in Favor of that Class
Americans called Africans.

By Mrs. Child,
Author of The Mother’s book, The Girl’s Own Book,
The Frugal Housewife, etc.

“We have offended, Oh! my countrymen! We have offended very grievously, And been most tyrannous. From east to west A groan of accusation pierces Heaven! The wretched plead against us; multitudes, Countless and vehement, the sons of God, Our brethren!” Coleridge.

Allen and Ticknor.

π1v facing π2r
A human figure, seated, head turned leftward. Indistinct in current reproduction. Perhaps praying on one knee with an ominous sky and foliage in the background.

in Favor of that Class
Americans called Africans.

By Mrs. Child.
Author of The Mother’s book, The Girl’s Own Book,
The Frugal Housewife, etc.

“We have offended, Oh! my countrymen! We have offended very grievously, And been most tyrannous. From east to west A groan of accusation pierces Heaven! The wretched plead against us; multitudes, Countless and vehement, the sons of God, Our brethren!” Coleridge.

Allen and Ticknor.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 18331833,
by Allen and Ticknor,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

Tuttle & Weeks, Printers,
No. E, School Street.

facing π2v


  • Page 110, line 4 and 5 from top, for “direct taxes in proportion
    to slave representation.”
    read slave representation
    with a proportional increase of direct taxes.
  • Page 143, 5th line from bottom, for “do no more harm,”
    read do more harm.

The Rev. S. J. May
of Brooklyn, Connecticut,
This Volume
most respectfully inscribed,
as a mark of gratitude,
for his earnest and disinterested efforts
an unpopular but most righteous cause.

π3v π4r


Reader, I beseech you not to throw down this volume
as soon as you have glanced at the title. Read it, if your
prejudices will allow, for the very truth’s sake:—If I have
the most trifling claims upon your good will, for an hour’s
amusement to yourself, or benefit to your children, read
it for my sake:—Read it, if it be merely to find fresh occasion
to sneer at the vulgarity of the cause:—Read it, from
sheer curiosity to see what a woman (who had much better
attend to her household concerns) will say upon such a subject:
—Read it, on any terms, and my purpose will be gained.

The subject I have chosen admits of no encomiums on my
country; but as I generally make it an object to supply what
is most needed, this circumstance is unimportant; the market
is so glutted with flattery, that a little truth may be acceptable,
were it only for its rarity.

I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have
undertaken; but though I expect ridicule and censure, I
cannot fear them.

A few years hence, the opinion of the world will be a
matter in which I have not even the most transient interest;
but this book will be abroad on its mission of humanity, long
after the hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust.

Should it be the means of advancing, even one single hour,
the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would not exchange
the consciousness for all Rothchild’s wealth, or Sir


An Appeal, &c.

Chapter. I.

Brief History of Negro Slavery.—Its inevitable effect
upon all concerned in it.

“The lot is wretched, the condition sad, Whether a pining discontent survive, And thirst for change; or habit hath subdued The soul depressed; dejected — even to love Of her dull tasks and close captivity.” Wordsworth. “My ear is pained, My soul is afox with every day’s report Of wrong and outrage, with which this earth is filled. These one wordflawed-reproduction flesh in man’s obdurate heart, It does not one wordflawed-reproduction for man.” Cowper.

While the Portuguese were exploring Africa, in 14421442,
Prince Henry ordered Anthony Gonsalez to carry back
certain Moorish prisoners, whom he had sthree charactersflawed-reproductioned two years
before near Cape Bajador: this order was obeyed, and
Gonsalez received from the Moors, in exchange for the
captives, ten negroes, and a quantity of gold dust. Unluckily,
this wicked speculation proved profitable, and
other Portuguese were induced to embark on it.

In 14921492, the West India islands were discovered by
Columbus. The Spaniards, dazzled with the acquisition
of a new world and eager to come into possession of
their wealth, compelled the natives of Hispaniola to dig
in the mines. The native Indians died rapidly, in consequence
of hard work and cruel treatment; and thus a
new market was opened for the negro slaves captured by
the Portuguese. They were accordingly introduced as 1 1(1)v 2
early as 15031503. Those who bought and those who sold
were alike prepared to trample on the rights of their
fellow beings, by that most demoralizing of all influences,
the accursed love of gold.

Cardinal Ximenes, while he administered the government,
before the accession of Charles the Fifth, was petitioned
to allow a regular commerce in African negroes.
But he rejected the proposal with promptitude and firmness,
alike honorable to his head and heart. This earliest friend
of the Africans, living in a comparatively unenlightened
age, has peculiar claims upon our gratitude and reverence.
In 15171517, Charles the Fifth granted a patent for an annual
supply of four thousand negroes to the Spanish islands.
He probably soon became aware of the horrible, and ever-
increasing evils, attendant upon this traffic; for twentyfive
years after he emancipated every negro in his dominions.
But when he resigned his crown and retired to
a monastery, the colonists resumed their shameless

Captain Hawkins, afterward Sir John Hawkins, was
the first Englishman, who disgraced himself and his
country by this abominable trade. Assisted by some rich
people in London, he fitted out three ships, and sailed to
the African coast, where he burned and plundered the
towns, and carried off three hundred of the defenceless
inhabitants to Hispaniola.

Elizabeth afterwards authorized a similar adventure
with one of her own vessels. “She expressed her concern
lest any of the Africans should be carried off without
their free consent; declaring that such a thing would be
detestable, and call down the vengeance of Heaven
upon the undertakers.”
For this reason, it has been
supposed that the Queen was deceived — that she imagined
the negroes were transported to the Spanish colonies
as voluntary laborers. But history gives us slight reasons
to judge Elizabeth so favorably. It was her system
always to preserve an “appearance” of justice and virtue.
She was a shrewd, far-sighted politician; and had in
perfection the clear head and cold heart calculated to
form that character. Whatever she might believe of the
trade at its beginning, she was too deeply read in human 1(2)r 3
nature, not to foresee the inevitable consequence of
placing power in the hands of avarice.

A Roman priest persuaded Louis the Thirteenth to
sanction slavery for the sake of converting the negroes to
Christianity; and thus this bloody iniquity, disguised
with gown, hood, and rosary, entered the fair dominions
of France. To be violently wrested from his home, and
condemnded to toil without hope, by Chistians, to whom
he had done no wrong, was, methinks, a very odd
beginning to the poor negro’s course of religious instruction!

When this evil had once begun, it, of course, gathered
strength rapidly; for all the bad passions of human nature
were eagerly enlisted in its cause. The British
formed settlements in North America, and in the West
; and these were stocked with slaves. From 16801680
to 17861786 two million, one hundred and thirty thousand
negroes were imported into the British colonies!

In almost all great evils there is some redeeming feature
some good results, even where it is not intended:
pride and vanity, utterly selfish and wrong in themselves,
often throw money into the hands of the poor, and
thus tend to excite industry and ingenutity, while they
produce comfort. But slavery is all evil — within and
without — root and branch, — bud, blossom and fruit!

In order to show how dark it is in every aspect — how
invariably injurious both to nations and individuals, —I
will select a few facts from the mass of evidence now
before me.

In the first place, its effects upon Africa have been
most disastrous. All along the coast, intercourse with
Europeans has deprived the inhabitants of their primitive
simplicity, without substituting in its place the order,
refinement, and correctness of principle, attendant upon
true civilization. The soil of Africa is rich in native
productions, and honorable commerce might have been
a blessing to her, to Europe, and to America; but instead
of that, a trade has been substituted, which operates like
a withering curse, upon all concerned in it.

There are green and sheltered valleys in Africa,—
broad and beautiful rivers, — and vegetation in its loveliest 1(2)v 4
and most magnificent forms. — But no comfortable
houses, no thriving farms, no cultivated gardens; — for
it is not safe to possess permanent property, where each
little state is surrounded by warlike neighbors, continually
sending out their armed bands in search of slaves.
The white man offers his most tempting articles of merchandize
to the negro, as a price for the flesh and blood
of his enemy; and if we, with all our boasted knowledge
and religion, are seduced by money to do such grievous
wrong to those who have never offended us, what can
we expect of men just emerging from the limited wants
of savage life, too uncivilized to have formed any habits
of steady industry, yet earnestly coveting the productions
they know not how to earn? The inevitable consequence
is, that war is made throughout that unhappy continent,
not only upon the slightest pretences, but often without
any pretext at all. Villages are set on fire, and those
who fly from the flames rush upon the spears of the enemy.
Private kidnapping is likewise carried on to a great extent;
for he who can catch a neighbor’s child is sure to
find a ready purchaser; and it sometimes happens that
the captor and his living merchandize are both seized by
the white slave-trader. Houses are broken open in the
night, and defenceless women and children carried away
into captivity. If boys, in the unsuspecting innocence of
youth, come near the white man’s ships, to sell vegetables
or fruit, they are ruthlessly seized and carried to
slavery in a distant land. Even the laws are perverted
to this shameful purpose. If a chief wants European
commodities, he accuses a parent of witchcraft; the victim
is tried by the ordeal of poisoned water; Judicial trials by the ordeal of personal combat, in which the
vanquished were always pronounced guilty, occured as late as
the 1701 < x < 1800sixteenth century both in France and England.
and if he
sicken at the draught, the king claims a right to punish
him by selling his whole family. In African legislation,
almost all crimes are punished with slavery; and, thanks
to the white man’s rapacity, there is always a very powerful
motive for finding the culprit guilty. He must be
a very good king indeed, that judges his subjects impartially,
when he is sure of making money by doing otherwise!

1(3)r 5

The king of Dahomy, and other despotic princes, do
not scruple to seize their own people and sell them, without
provocation, whenever they happen to want anything,
which slave-ships can furnish. If a chief has conscience
enough to object to such proceedings, he is excited by
presents of gun-powder and brandy. One of these men,
who could not resist the persuasions of the slave traders
while he was intoxicated, was conscience-stricken when
he recovered his senses, and bitterly reproached his
“Christian” seducers. One negro king, debarred by his
religion from the use of spiritous liquors, and therefore
less dangerously tempted than others, abolished the slave
trade throughout his dominions, and exerted himself to
encourage honest industry; but his people must have
been as sheep among wolves.

Relentless bigotry brings its aid to darken the horrors
of the scene. The Mohammedans deem it right to subject
the heathen tribes to perpetual bondage. The Moors
and Arabs think Alla and the Prophet have given them
an undisputed right to the poor Caffre, his wife, his
children, and his goods. But mark how the slave-trade
deepens even the fearful gloom of bigotry! The Mohammedans
are by no means zealous to enlighten their
Pagan neighbors — they do not wish them to come to
a knowledge of what they consider the true religion —
lest they should forfeit the only ground, on which they
can even pretend to the right of driving them by thousands
to the markets of Kano and Tripoli.

This is precisely like our own conduct. We say the
negroes are so ignorant that they must be slaves; and we
insist upon keeping them ignorant, lest we spoil them for
slaves. The same spirit that dictates this logic to the
Arab, teaches it to the European and the American: —
Call it what you please — it is certainly neither of heaven
nor of earth.

When the slave ships are lying on the coast of Africa,
canoes well armed are sent into the inland country, and
after a few weeks they return with hundreds of negroes,
tied fast with ropes. Sometimes the white men lurk
among the bushes, and seize the wretched beings who
incautiously venture from their homes; sometimes they 1* 1(3)v 6
paint their skins as black as their hearts, and by this deception
suddenly surprise the unsuspecting natives; at
other times the victims are decoyed on board the vessel,
under some kind pretence or other, and then lashed to
the mast, or chained in the hold. Is it not very natural
for the Africans to say “devilish white”?

All along the shores of this devoted country, terror and
distrust prevail. The natives never venture out without
arms, when a vessel is in sight, and skulk through their
own fields, as if watched by a panther. All their worst
passions are called into full exercise, and all their kindlier
feelings smothered. Treachery, fraud and violence
desolate the country, rend asunder the dearest relations,
and pollute the very fountains of justice. The history
of the negro, whether national or domestic, is written
in blood. Had half the skill and strength employed in
the slave-trade been engaged in honorable commerce,
the native princes would long ago have directed their
energies toward clearing the country, destroying wild
beasts, and introducing the arts and refinements of civillized
life. Under such influences, Africa might become
an earthly paradise; — the white man’s avarice has made
it a den of wolves.

Having thus glanced at the miserable effects of this
system on the condition of Africa, we will now follow the
poor slave through his wretched wanderings, in order to
give some idea of his physical suffering, his mental, and
moral degradation.

Husbands are torn from their wives, children from
their parents, while the air is filled with the shrieks and
lamentations of the bereaved. Sometimes they are
brought from a remote country; obliged to wander over
mountains and through deserts; chained together in
herds; driven by the whip; scorched by a tropical
sun; compelled to carry heavy bales of merchandize;
suffering with hunger and thirst; worn down with
fatigue; and often leaving their bones to whiten in the
desert. A large troop of slaves, taken by the Sultan of
Fozzan, died in the desert for want of food. In some
places, travellers meet with fifty or sixty skeletons in a
day, of which the largest proportion were no doubt slaves, 1(4)r 7
on their way to European markets. Sometimes the poor
creatures refuse to go a step further, and even the lacerating
whip cannot goad them on; in such cases, they
become the prey of wild beasts, more merciful than
white men.

Those who arrive at the sea-coast, are in a state of
desperation and despair. Their purchasers are so well
aware of this, and so fearful of the consequences, that
they set sail in the night, lest the negroes should know
when they depart from their native shores.

And here the scene becomes almost too harrowing to
dwell upon. But we must not allow our nerves to be
more tender than our consciences. The poor wretches
are stowed by hundreds, like bales of goods, between the
low decks, where filth and putrid air produce disease,
madness, and suicide. Unless they die in great numbers,
the slave captain does not even concern himself
enough to fret; his live stock cost nothing, and he is
sure of such a high price for what remains at the end of
the voyage, that he can afford to lose a good many.

The following account is given by Dr Walsh, who accompanied
Viscount Strangford, as chaplain, on his
embassy to Brazil. The vessel in which he sailed chased
a slave ship; for to the honor of England be it said, she
has asked and obtained permission from other governments
to treat as pirates such of their subjects as are
discovered carrying on this guilty trade north of the
equator. Doctor Walsh was an eye witness of the scene
he describes; and the evidence given, at various times,
before the British House of Commons, proves that the
frightful picture is by no means exaggerated.

“The vessel had taken in, on the coast of Africa, three
hundred and thirtysix males, and two hundred and twentysix
females, making in all five hundred and sixtytwo;
she had been out seventeen days, during which she had
thrown overboard fiftyfive. They were all inclosed under
grated hatchways, between decks. The space was so
low, and they were stowed so close together, that there
was no possibility of lying down, or changing their position,
night or day. The greater part of them were
shut out from light and air; and this when the thermometer, 1(4)v 8
exposed to the open sky, was standing, in the
shade on our deck, at eightynine degrees.
The space between decks was divided into two compartments,
three feet three inches high. Two hundred and
twentysix women and girls were thrust into one space two
hundred and eightyeight feet square; and three hundred
and thirtysix men and boys were crammed into another
space eight hundred feet square; giving the whole an average
of twentythree inches; and to each of the women not
more than thirteen inches; though several of them were
in a state of health, which peculiarly demanded pity.—
As they were shipped on account of different individuals,
they were branded like sheep, with the owner’s marks of
different forms; which, as the mate informed me with
perfect indifference, had been burnt in with red-hot iron.
Over the hatch-way stood a ferocious looking fellow, the
slave-driver of the ship, with a scourge of many-twisted
thongs in his hand; whenever he heard the slightest
noise from below, he shook it over them, and seemed
eager to exercise it.
As soon as the poor creatures saw us looking down at
them, their melancholy visages brightened up. They
perceived something of sympathy and kindness in our
looks, to which they had not been accustomed; and
feeling instinctively that we were friends, they immediately
began to shout and clap their hands. The women
were particularly excited. They all held up their arms,
and when we bent down and shook hands with them,
they could not contain their delight; they endeavored to
scramble upon their knees, stretching up to kiss our
hands, and we understood they knew we had come to
liberate them. Some, however, hung down their heads
in apparently hopeless dejection; some were greatly
emaciated; and some, particularly children, seemed
dying. The heat of these horrid places was so great,
and the odor so offensive, that it was quite impossible to
enter them, even had there been room.
The officers insisted that the poor, suffering creatures
should be admitted on deck to get air and water. This
was opposed by the mate of the slaver, who (from a feeling
that they deserved it,) declared they should be all murdered. 1(5)r 9
The officers, however, persisted, and the poor
beings were all turned out together. It is impossible to
conceive the effect of this eruption — five hundred and
seventeen fellow-creatures, of all ages and sexes, some children,
some adults, some old men and women, all entirely
destitute of clothing, scrambling out together to taste the
luxury of a little fresh air and water. They came swarming
up, like bees from a hive, till the whole deck was
crowded to suffocation from stom to stern; so that it was
impossible to imagine where they could all have come
from, or how they could have been stowed away. On
looking into the places where they had been crammed,
there were found some children next the sides of the
ship, in the places most remote from light and air, they
were lying nearly in a torpid state, after the rest had
turned out. The little creatures seemed indifferent as to
life or death; and when they were carried on deck,
many of them could not stand. After enjoying for a
short time the unusual luxury of air, some water was
brought; it was then that the extent of their sufferings
was exposed in a fearful manner. They all rushed like
maniacs towards it. No entreaties, or threats, or blows,
could restrain them; they shrieked, and struggled, and
fought with one another, for a drop of this precious liquid,
as if they grew rabid at the sight of it. There is nothing
from which slaves in the mid-passage suffer so much as
want of water. It is sometimes usual to take out casks
filled with sea-water as ballast, and when the slaves are
received on board, to start the casks, and re-fill them with
fresh. On one occasion, a ship from Bahia neglected to
change the contents of their casks, and on the mid-passage
found, to their horror, that they were filled with
nothing but salt water. All the slaves on board perished!
We could judge of the extent of their sufferings from the
afflicting sight we now saw. When the poor creatures
were ordered down again, several of them came, and
pressed their heads against our knees, with looks of the
greatest anguish, with the prospect of returning to the
horrid place of suffering below.”

Alas! the slave-captain proved by his papers that he
confined his traffic strictly to the south of the Line, 1(5)v 10
where it was yet lawful; perhaps his papers were forged;
but the English officers were afraid to violate an article
of the treaty, which their government had made with
Brazil. Thus does cunning wickedness defeat benevolence
and justice in the world! Dr Walsh continues:
“With infinite regret, therefore, we were obliged to restore
his papers to the captain, and permit him to proceed,
after nine hours’ detention and close investigation. It
was dark when we separated, and the last parting sounds
we heard from the unhallowed ship, were the cries and
shrieks of the slaves, suffering under some bodily infliction.”

I suppose the English officers acted politically right;
but not for the world’s wealth, would I have acted politically
right, under such circumstances! Dr Walsh’s book on Brazil was published in 18311831. He says:
“Notwithstanding the benevolent and pursevering exertions of
England, this horrid traffic in human flesh is surely as extensively
carried on as ever, and under circumstances perhaps of a more revolting
character. The very shifts at evasion, the necessity for
concealment, and the desperate hazard, cause inconveneience and
sufferings to the poor creatures in a very aggravated degree.”

Arrived at the place of destination, the condition of
the slave is scarcely less deplorable. They are advertised
with cattle; chained in droves, and driven to market
with a whip; and sold at auction, with the beasts of
the field. They are treated like brutes, and all the
influences around them conspire to make them brutes.

“Some are employed as domestic slaves, when and how
the owner pleases; by day or by night, on Sunday or
other days, in any measure or degree, with any remuneration
or with none, with what kind or quantity of food
the owner of the human beast may choose. Male or
female, young or old, weak or strong, may be punished
with or without reason, as caprice or passion may prompt.
When the drudge does not suit, he may be sold for some
inferior purpose, like a horse that has seen his best days,
till like a worn-out beast he dies, unpitied and forgotten!
Kept in ignorance of the holy precepts and divine consolations
of Christianity, he remains a Pagan in a Christian
land, without even an object of idolatrous worship—
‘having no hope, and without God in the world.’”

1(6)r 11

From the moment the slave is kidnapped, to the last
hour he draws his miserable breath, the white man’s
influence directly cherishes ignorance, fraud, treachery,
theft, licentiousness, revenge, hatred and murder. It
cannot be denied that human nature thus operated upon,
must necessarily yield, more or less, to all these evils. —
And thus do we dare to treat beings, who, like ourselves,
are heirs of immmortality!

And now let us briefly inquire into the influence of
slavery on the white man’s character; for in this evil
there is a mighty re-action. “Such is this constitution of
things, that we cannot inflict an injury without suffering
from it ourselves: he, who blesses another, benefits himself;
but he, who sins against his fellow creature, does
his own soul a grievous wrong.”
The effect produced
upon slave captains is absolutely frightful. Those who
wish to realize it in all its awful extent, may find abundant
information in Clarkson’s History of Slavery: the
authenticity of the facts there given cannot be doubted;
for setting aside the perfect honesty of Clarkson’s character,
these facts were principly accepted as evidence
before the British Parliament, where there was a very
strong party of slave owners desirous to prove them false.

Indeed when we reflect upon the subject, it cannot
excite surprise that slave-captains become as hard-hearted
and fierce as tigers. The very first step in their business
is a deliberate invasion of the rights of others; its pursuit
combines every form of violence, bloodshed, tyranny
and anguish; they are accustomed to consider their victims
as cattle, or blocks of wood; I have read letters from slave-captains to their employers, in
which they declare that they shipped such a number of “btwo to five charactersflawed-reproductions of
, or “pieces of ebony”, on the coast of Africa.
Near the office of the Richmond Enquirer in Virginia, an auction
flag was hoisted one day this last winter, with the following curious
advertisement: “On ---11Monday the 11th inst., will be sold in front
of the High Constable’s office, one bright mulatto woman, about
twentysix years of age; also, some empty barrels, and sundry old
candle boxes
and they are invested
with perfectly despotic powers.

There is a great waste of life among white seamen
employed in this traffic, in consequences of the severe 1(6)v 12
punishment they receive, and diseases originating in the
unwholesome atmosphere on board. Clarkson, after a
long and patient investigation, came to the conclusion
that two slave voyages to Africa, would destroy more
seamen than eightythree to Newfoundland; and there is
this difference to be observed, that the loss in one trade
is generally occasioned by weather or accident, in the
other by cruelty or disease. The instances are exceedingly
numerous of sailors on board slave-ships, that have
died under the lash or in consequence of it. Some of
the particulars are so painful that it has made me sicken
to read them; and I therefore forbear to repeat them.
Of the Alexander’s crew, in 17851785, no less than eleven
deserted at Bonny, on the African coast, because life had
become insupportable. They chose all that could be endured
from a most inhospitable climate, and the violence
of the natives, rather than remain in their own ship.
Nine others died on the voyage, and the rest were exceedingly
abused. This state of things was so universal
that seamen were notoriously averse to enter the hateful
business. In order to obtain them it became necessary
to resort to force or deception. (Behold how many
branches there are to the tree of crime!) Decoyed to
houses where night after night was spent in dancing,
rioting and drunkenness, the thoughtless fellows gave
themselves up to the merriment of the scene, and in a
moment of intoxication the fatal bargain was sealed.
Encouraged to spend more than they owned, a jail or the
slave-ship became the only alternatives. The superiority
of wages was likewise a strong inducement; but this
was a cheat. The wages of the sailors were half paid
in the currency of the country where the vessel carried
her slaves; and thus they were actually lower than in
other trades, while they were nominally higher.

In such an employment the morals of the seamen of
course became corrupt, like their masters; and every
species of fraud was thought allowable to deceive the
ignorant Africans, by means of false weights, false measures,
adulterated commodities, and the like.

Of the cruelties on board slave-ships, I will mention
but a few instances; though a large volume might be filled 2(1)r 13
with such detestable anecdotes perfectly well authenticated.

“A child on board a slave-ship, of about ten months
old, took sulk and would not eat; the captain flogged it
with a cat-o’-nine-tails; swearing that he would make it
eat, or kill it. From this, and other ill-treatment, the
limbs swelled. He then ordered some water to be made
hot to abate the swelling. But even his tender mercies
were cruel. The cook, on putting his hand into the
water, said it was too hot. Upon this the captain swore
at him, and ordered the feet to be put in. This was
done. The nails and skin came off. Oiled cloths were
then put around them. The child was at length tied to
a heavy log. Two or three days afterwards, the captain
caught it up again, and repeated that he would make it
eat, or kill it. He immediately flogged it again, and in
a quarter of an hour it died. And after the babe was
dead, whom should the barbarian select to throw it overboard,
but the wretched mother! In vain she tried to
avoid the office. He beat her, till he made her take up
the child and carry it to the side of the vessel. She
then dropped it into the sea, turning her head the other
way, that she might not see it.” Clarkson’s History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

“In 17801780, a slave-trader, detained by contrary winds
on the American coast, and in distress, selected one
hundred and thirtytwo of his sick slaves, and threw them
into the sea, tied together in pairs, that they might not
escape by swimming. He hoped the Insurance Company
would indemnify him for his loss; and in the lawsuit,
to which this gave birth, he observed that ‘negroes
cannot be considered in any other light than as beasts of
burden; and to lighten a vessel it is permitted to throw
overboard its least valuable effects.’
Some of the unhappy slaves escaped from those who
attempted to tie them, and jumped into the sea. One of
them was saved by means of a cord thrown by the
sailors of another vessel; and the monster who murdered
his innocent companions had the audacity to claim him 2 2(1)v 14
as his property. The judges, either from shame, or a
sense of justice, refused his demand.”
The Abbé Grégoire’s Inquiry into the Intellect and Morals of

Some people speculate in what are called refuse slaves;
i. e. the poor diseased ones. Many of them die in the
piazzas of the autioneers; and sometimes, in the
agonies of death, they are sold as low as a dollar.

Even this is better than to be unprotected on the wide
ocean in the power of such wild beasts as I have described.
It may seem incredible to some that human
nature is capable of so much depravity. But the confessions
of pirates show how habitual scenes of blood
and violence harden the heart of man; and history
abundantly proves that despotic power produces a
fearful species of moral insanity. The wanton cruelties
of Nero, Caligula, Domitian, and many of the
officers of the Inquisition, seem like the frantic acts of

The public has, however, a sense of justice, which
can never be entirely perverted. Since the time when
Clarkson, Wilberforce and Fox made the horros of the
slave trade understood, the slave captain, or slave jockey
is spontaneously and almost universally regarded with
dislike and horror. Even in the slave-holding States it is
deemed disreputable to associate with a professed slave-
trader, though few perhaps would think it any harm to
bargain with him. This public feeling makes itself felt
so strongly, that men engaged in what is called the
African traffic, kept it a secret, if they could, even before
the laws made it hazardous.

No man of the least principle could for a moment
think of engaging in such enterprises; and if he have
any feeling, it is soon destroyed by familiarity with
scenes of guilt and anguish. The result is, that the
slave-trade is a monopoly in the hands of the very
wicked; and this is one reason why it has always been

Yet even the slave trade has had its champions — of
course among those who had money invested in it. 2(2)r 15
Politicians have boldly said that it was a profitable branch
of commerce, and ought not to be discontinued on account
of the idle dreams of benevolent enthusiasts. They
have argued before the House of Commons, that others
would enslave the negroes, if the English gave it up—as
if it were allowable for one man to commit a crime because
another was likely to do it! They tell how merciful
it is to bring the Africans away from the despotism and
wars, which desolate their own continent; but they do
not add that the white man is himself the cause of those
wars, nor do they prove our right to judge for another
man where he will be the happiest. If the Turks or the
Algerines saw fit to exercise this right, they might
carry away captive all the occupants of our prisons and

Some of the advocates of this traffic maintained that
the voyage from Africa to the slave-market, called the
Middle Passage, was an exceedingly comfortable portion of
existence. One went so far as to declare it “the happiest
part of a negro’s life.”
They aver that the Africans, on
their way to slavery, are so merry, that they dance and sing.
But upon a careful examination of witnesses, it was found
that their singing consisted of dirge-like lamentations for
their native land. One of the captains threatened to flog
a woman, because the mournfulness of her song was too
painful to him. After meals they jumped up in their
irons for exercise. This was considered so necessary
for their health, that they were whipped, if they refused
to do it. And this was their dancing! “I,” said one of
the witnesses, “was employed to dance the men, while
another person danced the women.”

Those pretences, ridiculous as they appear, are worth
about as much as any of the arguments that can be
brought forward in defence of any part of the slave system.

The engraving on the next page will help to give a
vivid idea of the Elysium enjoyed by negroes, during the
Middle Passage. Fig. A represents the iron hand-cuffs,
which fasten the slaves together by means of a little bolt
with a padlock.

B represents the iron shackles by which the ancle of 2(2)v 16 Iron hand-cuffs, marked as Figure A. They are made of two loops, bolted in the center into a rectangular block. Iron shackles, marked as Figure B. They are made of two horseshoe-shaped loops through which a large bolt is fastened. A thumb screw, marked as Figure E, with parts D and C. The letter E in printed within the figure of a key which is lowered into a cylinder. Two small horseshoe-shaped loops are attached to a base (C) above which floats a similarly shaped piece (D) with slits through which the loops pass. This figure is positioned to the left of the next (I, G, F, H). A speculum oris, marked as Figure I, with parts G, F, and H. The figure is printed with two sorts of lines, to represent two positions simultaneously. There are two pointed pieces (G, H) which join to form a single point (F). Its design is similar to a pair of scissors, but instead of a pair of handles there is a knob to twist (I). This figure is positioned to the right of the previous (E, D, C). Merely a sillouhette in this copy, this figure, marked as K, depicts a human figure seated partially within and to the left of a dark rectangle. Printed sideways along the right side of the rectangle, reading from bottom to top, is: “3 ft 3 in. high”. 2(3)r 17
one is made fast to the ancle of his next companion.
Yet even thus secured, they do often jump into the sea,
and wave their hands in triumph at the approach of
death. E is a thumb-screw. The thumbs are put into two
round holes at the top; by turning a key a bar rises from
C to D by means of a screw; and the pressure becomes
very painful. By turning it further, the blood is made
to start; and by taking away the key as at E, the tortured
person is left in agony, without the means of helping
himself, or being helped by others. This is applied in
case of obstinacy, at the discretion of the captain. I, F,
is a speculum oris. The dotted lines represent it when
shut; the black lines when open. It opens at G, H, by a
screw below with a knob at the end of it. This instrument
was used by surgeons to wrench open the mouth in
case of lock-jaw. It is used in slave-ships to compel the
negroes to take food; because a loss to the owners would
follow their perservering attempts to die. K represents
the manner of stowing in a slave-ship.

According to Clarkson’s estimate, about two and a half
out of a hundred human beings die annually, in the
ordinary course of nature, including infants and the
aged: but in an African voyage, where few babes and
no old people are admitted, so that those shipped are at
the firmest period of life, the annual mortality is fortythree
in a hundred. In vessels that sail from Poone characterflawed-reproductionny,
Benin, and the Calabars, whence a large proportion
of slaves are brought, this mortality is so much increased
by various causes, that eightysix in a hundred die yearly.
He adds, “It is a destruction, which if general but for
ten years, would depopulate the world, and extinguish the
human race.”

We next come to the influence of this diabolical system
on the slave-owner; and here I shall be cautioned
that I am treading on delicate ground, because our own
countrymen are slave holders. But I am yet to learn
that wickedness is any the better for being our own. —
Let the truth be spoken — and let those abide its presence
who can.

The following is the testimony of Jefferson, who had 2* 2(3)v 18
good opportunities for observation, and who certainly
had no New England prejudices: “There must, doubtless,
be an unhappy influence on the manners of the
people, produced by the existence of slavery among us.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual
exercise of the most boisterous passions; the most
unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading
submission on the other. Our children see this, and learn
to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. The parent
storms; the child looks on, catches the lineaments
of wrath, puts on the same airs in a circle of smaller
slaves, gives loose to the worst of passions; and thus
nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot
but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man
must be a prodigy, who can retain his morals and manners
undepraved in such circumstances.”

In a community where all the labor is done by one
class, there must of course be another class, who live in
indolence; and we all know how much people that have
nothing to do are tempted by what the world calls
pleasures; the result is, that slave-holding states and
colonies are proverbial for dissipation. Hence too the
contempt for industry, which prevails in such a state of
society. Where none work but slaves, usefulness becomes
degradation. The wife of a respectable mechanic,
who accompanied her husband from Massachusetts to
the South, gave great offence to her new neighbors by
performing her usual household avocations; they begged
her to desist from it, (offering the services of their own
blacks,) because the sight of a white person engaged in
any labor was extremely injurious to the slaves; they
deemed it very important that the negroes should be
taught, both by precept and example, that they alone
were made to work!

Whether the undue importance attached to merely
extenal gentility, and the increasing tendency to indolence
and extravagance throughout this country, ought
to be attributed, in any degree, to the same source, I am
unable to say; if any influence comes to us from the
example and ridicule of the slave-holding States, it certainly
must be of this nature.

2(4)r 19

There is another view of this system, which I cannot
unveil so completely as it ought to be. I shall be
called bold for saying so much; but the facts are so
important, that it is a matter of conscience not to be

The negro woman is unprotected either by law or
public opinion. She is the property of her master, and
her daughters are his property. They are allowed to
have no conscientious scruples, no sense of shame, no
regard for the feelings of husband, or parent; they must
be entirely subservient to the will of their owner, on
pain of being whipped as near unto death as will comport
with his interest, or quite to death, if it suit his

Those who know human nature would be able to conjecture
the unavoidable result, even if it were not
betrayed by the amount of mixed population. Think
for a moment, what a degrading effect must be produced
on the morals of both blacks and whites by customs like

Considering we live in the 1801 < x < 1900nineteenth century, it is
indeed a strange state of society where the father sells
his child, and the brother puts his siter up at auction!
Yet these things are often practised in our republic.

Doctor Walsh, in his account of Brazil, tells an anecdote
of one of these fathers, who love their offspring at
market price. “For many years,” says he, “this man
kept his son in slavery, and maintained the right to dispose
of him, as he would of his mule. Being ill, however,
and near to die, he made his will, left his child
his freedom, and apprised him of it. Some time after,
he recovered, and having a dispute with the young man,
he threatened to sell him with the rest of his stock.
The son, determined to prevent this, assassinated his
father in a wood, got possession of the will, demanded his
freedom, and obtained it. This circumstance was perfectly
well known in the neighborhood, but no process
was instituted against him. He was not chargeable, as
I could hear, with any other delinquency than the horrible
one of murdering his father to obtain his freedom.”
2(4)v 20
This forms a fine picture of the effects of slavery upon
human relations! A short time ago a reverend and very benevolent gentleman
suggested as the subject of a book, The Beauty of Human Relations.
What a bitter jest it would be, to send him this volume, with the
information that I had complied with his request!

I have more than once heard people, who had just
returned from the South, speak of seeing a number of
mulattoes in attendance where they visited, whose resemblance
to the head of the family was too striking not
to be immediately observed. What sort of feeling must
be excited in the minds of those slaves by being constantly
exposed to the tyranny or caprice of their own
brothers and sisters, and by the knowledge that these
near relations will, on a division of the estate, have power
to sell them off with the cattle?

But the vices of white men eventually provide a
scourge for themselves. They increase the negro race,
but the negro can never increase theirs; and this is one
great reason why the proportion of colored population is
always so large in slave-holding countries. As the ratio
increases more and more every year, the colored people
must eventually be the stronger party; and when this
result happens, slavery must either be abolished, or government
must furnish troops, of whose wages the free
States must pay their proportion.

As a proof of the effects of slavery on the temper, I
will relate but very few anecdotes.

The first happened in the Bahamas. It is extracted
from a despatch of Mr Huskisson the Governor of
those islands: “Henry and Helen Moss have been found
guilty of a misdemeanor, for their cruelty to their slave
Kate; and those facts of the case, which seem beyond
dispute, appear to be as follows:

Kate was a domestic slave, and is stated to have
been guilty of theft: she is also accused of disobedience,
in refusing to mend her clothes and do her work: and
this was the more immediate cause of her punishment.
On the 1826-07-22twentysecond of July, eighteen hundred and
, she was confined in the stocks, and she was
not released till the 1827-08-08eighth of August following, being 2(5)r 21
a period of seventeen days. The stocks were so constructed
that she could not sit up or lie down at pleasure, and
she remained in them night and day. During this period
she was flogged repeatedly, one of the overseers thinks
about six times; and red pepper was rubbed upon her
eyes, to prevent her sleeping. Tasks were given her,
which, in the opinion of the same overseer, she was incapable
of performing; sometimes because they were
beyond her powers, at other times because she could not
see to do them, on account of the pepper having been
rubbed on her eyes; and she was flogged for failing to
accomplish these tasks. A violent distemper had prevailed
on the plantation during the summer. It is in
evidence, that one of the days of Kate’s confinement she
complained of fever; and that one of the floggings she
received was the day after she made the complaint.
When she was taken out of the stocks, she appeared to
be cramped, and was then again flogged. The very day
of her release, she was sent to field labor (though heretofore
a house-servant); and on the evening of the third day
ensuing was brought before her owners, as being ill, and
refusing to work; and she then again complained of
having fever. They were of opinion that she had none
then, but gave directions to the driver, if she should be
ill, to bring her to them for medicines in the morning.
The driver took her to the negro-house, and again flogged
her; though at this time apparently without orders
from her owners to do so. In the morning at seven
o’clock she was taken to work in the field, where she
died at noon.

The facts of the case are thus far incontrovertibly
established; and I deeply lament, that, heinous as the offences
are which this narrative exhibits, I can discover
no material palliation of them amongst the other circumstances
detailed in the evidence.”

A bill of indictment for murder was preferred against
Mr and Mrs Moss: the grand jury threw it out. Upon
two other bills, for misdemeanors, a verdict of guilty was
returned. Five months’ imprisonment, and a fine of
three hundred pounds was the only punishment for this
deliberate and shocking cruelty!

2(5)v 22

In the next chapter, it will be seen that similar “misdemeanors”
are committed with equal impunity in this

I do not know how much odium Mr and Mrs Moss
generally incurred in consequence of this transaction;
but many of “the most respectable people in the island
petitioned for a mitigation of their punishment, visited
them in prison, did everything to identify themselves with
them, and on their liberation from jail, gave them a public
dinner as a matter of triumph!”
The witnesses in
their favor even went so far as to insist that their character
stood high for humanity among the neighboring planters.
I believe there never was a class of people on earth so
determined to uphold each other, at all events, as slave-

The following account was originally written by the
Rev. William Dickey of Bloomingsburgh, to the Rev.
John Rankin
, of Ripley, Ohio. It was published in
18261826, in a little volume of letters, on the subject of
slavery, by the Rev. Mr Rankin, who assures us that
Mr Dickey was well acquainted with the circumstances
he describes.

“In the country of Livington, Kentucky, near the mouth
of Cumberland river, lived Lilburn Lewis, the son of
Jefferson’s sister. He was the wealthy owner of a considerable
number of slaves, whom he drove constantly,
fed sparingly, and lashed severely. The consequence
was, they would run away. Among the rest was an ill-
grown boy, about seventeen, who, having just returned
from a skulking spell, was sent to the spring for water,
and, in returning, let fall an elegant pitcher, which dashed
to shivers on the rocks. It was night, and the slaves
were all at home. The master had them collected into
the most roomy negro-house, and a rousing fire made.”

(Reader, what follows is very shocking; but I have already
said we must not allow our nerves to be more
sensitive than our consciences. If such things are done
in our country, it is important that we should know of
them, and seriously reflect upon them.) “The door was
fastened, that none of the negroes, either through fear or
sympathy, should attempt to escape; he then told them 2(6)r 23
that the design of this meeting was to teach them to
remain at home and obey his orders. All things being
now in train, George was called up, and by the assistance
of his younger brother, laid on a broad bench or
block. The master then cut off his ancles with a broad
axe. In vain the unhappy victim screamed. Not a
hand among so many dared to interfere. Having cast
the feet into the fire he lectured the negroes at some
length. He then proceeded to cut off his limbs below
the knees. The sufferer besought him to begin with his
head. It was in vain — the master went on thus, until
trunk, arms, and head, were all in the fire. Still protracting
the intervals with lectures, and threatenings of
like punishment, in case any of them were disobedient,
or ran away, or disclosed the tragedy they were compelled
to witness. In order to comsume the bones, the fire
was briskly stirred until midnight: when, as if heaven
and earth combined to show their detestation of the
deed, a sudden shock of earthquake threw down the
heavy wall, composed of rock and clay, extinguished the
fire, and covered the remains of George. The negroes
were allowed to disperse, with charges to keep the secret,
under the penalty of like punishment. When his wife
asked the cause of the dreadful screams she had heard,
he said that he had never enjoyed himself so well at a
ball as he had enjoyed himself that evening. Next
morning, he ordered the wall to be rebuilt, and he himself
supeintended, picking up the remains of the boy,
and placing them within the new wall, thus hoping to
conceal the matter. But some of the negroes whispered
the horrid deed; the neighbors tore down the wall, and
finding the remains, they testified against him. He was
bound over to await the sitting of the court; but before
that period arrived, he committed suicide.”

“N.B. This happened in 18111811; if I be correct, it
was on the 1811-12-1616th of December. It was on the Sabbath.”

Mr Rankin adds, there was little probability that Mr
would have fallen under the sentence of the law.
Notwithstanding the peculiar enormity of his offence,
there were individuals who combined to let him out of
prison, in order to screen him from justice.

2(6)v 24

Another instance of summary punishment inflicted on
a runaway slave, is told by a respectable gentleman from
South Carolina, with whom I am acquainted. He was
young, when the circumstance occurred, in the neighborhood
of his home; and it filled him with horror. A
slave being missing, several planters united in a negro
hunt, as it is called. They set out with dogs, guns, and
horses, as they would to chase a tiger. The poor fellow,
being discovered, took refuge in a tree; where he
was deliberately shot by his pursuers.

In some of the West Indies, blood-hounds are employed
to hunt negroes; and this fact is the foundation of one
of the most painfully interesting scenes in Miss Martineau’s
Demerara. A writer by the name of Dallas
has the hardihood to assert that it is mere sophistry to
censure the practice of training dogs to devour men.
He asks, “Did not the Asiatics employ elephants in
war? If a man were bitten by a rabid dog, would he
hesitate to cut off the wounded part, in order to save his

It is said that when the first pack of blood-hounds
arrived in St Domingo, the white planters delivered to
them the first negro they found, merely by way of experiment;
and when they saw him immediately torn in
pieces, they were highly delighted to find the dogs so
well trained to their business.

Some authentic records of female cruelty would seem
perfectly incredible, were it not an established law of
our nature that tyranny becomes a habit, and the scenes of
suffering, often repeated, render the heart callous.

A young friend of mine, remarkable for the kindness
of his disposition and the courtesy of his manners, told
me that he was really alarmed at the change produced
in his character by a few months’ residence in the West
. The family who owned the plantation were
absent, and he saw nothing around him but slaves; the
consequence was that he insensibly acquired a dictatorial
manner, and habitual disregard to the convenience
of his inferiors. The candid admonition of a friend
made him aware of this, and his natural amiability was

3(1)r 25

The ladies who remove from the free States into the
slave-holding ones almost invariably write that the sight
of slavery was at first exceedingly painful; but that they
soon become habituated to it; and after a while, they are
very apt to vindicate the system, upon the ground that it is
extremely convenient to have such submissive servants.
This reason was actually given by a lady of my acquaintance,
who is considered an unusually fervent Christian.
Yet Christianity expressly teaches us to love our neighbor
as ourselves. This shows how dangerous it is,
for even the best of us, to become “accustomed” to what is

A judicious and benevolent friend lately told me the
story of one of her relatives, who married a slave owner,
and removed to his plantation. The lady in question
was considered very amiable, and had a serene, affectionate
expression of countenance. After several years’
residence among her slaves, she visited New England.
“Her history was written in her face,” said my friend;
“its expression had changes into that of a fiend. She
brought but few slaves with her; and those few were of
course compelled to perform additional labor. One
faithful negro woman nursed the twins of her mistress,
and did all the washing, ironing, and scouring. If, after
a sleepless night with the restless babies (driven from the
bosom of their own mother,) she performed her toilsome
avocations with diminished activity, her mistress, with
her own lady-like hands, applied the cow-skin, and the
neighborhood resounded with the cries of her victim.
The instrument of punishment was actually kept hanging
in the entry, to the no small disgust of her New
visitors. For my part,”
continued my friend,
“I did not try to be polite to her; for I was not hypocrite
enough to conceal my indignation.”

The following occured near Natchez, and was told to
me by a highly intelligent man, who, being a diplomatist
and a courtier, was very likely to make the best of national
evils; A planter had occasion to send a female
slave some distance on an errand. She did not return so
soon as he expected, and he grew angry. At last he gave
orders that she should be severely whipped when she came 3 3(1)v 26
back. When the poor creature arrived, she pleaded for
mercy, saying she had been so very ill, that she was
obliged to rest in the fields; but she was ordered to
receive another dozen of lashes, for having had the impudence
to speak. She died at the whipping post; nor
did she perish alone — a new born baby died with her.
The gentleman who told me this fact, witnessed the poor
creature’s funeral. It is true, the master was universally
blamed and shunned for the cruel deed; but the
laws were powerless.

I shall be told that such examples as these are of rare
occurence; and I have no doubt that instances of excessive
severity are far from being common. I believe
that a large proportion of masters are as kind to their
slaves as they can be, consistently with keeping them in
bondage; but it must be allowed that this, to make the
best of it, is very stinted kindness. And let it never be
forgotten that the negro’s fate depends entirely on the
character of his master; and it is a mere matter of
chance whether he fall into merciful or unmerciful hands;
his happiness, nay, his very life, depends on chance.

The slave owners are always telling us that the accounts
of slave misery are abominably exaggerated; and
their plea is supported by many individuals, who seem to
think that charity was made to cover sins, not to cure
them. But without listening to the zealous opposers of
slavery, we shall find in the judicial reports of the Southern
States, and in the ordinary details of their newspapers,
more than enough to startle us; besides, we must
not forget that where one instance of cruelty comes to
our knowledge, hundreds are kept secret; and the more
public attention is awakened to the subject, the more
caution will be used in this respect.

Why should we be deceived by the sophistry of those
whose interest it is to gloss over iniquity, and who from
long habit have learned to believe that it is no iniquity?
It is a very simple process to judge rightly in this matter.
Just ask yourself the question where you could find a set
of men, in whose power you would be willing to place
yourself, if the laws allowed them to sin against you with

3(2)r 27

But it is urged that it is the interest of planters to
treat their slaves well. This argument no doubt has
some force; and it is the poor negro’s only security.
But it is likewise the interest of men to treat their cattle
kindly; yet we see that passion and short-sighted avarice
do overcome the strongest motives of interest. Cattle
are beat mercifully, sometimes unto death; they are
ruined by being over-worked; weakened by want of
sufficient food; and so forth. Besides, it is sometimes
directly for the interest of the planter to work his slaves
beyond their strength. When there is a sudden rise in
the prices of sugar, a certain amount of labor in a given
time is of more consequence to the owner of a plantation,
than the price of several slaves; he can well afford
to waste a few lives. This is no idle hypothesis — such
calculations are gravely and openly made by planters.
Hence, it is the slave’s prayer that sugars may be cheap.
When the negro is old, or feeble from incurable disease,
is it his master’s interest to feed him well, and clothe him
comforably? Certainly not: it then becomes desirable
to get rid of the human brute as soon as convenient.
It is a common remark, that it is not quite safe, in most
cases, for even parents to be entirely dependent on the
generosity of their children; and if human nature be
such, what has the slave to expect, when he becomes a
mere bill of expense?

It is a common retort to say that New Englanders,
who go to the South, soon learn to patronize the system
they have considered so abominable, and often become
proverbial for their severity. I have not the least doubt
of the fact; for slavery contaminates all that comes
within its influence. It would be very absurd to imagine
that the inhabitants of one State are worse than the inhabitants
of another, unless some peculiar circumstances,
of universal influence, tend to make them so. Human
nature is everywhere the same; but developed differently,
by different incitements and temptations. It is the
business of wise legislation to discover what influences
are most productive of good, and the least conducive to
evil. If we were educated at the South, we should no
doubt vindicate slavery, and inherit as a birthright all 3(2)v 28
the evils it engrafts upon the character. If they lived on
our rocky soil, and under our inclement skies, their
shrewdness would sometimes border upon knavery, and
their frugality sometimes degenerate into parsimony.
We both have our virtues, and our faults, induced by the
influences under which we live, and, of course, totally
different in their character. Our defects are bad enough;
but they cannot, like slavery, affect the destiny and rights
of millions.

All this mutual recrimination about horse-jockeys,
gamblers, tin-pedlers, and venders of wooden nutmegs,
is quite unworthy of a great nation. Instead of calmly
examining this important subject on the plain grounds of
justice and humanity, we allow it to degenerate into a
mere question of sectional pride and vanity. [Pardon
the Americanism, would we had less use for the word!]
It is the system, not the men, on which we ought to bestow
the full measure of abhorrence. If we were willing
to forget ourselves, and could, like true republicans,
prefer the common good to all other considerations, there
would not be a slave in the United States, at the end of
half a century.

