By the time of the Civil War Angelina Grimke Weld had spent three decades fighting the institution of slavery. The Civil War and especially the Emancipation Proclamation which went into effect on January 1, 1863, seemed inevitably to bring her work to her desired conclusion. Nonetheless in the Spring of 1863, the outcome of the war was hardly certain. Grimke Weld, invited to speak at the Womens Loyal National League, used the occasion to urge the North to go on, go on! until the slaves were in fact free. Her address appears below.
I came here with no desire and no intention to speak; but my heart is full, my country is bleeding, my people are perishing around me. But I feel as a South Carolinian, I am bound to tell the North, go on! go on! Never falter, never abandon the principles which you have adopted. I could but say thus when it was proclaimed in the Northern States that the Union was all that we sought. No, my friends, such a Union as we had then, God be praised that it has perished. Oh, never for one moment consent that such a Union should be reestablished in our land. There was a time when I looked upon the Fathers of the Revolution with the deepest sorrow and the keenest reproach. I said to their shadows in another world, Why did you leave this accursed system of slavery for us to suffer and die under? why did you not, with a stroke of the pen, determine -- when you acquired your own independence - that the principles which you adopted in the Declaration of Independence should be shield of protection to every man, whether he be slave or whether he be free?
But, my friends, the experience of sixty years has shown me that the fruit grows slowly. I look back and see that great Sower of the world, as he traveled the streets of Jerusalem and dropped the precious seed, Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you. I look at all the contests of different nations, and see that, whether it were the Patricians of Rome, England, France, or any part of Europe, every battle fought gained