By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: American Slave Trade - or, An Account of the Manner in which the Slave Dealers - take Free People from some of the United States of America, - and carry them away, and sell them as Slaves in other of - the States; and of the horrible Cruelties  practised in - the carrying on of this most infamous Traffic
Author: Torrey, Jesse
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Slave Trade - or, An Account of the Manner in which the Slave Dealers - take Free People from some of the United States of America, - and carry them away, and sell them as Slaves in other of - the States; and of the horrible Cruelties  practised in - the carrying on of this most infamous Traffic" ***


[Illustration: Paragraph 46.

View of the Capitol of the United States, after the Conflagration in



  An Account of the Manner in which the Slave Dealers
  take Free People from some of the United States of
  America, and carry them away, and sell them as Slaves
  in other of the States; and of the horrible Cruelties
  practised in the carrying on of this most infamous


  REFLECTIONS on the Project for forming a Colony of
  American Blacks in Africa, and certain Documents
  respecting that Project.

  _By JESSE TORREY, Jun. Physician._






     "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in
     his hand, shall surely be put to death."

      _Exodus xxi. 16._

1. Throughout this work I have numbered the _paragraphs_, a practice
which I find to be attended with numerous advantages. The work was
published in Philadelphia in 1817.

2. The reader will perceive, that Mr. TORREY, the author of the work
here presented to the public, has mixed his reflections with his
narrative of facts. A different arrangement would have tended to
clearness. But, as applicable to the English reader, there is a defect
of greater importance; namely, the want of a description of the relative
extent and situation of the Countries or States, in which this
abominable slave trade is carried on. The author speaks of the _Middle
States_, and the _Southern States_. He speaks of _Maryland_, of
_Delaware_; and, then again, of _Georgia_, _Carolina_, _Mississippi_;
but the English reader ought to be told, and have pretty clearly
explained to him, how these several Countries lie with regard to each
other; and, that he may judge of the magnitude of the evil, he ought to
be informed over how large a part of the whole of the United States
Slavery does actually extend. He ought further to be informed of the
nature of the Governments, and of the laws, as far as these latter
relate to Slavery. For, he must otherwise naturally be astonished to
find that this dreadful traffic is carried on with impunity. He hears
Mr. TORREY talk of Judges, Senators, Governors, Presidents, speaking
against this traffic; and yet he finds it most vigorously carried on;
and actually making a part of the internal trade of the Country; at
which he is utterly astounded, so often hearing the _virtues_ of
Republicans sounded in his ears, and being informed that Mr. JEREMY
BENTHAM is actually engaged, at this moment, in the Southern Peninsula
of Europe, to teach the art of Constitution-making upon the American
plan. The book stands, therefore, in need of a Preface to explain these
matters a little; and such Preface I am now doing myself the honour to

3. For want of a map, I must resort to a description by words. The
States lie in the following order, along the side of the Atlantic from
North to South, _Maine_, _New Hampshire_, _Massachusetts_, _Rhode
Island_, _Connecticut_. The four latter are called the New England
States, _Maine_ being a new territory or State lying to the North and
going on to the British territory of _New Brunswick_. After Connecticut,
going on to the Southward, come _New York_, _New Jersey_,
_Pennsylvania_, _Delaware_ and _Maryland_. These five are called the
_Middle States_. Then come, on to the Southward, _Virginia_, _North
Carolina_, _South Carolina_, _Georgia_ and the _Floridas_. These are
called the Southern States. Then, going back to the North again,
_Vermont_ lies in at the back of the four New England States, on the
western side of a long ridge of mountains. At the back of Pennsylvania
are the States of _Ohio_, _Indiana_, and the district of the ill-fated
creatures that have followed Mr. BIRKBECK, called the _Illinois_. At the
back of _Virginia_ is _Kentucky_, at the back of North Carolina is
_Tennessee_, at the back of _South Carolina_ and Georgia and _Florida_
are _Alabama_, _Mississippi_ and _Louisiana_. Some of these are not yet
recognised as independent States. Now then, all to the South of
_Maryland_, front and back, containing ten States, and, I believe,
_Indiana_ into the bargain. However, all to the South of _Maryland_ is
real unmodified, unmitigated, unrestrained Slavery; and this is that
part of the United States which produces tobacco, cotton, sugar, and
rice. This is the rich part of the United States; twice as extensive as
all the rest; continually growing in population and cultivation; and, as
Mr. TORREY observes, containing a larger portion of personal slavery,
than any other part of the globe.

