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Title: An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans
Author: Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880
Language: English
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at the end of this text.








  "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!"






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, it is not in my nature to _fear_

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 Walter's fame.




  UPON ALL CONCERNED IN IT.                                    7


  NATIONS.                                                    38


  EMANCIPATION.                                               76


  STATES.                                                    105




  INTELLECT OF NEGROES.                                      148


  MORAL CHARACTER OF NEGROES.                                177


  RELATION TO THIS SUBJECT.                                  195




  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.


                      My ear is pained,
  My soul is sick with every day's report
  Of wrong and outrage, with which this earth is filled.
  There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
  It does not feel for man.


While the Portuguese were exploring Africa, in 1442, Prince Henry
ordered Anthony Gonsalez to carry back certain Moorish prisoners, whom
he had seized 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 in it.

In 1492, 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 early as 1503. 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 1517,
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
twenty-five 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 tyranny.

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 nature, not
to foresee the inevitable consequence of placing power in the hands of

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
condemned to toil without hope, by Christians, 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
Indies; and these were stocked with slaves. From 1680 to 1786, _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 ingenuity, 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 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 merchandise 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 merchandise 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;[A] 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!

[Footnote A: Judicial trials by the ordeal of personal combat, in which
the vanquished were always pronounced guilty, occurred as late as the
sixteenth century, both in France and England.]

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 gunpowder 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 spirituous 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! These 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 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 towards clearing
the country, destroying wild beasts, and introducing the arts and
refinements of civilized 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
merchandise; 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 Fezzan, 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, 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 seacoast, 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 eyewitness 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
thirty-six males, and two hundred and twenty-six females, making in all
five hundred and sixty-two; she had been out seventeen days, during
which she had thrown overboard fifty-five. 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, exposed to
the open sky, was standing, in the shade on our deck, at eighty-nine

"The space between decks was divided into two compartments, three feet
three inches high. Two hundred and twenty-six women and girls were
thrust into one space two hundred and eighty-eight feet square; and
three hundred and thirty-six men and boys were crammed into another
space eight hundred feet square; giving the whole an average of
twenty-three 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 hatchway
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. 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 stem
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, 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
this 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

[Footnote B: Dr. Walsh's book on Brazil was published in 1831. He says;
"Notwithstanding the benevolent and persevering exertions of England,
this horrid traffic in human flesh is nearly 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 inconvenience 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.'"

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 immortality!

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 the 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
principally accepted as evidence before the British Parliament, where
there was a very strong party of slave-owners desirous to prove them

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;[C] and they are invested with perfectly despotic powers.

[Footnote C: I have read letters from slave-captains to their employers,
in which they declare that they shipped such a number of _billets of
wood_, or _pieces of ebony_, on the coast of Africa.

Near the office of the Richmond Inquirer in Virginia, an auction
flag was hoisted one day this last winter, with the following curious
advertisement: "On Monday the 11th inst., will be sold in front of the
High Constable's office, one bright mulatto woman, about twenty-six
years of age; also, _some empty barrels, and sundry old candle-boxes_."]

There is a great waste of life among white seamen employed in this
traffic, in consequence of the severe 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 eighty-three 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 1785, 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

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 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."[D]

[Footnote D: Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade.]

"In 1780, a slave-trader, detained by contrary winds on the American
coast, and in distress, selected one hundred and thirty-two 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 law-suit, 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 as his property.
The Judges, either from shame, or a sense of justice, refused his

[Footnote E: The Abbé Grégoire's Inquiry into the Intellect and Morals
of Negroes.]

Some people speculate in what are called refuse slaves; i. e. the poor
diseased ones. Many of them die in the piazzas of the auctioneers; 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 madmen.

The public has, however, a sense of justice, which can never be entirely
perverted. Since the time when Clarkson, Wilberforce and Fox made
the horrors of the slave-trade understood, the slave-captain, or
slave-jockey, is spontaneously and almost universally regarded with
dislike and horror. Even in the slaveholding 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 profitable.

Yet even the slave-_trade_ has had it champions--of course among those
who had money invested in it. 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 penitentiaries.

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."

These 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.

[Illustration: Iron Hand-Cuffs]

[Illustration: Iron Shackles]

[Illustration: Thumb-Screw and Speculum Oris]

B represents the iron shackles by which the ancle of 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 rounds 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 persevering attempts to die. K represents the
manner of stowing in a slave-ship.

[Illustration: Stowing Slaves]

According to Clarkson's estimate, about two and a half out of a
hundred of 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 forty-three in a
hundred. In vessels that sail from Bonny, Benin, and the Calabars,
whence a large proportion of slaves are brought, this mortality is so
much increased by various causes, that eighty-six 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 slaveholders. 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 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 slaveholding 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 external 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 slaveholding states, it certainly must be of this nature.

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 fastidious.

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 pleasure.

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 these!

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

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." This forms a fine picture
of the effects of slavery upon human relations![F]

[Footnote F: 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 slaveholding 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 to 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 twenty-second of July, eighteen hundred and twenty-six, she was
confined in the stocks, and she was not released till the eighth of
August following, being 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 on 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!

In the next chapter, it will be seen that similar _misdemeanors_ are
committed with equal impunity in this country.

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 every thing 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-owners.

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 1826, 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 county of Livingston, 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 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
consume 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
superintended, 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 1811; if I be correct, it was on the 16th of
December. It was on the Sabbath."

Mr. Rankin adds, there was little probability that Mr. Lewis 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.

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 mad dog, would he
hesitate to cut off the wounded part in order to save his life?"

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 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 Indies. 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 restored.

The ladies who remove from the free States into the slaveholding
ones almost invariably write that the sight of slavery was at first
exceedingly painful; but that they soon become habituated to it; and,
after awhile, 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 wrong.

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 changed 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 babes, (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 cowskin, 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-England
visiters. 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 occurred 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 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 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 occurrence; 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 impunity?

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 unmercifully, 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 comfortably? 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 dependant 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 every where 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 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 wisely 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 man.

