turn where they would, whether they regarded the legislative, the executive, the judicial, the political, or the religious opinions of that land, they found that, so far as the majority was concerned, they were wedded to slavery.
American politics had sunk to a depth of degradation which she could not describe, and all the best men in America, with few exceptions, were outside the political arena. Even the Republican party had never dared to go beyond seeking to prevent the extension of slavery, and they had not yet laid the axe at the root of the tree.
Every word of sympathy from English lips would tell in favour of the slave, and she asked them to send their moral protest across the Atlantic against the oligarchy which was crushing her brethren and sisters and reducing them to the lowest degradation. She referred to the support given to slavery by the religious and moral sentiment of America, and asserted that if this sentiment were really and truly opposed to slavery that curse would go down at once.
The clergymen of the States did more to carry out the fugitive slave law than any other portion of the community, and as a body they had much to answer for in this respect. Miss Remond concluded by an eloquent tribute to the memory of John Brown.
U.S. marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee smashing the armoury door at Harpers Ferry, Va., behind which John Brown and his men were trapped on Oct. 18, 1859, hand-coloured engraving.