The arguments in support of slavery are all hollow
and deceptive, though frequently very specious. No one
thinks of finding a foundation for the system in the principles
of truth and justice; and the unavoidable result
is, that even in policy it is unsound. The monstrous
fabric rests on the mere appearance of present expediency;
while, in fact, all its tendencies, individual and
national, present and remote, are highly injurious to the
true interests of the country. The slave owner will not
believe this. The stronger the evidence against his favorite
theories, the more strenuously he defends them.
It has been widely said, “Honesty is the best policy; but
policy without honesty never finds that out.”

I hope none will be so literal as to suppose I intend to
say that no planter can be honest, in the common acceptation
of that term. I simply mean that all who ground
their arguments in policy, and not in duty and plain
truth, are really blind to the highest and best interests of

3(3)r 29

Among other apologies for slavery, it has been asserted
that the Bible does not forbid it. Neither does it
forbid the counterfeiting of a bank-bill. It is the spirit
of the Holy Word, not its particular expressions, which
must be a rule for our conduct. How can slavery be
reconciled with the maxim, “Do unto others, as ye would
that others should do unto you”
? Does not the command,
“Thou shalt not steal,” prohibit kidnapping?
And how does whipping men to death agree with the
injunction, “Thou shalt do no murder”? Are we not
told “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the
heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break
every yoke”
? It was a Jewish law that he who stole a
man, or sold him, or he in whose hand the stolen man
was found, should suffer death; and he in whose house a
fugitive slave sought an asylum was forbidden to give
him up to his master. Modern slavery is so unlike Hebrew
servitude, and its regulations are so diametrically
opposed to the rules of the Gospel, which came to bring
deliverance to the captive, that it is idle to dwell upon
this point. The advocates of this system seek for arguments
in the history of every age and nation; but the
fact is, negro slavery is totally different from any other
form of bondage that ever existed; and if it were not so,
are we to copy the evils of bad governments and benighted

The difficulty of subduing slavery, on account of the
great number of interests which become united in it, and
the prodigious strength of the selfish passions enlisted in
its support, is by no means its least alarming feature.
This Hydra has ten thousand heads, every one of which
will bite or growl, when the broad daylight of truth lays
open the secrets of its hideous den.

I shall perhaps be asked why I have said so much
about the slave trade, since it was long ago abolished in
this country? There are several good reasons for it. In
the first place, it is a part of the system; for if there
were no slaves, there could be no slave trade; and while
there are slaves, the slave trade will continue. In the
next place, the trade is still briskly carried on in Africa,
and slaves are smuggled into these States through the 3* 3(3)v 30
Spanish colonies. In the third place, a very extensive internal
slave trade is carried on in this country. The
breeding of negro cattle for the foreign markets, (of
Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri,)
is a very lucrative branch of business. Whole coffles of
them, chained and manacled, are driven through our
Capital on their way to auction. Foreigners, particularly
those who come here with enthusiastic ideas of
American freedom, are amazed and disgusted at the
sight. See the second volume of Stuart’s Three Years in North
Instead of being angry at such truths, it would be wise
to profit by them.
A troop of slaves once passed through Washington
on the --07-04fourth of July, while drums were beating,
and standards flying. One of the captive negroes raised
his hand, loaded with irons, and waving it toward the
starry flag, sung with a smile of bitter irony, “Hail Columbia!
‘happy’ land!”

In the summer of 18221822, a cothree to five charactersflawed-reproduction of slaves, driven
through Kentucky, was met by the Rev. James H.
, just before it entered Paris. He describes it
thus: “About forty black men were chained together;
each of them was handcuffed, and they were arranged
rank and file. A chain, perhaps forty feet long, was
stretched between the two ranks, to which short chains
were joined, connected with the hand-cuffs. Behind
them were about thirty women, tied hand to hand. Every
countenance wore a solemn sadness; and the dismal
silence of despair was only broken by the sound of two
violins. Yes — as if to add insult to unjury, the foremost
couple were furnished with a violin apiece; the
second couple were ornamented with cockades; while
near the centre our national standard was carried by
hands literally in chains. I may have mistaken some of
the punctilios of the arrangement, for my very soul was
sick. My landlady was sister to the man who owned
the drove; and from her I learned that he had, a few
days previous, bought a negro woman, who refused to go
with him. A blow on the side of her head with the butt
of his whip, soon brought her to the ground; he then 3(4)r 31
tied her, and carried her off. Besides those I saw, about
thirty negroes, destined for the New Orleans market,
were shut up in the Paris jail, for safe keeping.”

But Washington is the great emporium of the internal
slave trade! The United States jail a perfect store-
house for slave merchants; and some of the taverns may
be seen so crowded with negro captives that they have
scarcely room to stretch themselves on the floor to sleep.
Judge Morrel, in his charge to the Grand Jury at Washington,
in 18161816, earnestly called their attention to this
subject. He said, “the frequency with which the streets
of the city had been crowded with manacled captives,
sometimes even on the Sabbath, could not fail to shock
the feelings of all humane persons; that it was repugnant
to the spirit of our political institutions, and the
rights of men; and he believed it was calculated to impair
the public morals, by familiarizing scenes of cruelty
to the minds of youth.”

A free man of color is in constant danger of being
seized and carried off by these slave dealers. Mr
, a Representative in Congress from Delaware,
told Dr Torrey of Philadelphia, that he was often afraid to
send his servants out in the evening, lest they should be
encountered by kidnappers. Wherever these notorious
slave jockeys appear in our Southern States, the free people
of color hide themselves, as they are obliged to do on
the coast of Africa.

The following is the testimony of Doctor Torrey,
of Philadelphia, published in 18171817:

“To enumerate all the horrid and aggravating instances
of man-stealing, which are known to have occurred
in the state of Delaware, within the recollection of many
of the citizens of that State, would require a volume. In
many cases, whole families of free colored people have
been attacked in the night, beaten nearly to death with
clubs, gagged and bound, and dragged into distant and
hopeless captivity, leaving no traces behind, except the
blood from their wounds.
During the last winter, the house of a free black
family was broken open, and its defenceless inhabitants
treated in the manner just mentioned, except, that 3(4)v 32
the mother escaped from their merciless grasp, while on
their way to the state of Maryland. The plunderers, of
whom there were nearly half a dozen, conveyed their
prey upon horses; and the woman being placed on one
of the horses, behind, improved an opportunity, as they
were passing a house, and sprang off. Not daring to
pursue her, they proceeded on, leaving her youngest
child a little farther along, by the side of the road, in
expectation, it is supposed, that its cries would attract the
mother; but she prudently waited until morning, and
recovered it again in safety.
I consider myself more fully warranted in particularizing
this fact, from the circumstances of having been at
Newcastle, at the time that the woman was brought
with her child, before the grand jury, for examination;
and of having seen several of the persons against whom
bills of indictment were found, on the charge of being
engaged in the perpetration of the outrage; and
also that one or two of them were the same who
were accused of assisting in seizing and carrying off
another woman and child whom I discovered at Washington.
A monster in human shape, was detected in
the city of Philadelphia, pursuing the occupation of
courting and marrying mulatto women, and selling
them as slaves. In his last attempt of this kind,
the fact having come to the knowledge of the African
population of this city, a mob was immediately
collected, and he was only saved from being torn in
atoms, by being deposited in the city prison. They
have lately invented a method of attaining their object,
through the instrumentality of the laws: — Having
selected a suitable free colored person, to make a
pitch upon, the kidnapper employs a confederate, to
ascertain the distinguishing marks of his body; he
then claims and obtains him as a slave, before a magistrate,
by describing those marks, and proving the
truth of his assertions, by his well-instructed accomplice.
From the best information that I have had opportunities
to collect, in travelling by various routes through
the states of Delaware and Maryland, I am fully convinced 3(5)r 33
that there are, at this time, within the jurisdiction
of the United States, several thousands of
legally free people of color, toiling under the yoke of
involuntary servitude, and transmitting the same fate
to their posterity! If the probability of this fact could
be authenticated to the recognition of the Congress
of the United States
, it is presumed that its members,
as agents of the constitution, and guardians of the
public liberty, would, without hesitation, devise means
for the restoration of those unhappy victims of violence
and avarice, to their freedom and constitutional personal
rights. The work, both from its nature and magnitude,
is impracticable to individuals, or benevolent
societies; besides, it is perfectly a national business,
and claims national interference, equally with the captivity
of our sailors in Algiers.”

It may indeed be said, in palliation of the internal
slave trade, that the horrors of the middle passage are
avoided. But still the amount of misery is very great.
Husbands and wives, parents and children, are rudely
torn from each other; — there can be no doubt of this
fact: advertisements are very common, in which a
mother and her children are offered either in a lot or
separately, as may suit the purchaser. In one of these
advertisements, I observed it stated that the youngest
child was about a year old. In Niles’s Register, vol. xxxv. page 4, I find the following:
“Dealing in slaves has become a large business. Establishments are
made at several places in Maryland and Virginia, at which they are
sold like cattle. These places are strongly built, and well supplied
with thumbscrews, gags, cow-skins, and other whips, oftentimes
bloody. But the laws permit the traffic, and it is suffered.”

The captives are driven by the whip, through toilsome
journeys, under a burning sun; their limbs fettered;
with nothing before them but the prospect of toil more
severe than that to which they have been accustomed. In the sugar-growing States the condition of the negro is much
more pitiable than where cotton is the staple commodity.

The disgrace of such scenes in the capital of our republic
cannot be otherwise than painful to every patriotic
mind; while they furnish materials for the most pungent 3(5)v 34
satire to other nations. A United States senator declared
that the sight of a drove of slaves was so insupportable
that he always avoided it when he could; and
an intelligent Scotchman said, when he first entered
Chesapeake Bay, and cast his eye along our coast, the
sight of the slaves brought his heart into his throat.
How can we help feeling a sense of shame, when we
read Moore’s contemptuous couplet, “The fustian flag that proudly waves,In splendid mockery, o’er a land of slaves”?
The lines would be harmless enough, if they were false;
the sting lies in their truth.

Finally, I have described some of the horrors of the
slave trade, because when our constitution was formed,
the government pledged itself not to abolish this traffic
until 18081808. We began our career of freedom by granting
a twenty years’ lease of iniquity — twenty years of
allowed invasion of other men’s rights — twenty years
of bloodshed, violence, and fraud! And this will be
told in our annals — this will be heard of to the end of
time! It ought to be remembered to the honor of Denmark that she
abolished the slave trade as early as 18031803.

Every man who buys a slave promotes this traffic, by
raising the value of the article; every man who owns a
slave, indirectly countenances it; every man who allows
that slavery is a lamentable “necessity”, contributes his
share to support it; and he, who votes for admitting a
slave-holding State into the Union, fearfully augments
the amount of this crime.


Chapter II.

Comparative View of Slavery, in Different Ages and

“E’en from my tongue some heart-felt truths may fall; And outraged Nature claims the care of all. These wrongs in any place would force a tear; But call for stronger, deeper feeling here. O, sons of freedom! equalize your laws— Be all consistent — plead the negro’s cause — Then all the nations in your code may see, That, black or white, Americans are free.”

Between ancient and modern slavery there is this
remarkable distinction — the former originated in motives
of humanity; the latter is dictated solely by avarice.
The ancients made slaves of captives taken in war, as
an amelioration of the original custom of indiscriminate
slaughter; the moderns attack defenceless people, without
any provocation, and steal them, for the express
purpose of making them slaves.

Modern slavery, indeed, in all its particulars, is more
odious than the ancient; and it is worthy of remark
that the condition of slaves has always been worse just
in proportion to the freedom enjoyed by their masters.
In Greece, none were so proud of liberty as the Spartans;
and they were a proverb among the neighboring
States for their severity to slaves. The slave code of the
Roman republic was rigid and tyrannical in the extreme;
and cruelties became so common and excessive, that the
emperors, in the latter days of Roman power, were
obliged to enact laws to restrain them. In the modern
world, England and America are the most conspicuous
for enlightened views of freedom, and bold vindication
of the equal rights of men; yet in these two countries 3(6)v 36
slave laws have been framed as bad as they were in Pagan,
iron-hearted Rome; and the customs are in some respects
more oppressive; —modern slavery unquestionably wears
its very worst aspect in the Colonies of England and the
United States of North America. I hardly know how
to decide their respective claims. My countrymen are
fond of preëminence, and I am afraid they deserve
it here — especially if we throw into the scale their
loud boasts of superiority over all the rest of the world
in civil and religious freedom. The slave codes of the
United States and of the British West Indies were originally
almost precisely the same; but their laws have
been growing milder and milder, while ours have increased
in severity. The British have the advantage
of us in this respect — they long ago dared to describe
the monster as it is; and they are now grappling with it,
with the overwhelming strength of a great nation’s concentrated
energies.—The Dutch, those sturdy old friends
of liberty, and the French, who have been stark mad for
freedom, rank next for the severity of their slave laws
and customs. The Spanish and Portuguese are milder
than either.

I will give a brief view of some of our own laws on
this subject; for the correctness of which, I refer the
reader to Stroud’s Sketch of the Slave Laws of the United
States of America
. In the first place, we will inquire
upon what ground the negro slaves in this country are
claimed as property. Most of them are the descendants
of persons kidnapped on the coast of Africa, and
brought here while we were British Colonies; and as
the slave trade was openly sanctioned more than twenty
years after our acknowledged independence, in 17831783,
and as the traffic is still carried on by smugglers, there
are, no doubt, thousands of slaves, now living in the
United States, who were actually stolen from Africa. In the new slave States, there are a great many negroes, who
can speak no other language than some of the numerous African

A provincial law of Maryland, enacted that any white
woman who married a negro slave should serve his master
during her husband’s lifetime, and that all their 4(1)r 37
children should be slaves. This law was not repealed
until the end of eighteen years, and it then continued in
full force with regard to those who had contracted such
marriages in the intermediate time; therefore the descendants
of white women so situated may be slaves unto
the present day. The doctrine of the common law is
that the offspring shall follow the condition of the father;
but the slave law (with the above temporary exception) reverses
the common law, and provides that children shall
follow the condition of the mother. Hence mulattoes
and their descendants are held in perpetual bondage,
though the father is a free white man. “Any person
whose maternal ancestor, even in the remotest degree of
distance, can be shown to have been a negro, Indian,
mulatto, or a mestizo, not free at the ime this law was
introduced, although the paternal ancestor at each successive
generation may have been a white free man, is
declared to be the subject of perpetual slavery.”
the code of Jamaica, is on this head, more liberal than
ours; by an express law, slavery ceases at the fourth degree
of distance from a negro ancestor: and in the other
British West Indies, the established custom is such, that
quadroons or mestizoes (as they call the second and
third degrees) are rarely seen in a state of slavery. Here,
neither law nor public opinion favors the mulatto descendants
of free white men. This furnishes a convenient
game to the slave-holder — it enables him to fill
his purse by means of his own vices; — the right to sell
one half of his children provides a fortune for the
remainder. Had the maxim of the common law been
allowed, — i. e. that the the offspring follows the condition
of the father, — the mulattoes, almost without exception,
would have been free, and thus the prodigious and alarming
increase of our slave population might have been
prevented. The great augmentation of the servile class
in the Southern States compared with the West India
colonies, has been thought to indicate a much milder
form of slavery; but there are other causes, which
tend to produce the result. There are much fewer white
men in the British West Indies than in our slave States;
hence the increase of the mulatto population is less rapid. 4 4(1)v 38
Here, the descendants of a colored mother never become
free; in the West Indies, they cease to be slaves in the
fourth generation, at farthest; and their posterity increases
the free colored class, instead of adding countless
links to the chain of bondage.

The manufacture of sugar is extremely toilsome, and
when driven hard, occasions a great waste of negro life;
this circumstance, together with the tropical climate of
the West Indies, furnish additional reasons for the disproportionate
increase of slaves between those islands
and our own country, where a comparatively small quantity
of sugar is cultivated.

It may excite surprise, that Indians and their offspring
are comprised in the doom of perpetual slavery; yet not
only is incidental mention of them as slaves to be met with
in the laws of most of the States of our confederacy, but
in one, at least, direct legislation may be cited to sanction
their enslavement. In Virginia, an act was passed, in
16791679, declaring that “for the ‘better encouragement of soldiers,’
whatever Indian prisoners were taken in a war, in
which the colony was then engaged, should be free purchase
to the soldiers taking them”
: and in 16821682, it was
decreed that “all servants brought into Virginia, by sea
or land, not being Christians, whether negroes, Moors,
mulattoes, or Indians, (except Turks and Moors in
amity with Great Britain) and all Indians, which should
thereafter be sold by neighboring Indians, or any other
trafficking with us, as slaves, should be slaves to all
intents and purposes
These laws ceased in 16911691;
but the descendants of all Indians sold in the intermediate
time are now among slaves.

In order to show the true aspect of slavery among us,
I will state distinct propositions, each supported by the
evidence of actually existing laws.

  • 1.

    Slavery is hereditary and perpetual, to the last
    moment of the slave’s earthly existence, and to all
    his descendants, to the latest posterity.
  • 2.

    The labor of the slave is compulsory and uncompensated;
    while the kind of labor, the amount of
    toil, and the time allowed for rest, are dictated solely
    by the master. No bargain is made, no wages given. 4(2)r 39
    A pure despotism governs the human brute; and even
    his covering and provender, both as to quantity and
    quality, depend entirely on the master’s discretion.
  • 3.

    The slave being considered a personal chattel,
    may be sold, or pledged, or leased, at the will of his
    master. He may be exchanged for marketable commodities,
    or taken in execution for the debts, or taxes,
    either of a living, or a deceased master. Sold at
    auction, “either individually, or in lots, to suit the
    he may remain with his family, or be separated
    from them forever.
  • 4.

    Slaves can make no contracts, and have no legal
    right to any property, real or personal. Their
    own honest earnings, and the legacies of friends belong,
    in point of law, to their masters.
  • 5.

    Neither a slave, or free colored person can be a
    witness against any white or free man, in a court of
    justice, however atrocious may have been the crimes
    they have seen him commit: but they may give testimony
    against a fellow-slave, or free colored man, even
    in cases affecting life.
  • 6.

    The slave may be punished at his master’s discretion
    — without trial — without any means of legal
    redress, — whether his offence be real, or imaginary;
    and the master can transfer the same despotic power
    to any person, or persons, he may choose to appoint.
  • 7.

    The slave is not allowed to resist any free man
    under any circumstances: his only safety consists in the
    fact that his owner may bring suit, and recover, the
    price of his body, in case his life is taken, or his
    limbs rendered unfit for labor.
  • 8.

    Slaves cannot redeem themselves, or obtain a
    change of masters, though cruel treatment may have
    rendered such a change necessary for their personal
  • 9.

    The slave is entirely unprotected in his domestic
  • 10.

    The laws greatly obstruct the manumission of
    slaves, even where the master is willing to enfranchise
  • 11.

    The operation of the laws tends to deprive
    slaves of religious instruction and consolation.
  • 4(2)v 40
  • 12.

    The whole power of the laws is exerted to
    keep slaves in a state of the lowest ignorance.
  • 13.

    There is in this country a monstrous inequality
    of law and right. What is a trifling fault in the
    white man, is considered highly criminal in the slave;
    the same offences which cost a white man a few dollars
    only, are punished in the negro with death.
  • 14.

    The laws operate most oppressively upon free
    people of color.

Proposition 1.Slavery hereditary and perpetual.

In Maryland the following act was passed in 17151715, and
is still in force: “All negroes and other slaves, already
imported, or hereafter to be imported into this province,
and all children now born, or hereafter to be born, of
such negroes and slaves, shall be slaves during their natural
The law of South Carolina is, “All negroes,
Indians, (free Indians in amity with this government,
and negroes, mulattoes, and mestizoes, who are
now free, excepted,) mulattoes or mestizoes, who now are,
or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue
born, or to be born, shall be and remain forever hereafter
absolute slaves, and shall follow the condition of the
Laws similar exist in Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi,
and Louisiana. In consequence of these laws,
people so nearly white as not to be distinguished from
Europeans, may be, and have been, legally claimed as

Prop. 2.Labor compulsory and uncompensated, &c.

In most of the slave States the law is silent on this
subject; but that it is the established custom is proved
by laws restraining the excessive abuse of this power, in
some of the States. Thus in one State there is a fine of
ten shillings, in another of two dollars, for making slaves
labor on Sunday, unless it be in works of absolute necessity,
or the necessary occasions of the family. There
is likewise a law which provides that “any master, who
withholds proper sustenance, or clothing, from his slaves,
or overworks them, so as to injure their health, shall
upon sufficient information”
[here lies the rub] “being laid
before the grand jury, be by said jury presented; whereupon 4(3)r 41
it shall be the duty of the attorney, or solicitor
general, to prosecute said owners, who, on conviction
shall be sentenced to pay a fine, or be imprisoned, or
both, at the discretion of the court.”

The negro act of South Carolina contains the following
language: “Whereas many owners of slaves, and
others, who have the care, management, and overseeing
of slaves, do confine them so closely to hard labor, that
they have not sufficient time for natural rest
; be it therefore
enacted, that if any owner of slaves, or others having
the care, &c., shall put such slaves to labor more
than fifteen hours in twentyfour, from the --03-25twentyfifth of
to the --09-25twentyfifth of September; or more than
fourteen hours in twentyfour hours from the --09-25twentyfifth
of September
to the --03-25twentyfifth of March, any such person
shall forfeit a sum of money not exceeding twenty
pounds, nor under five pounds, current money, for every
time, he, she, or they, shall offend therein, at the discretion
of the justice before whom complaint shall be

In Louisiana it is enacted, that “the slaves shall be
allowed half an hour for breakfast, during the whole
year; from the --05-01first of May to the --11-01first of November,
they shall be allowed two hours for dinner; and from
the --11-01first of November to the --05-01first of May, one hour and
a half for dinner: provided, however, that the owners,
who will themselves take the touble of having the meals
of their slaves prepared, be, and they are hereby authorized
to abridge, by half an hour a day, the time fixed for
their rest.”

All these laws, apparently for the protection of the
slave, are rendered perfectly null and void, by the fact,
that the testimony of a negro or mulatto is never taken
against a white man. If a slave be found toiling in the
field on the Sabbath, who can prove that his master commanded
him to do it?

The law of Louisiana stipulates that a slave shall have
one linen shirt, This shirt is usually made of a coarse kind of bagging. and a pair of pantaloons for the summer,
and one linen shirt and a woollen great coat and 4* 4(3)v 42
pantaloons for the winter; and for food, one pint of salt,
and a barrel of Indian corn, rice, or beans, every month.
In North Carolina, the law decides that a quart of corn
per day is sufficient. But, if the slave does not receive
this poor allowance, who can prove the fact. The withholding
of proper sustenance is absolutely incapable
of proof, unless the evidence of the sufferer himself be
allowed; and the law, as if determined to obstruct the
administration of justice, permits the master to exculpate
himself by an oath that the charges against him are
false. Clothing may, indeed, be ascertained by inspection;
but who is likely to involve himself in quarrels
with a white master because a poor negro receives a few
rags less than the law provides? I apprehend that a person
notorious for such gratuitous acts of kindness, would
have little peace or safety, in any slave-holding country.

If a negro be compelled to toil night and day, (as it is
said they sometimes are, See Western Review, No. 2, on the Agriculture of Louisiana. at the season of sugar-making)
who is to prove that he works more than his fourteen or
fifteen hours? No slave can be a witness for himself, or
for his fellow-slaves; and should a white man happen to
know the fact, there are ninetynine chances out of a
hundred, that he will deem it prudent to be silent. And
here I would remark that even in the island of Jamaica,
where the laws have given a most shocking license to
cruelty, — even in Jamaica, the slave is compelled to
work but ten hours in the day, beside having many holidays
allowed him. In Maryland, Virginia, Georgia,
Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the convicts condemnded
to hard labor in the penitentiaries, are required by law to
toil only from eight to ten hours a day, according to the
season of the year; yet the law providing that the innocent
slave should labor but fourteen or fifteen hours a
day, professes to have been made as a merciful amelioration
of his lot! — In Rome, the slaves had a yearly festival
called the Saturnalia, during which they were released
from toil, changed places with their masters, and indulged
in unbounded merriment; at first it lasted but one
day; but its duration afterwards extended to two, three, 4(4)r 43
four, and five days in succession. We have no Saturnalia
here — unless we choose thus to designate a coffle
of slaves, on the --07-04fourth of July, rattling their chains to the
sound of a violin, and carrying the banner of freedom
in hands loaded with irons.

In Georgia, “The inferior courts of the several counties
on receiving information on oath of any infirm slave
or slaves, being in a suffering condition, from the neglect
of the owner or owners, can make particular inquiries
into the situation of such slaves, and render such relief
as they think proper. And the said courts may sue for
and recover from the owner of such slaves the amount
appropriated for their relief.”
The information must, in
the first place, be given by a white man upon oath; and
of whom must the “particular inquiries” be made? Not
of the slave, nor of his companions, — for their evidence
goes for nothing; and would a master, capable of starving
an aged slave, be likely to confess the whole truth
about it? The judges of the inferior courts, if from
defect of evidence, or any other cause, they are unable
to prove that relief was absolutely needed, must pay all
the expenses from their own private purses. Are there
many, think you, so desperately enamored of justice, as
to take all this trouble, and incur all this risk, for a starving

Prop. 3.Slaves considered personal chattels, liable
to be sold, pledged, &c.

The advertisements in the Southern papers furnish
a continued proof of this; it is, therefore, unnecessary
to go into the details of evidence. A white man engaged in a disturbance was accompanied by
three or four slaves; his counsel contended that there were not
persons enough in the affair to constitute a riot, because the slaves
were mere chattels in the eye of the law. It was however decided
that when liable to the punishment of the law, they were persons.
The power to separate
mothers and children, husbands and wives, is exercised
only in the British West Indies, and the “republic”
of the United States!

In Louisiana there is indeed a humane provision in
this respect: “If at a public sale of slaves, there happen
to be some who are disabled through old age or otherwise, 4(4)v 44
and who have children, such slaves shall not be
sold but with such of his or of her children, whom he or
she may think proper to go with.”
But though parents
cannot be sold apart from their children, without their
consent, yet the master may keep the parents and sell
the children, if he chooses; in which case the separation
is of course equally painful. — “By the Code Noir,
of Louis the Fourteenth, husbands and wives, parents and
children are not allowed to be sold separately. If sales
contrary to this regulation are made by process of law,
under seizure for debts, such sales are declared void;
but if such sales are made voluntarily on the part of the
owner, a wiser remedy is given — the wife, or husband,
children, or parent retained by the seller may be claimed
by the purchaser, without any additional price; and thus
the separated family may be re-united again. The most
solemn agreement between the parties contrary to this
rule has been adjudged void.”
In the Spanish, Portuguese
and French colonies, plantation slaves are considered
real estate, attached to the soil their cultivate, and
of course not liable to be torn from their homes whenever
the master chooses to sell them; neither can they
be seized or sold by their master’s creditors.

The following quotation shows how the citizens of this
country bear comparison with men called savages. A
recent traveller in East Florida says: “Another trait in
the character of the Seminole Indians, is their great indulgence
to their slaves. The greatest pressure of hunger
or thirst never occasions them to impose onerous
labors on the negroes, or to dispose of them, though
tempted by high offers, if the latter are unwilling to be

Prop. 4.Slaves can have no legal claim to any property.

The civil code of Louisiana declares: “All that a
slave possesses belongs to his master
— he possesses
nothing of his own, except his peculium, that is to say,
the sum of money or movable estate, which his master
chances he should possess
“Slaves are incapable of
inheriting or transmitting property.”
“Slaves cannot
dispose of, or receive, by donation, unless they have 4(5)r 45
been enfranchised conformably to law, or are expressly
enfranchised by the act, by which the donation is made
to them.”

In South Carolina “it is not lawful for any slave to
buy, sell, trade, &c. without a license from his owner;
nor shall any slave be allowed to keep any boat or canoe,
for his own benedit, or raise any horses, cattle, sheep or
hogs, under pain of forfeiting all the goods, boats, canoes,
horses, &c. &c., and it shall be lawful for any person
to seize and take away from any slave all such goods,
boats, &c. and to deliver the same into the hands of the
nearest justice of the peace; and if the said justice be
satisfied that such seizure has been made according to
law, he shall order the goods to be sold at public outcry;
one half of the moneys arising from the sale to go to the
State, and the other half to him or them that sue for the
In North Carolina there is a similar law; but
half the proceeds of the sale goes to the county poor, and
half to the informer.

In Georgia, a fine of thirty dollars a week is imposed
upon any master who allows his slave to hire himself out
for his own benefit. In Virginia, if a master permit his
slave to hire himself out, he is subject to a fine, from
ten to twenty dollars; and it is lawful for any person,
and the duty of the Sheriff, to apprehend the slave. In
Maryland, the master, by a similar offence, except during
twenty days at harvest time, incurs a penalty of twenty
dollars per month.

In Mississippi, if a master allow his slave to cultivate
cotton for his own use, he incurs a fine of fifty dollars;
and if he license his slave to trade on his own account,
he forfeits fifty dollars for each and every offence. Any
person trading with a slave forfeits four times the value
of the article purchased; and if unable to pay, he receives
thirynine lashes, and pays the cost.

Among the Romans, the Grecians, and the ancient
Germans, slaves were permitted to acquire and enjoy
property of considerable value, as their own. This property
was called the slave’s peculium; and “the many
anxious provisions of the Imperial Code on the subject
plainly show the general extent and importance of such 4(5)v 46
“The Roman slave was also empowered
by law to enter into commercial and other contracts, by
which the master was bound, to the extent of the value
of the slave’s peculium.”
“The Grecian slaves had
also their peculium; and were rich enough to make
periodical presents to their masters, as well as often to
purchase their freedom.”

“The Helots of Sparta were so far from being destitute
of property, or of legal powers necessary to its
acquisition, that they were farmers of the lands of their
masters, at low fixed rents, which the proprietor could
not raise without dishonor.”

“In our own day, the Polish slaves, prior to any
recent alleviations of their lot, were not only allowed to
hold property, but endowed with it by their lords.”
the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, the money and
effects, which a slave acquires, by his labor at times set
apart for his own use, or by any other honest means, are
legally his own, and cannot be seized by the master.”

“In Africa, slaves may acquire extensive property,
which their sable masters cannot take away. In New
, there is a man named Amachree, who has more
influence and wealth than all the rest of the community,
though he himself is a purchased slave, brought from the
Braspan country; he has offered the price of a hundred
slaves for his freedom; but according to the laws of the
country he cannot obtain it, though his master, who is a
poor and obscure individual, would gladly let him have it.”

Among the Jews, a servant, or slave, often filled the
highest offices of honor and profit, connected with the
family. Indeed slavery among this ancient people was
in its mildest, patriarchal form; and the same character
is now stamped upon the domestic slavery of Africa. St
says, “The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth
nothing from a servant,”
[the Hebrew word translated
“servant” means slave] “though he be lord of all.” INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Gal. iv. 1.
Again: “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that
causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance
among the brethren.”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Proverbs, xvii. 2. The wealthy
patriarch Abraham, before the birth of Isaac, designed
to make his head servant, Eleazer of Damascus, his heir.

4(6)r 47

Prop. 5.No colored man can be evidence against a
white man, &c.

This is an almost universal rule of slave law. The
advocates of slavery seem to regard it as a necessary
consequence of the system, which neither admits of concealment,
nor needs it. “In one or two of our states
this rule is founded upon usage; in others it is sanctioned
by express legislation.”

So long as this rule is acted upon, it is very plain, that
all regulations made for the protection of the slave are
perfectly useless; — however grievous his wrongs, they
cannot be proved. The master is merely obliged to take
the precaution not to starve, or mangle, or murder his
negroes, in the presence of a white man. No matter if
five hundred colored people be present, they cannot testify
to the fact. Blackstone remarks, that “rights would
be declared vain, and in vain directed to be observed, if
there were no method of recovering and asserting those
rights, when wrongfully withheld, or invaded.”

Stephens says: “It seems to result from the brief and
general accounts which we have of the law of the Spanish
and Portuguese settlements, though I find it nowhere
expressly noticed, that slaves there are not, in all cases
at least, incompetent witnesses. But even in the
French Windward Islands, the evidence of negro slaves
was admitted against all free persons, the master only
excepted; and that in criminal as well as in civil cases,
where the testimony of white people could not be found
to establish the facts in dispute. The Code Noir merely
allowed a slave’s testimony to be heard by the judge,
as a suggestion which might throw light on other evidence,
without amounting of itself to any degree of legal
proof. But the Sovereign Council of Martinique, humbly
represented to his majesty that great inconveniences
might result from the execution of this law, by the impunity
of many crimes, which could not be proved otherwise
than by the testimony of slaves
; and they prayed that such
evidence might be received in all cases in which there
should not be sufficient proof by free witnesses. In
consequence of this, the article in question was varied
so far as to admit the testimony of slaves, when white
witnesses were wanting, except against their masters.”

4(6)v 48

Prop. 6.The master has absolute power to punish a
slave, &c.

Stroud says, “There was a time in many, if not in all
the slave holding districts of our country, when the
murder of a slave was followed by a pecuniary fine only.
In one State, the change of the law in this respect has
been very recent. At the present date (18271827) I am
happy to say the wilful, malicious, deliberate murder of
a slave, by whomsoever perpetrated, is declared to be
punishable with death in every State. The evil is not
that the laws sanction crime, but that they do not punish
it. And this arises chiefly, if not solely, from the exclusion
of the testimony, on the trial of a white person, of
all those who are not white.”

“The conflicting influences of humanity and prejudice
are strangely contrasted in the law of North Carolina
on this subject. An act passed in 17981798, runs thus:
‘Whereas by another act of assembly, passed in the
year 17741774, the killing of a slave, however wanton, cruel,
and deliberate, is only punishable in the first instance
by imprisonment, and paying the value thereof to the
owner, which distinction of criminality between the murder
of a white person and one who is equally a human
creature, but merely of a different complexion
, is disgraceful
to humanity, and degrading in the highest degree to
the laws and principles of a free Christian, and enlightened
country, be it enacted, &c. that if any person shall
hereafter be guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a
slave, such offenders shall, upon the first conviction
thereof, be adjudged guilty of murder, and shall suffer
the same punishment as if he had killed a free man;
Provided always, this act shall not extend to the person
killing a slave outlawed by virtue of any act of assembly
of this state, or to any slave in the act of resistance “It has been judicially determined that it is justifiable to kill a
slave, resisting, or offering to resist his master, by force.”
his lawful owner or master, or to any slave dying under
moderate correction

In the laws of Tennessee and Georgia, there is a similar
provizo. Where could such a monstrous anomaly be 5(1)r 49
found, save in a code of slave laws! Die of moderate
punishment!! Truly, this is an unveiling of consciences!

“To set the matter in its proper light, it may be added
that a proclamation of outlawry “The outlawry of a slave is not, I believe, an unusual occurrence.
Very recently, a particular account was given of the killing
of a black man, not charged with any offence by a person in pursuit
of an outlawed slave; owing as it was stated, to the person killed
not answering a call made by his pursuers. Whether the call was
heard or not, of course could not be ascertained, nor did it appear to
have excited any inquiry.”
against a slave is authorized,
whenever he runs away from his master, conceals
himself in some obscure retreat, and to sustain
life, kills a hog, or some animal of the cattle kind!

A pecuniary mulet was the only restraint upon the
willful murder of a slave, from the year 17401740 to 18211821, a
period of more than eighty years. I find in the case of
The State vs. M‘Gee, 1 Bay’s Reports, 164. it is said
incidentally by Messrs Pinckney and Ford, counsel for
the State, that the frequency of the offence was owing
to the nature of the punishment. This was said in the
public court-house by men of great respectability; nevertheless,
thirty years elapsed before a change of the law
was effected. So far as I have been able to learn, the
following section has disgraced the statute-book of South
from the year 17401740 to the present hour: ‘In
case any person shall wilfully cut out the tongue, put
out the eye, cruelly scald, burn, or deprive any slave of
any limb, or member, or shall inflict any other cruel
punishment, — [otherwise than by whipping, or beating,
with a horsewhip, cowskin, switch, or small stick, or by
putting irons on, or confining, or imprisoning such
,] — every such person shall for every such offence,
forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.’

Here is direct legislation to sanction beating without
limit, with horsewhip or cowskin, — the application of
irons to the human body, — and perpetual incarceration
in a dungeon, according to the will of the master; and
the mutilation of limbs is paid by a trifling penalty!

The revised code of Louisiana declares: ‘The slave
is entirely subject to the will of the master, who may 5 5(1)v 50
correct and chastise him, though not with unusual rigor,
nor so as to maim or mutilate him, or to expose him to
the danger of loss of life, or to cause his death.’”
shall decide what punishment is “unusual”?

In Missouri, if a slave refuses to obey his or her master,
mistress, overseer, or employer, in any lawful commands,
such slaves may be committed to the county jail, there
to remain as long as his owner pleases.

In some of the States there are indeed restraining
laws; but they are completely ineffectual from the difficulty
of obtaining the evidence of white men.

“The same despotic power can be exerted by the attorney,
manager, driver, or any other person who is, for the
time being, placed over the slave by order of the owner,
or his delegates. The following is the language of the
Louisiana code; and it represents the established customs
of all the slave holding States: ‘The condition
of a slave being merely a passive one, his subordination
to his master, and to all who represent him, is not susceptible
of any modification, or restriction, [except in
what can incite the slave to the commission of crime]
in such manner, that he owes to his master, and to all his
family a respect without bounds, and an absolute obedience;
and he is consequently to execute all the orders,
which he receives from his said master, or from them.’”

What chance of mercy the slave has from the generality
of overseers, may be conjectured from the following
testimony given by a distinguished Virginian: Mr Wirt,
in his Life of Patrick Henry, speaking of the different
classes in Virginia, says: “Last and lowest, a feculum
of beings called overseers — the most abject, degraded,
race — always cap in hand to the Dons who
employed them, and furnishing materials for the exercise
of their pride, insolence, and spirit of domination.”

The Gentoo code, the most ancient in the world, allowed
a wife, a son, apupil, a younger brother, or a slave to
be whipped with a lash, or bamboo twig, in such a manner
as not to occasion any dangerous hurt; and whoever
transgressed the rule, suffered the punishment of a thief.
In this case, the slave and other members of the family
were equally protected.

5(2)r 51

The Mosaic law was as follows: “If a man smite
the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perrish,
he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he
smite out his man servant’s tooth, or his maid servant’s
tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Exodus,
xxi. 26, 27.

Prop. 7.The slave never allowed to resist a white

It is enacted in Georgia, “If any slave shall presume
to strike any white man, such slave, upon trial and conviction
before the justice, shall for the first offence, suffer
such punishment as the said justice thinks fit, not
extending to life or limb; and for the second offence,
It is the same in South Carolina, excepting that
death is there the punishment of the third offence. —
However wanton and dangerous the attack upon the
slave may be, he must submit; there is only one proviso
— he may be excused for striking in defence of his
master, overseer, &c. and of their property. In Maryland,
a colored man, even if he be free, may have his
ears cropped for striking a white man. In Kentucky, it
is enacted that “if any negro, mulatto, or Indian, bond
or free, shall at any time lift his or her hand, in opposition
to any person not colored, they shall, the offence being
proved before a justice of the peace, receive thirty lashes
on his or her bare back, well laid on.”
There is a
ridiculous gravity in the following section of a law in
Louisiana: “Free people of color ought never to insult
or strike white people, nor presume to conceive themselves
equal to the whites; but on the contrary, they
ought to yield to them on every occasion, and never
speak or answer them but with respect, under the penalty
of imprisonment, according to the nature of the offence.”

Such laws are a positive inducement to violent and vicious
white men to oppress and injure people of color.
In this point of view, a negro becomes the slave of every
white man in the community. The brutal drunkard, or
the ferocious madman, can beat, rob, and mangle him
with perfect impunity. Dr Torrey, in his Portraiture of 5(2)v 52
Domestic Slavery,
relates an affecting anecdote, which
happened near Washington. A free negro walking
along the road, was set upon by two intoxicated ruffians
on horseback, who, without any provocation, began to
torture him for amusement. One of them tied him to
the tail of his horse, and thus dragged him along, while
the other followed, applying the lash. The poor fellow
died by the road-side, in consequence of this treatment.

The owner may prosecute when a slave is rendered
unfit for labor, by personal violence; and in the Reports
of these cases many painful facts come to light which
would otherwise have remained forever unknown. See
Judicial Reports.

Prop. 8.Slaves cannot redeem themselves or change

Stroud says, “as to the right of redemption, this proposition
holds good in all the slave-holding States; and is
equally true as it respects the right to compel a change of
, except in Louisiana. According to the new
civil code of that State, the latter privilege may sometimes,
perhaps, be obtained by the slave. But the master
must first be convicted of cruelty — a task so formidable
that it can hardly be ranked among possibilities;
and secondly it is optional with the judge, whether or
not, to make the decree in favor of the slave.”

If a slave should not obtain a decree in his favor what
has he to expect from a master exasperated against him,
for making the attempt?

At Athens, so deservedly admired for the mildness of
her slave laws, the door of freedom was opened widely.
The abused slaves might fly to the Temple of Theseus,
whence no one had a right to take them, except for the
purpose of publicly investigating their wrongs. If their
complaints were well founded, they were either enfranchised,
or delivered to more merciful hands.

In the Roman Empire, from the time of Adrian and
the Antonines, slaves were protected by the laws, and
undue severity being proved, they received freedom or a
different master.

By the Code Noir of the French islands, a slave cruelly 5(3)r 53
treated is forfeited to the crown; and the court, which
judges the offence, has power to confer freedom on the
sufferer. In the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, a
slave on complaint of ill-usage obtains public protection;
he may be manumitted, or change his master.

Prop. 9.Slave unprotected in his domestic relations.

In proof of this it is only necessary to repeat that the
slave and his wife, and his daughters, are considered as
the property of their owners, and compelled to yield implicit
obedience — that he is allowed to give no evidence
— that he must not resist any white man, under any circumstances,
which do not interfere with his master’s interest
— and finally, that public opinion ridicules the
slave’s claim to any exclusive right in his own wife and

In Athens, the female slave could demand protection
from the magistrates; and if her complaints of insulting
treatment were well founded, she could be sold to another
master, who, in his turn, forfeited his claim by improper

Prop. 10.The laws obstruct emancipation.

In nearly all slave-holding States, a slave emancipated
by his master’s will, may be seized and sold to satisfy any
. In Louisiana, fraud of creditors is by law considered
as proved, if it can be made to appear that the master,
at the moment of executing the deed of enfranchisement,
had not sufficient property to pay all his debts; and if
after payment of debts, there be not personal estate
enough to satisfy the widow’s claim to one third, his
slaves, though declared to be free by his last will, are
nevertheless liable to be sold for the widow’s portion. —
In South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi,
a valid emancipation can only be gained by authority of
the Legislature, expressly granted. A slave owner cannot
manumit his slaves without the formal consent of the
Legislature. “In Georgia, any attempt to free a slave in
any other manner than the prescribed form, is punished
by a fine of two hundred dollars for each offence; and
the slave or slaves are still, to all intents and purposes, in
a state of slavery.”
A new act was passed in that State
in 18181818, by which any person, who endeavors to enfranchise5* 5(3)v 54
a slave by will, testament, contract, or stipulation,
or who contrives indirectly to confer freedom by allowing
his slaves to enjoy the profit of their labor and skill,
incurs a penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars; and
the slaves who have been the object of such benevolence,
are ordered to be seized and sold at public outcry.

In North Carolina, “no slave is allowed to be set free,
except for meritorious services, to be adjudged of and
allowed by the county court, and license first had and
obtained thereupon;”
and any slave manumitted contrary
to this regulation may be seized, put in jail, and sold
to the highest bidder. In Mississippi, all the above
obstacles to emancipation are combined in one act.

In Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, and Maryland, greater
facillities are afforded to emancipation. An instrument
in writing, signed by two witnesses, or acknowledged by
the owner of the slave in open court, is sufficient; the
court reserving the power to demand security for the
maintenance of aged or infirm slaves. By the Virginia
laws, an emancipated negro, more than twentyone years
old, is liable to be again reduced to slavery, if he remain
in the State more than twelve months after his manumission.

In Louisiana, a slave cannot be emancipated, unless
he is thirty years old and has behaved well at least four
years preceding his freedom; except a slave who has
saved the life of his master, his master’s wife, or one of
his children. It is necessary to make known to the
judge the intention of conferring freedom, who may authorize
it, after it has been advertised at the door of the
court house forty days, without exciting any opposition.

Stephens in his history of West India slavery, supposes
that the colonial codes of England are the only ones
expressly framed to obstruct emancipation. He is mistaken;
— the American republics share that distinction
with their mother country. There are plenty of better
things in England to imitate.

According to the Mosaic law, a Hebrew could not
retain his brother, whom he might buy as a servant, more
than six years, against his consent, and in the seventh
year he went out free for nothing. If he came by himself, 5(4)r 55
he went out by himself; if he were married when
he came, his wife went with him. INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Exodus xxi., INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Deut.
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Jeremiah, xxxiv.
Besides this, Hebrew slaves were,
without exception, restored to freedom by the Jubilee.—
“Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty
throughout the land, and unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Leviticus, xxv. 10.

At Athens, if the slave possessed property enough to
buy his freedom, the law compelled the master to grant
it, whenever the money was offered.

The severe laws of Rome discouraged manumission;
but it was a very common thing for slaves to pay for freedom
out of their peculium; and public opinion made it
dishonorable to retain them in bondage under such
circumstances. “According to Cicero, sober and industrious
slaves, who became such by captivity in war,
seldom remained in servitude above six years.”

“In Turkey, the right of redemption is expressly regulated
by the Koran. The master is commanded to give
to all his slaves, that behave themselves faithfully, a
writing, fixing beforehand the price at which they may
be redeemed; and which he is bound to accept, when
tendered by them, or on their behalf.”

“In Brazil, a slave who can pay the value of his servitude,
(the fair price of which may be settled by the
magistrate,) has a right to demand his freedom. And
the case frequently happens; for the slaves have one
day in the week, and in some places two days, exclusively
of Sundays and other festivals, which the industrious
employ in providing a fund for their redemption.”

“In the Spanish colonies, the law is still more liberal.
The civil magistrates are empowered to decide upon the
just price of a slave, and when the negro is able to offer
this sum, his master is compelled to grant his freedom.
He may even redeem himself progressively. For instance,
by paying a sixth part of his appreciation, he
may redeem for his own use one day in the week; by
employing this industriously, he will soon be enabled to
buy another day; by pursuing the same laudable course,
the remainder of his time may be redeemed with continually 5(4)v 56
accelerated progress, till he becomes entitled to
entire manumission.”

Prop. 11.Operation of the laws interferes with religious

No places of public worship are prepared for the
negro; and churches are so scarce in the slave holding
States, compared with the number of white inhabitants,
that it is not to be supposed great numbers of them follow
their masters to such places; and if they did, what
could their rude, and merely sensual minds comprehend
of a discourse addressed to educated men? In
Georgia, there is a law which fobids any congregation
or company of negroes to assemble themselves contrary
to the act regulating patrols. Every justice of the
peace may go in person, or send a constable, to disperse
any assembly or meeting of slaves, which may disturb
the peace, endanger the safety, &c., and every slave
taken at such meetings may, by order of the justice,
without trial, receive on the bare back twentyfive stripes
with whip, switch, or cowskin. In South Carolina, an
act forbids the police officers to break into any place of
religious meeting before nine o’clock, provided a majority
of the assembly are white persons; but if the quorum
of white people should happen to be wanting, every slave
would be liable to twentyfive lashes of the cowskin.

These, and various similar regulations, are obviously
made to prevent insurrections; but it is plain that they
must materially interfere with the slave’s opportunities
for religious instruction. The fact is, there are inconveniences
attending a general diffusion of Christianity in
a slave holding State — light must follow its path, and
that light would reveal the surrounding darkness, —
slaves might begin to think whether slavery could be
reconciled with religious precepts, — and then the system
is quite too republican — it teaches that all men are
children of the same Heavenly Father, who careth alike
for all.

The West India planters boldly and openly declared,
that slavery and Christianity could not exist together; in
their minds the immediate inference was, that Chris
must be put down; and very consistently they 5(5)r 57
began to fine and imprison Methodist missionaries, burn
chapels, The slaves of any one owner may meet together for religious
purposes, if authorized by their master, and private chaplains may
be hired to preach to them. The domestic slaves, who are entirely
employed in the family, no doubt fare much better in this respect,
than the plantation slaves; but this, and all other negro privileges,
depend entirely upon the slave’s luck in the character of his master.

In Rome, the introduction of “Christianity abolished
slavery; the idea of exclusive property in our fellow men
was too obviously at variance with its holy precepts; and
its professors, in the sincerity of their hearts, made a
formal surrender of such claims. In various ancient instruments
of emancipation, the masters begin by declaring,
that, ‘for the love of God and Jesus Christ, for the
easing of their consciences, and the safety of their souls,’

they set their bondmen free.”