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 hands 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 ages?

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 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.[G] A troop
of slaves once passed through Washington on the fourth 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!"

[Footnote G: See the second volume of Stuart's "Three years in North
America." Instead of being angry at such truths, it would be wise to
profit by them.]

In the summer of 1822, a coffle of slaves, driven through Kentucky,
was met by the Rev. James H. Dickey, just before it entered Paris. He
describes it thus: "About forty black men were chained together; each of
them was hand-cuffed, 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 injury, the foremost
couple were furnished with a violin a-piece; 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 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 is a perfect storehouse 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 1816,
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 man; 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. Cooper, 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 Dr. Torrey, of Philadelphia, published
in 1817:

"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 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 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.[H]

[Footnote H: 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, cowskins 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

[Footnote I: 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 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 1808. 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!

While the slave-trade was allowed, the South could use it to advance
their views in various ways. In their representation to Congress, five
slaves counted the same as three freemen; of course, every fresh cargo
was not only an increase of property, but an increase of _political
power_. Ample time was allowed to lay in a stock of slaves to supply
the new slave states and territories that might grow up; and when this
was effected, the prohibition of foreign commerce in human flesh,
operated as a complete _tariff_, to protect the domestic supply.

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.



  "E'en from my tongue some heartfelt 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_."

  "Oh, 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

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 man; yet in these two countries 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 pre-eminence, 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 1783, and as the traffic is still carried
on by smugglers, there are, no doubt, thousands of slaves, now living in
the United States, who are actually stolen from Africa.[J]

[Footnote J: 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 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 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 time
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." Even 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 slaveholder--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 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. 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 increase
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

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 1679,
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
1682, 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 1691; 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

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. 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 purchaser," he may remain with his
family, or be separated from them for ever._

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, nor 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

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 safety._

9. _The slave is entirely unprotected in his domestic relations._

10. _The laws greatly obstruct the manumission of slaves, even where the
master is willing to enfranchise them._

11. _The operation of the laws tends to deprive slaves of religious
instruction and consolation._

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 1715, 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 lives." 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 for ever hereafter absolute
slaves, and shall follow the condition of _the mother_." 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 slaves.

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 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 twenty-four, from the twenty-fifth of March to the twenty-fifth of
September; or more than _fourteen_ hours in twenty-four hours, from the
twenty-fifth of September to the twenty-fifth 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 made."

In Louisiana it is enacted, that "the slaves shall be allowed half an
hour for breakfast, during the whole year; from the first of May to the
first of November, they shall be allowed two hours for dinner; and
from the first of November to the first of May, one hour and a half for
dinner: provided, however, that the owners, who will themselves take the
trouble 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,[K] and a pair of pantaloons for the summer, and _one_ linen shirt
and a woollen great-coat and 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
slaveholding country.

[Footnote K: This shirt is usually made of a coarse kind of bagging.]

If a negro be compelled to toil night and day, (as it is said they
sometimes are,[L] 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 ninety-nine 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 a day, beside having many holidays allowed him. In Maryland,
Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New-Jersey, the _convicts_
condemned 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, four, and five days in succession. We have no
Saturnalia here--unless we choose thus to designate a coffle of slaves,
on the fourth of July, rattling their chains to the sound of a violin,
and carrying the banner of freedom in hands loaded with irons.

[Footnote L: See Western Review, No. 2, on the Agriculture of

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 slave?

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.[M] 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!

[Footnote M: 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.]

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, 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 they 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 sold."

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 moveable estate, which
_his master chooses he should possess_."--"Slaves are incapable of
inheriting or transmitting property."--"Slaves cannot dispose of, or
receive, by donation, unless they have 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 benefit, 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 same." In North Carolina
there is a similar law; but half of 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
thirty-nine 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 acquisitions."--"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."--"In 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-Calabar,
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. Paul
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." 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." Proverbs, xvii. 2. The wealthy patriarch Abraham, before
the birth of Isaac, designed to make his head servant, Eleazer of
Damascus, his heir.

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 in
vain, and in vain directed to be observed, if there were no method of
recovering and asserting those rights, when wrongfully withheld, or

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."

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 slaveholding
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 (1827) 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 1798, runs thus: 'Whereas by another act of assembly, passed in
the year 1774, 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 offender 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[N] to his lawful owner or master, or to any slave_ DYING

[Footnote N: "It has been judicially determined that it is _justifiable_
to kill a slave, resisting, or _offering to resist_ his master by

In the laws of Tennessee and Georgia, there is a similar proviso. Where
could such a monstrous anomaly be found, save in a code of slave laws?
_Die_ of _moderate_ punishment!! Truly, this _is_ an unveiling of

"To set the matter in its proper light, it may be added that a
proclamation, of _outlawry_[O] 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!

[Footnote O: "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 assertained, nor did it appear
to have excited any inquiry."--_Stroud._]

"A pecuniary mulct was the only restraint upon the wilful murder of a
slave, from the year 1740 to 1821, 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 Carolina from the year
1740 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 slave_,]--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 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.'" Who 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

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 slaveholding 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

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_, _unprincipled_
race--always cap in hand to the Dons who employed them, and furnishing
materials for the exercise of their pride, insolence, and spirit of

The Gentoo code, the most ancient in the world, allowed a wife, a son,
a pupil, 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_

The Mosaic law was as follows: "If a man smite the eye of his servant,
or the eye of his maid, that it perish, _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."
Exodus, xxi. 26, 27.

PROP. 7.--_The slave never allowed to resist a white man._

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, _death_." 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 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 roadside, 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 for ever unknown. See
Judicial Reports.

PROP. 8.--_Slaves cannot redeem themselves or change masters._

Stroud says, "as to the right of _redemption_, this proposition holds
good in all the slaveholding States; and is equally true as it respects
the right to compel a _change of masters_, 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 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 children.

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 conduct.

