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The Brotherhood of Thieves

The Brotherhood of Thieves

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Excerpt from The Brotherhood of Thieves: Or, a True Picture of the American Church and Clergy: A Letter to Nathaniel Barney of Nantucket

Esteemed Friend:

In the early part of last autumn, I received a letter from you, requesting me to prepare an article for the press, in vindication of the strong language of denunciation of the American church and clergy, which I employed at the late Anti-Slavery Convention on your island, and which was the occasion of the disgraceful mob. which disturbed and broke up that meeting. In my answer, I gave you assurance of prompt compliance with your request; but, for reasons satisfactory to myself, I have failed to fulfil my promise up to the present time. The novelty of the occasion has now passed away; the deep and malignant passions which were stirred in the bosoms of no inconsiderable portion of your people, have, doubtless, subsided; but the important facts connected with it are yet fresh in the memories of all; and, as the occasion was one of general, not local, interest, and the spirit which was there exhibited was a fair specimen of the general temper and feeling of our country towards the advocates of equal rights and impartial justice, I trust it will not be deemed amiss in me to make it a subject of public notice, even at this late period.

But in the remarks which I propose to make, it will be no part of my object to vindicate myself in the opinion of the public, against the foul aspersions of those whose guilty quiet my preaching may have disturbed. Indeed, to tell the truth, I place a very low estimate on the good opinions of my countrymen - quite as low, I think, as they do on mine, if I may judge from their very great anxiety to have me speak well of them, which I positively never can, so long as their national capital is a human flesh-mart, and their chief magistrate is a slave-breeder. The most that I can do is to pledge myself never to mob them, nay, that I will not even be displeased with them, for speaking ill of me, while their character remains what it now is.

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