« PreviousContinue »
of their skins. (Herodotus, b. ii. c. 505. Modern Traveler, c. xxvi. p, 255.) Did HeroJotus feel any repugnance to these ancient nations on account of their color? No, he cel. ebrates the Egyptians as the greatest of men, and the civilizers of the world, and twice mentions the Ethiopians as the largest and the most beautiful of men. (B.iii. c. 20, 114.) Homer bears a similar testimony respecting the Ethiopians, and makes them the favorites of the gods. (Obyss. b. i. 1, 22, f. Iliad. b. i. 1, 423, f.) In the minds of these noble old Greeks, the blackskin and woolly hair, instead of being associated with the meanness and misery of slavery, were associated with that which is noble in civilization, and respectable in learning, and delightful in the arts, and splendid in military achievements. The descen. dant of Hain, though he has been for ages a servant of servants to his brethren, was the first to ligh: the lamp of science to the world, and rear those stupendous works of art, the remains of which, after so many centuries, astonish even those who have been accustomed to all that Greek and Roman and modern art can achieve. The' negro is not, in any respect, inferior to the white man, and in appropriate circumstances, he miglit again rise to the rank which he anciently held. Notwithstanding the iron bondage which has oppresseà him in modern times, and paralyzed his energies, the occasional superiority of individ, uals shows that the race has not lost its place among the human species. The talents and attainments of Lislet, of Arno; of Derham, of New-Orleans; of Touissaint and Christophe were enough to extort the admiration of the most prejudiced.
Men always hate and despise those whom they oppress, and thus attempt to cheat and silence conscience. It is because the negro has been oppressed, that he is hated and despised. The Jews were for ages the objects of bitter oppression in Europe, and were then hated and despised; while their distinctive features and peculiar modes of life marked them out for insult and abuse. It is but little more than fifty years, since a rich Jew in Germany contributed largely to the rebuilding of a village that had been destroyed by fire, and having occasion to pass that way two years after, he was forbidden to enter the village, because the inhabitants would not have their soil polluted by the step of an Israelite. I am not informed whether the village was called CANTERBURY, but I am sure that it deserves as high a note in the trumpet of fame. During the wars of Bonaparte, the Jews became rich, and in some instances got possession of the lands and mansions of the nobility. The populace were enraged to see the hated Jews thus prosperous; and in the year 1820 they rose at Meningen, at Wurtsburg on the Rhine, at Hamburg, and Copenhagen, and murdered many of them in cold blood, and the utmost efforts of the magistrates and the military scarcely saved them from a general massacre. This prejudice against Jews seems quite unaccountable to us; but it has exactly the same foundation with our prejudice against negroes. It is founded in oppression and wickedness. The prejudice against the negro arises from oppression and wickedness, it is itself wickedness, and therefore it is neither justifiable nor invincible. I will never admit an argument which rests on the perpetuity of human wickedness, I will not believe that there is an evil in the human heart, which the gospel cannot cure.
But this prejudice, unjust and wicked as it is, will not be subdued at once; nor will the negro find immediate emancipation from the oppression of public sentiment. I am not sure that it will require any less time and effort and expense to subdue this prejudice and bring up the race to their proper standing in the face of it, than it would to furnish a distant asylum for thein all, and transport and provide for them there. I am thankful that this prejudice is not universal and unbroken. By the constitutions of twelve of the U. States, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New-York, (if they are freeholders,) New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, N. Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, black men are allowed to vote and are eligible to office. In a city of NewEngland I have known a negro to be elected to a city office for several years in succession, by the suffrages of the citizens; I have known three black men, Russwurm, of Bowdoin College, Mitchell of Dartmouth, and Jones of Amherst, to study without insult, and graduate with honor in three different New England colleges; and I once myself introduced a black man (a Mr. Butler, of Canada) to the students of Dartmouth college, whom he wished to address; and they listened to him with the utmost decorum and attention and sympathy. Would to heaven that such incidents were more frequent.