“It is remarkable that the ancient inhabitants of
Great Britain used to sell their countrymen, and even
their own children, to the Irish. The port of Bristol,
afterwards so famous for the African slave trade, was
then equally distinguished as a market for the same commodity,
though of a different color. But when Ireland,
in the year 11721172, was afflicted with public calamities, the
clergy and people of that generous nation began to reproach
themselves with the unchristian practice of holding
their fellow men in slavery. Their English bondmen
though fully paid for, were, by an unanimous resolution of
the Armagh Assembly, set at liberty. Their repentance
dictated present restitution to the injured. More than
six hundred years afterward, when Mr Wilberforce made
his first motion for the abolition of the slave trade, he
was supported by every Irish member of the House of
May God bless thee, warm hearted, generous
old Ireland!

In the English and Dutch colonies, baptism was generally
supposed to confer freedom on the slave; and for
this reason, masters were reluctant to have them baptised.
They got over this difficulty, however, and
married self-interest to conscience, by making a law that
“no slave should become free by being a Christian.” 5(5)v 58
This is a striking proof how closely Christianity and
liberty are associated together.

A French planter of St Domingo, in a book which he
published concerning that colony, admits that it is desirable
to have negroes know enough of religion to make
them friends to humanity, and grateful to their Creator;
but he considers it very wrong to load their weak minds
with a belief in supernatural dogmas, such as a belief
in a future state. He says, “such knowledge is apt
to render them intractable, averse to labor, and induces
them to commit suicide on themselves and their children,
of which the colony, the state, and commerce have
equal need.”

Our slave holders, in general, seem desirous to have
the slave just religious enough to know that insurrections
and murder are contrary to the maxims of Christianity;
but it is very difficult to have them learn just
so much as this, without learning more. In Georgia,
I have been told, that a very general prejudice prevails
against white missionaries. To avoid this danger,
old domestic slaves, who are better informed than
the plantation slaves, are employed to hear sermons
and repeat them to their brethren; and their repetitions
are said to be strange samples of pulpit eloquence. One
of these old negroes, as the story goes, told his hearers
that the Bible said slaves ought to get their freedom;
and if they could not do it in any other way, they must
murder their masters. The slaves had never been allowed
to learn to read, and of course they could not dispute
that such a doctrine was actually in the Scriptures.
Thus do unjust and absurd laws “return to plague the

Prop. 12.Whole power of the laws exerted to keep
negroes in ignorance.

South Carolina made the first law upon this subject.
While yet a province, she laid a penalty of one hundred
pounds upon any person who taught a slave to write, or
allowed him to be taught to write. Yet it has been said that these laws are entirely owing to the
rash efforts of the abolitionists.
In Virginia, any 5(6)r 59
school for teaching reading and writing, either to slaves,
or free people of color, is considered an unlawful assembly,
and may accordingly be dispersed, and punishment
administered upon each pupil not exceeding twenty lashes.

In South Carolina, the law is the same.

The city of Savannah, in Georgia, a few years ago,
passed an ordinance, by which “any person that teaches
a person of color, slave or free, to read or write, or
causes such persons to be so taught, is subjected to a
fine of thirty dollars for each offence; and every person
of color who shall teach reading or writing, is subject
to a fine of thirty dollars, or to be imprisoned ten days
and whipped thirtynine lashes.”

From these facts it is evident that legislative power
prevents a master from giving liberty and instruction to
his slave, even when such a course would be willingly
pursued by a benevolent individual. The laws allow
almost unlimited power to do mischief; but the power
to do good is effectually restrained.

Prop. 13.There is a monstrous inequality of law
and right.

In a civilized country, one would expect that if any
disproportion existed in the laws, it would be in favor of
the ignorant and defenceless; but the reverse is lamentably
the case here. Obedience to the laws is the price
freemen pay for the protection of the laws; — but the
same legislatures which absolutely sanction the negro’s
wrongs, and, to say the least, make very inadequate provisions
for his safety, claim the right to punish him with
inordinate severity.

“In Kentucky, white men are condemned to death for
four crimes only; slaves meet a similar punishment for
eleven crimes. In South Carolina, white persons suffer
death for twentyseven crimes; slaves incur a similar fate
for thirtysix crimes. In Georgia, whites are punished
capitally for three crimes only; slaves for at least nine.”

Stroud says there are seventyone crimes in the slave
States, for which negroes are punished with death, and
for each and every one of these crimes the white man
suffers nothing worse than imprisonment in the penitentiary.

5(6)v 60

“Trial by jury is utterly denied to the slave, even in
criminal accusations which may affect his life
, in South
, Virginia, and Louisiana, instead of a jury, is
substituted a tribunal composed of two justices of the
peace and from three to five ‘free’-holders, (i. e. slave-
holders.) In Virginia it is composed of five justices merely.
What chance has an ignorant slave before a tribunal
chosen by his accuser, suddenly convoked, and consisting
of but five persons?”

If a slave is found out of the limits of the town in
which he lives, or beyond the plantation on which he is
usually employed, without a written permission from his
master, or the company of some white person, any body
may inflict twenty lashes upon him; and if the slave
resist such punishment, he may be lawfully killed.

If a slave visit another plantation without leave in
writing from his master, the owner of the plantation may
give him ten lashes.

More than seven slaves walking or standing together
in the road, without a white man, may receive twenty
lashes each from any person.

Any slave, or Indian, who takes away, or lets loose a
boat, from any place where it is fastened, receives thirtynine
lashes for the first offence; and, according to some
laws, one ear is cut off for the second offence.

For carrying gun, powder, shot, a club, or any weapon
whatsoever, offensive or defensive, thirtynine lashes by
order of a justice; and in some States, twenty lashes
from the nearest constable, without a conviction by the

For selling any article, without a specific ticket from
his master, ten lashes by the captain of the patrollers, The patrols are very generally low and dissipated characters,
and the cruelties which negroes suffer from them, while in a state
of intoxication, are sometimes shocking. The law endows these
men with very great power.
thirtynine by order of a magistrate. The same punishment
for being at any assembly deemed “unlawful”.

For travelling by himself from his master’s land to any
other place, unless by the most accustomed road, forty
lashes; the same for travelling in the night without a 6(1)r 61
pass; the same for being found in another negro’s kitchen,
or quarters; and every negro found in company with
such vagrant, receives twenty lashes.

For hunting with dogs, even in the woods of his master,
thirty lashes.

For running away and lurking in swamps, a negro
may be lawfully killed by any person. If a slave happen
to die of “moderate” correction, it is likewise justifiable

For endeavoring to entice another slave to run away,
if provisions are prepared, the slave is punished with
death; and any negro aiding or abbetting suffers death.

Thirtynine stripes for harboring a runaway slave one

For disobeying orders, imprisonment, as long as the
master chooses.

For riding on horseback, without written permission,
or for keeping a dog, twentyfive lashes.

For rambling, riding, or going abroad in the night, or
riding horses in the day without leave, a slave may be
whipped, cropped, or branded on the cheek with the letter
R, or otherwise punished, not extending to life, or so as to
unfit him for labor

For beating the Patuxent river, to catch fish, ten lashes;
for placing a seine across Transquakin, and Chickwiccimo
, thirtynine lashes by order of a justice.

For advising the murder of a person, one hundred
lashes may be given.

A runaway slave may be put into jail, and the jailer
must forthwith send a letter by mail, to the man whom
the negro says is his owner. If an answer does not arrive
at the proper time, the jailer must inflict twentyfive
lashes, well laid on, and interrogate anew. If the slave’s
second statement be not corroborated by the letter from
the owner, twentyfive lashes are again administered. —
The act very coolly concludes thus: “and so on, for the
space of six months, it shall be the duty of the jailer to
interrogate and whip as aforesaid.”

The letter may miscarry — the owner may reside at a
great distance from the Post-Office, and thus long delays
may occur — the ignorant slave may not know his master’s6 6(1)v 62
christian name — the jailer may not spell it aright;
but no matter — “it is the jailer’s duty to interrogate
and whip, as aforesaid.”

The last authorized edition of the laws of Maryland,
comprises the following: “If any slave be convicted of
any petit treason, or murder, or wilully burning of
dwelling houses, it may be lawful for the justices to give
judgment against such slave to have the right hand cut
off, to be hanged in the usual manner, the head severed
from the body, the body divided into four quarters, and
the head and quarters set up in the most public places of
the county,”

The laws of Tennessee and Missouri are comparatively
mild; yet in Missouri it is death to prepare or administer
medicine without the master’s consent, unless it can
be proved that there was no evil intention. The law in
Virginia is similar; it requires proof that there was no
evil intention, and that the medicine produced no bad

To estimate fully the cruel injustice of these laws, it
must be remembered that the poor slave is without religious
instruction, unable to read, too ignorant to comprehend
legislation, and holding so little communication
with any person better informed than himself, that the
chance is, he does not even know the existence of half the
laws by which he suffers. This is worthy of Nero, who
caused his edicts to be placed so high that they could
not be read, and then beheaded his subjects for disobeying

Prop. 14.The laws operate oppressively on free colored

Free people of color, like the slaves, are excluded by
law from all means of obtaining the common elements of

The free colored man may at any time be taken up on
suspicion, and be condemned and imprisoned as a runaway
slave, unless he can prove the contrary; and be it
remembered, none but white evidence, or written documents,
avail him. The common law supposes a man to
be innocent, until he is proved guilty; but slave law
turns this upside down. Every colored man is presumed 6(2)r 63
to be a slave, till it can be proved otherwise; this rule
prevails in all the slave States, except North Carolina,
where it is confined to negroes. Stephens supposes this
harsh doctrine to be peculiar to the British Colonial
; but in this he is again mistaken — the American
share the honor with England.

A law passed in 1822-12December, 1822, in South Carolina,
provides that any free colored persons coming into port
on board of any vessel shall be seized and imprisoned
during the stay of the vessel; and when she is ready to
depart, the captain shall take such free negroes and pay
the expenses of their arrest and imprisonment; and in
case of refusing so to do, he shall be indicted and fined
not less than one thousand dollars, and imprisoned not
less than two months; and such free negroes shall be
sold for slaves. The Circuit Court of the United States,
adjudged the law unconstitutional and void. Yet nearly
two years after this decision, four colored English seamen
were taken out of the brig Marmion. England
made a formal complaint to our Government. Mr Wirt
the Attorney General gave the opinion that the law was
unconstitutional. This, as well as the above mentioned
decision, excited strong indignation in South Carolina.
Notwithstanding the decision, the law still remains in
force, and other States have followed the example of
South Carolina, though with a more cautious observance
of appearances.

In South Carolina, if any free negro harbor, conceal,
or entertain, any runaway slave, or a slave charged with
any criminal matter, he forfeits ten pounds for the first
day, and twenty shillings for every succeeding day. In
case of inability to pay, the free negro is sold at auction,
and if any overplus remain, after the fines and attendant
expenses are paid, it is put into the hands of the public

The free negro may entertain a slave without knowing
that he has done anything wrong; but his declaration
to that effect is of no avail. Where every effort is made
to prevent colored people from obtaining any money, they
are of course unable to pay the penalties imposed.

If any omission is made in the forms of emancipation 6(2)v 64
established by law, any person whatsoever may seize the
negro so manumitted, and appropriate him to their own

If a free colored person remain in Virginia twelve
months after his manumission, he can be sold by the
overseers of the poor for the benefit of the literary fund!

In Georgia, a free colored man, except a regular articled
seaman, is fined one hundred dollars for coming
into the State; and if he cannot pay it, may be sold at
public outcry. This act has been changed to one of increased
severity. A free colored person cannot be a
witness against a white man. They may therefore be
robbed, assaulted, kidnapped and carried off with impunity;
and even the legislatures of the old slave States
adopt it as a maxim that it is very desirable to get rid of
them. It is of no avail to declare themselves free; the
law presumes them to be slaves, unless they can prove to
the contrary. In many instances written documents of
freedom have been wrested from free colored people and
destroyed by kidnappers. A lucrative internal slave
trade furnishes constant temptation to the commission of
such crimes; and the new States of Alabama, Mississippi,
Missouri, and the territories of Arkansas, and the Floridas,
are not likely to be glutted for years to come.

In Philadelphia, though remote from a slave market,
it has been ascertained that more than thirty free persons
of color, were stolen and carried off within two
years. Stroud says: “Five of these have been restored
to their friends, by the interposition of humane gentlemen,
though not without great expense and difficulty.
The others are still in bondage; and if rescued at all, it
must be by sending white witnesses a journey of more
than a thousand miles.”

I know the names of four colored citizens of Massachusetts,
who went to Georgia on board a vessel, were
seized under the laws of that State, and sold as slaves.
They have sent the most earnest exhortations to their
families and friends to do something for their relief;
but the attendant expenses require more money than
the friends of negroes are apt to have, and the poor fellows
as yet remain unassisted.

6(3)r 65

A New York paper, 1829-11November, 1829, contains the
following caution:

“Beware of kidnappers! — It is well understood that
there is at present in this city, a gang of kidnappers, busily
engaged in their vocation of stealing colored children
for the Southern market! It is believed that three
or four have been stolen within as many days. A little
negro boy came to this city from the country three or
four days ago. Some strange white persons were very
friendly to him, and yesterday morning he was mightily
pleased that they had given him some new clothes. And
the persons pretending thus to befriend him, entirely secured
his confidence. This day he cannot be found. —
Nor can he be traced since seen with one of his new
friends yesterday. There are suspicions of a foul nature,
connected with some who serve the police in subordinate
capacities. It is hinted that there may be
those in some authority, not altogether ignorant of these
diabolical practices. Let the public be on their guard!
It is still fresh in the memories of all, that a cargo, or
rather drove, of negroes was made up from this city and
Philadelphia, about the time that the emancipation of
all the negroes in this State took place under our present
constitution, and were taken through Virginia, the Carolinas,
and Tennessee, and disposed of in the state of
Mississippi. Some of those who were taken from Philadelphia
were persons of intelligence, and after they had
been driven through the country in chains, and disposed
of by sale on the Mississippi, wrote back to their friends,
and were rescued from bondage. The persons who
were guilty of this abominable transaction are known,
and now reside in North Carolina; they may, very probbably,
be engaged in similar enterprises at the present
time — at least there is reason to believe that the system
of kidnapping free persons of color from the Northern
cities has been carried on more extensively than the
public are generally aware of.”

This, and other evils of the system, admit of no radical
cure but the utter extinction of slavery. To enact
laws prohibiting the slave traffic, and at the same time 6* 6(3)v 66
tempt avarice by the allurements of an insatiable market,
is irreconcilable and absurd.

To my great surprise, I find that the free States of
Ohio and Indiana disgrace themselves by admitting the
same maxim of law, which prevents any black or mulatto
from being witness against a white man!

It is naturally supposed that free negroes will sympathize
with their enslaves brethren, and that, notwithstanding
all exertions to the contrary, they will become
a little more intelligent; this excites a peculiar jealousy
and hatred in the white population, of which it is impossible
to enumerate all the hardships. Even in the
laws, slaves are always mentioned before free people of
color; so desirous are they to degrade the latter class
below the level of the former. To complete the wrong,
this unhappy class are despised in consequence of the
very evils we ourselves have induced — for as slavery
inevitably makes its victims servile and vicious, and as
none but negroes are allowed to be slaves, we, from our
very childhood, associate everything that is degraded
with the mere color; though in fact the object of our
contempt may be both exemplary and intelligent. In
this way the Africans are doubly the victims of our injustice;
and thus does prejudice “make the meat it
feeds on.”

I have repeatedly said that our slave laws are continually
increasing in severity: as a proof of this I will
give a brief view of some of the most striking, which
have been passed since Stroud published his compendium
of slave laws, in 18271827. In the first class are contained
those enactments directly oppressive to people of color;
in the second are those which injure them indirectly, by
the penalties or disabilities imposed upon the whites,
who instruct, assist, or employ them, or endeavor, in any
way, to influence public opinion in their favor.

Class First. — The Legislature of Virginia passed a
law in 18311831, by which any free colored person who undertakes
to preach, or conduct any religious meeting, by
day or night, may be whipped not exceeding thirtynine
lashes, at the discretion of any justice of the peace;
and anybody may apprehend any such free colored person 6(4)r 67
without a warrant. The same penalty, adjudged
and executed in the same way, falls upon any slave, or
free colored person, who attends such preaching; and
any slave who listens to any white preacher, in the night
time, receives the same punishment. The same law prevails
in Georgia, and Mississippi. A master may permit
a slave to preach on his plantation, to none but his slaves.

There is a naiveté in the following preamble to a law
passed by North Carolina, in 18311831, which would be
amusing, if the subject were not too serious for mirth:
“Whereas teaching slaves to read and write has a tendency
to excite dissatisfaction in their minds,
and to produce
insurrection and rebellion,”
therefore it is enacted
that teaching a slave to read or write, or giving or selling
to a slave any book, or pamplet, shall be punished
with thirtynine lashes, if the offender be a free black, or
with imprisonment at the discretion of the court; if a
slave, the “offence” is punishable with thirtynine lashes, on
his or her bare back, on conviction before a justice of
the peace.

In Georgia, any slave, or free person of color, is for a
similar offence, fined or whipped, or fined and whipped
at the discretion of the court.

In Louisiana, twelve months’ imprisonment is the penalty
for teaching a slave to read or write.

For publishing, or circulating, in the state of North
, any pamphlet or paper having an evident tendency
to excite slaves, or free persons of color, to insurrection
or resistance, imprisonment not less than one
year, and standing in the pillory, and whipping, at the
discretion of the court for the first offence; and death
for the second. The same offence punished with death
in Georgia, without any reservation. In Mississippi, the
same as in Georgia. In Louisiana, the same offence
punished either with imprisonment for life, or death, at
the discretion of the court. In Virginia, the first offence
of this sort is punished with thirtynine lashes, the second
with death.

With regard to publications having a “tendency” to promote
discontent among slaves, their masters are so very
jealous, that it would be difficult to find any book, that 6(4)v 68
would not come under their condemnation. The Bible,
and the Declaration of Independence are certainly unsafe.
The preamble to the North Carolina law declares,
that the Alphabet has a tendency to excite dissatisfaction;
I suppose it is because “freedom” may be spelt out
of it. A store keeper in South Carolina was nearly
ruined by having unconsciously imported certain printed
handkerchiefs, which his neighbors deemed seditious. A
friend of mine asked, “Did the handkerchiefs contain
texts from scripture? or quotations from the Constitution
of the United States

Emancipated slaves must quit North Carolina in ninety
days after their enfranchisement, on pain of being sold
for life. Free persons of color who shall migrate into
that State, may be seized and sold as runaway slaves;
and if they migrate out of the State for more than ninety
days, they can never return under the same penalty.

This extraordinary use of the word “migrate” furnishes
a new battering ram against the free colored class, which
is everywhere so odious to slave owners. A visit to relations
in another State may be called “migrating”; being
taken up and detained by kidnappers, over ninety days,
may be called “migrating”; — for where neither the evidence
of the sufferer nor any of his own color is allowed,
it will evidently amount to this.

In South Carolina, if a free negro cross the line of the
State, he can never return.

In 18311831, Mississippi passed a law to expel all colored
persons under sixty and over sixteen years of age from
the State, within ninety days, unless they could prove
good characters, and obtain from the court a certificate
of the same, for which they paid three dollars; these
certificates might be revoked at the discretion of the
county courts. If such persons do not quit the State
within the time specified, or if they return to it, they may
be sold for a term not exceeding five years.

In Tennessee, slaves are not allowed to be emancipated
unless they leave the State forthwith. Any free
colored persons emigrating into this State, is fined from
ten to fifty dollars, and hard labor in the penitentiary
from one to two years.

North Carolina has made a law subjecting any vessel 6(5)r 69
with free colored persons on board to thirty days quarantine;
as if freedom were as bad as the cholera! Any person
of color coming on shore from such vessels is seized and
imprisoned, till the vessel departs; and the captain is fined
five hundred dollars; and if he refuse to take the colored
seaman away, and pay all the expenses of his imprisonment,
he is fined five hundred more. If the sailor do
not depart within ten days after his captain’s refusal, he
must be whipped thirtynine lashes; and all colored persons,
bond or free, who communicate with him, receive
the same.

In Georgia, there is a similar enactment. The prohibition
is, in both States, confined to merchant vessels,
(it would be imprudent to meddle with vessels of war;)
and any colored person communicating with such seamen
is whipped not exceeding thirty lashes. If the captain
refuse to carry away seamen thus detained, and
pay the expenses of their imprisonment, he shall be fined
five hundred dollars, and also imprisoned, not exceeding
three months.

These State laws are a direct violation of the Laws of
Nations, and our treaties; and may involve the United
in a foreign war.

Colored seamen are often employed in Spanish, Portuguese,
French, and English vessels. These nations are
bound to know the United States Laws; but can they
be expected to know the enactments of particular States
and cities? and if they know them, are they bound to
observe them, if they interfere with the established rules
of nations? When Mr Wirt pronounced these laws unconstitutional,
great excitement was produced in South
. The Governor of that State in his Message to
the Legislature implied that separation from the Union
was the only remedy, if the laws of the Southern States
could not be enforced. They seem to require unconditional
submission abroad as well as at home.

The endeavor to prevent insurrections in this way, is
as wise as to attempt to extinguish fire with spirits of
wine. The short-sighted policy defeats itself. A free
colored sailor was lately imprisoned with seven slaves:
Here was a fine opportunity to sow the seeds of sedition
in their minds!

6(5)v 70

The upholders of slavery will in vain contend with the
liberal spirit of the age; it is too strong for them. —
They may as well try to bottle up the sunshine for their
own exclusive use, as to attempt to keep knowledge
and freedom to themselves. We all know that such an
experiment would result in bottling up darkness for themselves,
while exactly the same amount of sunshine remained
abroad for the use of their neighbors.

In North Carolina, free negroes are whipped, fined,
and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, for intermarrying
with slaves.

In Georgia, free colored persons when unable to pay
any fine, may be sold for a space of time not exceeding
five years. This limitation does not probably avail
much; if sold to another master before the five years
expired, they would never be likely to be free again.

Several other laws have been passed in Georgia, prohibiting
slaves from living apart from their master, either
to labor for other persons, or to sell refreshments, or to
carry on any trade or business although with their master’s
consent. Any person of color, bond or free, is
forbidden to occupy any tenement except a kitchen or
an outhouse, under penalty of from twenty to fifty lashes.
Some of these laws are applicable only to particular
cities, towns, or counties; others to several counties.

Sundry general laws of a penal nature have been made
more penal; and the number of offences, for which a
colored person may suffer death, is increased.

A law passed in Tennessee, in 18311831, provides that negroes
for conspiracy to rebel, shall be punished with
whipping, imprisonment and pillory, at the discretion of
the court; it has this curious proviso — “Householders
may serve as jurors, if slave-holders cannot be had!”
The Common Law assigns for the trial of a foreigner, six jurors
of his own nation, and six native Englishmen.

The Southern courts need to have a great deal of discretion,
since so much is trusted to it.

Class Second. — In Virginia, white persons who teach
any colored person to read or write, are fined not exceeding
fifty dollars; for teaching slaves for pay, from ten to
twenty dollars for each offence.

6(6)r 71

In Georgia, a similar offence is fined not exceeding
five hundred dollars, and imprisoned at the discretion of
the court. Knowledge seems to be peculiarly pokerish
in Georgia.

In North Carolina, if a white person teach a slave to
read or write, or give or sell him any book, &c., he is
fined from one to two hundred dollars.

In Louisiana, any white person, who teaches a slave to
read or write, is imprisoned one year. And if any person
shall use any language from the bar, bench, stage,
, or any other place, — or hold any conversation
having a tendency to promote discontent among free colored
people, or insubordination among slaves, he may
be imprisoned at hard labor, not less than three, nor
more than twentyone years; or he may suffer death — at
the discretion of the court.

In Mississippi, a white man, who prints or circulates
doctrines, sentiments, advice, or innuendoes, likely to produce
discontent among the colored class, is fined from
one hundred to a thousand dollars, and imprisoned from
three to twelve months.

All the States which have pronounced an anathema
against books and alphabets, have likewise forbidden
that any colored man shall be employed in a printing
office, under the penalty of ten dollars for every offence.

In Mississippi, any white who employs, or receives a
free colored person, without a certificate of freedom,
written on parchment, forfeits one thousand dollars.

If any master, in that State, allows his slaves to sell
any wares or merchandiese out of the incorporated towns,
he is liable to a fine of from fifty to five hundred dollars.

In Virginia, any person who buys of a slave any article
belonging to his master, forfeits from ten to fifty dollars;
if the purchase be made on Sunday, ten dollars
more are added to the fine for each article.

This enactment is evidently made to prevent a slave
from obtaining any money, or holding communication
with freemen; a particular proviso is made against Sunday,
because the slave has usually more leisure on that
day. It is to be remembered that all a slave has belongs
to his master.

6(6)v 72

To carry a slave out of North Carolina, or conceal
him with intent to carry him out, is punished with

If a runaway slave die in prison, before he or she can
be sold, the county pays the sheriff and jailer; formerly
these officers depended on the life and marketableness
of their prisoners for security; but even this poor motive
for kindness is now taken away. If ninetynine out of a
hundred die in prison, they will be heard of only in the
jailer’s bill. I never heard or read of an inquest upon
the body of a slave found dead. Under the term “runaway
are included many free colored persons
taken up unjustly.

Well might Jefferson say, “I tremble for my country,
when I reflect that God is just!”

In travelling over this dreary desert, it is pleasant to
arrive at one little oasis: Louisiana has enacted that
slaves brought into that State for sale, shall forthwith be
set free; but they must be sent out of the State.

It is worthy of remark that England pursues a totally
different course with regard to allowing slaves to communicate
with free people. Their recent laws are all
calculated to make it easy for the slave to obtain a fair
hearing from people who have no interest to suppress his
complaints. He may go upon any plantation, and communicate
with any person; and whoever tries to prevent
his going to a magistrate is guilty of a misdemeanor.

They have abolished all distinction between white and
colored witnesses.

The law expressly stipulates the quality and quantity
of provisions.

Inquest is held upon the bodies of slaves dying suddenly,
or from any suspected violence.

Use of the cart whip prohibited; and no female to be
punished except by order of the court.

Only fifteen lashes allowed as a punishment to men
for one offence, and in one day; two kinds of punishment
never allowed for one offence.

When a slave is punished, two competent witnesses
must be present.

The owner is obliged to keep a record of domestic
punishments and the causes.

7(1)r 73

Marriages among slaves are encouraged, and husband
and wife are not allowed to be sold separately. Children
under sixteen years old cannot be separated from their

Masters illegally punishing their slaves, are subject to
fine, imprisonment, and loss of the slave, for the first
offence; for the second offence, sequestration of all their

Free colored representatives are allowed to take their
seat in the legislature, and share all the other privileges of
British subjects.

Yet these humane laws, so carefully framed in favor of
the defenceless, have been found insufficient to protect
the slave. Experience proves, what reason clearly points
out, that the force of good laws must be weakened by the
very nature of this unholy relation. Where there is
knowledge and freedom on one side, and ignorance and
servitude on the other, evasions and subterfuges will of
course be frequent. Hence English philanthropists have
universally come to the conclusion that nothing effectual
can be done, unless slavery itself be destroyed.

The limits of this work compel me to pass by many
enactments in our slave-holding States, which would
throw still more light on this dark subject.

I have laid open some of the laws which do actually
exist, and are constantly enforced in this free country;
and knowing all this, and still more, to be true, I blush
and hang my head, whenever I hear any one boast of our
“glorious institutions.”

The slave-holders insist that their “humanity” is so
great, as to render all their ferocious laws perfectly
harmless. Are the laws then made on purpose to urge
tender-hearted masters to be so much worse than they
really desire to be? The democrats of the South appear
to be less scrupulous about the liberties of others, than
the Autocrat of the Russias; — for, when Madame de
told the Emperor Alexander that his character
answered instead of a constitution for his country, he
replied, “Then, madam, I am but a lucky accident.”
How much more emphatically may it be said that the
slave’s destiny is a matter of chance! Reader, would 7 7(1)v 74
you trust the very best man you know, with your time,
your interests, your family, and your life, unless the contract
were guarded on every side by the strong arm of
the law? If a money-loving neighbor could force you to
toil, and could gain a certain number of dollars for every
hour of your labor, how much rest should you expect to

It is utter nonsense to say that generosity of disposition
is a protection against tyranny, where all the power
is on one side. It may be, and it no doubt is so, in
particular instances; but they must be exceptions to the
general rule.

We all know that the Southerners have a high sense of
what the world calls honor, and that they are brave, hospitable,
and generous to people of their own color; but
the more we respect their virtues, the more cause is
there to lament the demoralizing system, which produces
such unhappy effects on all who come within its baneful
influence. Most of them may be as kind as can be expected
of human nature, endowed with almost unlimited
power to do wrong; and some of them may be even
more benevolent than the warmest friend of the negro
would dare to hope; but while we admit all this, we
must not forget that there is in every community a class
of men, who will not be any better than the laws compel
them to be.

Captain Riley, in his Narrative, says: “Strange as it
may seem to the philanthropist, my free and proud spirited
country men still hold a million and a half There are now over two millions. of human
beings in the most cruel bonds of slavery; who are kept
at hard labor, and smarting under the lash of inhuman,
mercenary drivers; in many instances enduring the miseries
of hunger, thirst, imprisonment, cold, nakedness,
and even tortures. This is no picture of the imagination.
For the honor of human nature, I wish likenesses
were nowhere to be found! I myself have witnessed such
scenes in different parts of my own country; and the
bare recollection of them now chills my blood with horror.”

7(2)r 75

When the slave owners talk of their gentleness and
compassion, they are witnesses in their own favor, and
have strong motives for showing the fairest side. But
what do the laws themselves imply? Are enactments
ever made against exigencies which do not exist? If
negroes have never been scalded, burned, mutilated, &c.
why are such crimes forbidden by an express law, with
the marvellous proviso, except said slave die of “‘moderate’
? If a law sanctioning whipping to any
extent, incarceration at the discretion of the master, and
the body loaded with irons, is called a “restraining” law,
let me ask what crimes must have been committed, to
require prohibition, where so much is allowed? The
law, which declares that slaves shall be compelled to
labor only fourteen or fifteen hours a day, has the following
preamble: “Whereas many owners of slaves, managers,
&c. do confine them so closely to hard labor that
they have not sufficient time for natural rest,”
&c. Mr
, in a public argument, speaking of slaves murdered
by severe treatment, says: “The frequency of the
crime is no doubt owing to the nature of the punishment.”

The reader will observe that I carefully refrain from
quoting the representations of party spirit, and refer to
facts only for evidence.

Where the laws are made by the people, a majority of
course approve them; else they would soon be changed.
It must therefore in candor be admitted, that the laws
of a State speak the prevailing sentiments of the inhabitants.

Judging by this rule, what inference must be drawn
from the facts stated above? “At Sparta, the freeman
is the freest of all men, and the slave is the greatest of

Our republic is a perfect Pandora’s box to the negro,
only there is no hope at the bottom. The wretchedness
of his fate is not a little increased by being a constant
witness of the unbounded freedom enjoyed by others:
the slave’s labor must necessarily be like the labor of
Sisiphus; and here the torments of Tantalus are added.

Slavery is so inconsistent with free institutions, and
the spirit of liberty is so contagious under such institutions, 7(2)v 76
that the system must either be given up, or sustained
by laws outrageously severe; hence we find that
our slave laws have each year been growing more harsh
than those of any other nation.

Shall I be told that all these regulations are necessary
for the white man’s safety? What then, let me indignantly
ask, what must the system be that requires to be
supported by such unnatural, such tyrannical means! The
very apology pronounces the condemnation of slavery —
for it proves that it cannot exist without producing
boundless misery to the oppressed, and perpetual terror
to the oppressor.

In our --07-04fourth of July orations, we are much in the
habit of talking about the tyranny of England! and there
is no doubt that broad and deep stains do rest upon her
history. But there is a vulgar proverb that “those who
live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
In judging
of national, as well as individual wrong, it is fair to
consider the amount of temptation. England has had
power, more extensive and permanent than any nation
since the decline of Rome: the negroes and the Indians
are the only people who have been dependent on our justice
and generosity — and how have we treated them?

It is a favorite argument that we are not to blame for
slavery, because the British engrafted it upon us, while
we were colonies. But did we not take the liberty to
change English laws and customs, when they did not
suit us? Why not put away this, as well as other evils of
much less consequence? It could have been done easily,
at the time of our confederation; it can be done now. —
Have not other nations been making alterations for the
better, on this very subject, since we became independent?
Is not England trying with all her might to atone
for the wrong she has done? Does not the constitution of
the United States
, and the constitution of each individual
State, make provision for such changes as shall tend to
the public good?

The plain truth is, the continuation of this system is a
sin; and the sin rests upon us: It has been eloquently
said that “by this excuse, we try to throw the blame upon
our ancestors, and leave repentance to posterity.”


Chapter III.

Free Labor and Slave Labor. — Possibility of Safe

“Wo unto him that useth his neighbor’s service without wages, and giveth him
not for his work.”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Jeremiah, xxii. 13.

“Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round Of smooth and solemnized complacencies, By which, on Christian lands, from age to age, Profession mocks performance. Earth is sick, And Heaven is weary, of the hollow words, Which states and kingdoms utter when they talk Of truth and justice.” Wordsworth.

Political economists found their systems on those
broad and general principles, the application of which
has been proved by reason and experience to produce
the greatest possible happiness to the greatest number of
people. All writers of this class, I believe without exception,
prefer free labor to slave labor.

Indeed a very brief glance will show that slavery is inconsistent
with economy, whether domestic, or political.

The slave is bought, sometimes at a very high price;
in free labor there is no such investment of capital. —
When the slave is ill, a physician must be paid by the
owner; the free laborer defrays his own expenses. The
children of the slave must be supported by his master;
the free man maintains his own. The slave is to be
taken care of in his old age, which his previous habits
render peculiarly helpless; the free laborer is hired
when he is wanted, and then returns to his home. The
slave does not care how slowly or carelessly he works;
it is the free man’s interest to do his business well and
quickly. The slave is indifferent how many tools he
spoils; the free man has a motive to be careful. The
slave’s clothing is indeed very cheap, but it is of no consequence7* 7(3)v 78
to him how fast it is destroyed — his master
must keep him covered, and that is all he is likely to do;
the hired laborer pays more for his garments, but makes
them last three times as long. The free man will be
honest for reputation’s sake; but reputation will make
the slave none the richer, nor invest him with any of the
privileges of a human being — while his poverty and
sense of wrong both urge him to steal from his master.
A salary must be paid to an overseer to compel the slave
to work; the free man is impelled by the desire of increasing
the comforts of himself and family. Two hired
laborers will perform as much work as three slaves; by
some it is supposed to be a more correct estimate that
slaves perform only half as much labor as the same number
of free laborers. Finally, where slaves are employed,
manual industry is a degradation to white people, and
indolence becomes the prevailing characteristic.

Slave owners have indeed frequently shown great
adroitness in defending this bad system; but, with few
exceptions, they base their arguments upon the necessity
of continuing slavery because it is already begun. Many
of them have openly acknowledged that it was highly
injurious to the prosperity of the State.

The Hon. Henry Clay, in his address before the Colonization
Society of Kentucky
, has given a view of the causes
affecting, and likely to affect, slavery in this country,
which is very remarkable for its completeness, its distinctness,
and its brevity. The following sentences are
quoted from this address: “As a mere laborer, the slave
feels that he toils for his master, and not for himself;
that the laws do not recognize his capacity to acquire
and hold property, which depends altogether upon the
pleasure of his proprietor, and that all the fruits of his exertions
are reaped by others. He knows that, whether
sick or well, in times of scarcity or abundance, his master
is bound to provide for him by the all powerful influence
of self-interest. He is generally, therefore, indifferent to
the adverse or prosperous fortunes of his master, being
contented if he can escape his displeasure or chastisement,
by a careless and slovenly performance of his duties.

This is the state of the relation between master and 7(4)r 79
slave, prescribed by the law of its nature, and founded
in the reason of things. There are undoubtedly many
exceptions, in which the slave dedicates himself to his
master with a zealous and generous devotion, and the
master to the slave with a parental and affectionate attachment.
But it is my purpose to speak of the general
state of this unfortunate relation.

That labor is best, in which the laborer knows that
he will derive the profits of his industry, that his employment
depends upon his diligence, and his reward upon
this assiduity. He then has every motive to excite him
to exertion, and to animate him in perseverance. He
knows that if he is treated badly he can exchange his
employer, for one who will better estimate his service; and
that whatever he earns is his, to be distributed by himself
as he pleases, among his wife, and children, and
friends, or enjoyed by himself. In a word, he feels that
he is a free agent, with rights, and privileges, and sensibilities.

Wherever the option exists to employ, at an equal
hire, free or slave labor, the former will be decidedly preferred,
for the reasons already assigned. It is more
capable, more diligent, more faithful, and in every respect
more worthy of confidence.

It is believed that nowhere in the farming portion of
the United States would slave labor be generally employed,
if the proprietor were not tempted to raise slaves by
the high price of the Southern market, which keeps it
up in his own.”

Speaking of an attempt more than thirtyfive years ago,
to adopt gradual emancipation in Kentucky, Mr Clay
says: “We were overpowered by numbers, and submitted
to the decision of the majority, with the grace
which the minority, in a republic, should ever yield to
such a decision. I have nevertheless never ceased, and
never shall cease, to regret a decision, the effects of
which have been to place us in the rear of our neighbors,
who are exempt from slavery, in the state of agriculture,
the progress of manufactures, the advance of improvement,
and the general prosperity of society.”

Mr Appleton, in his reply to Mr McDuffie in the winter 7(4)v 80
of 18321832, — a speech distinguished for its good temper
and sound practical sense, — says: “I do not think
the gentleman from South Carolina has overrated the
money price of New England labor at fifty cents; but
most of the labor is performed by the owners of the soil.
It is great industry alone, which makes New England
prosperous. The circumstance that with this cheap
slave labor, the South is complaining of suffering, while
the North is content and prosperous with dear free labor,
is a striking fact and deserves a careful and thorough
examination. The experience of all ages and nations
proves that high wages are the most powerful stimulus
to exertion, and the best means of attaching the people
to the institutions under which they live. It is apparent
that the political effect upon the character of society
cannot have any action upon slaves. Having no choice
or volition, there is nothing for stimulus to act upon;
they are in fact no part of society. So that, in the language
of political economy, they are, like machinery,
merely capital; and the productions of their labor consist
wholly of profits of capital. But it is not perceived how
the tariff can lessen the value of the productions of their
labor, in comparison with that of the other States. New
and Virginia both produce wheat; New York with
dear labor is content, and Virginia with cheap labor is

What is the occupation of the white population of the
planting States? I am at a loss to know how this population
is employed. We hear of no products of these
States, but those produced by slave labor. It is clear the
white population cannot be employed in raising cotton or
tobacco, because in doing so they can earn but twelve and
a half cents per day, since the same quantity of labor performed
by a slave is worth no more. I am told also that the
wages of overseers, mechanics, &c. are higher than the
white labor of the North; and it is well known that
many mechanics go from the North to the South, to get
employment during the winter. These facts suggest the
inquiry whether this cheap slave labor does not paralyze
the industry of the whites? Whether idleness is not the
greatest of their evils?”

7(5)r 81

During the famous debate in the Virginia Legislature,
in the winter of 18321832, Mr Brodnax made the following
remark: “That slavery in Virginia is an evil, and a
transcendent evil, it would be more than idle for any
human being to doubt or deny. It is a mildew which
has blighted every region it has touched, from the creation
of the world. Illustrations from the history of other
countries and other times might be instructive and profitable,
had we the time to review them; but we have
evidence tending to the same conviction nearer at hand
and accessible to daily observation, in the short histories
of the different States of this great confederacy, which
are impressive in their admonitions and conclusive in
their character.”

During the same session, Mr Faulkner of Virginia,
said: “Sir, I am gratified to perceive that no gentleman
has yet risen in this Hall, the avowed advocate of slavery.
The day has gone by, when such a voice could be listened
to with patience, or even forbearance. I even regret,
sir, that we should find one amongst us, who enters the
lists as its apologist, except on the ground of uncontrolable
necessity. If there be one, who concurs with the
gentleman from Brunswick (Mr Gholson) in the harmless
character of this institution, let me request him to
compare the condition of the slave holding portion of
this Commonwealth — barren, desolate, and seared as it
were by the avenging hand of Heaven, with the descriptions
which we have of this same country from those who
first broke its virgin soil. To what is this change ascribable?
Alone to the withering and blasting effects of
slavery. If this does not satisfy him, let me request him
to extend his travels to the Northern States of this Union,
— and beg him to contrast the happiness and contentment
which prevails throughout the country — the busy
and cheerful sound of industry — the rapid and swelling
growth of their population — their means and institutions
of education — their skill and proficiency in the useful
arts — their enterprise, and public spirit — the monuments
of their commercial and manufacturing industry;
and, above all, their devoted attachment to the government
from which they derive their protection, with the 7(5)v 82
division, discontent, indolence, and poverty of the Southern
country. To what, sir, is all this ascribable? To
that vice in the organization of society, by which one half
of its inhabitants are arrayed in interest and feeling
against the other half — to that unfortunate state of society
in which freemen regard labor as disgraceful — and
slaves shrink from it as a burden tyrannically imposed
upon them — to that condition of things, in which half a
million of your population can feel no sympathy with the
society in the prosperity of which they are forbidden to
participate, and no attachment to a government at whose
hands they receive nothing but injustice.

If this should not be sufficient, and the curious and
incredulous inquirer should suggest that the contrast
which has been adverted to, and is so manifest, might be
traced to a difference of climate, or other causes distinct
from slavery itself, permit me to refer him to the two
states of Kentucky and Ohio — no difference of soil —
no diversity of climate — no diversity in the original
settlement of those two States, can account for the remarkable
disproportion in their national advancement. —
Separated by a river alone, they seem to have been purposely
and providentially designed to exhibit in their
future histories the difference, which necessarily results
from a country free from, and a country afflicted with,
the curse of slavery. The same may be said of the two
states of Missouri and Illinois.

Slavery, it is admitted, is an evil — it is an institution
which presses heavily against the best interests of the
State. It banishes free white labor — it exterminates
the mechanic — the artisan — the manufacturer. It deprives
them of occupation. It deprives them of bread. It
converts the energy of a community into indolence — its
power into imbecility — its efficiency into weakness. Sir,
being thus injurious, have we not a right to demand its
extermination! Shall society suffer, that the slave holder
may continue to gather his virgintial crop of human
flesh? What is his mere pecuniary claim, compared
with the great interests of the common weal? Must the
country languish and die, that the slave holder may flourish?
Shall all interests be subservient to one? — all 7(6)r 83
rights subordinate to those of the slave holder? Has not
the mechanic — have not the middle classes their rights?
— rights imcompatible with the existence of slavery?”

Sutcliff in his Travels in North America, says: “A
person not conversant with these things would naturally
think that where families employ a number of slaves,
everything about their houses, gardens, and plantations,
would be kept in the best order. But the reverse of this
is generally the case. I was sometimes tempted to think
that the more slaves there were employed, the more disorder
appeared. I am persuaded that one or two hired
servants, in a well regulated family, would preserve more
neatness, order, and comfort, than treble the number of

There is a very striking contrast between the appearance
of the horses or teams in Pennsylvania, and those
in the Southern States, where slaves are kept. In Pennsylvania
we met with great numbers of wagons, drawn
by four or more fine fat horses, the carriages firm and
well made, and covered with stout good linen, bleached
almost white: and it is not uncommon to see ten or fifteen
together, travelling cheerfully along the road, the
driver riding on one of his horses. Many of these come
more than three hundred miles to Philadelphia, from the
Ohio, Pittsburg, and other places; and I have been told
by a respectable friend, a native of Philadelphia, that
more than one thousand covered carriages frequently
come to Philadelphia market.”

“The appearance of things in the slave States is quite
the reverse of this. We sometimes meet a ragged black
boy or girl driving a team, consisting of a lean cow or a
mule, sometimes a lean bull, or an ox and a mule; and
I have seen a mule, a bull, and a cow, each miserable in
its appearance, composing one team, with a half naked
black slave or two, riding or driving, as occasion suited.
The carriage or wagon, if it may be called such, appeared
in as wretched a condition as the team and its driver.
Sometimes a couple of horses, mules, or cows, &c. would
be dragging a hogshead of tobacco, with a pivot, or axle,
driven into each end of the hogshead, and something like
a shaft attached, by which it was drawn, or rolled along 7(6)v 84
the road. I have seen two oxen and two slaves pretty
fully employed in getting along a single hogshead; and
some of these come from a great distance inland.”

The inhabitants of free States are often told that they
cannot argue fairly upon the subject of slavery because
they know nothing about its actual operation; and any
expression of their opinions and feelings with regard to
the system, is attributed to ignorant enthusiasm, fanatical
benevolence, or a wicked intention to do mischief.

But Mr Clay, Mr Brodnax, and Mr Faulkner, belong
to slave holding States; and the two former, if I mistake
not, are slave owners. They surely are qualified to
judge of the system; and I might fill ten pages with
other quotations from Southern writers and speakers,
who acknowledge that slavery is a great evil. There
are zealous partisans indeed, who defend the system
strenuously, and some of them very eloquently. Thus,
Mr Hayne, in his reply to Mr Webster, denied that the
South suffered in consequence of slavery; he maintained
that the slave holding States were prosperous, and the
principal cause of all the prosperity in the Union. He
laughed at the idea of any danger, however distant, from
an overgrown slave population, and supported the position
by the fact that slaves had always been kept in
entire subjection in the British West Indies, where the
white population is less than ten per cent of the whole.
But the distinguished gentleman from South Carolina did
not mention that the peace establishment of the British
West Indies
costs England two million pounds annually!
Yet such is the fact. This system is so closely entwined
with the apparent interests and convenience of individuals,
that it will never want for able defenders, so long as
it exists. But I believe I do not misrepresent the truth,
when I say the prevailing opinions at the South is, that it
would have been much better for those States, and for
the country in general, if slavery had never been introduced.

Miss Martineau, in her most admirable little book on
Demerara, says: “Labor is the product of mind as
much as of body; and to secure that product, we must
sway the mind by the natural means — by motives. Laboring 8(1)r 85
against self-interest is what nobody ought to expect
of white men — much less of slaves. Of course
every man, woman and child, would rather play for
nothing than work for nothing.

It is the mind, which gives sight to the eye, and
hearing to the ear, and strength to the limbs; and the
mind cannot be purchased. Where a man is allowed
the possession of himself, the purchaser of his labor is
benefited by the vigor of his mind through the service of
his limbs: where man is made the possession of another,
the possessor loses at once and forever all that is most
valuable in that for which he has paid the price of crime.
He becomes the owner of that which only differs from
an idiot in being less easily drilled into habits, and
more capable of effectual revenge.

Cattle are fixed capital, and so are slaves: But
slaves differ from cattle on the one hand, in yielding
(from internal opposition) a less return for their maintenace;
and from free laborers on the other hand, in not
being acted upon by the inducements which stimulate
production as an effort of mind as well as body. In all
three cases the labor is purchased. In free laborers and
cattle, all the faculties work together, and to advantage;
in the slave they are opposed; and therefore he is, so far
as the amount of labor is concerned, the least valuable of
the three. The negroes can invent and improve — witness
their ingenuity in their dwellings, and their skill in
certain of their sports; but their masters will never possess
their faculties, though they have purchased their
limbs. Our true policy would be to divide the work of
the slave between the ox and the hired laborer; we
should get more out of the sinews of the one and the soul
of the other, than the produce of double the number of

As a matter of humanity, let it be remembered that men
having more reason than brutes, must be treated with
much greater severity, in order to keep them in a state
of abject submission.

It seems unnecessary to say that what is unjust and
unmerciful, can never be expedient; yet men often write,
talk, and act, as if they either forgot this truth, or doubted8 8(1)v 86
it. There is genuine wisdom in the following remark,
extracted from the petition of Cambridge University to
the Parliament of England, on the subject of slavery: “A
firm belief in the Providence of a benevolent Creator assures
us that no system, founded on the oppression of
one part of mankind, can be beneficial to another.”

But the tolerator of slavery will say, “No doubt the
system is evil; but we are not to blame for it; we received
it from our English ancestors. It is a lamentable
necessity; we cannot do it away if we would; — insurrections
would be the inevitable result of any attempt to
remove it”
— and having quieted their consciences by
the use of the word “lamentable”, they think no more upon
the subject

These assertions have been so often, and so dogmatically
repeated, that many truly kind-hearted people have
believed there was some truth in them. I myself, (may
God forgive me for it!) have often, in thoughtless ignorance,
made the same remarks.

An impartial and careful examination has led me to
the conviction that slavery causes insurrections, while
emancipation prevents them.

The grand argument of the slave holder is that sudden
freedom occasioned the horible massacres of St Domingo.
— If a word is said in favor of abolition, he shakes
his head, and points a warning finger to St Domingo!
But it is a remarkable fact that this same vilified island
furnishes a strong argument against the lamentable necessity
of slavery. In the first place, there was a bloody
civil war there before the act of emancipation was passed;
in the second place enfranchisement produced the most
blessed effects; in the third place, no difficulties whatever
arose, until Bonaparte made his atrocious attempt to
restore slavery
in the island.

