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The Genius of Universal Emancipation, April 1830


                 Benjamin Lundy published this opinion piece on David Walker’s Appeal seven months after the first edition of the pamphlet came out. Lundy’s reaction contrasts markedly with that of William Lloyd Garrison in the Liberator the next year.







                 I had not seen this far-famed production until within a few days. A more bold, daring, inflammatory publication, perhaps, never issued from the press, in any country. I can do no less than set the broadest seal of condemnation upon it. Such things can have no other earthly effect than to injure our cause. The writer indulges himself in the wildest strain of reckless fanaticism. He makes a great parade of technical phraseology, purporting to be religious; but religion has nothing at all to do with it. It is a labored attempt to rouse the worst passions of human nature, and inflame the minds of those to whom it is addressed.


                 Granting that the colored race have as much cause for complaint as this writer intimates, (and I readily grant it,) yet this is not the way to obtain redress for their wrongs. The moral, not the physical, power of this nation must be put in requisition. Any attempt to obtain their liberty and just rights, by force, must for a long time to come end in defeat, if not the extermination of the colored people. It is to avert so direful a catastrophe, that the wise and the good are now exerting themselves, in various parts of our country. How painful, then, must it be to such, to witness a fiery ebullition of rage, [p. 16] like that under consideration, when every appeal should be made to reason and the judgment, instead of the malignant passions. There can be no impropriety in an expression of sentiment, on the part of the colored people, relative to their wrongs, provided it be done in a truly Christian spirit: but acrimonious language should not be indulged, and even revengeful feeling should be repressed, as much as possible. A disposition to promote turbulent and violent commotion, will only tend to procrastinate the march of justice, and defer the enfranchisement of the colored race among us; of course every appearance thereof should be discountenanced by persons of every color and condition. And I am glad to find that some of the coloured people have publicly condemned the pamphlet in question.



From The Genius of Universal Emancipation, Vol. 1, No. 1 (April 1830), p. 15.

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