PROP. 10.--_The laws obstruct emancipation._

In nearly all slaveholding States, a slave emancipated by his master's
will, may be seized and sold to satisfy _any debt_. 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 1818, by which any person, who endeavors
to enfranchise 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

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 facilities 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 twenty-one 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, he went out by himself; if he were married when he
came, his wife went with him. _Exodus_ xxi, _Deut._ xv, _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." _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

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

"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
accelerated progress, till he becomes entitled to entire manumission."

PROP. 11.--_Operation of the laws interferes with religious privileges._

No places of public worship are prepared for the negro; and churches
are so scarce in the slaveholding 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 forbids 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 twenty-five 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 twenty-five
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
slaveholding 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 Christianity must be put down; and very consistently
they began to fine and imprison Methodist missionaries, burn
chapels,[P] &c.

[Footnote P: 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 1172, 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 afterwards, 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 Commons." 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 baptized. 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." 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

Our slaveholders, 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 inventor."

PROP. 12.--_Whole power of the laws exerted to keep negroes in

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.[Q] In
Virginia, any school for teaching reading and writing, either to slaves,
or to free people of color, is considered _an unlawful assembly_, and
may accordingly be dispersed, and punishment administered upon each
pupil, not exceeding twenty lashes.

[Footnote Q: Yet it has been said that these laws are entirely owing
to the rash efforts of the abolitionists.]

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 thirty-nine 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 _twenty-seven_ crimes; slaves incur a
similar fate for _thirty-six_ crimes. In Georgia, whites are punished
capitally for _three_ crimes only; slaves for _at least nine_."

Stroud says there are _seventy-one_ 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.

"Trial by jury is utterly denied to the slave, _even in criminal
accusations which may affect his life_; in South Carolina, 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 thirty-nine lashes for the first
offence; and, according to some laws, one ear is cut off for the second

For carrying a gun, powder, shot, a club, or any weapon whatsoever,
offensive or defensive, thirty-nine lashes by order of a justice; and
in some States, twenty lashes from the nearest constable, _without_ a
conviction by the justice.

For selling any article, without a specific ticket from his master, ten
lashes by the captain of the patrollers,[R] or thirty-nine by order of
a magistrate. The same punishment for being at any assembly deemed

[Footnote R: 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.]

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 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 homicide.

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

Thirty-nine stripes for harboring a runaway slave one hour.

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

For riding on horseback, without written permission, or for keeping a
dog, twenty-five 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, nor _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 creeks, thirty-nine 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
twenty-five lashes, well laid on, and interrogate anew. If the slave's
second statement be not corroborated by the letter from the owner,
twenty-five 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's 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 wilfully 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," &c.

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 them.

PROP. 14.--_The laws operate oppressively on free colored people._

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

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_ 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 Code; but in this he is again
mistaken--the American _republics_ share the honor with England.

A law passed in December, 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 treasurer.

The free negro may entertain a slave without _knowing_ that he has done
any thing 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 often unable to pay the penalties imposed.

If any omission is made in the forms of emancipation established by law,
_any person whatsoever_ may seize the negro so manumitted, and
appropriate him to their own use.

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

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.

A New-York paper, November, 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 probably, 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 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 a witness against a white man!

It is naturally supposed that free negroes will sympathize with their
enslaved 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 every thing 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 1827. 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 1831, by
which any free colored person who undertakes to preach, or conduct
any religious meeting, by day or night, may be whipped not exceeding
thirty-nine lashes, at the discretion of _any_ justice of the peace; and
any body may apprehend any such free colored person 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 1831, 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
pamphlet, shall be punished with thirty-nine 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 thirty-nine 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 Carolina, 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 thirty-nine 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 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 storekeeper 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 every where 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 1831, Mississippi passed a law to expel all free 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 person 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 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 thirty-nine 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
seaman 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 States 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 Carolina. 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!

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

A law passed in Tennessee, in 1831, 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 _slaveholders_ cannot be had!"[S] The Southern
courts need to have a great deal of _discretion_, since so much is
trusted to it.

[Footnote S: The Common Law assigns for the trial of a foreigner, six
jurors of his own nation, and six native Englishmen.]

_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.

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

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_, _pulpit_, 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 twenty-one 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
merchandise 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.

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

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 ninety-nine 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 slaves" 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

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 parents.

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 slaves.

Free colored representatives are allowed to take their seats 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
slaveholding States, which would throw still more light on this dark

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 slaveholders 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 Staël 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 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 have?

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 countrymen still hold a
million and a half[T] 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."

[Footnote T: There are now over two million.]

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_ punishment!" 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.
Pinckney, 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 slaves."

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, 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 fourth 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 dependant 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



  Wo unto him that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and
  giveth him not for his work.--_Jeremiah_ xxii, 13.

  Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round
  Of smooth and solemnized complacences,
  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.


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 consequence 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

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
recognise 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 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 thirty-five 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 of 1832,--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
this 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 consists 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-York and Virginia both produce wheat; New-York with dear
labor is content, and Virginia with cheap labor is dissatisfied.

"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?"

During the famous debate in the Virginia Legislature, in the winter of
1832, 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 slaveholding 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 sounds 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 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
tyranically 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

"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 slaveholder
may continue to gather his _vigintial 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 slaveholder
may flourish? Shall all interest be subservient to one?--all rights
subordinate to those of the slaveholder? Has not the mechanic--have not
the middle classes their rights?--rights incompatible 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, every thing 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 meet 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 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 slaveholding
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
slaveholding 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 opinion 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 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
benefitted 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 for ever 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 maintenance; 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 of 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 slaves."

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 doubted 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

But the tolerator of slavery will say, "No doubt the system is an
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 slaveholder is that sudden freedom occasioned
the horrible 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. Domingo 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
plantations. There were 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 were 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 ninety-nine 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 to the middle of 1794. In the latter part of
1796, Malenfant says, "the colony was flourishing under Toussaint, the
whites lived happily and in peace upon their estates, and the negroes
continued to work for them." General Lecroix, who published his "Memoirs
for a History of St. Domingo" in 1819, says, that in 1797 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,[U] 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 1801 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 every thing 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 1804, Dessalines 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."