Colonel Malenfant, a slave proprietor, resident in St
at the time, thus describes the effect of sudden
enfranchisement, in his Historical and Political Memoir
of the Colonies

“After this public act of emancipation, the negroes remained
quiet both in the south and in the west, and they
continued to work upon all the plantqations. There were 8(2)r 87
estates which had neither owners nor managers resident
upon them, yet upon these estates, though abandoned,
the negroes continued their labors where there were any,
even inferior agents, to guide them; and on those estates
where no white men where left to direct them, they betook
themselves to the planting of provisions; but upon
all the plantations where the whites resided, the blacks
continued to labor as quietly as before.”
Colonel Malenfant
says, that when many of his neighbors, proprietors
or managers, were in prison, the negroes of their
plantations came to him to beg him to direct them in
their work.

He adds, “If you will take care not to talk to them
of the restoration of slavery, but to talk to them of freedom,
you may with this word chain them down to their
labor. How did Toussaint succeed? — How did I succeed
before his time in the plain of the Culde-Sae on the
plantation Gouraud, during more than eight months after
liberty had been granted to the slaves? Let those who
knew me at that time, let the blacks themselves, be asked:
they will all reply that not a single negro upon that plantation,
consisting of more than four hundred and fifty
laborers, refused to work: and yet this plantation was
thought to be under the worst discipline and the slaves
the most idle of any in the plain. I inspired the same
activity into three other plantations of which I had the
management. If all the negroes had come from Africa
within six months, if they had the love of independence
that the Indians have, I should own that force must be
employed; but ninetynine out of a hundred of the blacks
are aware that without labor they cannot procure the
things that are necessary for them; that there is no other
method of satisfying their wants and their tastes. They
know that they must work, they wish to do so, and they
will do so.”

Such was the conduct of the negroes for the first nine
months after their liberation, or up the middle of 17941794.
In the latter part of 17961796, Malenfant says, “the colony
was flourishing under Toussaint, the whites lived happily
and in peace upon their estates, and the negroes continued 8(2)v 88
to work for them.”
General Lecroix who published
his Memoirs for a History of St Domingo in
18191819, says, that in 17971797 the most wonderful progress had
been made in agriculture. “The Colony,” says he,
“marched as by enchantment towards its ancient splendor:
cultivation prospered; every day produced perceptible
proof of its progress.”
General Vincent, Clarkson’s Thoughts, p. 2. who was
a general of brigade of artillery in St Domingo and a
proprietor of estates in the island, was sent by Toussaint
to Paris in 18011801 to lay before the Directory the new constitution
which had been agreed upon in St Domingo.
He arrived in France just at the moment of the peace of
Amiens, and found that Bonaparte was preparing an armament
for the purpose of restoring slavery in St Domingo.
He remonstrated against the expedition; he
stated that it was totally unnecessary and therefore
criminal, for everything was going on well in St Domingo.
The proprietors were in peaceable possession
of their estates; cultivation was making rapid progress;
the blacks were industrious and beyond example happy.
He conjured him, therefore, not to reverse this beautiful
state of things; but his efforts were ineffectual, and the
expedition arrived upon the shores of St Domingo. At
length, however the French were driven from the island.
Till that time the planters had retained their property,
and then it was, and not till then, that they lost their all.
In 18041804, Dessalinea was proclaimed Emperor; in process
of time a great part of the black troops were disbanded,
and returned to cultivation again. From that time to
this, there has been no want of subordination or industry
among them.

The following account of Hayti at a later period is
quoted from Mr Harvey’s sketches of that island, during
the latter part of the reign of Christophé:

“Those who by their exertions and economy were
enabled to procure small spots of land of their own or to
hold the smaller plantations at an annual rent, were diligently
engaged in cultivating coffee, sugar, and other
articles, which they disposed of to the inhabitants of the 8(3)r 89
adjacent towns and villages. It was an interesting sight
to behold this class of the Haytians, now in possession of
their freedom, coming in groups to the market nearest
which they resided, bringing the produce of their industry
for sale; and afterwards returning, carrying back the
necessary articles of living which the disposal of their
commodities had enabled them to purchase; all evidently
cheerful and happy. Nor could it fail to occur to the
mind that their present condition furnished the most
satisfactory answer to that objection to the general emancipation
of slaves, founded on their alleged unfitness to
value and improve the benefits of liberty.
Though of the same race and possessing the same
general traits of character as the negroes of the other
West India islands, they are already distinguished from
them by habits of industry and activity, such as slaves
are seldom known to exhibit. As they would not suffer,
so they do not require, the attendance of one acting in
the capacity of a driver with the instrument of punishment
in his hand.
In Guadaloupe, the conduct of the freed negroes was
equally satisfactory. The perfect subordination which
was established and the industry which prevailed there,
are proved by the official Reports of the Governor of
Guadaloupe, to the French government. In 17931793 liberty
was proclaimed universally to the slaves in that island,
and during their ten years of freedom, their governors
bore testimony to their regular industry and uninterrupted
submission to the laws.
During the first American war, a number of slaves
ran away from their North American masters and joined
the British army. When peace came, it was determined
to give them their liberty, and to settle them in Nova
, upon grants of land, as British subjects and as
free men. Their number, comprehending men, women
and children, was two thousand and upwards. Some
of them worked upon little portions of land as their
own; others worked as carpenters; others became fishermen;
and others worked for hire in various ways. In
time, having embraced Christianity, they raised places
of worship of their own, and had ministers of their own 8* 8(3)v 90
from their own body. They led a harmless life, and
gained the character of an industrious and honest people
from their white neighbors. A few years afterwards,
the land in Nova Scotia being found too poor to answer,
and the climate too cold for their constitutions, a number
of them, to the amount of between thirteen and fourteen
hundred, volunteered to form a new colony which
was then first thought of at Sierra Leone, to which place
they were accordingly conveyed. Many hundreds of the
negroes who had formed the West Indian black regiments
were removed in 18191819 to Sierra Leone, where
they were set at liberty at once, and founded the villiages
of Waterloo, Hastings and others. Several hundred maroons
(runaway slaves and their descendants,) being
exiled from Jamaica, were removed in 18011801 to Sierra
, where they were landed with no other property
than the clothes which they wore and the muskets which
they carried in their hands. A body of revolted slaves
were banished from Barbadoes in 18161816, and sent also to
Sierra Leone. The rest of the population of this colony
consists almost entirely of negroes who have been recaptured
from slave ships, and brought to Sierra Leone in
the lowest state of misery, debility and degradation:
naked, diseased, destitute, wholly ignorant of the English
language, in this wretched, helpless condition they have
been suddenly made free, and put into possession at once
of the rights and privileges of British subjects. All these
instances of sudden emancipation have taken place in a
colony where the disproportion between black and white
is more than a hundred to one. Yet this mixed population
of suddenly emancipated slaves — runaway slaves —
criminal slaves — and degraded recaptured negroes, are
in their free condition living in order, tranquility and
comfort, and many of them in affluence.
During the last American war, 774 slaves escaped
from their masters, and were at the termination of the
war settled in Trinidad as free laborers, where they are
earning their own livelihood with industry and good conduct.
The following extract of a letter, received in
1820–1829182one numeralflawed-reproduction from Trinidad by Mr Pownall, will show the usefulness
and respectability of these liberated negroes. ‘A 8(4)r 91
field negro brings four hundred dollars, but most of the
work is done by free blacks and people from the main at
a much cheaper rate; and as these are generally employed
by foreigners, this accounts for their succeeding
better than our own countrymen, who are principally
from the old islands, and are unaccustomed to any other
management than that of slaves; however, they are
coming into it fast. In Trinidad, there are upwards of
fifteen thousand free people of color; there is not a single
pauper amongst them
; they live independently and comfortably,
and nearly half of the property of the island is
said to be in their hands. It is admitted that they are
highly respectable in character, and are rapidly advancing
in knowledge and refinement.’
Mr Mitchell, a sugar
planter who had resided twentyseven years in Trinidad,
and who is the superintendent of the liberated negroes
there, says he knows of no instance of a manumitted
slave not maintaining himself. In a paper printed by
the House of Commons in 18271827, (No. 479,) he says of
the liberated blacks under his superintendence, that each
of them possessed an allotment of land which he cultivated,
and on which he raised provisions and other articles
for himself and his family; his wife and children aiding
him in the work. A great part, however, of the time of
the men (the women attending to the domestic menage)
was freely given to laboring on the neighboring plantations,
on which they worked not in general by the day,
but by the piece. Mr Mitchell says that their work is
well executed, and that they can earn as much as four
shillings a day. If, then, these men who have land on
which they can support themselves are yet willing to work
for hire, how is it possible to doubt that in case of general
emancipation, the freed negroes who would have no land
of their own would gladly work for wages?
A few years ago, about 150 negro slaves, at different
times, succeeded in making their escape from Kentucky
into Canada. Captain Stuart, who lived in Upper Canada
from 18171817 to 18221822, was generally acquainted with
them, and employed several of them in various ways. —
He found them as good and as trustworthy laborers, in
every respect, as any emigrants from the islands, or from 8(4)v 92
the United States, or as the natives of the country. In
18281828, he again visited that country, and found that their
numbers had increased by new refugees to about three
hundred. They had purchased a tract of woodland, a
few miles from Amherstburgh, and were settled on it,
had formed a little village, had a minister of their own
number, color, and choice, a good old man of some talent,
with whom Captain Stuart was well acquainted, and
though poor, were living soberly, honestly and industriously,
and were peacefully and usefully getting their own
living. — In consequence of the Revolution in Colombia,
all the slaves who joined the Colombian armies, amounting
to a considerable number, were declared free. —
General Bolivar enfranchised his own slaves to the
amount of between seven and eight hundred, and many
proprietors followed his example. At that time Colombia
was overrun by hostile armies, and the masters were
often obliged to abandon their property. The black population
(including Indians) amounted to nine hundred
thousand persons. Of these, a large number was suddenly
emancipated, and what has been the effect? —
Where the opportunities of insurrection have been so
frequent, and so tempting, what has been the effect? M.
declares that the effect has been a degree of
docility on the part of the blacks, and a degree of security
on the part of the whites
, unknown in any preceding
period of the history of Colombia.
Dr Walsh Walsh’s Notes on Brazil, vol ii. page 365. states that in Brazil there are six hundred
thousand enfranchised persons, either Africans or of
African descent, who were either slaves themselves or
are the descendants of slaves. He says they are, generally
speaking, ‘well conducted and industrious persons,
who compose indiscriminately different orders of the community.
There are among them merchants, farmers,
doctors, lawyers, priests and officers of different ranks.
Every considerable town in the interior has regiments
composed of them.’
The benefits arising from them, he
adds, have disposed the whites to think of making free
the whole negro population.
8(5)r 93 Mr Koster, an Englishman living in Brazil, confirms
Mr Walsh’s statement. Amelioration of Slavery, published in No. 16 of the Pamphleteer. ‘There are black regiments,’
he observes, ‘composed entirely and exclusively of black
creole soldiers, commanded by black creole officers from
the corporal to the colonel. I have seen the several
guard houses of the town occupied by these troops. Far
from any apprehension being entertained on this score, it
is well known that the quietude of this country, and the
feeling of safety which every one possesses, although surrounded
by slaves, proceed from the contentedness of the
free people.’
The actual condition of the hundred thousand emancipated
blacks and persons of color in the British West
India Colonies
, certainly gives no reason to apprehend
that if a general emancipation should take place, the
newly freed slaves would not be able and willing to
support themselves. On this point the Returns from
fourteen of the Slave Colonies, laid before the House of
, in 18261826, give satisfactory information: they
include a period of five years from 1821-01-01January 1, 1821, to
1825-12-31December 31, 1825, and give the following account of
the state of pauperism in each of these colonies.
Bahamas. — The only establishment in the colony
for the relief of the poor, appears to be a hospital or poor
house. The number passing through the hospital annually
was, on the average, fifteen free black and colored
persons and thirteen whites. The number of free black
and colored persons is about double that of the whites;
so that the proportion of white to that of colored paupers
in the Bahamas, is nearly two to one.
Barbadoes. — The average annual number of persons
supported in the nine parishes, from which returns have
been sent, is nine hundred and ninetyeight, all of whom,
with a single exception, are white. The probable
amount of white persons in the island is fourteen thousand
five hundred—of free black and colored persons,
four thousand five hundred.
Berbice. — The white population appears to amount 8(5)v 94
to about six hundred, the free black and colored to nine
hundred. In 18221822, it appears that there were seventeen
white and two colored paupers.
Demerara. — The free black and colored population,
it is supposed, are twice the number of the whites. The
average number of white pensioners on the poor fund
appears to be fiftyone, that of colored pensioners twentysix.
In occasional relief, the white paupers receive
about three times as much as the colored.
Dominica. — The white population is estimated at
about nine hundred; the free black and colored population
was ascertained, in 18251825, to amount to three thousand
one hundred and twentytwo. During the five
years ending in 1825-11November, 1825, thirty of the former
class had received relief from the poor fund, and only
ten of the latter, making the proportion of more than
nine white paupers to one colored one in the same number
of persons.
Jamaica is supposed to contain twenty thousand
whites, and double that number of free black and colored
persons. The returns of paupers from the parishes
which have sent returns, exhibits the average number of
white paupers to be two hundred and ninetyfive, of black
and colored paupers, one hundred and fortyeight; the
proportion of white paupers to those of the other class,
according to the whole population, being as four to one.
Nevis. — The white population is estimated at about
eight hundred, the free black and colored at about
eighteen hundred. The number of white paupers receiving
relief is stated to be twentyfive; that of the
other class, two; being in the proportion of twentyeight
to one.
St Christophers. — The average number of white
paupers appears to be one hundred and fifteen; that of
the other class, fourteen; although there is no doubt that
the population of the latter class greatly outnumbers
that of the former.
Tortola. — In 18251825 the free black and colored population
three to five charactersflawed-reproductionnted to six hundred and seven. The whites
are estimated at about three hundred. The number of 8(6)r 95
white paupers relieved appears to be twentynine: of the
other class, four: being in proportion of fourteen to one.
In short, in a population of free black and colored
persons amounting to from eighty thousand to ninety
thousand, only two hundred and twentynine persons
have received any relief whatever as paupers during the
years 18211821 to 18251825; and these chiefly the concubines
and children of destitute whites; while of about sixtyfive
thousand whites, in the same time, sixteen hundred
and seventyfive received relief. The proportion, therefore,
of enfranchised persons receiving any kind of aid
as paupers in the West Indies, is about one in three
hundred and seventy: whereas the proportion among the
whites of the West Indies is about one in forty; and in
England, generally one in twelve or thirteen — in some
counties, one in eight or nine.
Can any one read these statements, made by the
colonists themselves, and still think it necessary to keep
the negroes in slavery, lest they should be unable to
maintain themselves if free?
In 18231823, the Assembly of Grenada passed a resolution,
declaring that the free colored inhabitants of these
colonies, were a respectable, well behaved class of the
community, were possessed of considerable property, and
were entitled to have their claims viewed with favor.
In 18241824, when Jamaica had been disturbed for
months by unfounded alarms relating to the slaves, a
committee of the legislative assembly declared that ‘the
conduct of the freed people evinced not only zeal and
alacrity, but a warm interest in the welfare of the colony,
and every way identified them with those who are
the most zealous promoters of its internal security.’
assembly confirmed this favorable report a few months
ago, by passing a bill conferring on all free black and
colored persons the same privileges, civil and political,
with the white inhabitants.
In the orders issued in 18291829, by the British Government,
in St Lucia, placing all freemen of African descent
upon the footing of equal rights with their white
neighbors, the loyalty and good conduct of that class are
distinctly acknowledged, and they are declared ‘to have 8(6)v 96
shown, hitherto, readiness and zeal in coming forward
for the maintenance of order.’
As similar orders have
been issued for Trinidad, Berbice, and the Cape of Good
, it may be presumed that the conduct of the free
blacks and colored persons in those colonies has likewise
given satisfaction to Government.
In the South African Commercial Advertiser of 1831-02-099th
of February, 1831
, we are happy to find recorded one
more of the numerous proofs which experience affords
of the safety and expediency of immediate abolition.
Three thousand prize negroes have received their
freedom; four hundred in one day; but not the least
difficulty or disorder occurred; — servants found masters
— masters hired servants; all gained homes, and at
night scarcely an idler was to be seen
. In the last
month, one hundred and fifty were liberated under precisely
similar circumstances, and with the same result.
These facts are within our own observation; and to state
that sudden and abrupt emancipation would create disorder
and distress to those you mean to serve, is not reason;
but the pleas of all men who are adverse to emancipation.
As far as it can be ascertained from the various
documents which have been cited, and from others,
which, from the fear of making this account too long,
are not particularly referred to, it appears that in every
place and time in which emancipation has been tried,
not one drop of white blood has been shed, or even endangered
by it
; that it has everywhere greatly improved
the condition of the blacks, and in most places
has removed them from a state of degradation and
suffering to one of the respectability and happiness. Can
it, then, be justifiable, on account of any vague fears
of we know not what evils, to reject this just, salutary
and hitherto uninjurious measure; and to cling to a
system which we know, by certain experience, is producing
crime, misery and death, during every day of
its existence!”

In Mexico, 1829-09-15September 15, 1829, the following decree
was issued; “Slavery is forever abolished in the republic;
and consequently all those individuals, who, until 9(1)r 97
this day, looked upon themselves as slaves, are free.”

The prices of slaves were settled by the magistrates,
and they were required to work with their master, for
stipulated wages, until the debt was paid. If the slave
wished to change masters he could do so, if another person
would take upon himself the liability of payment, in
exhange for his labor; and provided the master was secured
against loss, he was obliged to consent to the transaction.
Similar transfers might take place to accommodate
the master, but never without the consent of the
servant. The law regulated the allowance of provisions,
clothing, &c., and if the negro wished for more,
he might have it charged, and deducted from his wages;
but lest masters should take advantage of the improvidence
of their servants, it was enacted, that all charges
exceeding half the earnings of any slave, or family of
slaves, should be void in law. The duties of servants
were defined as clearly as possible by the laws, and
magistrates appointed to enforce them; but the master
was entrusted with no power to punish, in any manner
whatever. It was expressly required that the masters
should furnish every servant with suitable means of religious
and intellectual instruction.

A Vermont gentleman, who had been a slave holder
in Mississippi, and afterward resident at Metamoras, in
Mexico, speaks with enthusiasm of the beneficial effects
of these regulations, and thinks the example highly important
to the United States. He declares that the
value of the plantations was soon increased by the introduction
of free labor. “No one was made poor by it.
It gave property to the servant, and increased the riches
of the master.”

The republics of Buenos Ayres, Chili, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia,
Guatimala and Monte Video, likewise took steps
for the abolition of slavery, soon after they themselves
came into possession of freedom. In some of these states,
means were taken for the instruction of young slaves,
who were all enfranchised by law, on arriving at a certain
age; in others, universal emancipation is to take
place after a certain date, fixed by the laws. The empire
of Brazil, and the United States are the only 9 9(1)v 98
American nations, that have taken no measures to
destroy this most pestilent system; and I have recently
been assured by intelligent Brazilians, that public opinion
in that country is now so strongly opposed to slavery,
that something effectual will be done toward abolition, at
the very next meeting of the Cortes. If this should take
place, the United States will stand alone in most hideous

When Necker wrote his famous book on French
finances, he suggested a universal compact of nations to
suppress the slave trade. The exertions of England
alone have since nearly realized his generous plan,
though avarice and cunning do still manage to elude her
vigilance and power. She had obtained from Spain,
Portugal, France, Holland, and Denmark, a mutual
right to search all vessels suspected of being engaged
in this wicked traffic. The British government actually paid Spain 400,000 pounds as
an indemnity to those engaged in the slave trade, on condition that
the traffic should be abolished by law throughout her dominions.
I believe I am correct in
saying that ours is now the only flag, which can protext
this iniquity from the just indignation of England.
When a mutual right of search was proposed to us, a
strong effort was made to blind the people with their own
prejudices, by urging the old complaint of the impressment
of seamen; and alas, when has an unsuccessful
appeal been made to passion and prejudice? It is evident
that nothing on earth ought to prevent coöoperation
in a cause like this. Besides, “It is useless for us to
attempt to linger on the skirts of the age that is departing.
The action of existing causes and principles is
steady and progressive. It cannot be retarded, unless
we would ‘blow out all the moral lights around us;’ and
if we refuse to keep up with it, we shall be towed in the
wake, whether we are willing or not.” Speech of Mr Brodaone characterflawed-reproductionx of Virginia.

When I think of the colonies established along the
coast of Africa — of Algiers, conquered and civilized —
of the increasing wealth and intelligence of Hayti — of
the powerful efforts now being made all over the world
to sway public opinion in favor of universal freedom — of
the certain emancipation of slaves in all British Colonies 9(2)r 99
— and above all, the evident union of purpose existing
between the French and English cabinets, — I can most
plainly see the hand of God working for the deliverance
of the negroes. We may resist the blessed influence, if
we will; but we cannot conquer. Every year the plot
is thickening around us, and the nations of the earth,
either consciously or unconsciously, are hastening the
crisis. The defenders of the slave system are situated
like the man in the Iron Shroud, the walls of whose
prison daily moved nearer and nearer, by means of powwerful
machinery, until they crushed all that remained
within them.

But to return to the subject of emancipation. Nearly
every one of the States north of Mason and Dixon’s line
once held slaves. These slaves were manumitted without
bloodshed, and there was no trouble in making free
colored laborers obey the laws.

I am aware that this desirable change must be attended
with much more difficulty in the Southern States,
simply because the evil has been suffered until it is
fearfully overgrown; but it must not be forgotten that
while they are using their ingenuity and strength to sustain
it for the present, the mischief is increasing more
and more rapidly. If this be not a good time to apply
a remedy, when will be a better? They must annihilate
slavery, or slavery will annihilate them.

It seems to be forgotten that emancipation from
tyranny is not an emancipation from law; the negro,
after he is made free, is restrained from the commission
of crimes by the same laws which restrain other citizens:
if he steals, he will be imprisoned: if he commits
murder, he will be hung.

It will, perhaps, be said that the free people of color in
the slave portions of this country are peculiarly ignorant,
idle, and vicious? It may be so; for our laws and our
influence are peculiarly calculated to make them bad
members of society. But we trust the civil power to
keep in order the great mass of ignorant and vicious foreigners
continually pouring into the country; and if the
laws are strong enough for this, may they not be trusted
to restrain the free blacks?

9(2)v 100

In those countries where the slave codes are mild,
where emancipation is rendered easy, and inducements
are offered to industry, insurrections are not feared, and
free people of color form a valuable portion of the community.
If we persist in acting in opposition to the established
laws of nature and reason, how can we expect
favorable results? But it is pronounced “unsafe” to
change our policy. Every progressive improvement in
the world has been resisted by despotism, on the ground
that changes were dangerous. The Emperor of Austria
thinks there is need of keeping his subjects ignorant,
that good order may be preserved. But what he calls
good order, is sacrificing the happiness of many to the
advancement of a few; and no doubt knowledge is unfavorable
to the continuation of such a state of things.
It is precisely so with the slave holder; he insists that
the welfare of millions must be subordinate to his private
interest, or else all good order is destroyed.

It is much to be regretted that Washington enfranchised
his slaves in the manner he did; because their
poverty and indolence have furnished an ever ready argument
for those who are opposed to emancipation. With all my unbounded reverence for Washington, I have, I
confess, sometimes found it hard to forgive him for not manumitting
his slaves long before his death. A fact which has lately come
to my knowledge, gave me great joy; for it furnishes a reason
for what had appeared to me unpardonable. It appears that
Washington possessed a gang of negroes in right of his wife, with
which his own negroes had intermarried. By the marriage settlement,
the former were limited, in default of issue of the marriage,
to the representatives of Mrs Washington at her death; so that
her negroes could not be enfranchised. An unwillingness to separate
parents and children, husbands and wives, induced Washington
to postpone the manumission of his own slaves. This motive
is briefly, and as it were accidentally, referred to in his will.

To turn slaves adrift in their old age, unaccustomed to
take care of themselves, without employment, and in a
community where all the prejudices were strongly arrayed
against free negroes, was certainly an unhappy

But if slaves were allowed to redeem themselves progressively,
by purchasing one day of the week after
another, as they can in the Spanish colonies, habits of 9(3)r 101
industry would be gradually formed, and enterprise
would be stimulated, by their successful efforts to acquire
a little property. And if they afterward worked better
as free laborers than they now do as slaves, it would
surely benefit their masters, as well as themselves.

That strong-hearted republican, La Fayette, when he
returned to France in 17851785, felt strongly urged by a
sense of duty, to effect the emancipation of slaves in the
Colony of Cayenne. As most of the property in the
colony belonged to the crown, he was enabled to prosecute
his plans with less difficulty than he could otherwise
have done. Thirty thousand dollars were expended
in the purchase of plantations and slaves, for the sole
purpose of proving by experiment the safety and good
policy of conferring freedom. It is now reported that the Hon. Mr Wirt has purchased a plantation
in Florida, with the same benevolent intent. Such a step is
worthy of that noble minded and distinguished man.
Being afraid to trust the
agents generally employed in the colony, he engaged a
prudent and amiable man at Paris to undertake the business.
This gentleman, being fully instructed in La Fayette’s
plans and wishes, sailed for Cayenne. The first
thing he did when he arrived, was to collect all the cart-
whips, and other instruments of punishment, and have
them burnt amid a general assemblage of the slaves; he
then made known to them the laws and rules by which
the estates would be governed. The object of all the
regulations was to encourage industry by making it the
means of freedom. This new kind of stimulus had a
most favorable effect on the slaves, and gave promise of
complete success. But the judicious agent died in consequence
of the climate, and the French Revolution
threw everything into a state of convulsion at home and
abroad. The new republic of France bestowed unconditional
emancipation upon the slaves in her colonies;
and had she persevered in her promises with good faith
and discretion, the horrors of St Domingo might have
been spared. The emancipated negroes in Cayenne
came in a body to the agents, and declared that if the
plantations still belonged to General La Fayette they were
ready and willing to resume their labors for the benefit of 9* 9(3)v 102
one who had treated them like men, and cheered their
toil by making it a certain means of freedom.

I cannot forbear paying a tribute of respect to the
venerable Moses Brown, of Providence, Rhode Island,
now living in virtuous and vigorous old age. He was a
slave owner in early life, and, unless I have been misinformed,
a slave dealer, likewise. When his attention
became roused to religious subjects, these facts troubled
his conscience. He easily and promptly decided that a
Christian could not consistently keep slaves; but he did
not dare to trust his own nature to determine the best
manner of doing justice to those he had wronged. He
therefore appointed a committee, before whom he laid a
statement of the expenses he had incurred for the food
and clothing of his slaves, and the number of years,
during which he had had the exclusive benefit of their
labors. He conceived that he had no right to charge
them for their freedom, because God had given them an
unalienable right to that possession, from the very hour
of their birth; but he wished the committee to decide
what wages he ought to pay them for the work they had
done. He cordially accepted the decision of the committee,
paid the negroes their dues, and left them to
choose such employments as they thought best. Many
of the grateful slaves preferred to remain with him as
hired laborers. It is hardly necessary to add that Moses
is a Quaker.

It is commonly urged against emancipation that white
men cannot possibly labor under the sultry climate of our
most southerly States. This is a good reason for not
sending the slaves out of the country, but it is no argument
against making them free. No doubt we do need
their labor; but we ought to pay for it. Why should
their presence be any more disagreeable as hired laborers,
than as slaves? In Boston, we continually meet
colored people in the streets, and employ them in various
ways, without being endangered, or even incommoded.
There is no moral impossibility in a perfectly
kind and just relation between the two races.

If white men think otherwise, let them remove from
climates which nature has made too hot for their constitutions. 9(4)r 103
Wealth or pleasure often induces men to
change their abode; and emigration for the sake of humanity
would be an agreeable novelty. Algernon Sidney,
said “When I cannot live in my own country, but
by such means as are worse than dying in it, I think
God shows me that I ought to keep myself out of it.”

But the slave holders try to stop all the efforts of benevolence,
by vociferous complaints about infringing
upon their “property”; and justice is so subordinate to self-
interest, that the unrighteous claim is silently allowed,
and even openly supported, by those who ought to blush
for themselves, as Christians, and as republicans. Let
men simplify their arguments — let them confine themselves
to one single question, “What right can a man
have to compel his neighbor to toil without reward, and
leave the same hopeless inheritance to his children, in
order that he may live in luxury and indolence?”
the doctrines of expediency return to the Father of Lies,
who invented them, and gave them power to turn every
way for evil. The Christian knows no appeal from the
decisions of God, plainly uttered in his conscience.

The laws of Venice allowed property in human beings;
and upon this ground Shylock demanded his
pound of flesh, cut nearest to the heart. Those who
advertise mothers to be sold separately from their children,
likewise claim a right to human flesh; and they
too cut it nearest to the heart.

The personal liberty of one man can never be the
property of another. All ideas of property are founded
upon the mutual agreement of the human race, and are
regulated by such laws as are deemed most conducive to
the general good. In slavery there is no mutual agreement;
for in that case it would not be slavery. The
negro has no voice in the matter — no alternative is presented
to him — no bargain is made. The beginning of
his bondage is the triumph of power over weakness; its
continuation is the tyranny of knowledge over ignorance.
One man may as well claim an exclusive right to
the air another man breathes, as to the possession of his
limbs and faculties. Personal freedom is the birthright
of every human being. God himself made it the first 9(4)v 104
great law of creation; and no human enactment can
render it null and void. “If,” says Price, “you have a
right to make another man a slave, he has a right to
make you a slave;”
and Ramsay says, “If we have in
the beginning no right to sell a man, no person has a
right to buy him.”

Am I reminded that the laws acknowledge these
vested rights in human flesh? I answer, the laws themselves
were made by individuals, who wished to justify
this wrong and profit by it. We ought never to have
recognised a claim, which cannot exist according to the
laws of God; it is our duty to atone for the error; and
the sooner we make a beginning, the better will it be for
us all. Must our arguments be based upon justice
and mercy to the slave holders only? Have the negroes
the right to ask compensation for their years and years of
unrewarded toil? It is true that they have food and clothing,
of such kind, and in such quantities, as their masters
think proper. But it is evident that this is not the
worth of their labor; for the proprietors can give from
one hundred to five and six hundred dollars for a slave,
beside the expense of supporting those who are too old or
too young to labor. They could not afford to do this, if
the slave did not earn more than he receives in food and
clothing. If the laws allowed the slave to redeem himself
progressively, the owner would receive his money
back again; and the negro’s years of uncompensated
toil would be more than lawful interest.

The southerners are much in the habit of saying they
really wish for emancipation, if it could be effected in
safety; but I search in vain for any proof that these assertions
are sincere. (When I say this, I speak collectively;
there are, no doubt, individual exceptions.)

Instead of profiting by the experience of other nations,
the slave oweners, as a body, have resolutely shut their
eyes against the light, because they preferred darkness.
Every change in the laws has rivetted the chain closer
and closer upon their victims; every attempt to make the
voice of reason and benevolence heard has been overpowered
with threatening and abuse. A cautious vigilance
against improvement, a keen-eyed jealousy of all freedom 9(5)r 105
of opinion, has characterized their movements. There
can be no doubt that the majority wish to perpetuate
slavery. They support it with loud bravado, or insidious
sophistry, or pretended regret; but they never
abandon the point. Their great desire is to keep the
public mind turned in another direction. They are well
aware that the ugly edifice is built of rotten timbers, and
stands on slippery sands — if the loud voice of public
opinion could be made to reverberate through its dreary
chambers, the unsightly frame would fall, never to rise

Since so many of their own citizens admit that the
policy of this system is unsound, and its effects injurious,
it is wonderful that they do not begin to destroy the
“costly iniquity” in good earnest. But long continued
habit is very powerful; and in the habit of slavery are
concentrated the strongest evils of human nature —
vanity, pride, love of power, licentiousness, and indolence.

There is a minority, particularly in Virginia and Kentucky,
who sincerely wish a change for the better; but
they are overpowered, and have not even ventured to
speak, except in the great Virginia debate of 18321832. In
the course of that debate the spirit of slavery showed itself
without disguise. The members talked of emancipation;
but with one or two exceptions, they merely wanted to
emancipate or rather to send away, the surplus population,
which they could neither keep nor sell, and which
might prove dangerous. They wished to get rid of the
consequences of the evil, but were determined to keep
the evil itself. Some members from Western Virginia,
who spoke in a better spirit, and founded their arguments
on the broad principles of justice, not on the mere
convenience of a certain class, were repelled with angry
excitement. The eastern districts threatened to separate
from the western, if the latter persisted in expressing
opinions opposed to the continuance of slavery.
From what I have uniformly heard of the comparative
prosperity of Eastern and Western Virginia, I should
think this was very much like the town’s poor threatening
to separate from the town.

The mere circumstance of daring to debate on the 9(5)v 106
subject was loudly reprimanded; and there was a good
deal of indignation expressed that “reckless editors, and
imprudent correspondents, had presumed so far as to allude
to it in the columns of a newspaper.”
Discussion in
the Legislature was strongly deprecated until a plan had
been formed; yet they must have known that no plan
could be formed, in a republican government, without
previous discussion. The proposal contained within
itself that self-perpetuating power, for which the schemes
of slave oweners are so remarkable.

Mr Gholson sarcastically rebuked the restless spirit of
improvement, by saying “he really had been under the
impression that he owned his slaves. He had lately purchased
four women and ten children, in whom he
thought he had obtained a great bargain; for he supposed
they were his own property, as were his brood
To which Mr Roane replied, “I own a considerable
number of slaves, and am perfectly sure they
are mine; and I am sorry to add that I have occasionally,
though not often, been compelled to make them feel
the impression of that ownership. I would not touch a
hair on the head of the genteman’s slave, any sooner
than I would a hair in the mane of his horse.”

Mr R. likewise remarked, “I think slavery as much a
correlative of liberty as cold is of heat. History, experience,
observation and reason, have taught me that the
torch of liberty has ever burned brighter when surrounded
by the dark and filthy, yet nutritious atmosphere
of slavery! I do not believe in the fanfaronade that all
men are by nature equal. But these abstract speculations
have nothing to do with the question, which I am
willing to view as one of cold, sheer state policy, in
which the safety, prosperity, and happiness of the whites
are concerned.”

Would Mr Roane carry out his logic into all its details?
Would he cherish intemperance, that sobriety
might shine the brighter? Would he encourage theft,
in order to throw additional lustre upon honesty? Yet
there seems to be precisely the same relation between
these things that there is between slavery and freedom.
Such sentiments sound oddly enough in the mouth of a
republican of the nineteenth century!

9(6)r 107

When Mr Wirt, before the Supreme Federal Court,
said that slavery was contrary to the laws of nature and
of nations, and that the law of South Carolina concerning
seizing colored seamen, was unconstitutional, the
Governor directed several reproofs at him. In 18251825, Mr
laid on the table of the United States Senate a resolution
to appropriate the proceeds of the public lands
to the emancipation of slaves, and the removal of free
negroes, provided the same could be done under and
agreeable to, the laws of the respective States. He said
he did not wish it to be debated, but considered at some
future time. Yet kindly and cautiously as this movement
was made, the whole South resented it, and Governor
called to the Legislature and people of
Georgia, to “stand to their arms.” In 18271827 the people
of Baltimore presented a memorial to Congress, praying
that slaves born in the District of Colombia after a given
time, specified by law, might become free on arriving
at a certain age. A famous member from South
called this an “impertinent interference, and
a violation of the principles of liberty!”
and the petition
was not even committed. Another Southern gentleman in
Congress objected to the Panama mission because Bolivar
had proclaimed liberty to the slaves.

Mr Hayne, in his reply to Mr Webster, says: “There
is a spirit, which, like the father of evil, is constantly
walking to and fro about the earth, seeking whom it may
devour; it is the spirit of false philanthropy. When
this is infused into the bosom of a statesman (if one so
possessed can be called a statesman) it converts him at
once into a visionary enthusiast. Then he indulges in
golden dreams of national greatness and prosperity. He
discovers that ‘liberty is power,’ and not content with
vast schemes of improvement at home, which it would
bankrupt the treasury of the world to execute, he flies to
foreign lands to fulfil ‘obligations to the human race, by
inculcating the principles of civil and religious liberty,’

&c. This spirit has long been busy with the slaves of
the South; and it is even now displaying itself in vain efforts
to drive the government from its wise policy in relation
to the Indians.”

9(6)v 108

Governor Miller, of South Carolina, speaking of the
tariff and “the remedy,” asserted that slave labor was
preferable to free, and challenged the free states to competition
on fair terms. Governor Hamilton of the same
State, in delivering an address on the same subject, uttered
a eulogy upon slavery; concluding as usual that
nothing but the tariff — nothing but the rapacity of
Northerners, could have nullified such great blessings
of Providence, as the cheap labor and fertile soil of
Carolina. Mr Calhoun, in his late speech in the Senate,
alludes in a tone of strong disapprobation, and almost
of reprimand, to the remarkable debate in the Virginia
; the occurence of which offence he charges
to the opinions and policy of the north.

If these things evince any real desire to do away the
evil, I cannot discover it. There are many who inherit
the misfortune of slavery, and would gladly renounce the
miserable birthright if they could; for their sakes, I wish
the majority were guided by a better spirit and a wiser
policy. But this state of things cannot last. The operations
of Divine Providence are hastening the crisis,
and move which way we will, it must come in some form
or other; if we take warning in time, it may come as
a blessing. The spirit of philanthropy, which Mr Hayne
calls “false,” is walking to and fro in the earth; and it
will not pause, or turn back, till it has fastened the
golden band of love and peace around a sinful world. —
The sun of knowledge and liberty is already high in the
heavens — it is peeping into every dark nook and corner
of the earth — and the African cannot be always excluded
from its beams.

The advocates of slavery remind me of a comparison I
once heard differently applied: Even thus does a dog,
unwilling to follow his master’s carriage, bite the wheels,
in a vain effort to stop its progress.


Chapter IV.

Influence of Slavery on the Politics of the United

Casca[Speaker label not present in original source]

Casca I believe these are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.

Cicero[Speaker label not present in original source]

Cicero Indeed it is a strange disposed time:
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.

Julius Cesar.

When slave representation was admitted into the Constitution
of the United States
, a wedge was introduced,
which has ever since effectually sundered the sympathies
and interests of different portions of the country. By
this step, the slave States acquired an undue advantage,
which they have maintained with anxious jealousy, and
in which the free States have never perfectly acquiesced.
The latter would probably never have made the concession,
so contrary to their principles, and the express provisions
of their State constitutions, if powerful motives
had not been offered by the South. These consisted, first,
in taking upon themselves a proportion of direct taxes,
increased in the same ratio as their representation was
increased by the concession to their slaves.

Second. — In conceding to the small States an entire
equality in the Senate. This was not indeed proposed
as an item of the adjustment, but it operated as such;
for the small States, with the exception of Georgia, (which
in fact expected to become one of the largest,) lay in the
North, and were either free, or likely soon to become so.

During most of the contest, Massachusetts, then one
of the large States, voted with Virginia and Pennsylvania
for unequal representation in the Senate; but on the
final question she was divided, and gave no vote. There 10 10(1)v 110
was probably an increasing tendency to view this part of
the compromise not merely as a concession of the large
to the small States, but also of the largely slave-holding,
to the free, or slightly slave-holding States. The two
questions of direct taxes in proportion to slave representations
with a

of direct
and of perfect equality in the Senate, were always
connected together; and a large committee of compromise,
consisting of one member from each State, expressly
recommended that both provisions should be
adopted, but neither of them without the other.

Such were the equivalents, directly or indirectly offered,
by which the free States were induced to consent
to slave representation. It was not without very considerable
struggles that they overcame their repugnance to
admitting such a principle in the construction of a republican
government. Mr Gerry, of Massachusetts, at first
exclaimed against it with evident horror, but at last, he
was chairman of the committee of compromise. Even
the slave States themselves, seem to have been a little
embarrassed with the discordant element. A curious
proof of this is given in the language of the Constitution.
The ugly feature is covered as cautiously as the deformed
visage of the Veiled Prophet. The words are as follows:
“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned
among the States according to their respective numbers;
which shall be ascertained by adding to the whole number
of free persons, including those bound to servitude
for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed,
three fifths of all other persons
In this most elaborate
sentence, a foreigner would discern no slavery. None
but those who already knew the venomous serpent, would
be able to discover its sting.

Governor Wright, of Maryland, a contemporary of all
these transactions, and a slave holder, after delivering a
eulogy upon the kindness of masters It was stated, at the time, that this person frequently steamed his
negroes, in order to reduce their size to an equal weight for riding
race horses. This practice is understood to be common at the South.
expressed himself
as follows: “The Constitution guaranties to us the services
of these persons. It does not say ‘slaves’; for the 10(2)r 111
feelings of the framers of that glorious instrument would
not suffer them to use that word, on account of its anticongeniality
— its incongeniality to the idea of a constitution
for freemen. It says, ‘persons held to service, or labor.’”
Gov. Wright’s Speech in Congress, 1822-03March,

This high praise bestowed on the form of our constitution,
reminds me of an anecdote. A clergyman in a
neighboring State, being obliged to be absent from his
parish, procured a young man to supply his place, who
was very worldly in his inclinations, and very gay in his
manners. When the minister returned, his people said
somewhat reproachfully, “How could you provide such
a man to preach for us; you might at least have left us a

While all parties agreed to act in opposition to the
principles of justice, they all concurred to pay homage
to them by hypocrisy of language! Men are willing to
try all means to appear honest, except the simple experiment
of being so. It is true, there were individuals
who distrusted this compromise at the time, if they did
not wholly disapprove of it. It is said that Washington,
as he was walking thoughtfully near the Schuylkill, was
met by a menber of the Convention, to whom, in the
course of conversation, he acknowledged that he was
meditating whether it would not be better to separate,
without proposing a constitution to the people; for he
was in great doubt whether the frame of government,
which was now nearly completed, would be better for
them, than to trust to the course of events, and await
future emergencies.

This anecdote was derived from an authentic source,
and I have no doubt of its truth; neither is there any
doubt that Washington had in his mind this great compromise,
the pivot on which the system of government
was to turn.

If avarice was induced to shake hands with injustice,
from the expectation of increased direct taxation upon
the South, she gained little by the bargain. With the
exception of two brief periods, during the French war,
and the last war with England, the revenue of the 10(2)v 112
United States has been raised by duties on imports.—
The heavy debts and expenditures of the several States,
which they had been accustomed to provide for by
direct taxes, and which they probably expected to
see provided for by the same means in time to come,
have been all paid by duties on imports. The greatest
proportion of these duties are, of course, paid by the free
States; for here, the poorest laborer daily consumes
several articles of foreign production, of which from one
eighth to one half the price is a tax paid to government.
The clothing of the slave population increases the revenue
very little, and their food almost none at all.

Wherever free labor and slave labor exist under the
same government, there must be a perpetual clashing of
interests. The legislation required for one, is, in its
spirit and maxims, diametrically opposed to that required
for the other. Hence Mr Madison predicted, in the
convention, which formed our Federal Constitution, that
the contests would be between the great geographical
sections; that such had been the division, even during
the war and the confederacy.

In the same convention, Charles Pinckney, a man of
great sagacity, spoke of the equal representation of large
and small States as a matter of slight consequence; no
difficulties would ever arise on that point, he said; the
question would always be between the slave-holding and
non-slave-holding interests.

If the pressure of common danger, and the sense of
individual weakness, during our contest for independence,
could not bring the States to mutual confidence,
nothing ever can do it, except a change of character.—
From the adoption of the constitution to the present time,
the breach has been gradually widening. The South
has pursued a uniform and sagacious system of policy,
which, in all its bearings, direct and indirect, has been
framed for the preservation and extension of slave power.
This system, has in the very nature of the two things,
constantly interfered with the interests of the free States;
and hitherto the South have always gained the victory.
This has principally been accomplished by yoking all
important questions together in pairs, and strenuously
resisting the passage of one, unless accompanied by the 10(3)v 113
other. The South was desirous of removing the seat of
government from Philadelphia to Washington, because
the latter is in a slave territory, where republican representatives
and magistrates can bring their slaves without
danger of losing them, or having them contaminated by
the principles of universal liberty: The assumption of
the State debts, likely to bring considerable money back
to the North, was linked with this question, and both
were carried. The admission of Maine into the Union
as a free State, and of Missouri as a slave State, were
two more of these Siamese twins, not allowed to be separated
from each other. A numerous smaller progeny
may be found in the laying of imposts, and the successive
adjustment of protection to navigation, the fisheries,
agriculture, and manufactures.

There would perhaps be no harm in this system of
compromises, or any objection to its continuing in infinite
series, if no injustice were done to a third party,
which is never heard or noticed, except for purposes of

I reverence the wisdom of our early legislators; but
they certainly did very wrong to admit slavery as an element
into a free constitution; and to sacrifice the known
and declared rights of a third and weaker party, in order
to cement a union between two stronger ones. Such an
arrangement ought not, and could not, come to good. It
has given the slave States a controlling power which they
will always keep, so long as we remain together.

President John Adams was of opinion, that this
ascendency might be attributed to an early mistake,
originating in what he called the “Frankford advice.”
When the first Congress was summoned in Philadelphia,
Doctor Rush, and two or three other eminent men of
Pennsylvania, met the Massachusetts delegates at Frankford,
a few miles from Philadelphia, and conjured them,
as they valued the success of the common cause, to let no
measure of importance appear to originate with the
North, to yield precedence in all things to Virginia, and
lead her if possible to commit herself to the Revolution.
Above all, they begged that not a word might be said
about “independence;” for that a strong prejudice 10* 10(3)v 114
already existed against the delegates from New England,
on account of a supposed design to throw off their allegiance
to the mother country. The “Frankford advice”
was followed. The delegates from Virginia took the
lead on all occasions.

His son, John Q. Adams, finds a more substantial
reason. In his speech on the Tariff, 1833-02-04February 4, 1833,
he said; “Not three days since, Mr Clayton of Georgia,
called that species of population (viz. slaves) the
machinery of the South. Now that machinery had
twenty odd representatives There are now twentyfive odd representatives — that is, representatives
of slaves.
in that hall, — not elected
by the machinery, but by those who owned it. And if
he should go back to the history of this government from
its foundation, it would be easy to prove that its decisions
had been effected, in general, by less majorities than
that. Nay, he might go farther, and insist that that very
representation had ever been, in fact, the ruling power of
this government

“The history of the Union has afforded a continual
proof that this representation of property, which they
enjoy, as well in the election of President and Vice President
of the United States, as upon the floor of the
House of Representatives, has secured to the slave-holding
States the entire control of the national policy, and,
almost without exception, the possession of the highest
executive office of the Union. Always united in the purpose
of regulating the affairs of the whole Union by the
standard of the slave-holding interest, their disproportionate
numbers in the electoral colleges have enabled them,
in ten out of twelve quadrennial elections, to confer the
Chief Magistracy upon one of their own citizens. —
Their suffrages at every election, without exception, have
been almost exclusively confined to a candidate of their
own caste. Availing themselves of the divisions which,
from the nature of man, always prevail in communities
entirely free, they have sought and found auxiliaries in
the other quarters of the Union, by associating the passions
of parties, and the ambition of individuals, with
their own purposes, to establish and maintain throughout
the confederated nations the slave-holding policy. The 10(4)r 115
office of Vice President, a station of high dignity, but of
little other than contingent power, had been usually, by
their indulgence, conceded to a citizen of the other section;
but even this political courtesy was superseded at
the election before the last, and both the offices of President
and Vice President of the United States were, by
the preponderancy of slave-holding votes, bestowed upon
citizens of two adjoining and both slave-holding States.
At this moment the President of the United States, the
President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
, and the Chief Justice of the United
, are all citizens of that favored portion of the united
republic. The last of these offices, being, under the
constitution, held by the tenure of good behaviour, has
been honored and dignified by the occupation of the present
incumbent upwards of thirty years. An overruling
sense of the high responsibilities under which it is held,
has effectually guarded him from permitting the sectional
slave-holding spirit to ascend the tribunal of justice; and
it is not difficult to discern, in this inflexible impartiality,
the source of the obloquy which that same spirit has not
been inactive in attempting to excite against the Supreme
Court of the United States
itself; and of the insuperable
aversion of the votaries of nullification to encounter
or abide by the decision of that tribunal, the true and
legitimate umpire of constitutional, controverted law.”
It seems to me that a political pamphlet was never written with
more ability, clearness, and moderation, than Mr Adams’s Report on
the Tariff

It is worthy of observation that this slave representation
is always used to protect and extend slave power; and
in this way, the slaves themselves are made to vote for
slavery: they are compelled to furnish halters to hang
their posterity.

Machiavel says that “the whole politics of rival states
consist in checking the growth of one another.”
It is
sufficiently obvious, that the slave and free States are, and
must be, rivals, owing to the inevitable contradiction of
their interests. It needed no Machiavel to predict the
result. A continual strife has been going on, more or
less earnest, according to the nature of the interests it
involved, and the South has always had strength and 10(4)v 116
skill to carry her point. Of all our Presidents, Washington
alone, had power to keep the jealousies of his countymen
in check; and he used his influence nobly. —
Some of his successors have cherished those jealousies,
and made effective use of them.

