Anti-Slavery Activism on Bedford Row (1838–1855)

Design and casting by Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring. Pending installation on Bedford Row (Summer 2021).
1870 map of Bedford Row showing the location of the Independent Chapel. Source: UCD.
Moses Roper’s Slave Narrative, Narrative of the adventures and escape of Moses Roper from American slavery

“Slaveholders in America consider and treat their Slaves as though they were not human beings, but mere animals…” and that he was desirous of doing all he could “to aid the cause of Negro emancipation, by diffusing information on the subject with which I have been so painfully acquainted.”

Who is my brother? Ask the waves that come

From Africa’’s shores to greet our island home.

Who is my brother? Ask the winds that stray

From Indian realms, to chase our clouds away.

Who is my brother? Ask the suns that shine

On southern seas, then turn to smile on thine.

Who is my brother? Ask the stars that roll

Their nightly journey round from pole to pole.

These with one voice shall answer that they find

But one vast family in all mankind;

Nor colour, clime, nor caste can e’er efface

The kindred likeness of the wide-spread race,

Or break the chain that at the first began

To bind in one the family of man.

Charles Lenox Remond (c. 1870) courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum

Resolved — That it is the opinion of this meeting, from the facts laid before it by Mr. Remond, in his various lectures, that but little general information exists amongst the people of this country in reference to the workings of the horrible and inhuman system of Slavery; and that best thanks be given to the Limerick Anti-Slavery Society for having brought Mr. Remond to this city to expose the iniquity of a system disgraceful to a generation confessed enlightened, and that we pledge ourselves to aid in forwarding the extinction of this degrading and unchristian system by every legitimate means in our power.

“He wanted them to know, and if there was a reporter present they would know that a slave had stood up in Limerick and ridiculed [American] democracy and liberty.”

“If slavery existed in Ireland, it ought to put down, and the generous in the land ought to rise and scatter its fragments to the winds. But there was nothing like American slavery on the soil on which I now stand. Negro slavery consisted not in taking away a man’s property, but in making property of him.”

Here you have an Irish hut or cabin, such as millions of the people of Ireland live in. And some live in worse than these. Men and women, married and single, old and young, lie down together, in much the same degradation as the American slaves. I see much here to remind me of my former condition, and I confess I should be ashamed to lift up my voice against American slavery, but that I know the cause of humanity is one the world over. He who really and truly feels for the American slave, cannot steel his heart to the woes of others; and he who thinks himself an abolitionist, yet cannot enter into the wrongs of others, has yet to find a true foundation for his anti-slavery faith.

“I found freedom and a welcome to speak against slavery in Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, and Cork, and though last, not least, in Limerick. Whether at home or abroad, I will never forget the very kind manner I was received in Limerick.”

“[I was] ever disparagingly reminded of my colour and origin; along the streets it ever pursued, ever ridiculed, ever abused me. If I sought redress, the very complexion I wore was pointed out as the best reason for my seeking it in vain..[..]..if I sought a trade, white apprentices would leave if I were admitted”.

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