4. So much for the _Geography_ of the subject. Now, as to the
_Governments_, this is the state of the case. The _United States_ (with
the exception of a small spot to be mentioned by and by) extend from
Canada and New Brunswick, which lie to the North, to the Gulf of Mexico
on the South, seeing that the Floridas are now to make part of this
territory. They extend to the west, from the Atlantic Ocean to the
Pacific Ocean. Great part of this western territory is, as yet, wholly
uninhabited by white people. But, the Country is inhabited more or less
thickly from the North to the South on the side of the Atlantic, and the
space between the utmost points is about seventeen hundred miles. This
territory is divided into _States_, each of which is independent of all
the rest. Each has its Chief Magistrate, its Legislature, its Judiciary,
and its own Code of Laws. It raises its own internal taxes; has its own
Militia; and is, in fact, an independent State, with the following
exceptions; namely, that it has nothing to do, and can have no
particular connexion, with any Foreign Nation; can make no laws with
regard to external commerce; can make neither peace nor war; and is
bound to join the other States in case of war or peace. These matters
are all left to the _Congress_, which is composed of a President, a
Senate, and a House of Representatives. This body manages the affairs of
the whole Country as far as relates to peace and war, and as far as
relates to external Commerce, and to all connexions with Foreign

5. So that the Congress can make no Law touching the internal economy
and jurisdiction of any of the States, each of which, may pass what laws
it pleases, so that those laws do not contravene the common compact,
contained in the document, or, act of Congress, usually denominated the
_Constitution of the United States_. Now, that compact does by no means
prohibit the existence of Slavery; but, on the contrary, _expressly
recognises its legality_; and this was one of the _conditions_, upon
which the Union was founded.

6. As to the several States, Slavery did exist in all, except, perhaps,
_Indiana_ and _Ohio_; and, I believe, there also. I mean that it existed
without any _modification by law_. That is to say, Slaves and the
children of Slaves were as much a white man's property as horses and the
young ones of horses. In _Maryland_ (we are now going towards the North)
there is now a mitigation of some sort; also in _Delaware_,
_Pennsylvania_, _New Jersey_, _New York_, _Vermont_, and the _New
England_, States. I do not know whether an _absolute abolition_ has
taken place in any State; though I believe it has. In the State of _New
York_ the law made all free that were born after a certain period; and
after another certain period, those born slaves were to become free. I
cannot take upon me to say exactly how the thing stands with regard to
these States; but I believe, that if you bring your slave into a State
with you, he does not become free by that act of yours; and that, if he
escape from you and go into one of these States, he may be lawfully
seized as a slave and taken away. _Delaware_ State and _Maryland_, which
lie to the South of _Pennsylvania_ and join on to _Virginia_, appear, as
the reader will find, to be the principal theatre of the Slave Trade,
though, as will be seen, the villains who carry on the traffic have the
audacity to carry it on even in the City of _Philadelphia_.

7. So much for the States. Now, which is very material to observe, the
_Congress_, that is to say, the _Government of the Union_, has had
allotted to it a _territorial jurisdiction_, exclusive of all the
States. This spot is on the _Potomac River_, which divides _Maryland_
from _Virginia_. The territory thus allotted is a piece of land ten
miles square, in the centre of which is the City of Washington. Now, we
shall find this spot to be the very focus of the Slave Trade. The reader
will see, in paragraph 46. an account of a drove of chained Negroes
marching under the _Capitol_ of this very City; and Mr. TORREY gives an
account of Members of Congress standing at the threshold of the
building, viewing, on their march by, a troop of manacled slaves, one of
whom raised up his manacled hands towards the building, while he sang,
what Mr. TORREY calls the favourite National Song, "_Hail Columbia,
happy Land! Hail the freest of the free!_" This spot is called the
_district of Columbia_; and on this spot, Mr. TORREY tells us Slaves
were employed when he was there, to re-erect the building burned down by
the British. Yea, Slaves employed to raise up the magnificent Temple of