The people of the North have to manage a rocky and
reluctant soil; hence commerce and the fisheries early
attracted their attention. The products of these employments
were, as they should be, proportioned to the dexterity
and hard labor required in their pursuit. The
North grew opulent; and her politicians, who came in
contact with those of the South with anything like rival
pretensions, represented the commercial class, which
was the nucleus of the old Federal party.

The Southerners have a genial climate and a fertile
soil; but in consequence of the cumbrous machinery of
slave labor, which is slow for everything, (except exhausting
the soil,) they have always been less prosperous than
the free States. It is said, I know not with how much
truth, but it is certainly very credible, that a great proportion
of their plantations are deeply mortgaged in New
and Philadelphia. It is likewise said that the expenses
of the planters are generally one or two years in
advance of their income. Whether these statements be
true or not, the most casual observer will decide, that the
free States are uniformly the most prosperous, notwithstanding
the South possesses a political power, by which
she manages to check-mate us at every important move.
When we add this to the original jealousy spoken of by
Mr Madison, it is not wonderful that Southern politicians
take so little pains to conceal their strong dislike of the

A striking difference of manners, also caused by
slavery, serves to aggravate other differences. Slave
holders have the habit of command; and from the superior
ease with which it sits upon them, they seem to
imagine that they were “born to command,” and we to
obey. In time of war, they tauntingly told us that we
might furnish the men, and they would furnish the officers;
but in time of peace they find our list of pensioners
so large, they complain that we did furnish so many men.

10(5)r 117

At the North, every body is busy in some employment,
and politics, with very few exceptions, form but a
brief episode in the lives of the citizens. But the
Southern politicians are men of leisure. They have
nothing to do but to ride round their plantations, hunt,
attend the races, study politics for the next legislative
or congressional campaign, and decide how to use the
prodigious mechanical power, of slave representation,
which a political Archimedes may effectually wield for
the destruction of commerce, or anything else, involving
the prosperity of the free States.

It has been already said, that most of the wealth in
New England was made by commerce; consequently
the South became unfriendly to commerce. There
was a class in New England, jealous, and not without
reason, of their own commercial aristocracy. It
was the policy of the South to foment these passions, and
increase these prejudices. Thus was the old Democratic
party formed; and while that party honestly supposed
they were merely resisting the encroachments of a nobility
at home, they were actually playing a game for one
of the most aristocratic classes in the world — viz. the
Southern planters. A famous slave owner and politician,
openly boasted, that the South could always put
down the aristocracy of the North, by means of her own
democracy. In this point of view, democracy becomes
a machine used by one aristocratic class against another,
that has less power, and is therefore less dangerous.

There are features in the organization of society, resulting
from slavery, which are conducive to anything
but the union of those States. A large class are without
employment, are accustomed to command, and have a
strong contempt for habits of industry. This class, like
the nobility of feudal times, are restless, impetuous, eager
for excitement, and prompt to settle all questions with the
sword. Like the fierce old barons, at the head of their
vassals, they are ever ready to resist and nullify the central
power of the State, whenever it interferes with their
individual interests, or even approaches the strong holds
of their prejudices. All history shows, that men possessing
hereditary, despotic power, cannot easily be brought 10(5)v 118
to acknowledge a superior, either in the administrators
of the laws, or in the law itself. It was precisely such a
class of men that covered Europe with camps, for upwards
of ten centuries.

A Southern governor has dignified duelling with the
name of an “institution”; and the planters generally,
seem to regard it as among those which they have denominated
their “peculiar institutions.” General Wilkinson,
who was the son of a slave owner, expresses in his memoirs,
great abhorrence of duelling, and laments the
powerful influence which his father’s injunction, when
a boy, had upon his after life: “James,” said the old
gentleman, “if you ever take an insult, I will disinherit

A young lawyer, who went from Massachusetts to reside
at the South, has frequently declared that he could
not take any stand there as a lawyer, or a gentleman,
until he had fought: he was subject to continual insult
and degredation, until he had evinced his readiness to
kill, or be killed. It is obvious that such a state of morals
elevates mere physical courage into a most undue importance.
There are indeed emergencies, when all the
virtues, and all the best affections of man, are intertwined
with personal bravery; but this is not the kind of courage,
which makes duelling in fashion. The patriot nobly
sacrifices himself for the good of others; the duellist
wantonly sacrifices others to himself.

Brow-beating, which is the pioneer of the pistol,
characterizes, particularly of late years, the Southern
legislation. By these means, they seek to overawe the
Representatives from the free States, whenever any question
even remotely connected with slavery is about to be
discussed; and this, united with our strong reverence for
the Union, has made our legislators shamefully cautious
with regard to a subject, which peculiarly demands moral
courage, and an abandonment of selfish considerations.
If a member of Congress does stand his ground firmly, if
he wants no preferment or profit, which the all powerful
Southern influence can give, an effort is then made to
intimidate him. The instances are numerous in which
Northern men have been insulted and challenged by
their Southern brethren, in consequence of the adverse 10(6)r 119
influence they exerted over the measures of the Federal
government. This turbulent evil exists only in our slave
States; and the peace of the country is committed to
their hands whenever twentyfive votes in Congress can
turn the scale in favor of war.

The statesmen of the South have generally been
planters. Their agricultural products must pay the
merchants— foreign and domestic, — the ship owner, the
manufacturer, — and all others concerned in the exchange
or manipulation of them. It is universally
agreed that the production of the raw materials is the
least profitable employment of capital. The planters
have always entertained a jealous dislike of those engaged
in the more profitable business of the manufacture and
exchange of products; particularly as the existence of
slavery among them destroys ingenuity and enterprise,
and compels them to employ the merchants, manufacturers,
and sailors of the free States. Virginia has great natural advantages for becoming a manufacturing
country; but slavery, that does evil to all and good to none,
produces a state of things which renders that impossible.
Hence there has ever
been a tendency to check New England, whenever she
appears to shoot up with vigorous rapidity. Whether
she tries to live by hook or by crook, there is always an
effort to restrain her within certain limited bounds. The
embargo, passed without limitation of time, (a thing
unprecedented,) was fastened upon the bosom of her
commerce, until life was extinguished. The ostensible
object of this measure, was to force Great Britain to
terms, by distressing the West Indies for food. But
while England commanded the seas, her colonies were
not likely to starve; and for the sake of this doubtful
experiment, a certain and incalculable injury was inflicted
upon the Northern States. Seamen, and the
numerous classes of mechanics connected with navigation,
were thrown out of employment, as suddenly as if
they had been cast on a desert island by some convulsion
of nature. Thousands of families were ruined by that
ill-judged measure. Has any government a right to inflict
so much direct suffering on a very large portion of
their own people, for the sake of an indirect and remote
evil which may possibly be inflicted on an enemy?

10(6)v 120

It is true, agriculture suffered as well as commerce;
but agricultural products could be converted into food
and clothing; they would not decay like ships, nor would
the producers be deprived of employment and sustenance,
like those connected with navigation.

Whether this step was intended to paralyze the
North or not, it most suddenly and decidedly produced
that effect. We were told that it was done to save our
commerce from falling into the hands of the English and
French. But our merchants earnestly entreated not to
be thus saved. At the very moment of the embargo,
underwriters were ready to insure at the usual rates.

The non-intercourse was of the same general character
as the embargo, but less offensive and injurious.
The war crowned this course of policy; and like the
other measures, was carried by slave votes. It was emphatically
a Southern, not a national war. Individuals
gained glory by it, and many of them nobly deserved it;
but the amount of benefit which the country derived
from that war might be told in much fewer words than
would enumerate the mischiefs it produced.

The commercial States, particularly New England,
have been frequently reproached for not being willing to
go to war for the protection of their own interests; and
have been charged with pusillanimity and ingratitude for
not warmly seconding those who were so zealous to defend
their cause. Mr Hayne, during the great debate
with Mr Webster, in the Senate, made use of this customary
sarcasm. It is revived whenever the sectional
spirit of the South, or party spirit in the North, prompts
individuals to depreciate the talents and character of any
eminent Northern man. The Southern States have even
gone so far on this subject, as to assume the designation
of “patriot States,” in contra-distinction to their
northern neighbors — and this too, while Bunker Hill and
Faneuil Hall are still standing! It certainly was a pleasant
idea to exchange the appellation of slave States for
that of patriot States — it removed a word which in a
republic is unseemly and inconsistent.

Whatever may be thought of the justice and expediency
of the last war, it was certainly undertaken against 11(1)r 121
the earnest wishes of the commercial States — two thirds
of the Representatives from those States voted in opposition
to the measure. According to the spirit of the
constitution it ought not to have passed unless there
were two thirds in favor of it. Why then should the
South have insisted upon conferring a boon, which was
not wanted; and how happened it, that Yankees, with
all their acknowledged shrewdness in money matters,
could never to this day perceive how they were protected
by it? Yet New England is reproached with cowardice
and ingratitude to her Southern benefactors! If one
man were to knock another down with a broad axe, in
the attempt to brush a fly from his face, and then blame
him for not being sufficiently thankful, it would exactly
illustrate the relation between the North and the South
on this subject.

If the protection of commerce had been the real object
of the war, would not some preparations have been
made for a navy? It was ever the policy of the slave
States to destroy the navy. Vast conquests by land were
contemplated, for the protection of Northern commerce.
Whatever was intended, the work of destruction was
done. The policy of the South stood for a while like a
giant among ruins. New England received a blow,
which crushed her energies, but could not annihilate
them. Where the system of free labor prevails, and
there is work of any kind to be done, there is a safety
valve provided for any pressure. In such a community
there is a vital and active principle, which cannot be
long repressed. You may dam up the busy waters, but
they will sweep away any obstructions, or force a new channel.

Immediately after the peace, when commerce again
began to try her broken wings, the South took care to
keep her down, by multiplying permanent embarrassments,
in the shape of duties. The direct tax (which
would have borne equally upon them, and which in the
original compact was the equivalent for slave representation),
was forthwith repealed, and commerce was burdened
with the payment of the national debt. The
encouragement of manufactures, the consumption of
domestic products, or living within ourselves, was then 11 11(1)v 122
urged upon us. This was an ancient doctrine of the
democratic party. Mr Jefferson was its strongest advocate.
Did he think it likely to bear unfavorably upon
“the nation of shop keepers and peddlers?” Mr Jefferson’s description of New England. The
Northerners adopted it with sincere views to economy,
and more perfect independence. The duties were so
adjusted as to embarrass commerce, and to guard the interests
of a few in the North, who, from patriotism, party
spirit, or private interest, had established manufactures
on a considerable scale. This system of protection
opposed by the North, was begun in 18161816 by
Southern politicians, and enlarged and confirmed by them
in 18241824. It was carried nearly as much by Southern influence,
as was the war itself; and if the votes were placed
side by side, there could not be a doubt of the identity of the
interests and passions, which lay concealed under both.
But enterprise, that moral perpetual-motion, overcomes all
obstacles. Neat and flourishing villages rose in every
valley of New England. The busy hum of machinery
made music with her neglected waterfalls. All her
streams, like the famous Pactolus, flowed with gold. From
her discouraged and embarrassed commerce arose a
greater blessing, apparently indestructible. Walls of
brick and granite could not easily be overturned by the
Southern lever, and left to decay, as the ship timber had
done. Thus Mordecai was again seated in the king’s
gate, by means of the very system intended for his
ruin. As soon as this state of things became perceptible,
the South commenced active hostility with manufactures.
Doleful pictures of Southern desolation and
decay were given, and all attributed to manufactures.
The North was said to be plundering the South, while
she, poor dame, was enriching her neighbors, and
growing poor upon her extensive labors. (If this statement
be true, how much gratitude do we owe the negroes:
for they do all the work that is done at the
South. Their masters only serve to keep them in a
condition, where they do not accomplish half as much
as they otherwise would.).

11(2)r 123

New England seems to be like the poor lamb that tried
to drink at the same stream with the wolf. “You make
the water so muddy I can’t drink,”
says the wolf: “I
stand below you,”
replied the lamb, “and therefore it
cannot be.”
“You did me an injury last year,” retorted
the wolf. “I was not born last year,” rejoined the lamb.
“Well, well,” exclaimed the wolf, “then it was your
father or mother. I’ll eat you, at all events.”

The bitter discussions in Congress have grown out of
this strong dislike to the free States; and the crown of
the whole policy is nullification. The single state of
South Carolina has undertaken to abolish the revenues
of the whole nation; and threatened the Federal Government
with seccession from the Union, in case the
laws were enforced by any other means than through the
judicial tribunals.

“South Carolina has the privilege of excessive representation,
and is released from the payment of direct taxes,
which, according to the ratio of her representation, would
be nearly double that of any non-slave-holding State;
it is therefore not a little extraordinary that she should
complain of an unequal proportion of duties of imposts.”
“It is not a little extraordinary that this new pretension
of South Carolina, the State which above all others enjoys
this unrequited privilege of excessive representation,
released from all payment of the direct taxes, of
which her proportion would be nearly double that of any
non-slave-holding State, should proceed from that very
complaint that she bears an unequal proportion of duties
of imposts, which, by the constitution of the United
, are required to be uniform throughout the Union.
Vermont, with a free population of two hundred and eighty
thousand souls, has five representatives in the popular
House of Congress, and seven Electors for President and
Vice President. South Carolina, with a free population of
less than two hundred and sixty thousand souls, sends nine
members to the House of Representatives, and honors
the Governor of Virginia with eleven votes for the office
of President of the United States. If the rule of representation
were the same for South Carolina and for
Vermont, they would have the same number of Representatives 11(2)v 124
in the House, and the same number of Electors
for the choice of President and Vice President. She
has nearly double the number of both.”

What would the South have? They took the management
at the very threshold of our government, and,
excepting the rigidly just administration of Washington,
they have kept it ever since. They claimed slave representation,
and obtained it. For their convenience the
revenues were raised by imposts instead of direct taxes,
and thus they give little or nothing in exchange for their
excessive representation. They have increased the slave
States, till they have twentyfive votes in Congress—
They have laid the embargo, and declared war — They
have controlled the expenditures of the nation — They
have acquired Louisiana and Florida for an eternal slave
market, and perchance for the manufactory of more
slave States — They have given five presidents out of
seven to the United States — And in their attack upon
manufactures, they have gained Mr Clay’s concession
bill. “But all this availeth not, so long as Mordecai the
Jew sitteth in the king’s gate.”
The free States must
be kept down. But change their policy as they will, free
States cannot be kept down. There is but one way to
ruin them; and that is to make them slave States. If
the South with all her power and skill cannot manage
herself into prosperity, it is because the difficulty lies at
her own doors, and she will not remove it. At one time
her deserted villages were attributed to the undue patronage
bestowed upon settlers on the public lands; at
another, the tariff is the cause of her desolation. Slavery,
the real root of the evil, is carefully kept out of sight, as
a “delicate subject,” which must not be alluded to. It is
a singular fact in the present age of the world, that delicate
and indelicate subjects mean precisely the same thing.

If any proof were wanted, that slavery is the cause
of all this discord, it is furnished by Eastern and Western
Virginia. They belong to the same State, and are
protected by the same laws; but in the former, the slave-
holding interest is very strong — while in the latter, it
is scarcely anything. The result is, warfare, and continual
complaints, and threats of separation. There are 11(3)r 125
no such contentions between the different sections of
free States; simply because slavery, the exciting cause of
strife, does not exist among them.

The constant threat of the slave-holding States is the
dissolution of the Union; and they have repeated it with
all the earnestness of sincerity, though there are powerful
reasons why it would not be well of them to venture
upon that untried state of being. In one respect only,
are these threats of any consequence — thay have familiarized
the public mind with the subject of separation,
and diminished the reverence, with which the free States
have hitherto regarded the Union. The farewell advice
of Washington operated like a spell upon the hearts and
consciences of his countrymen. For many, many years
after his death, it would almost have been deemed blasphemy
to speak of separation as a possible event. I
would that it still continued so! But it is now an everyday
occurence, to hear politicians, of all parties, conjecturing
what system would be pursued by different sections
of the country, in case of a dissolution of the Union.
This evil is likewise chargeable upon slavery. The threats
of separation have uniformly come from the slave-holding
States; and on many important measures the free
States have been awed into acquiescence by their respect
for the Union.

Mr Adams, in the able and manly report before alluded
to, says: “It cannot be denied that in a community
spreading over a large extent of territory, and politically
founded upon the principles proclaimed in the declaration
of independence, but differing so widely in the elements
of their social condition, that the inhabitants of
one half the territory are wholly free, and those of the
other half divided into masters and slaves, deep if not
irreconcilable collisions of interest must abound. The
question whether such a community can exist under
one common government, is a subject of profound, philosophical
speculation in theory. Whether it can continue
long to exist, is a question to be solved only by the
experiment now making by the people of this Union, under
that national compact, the constitution of the United

11* 11(3)v 126

The admission of Missouri into the Union is another
clear illustration of the slave-holding power. That
contest was marked by the same violence and the same
threats as have characterized nullification. On both
occasions the planters were pitted against the commercial
and manufacturing sections of the country. On both
occasions the democracy of the North was, by one
means or another, induced to throw its strength upon
the Southern lever, to increase its already prodigious
power. On both, and on all occasions, some little support
has been given to Northern principles in Maryland, Virginia,
and North Carolina; because in portions of those
States there is a considerable commercial interest, and
some encouragement of free labor. So true it is, in the
minutest details, that slavery and freedom are always
arrayed in opposition to each other.

At the time of the Missouri question, the pestiferous
effects of slavery had become too obvious to escape the
observation of the most superficial statesman. The
new free States admitted into the Union enjoyed tenfold
prosperity compared with the new slave States. Give a
free laborer a barren rock, and he will soon cover it
with vegetation; while the slave and his task-master,
would change the garden of Eden to a desert.

But Missouri must be admitted as a slave State, for
two strong reasons. First, that the planters might perpetuate
their predominant influence by adding to the
slave representation, — the power of which is always
concentrated against the interests of the free States. —
Second, that a new market might be opened for their
surplus slaves. It is lamentable to think that two votes
in favor of Missouri slavery, were given by Massachusetts
men; and that those two votes would have turned
the scale. The planters loudly threatened to dissolve
the Union, if slavery were not extended beyond the Mississippi.
If the Union cannot be preserved without
crime, it is an eternal truth that nothing good can be
preserved by crime. The immense territories of Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Florida are very likely to be formed
into slave States; and every new vote on this side, places
the free States more and more at the mercy of the South- 11(4)r 127
and gives a renewed and apparently interminable lease
to the duration of slavery.

The purchase or the conquest of the Texas, is a favorite
scheme with Southerners, because it would occasion
such an inexhaustible demand for slaves. A gentleman
in the Virginia convention thought the acquisition of the
Texas so certain, that he made calculations upon the increased
value of negroes. We have reason to thank God
that the jealousy of the Mexican government places a
barrier in that direction.

The existence of slavery among us prevents the recognition
of Haytian independence. That republic is fast
increasing in wealth, intelligence and refinement. — Her
commerce is valuable to us and might become much
more so. But our Northern representatives have never
even made an effort to have her independence acknowledged,
because a colored ambassador would be so disagreeable
to our prejudices.

Few are aware of the extent of sectional dislike in this
country; and I would not speak of it, if I thought it possible
to add to it. The late John Taylor, a man of great
natural talent, wrote a book on the agriculture of Virginia,
in which he acknowledges impoverishment, but
attributes it all to the mismanagement of overseers. In
this work, Mr Taylor has embodied more of the genuine
spirit, the ethics and politics, of planters, than any other
man; excepting perhaps, John Randolph in his speeches.
He treats merchants, capitalists, bankers, and all other
people not planters, as so many robbers, who live by
plundering the slave owner, apparently forgetting by what
plunder they themselves live.

Mr Jefferson and other eminent men from the South,
have occasionally betrayed the same strong prejudices;
but they were more guarded, lest the democracy of the
North should be undeceived, and their votes lost. Mr
book is in high repute in the Southern States, and
its sentiments widely echoed; but it is little known here.

A year or two since, I received a letter from a publisher
who largely supplies the Southern market, in which
he assured me that no book from the North would sell at 11(4)v 128
the South, unless the source from which it came, were
carefully concealed! Yet New England has always
yielded to Southern policy in preference to uniting with
the Middle States, with which she has in most respects,
a congeniality of interests and habits. It has been the
constant policy of the slave States to prevent the free
States from acting together.

Who does not see that the American people are walking
over a subterranean fire, the flames of which are fed
by slavery?

The South no doubt gave her influence to General
, from the conviction that a slave owner would
support the slave-holding interest. The Proclamation
against the nullifiers, which has given the President such
sudden popularity at the North, has of course offended
them. No person has a right to say that Proclamation
is insincere. It will be extraordinary if a slave owner
does in reality depart from the uniform system of
his brethren. In the President’s last Message, it is
maintained that the wealthy land holders, that is, the
planters, are the best part of the population; — it admits
that the laws for raising of revenue by imposts have been
in their operation oppressive to the South; — it recommends
a gradual withdrawing of protection from manufactures;
— it advises that the public lands shall cease to
be a source of revenue, as soon as practicable — that
they be sold to settlers — and in a convenient time the
disposal of the soil be surrendered to the States respectively
in which it lies
; — lastly, the Message tends to
discourage future appropriations of public money for
purposes of internal improvement.

Every one of these items is a concession to the slave-
holding policy. If the public lands are taken from the
nation, and given to the States in which the soil lies,
who will get the largest share? That best part of the
population called planters.

The Proclamation and the Message are very unlike
each other. Perhaps South Carolina is to obtain her
own will by a route more certain, though more circuitous,
than open rebellion. Time will show.


Chapter V.

Colonization Society, and Anti-Slavery Society.

“It is not madness That I have utter’d: ―― For love of grace, Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass but my madness speaks: It will but skin and film the ulcerous place; While rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. Confess yourself to Heaven; Repent what ’s past; avoid what is to come; And do not spread the compost on the weeds, To make them ranker.” Hamlet, Act III. Scene 3d.
“When doctrines meet with general approbation, It is not heresy, but reformation.” Garrick.

So much excitement prevails with regard to these two
societies at present, that it will be difficult to present a
view of them which will be perfectly satisfactory to all.
I shall say what appears to me, to be candid and true,
without any anxiety as to whom it may please, and whom
it may displease. I need not say that I have a decided
predilection, because it has been sufficiently betrayed in
the preceding pages; and I allude to it for the sake of
perfect sincerity, rather than from any idea that my
opinion is important.

The American Colonization Society was organized a
little more than sixteen years ago at the city of Washington,
chosen as the most central place in the Union. —
Auxiliary institutions have since been formed in almost
every part of the country; and nearly all the distinguished
men belong to it. The doing away of slavery in the
United States, by gradually removing all the blacks to
Africa, has been generally supposed to be its object. —
The project at first excited some jealousy in the Southern
States; and the Society in order to allay this, were
anxious to make all possible concessions to slave owners,
in their Addresses, Reports, &c. In Mr Clay’s speech,
printed in the first Annual Report of the Society, he said, 11(5)v 130
“It is far from the intention of this Society to affect, in
any manner, the tenure by which a certain species of
property is held. I am myself a slave-holder, and I consider
that kind of property as inviolable as any other in
the country. I would resist encroachment upon it as
soon, and with as much firmness as I would upon any
other property that I hold. Nor am I prepared to go as
far as the gentleman, who has just spoken (Mr Mercer)
in saying that I would emancipate my slaves, if the
means were provided of sending them from the country.”

At the same meeting Mr Randolph said, “He thought
it necessary, being himself a slave-holder, to show that
so far from being in the smallest degree connected with
the abolition of slavery, the proposed Society would prove
one of the greatest securities to enable the master to keep
in possession his own property

In Mr Clay’s speech, in the second Annual Report, he
declares: “It is not proposed to deliberate upon, or consider
at all, any question of emancipation, or any that is
connected with the abolition of slavery. On this condition
alone gentlemen from the South and West can be
expected to coöperate. On this condition only, I have
myself attended.”

In the seventh Annual Report it is said, “An effort
for the benefit of the blacks, in which all parts of the
country can unite, of course must not have the abolition
of slavery for its immediate object; nor may it aim directly
at the instruction of the blacks

Mr Archer of Virginia, fifteenth Annual Report, says,
“The object of the Society, if I understand it aright, involves
no intrusion on property, nor even upon prejudice.”

In the speech of James S. Green, Esq. he says: “This
Society have ever disavowed, and they do yet disavow
that their object is the emancipation of slaves. They
have no wish if they could to interfere in the smallest
degree with what they deem the most interesting and
fearful subject, which can be pressed upon the American
public. There is no people that treat their slaves with
so much kindness and so little cruelty.”

In almost every address delivered before the Society
similar expressions occur. — On the propriety of discussing
the evils of slavery, without bitterness and without 11(6)r 131
fear, good men may differ in opinion; though I think
the time is fast coming, when they will all agree. —
But by assuming the ground implied in the above remarks,
the Colonization Society have fallen into the
habit of glossing over the enormities of the slave system;
at least, it so appears to me. In their constitution they
have pledged themselves not to speak, write, or do anything
to offend the Southerners; and as there is no possible
way of making the truth pleasant to those who do
not love it, the Society must perforce keep the truth out
of sight. In many of their publications, I have thought
I discovered a lurking tendency to palliate slavery; or,
at least to make the best of it. They often bring to my
mind the words of Hamlet:

“Forgive me this my virtue; For in the fatness of these pursy times, Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg; Yea, curb and woo, for leave to do him good.”

Thus in an Address delivered 1833-03March, 1833, we are
told, “It ought never to be forgotten that the slave-trade
between Africa and America, had its origin in a compassionate
endeavor to relieve, by the substitution of
negro labor, the toils endured by native Indians. It was
the simulated form of mercy that piloted the first slave-
ship across the Atlantic.”

I am aware that Las Cases used this argument; but
it was less unbecoming in him than it is in a philanthropist
of the present day. The speaker does indeed say
that “the ‘infinite of agonies’ and the infinite of crime,
since suffered and committed, proves that mercy cannot exist
in opposition to justice.”
I can hardly realize what sort
of a conscience it must be, that needed the demonstration.

The plain truth was, the Spaniards were in a hurry
for gold; they overworked the native Indians, who
were inconsiderate enough to die in a very inconvenient
numberszero to one punctuation characterflawed-reproduction but the gold must be had, and that quickly;
and so the Africans were forced to come and die in company
with the Indians. And in the nineteenth century,
we are told it is our duty not to forget that this was a
“simulated form of mercy”! A “dissimulated form” would
have been the better expression.

If we may believe the slave owners, the whole system, from 11(6)v 132
beginning to end, is a matter of mercy. They have
described the Middle Passage, with its gags, fetters,
and thumbscrews, as “the happiest period of a negro’s
; they say they do the slaves a great charity in
bringing them from barbarous Africa to a civilized and
Christian country; and on the plantation, under the
whip of the driver, the negroes are so happy, that a West
planter publicly declared he could not look upon
them, without wishing to be himself a slave.

In the speech above referred to, we are told, that as to
any political interference, “the slave States are foreign
States. We can alienate their feelings until they become
foreign enemies; or, on the other hand, we can
conciliate them until they become allies and auxiliaries
in the sacred cause of emancipation.”

But so long as the South insist that slavery is “unavoidable,”
and say they will not tolerate any schemes tending
to its abolition — and so long as the North take the necessity
of slavery for an unalterable truth, and put down
any discussions, however mild and candid, which tend to
show that it may be done away with safety — so long as
we thus strengthen each other’s hands in evil, what remote
hope is there of emancipation? If by political
interference is meant hostile interference, or even a desire
to promote insurrection, I should at once pronounce it to
be most wicked; and if by politial interference is meant
the liberty to investigate this subject, as other subjects
are investigated — to inquire into what has been done,
and what may be done — I saw it is our sacred duty to
do it. To enlighten public opinion is the best way that
has yet been discovered for the removal of national evils;
and slavery is certainly a national evil.

The Southern States, according to their own evidence,
are impoverished by it; a great amount of wretchedness
and crime inevitably follows in its train; the prosperity
of the North is continually checked by it; it promotes
feelings of rivalry between the States; it separates our
interests; makes our councils discordant; threatens the
destruction of our government; and disgraces us in the
eyes of the world. I have often heard Americans who
had been abroad, declare that nothing embarrassed 12(1)r 133
them so much as being questioned about our slaves; and
that nothing was so mortifying as to have the pictures of
runaway negroes pointed at in the newspapers of this republic.
La Fayette, with all his admiration for our institutions,
can never speak of the subject without regret
and shame.

Now a common evil certainly implies a common right
to remedy; and where is the remedy to be found, if the
South in all their speeches and writings repeat that
slavery must exist — if the Colonization Society re-echo,
in all their Addresses and Reports, that there is no help
for the evil, and it is very wicked to hint that there is —
and if public opinion here brands every body a fanatic
and madman, who wishes to inquire what can be done?
The supineness of New England on this subject, reminds
me of the man who being asked to work at the pump, because
the vessel was going down, answered, “I am only
a passenger.”

An error often and urgently repeated is apt to receive
the sanction of truth; and so it is in this case. The
public take it for granted that slavery is a “lamentable
Nevertheless there is a way to effect its cure,
if we all join sincerely, earnestly, and kindly in the work;
but if we expend our energies in palliating the evil, or
mourning over its hopelessness, or quarreling about who
is the most to blame for it, the vessel, — crew, passengers,
and all, — will go down together.

I object to the Colonization Society, because it tends
to put public opinion asleep, on a subject where it needs
to be wide awake.

The address above alluded to, does indeed inform us
of one thing which we are at liberty to do: “We must
go to the master and adjure him, by all the sacred rights
of humanity, by all the laws of natural justice, by his
dread responsibilites, — which in the economy of Providence,
are always coëxtensive and commensurate with
power, — to raise the slave out of his abyss of degradation,
to give him a participation in the benefits of mortal
existence, and to make him a member of the intellectual
and moral world, from which he, and his fathers, for so
many generations, have been exiled.”
The practical 12 12(1)v 134
utility of such a plan needs no comment. Slave owners
will smile when they read it.

I will for a moment glance at what many suppose is
still the intention of the Colonization Society, viz. gradually
to remove all the blacks in the United States. The
Society has been in operation more than fifteen years,
during which it has transported between two and three
thousand free people of color. There are in the United
two million of slaves, and three hundred thousand
free blacks; and their numbers are increasing at the
rate of seventy thousand annually. While the Society
have removed less than three thousand, — five hundred
thousand have been born. While one hundred and fifty
free blacks have been sent to Africa in a year, two hundred
slaves have been born in a day. To keep the evil
just where it is, seventy thousand a year, must be transported.
How many ships, and how many millions of
money, would it require to do this? It would cost
3,500,000 dollars a year, to provide for the safety of
our Southern brethren in this way! To use the language
of Mr Hayne, it would “bankrupt the treasury
of the world”
to execute the scheme. And if such a
great number could be removed annually, how would
the poor fellows subsist? Famines have already been
produced, even by the few that have been sent. What
would be the result of landing several thousand destitute
beings, even on the most fertile of our own cultivated

And why should they be removed? Labor is greatly
needed, and we are glad to give good wages for it. We
encourage emigration from all parts of the world; why
is it not good policy, as well as good feeling, to improve
the colored people, and pay them for the use of their
faculties? For centuries to come, the means of sustenance
in this vast country must be much greater than the
population; then why should we drive away people, whose
services may be most useful? If the moral cultivation of
negroes received the attention it ought, thousands and
thousands would at the present moment be gladly taken
up in families, factories, &c. And, like other men, they
ought to be allowed to fit themselves for more important
usefulness, as far and as fast as they can.

12(2)r 135

There will, in all human probability, never be any decrease
in the black population of the United States.
Here they are, and here they must remain, in very large
numbers, do what we will. We may at once agree to
live together in mutual good will, and perform a mutual
use to each other — or we may go on, increasing tyranny
on one side, and jealousy and revenge on the other, until
the fearful elements complete their work of destruction,
and something better than this sinful republic rises on the
ruins. Oh, how earnestly do I wish that we may choose
the holier and safer path!

To transport the blacks in such annual numbers as
has hitherto been done, cannot have any beneficial effect
upon the present state of things. It is Dame Partington
with her pail mopping up the rushing waters of the Atlantic!
So far as this gradual removal has any effect, it
tends to keep up the price of slaves in the market, and
thus perpetuate the system. A writer in the Kentucky
, speaking of colonization, uses the following
argument: “None are obliged to follow our example;
and those who do not, will find the value of their negoes
increased by the departure of ours

If the value of slaves is kept up, it iwll be a strong
temptation to smuggle in the commodity; and thus
while one vessel carries them out from America, another
will be bringing them in from Africa. This would be
like dipping up the waters of Chesapeake Bay into barrels,
conveying it across the Atlantic, and emptying it
into the Mediterranean: the Chesapeake would remain
as full as ever, and by the time the vessel returned, wind
and waves would have brought the same water back

Slave owners have never yet, in any part of the world,
been known to favor, as a body, any scheme, which could
ultimately tend to abolish slavery; yet in this country,
they belong to the Colonization Society in large numbers,
and agree to pour from their State treasuries into
its funds. Individuals object to it, it is true; but the
scheme is very generally favored in the slave States.

The following extract from Mr Wood’s speech in the
Legislature of Virginia, will show upon what ground the 12(2)v 136
owners of slaves are willing to sanction any schemes of
benevolence. The “Colonization Society may be a part
of the grand system of the Ruler of the Universe, to
provide for the transfer of negroes to their mother country.
Their introduction into this land may have been
one of the inscrutable ways of Providence to confer blessings
upon that race — it may have been decreed that
they shall be the means of conveying to the minds of
their benighted countrymen, the blessing of religious
and civil liberty. But I fear there is little ground to believe
the means have yet been created to effect so glorious
a result, or that the present race of slaves are to be
benefited by such a removal. I shall trust that many
of them may be carried to the southwestern States as
. Should this door be closed, how can Virginia get
rid of so large a number as are now annually deported
to the different States and Territories where slaves are
wanted? Can the gentlemen show us how from twelve
thousand to twenty thousand
can be annually carried to

Yet notwithstanding such numbers of mothers and
children are yearly sent from a single State, “separately
or in lots,”
to supply the demands of the internal slave
, Mr Hayne, speaking of freeing these people and
sending them away, says: “It is wholly irreconcilable
with our notions of humanity to tear asunder the tender
, which they had formed among us, to gratify the
feelings of a false philanthropy”

As for the removal of blacks from this country, the
real fact is this; the slave States are very desirous to get
rid of their troublesome surplus of colored population,
and they are willing that we should help to pay for the
transportation. A double purpose is served by this; for
the active benevolence which is eager to work in the
cause, is thus turned into a harmless and convenient
channel. Neither the planters nor the Colonization Society,
seem to ask what right we have to remove people
from the places where they have been born and brought
up, — where they have a home, which, however miserable,
is still their home, — and where their relatives and
acquaintances all reside. Africa is no more their native 12(3)r 137
country than England is ours, At the close of the last war, General Jackson issued a proclamation
to the colored people of the South, in which he says:
“I know that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like
ourselves, you had to defend all that is dear to man. But you surpass
my hopes. I have found in you, united to those qualities, that
noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.”
— nay, it is less so, because
there is no community of language or habits; —
besides, we cannot say to them, as Gilpin said to his
horse, “’Twas for your pleasure you came here, you
shall go back for mine.”

In the Virginia Debate of 18321832 it was agreed that
very few of the free colored people would be willing to
go to Africa; and this is proved by several petitions
from them, praying for leave to remain. One of the
Virginian legislators said, “either moral or physical force
must be used to compel them to go;”
some of them advised
immediate coercion; others recommended persuasion
first, until their numbers were thinned, and coercion
afterward. I believe the resolution finally passed the
House without any proviso of this sort; and I mention
it merely to show that it was generally supposed the colored
people would be unwilling to go.

The planters are resolved to drive the free blacks
away; and it is another evil of the Colonization Society
that their funds and their influence cooperate with them in
this project. They do not indeed thrust the free negroes
off, at the point of the bayonet; but they make their laws
and customs so very unequal and oppressive, that the poor
fellows are surrounded by raging fires on every side, and
must leap into the Atlantic for safety. In slave ethics I
suppose this is called “moral force.” If the slave population
is left to its own natural increase, the crisis will
soon come; for labor will be so very cheap that slavery
will not be for the interest of the whites. Why should
we retard this crisis?

In the next place, many of the Colonizationists, (I do
not suppose it applies to all) are averse to giving the
blacks a good education; and they are not friendly to
the establishment of schools and colleges for that purpose.
Now I would ask any candid person why colored 12* 12(3)v 138
children should not be educated? Some say, it will
raise them above their situation; I answer, it will raise
them in their situation — not above it. When a High
School for white girls was first talked of in this city,
several of the wealthy class objected to it; because, said
they, “if everybody is educated, we shall have no servants.”
This argument is based on selfishness, and
therefore cannot stand. If carried into operation, the
welfare of many would be sacrificed to the convenience
of a few. We might as well protest against the sunlight,
for the benefit of lamp-oil merchants. Of all monopolies,
a monopoly of knowledge is the worst. Let it
be as active as the ocean — as free as the wind — as
universal as the sun-beams! Lord Brougham said very
wisely, “If the higher classes are afraid of being left in
the rear, they likewise must hasten onward.”

With our firm belief in the natural inferiority of negroes,
it is strange we should be so much afraid that
knowledge will elevate them quite too high for our convenience.
In the march of improvement, we are several
centuries in advance; and if, with this obstacle
at the very beginning, they can outstrip us, why then,
in the name of justice, let them go ahead? Nay,
give them three cheers as they pass. If any nation,
or any class of men, can obtain intellectual preëinence,
it is a sure sign they deserve it; and by this
republican rule the condition of the world will be regulated
as surely as the waters find their level.

Besides, like all selfish policy, this is not true policy.
The more useful knowledge a person has, the better he fulfils
his duties in any station; and there is no kind of knowledge,
high or low, which may not be brought into use.

But it has been said, that information will make the
blacks discontented; because, if ever so learned, they
will not be allowed to sit at the white man’s table, or
marry the white man’s daughter.

In relation to this question, I would ask, “Is there
anybody so high, that they do not see others above
The working classes of this country have no
social communication with the aristocracy. Every day
of my life I see people who can dress better, and live in 12(4)r 139
better houses, than I can afford. There are many individuals
who would not choose to make my acquaintance,
because I am not of their caste — but I should speak a
great untruth, if I said this made me discontented.
They have their path and I have mine; I am happy in
my own way, and am willing they should be happy in
theirs. If asked whether what little knowledge I have
produces discontent, I should answer, that it made me
happier, infinitely happier, than I could be without it.

Under every form of government, there will be distinct
classes of society, which have only occasional and transient
communication with each other; and the colored
people, whether educated or not, will form one of these
classes. By giving them names of information, we increase
their happiness, and make them better members
of society. I have often heard it said that there was a
disproportionate number of crimes committed by the
colored people in this State. The same thing is true of
the first generation of Irish emigrants; but we universally
attribute it to their ignorance, and agree that the
only remedy is to give their children as good an education
as possible. If the policy is wise in one instance,
why would it not be so in the other?

As for the possibility of social intercourse between
the different colored races, I have not the slightest objection
to it, provided they were equally virtuous, and
equally intelligent; but I do not wish to war with the
prejudices of others; I am willing that all, who consult
their consciences, should keep them as long as ever they
can. One thing is certain, the blacks will never come
into your houses, unless you ask them; and you need
not ask them unless you choose. They are very far
from being intrusive in this respect.

With regard to marrying your daughters, I believe
the feeling in opposition to such unions is quite as strong
among the colored class, as it is among white people. —
While the prejudice exists, such instances must be exceedingly
rare, because the consequence is degradation
in society. Believe me, you may safely trust to anything
that depends on the pride and selfishness of unregenerated
human nature.

12(4)v 140

Perhaps, a hundred years hence, some negro Rothschild
may come from Hayti, with his seventy millions of
, and persuade some white woman to sacrifice herself
to him — Stranger things than this do happen every
year. — But before that century has passed away, I apprehend
there will be a sufficient number of well-informed
and elegant colored women in the world, to meet the demands
of colored patricians. Let the sons and daughters
of Africa both be educated, and then they will be fit for
each other. They will not be forced to make war upon
their white neighbors for wives; nor will they, if they
have intelligent women of their own, see anything so
vary desirable in the project. Shall we keep this class
of people in everlasting degradation, for fear one of their
descendants may marry our great-great-great-great-grandchild?

While the prejudice exists, such unions cannot take
place; and when the prejudice is melted away, they
will cease to be a degradation, and of course cease to be
an evil.

My third and greatest objection to the Colonization
is, that its members write and speak, both in
public and private, as if the prejudice against skins
darker colored than our own, was a fixed and unalterable
law of our nature, which cannot possibly be changed.
The very existence of the Society is owing to this prejudice:
for if we could make all the colored people
white, or if they could be viewed as impartially as if
they were white, what would be left for the Colonization
to do? Under such circumstances, they would
have a fair chance to rise in their moral and intellectual
character, and we should be glad to have them remain
among us, to give their energies for our money, as the
Irish, the Dutch, and people from all parts of the world
are now doing.

I am aware that some of the Colonizationists make
large professions on this subject; but nevertheless we are
constantly told by this Society, that people of color must
be removed, not only because they are in our way, but
because they must always be in a state of degradation
here — that they never can have all the rights and privileges 12(5)r 141
of citizens — and all this is because the prejudice
is so great.

“The Managers consider it clear that causes exist
and are operating to prevent their (the blacks) improvement
and elevation to any considerable extent as a
class, in this country, which are fixed, not only beyond
the control of the friends of humanity, but of any human
power. Christianity will not do for them here, what it
will do for them in Africa. This is not the fault of the
colored man, nor Christianity; but an ordination of
, and no more to be changed than the laws of
Last Annual Report of American Colonization

“The habits, the feelings, all the prejudices of society
— prejudices which neither refinement, nor argument,
nor education, nor religion itself, can subdue
— mark the people of color, whether bond or free,
as the subjects of a degradation inevitable and incurable.
The African in this country belongs by birth to the very
lowest station in society; and from that station he
can never rise
, be his talents, his enterprise, his
virtues what they may
. They constitute a class by themselves
— a class out of which no individual can be elevated,
and below which none can be depressed.”
, vol. iv. pp. 118, 119

This is shaking hands with iniquity, and covering sin
with a silver veil. Our prejudice against the blacks is
founded in sheer pride; and it originates in the circumstance
that people of their color only, are universally
allowed to be slaves. We made slavery, and slavery
makes the prejudice. No Christian, who questions his
own conscience, can justify himself in indulging the feeling.
The removal of this prejudice is not a matter of
opinion — it is a matter of duty. We have no right to
palliate a feeling, sinful in itself, and highly injurious to
a large number of our fellow beings. Let us no longer
set upon the narrow-minded idea, that we must always
continue to do wrong, because we have so long been in
the habit of doing it. That there is no necessity for the
prejudice is shown by facts. In England, it exists to a
much less degree than it does here. If a respectable colored 12(5)v 142
person enters a church there, the pews are readily
opened to him if he appears at an inn, room is made for
him at the table, and no laughter, or winking, reminds
him that he belongs to an outcast race. A highly respectable
English gentleman residing in this country has
often remarked that nothing filled him with such utter
astonishment as our prejudice with regard to color. —
There is now in old England a negro, with whose name,
parentage, and history, I am well acquainted, who was
sold into West Indian slavery by his New England master;
(I know his name.) The unfortunate negro became
free by the kindness of an individual, and has now a
handsome little property, and the command of a vessel.
He must take care not to come into the ports of our
Southern republics! — The anecdote of Prince Saunders
is well known; but it will bear repeating. He called
upon an American family, then residing in London. —
The fashionable breakfast hour was very late, and the
family were still seated at the table. The lady fidgetted
between the contending claims of politeness and prejudice.
At last, when all but herself had risen from the
table, she said, as if struck by a sudden thought, “Mr
, I forgot to ask if you had breakfasted.”
thank you, madam,”
replied the colored gentleman;
“but I have engaged to breakfast with the Prince Regent
this morning.”

Mr Wilberforce and Mr Brougham have often been
seen in the streets of London, walking arm in arm with
people of color. The same thing is true of Brissot, La
, and several other distinguished Frenchmen. —
In this city, I never but once saw such an instance:
When the Philadelphia company were here last summer,
I met one of the officers walking arm in arm with a fine
looking black musician. The circumstance gave me a
good deal of respect for the white man; for I thought
he must have kind feelings and correct principles, thus
fearlessly to throw off a worse than idle prejudice.

In Brazil, people of color are lawyers, clergymen,
merchants and military officers; and in the Portuguese,
as well as the Spanish settlements, intermarriages bring
no degradation. On the shores of the Levant, some of 12(6)r 143
the wealthiest merchants are black. If we were accustomed
to see intelligent and polished negroes, the prejudice
would soon disappear. There is certainly no law of
our nature which makes a dark color repugnant to our
feelings. We admire the swarthy beauties of Spain;
and the finest forms of statuary are often preferred in
bronze. If the whole world were allowed to vote on the
question, there would probably be a plurality in favor of
complexions decidedly dark. Everybody knows how
much the Africans were amused at the sight of Mungo
, and what an ugly misfortune they considered his
pale color, prominent nose, and thin lips.

Ought we to be called Christians, if we allow a prejudice
so absurd to prevent the improvement of a large
portion of the human race, and interfere with what all
civilized nations consider the most common rights of
mankind? It cannot be that my enlightened and generous
countrymen will sanction anything so narrow-
minded and so selfish.

Having found much fault with the Colonization Society,
it is pleasant to believe that one portion of their
enterprise affords a distant prospect of doing more good
than evil. They now principally seek to direct the public
attention to the founding of a Colony in Africa; and
this may prove beneficial in process of time. If the colored
emigrants were educated before they went there,
such a Colony would tend slowly, but certainly, to
enlighten Africa, to raise the character of the negroes,
to strengthen the increasing liberality of public opinion,
and to check the diabolical slave trade. If the Colonizationists
will work zealously and judiciously in this department,
pretend to do nothing more, and let others
work in another and more efficient way, they will deserve
the thanks of the country; but while it is believed that
they do all the good which can be done in this important
cause, they will do nomore harm in America, than they
can atone for in Africa.

Very different pictures are drawn of Liberia. One
party represents it as thriving beyond description, the
other insists that it will soon fall into ruin. It is but candid
to suppose that the colony is going on as well as 12(6)v 144
could possibly be expected, when we consider that the
emigrants are almost universally ignorant and vicious,
without property, and without habits of industry or enterprise.
The colored people in our slave States must,
almost without exception, be destitute of information;
and in choosing negroes to send away, the masters
would be very apt to select the most helpless and the
most refractory. Hence the superintendents of Liberia
have made reiterated complaints of being flooded with
ship-loads of “vagrants.” These causes are powerful
drawbacks. But the negroes in Liberia have schools
and churches, and they have freedom, which, wherever
it exists, is always striving to work its upward way.

There is a palpable contradiction in some of the
statements of this Society.

We are told that the Colonization Society is to civilize
and evangelize Africa. “Each emigrant,” says
Henry Clay, the ablest advocate which the Society has
yet found, “is a missionary, carrying with him credentials
in the holy cause of civilization, religion and free

Who are these emigrants — these missionaries?

The Free people of color. “They, and they only,”
says the African Repository, the Society’s organ, “are
qualified for colonizing Africa.”

“What are their qualifications? Let the Society
answer in its own words:

‘Free blacks are a greater nuisance than even slaves
African Repository, vol. ii. p. 328.

‘A horde of miserable people — the objects of universal
suspicion — subsisting by plunder.’
C. F.

‘An anomalous race of beings, the most debased
upon earth.’
African Repository, vol. vii. p. 230.

‘Of all classes of our population the most vicious is
that of the free colored.’”
Tenth Annual Report of
Colonization Society

An Education Society has been formed in connection
with the Colonization Society, and their complaint is
principally that they cannot find proper subjects for instruction.
Why cannot such subjects be found? Simply 13(1)r 145
because our ferocious prejudices compel the colored
children to grow up in ignorance and vicious companionship,
and when we seek to educate them, we find their
minds closed against the genial influence of knowledge.

When I heard of the Education Society, I did hope
to fine one instance of sincere, thorough, disinterested
good will for the blacks. But in the consitution of that
Society, I again find the selfish principle predominant.
They pledge themselves to educate no colored persons,
unless they are solemnly bound to quit the country.
The abolitionists are told that they must wait till the
slaves are more fit for freedom. But if this system is
pursued, when are they to be more fit for freedom?
Never — never — to the end of time.

Whatever other good the Colonization Society may do,
it seems to me evident that they do not produce any
beneficial effect on the condition of colored people in
America; and indirectly they produce much evil.