[Footnote U: Clarkson's Thoughts, p. 2.]

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
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 1793 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
Scotia, 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
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 1819 to
Sierra Leone, where they were set at liberty at once, and founded the
villages of Waterloo, Hastings, and others. Several hundred maroons,
(runaway slaves and their descendants,) being exiled from Jamaica, were
removed in 1801 to Sierra Leone, 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 1816, 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, tranquillity and
comfort, and many of them in affluence."

"During the last American war, seven hundred and seventy-four 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 1829 from Trinidad by Mr. Pownall, will show the
usefulness and respectability of these liberated negroes. 'A 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 twenty-seven 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 1827, (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 one hundred and fifty negro slaves, at different
times, succeeded in making their escape from Kentucky into Canada.
Captain Stuart, who lived in Upper Canada from 1817 to 1822, 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 the United States,
or as the natives of the country. In 1828, 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. Ravenga 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[V] 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."

[Footnote V: Walsh's Notes on Brazil, vol. ii. page 365.]

"Mr. Koster, an Englishman living in Brazil, confirms Mr. Walsh's
statement.[W] '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.'"

[Footnote W: Amelioration of Slavery, published in No. 16 of the

"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 Commons, in 1826, give satisfactory
information: they include a period of five years from January 1, 1821,
to December 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
ninety-eight, 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 to about six
hundred, the free black and colored to nine hundred. In 1822, 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 fifty-one, that of colored pensioners
twenty-six. 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 1825, to
amount to three thousand one hundred and twenty-two. During the five
years ending in November, 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, exhibit the average number
of white paupers to be two hundred ninety-five, of black and colored
paupers, one hundred and forty-eight; 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 twenty-five; that of the other
class, two; being in the proportion of twenty-eight 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 1825 the free black and colored population amounted to
six hundred and seven. The whites are estimated at about three hundred.
The number of white paupers relieved appears to be twenty-nine: of the
other class, four: being in the 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
twenty-nine persons have received any relief whatever as paupers during
the years 1821, to 1825; and these chiefly the concubines and children
of destitute whites; while of about sixty-five thousand whites, in the
same time, sixteen hundred and seventy-five 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 1823, 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 1824, 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.' The 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

"In the orders issued in 1829, 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 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 Hope, 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 the 9th 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

"_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 plea 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 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, September 15, 1829, the following decree was issued; "Slavery
is for ever abolished in the republic; and consequently all those
individuals, who, until 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
exchange 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

A Vermont gentleman, who had been a slaveholder in Mississippi, and
afterward resident at Matamoras, 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, Guatemala
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
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 pre-eminence.

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 has obtained from Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, and Denmark, a
mutual right to search all vessels suspected of being engaged in this
wicked traffic.[X] I believe I am correct in saying that ours is now the
_only_ flag, which can protect 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 co-operation 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."[Y]

[Footnote X: The British Government actually paid Spain four hundred
thousand pounds, as an indemnity to those engaged in the slave trade,
on condition that the traffic should be abolished by law throughout her

[Footnote Y: Speech of Mr. Brodnax, 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--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 powerful 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?

In those countries where the slaves 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
slaveholder; 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.[Z]
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 experiment.

[Footnote Z: 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

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 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

That strong-hearted republican, La Fayette, when he returned to
France in 1785, 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. 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 every thing 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 one who had treated
them like men, and cheered their toil by making it a certain means of

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 of 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 inalienable 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 Brown is a

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. Wealth or pleasure
often induces men to change their abode; an 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 slaveholders 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?" Let 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 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 the 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 slaveholders _only_? Have the negroes no 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-owners, as a body, have resolutely shut their eyes against the
light, because they preferred darkness. Every change in the laws has
riveted 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 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 again.

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
1832. 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 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-owners 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 mares_." 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 gentleman's slave, any sooner
than I would a hair in the _mane of his horse_."

Mr. Roane 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 alone_
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!

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 1825, Mr. King 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 Troup called to the Legislature and people of Georgia, to
"stand to their arms." In 1827, the people of Baltimore presented a
memorial to Congress, praying that slaves born in the District of
Columbia after a given time, specified by law, might become free on
arriving at a certain age. A famous member from South Carolina 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 had 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."

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 Legislature; the occurrence
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



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

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


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 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 slaveholding, to the free, or slightly
slaveholding States. The two questions of slave representation with a
proportional increase of direct taxes, 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 already
acquainted with the serpent, would be able to discover its sting.

Governor Wright, of Maryland, a contemporary of all these transactions,
and a slaveholder, after delivering a eulogy upon the kindness of
masters[AA] expressed himself as follows: "The Constitution guaranties
to us the services of these persons. It does not say _slaves_; for the
feelings of the framers of that glorious instrument would not suffer
them to use _that_ word, on account of its anti-congeniality--its
incongeniality to the idea of a constitution for freemen. It says,
'_persons held to service, or labor_.'"--_Governor Wright's Speech in
Congress, March, 1822._

[Footnote AA: 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

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 hypocrite_."

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 member 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

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 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, he said, would ever arise on that
point; the question would always be between the slaveholding and
non-slaveholding 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 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 oppression.

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 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, February 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[AB] 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 affected, 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_."

[Footnote AB: There are now twenty-five _odd_ representatives--that is,
representatives of slaves.]

"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 slaveholding 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 slaveholding 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 nation
the slaveholding policy. The 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 slaveholding votes, bestowed upon
citizens of two adjoining and both slaveholding States. At this moment
the President of the United States, the President of the Senate, the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the
United States, 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 slaveholding
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 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 skill to carry her point. Of all our
Presidents, Washington alone had power to keep the jealousies of his
countrymen in check; and he used his influence nobly. Some of his
successors have cherished those jealousies, and made effective use of

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 any thing 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
every thing, (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-York 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 North.

A striking difference of manners, also caused by slavery, serves to
aggravate other differences. Slaveholders 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.