8. With this sketch before him, the reader will enter on this public
spirited, humane, and highly meritorious gentleman's book with a
tolerable chance of pretty clearly understanding the state of the matter
as a whole. The book will Speak for itself; and it will have this
effect, amongst others, as far as it go, namely, to convince us, that we
ought not to be incessantly railing against West India Slave Holders,
while we see Slavery existing to such an extent, and the Slave Trade
carried on with such shocking cruelty, in a Country which, throughout
the world is famed for its _freedom_. There are acts recorded in this
book; acts committed with perfect impunity; that West India Slave
Holders would be put to death for attempting; a fact which, amongst
thousands of others that might be cited, proves, that there is no
tyranny equal to that, which is practised under the names and forms of

9. The Congress of America have passed a resolution to authorize their
Ambassador to negociate with our Government for the sending out of a
joint squadron of Observation to the coast of Africa, to prevent a
violation of the treaties relative to the Slave Trade. I trust that our
government will not tax the blood and bones of Englishmen for any such
purpose, while Negroes, free as well as enslaved, can be killed with
impunity in the United States, and while a trade in the bodies of slaves
actually forms a part of the internal commerce of that Country, the
magazines of which commerce are in the very spot where the Congress
holds its sittings.

10. I do not bring any accusation against the people of the United
States generally, and particularly to the North of Maryland. It has
required great virtue and self denial to do what has been done in the
middle and Northern States, in order to get rid of this stain upon the
Country. In the parts where I have lived, and where there is any thing
of Slavery remaining, I have always observed great gentleness and
goodness in the owners towards their slaves, whom they treat with great
kindness and care, and whom they feed and clothe exceedingly well. But,
while I have always heard them lamenting the existence of Slavery in
their Country, I cannot be so unjust, I cannot act so unnatural a part,
as to conclude that _our own West India Planters_ must be cruel and
brutal; seeing that Slavery exists to so great an extent in America,
notwithstanding the very prevalent and strong disposition to do it away.
How great must be the difficulty to accomplish this, let the reader
judge; and how foolish, then, must the Government of this Country be, if
it think to accomplish any thing similar to it, merely, because the
thing is called for by a set of visionaries, or, what is worse, by a set
of hypocrites, who, by an appeal to the best feelings of the popular
heart, knowing all the while that they are misleading the understanding,
endeavour to gratify their own selfish ambition!

                                                     WM. COBBETT.

  _Kensington, 18 Sept. 1821._


11. Many schemes have been proposed for alleviating the miseries and
evils produced by the enslavement of the African race in the United
States. Possessors of slaves, as well as others, have investigated the
subject with great industry and anxiety; and all agree that something
ought to be done. The suggestion of an infallible remedy is useless, if
it be impossible to attain or apply it. Exportation to Africa, (the
country to which the wisdom of their Creator has adapted their colour
and faculties;) separate colonization on the public lands; employment on
national canals, roads, &c. have been recommended. These projects are
most certainly impracticable, except partially:--because their
completion would require the _voluntary_ estrangement by its legal
holders, of an immense quantity and value of what is generally though
erroneously termed _property_--human liberty.[1] And in the present
moral and intellectual condition of the slaves, the result would be
perhaps of doubtful benefit.

12. In examining this subject, I shall endeavour to be temperate, and to
avoid indulging in the use of reprehensive acrimonious modes of

13. Without the most distant inclination to aggravate the feelings of
any individual, but because "we ought not to shrink from the
investigation of truth, however unpopular, nor conceal it whatever the
profession of it may cost,"[2] a concise sketch will be presented, of
the facts and incidents which have prompted this address. The peculiar
connexion with which some of these occurrences succeeded each other, was
certainly extraordinary, and to those who are not incredulous, may seem

14. The first opportunity that ever occurred to me, of viewing a slave
plantation, was furnished by a journey during the summer of 1815, from
Pittsburg to the city of Washington. In the course of my route I
travelled through part of Virginia, west of the Blue Ridge, by way of
Winchester, and through part of Maryland by way of Fredericktown, on the
east side.