In a body so numerous as the Colonization Society,
there is, of course, a great variety of character and opinions.
I presume that many among them believe the ultimate
tendency of the Society to be very different from
what it really is. Some slave owners encourage it,
because they think it cannot decrease slavery, and will
keep back the inconvenient crisis when free labor will be
cheaper than slave labor; others of the same class join
it because they really want to do some act of kindness
to the unfortunate African race, and all the country insists
upon it that this is the only way; some politicians
in the free States countenance it from similar motives,
and because less cautious measures might occasion a
loss of Southern votes and influence; the time-serving
class — so numerous in every community, — who are
always ready to flatter existing prejudices, and sail
smoothly along the current of popular favor, join it, of
course; but I am willing to believe that the largest proportion
belong to it, because they have compassionate
hearts, are fearful of injuring their Southern brethren,
and really think there is no other way of doing so
much good to the negroes. With this last mentioned
class, I sympathize in feeling, but differ in opinion.

13 13(1)v 146

The Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1832-01January,
. Its objects are distinctly stated in the second
Article of their constitution, which is as follows:

“Art. 2. The objects of the Society shall be, to endeavor,
by all means sanctioned by law, humanity and religion, to effect
the abolition of slavery in the United States; to improve
the character and condition of the free people of color, to inform
and correct public opinion in relation to their situation
and rights, and obtain for them equal civil and political rights
and privileges with the whites.”

From this it will be seen that they think it a duty to
give colored people all possible means of education, and
instead of removing them away from the prejudice, to
remove the prejudice away from them.

They lay it down as a maxim that immediate emancipation
is the only just course, and the only safe policy.
They say that slavery is a common evil, and therefore
there is a common right to investigate it, and search for
modes of relief. They say that New England shares,
and ever has shared, in this national sin, and is therefore
bound to atone for the mischief, as far as it can be done.

The strongest reason why the Anti-Slavery Society
wish for the emancipation of slaves, is because they
think no other course can be pursued which does not,
in its very nature, involve a constant violation of the
laws of God. In the next place, they believe there is
no other sure way of providing for the safety of the
white population in the slave States. I know that many
of the planters affect to laugh at the idea of fearing
their slaves; but why are their laws framed with such
cautious vigilance? Why must not negroes of different
plantations communicate together? Why are they not
allowed to be out in the vening, or to carry even a stick
to defend themselves, in case of necessity?

In the Virginia Legislature a gentleman said, “It was
high time for something to be done when men did not
dare to open their own doors without pistols at their
and Mr Randolph has publicly declared that a
planter was merely “a sentry at his own door.”

Mr Roane of Virginia, asks, — “Is there an intelligent
man who does not know that this excess of slavery 13(2)r 147
is increasing, and will continue to increase in a ratio
which is alarming in the extreme, and must overwhelm
our descendants in ruin? Why then should we shut our
eyes and turn our backs upon the evil? Will delay render
it less gigantic, or give us more Herculean strength
to meet and subdue it at a future time? Oh, no — delay
breeds danger — procrastination is the thief of time, and
the refuge of sluggards.”

It is very true that insurrection is perfect madness on
the part of the slaves; for they are sure to be overpowered.
But such madness has happened; and innocent
women and children have fallen victims to it.

A few months ago, I was conversing with a very mild
and judicious member of the Anti-Slavery Society, when
a gentleman originally from the South came in. As he
was an old acquaintance, and had been a long time resident
in New England, it was not deemed necessary, as a
matter of courtesy, to drop the conversation. He soon
became excited. “Whatever you may think, Mrs
said he, “the slaves are a great deal happier
than either of us; the less people know, the more merry
they are.”
I replied, “I heard you a short time since
talking over your plans for educating your son; if knowledge
brings wretchedness, why do you not keep him in
happy ignorance?”
“The fashion of the times requires
some information,”
said he; “but why do you concern
yourself about the negroes? Why don’t you excite the
horses to an insurrection, because they are obliged to
work, and are whipped if they do not?”
“One horse
does not whip another,”
said I; “and besides, I do not
wish to promote insurrections. I would, on the contrary,
do all I could to prevent them.”
“Perhaps you do not
like the comparison between slaves and horses,”
he; “it is true, the horses have the advantage.” I
made no reply; for where such ground is assumed, what
can be said; besides, I did not then, and I do not
now, believe that he expressed his real feelings. He was
piqued, and spoke unadvisedly. This gentleman denied
that the lot of the negroes was hard. He said they
loved their masters, and their masters loved them; and
in any cases of trouble or illness, a man’s slaves were 13(2)v 148
his best friends. I mentioned some undoubted instances
of cruelty to slaves; he acknowledged that such instances
might very rarely happen, but said that in general
the masters were much more to be pitied than the negroes.
A lady, who had been in South Carolina when
an insurrection was apprehended, related several anecdotes
concerning the alarm that prevailed there at the
time: and added, “I often wish that none of my friends
lived in a slave State.”
“Why should you be anxious?”
rejoined the Southern gentleman; “You know that they
have built a strong citadel in the heart of the city, to
which all the inhabitants can repair, in case of insurrection.”
“So,” said I, “they have built a citadel to
protect them from their happy, contented servants — a
citadel against their ‘best friends’!”
I could not but be
amused at the contradictions that occured during this

That emancipation has in several instances been effected
with safety has been already shown. But allowing
that there is some danger in discontinuing slavery, is
there not likewise danger in continuing it? In one
case, the danger, if there were any, would soon be subdued;
in the other, it is continually increasing.

The planter tells us that the slave is very happy, and
bids us leave him as he is. If laughter is a sign of happiness,
the Irishman, tombling in the same mire as his
pigs, is happy. The merely sensual man is no doubt
merry and heedless; but who would call him happy?
Is it not a fearful thing to keep immortal beings in a
state like beasts? The more the senses are subjected
to the moral and intellectual powers, the happier man is,
— the more we learn to sacrifice the present to the future,
the higher do we rise in the scale of existence. The
negro may often enjoy himself, like the dog when he is
not beaten, or the hog when he is not starved; but let
not this be called “happiness”.

How far the slave laws are conducive to the enjoyment
of those they govern, each individual can judge for himself.
In the Southern papers, we continually see pictures
of runaway negroes, and sometimes the advertisements
identify them by scars, or by letters branded upon 13(3)r 149
them. Is it natural for men to run away from comfort
and happiness, especially when any one who meets them
may shoot them, like a dog? and when whipping nearly
unto death is authorized as the punishment? I forbear
to describe how much more shocking slave whipping is
than anything we are accustomed to see bestowed upon

But the advocates of slavery tell us, that on the negro’s
own account, it is best to keep him in slavery; that
without a master to guide him and take care of him, he
is a wretched being; that freedom is the greatest curse
that can be bestowed upon him. Then why do their
Legislatures grant it as a reward for “meritorious services
to the State”
? Why do benevolent masters bequeath
the legacy of freedom, “in consideration on long
and faithful service”
? Why did Jefferson so earnestly,
and so very humbly request the Legislature of Virginia
to ratify the manumission of his five favorite slaves?

Notwithstanding the disadvantageous position of free
negroes in a community consisting of whites and slaves,
it is evident that, even upon these terms, freedom is considered
a blessing.

The Anti-Slavery Society agrees with Harriet Martineau
in saying, “Patience with the men, but no patience
with the principles. As much patience as you please in
enlightening those who are unaware of the abuses, but
no patience with social crimes”

The Colonization Society are always reminding us
that the master has rights as well as the slave: The
Anti-Slavery Society urge us to remember that the slave
has rights as well as the master. I leave it for sober
sense to determine which of these claims is in the greatest
danger of being forgotten.

The abolitionists think it a duty to maintain at all
times, and in all places, that slavery ought to be abolished,
and that it can be abolished. When error is so
often repeated it becomes very important to repeat the
truth; especially as good men are apt to be quiet, and
selfish men are prone to be active. They propose no
plan — they leave that to the wisdom of Legislatures. —
But they never swerve from the principle that slavery is 13* 13(3)v 150
both wicked and unnecessary. Their object is to turn the
public voice against this evil, by a plain exposition of facts.

Perhaps it may seem of little use for individuals to
maintain any particular principle, while they do not attempt
to prescribe the ways and means by which it can
be carried into operation: But the voice of the public
is mighty, either for good or evil; and that far sounding
echo is composed of single voices.

Schiller makes his Fiesco exclaim, “Spread out the
thunder into its single tones, and it becomes a lullaby for
children; pour it forth in one quick peal, and the royal
sound shall move the heavens!”

If the work of abolition must necessarily be slow in its
progress, so much the more need of beginning soon, and
working vigorously. My life upon it, a safe remedy
can be found for this evil, whenever we are sincerely desirous
of doing justice for its own sake.

The Anti-Slavery Society is loudly accused of being
seditious, fanatical, and likely to promote insurrections.
It seems to be supposed, that they wish to send fire and
sword into the South, and encourage the slaves to hunt
down their masters. Slave owners wish to have it
viewed in this light, because they know that the subject
they have chosen, will not bear discussion; and men
here, who give the tone to public opinion, have loudly repeated
the charge — some from good motives and some
from bad. I once had a very strong prejudice against
anti-slavery; — (I am ashamed to think how strong —
for mere prejudice should never be stubborn,) but a candid
examination has convinced me, that I was in an
error. I made the common mistake of taking things for
granted, without stopping to investigate.

This Society do not not wish to see any coercive or dangerous
measures pursued. They wish for universal
emancipation, because they believe it is the only way to
prevent insurrections. Almost every individual among
them, is a strong friend to Peace Societies. They wish
to move the public mind on this subject, in the same
manner that it has been moved on other subjects: viz.
by open, candid, fearless discussion. This is all they
want to do; and this they are determined to do, because
they believe it to be an important duty. For a long time 13(4)r 151
past, public sympathy has been earnestly directed in the
wrong way; if it could be made to turn round, a most
happy change would be produced. There are many
people at the South who would be glad to have a safe
method of emancipation discovered; but instead of encouraging
them, all our presses, and pulpits, and books,
and conversation, have been used to strengthen the
hands of those who wish to perpetuate the “costly iniquity.”
Divine Providence always opens the way for
the removal of evils, individual or national, whenever
man is sincerely willing to have them removed; it may
be difficult to do right, but it is never impossible. Yet
a majority of my countrymen do, in effect, hold the following
language: “We know that this evil cannot be
cured; and we will speak and publish our opinion on
every occasion; but you must not, for your lives, dare to
assert that there is a possibility of our being mistaken.”

If there were any apparent wish to get rid of this
sin and disgrace, I believe the members of the Anti-
Slavery Society
would most heartily and courageously
defend slave owners from any risk they might incur in
a sincere effort to do right. They would teach the negro
that it is the Christian’s duty meekly and patiently
to suffer wrong; but they dare not excuse the white man
for continuing to inflict the wrong.

They think it unfair that all arguments on this subject
should be founded on the convenience and safety
of the master alone. They wish to see the white man’s
claims have their due weight; but they insist that the
negro’s rights ought not to be thrown out of the balance.

At the time a large reward was offered for the capture
of Mr Garrison, on the ground that his paper excited
insurrections, it is a fact, that he had never sent or
caused to be sent, a single paper south of Mason and
Dixon’s line
. He afterwards sent papers to some of the
leading politicians there; but they of course were not
the ones to promote negro insurrections. “But,” it has
been answered, “the papers did find their way there.”
Are we then forbidden to publish our opinions upon an
important subject, for fear somebody will send them
somewhere? Is slavery to remain a sealed book in this most
communicative of all ages, and this most inquisitive of 13(4)v 152
all countries? If so, we live under an actual censorship
of the press. This is like what the Irishman said of our
paved cities — tying down the stones, and letting the
mad dogs run loose.

If insurrections do occur, they will no doubt be attributed
to the Anti-Slavery Society. But we must not forget
that there were insurrections in the West Indies long
before the English abolitionists began their efforts; and
that masters were murdered in this country, before the
Anti-Slavery Society was thought of. Neither must
we forget that the increased severity of the laws is very
likely to goad an oppressed people to madness. The
very cruelty of the laws against resistance under any circumstances,
would be thought to justify a white man in
rebellion, because it gives resistance the character of self-
defence. “The law,” says Blackstone, “respects the
passions of the human mind; and when external violence
is offered to a man himself, or those to whom he bears a
near connexion, makes it lawful in him to do himself
that immediate justice, to which he is prompted by nature,
and which no prudential motives are strong enough to

As it respects promoting insurrections by discussing
this subject, it should be remembered that it is very
rare for any colored person at the South to know how
to read or write.

Furthermore, if there be danger in the discussion, our
silence cannot arrest it; for the whole world is talking
and writing about it; — even children’s handkerchiefs
seem to be regarded as sparks falling into a powder
magazine. How much better it would be not to live
in the midst of a powder magazine.

The English abolitionists have labored long and arduously.
Every inch of the ground has been contested. —
After obtaining the decision that negroes brought into
England were freemen, it took them thirtyfive years to
obtain the abolition of the slave trade. But their progress,
though slow and difficult, has been certain. They
are now on the very eve of entire, unqualified emancipation
in all their colonies. I take very little interest in
politics, unless they bear upon the subject of slavery; —
and then I throw my whole soul into them. Hence the 13(5)r 153
permanence of Lord Grey’s ministry has become an object
of intense interest. But all England is acting as
one man on this subject, and she must prevail.

The good work has indeed been called by every odious
epithet. It was even urged that the abolition of the
slave trade would encourage the massacre of white men.
Clarkson, who seems to have been the meekest and most
patient of men, was stigmatized as an insurrectionist. —
It was said he wanted to bring all the horrors of the
French Revolution into England, merely because he
wanted to abolish the slave trade. — It was said Liverpool
and Bristol would sink, never to rise again, if that
traffic were destroyed.

The insurrection at Barbadoes, in 18161816, was ascribed
to the influence of missionaries infected with the wicked
philanthropy of the age; but it was discovered that
there was no missionary on the island at the time of that
event, nor for a long time previous to it. The insurrection
at Demerara, several years after, was publicly and
angrily ascribed to the Methodist missionaries; they
were taken up and imprisoned; and it was lucky for
these innocent men, that, out of their twelve hundred
black converts, only two had joined the rebellion.

Ridicule and reproach has been abundantly heaped
upon the laborers in this righteous cause. Power,
wealth, talent, pride, and sophistry, are all in arms
against them; but God and truth is on their side. The
cause of anti-slavery is rapidly gaining ground. Wise
heads as well as warm hearts, are joining in its support.
In a few years I believe the opinion of New England will
be unanimous in its favor. Maine, which enjoys the
enviable distinction of never having had a slave upon
her soil, has formed an Anti-Slavery Society composed
of her best and most distinguished men. Those who are
determined to be on the popular side, should be cautious
how they move just now: It is a trying time for such
characters, when public opinion is on the verge of a great

Men who think upon the subject, are fast coming to
the conclusion that slavery can never be much ameliorated,
while it is allowed to exist. What Mr Fox said of
the trade is true of the system“you may as well try 13(5)v 154
to regulate murder.”
It is a disease as deadly as the
cancer; and while one particle of it remains in the constitution,
no cure can be effected. The relation is unnatural
in itself, and therefore it reverses all the rules
which are applied to other human relations. Thus a
free government, which in every other point of view is a
blessing, is a curse to the slave. The liberty around him
is contagious, and therefore the laws must be endowed
with a tenfold crushing power, or the captive will break
his chains. A despotic monarch can follow the impulses
of humanity without scruple. When Vidius Pollio ordered
one of his slaves to be cut in pieces and thrown
into his fish pond, the Emperor Augustus commanded
him to emancipate immediately, not only that slave, but
all his slaves. In a free State there is no such power;
and there would be none needed, if the laws were equal,
— but the slave owners are legislators, and make the
laws, in which the negro has no voice — the master influences
public opinion, but the slave cannot.

Miss Martineau very wisely says; “To attempt to
combine freedom and slavery is to put new wine into old
skins. Soon may the old skins burst! for we shall never
want for better wine than they have ever held.”

A work has been lately published, written by Jonathan
, who was a member of the Society of Friends,
in England; it is entitled Essays on the Principles of
— and most excellent Essays they are. Every
sentence recognises the principle of sacrificing all
selfish considerations to our inward perceptions of duty;
and therefore every page shines with the mild but powerful
light of true christian philosophy. I rejoice to
hear that the book is likely to be republished in this
country. In his remarks on slavery the author says:
“The supporters of the system will hereafter be regarded
with the same public feelings, as he who was an advocate
of the slave trade now is. How is it that legislators
and public men are so indifferent to their fame? Who
would now be willing that biography should record of
him — ‘This man defended the slave trade’? The time
will come when the record, — ‘This man opposed the abolition
of slavery’
, will occasion a great deduction from
the public estimate of weight of character.”


Chapter VI.

Intellect of Negroes.

“We must not allow negroes to be men lest we ourselves should be suspected
of not being Christians.”

In order to decide what is our duty concerning the
Africans and their descendants, we must first clearly
make up our minds whether they are, or are not, human
being — whether they have, or have not, the same capacities
for improvement as other men.

The intellectual inferiority of the negroes is a common,
though most absurd apology, for personal prejudice, and
the oppressive inequality of the laws; for this reason, I
shall take some pains to prove that the present degraded
condition of that unfortunate race is produced by artificial
causes, not by the laws of nature.

In the first place, naturalists are universally agreed
concerning “the identity of the human type;” by which
they mean that all living creatures, that can, by any process,
be enabled to perceive moral and intellectual truths,
are characterized by similar peculiarities of organization.
They may differ from each other widely, but they still
belong to the same class. An eagle and a wren are very
unlike each other; but no one would hesitate to pronounce
that they were both birds: so it is with the
almost endless varieties of the monkey tribe. We all
know that beasts, however sagacious, are incapable of
abstract thought, or moral perception. The most wonderful
elephant in the world could not command an army,
or govern a state. An ourang-outang may eat, and
drink, and dress, and move like a man; but he could
never write an ode, or learn to relinquish his own good
for the good of his species. The human conformation, 13(6)v 156
however it may be altered by the operation of physical
or moral causes, differs from that of all other beings,
and on this ground, the negro’s claim to be ranked as
a man, is universally allowed by the learned.

The condition of this people in ancient times is very
far from indicating intellectual or moral inferiority. —
Ethiopia held a conspicuous place among the nations. —
Her princes were wealthy and powerful, and her people
distinguished for integrity and wisdom. Even the proud
Grecians evinced respect for Ethiopia, almost amounting
to reverence, and derived thence the sublimest portions
of their mythology. The popular belief that all the
gods made an annual visit to the Ethiopians, shows the
high estimation in which they were held; for we are not
told that such an honor was bestowed on any other
nation. In the first book of the Iliad, Achilles is represented
as anxious to appeal at once to the highest authorities;
but his mother tells him: “Jupiter set off yesterday,
attended by all the gods, on a journey toward the
ocean, to feast with the excellent Ethiopians, and is not
expected back at Olympus till the twelfth day.”

In Ethiopia, was likewise placed the table of the Sun,
reported to kindle of its own accord, when exposed to
the rays of that great luminary.

In Africa was the early reign of Saturn, under the
appellation of Ouranus, or Heaven; there the impious
Titans warred with the sky; there Jupiter was born and
nursed; there was the celebrated shrine of Ammon, dedicated
to Theban Jove, which the Greeks reverenced
more highly than the Delphic Oracle; there was the
birth-place and oracle of Minerva; and there, Atlas supported
both the heavens and the earth upon his shoulders.

It will be said that fables prove nothing. — But there
is probably much deeper meaning in these fables than
we now understand; there was surely some reason for
giving them such a “local habitation.” Why did the
ancients represent Minerva as born in Africa, — and
why are we told that Atlas there sustained the heavens
and the earth, unless they meant to imply that Africa
was the centre, from which religious and scientific light
had been diffused?

14(1)r 157

Some ancient writers suppose that Egypt derived all
the arts and sciences from Ethiopia; while others believe
precisely the reverse. Diodorus supported the first opinion,
— and asserts that the Ethiopian vulgar spoke the
same language as the learned of Egypt.

It is well known that Egypt was the great school of
knowledge in the ancient world. It was the birth-place
of Astronomy; and we still mark the constellations as
they were arranged by Egyptian shepherds. The wisest
of the Grecian philosophers, among whom were Solon,
Pythagoras and Plato, went there for instruction, as our
young men now go to England and Germany. The
Eleusinian mysteries were introduced from Egypt; and
the important secret which they taught, is supposed to
have been the existence of one, invisible God. A large
portion of Grecian mythology was thence derived; but in
passing from one country to the other, the form of these
poetical fables was often preserved, while the original
meaning was lost.

Herodotus, the earliest of the Greek historians, informs
us that the Egyptians were negroes. This fact has been
much doubted, and often contradicted. But Herodotus
certainly had the best means of knowing the truth on
this subject; for he travelled in Egypt, and obtained his
knowledge of the country by personal observation. He
declares that the Colchians must be a colony of Egyptians,
because, “like them, they have a black skin and
frizzled hair.”

The statues of the Sphinx have the usual characteristics
of the negro race. This opinion is confirmed by Blumenbach,
the celebrated German naturalist, and by Volney,
who carefully examined the architecture of Egypt.

Concerning the sublimity of the architecture in this
ancient negro kingdom, some idea may be conceived
from the description of Thebes given by Denon, who
accompanied the French army into Egypt: “This city,
renowned for numerous kings, who through their wisdom
have been elevated to the rank of gods; for laws, which
have been revered without being known; for sciences,
which have been confided to proud and mysterious inscriptions;
for wise and earliest monuments of the arts, 14 14(1)v 158
which time has respected; — this sanctuary, abandoned,
isolated through barbarism, and surrendered to the desert
from which it was won; this city, shrouded in the veil
of mystery by which even colossi are magnified; this
remote city, which imagination has only caught a glimpse
of through the darkness of time — was still so gigantic
an apparition, that, at the sight of its scattered ruins, the
army halted of its own accord, and the soldiers with one
spontaneous movement, clapped their hands.”

The Honorable Alexander Everett in his work on
America, says: “While Greece and Rome were yet
barbarous, we find the light of learning and improvement
emanating from the continent of Africa, (supposed to
be so degraded and accursed,) out of the midst of this
very woolly-haired, flat-nosed, thick-lipped, coal-black
race, which some persons are tempted to station at a
pretty low intermediate point between men and monkeys.
It is to Egypt, if to any nation, that we must look as the
real antiqua mater of the ancient and modern refinement
of Europe. The great lawgiver of the Jews was
prepared for his divine mission by a course of instruction
in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.”

“The great Assyrian empires of Babylon and Nineveh,
hardly less illustrious than Egypt in arts and arms,
were founded by Ethiopian colonies, and peopled by

“Palestine, or Canaan, before its conquest by the Jews,
is represented in Scripture, as well as in other histories,
as peopled by blacks; and hence it follows that Tyre
and Carthage, the most industrious, wealthy, and polished
states of their time, were of this color.”

Another strong argument against the natural inferiority
of negroes may be drawn from the present condition of
Africa. Major Denham’s account of the Sultan of Sackatoo
proves that the brain is not necessarily rendered
stupid by the color of the face: “The palace as usual in
Africa, consisted of a sort of inclosed town, with an open
quadrangle in front. On entering the gate, he was conducted
through three huts serving as guard-houses, after
which he found Sultan Bello seated on a small carpet in
a sort of painted and ornamented cottage. Bello had a 14(2)r 159
noble and commanding figure, with a high forehead and
large black eyes. He gave the traveller a hearty welcome,
and after inquiring the particulars of his journey,
proceeded to serious affairs. He produced books belonging
to Major Denham, which had been taken in the disastrous
battle of Dirkullah; and though he expressed a
feeling of dissatisfaction at the Major’s presence on that
occasion, readily accepted an apology, and restored the
volumes. He only asked to have the subject of each
explained, and to hear the sound of the language, which
he declared to be beautiful. He then began to press his
visiter with theological questions, and showed himself not
wholly unacquainted with the controversies which have
agitated the christian world; indeed, he soon went beyond
the depth of his visiter, who was obliged to own he was
not versant in the abstruser mysteries of divinity.

The Sultan now opened a frequent and familiar communication
with the English envoy, in which he showed
himself possessed of a good deal of information. The
astronomical instruments, from which, as from implements
of magic, many of his attendants started with
horror, were examined by the monarch with an intelligent
eye. On being shown the planisphere, he proved his
knowledge of the planets and many of the constellations,
by repeating their Arabic names. The telescope, which
presented objects inverted, — the compass, by which he
could always turn to the East when praying, — and the
sextant, which he called ‘the looking glass of the sun,’
excited peculiar interest. He inquired with evident
jealousy, into some parts of English history; particularly
the conquest of India and the attack upon Algiers.”

The same traveller describes the capital of Loggun, beneath
whose high walls the river flowed in majestic
beauty. “It was a handsome city, with a street as wide
as Pall Mall, bordered by large dwellings, having spacious
areas in front. Manufacturing industry was honored.
The cloths woven here were superior to those of Bornou,
being finely dyed with indigo, and beautifully glazed. —
There was even a current coin, made of iron, somewhat
in the form of a horse-shoe; and rude as this was, none
of their neighbors possessed anything similar. The women
were handsome, intelligent and lively.”

14(2)v 160

All travellers in Africa agree, that the inhabitants,
particularly of the interior, have a good deal of mechanical
skill. They tan and dye leather, sometimes thinning
it in such a manner that it is as flexible as paper. In
Houssa, leather is dressed in the same soft, rich style as
in Morocco; they manufacture cordage, handsome cloths,
and fine tissue. Though ignorant of the turning machine,
they make good pottery ware, and some of their
jars are really tasteful. They prepare indigo, and extract
ore from minerals. They make agricultural tools,
and work skilfully in gold, silver and steel. Dickson,
who knew jewellers and watch-makers among them,
speaks of a very ingenious wooden clock made by a negro.
Hornemann says the inhabitants of Haissa give their cutting
instruments a keener edge than European artists,
and their files are superior to those of France or England.
Golberry assures us that some of the African stuffs are
extremely fine and beautiful.

Mungo Park says “The industry of the Foulahs, in
pasturage and agriculture is everywhere remarkable. —
Their herds and flocks are numerous, and they are opulent
in a high degree. They enjoy all the necessaries of
life in the greatest profusion. They display much skill
in the management of their cattle, making them extremely
gentle by kindness and familiarity.”
The same writer
remarks that the negroes love instruction, and that they
have advocates to defend the slaves brought before their

Speaking of Wasiboo he says: “Cultivation is carried
on here on a very extensive scale; and, as the natives
themselves express it, ‘hunger is never known.’”

On Mr Park’s arrival at one of the Sego ferries, for
the purpose of crossing the Niger to see the king, he
says: “We found a great number waiting for a passage;
they looked at me with silent wonder. The view of this
extensive city; the numerous canoes upon the river; the
crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding
country, formed altogether a prospect of civilization
and magnificence, which I little expected to find
in the bosom of Africa.”

“The public discussion in Africa, called palavers, 14(3)r 161
exhibit a fluent and natural oratory, often accompanied
with much good sense and shrewdness. Above all, the
passion for poetry is nearly universal. As soon as the
evening breeze begins to blow, the song resounds
throughout all Africa, — it cheers the despondency of
the wanderer through the desert — it enlivens the social
meetings — it inspires the dance, — and even the lamentations
of the mourners are poured forth in measured accents.

In these contemporary and spontaneous effusions, the
speaker gives utterance to his hopes and fears, his joys
and sorrows. All the sovereigns are attended by singing
men and women, who like the European minstrels and
troubadours celebrate interesting events in verse, which
they repeat before the public. Like all, whose business
it is to rehearse the virtues of monarchs, they are of
course, too much given to flattery. The effusions of the
African muse are inspired by nature and animated by
national enthusiasm. From the few specimens given,
they seem not unlikely to reward the care of a collector.
How few among our peasantry could have produced the
pathetic lamentation uttered in the little Bambarra cottage
over the distresses of Mungo Park! These songs
handed down from father to son, evidently contain all that
exists among the African nations of traditional history.
From the songs of the Jillimen, or minstrels, of Soolimani,
Major Laing was enabled to compile the annals of
that small kingdom for more than a century.” English Family Library, No. XVI.

In addition to the arguments drawn from the ancient
conditions of Africa, and the present character of people in
the interior of that country, there are numerous individual
examples of spirit, courage, talent, and magnanimity.

History furnishes very few instances of bravery, intelligence,
and perseverance, equal to the famous Zhinga,
the negro queen of Angola, born in 15821582. Like other
despotic princes, her charcter is stained with numerous
acts of ferocity and crime; but her great abilities cannot
be for a moment doubted.

During her brother’s reign, Zhinga was sent as ambassadress
to Loanda, to negotiate terms of peace with 14* 14(3)v 162
the Portuguese. A palace was prepared for her reception;
and she was received with the honors due to her
rank. On entering the audience-chamber, she perceived
that a magnificent chair of state was prepared for the
Portuguese Viceroy, while in front of it, a rich carpet, and
velvet cushions, embroidered with gold, were arranged
on the floor for her use. The haughty princess observed
this in silent displeasure. She gave a signal with her
eyes, and immediately one of her women knelt on the
carpet, supporting her weight on her hands. Zhinga
gravely seated herself upon her back, and awaited the
entrance of the Viceroy. The spirit and dignity with
which she fulfilled her mission excited the admiration of
the whole court. When an alliance was offered, upon
the condition of annual tribute to the king of Portugal,
she proudly answered: “Such proposals are for a people
subdued by force of arms; they are unworthy of a powerful
monarch, who voluntarily seeks the friendship of
the Portuguese, and who scorns to be their vassal.”

She finally concluded a treaty, upon the single condition
of restoring all the Portuguese prisoners. When the
audience was ended, the Viceroy, as he conducted her
from the room, remarked that the attendant, upon whose
back she had been seated, still remained in the same
posture. Zhinga replied: “It is not fit that the ambassadress
of a great king should be twice served with the
same seat. I have no further use for the woman.”

Charmed with the politeness of the Europeans, and
the evolutions of their troops, the African princess long
delayed her departure. Having received instruction in
the christian religion, she professed a deep conviction of
its truth. Whether this was sincere, or merely assumed
from political motives, is uncertain. During her visit,
she received baptism, being then forty years old. She
returned to Angola loaded with presents and honors. —
Her brother, notwithstanding a solemn promise to preserve
the treaty she had formed, soon made war upon the
Portuguese. He was defeated, and soon after died of
poison; some said his death was contrived by Zhinga.
She ascended the throne, and having artfully obtained
possession of her nephew’s person, she strangled him 14(4)r 163
with her own hands. Revenge, as well as ambition, impelled
her to this crime; for her brother had, many years
before, murdered her son, lest he should claim the crown.

The Portuguese increased so fast in numbers, wealth,
and power, that the people of Angola became jealous of
them, and earnestly desired war. Zhinga, having formed
an alliance with the Dutch, and with several neighboring
chiefs, began the contest with great vigor. She obtained
several victories, at first, but was finally driven from her
kingdom with great loss. Her conquerors offered to
re-establish her on the throne, if she would consent to
pay tribute. She haughtily replied, “If my cowardly
subjects are willing to bear shameful fetters, I cannot
endure even the thought of dependence upon any foreign

In order to subdue her stubborn spirit, the Portuguese
placed a king of their own choosing upon the throne of
Angola. This exasperated Zhinga to such a degree,
that she vowed everlasting hatred against her enemies,
and publicly abjured their religion. At the head of an
intrepid and ferocious band, she, during eighteen years,
perpetually harassed the Portuguese. She could neither
be subdued by force of arms, nor appeased by presents.
She demanded complete restitution of her territories,
and treated every other proposal with the utmost scorn.
Once, when closely besieged in an island, she asked a
short time to reflect on the terms of surrender. The
request being granted, she silently guided her troops
through the river at midnight, and carried fire and sword
into another portion of the enemy’s country.

The total defeat of the Hollanders, and the death of
her sister, who had been taken captive during the wars,
softened her spirit. She became filled with remorse for
having renounced the christian religion. She treated
her prisoners more mercifully, and gave orders that the
captive priests should be attended with the utmost reverence.
They perceived the change, and lost no opportunity
of regaining their convert. The queen was ready to
comply with their wishes, but feared a revolt among her
subjects and allies, who were strongly attached to the
customs of their fathers. The priest, by mumerous artifices, 14(4)v 164
worked so powerfully upon the superstitious fears
of the people, that they were prepared to hail Zhinga’s
return to the Catholic faith with joy.

The queen, thus reconciled to the church, signed a
treaty of peace; took the Capuchins for her counsellors;
dedicated her capital city to the Virgin, under the name
of Saint Mary of Matamba; and erected a large church.
Idolatry was forbidden, under the most rigorous penalties;
and not a few fell martyrs to Zhinga’s fiery zeal.

A law prohibiting polygamy excited discontent. —
Zhinga, though seventyfive years old, publicly patronized
marriage, by espousing one of her courtiers; and her
sister was induced to give the same example. The Portuguese
again tried to make her a vassal to the crown;
but the priests, notwithstanding their almost unlimited influence,
could never obtain her consent to this degradation.

In 16571657, one of her tributaries having violated the
treaty of peace, she marched at the head of her troops,
defeated the rebel, and sent his head to the Portuguese.

In 165817658, she made war upon a neighboring king, who
had attacked her territories; and returned in triumph,
after having compelled him to submit to such conditions
as she saw fit to impose. The same year, she abolished
the cruel custom of immolating human victims on the
tombs of princes; and founded a new city, ornamented
with a beautiful church and palace.

She soon after sent an embassage to the Pope, requesting
more missionaries among her people. The Pontiff’s
answer was publicly read in the church, where Zhinga
appeared with a numerous and brilliant train. At a festival
in honor of this occasion, she and the ladies of her
court performed a mimic battle, in the dress and armor of
Amazons. Though more than eighty years old, this
remarkable woman displayed as much strength, agility,
and skill, as she could have done at twentyfive. She
died in 16631663, aged eightytwo. Arrayed in royal robes,
ornamented with precious stones, with a bow and arrow
in her hand, the body was shown to her sorrowing subjects.
It was then, according to her wish, clothed in the
Capuchin habit, with crucifix and rosary. See Biographie Universelle.

14(5)r 165

The commandant of a Portuguese fort, who expected
the arrival of an African envoy, ordered splendid preparations,
that he might be dazzled with the idea of European
wealth. When the negro entered the richly ornamented
saloon, he was not invited to sit down. Like
Zhinga, he made a signal to an attendant, who knelt
upon the floor, and thus furnished him a seat. The
commandant asked, “Is thy king as powerful as the
king of Portugal?”
The colored envoy replied: “My
king has a hundred servants like the king of Portugal;
a thousand like thee; and but one like myself.”
As he
said this, he indignantly left the room.

Michaud, the elder, says that in different places on
the Persian Gulf, he has seen negroes as heads of great
commercial houses, receiving orders and expediting vessels
to various parts of India. Their intelligence in business
is well known on the Levant.

The Czar Peter of Russia, during his travels became
acquainted with Annibal, an African negro, who was intelligent
and well educated. Peter the Great, true to his
generous system of rewarding merit wherever he found
it, made Annibal Lieutenant General and Director of the
Russian Artillery. He was decorated with the riband
of the order of St Alexander Nenski. His son, a mulatto,
was Lieutenant General of Artillery, and said to
be a man of talent. St Pierre and La Harpe were acquainted
with him.

Job Ben Solomon was the son of the Mohammedan
king of Bunda, on the Gambia. He was taken in 17301730,
and sold in Maryland. By a train of singular adventures
he was conveyed to England, where his intelligence and
dignified manners gained him many friends; among whom
was Sir Hans Sloane, for whom he translated several Arabic
manuscripts. After being received with distinction
at the Court of St James, the African Company became
interested in his fate, and carried him back to Bunda, in
the year 17341734. His uncle embracing him, said, “During
sixty years, you are the first slave I have ever seen
return from the American isles.”
At his father’s death, 14(5)v 166
Solomon became king, and was much beloved in his

The son of the king of Congo, and several of the
young people of rank were sent to the Portuguese universities,
in the time of King Immanuel. Some of them
were distinguished scholars, and several of them promoted
to the priesthood.

In 17651765, a negro in England was ordained by Doctor
, bishop of Exeter. In Prevot’s General History
of Voyages
there is an account of a black bishop who
studied at Rome.

Antonio Perura Rebouças, who is at the present time
Deputy from Bahia, in the Cortes of Brazil, is a distinguished
lawyer, and a good man. He is learned in political
economy, and has written ably upon the currency of
Brazil. I have heard intelligent white men from that
country speak of him in terms of high respect and admiration.

Henry Diaz, who is extolled in all the histories of
Brazil, was a negro and slave. He became Colonel of a
regiment of foot-soldiers, of his own color; and such
was his reputation for sagacity and valor, that it was considered
a distinction to be under his command. In the
contest between the Portuguese and Hollanders, in 16371637,
Henry Diaz fought bravely against the latter. He compelled
them to capitulate at Arecise, and to surrender
Fernanbon. In a battle, struggling against the superiority
of numbers, and perceiving that some of his soldiers
began to give way, he rushed into the midst of them,
exclaiming, “Are these the brave companions of Henry
His example renewed their courage, and they
returned so impetuously to the charge, that the almost
victorious army were compelled to retreat hastily.

Having wounded his left hand in battle, he caused it
to be struck off, rather than to lose the time necessary to
dress it. This regiment, composed of blacks, long existed
in Brazil under the popular name of Henry Diaz.

14(6)r 167

Antony William Amo, born in Guinea was brought to
Europe when very young. The Princess of Brunswick,
Wolfenbuttle, defrayed the expenses of his education.
He pursued his studies at Halle and at Wittemberg, and
so distinguished himself by his character and abilities,
that the Rector and Council of Wittemberg thought
proper to give public testimony of their respect in a letter
of congratulation. In this letter they remark that
Terence also was an African — that many martyrs, doctors,
and fathers of the chuch were born in the same
country, where learning once flourished, and which by
losing the christian faith, again fell back into barbarism.
Amo delivered private lectures on philosophy, which are
highly praised in the same letter. He became a doctor.

Lislet Geoffrroy, a mulatto, was an officer of Artillery
and guardian of the Depôt of Maps and Plans of the
Isle of France. He was a correspondent of the French
Academy of Sciences
, to whom he regularly transmitted
meteorological observations, and sometimes hydrographical
journals. His map of the Isles of France and Reunion
is considered the best map of those islands that
has appeared. In the archives of the Institute of Paris
is an account of Lislet’s voyage to the Bay of St Luce.
He points out the exchangable commodities and other
resources which it presents; and urges the importance
of encouraging industry by the hope of advantageous
commerce, instead of exciting the natives to war in order
to obtain slaves. Lislet established a scientific society at
the Isle of France, to which some white men refused to
belong, because its founder had a skin more deeply colored
than their own.

James Derham, originally a slave at Philadelphia, was
sold to a physician, who employed him in compounding
drugs; he was afterward sold to a surgeon, and finally
to Doctor Robert Dove, of New Orleans. In 17881788, at
the age of twentyone, he became the most distinguished
physician in that city, and was able to talk with French,
Spanish, and English in their own languages. Doctor
says, “I conversed with him on medicine, and
found him very learned. I thought I could give him information 14(6)v 168
concerning the treatment of diseases; but I
learned from him more than he could expect from me.”

Thomas Fuller, an African residing in Virginia, did
not know how to read or write, but had great facility in
arithmetical calculations. He was once asked how many
seconds has an individual lived when he is seventy years,
seven months, and seven days old? In a minute and a
half he answered the question. One of the company took
a pen, and after a long calculation, said Fuller had
made the sum too large. “No,” replied the negro, “the
error is on your side. You did not calculate the leap-
These facts are mentioned in a letter from Doctor
, published in the fifth volume of the American

In 17881788, Othello, a negro, published at Baltimore an
Essay against Slavery. Addressing white men, he says,
“Is not your conduct, compared with your principles, a
sacrilegious irony? When you dare to talk of civilization
and the gospel, you pronounce your own anathema.
In you the superiority of power produces nothing but a
superiority of brutality and barbarism. Your fine political
systems are sullied by the outrages committed
against human nature and the divine majesty.”

Olandad Equiano, better known by the name of Gustavus
, was stolen in Africa, at twelve years old,
together with his sister. They were torn from each
other; and the brother, after a horrible passage in a
slave-ship, was sold at Barbadoes. Being purchased by
a lieutenant, he accompanied his new master to England,
Guernsey, and the siege of Louisbourg. He afterwards
experienced great changes of fortune, and made voyages
to various parts of Europe and America. In all his wanderings,
he cherished an earnest desire for freedom. He
hoped to obtain his liberty by faithfulness and zeal in his
master’s service; but finding avarice stronger than benevolence,
he began trade with a capital of three pence,
and by rigid economy was at last able to purchase — his
own body and soul
; this, however, was not effected,
until he had endured much oppression and insult. He 15(1)r 169
was several times shipwrecked, and finally, after thirty
years of vicissitude and suffering, he settled in London
and published his Memoirs. The book is said to be
written with all the simplicity, and something of the
roughness, of uneducated nature. He gives a naïve
description of his terror at an earthquake, his surprise
when he first saw snow, a picture, a watch, and a quadrant.

He always had an earnest desire to understand navigation,
as a probably means of one day escaping from
slavery. Having persuaded a sea-captain to give him
lessons, he applied himself with great diligence, though
obliged to contend with many obstacles, and subject to
frequent interruptions. Doctor Irving, with whom he
once lived as a servent, taught him to render salt water
fresh by distillation. Some time after, when engaged in
a northern expedition, he made good use of this knowledge,
and furnished the crew with water they could

His sympathies were, very naturally, given to the
weak and the despised, wherever he found them. He
deplores the fate of modern Greeks, nearly as much degraded
by the Turks as the negroes are by their white
brethren. In 17891789, Vasa presented a petition to the
British parliament, for the suppression of the slave trade.
His son, named Sancho, was assistant librarian to Sir
Joseph Banks
, and Secretary to the Committee for Vaccination.

Another negro, named Ignatius Sancho, was born on
board a Guinea ship, where his parents were both captives,
destined for the South American slave market. —
Change of climate killed his mother, and his father committed
suicide. At two years old the orphan was carried
to England, and presented to some ladies residing at
Greenwich. Something in his character reminded them
of Don Quixote’s squire, and they added “Sancho” to his
original name of Ignatius. The Duke of Montague saw
him frequently and thought he had a mind worthy of
cultivation. He often sent him books, and advised the
ladies to give him a chance for education; but they had
less liberal views, and often threatened to send the poor 15 15(1)v 170
boy again into slavery. After the death of his friends,
he went into the service of the Duchess of Montague,
who at her death left him an annuity of thirty pounds;
beside which he had saved seventy pounds out of his

Something of dissipation mixed with his love of
reading, and sullied the better part of his character. —
He spent his last shilling at Drury Lane, to see Garrick,
who was extremely friendly to him. At one time he
thought of performing African characters on the stage,
but was prevented by a bad articulation.

He afterward became very regular in his habits, and
married a worthy West Indian girl. After his death, two
volumes of his letters were printed, of which a second
edition was soon published, with a portrait of the author,
designed by Gainsborough, and engraved by Bartolozzi.

Sterne formed an acquaintance with Ignatius Sancho;
and in the third volume of his letters, there is an epistle
addressed to this African, in which he tells him that varieties
in nature do not sunder the bands of brotherhood;
and expresses his indignation that certain men wish to
class their equals among the brutes, in order to treat
them as such with impunity. Jefferson criticises Sancho
with some severity, for yielding too much to an eccentric
imagination; but he acknowledges that he has an easy
style, and a happy choice of expressions.

The letters of Sancho are thought to bear some resemblance
to those of Sterne, both in their beauties and

Francis Williams, a negro, was born in Jamaica. —
The Duke of Montaigne, governor of the island, thinking
him an unusually bright boy, sent him to England to
school. He afterward entered the University of Cambridge,
and became quite a proficient in mathematics. —
During his stay in Europe, he published a song which
became quite popular, beginning, “Welcome, welcome,
brother debtor.”
After his return to Jamaica, the Duke
tried to obtain a place for him in the council of the government,
but did not succeed. He then became a teacher
of Latin and mathematics. He wrote a good deal of 15(2)r 171
Latin verse, a species of composition of which he was
very fond. This negro is described as having been
pedantic and haughty; indulging a profound contempt
for men of his own color. Where learning is a rare attainment
among any people, or any class of people, this
effect is very apt to be produced.

Phillis Wheatly, stolen from Africa when seven or
eight years old, was sold to a wealthy merchant in Boston,
in 17611761. Being an intelligent and winning child,
she gained upon the affections of her master’s family, and
they allowed her uncommon advantages. When she was
nineteen years old, a little volume of her poems was published,
and passed through several editions, both in England
and in the United States. Lest the authenticity of
the poems should be doubted, her master, the governor,
the lieutenant governor, and fifteen other respectable persons,
acquainted with her character and circumstances,
testified that they were really her own productions. Jefferson
denies that these poems have any merit; but I think
he would have judged differently, had he been perfectly
unprejudiced. It would indeed be absurd to put Phillis
in competition with Mrs Hemans, Mary Hewitt,
Mrs Sigourney, Miss Gould, and other modern writers;
but her productions certainly appear very respectable in
comparison with most of the poetry of that day.

Phillis Wheatly received her freedom in 17751775; and
two years after married a colored man, who, like herself
was considered a prodigy. He was at first a grocer;
but afterward became a lawyer, well known by the name
of Doctor Peter. He was in the habit of pleading causes
for his brethren before the tribunals of justice, and gained
both reputation and fortune by his practice. Phillis had
been flattered and indulged from her earliest childhood;
and, like many literary women in old times, she acquired
something of contempt for domestic occupations. Tis
is said to have produced unhappiness between her and
her husband. She died in 17801780.

Mr Wilberforce, (on whom may the blessing of God
rest forever!) aided by several benevolent individuals,
established a seminary for colored people at Clapham, a 15(2)v172
few leagues from London. The first scholars were
twentyone young negroes, sent by the Governor of Sierra
. The Abbé Grégoire says, “I visited this establishment
in 18021802, to examine the progress of the scholars;
and I found there existed no difference between
them and European children, except that of color. The
same observation has been made, first at Paris, in the
ancient college of La Marche, where Coesnon, professor
of the University, taught a number of colored boys.—
Many members of the National Institute, who have carefully
examined this college, and watched the progress of
the scholars in their particular classes, and public exercises,
will testify to the truth of my assertion.”

Correa de Serra, the learned Secretary of the Academy
at Portugal, informs us that several negroes have been
able lawyers, preachers, and professors.

In the Southern States, the small black children are
proverbially brighter and more forward than white ones
of the same age. Repartees, by no means indicative of
stupidity, have sometimes been made by negroes. A
slave was suddenly roused with the exclamation, “Why
don’t you wake, when your master calls!”
The negro
answered, “Sleep has no master.”

On a public day the New England Museum, in Boston,
was thronged with visiters to see the representation of
the Salem murder. Some colored women being jostled
back by a crowd of white people, expostulated thus:
“Don’t you know it is always proper to let the mourners
walk first?”
It argues some degree of philosophy to be able
to indulge wit at the expense of what is, most unjustly,
considered a degradation. Public prejudice shamefully
fetters these people; and it has been wisely said, “If
we cannot break our chains, the next best thing we can
do, is to play with them.” In a beautiful little volume called Mary’s Journey, by Francis

Among Bonaparte’s officers there was a mulatto General
of Division, named Alexander Dumas. In the army
of the Alps, wiht charged bayonet, he ascended St Bernard,
defended by a number of redoubts, took possession 15(3)r 173
of the enemy’s cannon, and turned their own ammunition
against them. He likewise signalized himself in
the expedition to Egypt. His troop, composed of blacks
and mulattoes, were everywhere formidable. Near Lisle,
Alexander Dumas, with only four men, attacked a post
of fifty Austrians, killed six, and made sixteen prisoners.
Napoleon called him the Horatius Cocles of the Tyrols.

On his return from Egypt, Dumas unluckily fell into
the hands of the Neapolitan government, and was two
years kept in irons. He died in 18071807.

Between 16201620 and 16301630, some fugitive negroes, united
with some Brazilians, formed two free states in South
, called the Great and Little Palmares; so named
on account of the abundance of palm trees. The Great
was nearly destroyed by the Hollanders, in
16441644; but at the close of the war, the slaves in the neighborhood
of Fernanbouc, resolved to form an establishment,
which would secure their freedom. Like the old
Romans, they obtained wives by making incursions
upon their neighbors, and carrying off the women.

They formed a constitution, established tribunals of
justice, and adopted a form of worship similar to Christianity.
The chiefs chosen for life were elected by the

They fortified their principal towns, cultivated their
gardens and fields, and reared domestic animals. They
lived in prosperity and peace, until 16961696, when the Portuguese
prepared an expedition against them. The Palmarisians
defended themselves with desperate valor, but
were overcome by superior numbers. Some rushed
upon death, that they might not survive their liberty;
others were sold and dispersed by the conquerors. Thus
ended this interesting republic. Had it continued to the
present time, it might have produced a very material
change in the character and condition of the colored

In the 1601 < x < 1700seventeenth century, when Jamaica was still under
the dominion of the Spaniards, a party of slaves under
the command of John de Bolas, regained their independence.
They increased in numbers, elected the famous 15* 15(3)v 174
Cudjoe as their chief, and became very formidable. —
Cudjoe established a confederation among all the Maroon
tribes, and by his bravery and skilful management compelled
the English to make a treaty, in which they acknowledged
the freedom of the blacks, and ceded to
them forever a portion of the territory of Jamaica.

