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    CHAPTER XVI.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER XVIII.

Brown, Josephine
Biography of an American Bondman



"Erin, my country! o'er the swelling wave,
Join in the cry, ask freedom for the slave!"

"Natives of a land of glory,
Daughters of the good and brave,
Hear the injured negro's story,
Hear, and help the kneeling slave!"

From Liverpool, Mr. Brown went to Dublin, where he was warmly greeted by the Webbs, Haughtons, Allens, and others of the slave's friends in Ireland. Her Brittanic Majesty visiting her Irish subjects at that time, the fugitive had an opportunity of witnessing Royalty in all its magnificence and regal splendor. The land of Burke, Sheridan and O'Connell would not permit the American to leave without giving him a public welcome. A large and enthusiastic meeting held in the Rotunda, and presided over by James Haughton, Esq., gave Mr. Brown the first reception which he had in the Old World.

After a sojourn of twenty days in the Emerald Isle, the fugitive started for the Peace Congress which was to assemble at Paris. The Peace Congress, and especially the French who were in attendance at the great meeting, most of whom had never seen a colored person, were somewhat taken by surprise on the last day, when Mr. Brown made a speech. "His reception,"

said La Presse , was most flattering. He admirably sustained his reputation as a public speaker. His address produced a profound sensation. At its conclusion, the speaker was warmly greeted by Victor Hugo, President of the Congress, Richard Cobden, Esq., and other distinguished men on the platform. At the soiree given by M. de Tocqueville, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the American slave was received with marked attention." More than thirty of the English delegates at the Congress gave Mr. Brown invitations to visit their towns on his return to England, and lecture on American Slavery.

Having spent a fortnight in Paris and vicinity, viewing the sights, he returned to London. George Thompson , Esq., was among the first to meet the fugitive on his arrival at the English metropolis. A few days after, a very large meeting, held in the spacious Music Hall, Bedford Square, and presided over by Sir Francis Knowles, Bart., welcomed Mr. Brown to England. Many of Britain's distinguished public speakers spoke on the occasion. George Thompson made one of his most brilliant efforts.

This flattering reception gained for the fugitive pressing invitations from nearly all parts of the United Kingdom. At the city of Worcester, His Honor the Mayor presided over the meeting, and introduced Mr. Brown as "the honorable gentleman from America." In the city of Norwich, the meeting was held in St. Andrew's Hall, one of the oldest and most venerated buildings in the Kingdom, and the Chairman on the occasion was John Henry Gurney, Esq., the distinguished

banker, and son of the late Joseph John Gurney. At Newcastle-on-Tyne, two meetings were held. His Honor the Mayor presided over one, and Sir John Fife over the other. Here the friends of freedom gave Mr. Brown a public soirée, at which eight hundred sat down to tea. After tea was over, the Mayor arose, and, on behalf of the meeting, presented to Mr. Brown a purse containing twenty sovereigns, accompanied with the following Address: -- "This purse, containing twenty sovereigns, is presented to Wm.Wells Brown by the following ladies and some other friends of the slave in Newcastle, as a token of their high esteem for his character and admiration of his zeal in advocating the claims of three millions of his brethren and sisters in bonds in the Southern States of America. They also express their sincere wish that his life may be long spared to pursue his valuable labors-- that success may soon crown his efforts and those of his fellow-Abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic, and his heart be gladdened by the arrival of the happy period when the last shackle shall be broken which binds the limbs of the last slave. "

At Glasgow, four thousand persons attended the meeting at the City Hall, which was presided over by Alexander Hastie, Esq., M.P. Meetings given to welcome Mr. Brown were also held at Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, and nearly every city or town in the Kingdom. At Sheffield, James Montgomery, the poet, attended the meeting, and invited the fugitive to visit him at his residence. The following day, Mr. Brown went, by invitation, to visit the silver electro-plate

manufactory of Messrs. Broadhead and Atkins. While going through the premises, a subscription was set on foot by the workmen, and on the fugitive's entering the counting-room, the purse was presented to him by the designer, who said that the donors gave it as a token of their esteem for Mr. Brown.

At Bolton, a splendid soiree was given to him, and the following Address presented:--

Dear Friend And Brother, ,-- We cannot permit you to depart from among us without giving expression to the feelings which we entertain towards yourself personally, and to the sympathy which you have awakened in our breasts for the three millions of our sisters and brothers who still suffer and groan in the prison-house of American bondage. You came among us an entire stranger; we received you for the sake of your mission; and having heard the story of your personal wrongs, and gazed with horror on the atrocities of slavery, as seen through the medium of your touching descriptions, we are resolved hence forward, in reliance on divine assistance, to render what aid we can to the cause which you have so eloquently pleaded in our presence. We have no words to express our detestation of the crimes which, in the name of Liberty, are committed in the country which gave you birth. Language fails to tell our deep abhorrence of the impiety of those who, in the still more sacred name of Religion, rob immortal beings, not only of an earthly citizenship, but do much to prevent them from obtaining a heavenly one: and as mothers and daughters, we embrace this opportunity of giving utterance to our utmost indignation

at the cruelties perpetrated upon our sex by a people professedly acknowledging the equality of all mankind. Carry with you, on your return to the land of your nativity, this our solemn protest against the wicked institution which, like a dark and baleful cloud, hangs over it; and ask the unfeeling enslavers, as best you can, to open the prison-doors to them that are bound, and let the oppressed go free. Allow us to assure you, that your brief sojourn in our town has been to ourselves, and to vast multitudes, of a character long to be remembered; and when you are far removed from us, and toiling, as we hope you may long be spared to do, in this righteous enterprise, it may be some solace to your mind to know that your name is cherished with affectionate regard, and that the blessing of the Most High is earnestly supplicated in behalf of yourself and family, and the cause to which you have consecrated your distinguished talents." [Signed by 200 ladies.]

In the spring of 1850, Mr. Brown was publicly welcomed at a large meeting held in the Broadmead Rooms, at Bristol, and presided over by the late John B. Estlin, , Esq., one of the most liberal-minded and philanthropic men of any country; a man who never appeared better satisfied than when doing good for others, and whose loss has been so universally lamented by the genuine friends of freedom in both hemispheres. But should we undertake to give a detailed account of the various meetings called to received the American fugitive slave, it would occupy more space than we can think of giving in this volume.


    CHAPTER XVI.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER XVIII.