15. My first contemplation of the magnificent edifice,[3] towering over
the surrounding clusters of huts, and the extensive fields, impressed an
idea of their similarity to the castles of European princes, dukes,
lords, barons, &c. with the cottages of their tenants. But a closer
consideration led me to this unavoidable conclusion: that these splendid
fabrics are virtually the palaces of hereditary absolute monarchs;--that
the labourers and people over whom they reign, are their lawful subjects
or vassals--constituting _kingdoms in miniature_;--with this difference
from eastern monarchies, that the king here, instead of receiving merely
a revenue from his subjects, has _legitimate_ power (if he is disposed
to avail himself of it) to exercise the most unlimited and tyrannical
despotism[4] over their persons, and to extort the _whole_ of the
products of their industry, except what may be indispensable to prevent

16. It is not my intention by any means, to intimate that every
possessor of slaves must necessarily be a Nero, but that, if he chooses
to be one, there exists no earthly political power to prevent him.
Excess of power, like other unnatural stimulants, exerts a deleterious
and an intoxicating influence upon the human mind, which but few possess
the capacity and firmness to withstand. In tracing the endless
catalogues of kings, presented in history, how seldom is the eye dazzled
with transport at the name of an Alfred! There are, undoubtedly,
Alfreds, among these numerous _states_; but as long as the diffusion of
the humanizing principles of pure religion, and the auxiliary lights of
natural, moral, and political philosophy, continues to be limited to its
present boundaries, it is feared the number of Alfreds will remain
comparatively small.

17. The rod of a tyrant wielded over a few, is infinitely more terrible,
than when the number of its victims is great, and detached over a wide
extent of country.[5]

18. Mr. Jefferson, in his Note on this subject, exclaims, "I tremble for
my country, when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice cannot
sleep for ever." The late Professor Barton, in his work on Botany, while
treating on the article of _rice_, and its cultivation by uncompensated
slaves, expresses a similar sentiment: "Shall we never learn (says he)
to be just to our fellow creatures? Shall we blindly pursue the
imaginary advantages of the moment, and neglect the still but solemn
voice of God, until

  "--------Vengeance in the lurid air
  Lifts her red arm expos'd and bare?"

19. Without offering an opinion on the propriety of the expression of
Mr. Jefferson, I must add, that _I tremble for my country when I reflect
that God is just_, and that his justice is ever active and continually
executing its commission! The truth of this may be easily recognised by
any observer, who has not been familiarized to the constant presence of
slavery, from infancy. Indeed, the possessors of slaves, with whom I
have conversed, while travelling through several slave districts,
frequently acknowledged that they "_have inherited a curse from their
ancestors, and that it would be better for the country if the slaves
were all out of it_." And with respect to the _red arm of vengeance,
exposed and bare_, it must often menace those neighbourhoods, whence the
citizens frequently write to their friends in the _north_, that, "it is
high time to leave a country where one cannot go to bed in the evening,
without the apprehension of being massacred before morning!" I have been
assured by citizens having personal knowledge of the fact, that the rage
of the slaves is such, in some districts, and especially near Savannah,
that their masters and overseers are obliged to retreat to some secure
place during the night, or employ armed sentinels. Four slaves were
executed but a few months since, in Maryland, for destroying the life of
their master's brother, while he was in the act of inflicting corporeal
punishment upon them. A citizen of Philadelphia very lately related to
me the most shocking heart-rending instance of ferocious vengeance that
can be possibly conceived: It very forcibly exemplifies the infatuation
and temerity of subjecting those, to whom our persons must necessarily
be frequently accessible, to a state of the most savage moral
debasement, and then of tampering with their furious untamed passions.
A female slave having been flogged by her mistress, watched for an
opportunity to indulge her resentment, which she executed in a manner
too horrible to describe, and which it is not deemed prudent to specify.

20. Many instances have existed, where slaves, in a state of enraged
desperation, have involved their masters and themselves, of course, in
mutual destruction. A gentleman of high respectability lately informed
me, that he personally knew a master of slaves who retreated every night
into an upper room, the entrance into which was by a trap door, and kept
an axe by his side for defence!

21. Does not self-preservation, as well as the obligations of religious
duty and brotherly love, enjoin the education and civilization of our
sable heathen neighbours in our own dwellings, equally as imperatively
as of our tawny ones in the wilderness, and of both, on this side of the
Atlantic, as well as on the other?[6]