2. I do not advocate colonization because I suppose it to be an adequate remedy for slavery, much less the only remedy.
The pecuniary interests and the prejudices of the white man are not the only things to be regarded; but the natural and inalienable rights, the long-continued and cruel wrongs of the black man, also claim our attention and our sympathy. Many of them choose to remain in this country, and they are needed, especially in the Southern parts of our Union.
I suppose that emancipation is safe, and that the negroes can easily be made capable of taking care of themselves. Many of them certainly do maintain themselves, bring profit to their masters, and pay from six hundred to one thousand dollars for the purchase of their freedom; and if they can do this, they can surely maintain themselves and families when their freedom is given them. In every instance, I believe, where emancipation has taken place, it has been found safe, and mutually a benefit to the master and slave. Enarcipazien is safe; but who have the right or the power to emancipate? Certainly, they woo
have slaves, and they only; but as the whole country has participated in the guilt (and gains, if any there are) of slavery, it seems to me no more than right that the whole country should share the expenses of emancipation.
Slavery is unmixed evil; it is all abomination; there is no good connected with it, either to the master or the slave; and the more society advances, the more intolerable does slavery become. This evil must come to an end, or we as a nation must perish; and the only question is, how can the business be brought to a close with the least injury and the greatest amount of good, to all concerned ?
In respect to the colony at Liberia, we hear very contradictory statements. Evils undoubtedly exist, such as attend all new settlements, and some perhaps which are peculiar; but I have not yet seen evidence that the colonists have suffered half the calamities which attended the early settlement of New-England, of Virginia, or of this western country. I suppose that all the evils which exist are susceptible of remedy, and that the Society is able and willing to apply the remedy; otherwise, I would say, let Liberia be abandoned, and a better place provided, and better plans pursued. The good of the black man, and not merely, the pecuniary interests of the white man, is the object aimed at by the Colonization Society; and I will never knowingly raise my hand or utter a word in favor of any scheme of colonization in which this great object is lost sight of, or holds only a subordinaie place.
The good, the permanent and highest good of both classes of the community, the white and the black, is to be secured; and to secure the good of both, should be the object of all our plans and efforts.- Cincinnati Journal.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN SOCIETY FOR THE ABOLITION OF
[ From the Philadelphia Presbyterian, Oct. 16, 1834.] To the Editor of the Presbyterian,
SIR: I enclose for insertion in your valuable journal, the following extraordinary document. It is my purpose for the present, rather to spread it out before the American people, and let it speak for itself, than to give a minute review. The following hints, however, indicate some of its unhappy, not to say unwarrantable and dangerous features.
1. The paper throughout, displays the most puerile, and for Reformers, unpardonable ignorance of the true state of the question, in the United States.
2. The arrogant claims of these foreigners are even ludicrous. They claim the credit of having greatly contributed to excite the public mind in our Northern States, on the subject of slavery. So far as visionary schemes and violent measures have been adopted, they may perhaps take the credit of their projection; but Christianity and American principles have, under God, done the actual good that has been done for the poor slave, and the degraded freeman of color. On the other hand, there is no question that the foreign emissaries, who have recently arrived in this country, uniting with the Garrisons in America, have retarded, for almost one generation, the cause of African freedom and elevation in the United States.
3. The unjustifiable officiousness of the spirit manifested in this document, will meet a merited rebuke, as it must excite an honest indignation, in every American bosom. The British nation first made us slaveholders; next, she tried to put fetters on us. We have taught her a lesson which she ought not to forget. Let her try her Reform on India, and Ireland, and her unhappy and oppressed millions at home, before she begins her rash knight errantry on our shores, and creates discord and indiscreet zeal among our population.
4. This paper, with its plans and results, seals the fate of the present system of Abolition in the United States. Nothing more is wanting to prove to every American citizen, that Abolitionism, as opposed to the racticable plan of gradual emancipation, is reckless of all consequences;
and when these rash men invite British men and British gold "TO AGITATE" our country, let them know that, by the act, they declare war against our social relations, our constitution, and our nation itself. Mr. Garrison has done this openly, both in England and in this country.