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 any thing else, involving the
prosperity of the free States.[AC]

[Footnote AC: The Hon. W. B. Seabrook, a southern gentleman, has lately
written a pamphlet on the management of slaves, in which he says: "An
addition of one million dollars to the private fortune of Daniel
Webster, would not give to Massachusetts more than she now possesses
in the federal councils. On the other hand, every increase of slave
property in South Carolina, is a fraction thrown into the scale, by
which her representation in _Congress_ is determined."]

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 their passions, and increase their 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 any thing but the union of these 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 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

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 degradation, 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.

Browbeating, 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
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 _twenty-five_ 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.[AD] 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?

[Footnote AD: 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.]

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

Whatever may be thought of the justice and expediency of the last war,
it was certainly undertaken against 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 awhile 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 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
embarrasments, 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 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 shopkeepers and pedlers?"[AE] 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 1816 by Southern
politicians, and enlarged and confirmed by them in 1824. 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

[Footnote AE: Mr. Jefferson's description of New-England.]

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 cecession from the Union, in case the laws were enforced by any
other means, than through the judicial tribunals.

"It is not a little extraordinary that this new pretention 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-slaveholding State, should proceed from that very complaint that
she bears an unequal proportion of duties of imposts, which, by the
constitution of the United States, 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 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 twenty-five 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 slaveholding interest is very strong--while in the latter, it is
scarcely any thing. The result is, warfare, and continual complaints,
and threats of separation. There are 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 slaveholding 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 for them to
venture upon that untried state of being. In one respect only, are these
threats of any consequence--they 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
every-day occurrence, 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
slaveholding 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 States."

The admission of Missouri into the Union is another clear illustration
of the slaveholding 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, 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. Taylor's 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 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 Jackson, from the
conviction that a slave-owner would support the slaveholding 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 landholders, 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 slaveholding 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.



                      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.


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, "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 slaveholder, 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 slaveholder, 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 co-operate. 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

In almost every address delivered before the Society, similar
expressions occur. On the propriety of discussing the evils of slavery,
without bitterness and without 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 March, 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
very inconvenient numbers; 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 _dis_simulated
form would have been the better expression.

If we may believe slave-owners, the whole system, from beginning to end,
is a matter of mercy. They have described the Middle Passage, with its
gags, fetters, and thumb-screws, as "the happiest period of a negro's
life;" 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 India 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; but if by political 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 say 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 have been abroad, declare that nothing embarrassed
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

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 as 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 _necessity_." 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 quarrelling 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 responsibilities,--which, in the economy of
Providence, are always co-extensive 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
_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 States 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 three million five hundred thousand 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 shores?

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.

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 Luminary, 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 negroes
increased by the departure of ours_."

If the value of slaves is kept up, it will 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 water 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 again.

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 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 south-western States as slaves._ 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 gentleman show us how from _twelve thousand to
twenty thousand_ can be _annually_ carried to Liberia?"

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-trade_, 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 ties_, 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 country than England is ours,[AF]--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."

[Footnote AF: At the close of the last war, General Jackson issued
a proclamation to the colored people of the South, in which he says:
"I knew 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."]

In the Virginia debate of 1832, 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 co-operate 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 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 sunbeams! 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 pre-eminence, 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 them?" 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 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 means 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 any thing that depends on
the pride and selfishness of unregenerated human nature.

Perhaps, a hundred years hence, some negro Rothschild may come from
Hayti, with his seventy _million_ of pounds, 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 any thing so very 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 Society 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 Society 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 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 Providence_, and no more to be changed than the
laws of Nature!"--_Last Annual Report of American Colonization Society._

"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 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."--_African Repository_, 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 act 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 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. Saunders, I forgot to ask if you had
breakfasted." "I 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 Fayette, 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 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.
Every body knows how much the Africans were amused at the sight of Mungo
Park, 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 any thing 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
more 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 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 shiploads 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

"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, '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
themselves.'"--_African Repository_, vol. ii, p. 328.

"'A horde of miserable people--the objects of universal
suspicion--subsisting by plunder.'"--_C. F. Mercer._

"'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
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

When I heard of the Education Society, I did hope to find one instance
of _sincere_, _thorough disinterested_ good-will for the blacks. But in
the constitution 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 insist 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.

The Anti-Slavery Society was formed in January, 1832. 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 evening,
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 belts;" 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 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

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. Child," 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,"
rejoined 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 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 occurred during this conversation.

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, tumbling 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 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 any thing we
are accustomed to see bestowed upon cattle.

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 of 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 agree 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 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 the subject 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 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 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

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 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

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 restrain."

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 any danger in the discussion, _our_ silence
cannot arrest it; for the whole world is talking and writing about it.
A good deal of commotion has been excited in the South because some
mustard has arrived there, packed in English newspapers, containing
Parliamentary speeches against slavery;--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 _thirty-five years_ to
obtain the abolition of the slave _trade_. But their progress, though
slow and difficult, has been certain. The slaves are now emancipated in
every British colony; and in effecting this happy change, not one drop
of blood has been spilt, nor any property destroyed, except two sheds,
called _trash houses_, which were set on fire by some unknown hand.

In Antigua and Bermuda, emancipation was unqualified; that is, the
slaves at once received the stimulus of wages. In those Islands, there
has not been the slightest difficulty. In the other colonies, the slaves
were made apprentices, and obliged to work five years more, before they
received their freedom, and magistrates decided what proportion of
time should be employed for their own benefit. The planters had been
so violent in opposition to abolition, and had prophesied such terrible
disasters resulting from it, that they felt some anxiety to have their
prophecies fulfilled. The abolition act, by some oversight, did not
stipulate that while the apprentices worked without wages, they should
have all the privileges to which they had been accustomed as slaves. It
had been a universal practice for one slave to cook for all the rest,
so that their food was ready the moment they left the field; and aged
female slaves tended the little children, while their mothers were at
work. The planters changed this. Every slave was obliged to go to his
cabin, whether distant or near, and cook his own dinner; and the time
thus lost must be made up to the masters from the hours set apart for
the benefit of the apprentices. The aged slaves were likewise sent into
the field to work, while mothers were obliged to toil with infants
strapped at their backs.