22. While at a public house, in Fredericktown, there came into the
bar-room (on Sunday) a decently dressed white man, of quite a light
complexion, in company with one who was totally black. After they went
away, the landlord observed that the white man was a slave. I asked him,
with some surprise, how that could be possible? To which he replied,
that he was a descendant, by female ancestry, of an African slave. He
also stated, that not far from Fredericktown, there was a slave estate,
on which there were several white females of as fair and elegant
appearance as white ladies in general, held in legal bondage as slaves.
These facts demonstrate that the peculiar hue, with which it has pleased
God to paint the surface of the body of an African, is not the only
circumstance which reconciles to the conscience of the European, (white
man) the act of depriving him of his liberty and the fruits of his
labour. Hence it appears to be a melancholy truth, that man, in a morbid
state of intellect, (which I consider to be the case with every
individual, whose rule of action is not founded upon wisdom and
virtue,) voluntarily and almost invariably, confounds right with might,
and when stimulated by avarice, frequently hesitates not to _bind and
sell_ his wife, his children, or his brother! I have received direct
information from a gentleman who witnessed the fact, that in one of the
slave states, a white man, having married one of his female slaves,
after she had borne him several children, sold the whole of them
together as he would a drove of cattle; and it is said such instances
are frequent. A _gentleman_ brought with him from the southward to
_Philadelphia_, (the city of brotherly love,) his half brother, the son
of his father by a slave, and attempted to sell him! He was happily
prevented from executing his sacrilegious design by the interposition of
a respectable citizen, who also procured the legal restoration of
freedom to the darker _faced_ brother.

23. In the course of a journey through Virginia, from the city of
Washington towards James' river, of about 150 miles, going and returning
by different routes, I had frequent opportunities of conversing with the
possessors and overseers of slaves, and others, and of observing the
general effects of the present system of slavery, upon the morals and
prospects of the white population. On combining the facts which
presented themselves, I was involuntarily led to this deduction: that
the present mode, with occasional exceptions, of managing slaves, and of
educating the successors to those who now hold dominion over them, must,
eventually and _inevitably_, result, by a progressive ratio, unless
reformed, in the poverty, bankruptcy and chagrin of a large portion of
the posterity of the existing proprietors of even the most extensive
slave estates in the country! This state of things has, to a certain
extent, already commenced. I was informed of some ancient and immensely
rich slave possessions, and shewn some of the subdivided portions of
them, the present numerous heirs of which, are obliged to contract
increasing debts annually, in order to maintain the magnificent style of
living, and the habits of _amusement_ and _sport_, which had been
imposed on them by their ancestors. In conversation with a gentleman at
Charlotteville, I advanced this problem:--Suppose an individual, (who
prefers sport and extravagance to prudence and happiness) becomes
possessor of 1000 slaves, and 10,000 acres of ground; if he bequeaths
his estate to ten heirs, they will receive each 1000 acres of ground and
perhaps 125 slaves. Pursuing this ratio, each descendant of the third
generation will inherit 100 acres of land and about 25 slaves, and the
fourth 10 acres, with 2 slaves. If the slaves should multiply
proportionally with their masters, the plantations would not; for it is
judged from corresponding information and facts, that many of the
proprietors, annually expend the whole amount of their revenue, more or
less. The inevitable poverty and physical debility, thus entailed upon
the inheritors of slaves, are not half so much to be deplored, as the
habits of indolence, dissipation and vice, which, if not the uniform
fruits of slavery, are much promoted and encouraged by it.

24. About eighteen months ago, I saw, in the western part of the state
of New-York, a venerable old farmer, whose name is Vaughan. He was in
good health (being nearly ninety years of age) and in possession of a
delightful farm, which had been rescued from the wilderness and
cultivated by himself and his sons. Two years ago, the number of his
descendants was about 378! the most of whom have been, or will be, bred
to some useful employment, adequate to their subsistence. If he were in
possession of 1000 slaves, and 10,000 acres of soil, he could bequeath
them only 26-1/3 acres of land each, and not 3 slaves.

25. On my return to the city of Washington, I met with a most
distressing exemplification of the dangerous policy of educating youth,
(let their fortunes be ever so abundant,) in luxury and indolence. I saw
a stranger, from one of the slave states, of tolerably genteel
appearance, in the prime of life, destitute of property, and unqualified
for any occupation whatever. He had inherited and dissipated a
considerable estate of land and slaves. His former acquaintance and
connexions were of the most reputable class. He appeared to be literally
a prey to despair. He said he should think himself happy if he were
capable of labouring in any mechanical employment whatever. He related
an anecdote of himself, which exhibits very distinctly, the delirium
which affluence and luxurious habits stamp upon the human intellect when
not fortified by virtue. He stated, that at a period when he was totally
at a loss for resources, he met with an opportunity of engaging in a
pursuit, on the commencement of which he received two hundred dollars.
Liberality and hospitality to strangers (if their faces are white) are
prominent and proverbial characteristics of well bred possessors of
slaves, generally.[7] So perfectly had his thoughts been attuned and
associated to opulence and profusion, that he forgot his inverse
position upon the wheel of fortune, and immediately commenced free table
and free bottle; and his two hundred dollars disappeared entirely in one
month;--soon after which he suffered severe privations for want of cash!

