LIFE AS A FREEMAN.
came into Western New York; and during the first
four years of my labor here, I advocated them with
pen and tongue, according to the best of my ability.
About four years ago, upon a reconsideration of the
whole subject, I became convinced that there was no
necessity for dissolving the " union between the north¬
ern and southern states ; " that to seek this dissolution
was no part of my duty as an abolitionist; that to ab¬
stain from voting, was to refuse to exercise a legiti¬
mate and powerful means for abolishing slavery ; and
that the constitution of the United States not only
contained no guarantees in favor of slavery, but, on
the contrary, it is, in its letter and spirit, an anti-sla¬
very instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery
as a condition of its own existence, as the supreme
lawT of the land.
Here was a radical change in my opinions, and in
the action logically resulting from that change. To
those with whom I had been in agreement and in
sympathy, I was now in opposition. What they held
to be a great and important truth, I now looked upon
as a dangerous error. A very painful, and yet a very
natural, thing now happened. Those who could not
see any honest reasons for changing their views, as I
had done, could not easily see any such reasons for
my change, and the common punishment of apos¬
tates was mine.
The opinions first entertained were naturally de¬
rived and honestly entertained, and I trust that my
present opinions have the same claims to respect.
Brought directly, when I escaped from slavery, into
contact with a class of abolitionists regarding the