Under these circumstances, the apprentices very naturally refused to
work. They said, "We are worse off than when we were slaves; for they
have taken away privileges to which we were accustomed in bondage,
without paying us the wages of freemen." Still under all these
provocations, they offered merely _passive_ resistance. The worst
enemies of the cause have not been able to discover that a single life
has been lost in the West Indies, or a single plantation destroyed in
consequence of emancipation! It is a lamentable proof of the corrupt
state of the American press, on the subject of slavery, that the
irritating conduct of the West Indian planters has been passed over
in total silence, while every effort has been made to represent the
_passive_ resistance of the apprentices as some great "raw-head and
bloody-bones story."

While the good work was in progress in England, it was for a long time
called by every odious name. 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 1816, 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 change.

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 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
to 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 Dymond, who was
a member of the Society of Friends, in England; it is entitled "Essays
on the Principles of Morality"--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."



  "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 beings--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, 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

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

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?

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

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, 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 blacks.

"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 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 horseshoe; and rude as this was, none of
their neighbors possessed any thing similar. The women were handsome,
intelligent and lively."

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 watchmakers
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 tribunals.

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 discussions in Africa, called _palavers_, 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

"In these extemporary 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."[AG]

[Footnote AG: 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 1582. Like other despotic princes, her character 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 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 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 power."

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 priests, by numerous artifices, 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
seventy-five 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 1657, 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 1658, 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

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 twenty-five. She died in
1663, aged eighty-two. 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.[AH]

[Footnote AH: See Biographie Universelle.]

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 1730, 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 1734. 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, 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 1765, a negro in England was ordained by Doctor Keppell, bishop of
Exeter. In Prevot's General History of Voyages, there is an account of
a black bishop who studied at Rome.

_Antonio Perrura Reboucas_, 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 1637, 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 Diaz!" 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.

_Antony William Amo_, born in Guinea, was brought to Europe when very
young. The Princess of Brunswick, Wolfenbuttel, defrayed the expenses of
his education. He pursued his studies at Halle and at Wittenberg, and
so distinguished himself by his character and abilities, that the Rector
and Council of Wittenberg 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 church 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 Geoffroy_, 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 exchangeable 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 1788, at the age of twenty-one, he became the most distinguished
physician in that city, and was able to talk with French, Spanish, and
English, in their own languages. Doctor Rush says, "I conversed with
him on medicine, and found him very learned. I thought I could give
him information 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
years." These facts are mentioned in a letter from Doctor Rush,
published in the fifth volume of the American Museum.

In 1788, _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 Vasa, 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 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 _naive_ 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 probable
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 servant,
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 drink.

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 1789, 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

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 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 earnings.

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 defects.

_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 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 1761. 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 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 Wheatly
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 1775; 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. This is said to
have produced unhappiness between her and her husband. She died in 1780.

Mr. Wilberforce, (on whom may the blessing of God rest for ever!) aided
by several benevolent individuals, established a seminary for colored
people at Clapham, a few leagues from London. The first scholars were
twenty-one young negroes, sent by the Governor of Sierra Leone. The Abbé
Grégoire says, "I visited this establishment in 1802, 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

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."[AI]

[Footnote AI: In a beautiful little volume called Mary's Journey, by
Francis Graeter.]

Among Bonaparte's officers there was a mulatto General of Division,
named Alexander Dumas. In the army of the Alps, with charged bayonet, he
ascended St. Bernard, defended by a number of redoubts, took possession
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 1807.

Between 1620 and 1630, some fugitive negroes, united with some
Brazilians, formed two free states in South America, called the Great
and Little Palmares; so named on account of the abundance of palm trees.
The Great Palmares was nearly destroyed by the Hollanders, in 1644; 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 people.

They fortified their principal towns, cultivated their gardens and
fields, and reared domestic animals. They lived in prosperity and peace,
until 1696, 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 race.

In the seventeenth 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 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
for ever 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 absolutely 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
slaveholders, 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 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 1745, 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 1791, 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 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 1797, 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 Maitland for the evacuation of
the island by the British. From 1798 until 1801, 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 fidelity 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,
against 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 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 1802-1803; and his death, which happened in April, 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 L'Ouverture 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 husband."

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 Toussaint 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 L'Ouverture:

  "Toussaint, thou most unhappy man of men!
  Whether the whistling rustic tends his plough
  Within thy hearing, or thou liest now
  Buried in some deep dungeon's earless den;--
  Oh, 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 hast 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

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 statesmen--Americans may well blush
at its _consistent_ republicanism.

The enemies of true freedom were very ready to predict that the
government 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 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 encounter.

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 for ever, 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,
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 globe, 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 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

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. Dupuis, 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 destroy every
spring of exertion, or hope in their minds. They appear indifferent to
every thing around them; abject, servile, and brutish."

Lieutenant Hall, in his Travels in the United States, 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 were 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 neck and legs, and moved with loads thus encumbered. Some
followed each other in ranks, with heavy weights on their heads,
chattering in 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, 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

"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 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 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 time' 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 burden 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 bearing of a white man similarly
placed. As a 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 honorable 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 pre-eminence
over others, on the fair and 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 Herodotus, 'surpass all other
men in longevity, stature, and personal beauty.'"

Then let the slaveholder 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 a one, _he_ may consistently vindicate our treatment of the



  "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 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 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. Park's 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 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.


      "Let us pity the white man;
      No mother has he to bring him milk,
      No wife to grind his corn."

[Illustration: Engraving]

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;
  And ah, no wife or mother's care,
  For him the milk or corn prepare.


      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.


      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 a 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 every thing restored to you--I have sworn it."
Then, turning 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."
He 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 season;
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 earthern 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 every thing 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. Park having travelled in company with a coffle
of thirty-five slaves, thus 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 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.[AJ] Such, on sober reflection, is the
judgment I have formed concerning the pilfering disposition of the
Mandingo negroes toward me.

[Footnote AJ: 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?]