26. Having sketched an outline of some of the evils, which the present
state of slavery necessarily produces to the possessors of slaves, we
will next examine its effects upon the slaves themselves, and endeavour
to prove that the pecuniary as well as the moral interests and rights of
both parties, enjoin the expediency of adopting a different system of

27. It has been urged, in justification of domestic slavery, that the
slave receives an equivalent for his incessant toil, in the certainty of
being provided with food, clothing, and shelter:--and that a rigorous
discipline is indispensable to the preservation of industry, and for
security against rebellion and assassination. It is well known, in
almost every description of human labour, that constant diligence
produces more than a sufficiency of the necessaries of life, for the
daily consumption of the labourer. Industry, duly rewarded, and
accompanied by temperance and economy, is, with but casual exceptions,
to every individual blessed with health, an infallible source of
competence and wealth. As our all-wise Creator has fitted our
organization, individually, to the acquirement of the means of
subsistence, without depending on the labour and generosity of each
other, there can be no doubt but he designed that each should retain and
enjoy the products of his own hands, without molestation. It is certain
that the labour of a slave is of more value than the expense of his
daily personal necessities, or he could not be sold, (notwithstanding
the risk of premature death,) for 400 or 900 dollars.

28. The excellence of the great fundamental precept of christianity,
'_Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto
them_,' is acknowledged and admired, it is believed, by every member of
the human family, of whatever name or nation, that makes any pretension
to religion or moral rectitude. And it most assuredly involves this
precept also, which is still easier to obey, and cannot be dispensed
with in the positive axioms of natural justice;--Whatsoever ye would
that men should _not_ do unto you, do ye _not_ even so unto them. Will
any possessor of slaves or other individual, voluntarily consign himself
to hard labour during life? will he submit to the will and temper of
another man, and surrender at his feet the _whole_ of the products of
his toil? Unconditional slavery is contrary to the precepts of religion,
moral justice, and the abstract, natural and political rights of man. It
is a _black_, accumulating, _threatening thunder cloud_ in our moral
horizon, the sudden explosion of which might produce dangerous and fatal
consequences. I am hence constrained to perform the melancholy task of
recording my dissent from the sentiments of those who, from the purest
motives and most laudable philanthropy, request the universal,
simultaneous and _unconditional_ emancipation of a numerous body of meek
people, now groaning under the grievous yoke and goading lash of brutal
unrewarded servitude in these United States, "the world's best hope."
Yet I do not mean to intimate that equal justice should not, or cannot
be rendered to them. If guided by discretion, it may be administered to
them with the highest advantage and most perfect safety to both parties.
African servitude might, at the outset, be rendered so tolerable and
reasonable that the present appellation of _slavery_, which sounds so
discordant, in connexion with the cheering music of _liberty_, might be
exchanged for some title, attended with a less chilling and _base_ note.
Let _Masters_, without hesitation, become _Patrons_, _Guardians_,
_Friends_, _Civil Governors_. Let _Slaves_ be converted into _tenants_
and indented _servants_, (or _labourers_,) bound, _for the present_, by
the lamentable crisis of existing circumstances.--In compliance with the
loud and imperative demands of justice and humanity, and the injunctions
of policy and self interest, let their toil be carefully and justly
proportioned to their bodily strength, and rewarded by a sufficiency of
comfortable nourishment, clothing and shelter. And, particularly in
cases of correct behaviour and diligence, let a reasonable sum be paid,
monthly or annually, to those who have discretion to make a proper use
of it, or allotted and reserved for the education and eventual benefit
of their children. Let them be effectually protected from the
destructive ravages of distilled spirits. Let them not be bought and
sold as beasts of the harness, without their consent; unless guilty of
criminal conduct;--and let this be decided by the laws of the country.
Nor for all the _silver_ in the mines of Potosi, let an ounce of _iron_
be rivetted upon their _necks_, _wrists_, or _ancles_; for he who
fashioned these sections of their bodies, never designed them for such
barbarous purposes! Let the "resounding lash," and the savage arts of
torture and cruelty; be laid aside. The adoption of a discipline,
founded on justice and reciprocal equity, will render these unnecessary.
It is a very important fact, in human nature, that men, in all
conditions, perform their duty with far greater alacrity and pleasure,
when prompted by the exhilarating anticipation of reward and advantage,
than by coercion, and the paralyzing menace of penalties and pain.[8]