The French National Assembly admitted free colored
deputies from St Domingo, and promised a perfect equality
of rights, without regard to complexion. But, as
usual, the white colonists made every possible exertion
to set aside the claims of their darker faced brethren. —
It was very short-sighted policy; for the planters absoutely
needed the friendship of the free mulattoes and
negroes, as a defence against the slaves. Oge, one of
the colored deputies, an energetic and shrewd man, was
in Paris, watching political movements with intense interest,
— resolved to maintain the rights of his oppressed
companions, “quietly if he could — forcibly if he must.”
Day after day, a hearing was promised; and day after
day, upon some idle pretext or other, it was deferred. —
Oge became exasperated. His friends in France recommended
the only medicine ever offered by the white
man to the heart-sick African, — patience — patience.—
But he had long observed the operation of slavery, and
he knew that patience, whatever it might do for the
white man, brought upon the negro nothing but contempt
and accumulated wrong. Discouraged in his efforts to
make head against the intrigues of the slave-holders, he
could not contain his indignation: “I begin,” said he
to Clarkson, “not to care whether the National Assembly
will hear us or not. But let it beware of the consequences.
We will no longer continue to be held in a
degraded light. Despatches shall go directly to St Domingo;
and we will soon follow them. We can produce
as good soldiers on our own estates, as those in
France. Our own arms shall make us independent and
respectable. If we are forced to desperate measures, it
will be in vain that thousands are sent across the Atlantic
to bring us back to our former state.”

The French government issued orders to prevent the
embarkation of negroes and mulattoes; but Oge, by the 15(4)r 175
way of England, contrived to return to St Domingo.—
On his arrival, he demanded the execution of decrees
made in favor of his brethren, but either resisted or
evaded by their white oppressors. His plea, founded in
justice, and sanctioned by Divine authority, was rejected.
The parties became exasperated, and an attack ensued.
The Spanish government basely and wickedly delivered
Oge to his enemies. He asked for a defender to plead
his cause; but he asked in vain. Thirteen of his companions
were condemned to the galleys; more than
twenty to the gibbet; and Oge and Chavanne were tortured
on the wheel.

Where rests the guilt in this case? Let those blame
Oge, who can. My heart and conscience both refuse to
do it.

Toussaint L’Ouverture, the celebrated black chieftain,
was born a slave, in the year 17451745, upon the plantation
of Count de Noé. His amiable deportment as a slave,
the patience, mildness, and benevolence of his disposition,
and the purity of his conduct amid the general
laxity of morals which prevailed in the island, gained for
him many of those advantages which afterwards gave
him such absolute ascendency over his insurgent brethren.
His good qualities attracted the attention of M.
Bayou de Libertas
, the agent on the estate, who taught
him reading, writing, and arithmetic, — elements of
knowledge, which hardly one in ten thousand of his fellow
slaves possessed. M. Bayou made him his postillion,
which gave him advantages much above those of the field
slaves. When the general rising of the blacks took
place, in 17911791, much solicitation was used to induce
Toussaint to join them; but he declined, until he had
procured an opportunity for the escape of M. Bayou and
his family to Baltimore, shipping a considerable quantity
of sugar for the supply of their immediate wants. In his
subsequent prosperity, he availed himself of every occasion
to give them new marks of his gratitude. Having
thus provided security for his benefactor, he joined a
corps of blacks, under the orders of General Biassou;
but was soon raised to the principal command, Biassou 15(4)v 176
being degraded on account of his cruelty and ferocity.
Indeed, Toussaint was every way so much superior to
the other negroes, by reason of his general intelligence
and education, his prudence, activity and address, not
less than his bravery, that he immediately attained a
complete ascendency over all the black chieftains. In
17971797, Toussaint received from the French government a
commission of General-in-Chief of the armies of St Domingo,
and as such signed the convention with General
for the evacuation of the island by the British.
From 17981798 until 18011801, the island continued tranquil
under the government of Toussaint, who adopted and
enforced the most judicious measures for healing the
wounds of his country, and restoring its commercial and
agricultural prosperity. His efforts would have been
attended with much success, but for the ill-judged expedition,
which Bonaparte sent against the island, under
the command of Le Clerc. This expedition, fruitless as
it was in respect of its general object, proved fatal to
the negro chieftain.

Toussaint was noted for private virtues; among the rest,
warm affection for his family. Le Clerc brought out from
France Toussaint’s two sons, with their preceptor, whose
orders were to carry his pupils to their father, and make
use of them to work on his tenderness, and induce
him to abandon his countrymen. If he yielded, he was
to be made second in command to Le Clerc; if he refused,
his children were to be reserved as hostages of his
fideltiy to the French. Notwithstanding the greatness
of the sacrifice demanded of him, Toussaint remained
faithful to his brethren. We pass over the details of the
war, which at length, ended in a treaty of peace concluded
by Toussaint, Dessalines and Christophe, againt
their better judgment, but in consequence of the effect
of Le Clerc’s professions upon their simple followers,
who were induced to lay down their arms. Toussaint
retired to his plantation, relying upon the solemn assurances
of Le Clerc, that his person and property should
be held sacred. Notwithstanding these assurances, he
was treacherously seized in the night, hurried on board
a ship of war, and conveyed to Brest. He was conducted 15(5)r 177
first to close prison in Chateaux de Joux, and
from thence to Besançon, where he was plunged into a
cold, wet, subterranean prison, which soon proved fatal
to a constitution used only to the warm skies and free
air of the West Indies. He languished through the winter
of 1802–18031802-1803; and his death, which happened in
1803-04April, 1803, raised a cry of indignation against the government,
which had chosen this dastardly method of
destroying one of the best and bravest of the negro race.

Toussaint L’Ouverture is thus spoken of by Vincent,
in his Reflections on the state of St Domingo: “Toussaint
is the most active and indefatigable
man, of whom it is possible to form an idea. He is
always present wherever difficulty or danger makes his
presence necessary. His great sobriety, — the power of
living without repose, — the facility with which he resumes
the affairs of the cabinet, after the most tiresome
excursions, — of answering daily a hundred letters, —
and of habitually tiring five secretaries — render him so
superior to all around him, that their respect and submission
almost amount to fanaticism. It is certain no man
in modern times has obtained such an influence over a
mass of ignorant people, as General Toussaint possesses
over his brethren of St Domingo. He is endowed with
a prodigious memory. He is a good father and a good

Toussaint re-established religious worship in St Domingo;
and on account of his zeal in this respect, a certain
class of men called him, in derision, the Capuchin.

With the genius and energy of Bonaparte, General
is said to have possessed the same political
duplicity, and far-sighted cunning. These are qualities
which almost inevitably grew out of the peculiar circumstances
in which they were placed, and the obstacles
with which they were obliged to contend.

Wordsworth addressed the following sonnet to Toussaint

“Toussaint, thou most unhappy man of men! Whether the whistling rustle tends his plough Within thy hearing, or thou liest now Buried in some deep dungeon’s earless den; — 15(5)v 178 O, miserable chieftain! where and when Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow: Though fallen thyself, never to rise again, Live, and take comfort. Thou has left behind Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies; There’s not a breathing of the common wind That will forget thee; thou hast great allies. Thy friends are exultations, agonies, And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.”

Godwin, in his admirable Lectures on Colonial Slavery,
says: “Can the West India islands, since their first discovery
by Columbus, boast a single name which deserves
comparison with that of Toussaint L’Ouverture?”

If we are willing to see and believe, we have full opportunity
to convince ourselves that the colored population
are highly susceptible of cultivation. St Domingo
produces black legislators, scholars, and gentlemen. —
The very negroes who had been slaves, formed a constitution
that would do credit to paler-faced statesman —
Americans may well blush at its consistent republicanism.

The enemies of true freedom were very ready to predict
that the govenment of Hayti could not continue for any
length of time; but it has now lasted nearly thirty years,
constantly increasing in respectability and wealth. The
affairs of Greece have been managed with much less
ability and discretion, though all the cabinets of Europe
have given assistance and advice. St Domingo achieved
her independence alone and unaided — nay, in the very
teeth of prejudice and scorn. The Greeks had loans
from England, and contributions from America, and
sympathy from half the world; the decisive battle of
Navarino was gained by the combined fleets of England,
France and Russia. Is it asked why Hayti has not produced
any examples of splendid genius? In reply let me
inquire, how long did the Europeans ridicule us for our
poverty in literature? When Raynal reproached the
United States with not having produced one celebrated
man, Jefferson requested him to wait until we had existed
“as long as the Greeks before they had a Homer, the
Romans a Virgil, and the French a Racine.”
Half a
century elapsed before our republic produced Irving,
Cooper, Sedgwick, Halleck, and Bryant. We must not 15(6)r 179
forget that the cruel prejudice, under which colored
people labor, makes it extremely difficult for them to
gain admission to the best colleges and schools; they are
obliged to contend with obstacles, which white men never

It might seem wonderful that the descendants of wise
Ethiopia, and learned Egypt, are now in such a state of
degradation, if history did not furnish a remarkable
parallel in the condition of the modern Greeks. The
land of Homer, Pericles, and Plato, is now inhabited by
ignorant, brutal pirates. Freedom made the Grecians
great and glorious — tyranny has made them stupid and
miserable. Yet their yoke has been light, compared
with African bondage. In both cases the wrongs of the
oppressed have been converted into an argument against
them. We first debase the nature of man by making
him a slave, and then very coolly tell him that he must
always remain a slave because he does not know how to
use freedom. We first crush people to the earth, and
then claim the right of trampling on them forever, because
they are prostrate. Truly, human selfishness never
invented a rule, which worked so charmingly both ways!

No one thinks of doubting the intellect of Indians;
yet civilization has certainly advanced much farther in
the interior of Africa, than it did among the North
American tribes. The Indians have strong untutored
eloquence, — so have the Africans. And where will you
find an Indian chieftain, whose pride, intellect, and
valor, are more than a match for Zhinga’s? Both of these
classes have been most shamefully wronged; but public
prejudice, which bows the negro to the earth, has borne
with a far less crushing power upon the energies of the
red man; yet they have not produced a Shakspeare or
a Newton. But I shall be asked how it is that the nations
of Africa, having proceeded so far in the arts of
civilization, have made a full stop, and remained century
after century without any obvious improvement? I will
answer this by another question: How long did the ancient
Helvetians, Gauls, and Saxons remain in such a state
of barbarism, that what they considered splendor and refinement, 15(6)v 180
would be called poverty and rudeness, by
their German, French, and English descendants? —
What was it that changed the intellectual and moral
character of these people, after ages of ignorance and
ferocity? It was the art of printing. But, alas, with
the introduction of printing, modern slavery was introduced!
While commerce has carried books and maps
to other portions of the glope, she has sent kidnappers,
with guns and cutlasses into Africa. We have not
preached the Gospel of peace to her princes; we have
incited them to make war upon each other, to fill our
markets with slaves. While knowledge, like a mighty
pillar of fire, has guided the European nations still onward,
and onward, a dark cloud has settled more and more
gloomily over benighted Africa. The lessons of time, the
experience of ages, from which we have learned so much,
are entirely lost to this vast continent.

I have heard it asserted that the Indians were evidently
superior to the negroes, because it was impossible
to enslave them. Our slave laws prove that there are
some exceptions to this remark; and it must be remembered
that the Indians have been fairly met in battle,
contending with but one nation at a time; while the
whole world have combined against the Africans — sending
emissaries to lurk for them in secret places, or steal
them at midnight from their homes. The Indian will
seek freedom in the arms of death — and so will the
negro. By thousands and thousands, these poor people
have died for freedom. They have stabbed themselves
for freedom — jumped into the waves for freedom
— starved for freedom — fought like very tigers for
freedom! But they have been hung, and burned,
and shot — and their tyrants have been their historians!
When the Africans have writers of their own, we shall
hear their efforts for liberty called by the true title of
heroism in a glorious cause. We are told in the fable
that a lion, looking at the picture of one of his own species,
conquered and trampled on by man, calmly said,
“We lions have no painters.”

I shall be told that in the preceding examples I have
shown only the bright side of the picture. I readily 16(1)r 181
grant it; but I have deemed it important to show that
the picture has a bright side. I am well aware that most
of the negro authors are remarkable, principally because
they are negroes. With considerable talent, they generally
evince bad taste. I do not pretend that they are
Scotts or Miltons; but I wish to prove that they are men,
capable of producing their proportion of Scotts and Miltons,
if they could be allowed to live in a state of physical
and intellectual freedom. But where, at the present
time, can they live in perfect freedom, cheered by the
hopes and excited by the rewards, which stimulate white
men to exertion? Every avenue to distinction is closed
to them. Even where the body is suffered to be free, a
hateful prejudice keeps the soul in fetters. I think every
candid mind must admit that it is more wonderful they
have done so much, than that they have done no more.

As a class, I am aware that the negroes, with many
honorable exceptions, are ignorant, and show little disposition
to be otherwise; but this ceases to be the case
just in proportion as they are free. The fault is in their
unnatural situation, not in themselves. Tyranny always
dwarfs the intellect. Homer tells us, that when Jupiter
condemns a man to slavery, he takes from him half his
mind. A family of children treated with habitual violence
or contempt, become stupid and sluggish, and are
called fools by the very parents or guardians who have
crushed their mental energies. It was remarked by M.
, the British Consul at Mogadore, that the generality
of Europeans, after a long captivity and severe treatment
among the Arabs, seemed at first exceedingly dull
and insensible. “If they had been any considerable
time in slavery,”
says he, “they appeared lost to reason
and feeling; their spirits broken; and their faculties
sunk in a species of stupor, which I am unable adequately
to describe. They appeared degraded even below the
negro slave. The succession of hardships, without any
protecting law to which they can appeal for alleviation,
or redress, seems to destory every spring of exertion, or
hope in their minds. They appear indifferent to everything
around them; abject, servile, and brutish.”

Lieutenant Hall, in his Travels in the United States, 1616(1)v182
makes the following just remark: “Cut off hope for the
future, and freedom for the present; superadd a due
pressure of bodily suffering, and personal degradation;
and you have a slave, who, (of whatever zone, nation or
complexion,) will be what the poor African is, torpid, debased,
and lowered beneath the standard of humanity.”

The great Virginian, Patrick Henry, who certainly
had a fair chance to observe the effects of slavery, says,
“If a man be in chains, he droops and bows to the earth,
because his spirits are broken; but let him twist the
fetters off his legs and he will stand erect.”

The following is the testimony of the Rev. R. Walsh,
on the same subject; he is describing his first arrival at
Rio Janeiro:

“The whole labor of bearing and moving burdens is
performed by these people, and the state in which they
appear is revolting to humanity. Here was a number of
beings entirely naked, with the exception of a covering
of dirty rags tied about their waists. Their skins, from
constant exposure to the weather, had become hard,
crusty, and seamed, resembling the coarse black covering
of some beast, or like that of an elephant, a wrinkled
hide scattered with scanty hairs. On contemplating
their persons you saw them with a physical organization
resembling beings of a grade below the rank of man;
long projecting heels, the gastronymic muscle wanting,
and no calves to their legs; their mouths and chins protruded,
their noses flat, their foreheads retiring, having
exactly the head and legs of the baboon tribe. Some of
these beings were yoked to drays, on which they dragged
heavy burdens. Some were chained by the necks and
legs, and moved with loads thus encumbered. Some
followed each other in ranks, with heavy weights on their
heads, chattering the most inarticulate and dismal cadence
as they moved along. Some were munching young
sugar-canes, like beasts of burden eating green provender;
and some were seen near the water, lying on the
bare ground among filth and offal, coiled up like dogs,
and seeming to expect or require no more comfort or accommodation,
exhibiting a state and conformation so
unhuman; that they not only seemed, but actually were, 16(2)r 183
far below the inferior animals around them. Horses and
mules were not employed in this way; they were used
only for pleasure, and not labor. They were seen in the
same streets, pampered, spirited, and richly caparisoned,
enjoying a state far superior to the negroes, and appearing
to look down on the fettered and burdened
wretches they were passing, as on beings of an inferior
rank in the creation. Some of the negroes actually
seemed to envy the caparisons of their fellow brutes, and
eyed with jealousy their glittering harness. In imitation
of this finery, they were fond of thrums of many colored
threads; and I saw one creature, who supported the
squalid rag that wrapped his waist by a suspender of
gaudy worsted, which he turned every moment to look at,
on his naked shoulder. The greater number, however,
were as unconscious of any covering for use or ornament,
as a pig or an ass.
The first impression of all this on my mind, was to
shake the conviction I had always felt, of the wrong and
hardship inflicted on our black fellow-creatures, and that
they were only in that state which God and nature had
assigned them; that they were the lowest grade of human
existence, and the link that connected it with the
brute; and that the gradation was so insensible, and
their natures so intermingled, that it was impossible to
tell where one had terminated and the other commenced;
and that it was not surprising that people who contemplated
them every day, so formed, so employed, and so
degraded, should forget their claims to that rank in the
scale of being in which modern philanthropists are so
anxious to place them. I did not at the moment myself
recollect, that the white man, made a slave on the coast
of Africa, suffers not only a similar mental but physical
deterioration from hardships and emaciation, and becomes
in time the dull and deformed beast I now saw
yoked to a burden.
A few hours only were necessary to correct my first
impressions of the negro population, by seeing them under
a different aspect. We were attracted by the sound
of military music, and found it proceeded from a regiment
drawn up in one of the streets. Their colonel had 16(2)v 184
just died, and they attended to form a procession to celebrate
his obsequies. They were all of different shades
of black, but the majority were negroes. Their equipment
was excellent; they wore dark jackets, white pantaloons,
and black leather caps and belts, all which, with
their arms, were in high order. Their band produced
sweet and agreeable music, of the leader’s own composition,
and the men went through some evolutions with
regularity and dexterity. They were only a militia regiment,
yet were as well appointed and disciplined as
one of our regiments of the line. Here then was the first
step in that gradation by which the black population of this
country ascend in the scale of humanity; he advances
from the state below that of a beast of burden into a military
rank, and he shows himself as capable of discipline
and improvement as a human being of any other color.
Our attention was next attracted by negro men and
women bearing about a variety of articles for sale; some
in baskets, some on boards and cases carried on their
heads. They belonged to a class of small shopkeepers,
many of whom vend their wares at home, but the greater
number send them about in this way, as in itinerant
shops. A few of these people were still in a state of
bondage, and brought a certain sum every evening to
their owners, as the produce of their daily labor. But a
large proportion, I was informed, were free, and exercised
this little calling on their own account. They
were all very neat and clean in their persons, and
had a decorum and sense of respectability about them,
superior to whites of the same class and calling. All
their articles were good in their kind and neatly kept,
and they sold them with simplicity and confidence,
neither wishing to take advantage of others, nor suspecting
that it would be taken of themselves. I bought some
confectionary from one of the females, and I was struck
with the modesty and propriety of her manner; she was
a young mother, and had with her a neatly dressed child,
of which she seemed very fond. I gave it a little comfit,
and it turned up its dusky countenance to her and then
to me, taking my sweetmeat and at the same time kissing
my hand. As yet unacquainted with the coin of the 16(3)r 185
country, I had none that was current about me, and was
leaving the articles; but the poor young woman pressed
them on me with a ready confidence, repeating in broken
Portuguese, outo tempo. I am sorry to say, the other
never came, for I could not recognise her person
afterwards to discharge her little debt, though I went to
the same place for the purpose.
It soon began to grow dark, and I was attracted by a
number of persons bearing large lighted wax tapers, like
torches, gathering before a house. As I passed by, one
was put into my hand by a man who seemed in some
authority, and I was requested to fall into a procession
that was forming. It was the preparation for a funeral,
and on such occasions, I learned that they always request
the attendance of a passing stranger, and feel hurt if they
are refused. I joined the party, and proceeded with
them, to a neighboring church. When we entered we
ranged ourselves on each side of a platform which stood
near the choir, on which was laid an open coffin, covered
with pink silk and gold borders. The funeral service
was chanted by a choir of priests, one of whom was a
negro, a large comely man, whose jet black visage formed
a strong and striking contrast to his white vestments. —
He seemed to perform his part with a decorum and sense
of solemnity, which I did not observe in his brethren. —
After scattering flowers on the coffin, and fumigating it
with incense, they retired, the procession dispersed, and
we returned on board.
I had been but a few hours on shore for the first time,
and I saw an African negro under four aspects of society;
and it appeared to me, that in every one his character
depended on the state in which he was placed, and
the estimation in which he was held. As a despised
slave, he was far lower than other animals of burthen
that surrounded him; more miserable in his look, more
revolting in his nakedness, more distorted in his person,
and apparently more deficient in intellect, than the horses
and mules that passed him by. Advanced to the grade
of a soldier, he was clean and neat in his person, amenable
to discipline, expert at his exercises, and showed the
port and being of a white man similarly placed. As a 16* 16(3)v 186
citizen, he was remarkable for the respectability of his
appearance, and the decorum of his manners in the rank
assigned him; and as a priest, standing in the house of
God, appointed to instruct society on their most important
interests, and in a grade in which moral and intellectual
fitness is required, and a certain degree of superiority
is expected, he seemed even more devout in his
impressions, and more correct in his manners, than his
white associates. I came, therefore, to the irresistible
conclusion in my mind, that color was an accident affecting
the surface of a man, and having no more to do with
his qualities than his clothes — that God had equally
created an African in the image of his person, and
equally given him an immortal soul; and that a European
had no pretext but his own cupidity, for impiously
thrusting his fellow-man from that rank in the creation
which the Almighty had assigned him, and degrading
him below the lot of the brute beasts that perish.”

The Hon. A. H. Everett, in his able work on the political
situation of America, says, “Nations, and races,
like individuals, have their day, and seldom have a second.
The blacks had a long and glorious one; and after what
they have been and done, it argues not so much a mistaken
theory, as sheer ignorance of the most notorious
historical facts, to pretend that they are naturally inferior
to the whites. It would seem indeed, that if any race
have a right claim to a sort of preëinence over others,
on the fair honorable ground of talents displayed,
and benefits conferred, it is precisely this very one,
which we take upon us, in the pride of a temporary superiority,
to stamp with the brand of essential degradation.
It is hardly necessary to add, that while the blacks were
the leading race in civilization and political power, there
was no prejudice among the whites against their color.
On the contrary, we find that the early Greeks regarded
them as a superior variety of the human species, not only
in intellectual and moral qualities, but in outward appearance.
‘The Ethiopians,’ says Herdotus, ‘surpass all
other men in longetivity, stature, and personal beauty.’”

16(4)r 187

Then let the slave-holder no longer apologize for himself
by urging the stupidity and sensuality of negroes. It is
upon the system, which thus transforms men into beasts,
that the reproach rests in all its strength and bitterness.
And even if the negroes were, beyond all doubt, our
inferiors in intellect, this would form no excuse for oppression
or contempt. The use of law and public opinion
is to protect the weak against the strong; and the
government, which perverts these blessings into means
of tyranny, resembles the priest, who, administered poison
with the Holy Sacrament.

Is there an American willing that the intellectual and
the learned should bear despotic sway over the simple
and the ignorant? If there be such an one, he may consistently
vindicate our treatment of the Africans.


Chapter VII.

Moral Character of Negroes.

“Fleecy locks and black complexion Cannot forfeit Nature’s claim; Skins may differ, but affection Dwells in black and white the same. Slaves of gold! whose sordid dealings Tarnish all your boasted powers, Prove that you have human feelings, Ere you proudly question ours.” The Negro’s Complaint; by Cowper.

The opinion that negroes are naturally inferior in intellect
is almost universal among white men; but the
belief that they are worse than other people, is, I believe,
much less extensive: indeed, I have heard some, who
were by no means admirers of the colored race, maintain
that they were very remarkable for kind feelings,
and strong affections. Homer calls the ancient Ethiopians
“the most honest of men;” and modern travellers
have given innumerable instances of domestic tenderness,
and generous hospitality in the interior of Africa.
Mungo Park informs us that he found many schools in
his progress through the country, and observed with
pleasure the great docility and submissive deportment of
the children, and heartily wished they had better instructers
and a purer religion.

The following is an account of his arrival at Jumbo,
in company with a native of that place, who had been
absent several years: “The meeting between the blacksmith
and his relations was very tender; for these rude
children of nature, free from restraint, display their emotions
in the strongest and most expressive manner. —
Amidst these transports, the aged mother was led forth,
leaning upon a staff. Every one made way for her, and 16(5)r 189
she stretched out her hand to bid her son welcome. Being
totally blind, she stroked his hands, arms, and face,
with great care, and seemed highly delighted that her
latter days were blessed by his return, and that her ears
once more heard the music of his voice. From this interview,
I was fully convinced, that whatever difference
there is between the negro and the European, in the
conformation of the nose, and the color of the skin,
there is none in the genuine sympathies and characteristic
feelings of our common nature.”

At a small town in the interior, called Wawra, he
says, “In the course of the day, several women, hearing
that I was going to Sego, came and begged me to inquire
of Mansong, the king, what was become of their children.
One woman, in particular, told me that her son’s
name was Mamadee; that he was no heathen; but
prayed to God morning and evening; that he had been
taken from her about three years ago by Mansong’s army,
since which she had never heard from him. She said
she often dreamed about him, and begged me, if I should
see him in Bambarra, or in my own country, to tell him
that his mother and sister were still alive.”

At Sego, in Bambarra, the king, being jealous of Mr
intentions, forbade him to cross the river. Under
these discouraging circumstances, he was advised to lodge
at a distant village; but there the same distrust of the
white man’s purposes prevailed, and no person would
allow him to enter his house. He says, “I was regarded
with astonishment and fear, and was obliged to sit all
day without food, under the shade of a tree. The wind
rose, and there was great appearance of a heavy rain,
and the wild beasts are so very numerous in the neighborhood,
that I should have been under the necessity of
resting among the branches of the tree. About sunset,
however, as I was preparing to pass the night in this
manner, and had turned my horse loose, that he might
graze at liberty, a woman, returning from the labors of
the field, stopped to observe me. Perceiving that I was
weary and dejected, she inquired into my situation,
which I briefly explained to her; whereupon, with looks
of great compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle 16(5)v A full page image, printed sideways with the top toward the left side of the page. A white man sits under a tree. A black woman stands facing him with something positioned on her head and a long rod of some sort in her right hand. A hat lies on the ground between the two figures, beside an object which may or may not be a rifle. In the back right we see a cloudy sky above mountains and perhaps three huts. 16(6)r 191
and told me to follow her. Having conducted me into
her hut, she lighted a lamp, spread a mat on the floor,
and told me I might remain there for the night. Finding
that I was hungry, she went out, and soon returned with
a very fine fish, which being broiled upon some embers,
she gave me for supper. The women then resumed
their task of spinning cotton, and lightened their labor
with songs, one of which must have been composed extempore,
for I was myself, the subject of it. It was sung
by one of the young women, the rest joining in a kind of
chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words,
literally translated, were these:

‘The winds roar’d, and the rains fell; The poor white man, faint and weary, Came and sat under our tree. — He has no mother to bring him milk; No wife to grind his corn. Chorus. Let us pity the white man; No mother has he to bring him milk, No wife to grind his corn.’”

The reader can fully sympathize with this intelligent
and liberal minded traveller, when he observes, “Trifling
as this recital may appear, the circumstance was
highly affecting to a person in my situation. I was oppressed
with such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled
from my eyes. In the morning, I presented my compassionate
landlady with two of the four brass buttons
remaining on my waistcoat; the only recompense I
could make her.”

The Duchess of Devonshire, whose beauty and talent
gained such extensive celebrity, was so much pleased
with this African song, and the kind feelings in which
it originated, that she put it into English verse, and employed
an eminent composer to set it to music:

“The loud wind roar’d, the rain fell fast; The white man yielded to the blast; He sat him down beneath our tree, For weary, faint, and sad was he; 16(6)v 192 And ah, no wife or mother’s care, For him the milk or corn prepare. Chorus. The white man shall our pity share; Alas, no wife, or mother’s care, For him the milk or corn prepare. The storm is o’er, the tempest past, And mercy’s voice has hush’d the blast; The wind is heard in whispers low; The white man far away must go;— But ever in his heart will bear Remembrance of the negro’s care. Chorus. Go, white man, go — but with thee bear The negro’s wish, the negro’s prayer, Remembrance of the negro’s care.”

At another time, Mr Park thus continues his narrative:
“A little before sunset, I descended on the northwest
side of a ridge of hills, and as I was looking about for a
convenient tree, under which to pass the night, (for I
had no hopes of reaching any town) I descended into a
delightful valley, and soon afterward arrived at a romantic
village called Kooma. I was immediately surrounded
by a circle of the harmless villagers. They asked me a
thousand questions about my country, and in return for
my information brought corn and milk for myself, and
grass for my horse; kindled a fire in the hut where I was
to sleep, and appeared very anxious to serve me.”

Afterward, being robbed and stripped by banditti in
the wilderness, he informs us that the robbers stood considering
whether they should leave him quite destitute;
even in their minds, humanity partially prevailed over
avarice; they returned the worst of two shirts, and a pair
of trowsers; and as they went away, one of them threw
back his hat. At the next village, Mr Park entered a
complaint to the Dooty, or chief man, who continued
very calmly smoking while he listened to the narration;
but when he had heard all the particulars, he took the
pipe from his mouth, and tossing up the sleeve of his cloak
with an indignant air, he said, “You shall have everything
restored to you — I have sworn it.”
Then, turning 17(1)r 193
to an attendant, he added, “Give the white man a
draught of water; and with the first light of morning go
over the hills, and inform the Dooty of Bammakoo, that
a poor white man, the king of Bambarra’s stranger, has
been robbed by the king of Foolodoo’s people.”
then invited the traveller to remain with him, and share
his provisions, until the messenger returned. Mr Park
accepted the kind offer most gratefully: and in a few
days his horse and clothes were restored to him.

At the village of Nemacoo, where corn was so scarce
that the people were actually in a state of starvation, a
negro pitied his distress and brought him food.

At Kamalia, Mr Park was earnestly dissuaded by an
African named Karfa, from attempting to cross the Jalonka
wilderness during the rainy rseason; to which he
replied that there was no alternative — for he was so
poor, that he must either beg his subsistence from place
to place, or perish with hunger. Karfa eagerly inquired
if he could eat the food of the country, adding that, if he
would stay with him, he should have plenty of victuals,
and a hut to sleep in; and that after he had been safely
conducted to the Gambia, he might make what return
he thought proper. He was accordingly provided with a
mat to sleep on, an earthen jar for holding water, a
small calabash for a drinking cup, and two meals a day,
with a supply of wood and water, from Karfa’s own
dwelling. Here he recovered from a fever, which had
tormented him several weeks. His benevolent landlord
came daily to inquire after his health, and see that he
had everything for his comfort. Mr Park assures us
that the simple and affectionate manner of those around
him contributed not a little to his recovery. He adds,
“Thus was I delivered, by the friendly care of this benevolent
negro, from a situation truly deplorable. Distress
and famine pressed hard upon me; I had before
me the gloomy wilderness of Jallonkadoo, where the
traveller sees no habitation for five successive days. I
had observed, at a distance, the rapid course of the river
Kokaro, and had almost marked out the place where I
thought I was doomed to perish, when this friendly negro
stretched out his hospitable hand for my relief.”
Mr 17 17(1)v 194
having travelled in company with a coffle of thirtyfive
slaves, has describes his feelings as they came near
the coast: “Although I was now approaching the end
of my tedious and toilsome journey, and expected in another
day to meet with countrymen and friends, I could
not part with my unfortunate fellow travellers, — doomed
as I knew most of them to be, to a life of slavery in a
foreign land, — without great emotion. During a peregrination
of more than five hundred miles, exposed to
the burning rays of a tropical sun, these poor slaves,
amidst their own infinitely greater sufferings, would
commiserate mine, and frequently, of their own accord,
bring water to quench my thirst, and at night collect
branches and leaves to prepare me a bed in the wilderness.
We parted with mutual regret and blessings. —
My good wishes and prayers were all I could bestow
upon them, and it afforded me some consolation to be
told that they were sensible I had no more to give.”

The same enlightened traveller remarks, “All the
negro nations that fell under my observation, though divided
into a number of petty, independent states, subsist
chiefly by the same means, live nearly in the same temperature,
and possess a wonderful similarity of disposition.
The Mandingoes, in particular, are a very gentle race,
cheerful, inquisitive, credulous, simple, and fond of
flattery. Perhaps the most prominent defect in their
character, was that insurmountable propensity, which
the reader must have observed to prevail in all classes, to
steal from me the few effects I was possessed of. No
complete justification can be offered for this conduct,
because theft is a crime in their own estimation; and it
must be observed that they are not habitually and generally
guilty of it towards each other. But before we pronounce
them a more depraved people than any other, it
were well to consider, whether the lower class of people
in any part of Europe, would have acted, under similar
circumstances, with greater honesty towards a stranger.
It must be remembered that the laws of the country afforded
me no protection; that every one was permitted
to rob me with impunity; and that some part of my effects
were of as great value in the estimation of the 17(2)r 195
negroes, as pearls and diamonds would have been in the
eyes of a European. Let us suppose a black merchant
of Hindostan had found his way into England, with a
box of jewels at his back, and the laws of the kingdom
afforded him no security — in such a case, the wonder
would be, not that the stranger was robbed of any part of
his riches, but that any part was left for a second depredator.
Or suppose a colored pedler with valuable goods travelling in
slave states, where the laws afford little or no protection to negro
property, what would probably be his fate?
Such, on sober reflection, is the judgment I have
formed concerning the pilfering disposition of the Mandingo
negroes toward me.

On the other hand, it is impossible for me to forget
the disinterested charity, and tender solicitude, with
which many of these poor heathens, from the sovereign
of Sego, to the poor women, who at different times
received me into their cottages, sympathized with my
sufferings, relieved my distress, and contributed to my
safety. Perhaps this acknowledgment is more particularly
due to the female part of the nation. Among
the men, as the reader must have seen, my reception,
though generally kind, was sometimes otherwise. It
varied according to the tempers of those to whom I made
application. Avarice in some, and bigotry in others, had
closed up the avenues to compassion; but I do not recollect
a single instance of hard-heartedness towards me in
the women. In all my wanderings and wretchedness, I
found them uniformly kind and compassionate; and I
can truly say, as Mr Ledyard has eloquently said before
me — ‘To a woman, I never addressed myself in the language
of decency and friendship, without receiving a decent
and friendly answer. If I was hungry, or thirsty,
wet, or ill, they did not hesitate, like the men, to perform
a generous action. In so free and so kind a manner, did
they contribute to my relief, that if I were dry, I drank
the sweeter draught; and if I were hungry, I ate the
coarsest meal with a double relish.’

It is surely reasonable to suppose that the soft and
amiable sympathy of nature, thus spontaneously manifested
to me in my distress, is displayed by these poor
people as occasion requires, much more strongly toward 17(2)v 196
those of their own nation and neighborhood. Maternal
affection, neither suppressed by the restraints, nor diverted
by the solicitudes of civilized life, is everywhere conspicuous
among them, and creates reciprocal tenderness
in the child. ‘Strike me,’ said a negro to his master,
who spoke disrespectfully of his parent, but do not curse
my mother.’
The same sentiment I found to prevail

I perceived, with great satisfaction, that the maternal
solicitude extended not only to growth and security of
the person, but also, in a certain degree, to the improvement
of the character; for one of the first lessons, which
the Mandingo women teach their children is the practice
of truth. A poor unhappy mother, whose son had been
murdered by Moorish banditti, found consolation in her
deepest distress from the reflection that her boy, in the
whole course of his blameless life, had never told a lie.”

Adanson, who visited Senegal, in 17541754, describes the
negroes as sociable, obliging, humane, and hospitable.
“Their amiable simplicity,” says he, “in this enchanting
country, recalled to me the idea of the primitive
race of man; I thought I saw the world in its infancy.
They are distinguished by tenderness for their parents,
and great respect for the aged.”
Robin speaks of a slave
at Martinico, who having gained money sufficient for his
own ransom, preferred to purchase his mother’s freedom.

Proyart, in his history of Loango, acknowledges that
the negroes on the coast, who associate with Europeans,
are inclined to licentiousness and fraud; but he says
those of the interior are humane, obliging, and hospitable.
Golberry repeats the same praise, and rebukes the presumption
of white men in despising “nations improperly
called savage among whom we find men of integrity,
models of filial, conjugal, and paternal affection, who
know all the energies and refinements of virtue;
among whom sentimental impressions are more deep, because
they observe, more than we, the dictates of nature,
and know how to sacrifice personal interest to the ties
of friendship.”

Joseph Rachel, a free negro of Barbadoes, having become
rich by commerce, consecrated all his fortune to
acts of charity and beneficence. The unfortunate of all 17(3)r 197
colors, shared his kindness. He gave to the needy, lent
without hope of return, visited prisoners, and endeavored
to reform the guilty. He dies in 17581758. The philanthropists
of England speak of him with the utmost

Jasmin Thoumazeau was born in Africa, 17141714, and
sold at St Domingo, 17361736. Having obtained his freedom,
he returned to his native country, and married a negro
girl of the Gold Coast. In 17561756, he established a hospital
for poor negroes and mulattoes. During more than
forty years, he and his wife devoted their time and fortune
to the comfort of such invalids as sought their protection.
The Philadelphian Society, at the Cape, and the
Agricultural Society of Paris, decreed medals to this
worthy and benevolent man.

Louis Desrouleaux was the slave of M. Pinsum, a captain
in the negro trade
, who resided at St Domingo.
The master having amassed great riches, went to reside
in France, where circumstances combined to ruin him.
Depressed in fortune and spirits, he returned to St Domingo;
but those who had formerly been proud of his
friendship, now avoided him. Louis heard of his misfortunes
and immediately went to see him. The scales
were now turned; the negro was rich, and the white
man poor. The generous fellow offered every assistance,
but advised M. Pinsum by all means to return to France,
where he would not be pained by the sight of ungrateful
men. “But I cannot gain a living there,” replied the
white man. “Will the annual revenue of fifteen thousand
francs be sufficient?”
asked Louis. The Frenchman’s
eyes filled with tears. The negro signed the contract,
and the pension was regularly paid, till the death of
Louis Desrouleaux, in 17741774.

Benoit of Paermo, also named Benoit of Santo Fratello,
sometimes called “The Holy Black”, was a negro,
and the son of a female slave. Roccho Pirro, author of
the Sicilia Sacra, eulogizes him thus: “Nigro quidem
corpore sed candore animi prœclarisimus quem miraculis
Deus contestatum esse voluit.”
“His body was black,
but it pleased God to testify by miracles the whiteness of
his soul.”
He died at Palermo, in 15891589, where his tomb
and memory are much revered. A few years ago, it was 17* 17(3)v 198
said the Pope was about to authorize his canonization.
Whether he is yet registered as a saint in the Calendar,
I know not; but many writers agree that he was a saint
indeed — eminent for his virtues, which he practised in
meekness and silence, desiring no witness but his God.

The moral character of Toussaint L’Ouverture is even
more worthy of admiration than his intellectual acuteness.
What can be more beautiful than his unchanging
gratitude to his benefactor, his warm attachment to his
family, his high-minded sacrifice of personal feeling to
the public good! He was a hero in the sublimest sense
of the word. Yet he had no white blood in his veins —
he was all negro.

The following description of a slave-market at Brazil
as from the pen of Doctor Walsh: “The men were generally
less interesting objects than the women: their
countenances and hues were very varied, according to
the part of the African coast from which they came;
some were soot black, having a certain ferocity of aspect
that indicated strong and fierce passions, like men who
were darkly brooding over some deep-felt wrongs, and
meditating revenge. When any one was ordered, he
came forward with a sullen indifference, threw his arms
over his head, stamped with his feet, shouted to show the
soundness of his lungs, ran up and down the room, and
was treated exactly like a horse put through his paces
at a repository; and when done, he was whipped to his

Many of them were lying stretched on the bare
boards; and among the rest, mothers with young children
at their breats, of which they seemed passionately
fond. They were all doomed to remain on the spot,
like sheep in a pen, till they were sold; they have no
apartment to retire to, no bed to repose on, no covering
to protect them; they sit naked all day, and lie naked
all night, on the bare boards, or benches, where we saw
them exhibited.

Among the objects that attracted my attention in
this place were some young boys, who seemed to have
formed a society together. I observed several times in
passing by, that the same little group was collected near 17(4)r 199
a barred window; they seemed very fond of each other,
and their kindly feelings were never interrupted by peevishness;
indeed, the temperament of a negro child is generally
so sound, that he is not affected by those little morbid
sensations, which are the frequent cause of crossness
and ill-temper in our children. I do not remember, that I
ever saw a young black fretful, or out of humor; certainly
never displaying those ferocious fits of petty passion,
in which the superior nature of infant whites indulges.
I sometimes brought cakes and fruit in my
pocket, and handed them in to the group. It was quite delightful
to observe the generous and disinterested manner
in which they distributed them. There was no scrambling
with one another; no selfish reservation to themselves.
The child to whom I happened to give them,
took them so gently, looked so thankfully, and distributed
them so generously, that I could not help thinking that
God had compensated their dusky hue, by a more than
usual human portion of amiable qualities.”

Several negroes in Jamaica were to be hung. One of
them was offered his life, if he would hang the others;
he preferred death. A negro slave who was ordered to
do it, asked time to prepare; he went into his cabin,
chopped off his right hand with an axe, and then came
back, saying he was ready.

Sutcliff in his Travels, speaks of meeting a coffle of
slaves in Maryland, one of whom had voluntarily gone
into slavery, in hopes of meeting her husband, who was
a free black and had been stolen by kidnappers. The
poor creature was in treacherous hands, and it is a great
chance whether she ever saw her husband again.

An affecting instance of negro friendship may be found
in 1 Bay’s Report, 260-3. A female slave in South
was allowed to work out in the town, on condition
that she paid her master a certain sum of money,
per month. Being strong and industrious, her wages
amounted to more than had been demanded in their
agreement. After a time she earned enough to buy her
freedom; but she preferred to devote the sum to the
emancipation of a negro girl, named Sally, for whom she
had conceived a strong affection. For a long time the 17(4)v 200
master pretended to have no property in his slave’s manumitted
friend, never paid taxes for her, and often spoke
of her as a free negro. But, from some motive or other,
he afterward claimed Sally as his slave, on the ground
that no slave could make any purchase on his own account,
or possess anything which did not legally belong
to his master. It is an honor to Chief Justice Rutledge
that his charge was given in a spirit better than the laws.
He concluded by saying, “If the wench chose to appropriate
the savings of her extra labor to the purchase of this
girl, in order to set her free, will a jury of the country
say, ‘No’? I trust not. I hope they are too upright and
humane, to do such manifest violence to such an extraordinary
act of benevolence.”
By the prompt decision
of the jury, Sally was declared free. Stroud says of the above, “This is an isolated case, of pretty
early date; it deserves to be noticed because it is in opposition to
the spirit of the laws, and to later decisions of the courts.”

In speaking of the character of negroes, it ought not
to be omitted that many of them were brave and faithful
soldiers during our Revolution. Some are now receiving
pensions for their services. At New Orleans, likewise,
the conduct of the colored troops was deserving of the
highest praise.

It is common to speak of the negroes as a very unfeeling
race; and no doubt the charge has considerable
truth when applied to those in a state of bondage; for
slavery blunts the feelings, as well as stupifies the intellect.
The poor negro is considered as having no right
in his wife and children. They may be suddently torn
from him to be sold in a distant market; but he cannot
prevent the wrong. He may see them exposed to every
species of insult and indignity; but the law, which
stretches forth her broad shield to guard the white man’s
rights, excludes the negro from her protection. They
may be tied to the whipping post and die under “moderate”
punishment; but he dares not complain. If he murmur,
there is the tormenting lash; if he resist, it is death. —
And the injustice extends even beyond the grave; for
the story of the slave is told by his oppressor, and the
manly spirit which the poor creature shows, when stung 17(5)r 201
to the very heart’s core, is represented as diabolical revenge.
A short time ago, I read in a Georgia paper,
what was called a horrid transaction, on the part of the
negro. A slave stood by and saw his wife whipped as
long as he could possibly endure the sight; he then called
out to the overseer, who was applying the lash, that he
would kill him if he did not use more mercy. This
probably made matters worse; at all events the lashing
continued. The husband, goaded to frenzy, rushed upon
the overseer, and stabbed him three times. White men!
what would you do, if the laws admitted that your wives
might “die” of “moderate punishment”, administered by
your employers? The overseer died, and his murderer
was either burned or shot, — I forget which. The
Georgia editor viewed the subject only on one side —
viz. — the monstrous outrage against the white man —
the negro’s wrongs passed for nothing! It was very
gravely added to the account (probably to increase the
odiousness of the slave’s offence,) that the overseer belonged
to the Presbyterian church! I smiled, – because it
made me think of a man, whom I once heard described
as “a most excellent Christian, that would steal timber to
build a church.”

This instance shows that even slaves are not quite destitute
of feeling — yet we could not wonder at it, if they
were. Who could expect the kindly affections to expand
in such an atmosphere! Where there is no hope, the
heart becomes paralyzed: it is a merciful arrangement
of Divine Providence, by which the acuteness of sensibility
is lessened when it becomes merely a source of suffering.

But there are exceptions to this general rule; instances
of very strong and deep affection are sometimes
found in a state of hopeless bondage. Godwin, in his
eloquent Lectures on Colonial Slavery, quotes the following
anecdote, as related by Mr T. Pennock, at a public
meeting in England:

“A few years ago it was enacted, that it should not
be legal to transport once established slaves from one
island to another; and a gentleman owner, finding it
advisable to do so before the act came in force, the removal 17(5)v 202
of a great part of his ‘live stock’ was the consequence.
He had a female slave, a Methodist, and highly
valuable to him (not the less so for being the mother of
eight or nine children), whose husband, also of our connexion,
was the property of another resident on the
island, where I happened to be at the time. Their masters
not agreeing on a sale, separation ensued, and I
went to the beach to be an eye witness of their behaviour
in the greatest pang of all. One by one, the man kissed
his children, with the firmness of a hero, and blessing
them, gave as his last words — (oh! will it be believed,
and have no influence upon our veneration for the negro?)
‘Farewell! Be honest, and obedient to your master!’
At length he had to take leave of his wife: there
he stood (I have him in my mind’s eye at this moment),
five or six yards from the mother of his children, unable
to move, speak, or do anything but gaze, and still to gaze,
on the object of his long affection, soon to cross the blue
waves forever from his aching sight. The fire of his
eyes alone gave indication of the passion within, until
after some minutes standing thus, he fell senseless on the
sand, as if suddenly struck down by the hand of the Almighty.
Nature could do no more; the blood gushed
from his nostrils and mouth, as if rushing from the terrors
of the conflict within; and amid the confusion occasioned
by the circumstance, the vessel bore off his family
forever from the island! After some days he recovered,
and came to ask advice of me. What could an Englishman
do in such a case? I felt the blood boiling within
me; but I conquered. I browbeat my own manhood,
and gave him the humblest advice I could.”

The following account is given by Mr Gilgrass, one
of the Methodist missionaries at Jamaica: “A master
of slaves, who lived near us in Kingston, exercised his
barbarities on a Sabbath morning while we were worshiping
God in the Chapel; and the cries of the female
sufferers have frequently interrupted us in our devotions.
But there was no redress for them, or for us. This man
wanted money; and one of the female slaves having two
fine children, he sold one of them, and the child was
torn from her maternal affection. In the agony of her 17(6)r 203
feelings, she made a hideous howling; and for that
crime she was flogged. Soon after he sold her other
child. This ‘turned her heart within her,’ and impelled
her into a kind of madness. She howled night and day
in the yard; tore her hair; ran up and down the streets
and the parade, rending the heavens with her cries, and
literally watering the earth with her tears. Her constant
cry was, ‘Da wicked massa, he sell me children. —
Will no buckra master pita nega? What me do! Me
have no child!’
As she stood before my window, she
said, lifting her hands towards heaven, ‘Do, me master
minister, pity me! Me heart do so,’
(shaking herself
violently,) ‘me heart do so, because me have no child. Me
go a massa house, in massa yard, and in me hut, and me
no see em;’
and then her cry went up to God. I durst
not be seen looking at her.”

A similar instance of strong affection happened in the
city of Washington, 1815-12December, 1815. A negro woman,
with her two children, was sold, near Bladensburgh, to
Georgia traders; but the master refused to sell her husband.
When the coffle reached Washington, on their way
to Georgia, the poor creature attempted to escape, by jumping
from the garret window of a three-story brick tavern.
Her arms and back were dreadfully broken. When asked
why she had done such a desperate act, she replied,
“They brought me away, and wound n’t let me see my husband;
and I did n’t want to go. I was so distracted that
I did not know what I was about: but I did n’t want to
go — and I jumped out of the window.”
The unfortunate
woman was given to the landlord as a compensation
for having her taken care of at his house; her children
were sold in Carolina; and thus was this poor forlorn
being left alone in her misery. In all this wide land of
benevolence and freedom, there was no one who could
protect her: for in such chases, the laws come in, with
iron grasp, to check the stirrings of human sympathy.

Another complaint is that slaves have most inveterate
habits of laziness. No doubt this is true — it would be
strange indeed if it were otherwise. Where is the human
being, who will work from a disinterested love of
toil, when his labor brings no improvement to himself, no
increase of comfort to his wife and children?