5. Let the friends of the black man, the friends of their country, the friends of order and of Christ, be wise, faithful, and united, and the present crisis will unfold, freedom to the slave, a Christian empire to Africa, and deliverance to our country froin the greatest of all evils, and of all sins.
AN ABOLITIONIST OF THE OLD SCHOOL.
Circular Letter of the British and Foreign Society for the Universal Abolition of Negro Sla
very; and the Slave Trade, to the Anti-Slavery Associations, and the Friends of Negro Emancipution throughout the United Kingdom.
It has long been the subject of anxious consideration among many of the friends of Negro Emancipation, how far it is expedient to continue those associations which were established during the colonial controversy, to promote the Anti-Slavery feeling of the country.
It was felt on the one hand, that although this great question has been set at rest, probably for ever, so far as respects Slavery in our own Colonies, yet, that the imperfect manner in which the measure of abolition has been introduced and carried, leaves too much room to fear, that further exertions may still be necessary for the full establishment of the Negro in bis acknowledged rights, and for his protection in the enjoyment of them hereafter. It was also considered, that while slavery exists under the sanction of any civilized state, the moral influence of Great Britain ought to be powerfully exerted to effect its utter and immediate extinction—that the deep conviction of religious duty that prompted us to the course which we successfully followed at home, should impel us to similar zeal and exertion, in the use of every legitimate means to attain the same end abroad. Slavery, wherever it exists, is the same moral deformity, the same crime before God; and ought to be viewed with detestation, and reprobated with boldness, by every man who professes to act on Christian principles.
On the other hand, it could not be denied, that the unparalleled exertions made by the Anti-Slavery public during the last two years, were too great to be readily continued, when the personal interest of the question had subsided; nor would it be reasonable to expect a further sacrifice of money, as well as of time and labor, from those who had already done their utmost to acquit their country of its share of guilt. In fact, many who were most anxious to extend the operation of British benevolence to other Slave-holding countries, were not less reluctant to appear encroaching on the generosity of their fellowsubjects, and to make a second appeal to the liberality of those, whose means, so far as they were reasonably applicable to a distinct and peculiar object of charity, seemed almost exhausted,
While these conflicting considerations rendered it difficult to decide on which side the path of duty lay, circumstances have occurred both in this country and in America, which have determined the Agency Anti-Slavery Committee in their course.
It appears that in the northern States of the Union, a very powerful interest in behalf of the slave has lately been excited. It may be expedient to advert to some facts connected with American Slavery, not generally known to the British public, although many of them have appeared in recent publications.
Slavery obtains in America to a far greater extent, and in some respects, in a far more degraded form, if possible, than it assumed in our own Colonies. It is confined to the States below 36 degrees N. latitude, but the number of slaves below this limit, exceeds two millions. In some places, (as South Carolina for example) education is prohibited by law, and a free person of color cannot enter the territory. Slave evidence is wholly inadmissible, except against each other. Trial by jury, even in capital cases, is denied: and, as the necessary consequence of such a system, the most barbarous usage is the rule, and kindness the rare exception. Cruelty, starvation, separation of families, and all the crimes in that black catalogue of oppression, with which we are at length familiar, prevail, with this peculiar and monstrous aggravation, that the Slave cannot be inade free! Such is the well founded jealousy entertained of the very first step towards emancipation, that even the reluctant and conscientious slave possessor, is restrained by law from divesting himself of the iniquitous property-he dare not and cannot emancipate his slave, except at the penalty of banishing him from home and family; for to emancipate him, he must first conduct him to another State, and leave him in exile for ever!
The condition of the free people of color in America, whose number exceeds 300,000, is only in a slight degree advanced. Their acquired privileges are but scanty and unsubstantial; their degradation is intolerable; their gradual banishment from the States is generally considered a maxim of national policy. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the internal slave trade is carried on with all its most disgusting and Joathsome incidents husbands and wives, mothers and children, are publicly exposed to auction, and handled
and examined like cattle, and then separated for ever with as little compunction, as sheep or oxen in our markets.
