An Unspoken Speech (Julia Ward Howe)

October 25, 1861

Julia Ward Howe, identified here as a correspondent of the New York Tribune, tells of listening to a speech, by someone who, in his speech, describes the state of the war in terms of putting down a rebellion.  Not satisfied, Howe finds a speech “arising” within her, and though it remained unspoken, here it is.  In her “speech” she makes it clear that the war is about ending slavery.  “…look over there down South, at the slave, unjustly bought unjustly sold, unjustly detained from his heritage upon earth….The slave, the slave is your master creditor now; and if the debt of this bondage be not speedily paid, the writ of execution will be put into the stately house of our Northern liberties…”  Then she comments that she would have been glad to have spoken the speech, and to “have taken the consequences of it, whatever they might have been.”