"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 thirsty, 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 those of their own nation and neighborhood. Maternal affection,
neither suppressed by the restraints, nor diverted by the solicitudes of
civilized life, is every where 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 universally."

"I perceived, with great satisfaction, that the maternal solicitude
extended not only to the 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
a 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 1754, 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

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 colors shared his kindness. He
gave to the needy, lent without hope of return, visited prisoners, and
endeavored to reform the guilty. He died in 1758. The philanthropists
of England speak of him with the utmost respect.

Jasmin Thoumazeau was born in Africa, 1714, and sold at St. Domingo,
1736. Having obtained his freedom, he returned to his native country,
and married a negro girl of the Gold Coast. In 1756, 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 1774.

Benoit of Palermo, 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 præclarisimus 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 1589, where
his tomb and memory are much revered. A few years ago, it was 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 is 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 stall.

"Many of them were lying stretched on the bare boards; and among the
rest, mothers with young children at their breasts, 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 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 Carolina 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 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 any thing 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 choose 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.[AK]

[Footnote AK: 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

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 suddenly 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 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 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 connection, 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 behavior 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 any thing but gaze, and still to gaze, on
the object of his long affection, soon to cross the blue waves for ever
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 for ever 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 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 pity 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, December, 1815. A negro woman, with her two children, was
sold near Bladensburg, 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 wouldn't let me see my husband; and
I didn't want to go. I was so distracted that I didn't know what I was
about: but I didn'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 cases, 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?

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

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 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 planters."

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 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 slaveholding 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 very slight
circumstantial evidence were condemned to be shot; but the real actors
in 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 nothing: the negro on the contrary, is
suffering all that oppression _can_ make human nature suffer. Why do we
execrate 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 India 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.



  "A negro has a _soul_, an' please your honor," said the Corporal,

  "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 Corporal.

  "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 excellent Society of Friends, the _form_ of slavery
does not exist among us; but the very _spirit_ of the hateful and
mischievous thing is here in 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 prejudice
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 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 for ever, 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

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, 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 slaveholding States exert their influence against _immoral_

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
degree 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 of exemplary
constancy and great propriety of deportment.

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 Massachusetts law, which an enlightened community
would not probably suffer to be carried into execution under any
circumstances; but it still remains 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
Common Pleas, 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, _toties quoties_." Stat. 1788, 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 letter.

There is among the colored people an increasing desire for information,
and 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 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 schoolmaster 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; 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 was said, in excuse, that Canterbury would be inundated with vicious
characters, who would corrupt the morals of the young men; that such a
school would break down the distinctions between black and white; and
that marriages between people of different colors would be the probable
result. Yet they assumed 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 appealed to the
Colonization Society, as an aggrieved child is wont to appeal to its

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 season.

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 Egypt.

I do not know how the affair at Canterbury is _generally_ considered:
but I have heard individuals of all parties 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
Middletown, 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 neighbors
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 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 country.

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

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.

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 instructer
intimated that the pupils were not expected to appear on the Common. The
reason given was because "their numbers were so few;" but in private
conversation, fears were expressed lest their sable faces should give
offence to our slaveholding President. In all probability the sight of
the colored children would have been agreeable to General Jackson, and
seemed more like home, than any thing he witnessed.

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

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 purchased." 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 it 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!" I more than once heard the
hero repeat this story; and he seemed to take peculiar satisfaction in
telling it. Had he been less ignorant, he would not have chosen "son of
an _Ethiopian_" 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 was 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 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, and 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 accommodations 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, a 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 Philip 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 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
favored." 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 remember 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. To fear a populace
is as servile as to fear an emperor. The only salutary restraint is the
fear of doing wrong.

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 strength," 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
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 Island 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

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 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 become 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 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
subject,"--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 mildest 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. Garrison
has certainly the merit of having first called public attention to a
neglected and very important subject.[AL] 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.

[Footnote AL: This remark is not intended to indicate want of respect
for the early exertions of the Friends, in their numerous manumission
societies; or for the efforts of that staunch, fearless, self-sacrificing
friend of freedom--Benjamin Lundy; but Mr. Garrison was the first that
boldly attacked slavery as a sin, and Colonization as its twin sister.]

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
slaveholding 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 sicken the 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
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 any thing 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 slaveholding 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
slaveholders 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 demand 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.

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 for ever 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

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 1808.

The strongest and best reason that can be given for our supineness on
the subject of slavery, is the fear of dissolving the Union. The
Constitution of the United States 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 neighborhood.

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 any thing 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 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 for ever in the stocks," 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 other.

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

The Friends,--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 1688, many individuals
urged the incompatibility of slavery and Christianity; and their zeal
continued until, in 1776, 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.

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 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 feeling--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."

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 thousands_ 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 government 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. Adams 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." Nevertheless, 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 worldly considerations should never stifle the
voice of conscience.