The horrible details of the system are to be found in many recent publications; and many of them are given at length in a work of acknowledged accuracy, MR. STUART'S “Three Years in America.” For the present, therefore, it is unnecessary to dwell upon them.
It could not be expected that such a state of things should have failed altogether in awakening the sympathy and indignation of many good men in America. But such is the hardening tendency of familiarity with Slavery, and of habitual and national contempt of color, that till lately, a better feeling has made but very little progress, even in the northern States. Some good men have exerted themselves with perseverance and energy, to effect a revolution in the public mind. They have received, however, but little encouragement, and less support. Not deterred by this, they recently established a National Anti-Slavery Society at Philadelphia, under very favorable auspices, and with a fair promise of ultimate success: but still their number is too few, in proportion to the vast extent of country over which their labours must be distributed; and their financial resources too scanty, on an occasion which America has never yet regarded as one of charity, not to feel dismayed at the difficulty of their gigantic undertaking.
These good men have entreated our assistance: they have heard, and some of them have witnessed the wonderful success, which, under the blessing of Almighty God, attended the measures adopted in this country in kindling an Anti-Slavery, feeling, and they have resolved to follow the example; their object is to propagate their principles throughout the States by lectures and daily publications; to combine and lead the efforts of their fellowlabourers in the extensive field before them, by the same means of affiliated associations and central correspondence; and they are resolved to adopt, and faithfully to adhere to the same right principles on which our country acted-Slavery is a crime before God, and must therefore be abolished.
The Committee could not be insensible to such an appeal. It was too nearly allied to those feelings which supported and stimulated them through their own arduous conflict, to be received with indifference; but when this alone had almost decided them on the duty of continuing their associated existence, they found from the letters of their friends in many parts of the country, that a similar anxiety generally prevailed to make themselves of further use, if it was considered in London that aught remained to do in this great
In some places, the Committee found themselves (for the first time they hope) anticipated in zeal. In Scotland and Liverpool especially, large sums were already subscribed for the same object, and it became obvious that a central and metropolitan committee would eventually become indispensably necessary, to conduct the intended operations upon any really efficient scale.
Under these circumstances the Committee re-assembled, and after a full consideratiou of the course which it became them to take, haye re-organized themselves into the British and Foreign Society, for the Universal Abolition of Negro Slavery, and the Slave Trade.
Their whole purpose is explained under this general title, and they hope that they shall be enabled by the support of the country to accomplish these extensive objects. One of their first duties will be to give to the Anti-Slavery cause in America, all the assistance which can be supplied in sending to them Lecturers of acknowledged power, and in disseminating that information which may keep alive an active and profitable interest in their proceedings, in the United Kingdom. To effect the first and most important object, and to secure the co-operation of those most able and valuable men, who have distinguished themselves not less by their talents than their zeal, in the service of the Committee, it is calculated that a minimum income of £1500 per annum will be required for a term of three years; by which time it is hoped that American feeling will be sufficiently excited to dispense with all pecuniary assistance from strangers.
The second object can only be prosecuted in subordination to the first-and the extent to which it is attempted, will of course depend on the degree of encouragement which may from time to time be given by the country,
The Committee feel it right to explain on this occasion, that the line of duty which they have here chalked out for themselves, will not require that busy and unceasing exertion, and voluminous correspondence which necessarily attended their past labours. They mention this, not only to quiet apprehension as to the probable expense of their proceedings, but to allay any anxiety that may naturally be felt by their provincial allies, that a repetition will follow of those frequent calls upon their time which were absolutely inevitable, during the two years immediately preceding the passing of the Abolition Bill. The system of agitation then pursued, was essentially expensive and troublesome even to irritation; but it was indispensable, and it may not be unseasonable to mention, that its power is now acknowledged, even by men in power, who were most sensibly annoyed by its action, to have mainly contributed to the success of the measure. Such, however, are no longer the tactics necessary to follow. The steady and unwearied support of the AntiSlavery public, unaided by the excitement of popular meetings, but sustained by a calm and conscientious principle of religious duty, is all they ask; and, by the blessing of God, will prove sufficient.