29. Philosophy cries, "Brethren, be just--be beneficent, and you will
prosper.--Eternal slavery must be an eternal source of crimes;--divest
it at least of the epithet eternal, for anguish that knows no bounds
can only produce despair." "With a pure heart, one is never unhappy."
Let the possessor of slaves consult the oracles of his own
conscience--the spontaneous counsels of his own heart, and the sublime
parable of the beneficent founder of the Christian religion, and act
accordingly. Did not the slave, (or his ancestors in Africa,) "fall
among thieves, which stripped him" of liberty and happiness;--and are
purchasers or retainers of known stolen property, (or liberty) entirely
absolved, either by the laws of God or man, from a degree of
participation in the original transgression? Let every individual, then,
who finds a slave in his hands, whether by traffic or inheritance, 'take
compassion on him,' like the good Samaritan, _and bind up the old and
painful wounds_, which have been inflicted on his "unalienable rights,"
given him by his Creator and _sole_ Proprietor;

  Which no man, for gold, can buy or sell!

30. Intellectual and moral improvement is the safe and permanent basis,
on which the arch of eventual freedom to the enslaved Africans may be
gradually erected. Let the glorious work be commenced by instructing
such of the holders and overseers of slaves and their sons and
daughters, as have hitherto been deprived of the blessings of
education. Let every slave, less than thirty years of age, of either
sex, be taught the art of reading, sufficiently for receiving moral and
religious instruction, from books in the English language. For this
purpose, the Lancasterian mode of instruction would be admirably well
adapted. A well selected economical library of such books as are
calculated to inculcate the love of knowledge and virtue, ought to form
an essential appurtenance to every plantation.

31. Governor Miller, in his message of 1815, to the legislature of North
Carolina, affirms, that "With knowledge and virtue, the united efforts
of ignorance and tyranny may be defied." Governor Nicholas, in his
message of the same year, to the legislature of Virginia, says, "Without
intelligence, self-government, our dearest privilege, cannot be
exercised." President Madison, in his message to the Congress, also of
the same year, says, "Without knowledge, the blessings of liberty cannot
be fully enjoyed or long preserved." And in his recent valedictory
message, that he shall read in the character of the American people, in
their true devotion to liberty, and to the constitution, which is its
palladium, sure presages that the destined career of his country will
exhibit a government pursuing the public good as its sole object, &c.
"which maintains inviolably the maxims of public faith, security of
persons and property, and encourages in every authorized mode, that
general diffusion of knowledge, which guarantees to public liberty its
permanency, and to those who possess the blessing, the true enjoyment of
it," &c. Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural speech, says, "If man is not
fit to govern himself, how can it be expected that he should be fit to
be entrusted with the government of others? Can we expect to find angels
in the form of kings?" Whether it be safe to risk the untutored slave
with his liberty or not, his situation must be inconceivably horrible,
under the cruel lash and uncontrolled power of a master, who is
destitute of education or virtue; whose prompter is avarice, and whose
religion is intemperance, and the gratification of the most ferocious
passions.--It is apprehended that many thousands, _if not hundreds of
thousands_, are thus situated! And it is of but little avail, if the
master himself be enlightened and humane, as long as he consigns his
people to the hands of a cruel stony-hearted overseer. Let legislators
then, both national and sectional, perform their duty to their country
and its posterity;--and to mankind, by listening to the wise counsels
of many conspicuous living sages, and pursue without hesitation the
inestimable "parting advice" of George Washington, Benjamin Rush, Samuel
Adams, and other departed friends and patrons of man, "to promote, as
objects of PRIMARY importance, institutions for the GENERAL diffusion of
knowledge:"--and _establish_ PUBLIC SCHOOLS _in every part_ of the
republic. And, as all men are vitally interested in the universal
dissemination of knowledge and virtue, let all classes combine their
influence and means, in aiding the cause of human happiness.

