The attack of John Brown upon Harper's Ferry came upon Virginia like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky.
In the year 1857, passing through Washington on our return from the annual visit to Philadelphia, I had the distinguished honor of visiting a President for the first time.
Virginians were no more angels or philanthropists than people to the north or to the south of them. They were moved by their affections, their interest, and their resentments, just as humanity is moved today.
The first American ancestor of our name was a younger son of these old Devonshire people, and came to the Virginia colony in the reign of Charles the First.
And let me tell you, you boys of America, that there is no higher inspiration to any man to be a good man, a good citizen, and a good son, brother, or father, than the knowledge that you come from honest blood.
In such a condition of affairs, the practical difference between the abolitionist and the sympathizer, to the man who lost his slave and could not recover it, was very nebulous.
That settled Abraham Lincoln with me. I was thoroughly satisfied that no such man ought to be President; but I could not yet conceive it possible that such a monster would be the choice of a majority of the people for President.
In those days, slavery was not looked upon, even in Quaker Philadelphia, with the shudder and abhorrence one feels towards it now.