  Adams, John, 109

  Adams, J. Quincy, 109

  Africa benighted by Slavery, 9

  African Repository, Extracts from, 123, 133, 137

  African Individuals of distinction, 157 to 167

  Amalgamation, 132, 200

  Ancient and Modern Slavery compared, 38

  Anti-Slavery Society, 142

  Appleton, Mr. 78

  Baptism supposed to confer freedom, 58

  Bible opposed to slavery, 32

  Blood-hounds, 27

  Brown, Moses, 98

  Brodnax, Mr. 79

  Capt. Riley, 73

  Charles 5th, refused to sanction the slave-trade, 8

  Child follows the condition of its mother, 40

  Christianity abolished slavery, 58

  Clay, Henry, 77, 136

  Clothing of Slaves, 44

  Code Noir, 46, 49, 54

  Colonization, 123

  Cruelties to Slaves, 17, 24, 26, 28

  Devonshire, Duchess of, 215

  Democracy of the North, 112

  District of Columbia, 216

  Duelling, 113

  Dymond, Jonathan, 147

  Eastern and Western Virginia, 119

  Effect of Slavery on the Masters, 22

  Egyptians, 149

  Elizabeth of England tolerated the trade, 8

  Emancipation safe, 87

  English formerly sold to Irish, 58

  Entailed upon us by England, 75

  Ethiopians, 149

  Everett, Alexander H. 176

  Evidence of colored persons not admitted, 45, 48

  Faulkner, Mr. 79

  Female slaves unprotected, 23

  Fierceness and pride induced by Slavery, 113

  Food of Slaves, 44

  French planter's ideas of religion for Slaves, 58

  Free Labor, 76

  Garrison, Mr. 209

  Gentoo Code, 52

  Gholson, Mr. 102

  Grecian Slavery, 47, 53, 54, 56

  Happiness of Slaves, 140

  Hayne, Mr. 103

  Hayti, 86, 121

  Hebrews, 48, 52, 55

  Helots, 47

  Humanity of masters, how far a protection, 72

  Indian treatment of Slaves, 46

  Inequality of laws for offences, 60

  Insurrections, 194

  Intellect of Africans, 151, 170

  Internal slave-trade, 33

  Interest to treat slaves well, 30

  Jefferson, Thomas, 22

  Kenrick, John, 215

  Kidnapping, 34, 65

  Labor compulsory and uncompensated, 41

  Lafayette, 97

  Laws regulating labor, 43, 44

  Laws obstruct emancipation, 54

  Laws to perpetuate ignorance, 59, 67, 70

  Laws against Free Colored People, 63

  Louis 13th, 8

  Marriages, laws concerning, 196

  Martineau, Harriet, 83

  Masters have absolute power to punish, 49

  Miller, Gov. of S. Carolina, 103

  Missouri Question, 120

  Moral Character of Africans, 177

  Moss, Mary and Helen, 24

  New-England kept in check by jealousy of the Slave States, 114

  North and South, 31

  Ohio and Kentucky, 86

  Offences punished in Slaves, 61

  Park, Mungo, 177

  Pauperism, comparative in West Indies, 90

  Petitions, 216

  Pinckney, Charles, 108

  Political power of Slave States, 111

  Portuguese, 7, 48, 54

  Prejudice against color almost unknown in other countries, 135, 208

  Prejudice cherished by Colonization, 133

  Prejudice, instances of, 198 to 209

  Quakers, 213

  Religious privileges of Slaves, 57

  Roane, Mr. 139

  Roman Slaves, 47, 54, 55

  Runaways, 62, 71

  Sectional dislike, 121

  Slave Trade, beginning of, 7

  Slave Ship, description of, 12

  Slave Trade, cruelties of, 17

  Slave Trade defended in House of Commons, 19

  Slave Trade sanctioned by Constitution of the United States for
      twenty years, 36

  Slave cut in pieces, 26

  Slave Codes, different degrees of mildness, 39

  Slavery, hereditary and perpetual, 42

  Slaves cannot own property, 46, 71

  Slaves considered as chattels, 45

  Slaves in Africa, 48

  Slaves never allowed to resist, 52

  Slaves in U. S. cannot redeem themselves, 53

  Slaves unprotected in domestic relations, 54

  Slave Representation, 105

  Slavery veiled in the Constitution, 106

  Son, who murdered his father to obtain freedom, 23

  Southerners do not desire the abolition of Slavery, 100

  Southerner, conversation with, 139

  Spanish Slaves, 7, 48, 54, 56

  St. Domingo, 86

  Sutcliff's Travels, 81

  Toussaint L'Ouverture, 166

  Turkey, 56

  Union, 119

  Washington's Slaves, 96

  Washington had doubts, 107

  Wirt, William, 102

  Wright, Gov. of Maryland, 106

  Zhinga, 154

Transcriber's Note

This ebook retains the spelling variations and inconsistencies of the
original document. Where corrections to quotation marks seemed necessary,
changes were made, as detailed below. However, quotation-mark usage in
this text is variable. Some quoted passages have end-quotes after each
paragraph; some after only the final paragraph quoted. This style matches
that of the original document published in 1836.

The following typographical corrections have been made to this text:

  Title Page: Added missing quotation marks (Our brethren!")

  P. 7: Added missing end punctuation (Wordsworth.)

  P. 9: Changed igenuity to ingenuity (excite industry and ingenuity)
        Changed diastrous to disastrous (have been most disastrous)
        Changed intercouse to intercourse (intercourse with Europeans)

  P. 10: Added missing end punctuation (spears of the enemy.)

  P. 12: Changed 'two' to 'too' (becomes almost too harrowing)

  P. 14: Added missing quotation marks ("The officers insisted)
         Changed kness to knees (against our knees)

  P. 16: Changed stong to strong (a very strong party)
         Changed consequnce to consequence (consequence of the severe)
         Added missing quotation marks (old candle-boxes.")

  P. 23: Changed consience to conscience (a matter of conscience)

  P. 26: Changed Jeferson's to Jefferson's (the son of Jefferson's)

  P. 33: Added missing quotation marks (for safe-keeping.")

  P. 46: Added missing quotation marks ("All that a slave)

  P. 51: Added missing comma (his or her master, mistress)

  P. 60: Added missing quotation marks (_at least nine_.")

  P. 85: A set of quotation marks appears omitted but it was not
         possible to determine where they were to have been added.

  P. 99: Changed agreeaable to agreeable (an agreeable novelty)

  P. 137: Changed 'them-themselves' to 'themselves' (pledge themselves)
           Removed stray quotation marks (their _qualifications_?)

  P. 145: Removed duplicate word 'been' (to have been the meekest)

  P. 146: Changed opnion to opinion (influences public opinion)

  P. 157: Added missing end punctuation (in the year 1734.)

  P. 159: Changed Geoffrroy to Geoffroy (Lislet Geoffroy)

  P. 183: Added missing punctuation (to negro property; what would)

  P. 192: Added missing quotation marks ("among one hundred)

  P. 195: Added missing quotation marks (your honor," said the Corporal)

  P. 211: Changed 'to' to 'too' (too much respect)

  P. 216: Changed onr to our (an allusion to our)

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