Send Back the Blood-Stained Money: An Address Delivered in Paisley, Scotland, on April 25, 1846
Renfrewshire Advertiser, May 2, 1846.
Mr. Frederick Douglass, who was received with loud and prolonged cheering, came forward and said, Ladies and Gentlemen, with my friend Buffum, I did not expect I would be required to say anything tonight. I have spoken in Paisley now seven times, and have managed to present some new facts on each occasion, and I am not at a loss for facts to-night, to warm your sympathies into love for the bondsman, to cheer you with the hope of ultimate success in this glorious enterprise.
A deed has been committed by a party in your land which has had the tendency to strengthen the hand of the tyrant, and to darken the prospects of the poor down-trodden slave in the United States. (Cheers.) It has been committed by professing Christians, and it has had the effect of spreading gloom over the prospects of the poor bondsman. We are here for the purpose of dispelling that gloom, and of brightening those prospects. (Cheers.)
Let us contemplate this system, holding as it does in its grasp, three millions of those for whom the Saviour died. In the midst of these there is no marriage. Wives, sisters, husbands, think of this in the midst of a people calling themselves Christians, so many living without this ordinance, without Bibles, denied the privilege of learning to read the word of Goddriven like dumb cattle to the fieldsrobbed of their identity with the human family. This, my friends, is the condition of three millions of people within two weeks' sail of this land. A case occurs to my mind at present, where a husband and wife were brought to the auction mart. The wife was sold to one man and the husband to another, and the husband looked imploringly to the man who had bought his wife. But the wife was to go one way and he another. The husband asked to shake hands with the wife for the last time. He attempted to do it. He was struck on the head, and when let go, he fell dead. His heart was broken!
Who is responsible for slavery? The Free Church of Scotland has made itself responsible for slavery, by regarding these men as the followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. Think of this, Christian men and women of Scotland! (Great cheering.) This religious denomination, claiming the high and holy title of Freeto be the exponent of all that is good and holy in the moral and religious sentiments of Scotland, comes forward and holds up the slaveholder as being a Christian, and then when I have thrown off my fetters, found my way here, and attempted to speak on behalf of my brethren, do they say welcome, bondsman, come let us see your wrongs and we are prepared to redress them. No. Mr. Macnaughtan brands me as being a poor, miserable, fugitive slaveignorant, fugitive slave. I would not say anything of the origin of that gentlemanI will not call attention to his rise, progress, and present position. (Great laughter.) I presume, however, I should not trace him to any extraordinary ancestors. I esteem him nothing less a man on that account. I esteem him as much as though he stood in close relationship to Prince Albert(great applause)but there is a degree of audacity, such as I did not expect to witness on the part of any Free Church clergyman, in the case of Mr. Macnaughtan calling me an ignorant, degraded, fugitive slave. (Great applause.) Only let us look at it.
The man whose pockets are lined with the gold with which I ought to have been educated, stands up charging me with ignorance and poverty. (Great applause.) The man who enjoys his share of the three thousand pounds taken from the slaveholder, and robbed from the slave, stands up to denounce me as being ignorant. (Continued cheering.) Shame on him. (Cheers.) I should like to see the inside of his breast; there cannot be a heart of flesh there. There must be a stone or a gizzard there. (Great cheering.) Let him launch out that gold and I shall undertake to educate a number of slaves, who will in a few years be able to stand by the side of Mr. Macnaughtan. I do not feel at all chagrined by the notice he has taken of me. I rather feel a degree of pride from what he has said of me. (Cheers.) I do feel a thrill of grateful pleasure, more so than I would at the most glowing panegyric which my friend Mr. Thompson 2 could bestow. I will tell you why. Macnaughtan has linked himself with the slaveholder, and he cannot therefore have any sympathy with a slave. (Great applause.) The interest of the one is antagonistic to the other. The slave runs and the slaveholder sets his dogs on him to catch him and bring him back. The slave works, and the slaveholder takes the produce of his labour. When a slave comes here to plead their cause, Macnaughtan calls him a poor, miserable, fugitive slave. (Cheers.) Macnaughtan won't get rid of us by any such statements.
The Free Church has got to SEND BACK THAT MONEY. (Applause.) There is no mistake about it. They could not deny that the delegates went to America and preached only such doctrines as would be well received. They did not utter one word of sympathy for the slave, nor a sentence of condemnation of those who held them in that condition; but they clothed them in the garb of Christianity. The Free Church must SEND BACK THE MONEY. Let this be the theme in every town in Scotland. If they say an ignorant man is not a fitting advocate of the anti-slavery cause, I say SEND BACK THE MONEY. (Applause.) There is music in the words, my friends. (Cheers and laughter.) In Arbroath there was painted in blood red capitals, SEND BACK THE MONEY. A woman was sent to wash it, but the letters still remained visible, SEND BACK THE MONEY. (Great applause.) A mason was afterwards got to chisel it out, but there still was left in indelible characters, SEND BACK THE MONEY. (Cheers.) I want men, women, and children to send forth this cry wherever they go. Let it be the talk around the fireside, in the street, and at the market-placeindeed, everywhere. It is a fitting subject even on the Sabbath day.
The Free Church is doing more for infidelity and atheism than all the infidels in Scotland combined. (Great applause.) For what says the Infidel? "If Christ be not opposed to slavery it is the best reason in the ;world why we should not regard him as a divine being at all." (Cheers.) By opposing the Free Church you do a work of Christianity. You do something to hasten the spread of that gospel whose tendency will be to take the chains from off the limbs of three millions of people. If we don't have that BLOOD-STAINED MONEY SENT BACK, one thing we shall have accomplished by holding these meetingsthat Scotland has within her a people who disclaim all connection with those who took the moneythat the majority are with the oppressed and against the oppressor. (Loud cheers.)
Dr. Chalmers has said that it would be most unjustifiable to deny the slaveholder Christian fellowship. Scotland and the slaveholder at one! Shall it be so? (No, no.) The people are with us in Arbroath, Dundee, Aberdeen, Montrose, Greenock, Glasgowand they will be with us in Edinburgh. (Loud applause.) We wish to have Scotland, England, Ire land, Canada, Mexico, and even the red Indians with us, and against slavery. We want to have the whole country surrounded with an antislavery wall, with the words legibly inscribed thereon, SEND BACK THE MONEY, SEND BACK THE MONEY. (Long continued cheering.)