17(6)v 204

Pelletan, in his Memoirs of the French Colony of Senegal,
says, “The negroes work with ardor, because
they are now unmolested in their possessions and enjoyments.
Since the suppression of slavery, the Moors
make no more inroads upon them, and their villages are
rebuilt and re-peopled.”
Bosman, who was by no means
very friendly to colored people, says: “The negroes of
Cabomonte and Juido, are indefatigable cultivators,
economical of their soil, they scarcely leave a foot-path to
form a communication between the different possessions;
they reap one day, and the next they sow the same earth,
without allowing it time for repose.”

It is needless to multiply quotations; for the concurrent
testimony of all travellers proves that industry is a
common virtue in the interior of Africa.

Again, it is said that the negroes are treacherous, cunning,
dishonest, and profligate. Let me ask you, candid
reader, what you would be, if you labored under the
same unnatural circumstances? The daily earnings of
the slave, nay, his very wife and children, are constantly
wrested from him, under the sanction of the laws; is
this the way to teach a scrupulous regard to the property
of others? How can purity be expected from him, who
sees almost universal licentiousness prevail among those
whom he is taught to regard as his superiors? Besides, we
must remember how entirely unprotected the negro is in
his domestic relations, and how very frequently husband
and wife are separated by the caprice, or avarice, of the
white man. I have no doubt that slaves are artful; for
they must be so. Cunning is always the resort of the
weak against the strong; children, who have violent and
unreasonable parents, become deceitful in self-defence.
The only way to make young people sincere and frank,
is to treat them with mildness and perfect justice.

The negro often pretends to be ill in order to avoid
labor; and if you were situated as he is, you would do
the same. But it is said that the blacks are malignant
and revengeful. Granting it to be true, — is it their fault,
or is it owing to the cruel circumstances in which they
are placed? Surely there are proofs enough that they
are naturally a kind and gentle people. True, they do 18(1)r 205
sometimes murder their masters and overseers; but where
there is utter hopelessness, can we wonder at occasional
desperation? I do not believe that any class of people
subject to the same influences, would commit fewer
crimes. Dickson, in his letters on slavery, informs us
that among one hundred and twenty thousand negroes
and creoles of Barbadoes, only three murders have been
known to be committed by them in the course of thirty
years; although often provoked by the cruelty of the

In estimating the vices of slaves, there are several
items to be taken into the account. In the first place,
we hear a great deal of the negroes’ crimes, while we
hear very little of their provocations. If they murder
their masters, newspapers and almanacs blazon it all over
the country; but if their masters murder them, a trifling
fine is paid, and nobody thinks of mentioning the matter.
I believe there are twenty negroes killed by white men,
where there is one white man killed by a black. If you
believe this to be mere conjecture, I pray you examine
the Judicial Reports of the Southern States. The voice
of humanity, concerning this subject, is weak and stifled;
and when a master kills his own slave we are not likely
to hear the tidings — but the voice of avarice is loud and
strong; and it sometimes happens that negroes “die”
“under a moderate punishment” administered by other
hands: then prosecutions ensue, in order to recover the
price of the slave; and in this way we are enabled to
form a tolerable conjecture concerning the frequency of
such crimes.

I have said that we seldom hear of the grievous wrongs
which provoke the vengeance of the slave; I will tell an
anecdote, which I know to be true, as a proof in point
Within the last two years, a gentleman residing in Boston,
was summoned to the West Indies in consequence
of troubles on his plantation. His overseer had been
killed by the slaves. This fact was soon made public;
and more than one exclaimed, “what diabolical passions
these negroes have!”
To which I replied that I only
wondered they were half as good as they were. It was
not long, however, before I discovered the particulars of 18 18(1)v 206
the case; and I took some pains that the public should
likewise be informed of them. The overseer was a bad,
licentious man. How long and how much the slaves endured
under his power I know not, but at last, he took a
fancy to two of the negroes’ wives, ordered them to be
brought to his house, and in spite of their entreaties and
resistance, compelled them to remain as long as he
thought proper. The husbands found their little huts
deserted, and knew very well where the blame rested.
In such a case, you would have gone to law; but the law
does not recognise a negro’s rights — he is the property
of his master, and subject to the will of his agent. If
a slave should talk of being protected in his domestic relations,
it would cause great merriment in a slave-holding
State; the proposition would be deemed equally inconvenient
and absurd. Under such circumstances, the negro
husbands took justice into their own hands. They murdered
the overseer. Four innocent slaves were taken
up, and upon every slight circumstantial evidence were
condemned to be shot; but the real actors of this scene
passed unsuspected. When the unhappy men found
their companions were condemned to die, they avowed
the fact, and exculpated all others from any share in the
deed. Was not this true magnanimity? Can you help
respecting those negroes? If you can, I pity you.

Since the condition of slaves is such as I have described,
are you surprised at occasional insurrections? You
may regret it most deeply; but can you wonder at it.
The famous Captain Smith, when he was a slave in Tartary,
killed his overseer and made his escape. I never
heard him blamed for it — it seems to be universally considered
a simple act of self-defence. The same thing
has often occurred with regard to white men taken by
the Algerines.

The Poles have shed Russian “blood enough to float
our navy;”
and we admire and praise them, because
they did it in resistance of oppression. Yet they have
suffered less than black slaves, all the world over, are
suffering. We honor our forefathers because they rebelled
against certain principles dangerous to political
freedom; yet from actual, personal tyranny, they suffered 18(2)r 207
nothing: the negro, on the contrary, is suffering all that
oppression can make human nature suffer. Why do we
exercrate in one set of men, what we laud so highly in
another? I shall be reminded that insurrections and murders
are totally at variance with the precepts of our religion;
and this is most true. But according to this rule,
the Americans, Poles, Parisians, Belgians, and all who
have shed blood for the sake of liberty, are more to blame
than the negroes; for the former are more enlightened,
and can always have access to the fountain of religion;
while the latter are kept in a state of brutal ignorance —
not allowed to read their Bibles — knowing nothing of
Christianity, except the examples of their masters, who
profess to be governed by its maxims.

I hope I shall not be misunderstood on this point. I
am not vindicating insurrections and murders; the very
thought makes my blood run cold. I believe revenge is
always wicked; but I say, what the laws of every country
acknowledge, that great provocations are a palliation of
great crimes. When a man steals food because he is
starving, we are more disposed to pity, than to blame him.
And what can human nature do, subject to continual and
oppressive wrong — hopeless of change — not only unprotected
by law, but the law itself changed into an enemy —
and to complete the whole, shut out from the instructions
and consolations of the Gospel! No wonder the West
Indian missionaries found it very difficult to decide what
they ought to say to the poor, suffering negroes! They
could indeed tell them it was very impolitic to be rash
and violent, because it could not, under existing circumstances,
make their situation better, and would be very
likely to make it worse; but if they urged the maxims of
religion, the slaves might ask the embarrassing question,
is not our treatment in direct opposition to the precepts
of the gospel? Our masters can read the Bible — they
have a chance to know better. Why do not Christians
deal justly by us, before they require us to deal mercifully
with them?

Think of all these things, kind-hearted reader. Try
to judge the negro by the same rules you judge other
men; and while you condemn his faults, do not forget
his manifold provocations.


Chapter VIII.

Prejudices against people of color, and our duties in
relation to this subject.

“‘A negro has a soul, an’ please your honor,’ said the Corporal, doubtingly. ‘I am not much versed, Corporal,’ quoth my Uncle Toby, ‘in things of that
kind; but I suppose God would not leave him without one, any more than thee
or me.’
‘It would be putting one sadly over the head of the other,’ quoth the
‘It would so,’ said my Uncle Toby. ‘Why then, an’ please your honor, is a black man to be used worse than a
white one?’
‘I can give no reason,’ said my Uncle Toby. ‘Only,’ cried the Corporal, shaking his head, ‘because he has no one to stand
up for him.’
‘It is that very thing, Trim,’ quoth my Uncle Toby, ‘which recommends
him to protection.’”

While we bestow our earnest disapprobation on the
system of slavery, let us not flatter ourselves that we are
in reality any better than our brethren of the South.
Thanks to our soil and climate, and the early exertions
of the Quakers, the form of slavery does not exist among
us; but the very spirit of the hateful and mischievous
thing is here is all its strength. The manner in which
we use what power we have, gives us ample reason to be
grateful that the nature of our institutions does not intrust
us with more. Our prejudices against colored people is
even more inveterate than it is at the South. The planter
is often attached to his negroes, and lavishes caresses
and kind words upon them, as he would on a favorite
hound: but our cold-hearted, ignoble prejudice admits
of no exception — no intermission.

The Southerners have long continued habit, apparent
interest and dreaded danger, to palliate the wrong they
do: but we stand without excuse. They tell us that Northern
ships and Northern capital have been engaged in this 18(3)r 209
wicked business; and the reproach is true. Several fortunes
in this city have been made by the sale of negro blood.
If these criminal transactions are still carried on, they
are done in silence and secrecy, because public opinion
has made them disgraceful. But if the free States wished
to cherish the system of slavery forever, they could not
take a more direct course than they now do. Those who
are kind and liberal on all other subjects, unite with the
selfish and the proud in their unrelenting efforts to keep
the colored population in the lowest state of degradation;
and the influence they unconsciously exert over children
early infuses into their innocent minds the same strong
feelings of contempt.

The intelligent and well informed have the least share of
this prejudice; and when their minds can be brought to
reflect upon it, I have generally observed that they soon
cease to have any at all. But such a general apathy prevails
and the subject is so seldom brought into view, that
few are really aware how oppressively the influence of
society is made to bear upon this injured class of the
community. When I have related facts, that came
under my own observation, I have often been listened to
with surprise, which gradually increased to indignation.
In order that my readers may not be ignorant of the extent
of this tyrannical prejudice, I will as briefly as possible
state the evidence, and leave them to judge of it, as
their hearts and consciences may dictate.

In the first place, an unjust law exists in this Commonwealth,
by which marriages between persons of different
color is pronounced illegal. I am perfectly aware of the
gross ridicule to which I may subject myself by alluding
to this particular; but I have lived too long, and observed
too much, to be disturbed by the world’s mockery. In
the first place, the government ought not to be invested
with power to control the affections, any more than the
consciences of citizens. A man has at least as good a
right to choose his wife, as he has to choose his religion.
His taste may not suit his neighbors; but so long as his
deportment is correct, they have no right to interfere
with his concerns. In the second place, this law is a
useless disgrace to Massachusetts. Under existing circumstances,18* 18(3)v 210
none but those whose condition in life is too
low to be much affected by public opinion, will form such
alliances; and they, when they choose to do so, will
make such marriages, in spite of the law. I know two
or three instances where women of the laboring class
have been united to reputable, industrious colored men.
These husbands regularly bring home their wages, and
are kind to their families. If by some of the odd
chances, which not unfrequently occur in the world, their
wives should become heirs to any property, the children
may be wronged out of it, because the law pronounces
them illegitimate. And while this injustice exists with
regard to honest, industrious individuals, who are merely
guilty of differing from us in a matter of taste, neither
the legislation nor customs of slave-holding States exert
their influence against immoral connexions.

In one portion of our country this fact is shown in a
very peculiar and striking manner. There is a numerous
class at New Orleans, called Quateroons, or Quadroons,
because their colored blood has for several successive
generations been intermingled with the white. The
women are much distinguished for personal beauty and
gracefulness of motion; and their parents frequently send
them to France for the advantages of an elegant education.
White gentlemen of the first rank are desirous of being
invited to their parties, and often become seriously in love
with these fascinating but unfortunate beings. Prejudice
forbids matrimony, but universal custom sanctions temporary
connexions, to which a certain degreee of respectability
is allowed, on account of the peculiar situation of
the parties. These attachments often continue for
years — sometimes for life — and instances are not unfrequent
fo exemplary constancy and great propriety of

What eloquent vituperations we should pour forth, if
the contending claims of nature and pride produced such
a tissue of contradictions in some other country, and
not in our own!

There is another Massachussetts law, which an enlightened
community would not probably suffer to be carried
into execution under any circumstances; but it still remains 18(4)r 211
to disgrace the statutes of this Commonwealth.—
It is as follows:

“No African or Negro, other than a subject of the
Emperor of Morocco, or a citizen of the United States,
(proved so by a certificate of the Secretary of the State of
which he is a citizen,) shall tarry within this Commonwealth
longer than two months; and on complaint a justice
shall order him to depart in ten days; and if he do
not then, the justice may commit such African or Negro
to the House of Correction, there to be kept at hard
labor; and at the next term of the Court of C. P., he
shall be tried, and if convicted of remaining as aforesaid,
shall be whipped not exceeding ten lashes; and if he or
she shall not then depart such process shall be repeated
and punishment inflicted tolies quolies.”
Stat. 17881788,
Ch. 54

An honorable Haytian or Brazilian, who visited this
country for business or information, might come under
this law, unless public opinion rendered it a mere dead

There is among the colored people an increasing desire
for information, and a laudable ambition to be
respectable in manners and appearance. Are we not
foolish as well as sinful, in trying to repress a tendency
so salutary to themselves, and so beneficial to the community?
Several individuals of this class are very desirous
to have persons of their own color qualified to teach
something more than mere reading and writing. But
in the public schools, colored children are subject to
many discouragements and difficulties; and into the private
schools they cannot gain admission. A very sensible
and well-informed colored woman in a neighboring
town, whose family have been brought up in a manner
that excited universal remark and approbation, has been
extremely desirous to obtain for her eldest daughter the
advantages of a private school; but she has been resolutely
repulsed, on account of her complexion. The girl
is a very light mulatto, with great modesty and propriety
of manners; perhaps no young person in the Commonwealth
was less likely to have a bad influence on her
associates. The clergyman respected the family, and 18(4)v 212
he remonstrated with the instructer; but while the latter
admitted the injustice of the thing, he excused himself
by saying such a step would occasion the loss of all
his white scholars.

In a town adjoining Boston, a well-behaved colored
boy was kept out of the public school more than a year,
by vote of the trustees. His mother, having some information
herself, knew the importance of knowledge,
and was anxious to obtain it for her family. She wrote
repeatedly and urgently; and the school-master himself
told me that the correctness of her spelling, and the neatness
of her hand-writing formed a curious contrast with
the notes he received from many white parents. At last,
this spirited woman appeared before the committee, and
reminded them that her husband, having for many years
paid taxes as a citizen, had a right to the privileges of a
citizen; and if her claim were refused, or longer postponed,
she declared her determination to seek justice
from a higher source. The trustees were, of course,
obliged to yield to the equality of the laws, with the best
grace they could. The boy was admitted, and made
good progress in his studies. Had his mother been too
ignorant to know her rights, or too abject to demand
them, the lad would have had a fair chance to get a living
out of the State as the occupant of a workhouse, or penitentiary.

The attempt to establish a school for African girls at
Canterbury, Connecticut, has made too much noise to
need a detailed account in this volume. I do not know
the lady who first formed the project, but I am told that
she is a benevolent and religious woman. It certainly is
difficult to imagine any other motives than good ones,
for an undertaking so arduous and unpopular. Yet had
the Pope himself attempted to establish his supremacy
over that commonwealth, he could hardly have been repelled
with more determined and angry resistance. —
Town meetings were held, the records of which are not
highly creditable to the parties concerned. Petitions
were sent to the Legislature, beseeching that no African
school might be allowed to admit individuals not residing
in the town where said school was established; 18(5)r 213
and strange to relate, this law, which makes it impossible
to collect a sufficient number of pupils, was sanctioned
by the State. A colored girl, who availed herself of this
opportunity to gain instruction, was warned out of town,
and fined for not complying; and the instructress was
imprisoned for persevering in her benevolent plan.

It is said, in excuse, that Canterbury will be inundated
with vicious characters, who will corrupt the morals of
the young men; that such a school will break down the
distinctions between black and white; and that marriages
between people of different colors will be the probable
result. Yet they seem to assume the ground that
colored people must always be an inferior and degraded
class — that the prejudice against them must be eternal;
being deeply founded in the laws of God and nature. —
Finally, they endeavored to represent the school as one of
the “incendiary” proceedings of the Anti-Slavery Society;
and they appeal to the Colonization Society, as an aggrieved
child is wont to appeal to its parent.

The objection with regard to the introduction of vicious
characters into a village, certainly has some force; but
are such persons likely to leave cities for a quiet country
town, in search of moral and intellectual improvement?
Is it not obvious that the best portion of the colored class
are the very ones to prize such an opportunity for instruction?
Grant that a large proportion of these unfortunate
people are vicious — is it not our duty, and of
course our wisest policy, to try to make them otherwise?
And what will so effectually elevate their character
and condition, as knowledge? I beseech you,
my countrymen, think of these things wisely, and in

As for intermarriages, if there be such a repugnance
between the two races, founded in the laws of nature,
methinks there is small reason to dread their frequency.

The breaking down of distinctions in society, by means
of extended information, is an objection which appropriately
belongs to the Emperor of Austria, or the Sultan of

I do not know how the affair at Canterbury is generally
considered; but I have heard individuals of all parties 18(5)v 214
and all opinions speak of it — and never without merriment
or indignation. Fifty years hence, the black laws
of Connecticut will be a greater source of amusement to
the antiquarian, than her famous blue laws.

A similar, though less violent opposition arose in consequence
of the attempt to establish a college for colored
people at New Haven. A young colored man, who tried
to obtain education at the Wesleyan college in Middleton,
was obliged to relinquish the attempt on account of the
persecution of his fellow students. Some collegians from
the South objected to a colored associate in their recitations;
and those from New England promptly and zealously
joined in the hue and cry. A small but firm party
were in favor of giving the colored man a chance to pursue
his studies without insult or interruption; and I am
told that this manly and disinterested band were all
Southerners. As for those individuals, who exerted
their influence to exclude an unoffending fellow-citizen
from privileges which ought to be equally open to all, it
is to be hoped that age will make them wiser — and that
they will learn, before they die, to be ashamed of a step
attended with more important results than usually belong
to youthful follies.

It happens that these experiments have all been made
in Connecticut; but it is no more than justice to that
State to remark that a similar spirit would probably have
been manifested in Massachusetts, under like circumstances.
At our debating clubs and other places of public
discussion, the demon of prejudice girds himself for
the battle, the moment negro colleges and high schools
are alluded to. Alas, while we carry on our lips that
religion which teaches us to “love our neighbor as ourselves,”
how little do we cherish its blessed influence
within our hearts! How much republicanism we have
to speak of, and how little do we practise!

Let us seriously consider what injury a negro college
could possibly do us. It is certainly a fair presumption
that the scholars would be from the better portion of the
colored population; and it is an equally fair presumption
that knowledge would improve their characters. There
are already many hundreds of colored people in the city 18(6)r 215
of Boston. — In the street they generally appear neat and
respectable; and in our houses they do not “come between
the wind and our nobility.”
Would the addition
of one or two hundred more even be perceived? As for
giving offence to the Southerners by allowing such establishments
— they have no right to interfere with our
internal concerns, any more than we have with theirs. —
Why should they not give up slavery to please us, by the
same rule that we must refrain from educating the negroes
to please them? If they are at liberty to do wrong,
we certainly ought to be at liberty to do right. They
may talk and publish as much about us as they please;
and we ask for no other influence over them.

It is a fact not generally known that the brave Kosciusko
left a fund for the establishment of a negro college
in the United States. Little did he think he had been
fighting for a people, who would not grant one rood of
their vast territory for the benevolent purpose!

According to present appearances, a college for colored
persons will be established in Canada; and thus, by
means of our foolish and wicked pride, the credit of this
philanthropic enterprise will be transferred to our mother

The preceding chapters show that it has been no uncommon
thing for colored men to be educated at English,
German, Portuguese and Spanish Universities.

In Boston there is an Infant School, three Primary
Schools, and a Grammar School. The two last, are I
believe supported by the public; and this fact is highly
creditable. A building for the colored Grammar School
is not supplied by the city, though such provision is
always made for similar institutions for white boys. —
The apartment is close and uncomfortable, and many
pupils stay away, who would gladly attend under more
convenient circumstances. There ought likewise to be
a colored teacher instead of a white one. Under the dominion
of existing prejudices, it is difficult to find a white
man, well qualified to teach such a school, who feels the
interest he ought to feel, in these Pariahs The Pariahs are the lowest and most degraded caste in Hindostan.
The laws prevent them from ever rising in their condition,
or mingling with other castes.
of our republic. 18(6)v 216
The parents would repose more confidence in a colored
instructer; and he, both from sympathy and pride, would
be better fitted for his task.

It is peculiarly incumbent on the city authorities to
supply a commodious building for the colored grammar
school, because public prejudice excludes these oppressed
people from all lucrative employments, and they cannot
therefore be supposed to have ample funds of their

I was much pleased with the late resolution awarding
Franklin medals to the colored pupils of the grammar
school; and I was still more pleased with the laudable
project, originated by Josiah Holbrook, Esq. for the establishment
of a colored Lyceum. Surely a better spirit
is beginning to work in this cause; and when once
begun, the good sense and good feeling of the community
will bid it go on and prosper. How much this spirit
will have to contend with is illustrated by the following
fact. When President Jackson entered this city, the
white children of all the schools were sent out in uniform
to do him honor. A member of the Committee proposed
that the pupils of the African schools should be invited
likewise; but he was the only one who voted for it. He
then proposed that the yeas and nays should be recorded;
upon which, most of the gentlemen walked off, to prevent
the question from being taken. Perhaps they felt
an awkward consciousness of the incongeniality of such
proceedings with our republican institutions. By order
of the Committee the vacation of the African schools did
not commence until the day after the procession of the
white pupils; and a note to the instructor intimated that
the pupils were not expected to appear on the Common.
The reason given was because “their numbers were so
but in private conversation, fears were expressed
lest their sable faces should give offence to our slave-
holding President. In all probability the sight of the
colored children would have been agreeable to General
, and seemed more like home, than anything he

In the theatre, it is not possible for respectable colored
people to obtain a decent seat. They must either be excluded,
or herd with the vicious.

19(1)r 217

A fierce excitement prevailed, not long since, because
a colored man had bought a pew in one of our churches.
I heard a very kind-hearted and zealous democrat declare
his opinion that “the fellow ought to be turned
out by constables, if he dared to occupy the pew he had
Even at the communion-table, the mockery
of human pride is mingled with the worship of Jehovah.
Again and again have I seen a solitary negro come
up to the altar, meekly and timidly, after all the white
communicants had retired. One Episcopal clergyman
of this city, forms an honorable exception to this remark.
When there is room at the altar, Mr ―― often makes a
signal to the colored members of his church to kneel beside
their white brethren; and once, when two white
infants and one colored one were to be baptized, and the
parents of the latter bashfully lingered far behind the
others, he silently rebuked the unchristian spirit of pride,
by first administering the holy ordinance to the little
dark-skinned child of God.

An instance of prejudice lately occurred, which I
should find hard to believe, did I not positively know it
to be a fact. A gallery pew was purchased in one of our
churches for two hundred dollars. A few Sabbaths after,
an address was delivered at that church, in favor of the
Africans. Some colored people, who very naturally wished
to hear the discourse, went into the gallery; probably
because they thought they should be deemed less intrusive
there than elsewhere. The man who had recently
bought a pew, found it occupied by colored people, and
indignantly retired with his family. The next day, he
purchased a pew in another meeting-house, protesting
that nothing would tempt him again to make use of seats,
that had been occupied by negroes.

A well known country representative, who makes a very
loud noise about his democracy, once attended the Catholic
church. A pious negro requested him to take off his
hat, while he stood in the presence of the Virgin Mary.
The white man rudely shoved him aside, saying, “You
son of an Ethiopian, do you dare to speak to me!”
more than once heard the hero repeat this story; and he
seemed to take peculiar satisfaction in telling it. Had he 19 19(1)v 218
been less ignorant, he would not have chosen “son of an
as an ignoble epithet; to have called the African
his own equal would have been abundantly more
sarcastic. The same republican dismissed a strong, industrious
colored man, who had been employed on the
farm during his absence. “I am too great a democrat,”
quoth he, “to have any body in my house, who don’t sit
at my table; and I’ll be hanged, if I ever eat with the
son of an Ethiopian.”

Men whose education leaves them less excuse for such
illiberality, are yet vulgar enough to join in this ridiculous
prejudice. The colored woman, whose daughter has
been mentioned as excluded from a private school, was
once smuggled into a stage, upon the supposition that she
was a white woman, with a sallow complexion. Her
manners were modest and prepossessing, and the gentlemen
were very polite to her. But when she stopped at
her own door, and was handed out by her curly-headed
husband, they were at once surprised and angry to find
they had been riding with a mulatto — and had, in
their ignorance, been really civil to her!

A worthy colored woman, belonging to an adjoining
town, wished to come into Boston to attend upon a son,
who was ill. She had a trunk with her, and was too
feeble to walk. She begged permission to ride in the
stage. But the passengers with “noble” indignation, declared
they would get out, if she were allowed to get in.
After much entreaty, the driver suffered her to sit by
him upon the box. When he entered the city, his comrades
began to point and sneer. Not having sufficient
moral courage to endure this, he left the poor woman
with her trunk, in the middle of the street, far from the
place of her destination; telling her, with an oath, that
he would not carry her a step further.

A friend of mine, lately wished to have a colored girl
admitted into the stage with her, to take care of her
babe. The girl very lightly tinged with the sable
hue, had handsome Indian features, and very pleasing
manners. It was, however, evident that she was not
white; and therefore the passengers objected to her
company. This of course, produced a good deal of inconvenience 19(2)r 219
on one side, and mortification on the other.
My friend repeated the circumstance to a lady, who, as
the daughter and wife of a clergyman, might be supposed
to have imbibed some liberality. The lady seemed to
think the experiment was very preposterous; but when
my friend alluded to the mixed parentage of the girl, she
exclaimed, with generous enthusiasm, “Oh, that alters
the case, Indians certainly have their rights.”

Every year a colored gentleman and scholar is becoming
less and less of a rarity — thanks to the existence of
the Haytian Republic, and the increasing liberality of
the world! Yet if a person of refinement from Hayti,
Brazil, or other countries, which we deem less enlightened
than our own, should visit us, the very boys of this
republic would dog his footsteps with the vulgar outcry of
“Nigger! Nigger!” I have known this to be done, from
no other provocation than the sight of a colored man
with the dress and deportment of a gentleman. Were
it not that republicanism, like Christianity, is often perverted
from its true spirit by the bad passions of mankind,
such things as these would make every honest mind disgusted
with the very name of republics.

I am acquainted with a gentleman from Brazil who is
shrewd, enterprising, noble-spirited, and highly respectable
in character and manners; yet he has experienced
almost every species of indignity on account of his color.
Not long since, it became necessary for him to visit the
southern shores of Massachusetts, to settle certain accounts
connected with his business. His wife was in a
feeble state of health, and the physicians had recommended
a voyage. For this reason, he took passage for
her with himself in the steam-boat; and the captain, as
it appears, made no objection to a colored gentleman’s
money. After remaining on deck some time, Mrs ――
attempted to pass into the cabin; but the captain prevented
her; saying, “You must go down forward.”
The Brazilian urged that he had paid the customary
price, and therefore his wife and infant had a right to a
place in the ladies’ cabin. The captain answered,
“Your wife a’n’t a lady; she is a nigger.” The forward
cabin was occupied by sailors; was entirely without 19(2)v 220
accomodations for women, and admitted the sea-
water, so that a person could not sit in it comfortably without
keeping the feet raised in a chair. The husband
stated that his wife’s health would not admit of such exposure;
to which the captain still replied, “I don’t allow
any niggers in my cabin.”
With natural and honest indignation,
the Brazilian exclaimed, “You Americans
talk about the Poles! You are a great deal more Russian
than the Russians.”
The affair was concluded by
placing the colored gentleman and his invalid wife on the
shore, and leaving them to provide for themselves as they
could. Had the cabin been full, there would have been
some excuse; but it was occupied only by two sailors’
wives. The same individual sent for a relative in a distant
town on account of illness in his family. After staying
several weeks, it became necessary for her to return;
and he procured a seat for her in the stage. The same
ridiculous scene occurred; the passengers were afraid of
losing their dignity by riding with a neat, respectable
person, whose face was darker than their own. No public
vehicle could be obtained, by which a colored citizen
could be conveyed to her home; it therefore became
absolutely necessary for the gentleman to leave his business
and hire a chaise at great expense. Such proceedings
are really inexcusable. No authority can be found
for them in religion, reason, or the laws.

The Bible informs us that “a man of Ethiopia, an
eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of the
Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure, came to
Jerusalem to worship.”
Returning in his chariot, he
read Esaias, the Prophet; and at his request Phillip went
up into the chariot and sat with him, explaining the
Scriptures. Where should we now find an apostle, who
would ride in the same chariot with an Ethiopian!

Will any candid person tell me why respectable colored
people should not be allowed to make use of public conveyances,
open to all who are able and willing to pay
for the privilege? Those who enter a vessel, or a stage-
coach, cannot expect to select their companions. If
they can afford to take a carriage or boat for themselves,
then, and then only, they have a right to be exclusive. I 19(3)r 221
was lately talking with a young gentleman on this subject,
who professed to have no prejudice against colored
people, except so far as they were ignorant and vulgar;
but still he could not tolerate the idea of allowing them
to enter stages and steam-boats. “Yet, you allow the
same privilege to vulgar and ignorant white men, without
a murmur,”
I replied; “Pray give a good republican
reason why a respectable colored citizen should be less
For want of a better argument, he said —
(pardon me, fastidious reader) — he implied that the presence
of colored persons was less agreeable than Otto of
Rose, or Eau de Cologne; and this distinction, he urged
was made by God himself. I answered, “Whoever
takes his chance in a public vehicle, is liable to meet
with uncleanly white passengers, whose breath may be
redolent with the fumes of American cigars, or American
gin. Neither of these articles have a fragrance peculiarly
agreeable to nerves of delicate organization. Allowing
your argument double the weight it deserves, it is utter
nonsense to pretend that the inconvenience in the case I
have supposed is not infinitely greater. But what is more
to the point, do you dine in a fashionable hotel, do you sail
in a fashionable steam-boat, do you sup at a fashionable
house, without having negro servants behind your chair.
Would they be any more disagreeable, as passengers
seated in the corner of a stage, or a steam-boat, than
as waiters in such immediate attendance upon your

Stage-drivers are very much perplexed when they attempt
to vindicate the present tyrannical customs; and
they usually give up the point, by saying they themselves
have no prejudice against colored people — they are
merely afraid of the public. But stage-drivers should remenber
that in a popular government, they, in common
with every other citizen, form a part and portion of the
dreaded public.

The gold was never coined for which I would barter
my individual freedom of acting and thinking upon any
subject, or knowingly interfere with the rights of the
meanest human being. The only true courage is that
which impels us to do right without regard to consequences.19* 19(3)v 222
To fear a populace is as servile as to fear an emperor.
The only salutary restraint is the fear of doing

Our representatives to Congress have repeatedly rode
in a stage with colored servants at the request of their
masters. Whether this is because New Englanders are
willing to do out of courtesy to a Southern gentleman,
what they object to doing from justice to a colored citizen,
— or whether those representatives, being educated
men, were more than usually divested of this absurd prejudice,
— I will not pretend to say.

The state of public feeling not only makes it difficult
for the Africans to obtain information, but it prevents
them from making profitable use of what knowledge
they have. A colored man, however intelligent, is not
allowed to pursue any business more lucrative than that
of a barber, a shoe-black, or a waiter. These, and all
other employments, are truly respectable, whenever the
duties connected with them are faithfully performed;
but it is unjust that a man should, on account of his complexion,
be prevented from performing more elevated
uses in society. Every citizen ought to have a fair
chance to try his fortune in any line of business, which
he thinks he has ability to transact. Why should not
colored men be employed in the manufactories of various
kinds? If their ignorance is an objection, let them be
enlightened, as speedily as possible. If their moral character
is not sufficiently pure, remove the pressure of public
scorn, and thus supply them with motives for being
respectable. All this can be done. It merely requires
an earnest wish to overcome a prejudice, which has
“grown with our growth and strengthened with our
but which is in fact opposed to the spirit of
our religion, and contrary to the instinctive good feelings
of our nature. When examined by the clear light
of reason, it disappears. Prejudices of all kinds have
their strongest holds in the minds of the vulgar and the
ignorant. In a community so enlightened as our own,
they must gradually melt away under the influence of
public discussion. There is no want of kind feelings
and liberal sentiments in the American people; the simple 19(4)r 223
fact is, they have not thought upon this subject. —
An active and enterprising community are not apt to
concern themselves about laws and customs, which do
not obviously interfere with their interests or convenience;
and various political and prudential motives have combined
to fetter free inquiry in this direction. Thus we
have gone on, year after year, thoughtlessly sanctioning,
by our silence and indifference, evils which our hearts
and consciences are far enough from approving.

It has been shown that no other people on earth indulge
so strong a prejudice with regard to color, as we
do. It is urged that negroes are civilly treated in England,
because their numbers are so few. I could never
discover any great force in this argument. Colored people
are certainly not sufficiently rare in that country to
be regarded as a great show, like a giraffe, or a Sandwich
king; and on the other hand, it would seem
natural that those who were more accustomed to the sight
of dark faces would find their aversion diminished, rather
than increased.

The absence of prejudice in the Portuguese and Spanish
settlements is accounted for, by saying that the
white people are very little superior to the negroes in
knowledge and refinement. But Doctor Walsh’s book
certainly gives us no reason to think meanly of the Brazilians;
and it has been my good fortune to be acquainted
with many highly intelligent South Americans, who
were divested of this prejudice, and much surprised at
its existence here.

If the South Americans are really in such a low state
as the argument implies, it is a still greater disgrace to
us to be outdone in liberality and consistent republicanism
by men so much less enlightened than ourselves.

Pride will doubtless hold out with strength and adroitness
against the besiegers of its fortress; but it is an obvious
truth that the condition of the world is rapidly improving,
and that our laws and customs must change
with it.

Neither ancient nor modern history furnishes a page
more glorious than the last twenty years in England; for
at every step, free principles, after a long and arduous 19(4)v 224
struggle, have conquered selfishness and tyranny. Almost
all great evils are resisted by individuals who directly
suffer injustice or inconvenience from them; but
it is a peculiar beauty of the abolition cause that its defenders
enter the lists against wealth, and power, and
talent, not to defend their own rights, but to protect weak
and injured neighbors, who are not allowed to speak for

Those, who became interested in a cause laboring so
heavily under the pressure of present unpopularity, must
expect to be assailed by every form of bitterness and sophistry.
At times, discouraged and heart-sick, they
will perhaps begin to doubt whether there are in reality
any unalterable principles of right and wrong. But let
them cast aside the fear of man, and keep their minds
fixed on a few of the simple, unchangeable laws of God,
and they will certainly receive strength to contend with
the adversary.

Paragraphs in the Southern papers already begin to
imply that the United States will not look tamely on,
while England emancipates her slaves; and they inform
us that the inspection of the naval stations has become
a subject of great importance since the recent measures
of the British Parliament. A republic declaring war
with a monarchy, because she gave freedom to her slaves,
would indeed form a beautiful moral picture for the admiration
of the world!

Mr Garrison was the first person who dared to edit a
newspaper, in which slavery was spoken of as altogether
wicked and inexcusable. For this crime the Legislature
of Georgia have offered five thousand dollars to any one
who will “arrest and prosecute him to conviction under
the laws of that State
An association of gentlemen
in South Carolina have likewise offered a large reward
for the same object. It is, to say the least, a very
remarkable step for one State in this Union to promulgate
such a law concerning a citizen of another State,
merely for publishing his opinions boldly. The disciples
of Fanny Wright promulgate the most zealous and virulent
attacks upon Christianity, without any hindrance
from the civil authorities; and this is done upon the 19(5)r 225
truly rational ground that individual freedom of opinion
ought to be respected — that what is false cannot stand,
and what is true cannot be overthrown. We leave Christianity
to take care of itself; but slavery is a “delicate
— and whoever attacks that must be punished.
Mr Garrison is a disinterested, intelligent, and remarkably
pure-minded man, whose only fault is that he
cannot be moderate on a subject which it is exceedingly
difficult for an honest mind to examine with calmness.
Many, who highly respect his character, and motives,
regret his tendency to use wholesale and unqualified
expressions; but it is something to have the truth told,
even if it be not in the most judicious way. Where an
evil is powerfully supported by the self-interest and
prejudice of the community, none but an ardent individual
will venture to meddle with it. Luther was
deemed indiscreet even by those who liked him best;
yet a more prudent man would never have given an
impetus sufficiently powerful to heave the great mass
of corruption under which the church was buried. Mr
has certainly the merit of having first called
public attention to a neglected and very important subject.
I believe whoever fairly and dispassionately examines
the question, will be more than disposed to forgive
the occasional faults of an ardent temperament, in consideration
of the difficulty of the undertaking, and the
violence with which it has been opposed.

The palliator of slavery assures the abolitionists that
their benevolence is perfectly quixotic — that the negroes
are happy and contented, and have no desire to change
their lot. An answer to this may, as I have already said,
be found in the Judicial Reports of slave-holding States,
in the vigilance of their laws, in advertisements for runaway
slaves, and in the details of their own newspapers.
The West India planters make the same protestations
concerning the happiness of their slaves; yet the cruelties
proved by undoubted and unanswerable testimony
are enough to break a compassionate heart. It is said
that slavery is a great deal worse in the West Indies than
in the United States; but I believe precisely the reverse
of this proposition has been true within late years;
for the English government have been earnestly trying to 19(5)v 226
atone for their guilt, by the introduction of laws expressly
framed to guard the weak and defenceless. A gentleman
who has been a great deal among the planters of
both countries, and who is by no means favorable to
anti-slavery, gives it as his decided opinion that the
slaves are better off in the West Indies, than they are in
the United States. It is true we hear a great deal more
about West Indian cruelty than we do about our own.—
English books and periodicals are continually full of the
subject; and even in the colonies, newspapers openly denounce
the hateful system, and take every opportunity to
prove the amount of wretchedness it produces. In this
country, we have not, until very recently, dared to publish
anything upon the subject. Our books, our reviews,
our newspapers, our almanacs, have all been silent,
or exerted their influence on the wrong side. The
negro’s crimes are repeated, but his sufferings are never
told. Even in our geographies it is taught that the colored
race must always be degraded. Now and then anecdotes
of cruelties committed in the slave-holding States
are told by individuals who witnessed them; but they are
almost always afraid to give their names to the public,
because the Southerners will call them “a disgrace to
the soil,”
and the Northerners will echo the sentiment. —
The promptitude and earnestness with which New England
has aided the slave-holders in repressing all discussions
which they were desirous to avoid, has called forth
many expressions of gratitude in their public speeches,
and private conversation; and truly we have well earned
Randolph’s favorite appellation, “the white slaves of
the North,”
by our tameness and servility with regard to
a subject, where good feeling and good principle alike
demanded a firm and independent spirit.

We are told that the Southerners will of themselves do
away slavery, and they alone understand how to do it. —
But it is an obvious fact that all their measures have tended
to perpetuate the system; and even if we have the
fullest faith that they mean to do their duty, the belief
by no means absolves us from doing ours. The evil is
gigantic; and its removal requires every heart and head
in the community.

19(6)r 227

It is said that our sympathies ought to be given to the
masters, who are abundantly more to be pitied than the
slaves. If this be the case, the planters are singularly
disinterested not to change places with their bondmen,
Our sympathies have been given to the masters — and to
those masters who seemed most desirous to remain forever
in their pitiable condition. There are hearts at the
South sincerely desirous of doing right in this cause;
but their generous impulses are checked by the laws of
their respective States, and the strong disapprobation of
their neighbors. I know a lady in Georgia, who would,
I believe, make any personal sacrifice to instruct her
slaves, and give them freedom; but if she were found
guilty of teaching the alphabet, or manumitting her slaves,
fines and imprisonment would be the consequence; if
she sold them, they would be likely to fall into hands less
merciful than her own. Of such slave-owners we cannot
speak with too much respect and tenderness. They
are comparatively few in number, and stand in a most perplexing
situation; it is a duty to give all our sympathy to
them. It is mere mockery to say, what is so often said,
that the Southerners, as a body, really wish to abolish
slavery. If they wished it, they certainly would make
the attempt. When the majority heartily desire a change,
it is effected, be the difficulties what they may. The
Americans are peculiarly responsible for the example
they give; for in no other country does the unchecked
voice of the people constitute the whole of government.

We must not be induced to excuse slavery by the plausible
argument that England introduced it among us. —
The wickedness of beginning such a work unquestionably
belongs to her; the sin of continuing it is certainly
our own. It is true that Virginia, while a province, did
petition the British government to check the introduction
of slaves into the colonies; and their refusal to do
so was afterward enumerated among the public reasons
for separating from the mother country: but it is equally
true that when we became independent, the Southern
States stipulated that the slave trade should not be abolished
by law until 18081808.

The strongest and best reason that can be given for 19(6)v 228
our supineness on the subject of slavery, is the fear of
dissolving the Union. The Constitution of the United
demands our highest reverence. Those who approve,
and those who disapprove of particular portions,
are equally bound to yield implicit obedience to its authority.
But we must not forget that the Constitution
provides for any change that may be required for the
general good. The great machine is constructed with a
safety valve, by which any rapidly increasing evil may
be expelled whenever the people desire it.

If the Southern politicians are determined to make a
Siamese question of this also — if they insist that the Union
shall not exist without slavery — it can only be said that
they join two things, which have no affinity with each
other, and which cannot permanently exist together. —
They chain the living and vigorous to the diseased and
dying; and the former will assuredly perish in the infected

The universal introduction of free labor is the surest
way to consolidate the Union, and enable us to live together
in harmony and peace. If a history is ever written
entitled The Decay and Dissolution of the North
American Republic,
its author will distinctly trace our
downfall to the existence of slavery among us.

There is hardly anything bad, in politics or religion,
that has not been sanctioned or tolerated by a suffering
community, because certain powerful individuals
were able to identify the evil with some other principle
long consecrated to the hearts and consciences of men.

Under all circumstances, there is but one honest
course; and that is to do right, and trust the consequences
to Divine Providence. “Duties are ours; events
are God’s.”
Policy, with all her cunning, can devise no
rule so safe, salutary, and effective, as this simple maxim.

We cannot too cautiously examine arguments and
excuses brought forward by those whose interest or
convenience is connected with keeping their fellow creatures
in a state of ignorance and brutality; and such we
shall find in abundance, at the North as well as the
South. I have heard the abolition of slavery condemned
on the ground that New England vessels would not be 20(1)r 229
employed to export the produce of the South, if they had
free laborers of their own. This objection is so utterly
bad in its spirit, that it hardly deserves an answer. Assuredly
it is a righteous plan to retard the progress of
liberal principles, and “keep human nature forever in the
that some individuals may make a few hundred
dollars more per annum! Besides, the experience of the
world abundantly proves that all such forced expedients
are unwise. The increased prosperity of one country,
or of one section of a country, always contributes, in
some form or other, to the prosperity of other states. —
To “love our neighbor as ourselves” is, after all, the
shrewdest way of doing business.

In England, the abolition of the traffic was long and
stoutly resisted, in the same spirit, and by the same arguments,
that characterize the defence of the system
here; but it would now be difficult to find a man so reckless,
that he would not be ashamed of being called a slave
dealer. Public opinion has nearly conquered one evil,
and if rightly directed, it will ultimately subdue the

Is it asked what can be done? I answer, much, very
much, can be effected, if each individual will try to deserve
the commendation bestowed by our Saviour on the
woman of old — “She hath done what she could.”

The Quakers, — always remarkable for fearless obedience
to the inward light of conscience, — early gave
an example worthy of being followed. At their annual
meeting in Pennsylvania, in 16881688, many individuals
urged the incompatibility of slavery, and Christianity;
and their zeal continued until, in 17761776, all Quakers who
bought or sold a slave, or refused to emancipate those
they already owned, were excluded from communion
with the society. Had it not been for the early exertions
of these excellent people, the fair and flourishing
State of Pennsylvania might now, perchance, be withering
under the effects of slavery. To this day, the
Society of Friends, both in England and America, omit
no opportunity, public or private, of discountenancing
this bad system; and the Methodists (at least in England)
have earnestly labored in the same glorious cause.

20 20(1)v 230

The famous Anthony Benezet, a Quaker in Philadelphia,
has left us a noble example of what may be done
for conscience’ sake. Being a teacher, he took effectual
care that his scholars should have ample knowledge and
christian impressions concerning the nature of slavery;
he caused articles to be inserted in the almanacs likely
to arrest public attention upon the subject; he talked
about it, and wrote letters about it; he published and
distributed tracts at his own expense; if any person was
going a journey, his first thought was how he could make
him instrumental in favor of his benevolent purposes;
he addressed a petition to the Queen for the suppression
of the slave-trade; and another to the good Countess of
Huntingdon beseeching that the rice and indigo plantations
belonging to the orphan-house, which she had endowed
near Savannah, in Georgia, might not be cultivated
by those who encouraged the slave trade; he took care to
increase the comforts and elevate the character of the
colored people within his influence; he zealously promoted
the establishment of an African school, and
devoted much of the two last years of his life to personal
attendance upon his pupils. By fifty years of constant
industry he had amassed a small fortune; and this was
left, after the decease of his widow, to the support of the
African school.

Similar exertions, though on a less extensive scale,
were made by the late excellent John Kenrick, of Newton,
Mass. For more than thirty years the constant object
of his thoughts, and the chief purpose of his life, was
the abolition of slavery. His earnest conversation aroused
many other minds to think and act upon the subject.
He wrote letters, inserted articles in the newspapers,
gave liberal donations, and circulated pamphlets at his
own expense.

Cowper contributed much to the cause when he wrote
the Negro’s Complaint, and thus excited the compassion
of his numerous readers. Wedgewood aided the
work, when he caused cameos to be struck, representing
a kneeling African in chains, and thus made even capricious
fashion an avenue to the heart. Clarkson assisted
by patient investigation of evidence; and Fox and Wilberforce 20(2)r 231
by eloquent speeches. Mungo Park gave his
powerful influence by the kind and liberal manner in
which he always represented the Africans. The Duchess
of Devonshire wrote verses and caused them to be
set to music; and wherever those lines were sung, some
hearts were touched in favor of the oppressed. This
fascinating woman made even her far-famed beauty
serve in the cause of benevolence. Fox was returned for
Parliament through her influence, and she is said to
have procured more than one vote, by allowing the yeomanry
of England to kiss her beautiful cheek.

All are not able to do so much as Anthony Benezet and
John Kenrick have done; but we can all do something.
We can speak kindly and respectfully of colored people
upon all occasions; we can repeat to our children such
traits as are honorable in their character and history;
we can avoid making odious caricatures of negroes; we
can teach boys that it is unmanly and contemptible to
insult an unfortunate class of people by the vulgar outcry
of “Nigger! — Nigger!” — Even Mahmoud of Turkey
rivals us in liberality — for he long ago ordered a fine to
be levied upon those who called a Christian a dog; and
in his dominions the prejudice is so great that a Christian
must be a degraded being. A residence in Turkey
might be profitable to those Christians who patronize the
eternity of prejudice; it would afford an opportunity of
testing the goodness of the rule, by showing how it works
both ways.

If we are not able to contribute to African schools, or
do not choose to do so, we can at least refrain from opposing
them. If it be disagreeable to allow colored
people the same rights and privileges as other citizens,
we can do with our prejudice, what most of us often do
with better feelings — we can conceal it.

Our almanacs and newspapers can fairly show both
sides of the question; and if they lean to either party,
let it not be to the strongest. Our preachers can speak
of slavery, as they do of other evils. Our poets can find
in this subject abundant room for sentiment and pathos.
Our orators (provided they do not want office) may venture
an allusion to our in-“glorious institutions.”

20(2)v 232

The union of individual influence produces a vast
amount of moral force, which is not the less powerful
because it is often unperceived. A mere change in the
direction of our efforts, without any increased exertion,
would in the course of a few years, produce an entire
revolution of public feeling. This slow but sure way of
doing good is almost the only means by which benevolence
can effect its purpose.

Sixty thousand petitions have been addressed to the
English parliament on the subject of slavery, and a large
number of them were signed by women. The same
steps here would be, with one exception, useless and
injudicious; because the general govenment has no control
over the legislatures of individual States. But the
District of Columbia forms an exception to this rule. —
There the United States have power to abolish slavery;
and it is the duty of the citizens to petition year after
year, until a reformation is effected. But who will present
remonstrances against slavery? The Hon. John Q.
was intrusted with fifteen petitions for the abolition
of slavery in the District of Columbia; yet, clearly
as that gentleman sees and defines the pernicious effects
of the system, he offered the petitions only to protest
against them! Another petition to the same effect,
intrusted to another Massachusetts representative, was
never noticed at all. “Brutus is an honorable man: —
So are they all — all honorable men.”
there is, in this popular government, a subject on which it
is impossible for the people to make themselves heard.

By publishing this book I have put my mite into the
treasury. The expectation of displeasing all classes has
not been unaccompanied with pain. But it has been
strongly impressed upon my mind that it was a duty to
fulfil this task; and earthly considerations should never
stifle the voice of conscience.