In the preceding explanation of their immediate object, and of the circumstances which have led them to recommence their Anti-Slavery exertions, the Committee repeat their wish, that it may be distinctly understood, that it is by no means intended to confine themselves to the cause of emancipation in America. The extent to which they may hereafter proceed, must necessarily depend upon the encouragement which they receive from the public; but when the public are made fully conscious of the vast claims that the negro still possesses on their sympathy, it cannot be doubted but that their support will prove both liberal and constant.
Not less than FIVE MILLIONS of our fellow creatures are still detained in hopeless bondage by the avarice and cruelty of man. Treaties have been made with ostentations regard to the interests of humanity, and have been buried in the mysterious recesses of Downing Street, forgotten and disregarded! Laws and ordinances have been promulgated with busy zeal, to silence the remonstrances of British benevolence, and those laws have become a dead letter, ere the ink which recorded them was dry! It would be imprudent here to advert to facts which have from time to time been loudly whispered abroad, but there is too much reason to believe, that the extensive trade still carried on in the French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies, is sustained by British capital, and screened by British ingenuity. In Cuba and the Brazils, and in some of the French colonies, the market for human cattle is daily supplied from the coast of Africa; while the mines of Chili and Peru are peopled with miserable, though guiltless victims, whose blood is drained by a system of unparalleled horror, to fill the pockets of English shareholders! These things pass un. heeded, because they are unknown; and there is no voice to make them known; for the cry of humanity jars with the soft tones of foreign diplomacy, and is lost in the heartless labyrinth of political negotiation!
The Committee wish to become the mouthpiece of their suffering and enslaved fellowcreatures throughout the world. They seek to unfold the secrets of every prison -house to the light of day—to give loud utterance to the groans of the captive negro, whether lashed to his task under the scorching rays of a tropical sun, or chained to labour in the abysses of a Peruvian mine: they hope that by thus forcing the subject on the frequent attention of their countrymen, they shall bring to his aid the protecting influence of Parliament: they may thereby secure the
faithful observance of treaties, whose salutary provisions for the restriction of the Slave Trade are now slumbering in the closet of the minister: and may reasonably expect to find the influence of this country exerted in good faith, to induce other States to follow the noble example which she has given to them.
They are not unconscious of the magnitude, and, as some may consider it, the presumption of these pretensions; but they cannot forget, that emancipation even in our own colonies was, but a few years since, regarded as the dream of visionary enthusiasts! as a fanciful Utopian scheme impracticable to man! Yet by the blessing of God upon their labours, and with no other guide than principle to direct them, and no other aid than a few subscriptions, a power was brought to bear upon the legislature in the form of popular opinion, that within two years realized the vain imagination, and extinguished Colonial Slavery, if not at once, yet for ever.
Supported by the same Divine protection, and steadfastly adhering to the same principle, they ask no better means to lay the foundation of that far nobler triumph to which they now aspire, the utter extinction of Slavery throughout the world. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
GEORGE STEPHEN, Chairman. JOHN SCOBLE, Secretary.
P.S. It is possible that we may be obliged, in the first instance, to apply for your assistance in obtaining signatures to an address, which it is in contemplation to forward to the Americans; this may seem to threaten a renewal of those measures which we have said will not be repeated; but it is only intended as an introductory step to bring the subject emphatically before their eyes, and not as the prelude of the system we shall hereafter pursue. Some formal announcement of British feeling on the subject, appears necessary; but beyond this, we anticipate no occasion hereafter for any concerted and marked ex. pression of national opinion.
Those who are willing to further the object of the Committee, as described in this circular, are requested to communicate their names to MR. SCOBLE, No. 18, Aldermanbury, London, at their earliest convenience. It will be inferred from the preceding statement, that as respects the intended assistance to America, the request for pecuniary aid is limited to subscriptions for a term of three years.
Page 271, line 15 from the top, for “1834” read 1824.”