32. I can well predict the alarm that many will sound, at the project of
introducing letters among slaves. Some will _imagine_ that knowledge
would be a dangerous instrument in their hands. It is true knowledge
disarms oppression. But those who have experienced and appreciated its
almost uniform tendency, will perceive that it is a pacific weapon,--an
olive branch,--accompanied by moderation, justice, and moral duty.
Education has been calumniated with the charge of instigating the
rebellion and shocking outrages of the slaves in St. Domingo. But the
fact is precisely the reverse. The catastrophe was produced chiefly by
the haughtiness and imprudence of the white planters, in opposing
decrees of the French government, which concerned only the rights of
freemen. In this civil war, in which the _white planters_ were arrayed
against the laws of the national assembly, and the _planters of colour_
in defence of them, it is not surprising that the _slaves_ should take
sides with their _nearest_ relations. The consequent atrocities, most
unquestionably resulted from the remembrance of the former barbarity[9]
of masters.

33. As mental improvement advances, vengeance and crimes recede. That
desirable happy era, when the spirit of peace and benevolence shall
pervade all the nations which inhabit the earth,--when both national and
personal _slavery_ shall be annihilated;--when nations and individuals
shall cease to hunt and destroy each other's lives and property;--when
the science and implements of human preservation and felicity, shall be
substituted for those of slaughter and woe; will commence, precisely at
the moment when the rays of _useful knowledge and wisdom_ shall have
been extended to the _whole_ human family. By useful knowledge, I mean,
not only an acquaintance with valuable arts and sciences, but also an
understanding of our various moral and religious duties, in relation to
our Creator, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. By wisdom, I mean that
kind of sagacity which influences us to regulate our passions and
conduct, in conformity to the precepts of knowledge, reason and
religion. Until an approach towards such a state of things is effected,
the names of _liberty_ and _security_ on this earth, will differ but
little from _a will with a wisp_, either to monarchs or their vassals.
At present, violence bears universal and imperial sway;--and ignorance
is the magic spell which sustains its sceptre. This dark veil, which
enshrouds nearly the whole human race, can be penetrated and removed
with much greater certainty and facility, by the mild but invincible
rays of intellectual light, than by opposing violence with violence, and
evil to evil. The countryman in Æsop's Fables, was induced to throw off
his cloak, by the gentle but melting rays of the _physical_ sun, after
the wind had exerted its fury in vain. What a boundless empire of glory
and _unalloyed_ bliss might the monarchs and rulers of the age, and all
possessors of power or wealth, attain, by causing their numerous
subjects or brethren, perpetually encompassed by the snares of
ignorance, vice and oppression, to be instructed; and elevating poor
degraded, afflicted human nature, to that scale of dignity in the
creation, which was evidently assigned to it, by the Supreme Parent of
the universe!

34. Slaves, enveloped in the fogs of brutal ignorance and debasement,
and exasperated by constant severity and frequent cruelty, cannot fail
of being much more dangerous neighbours, and much less useful servants,
than they would be, if tamed by moral instruction and kind treatment.
Docility is well known to be one of the peculiar characteristics of the
African race; and whenever opportunities have occurred, they have
indicated a capacity of receiving instruction, and of becoming qualified
for a humane and moral government.

35. Should these remarks ever reach the understanding of the slave whose
yoke is rivetted upon him, by the laws of the government under which he
lives, if he will believe the writer to be his unfeigned compassionate
friend, let him accept his sincere advice, to submit with fortitude to
his fate, and wait with patience the arrival of the day of joy, which
has already commenced its journey, and will assuredly overtake him or
his posterity, not long hence. Let him remember, that it is only the
gradual progress of reason, and the principles of humanity, that can
relieve him; and that the more he resists the noose of slavery, the
closer it girds itself about his neck, _even to suffocation or
strangling_. Let him conciliate the good will and friendship of his
master, by reasonable diligence and inflexible fidelity.

36. Governor Miller, in his message, which has been already mentioned,
says, "But now, thank God, the human mind having progressed with gradual
march in the path of science and political philosophy, &c. the
principles, 'that all men are by nature equally free and independent,'
&c. have gained and are daily gaining more extensive currency." This
declaration, which probably alludes to Europe, is conspicuously true,
with respect to our own country. In several or all of the slave states,
there are many benevolent respectable individuals, who are dissatisfied
with the practice of retaining their _innocent African brethren_ in
bondage, and have signified their desire to release them.[10] And
although these votaries to humanity are prevented by the existing laws
of their respective districts, from accomplishing the full extent of
their wishes, it is hoped they will not fail to recognize the high
privilege, which still remains in their hands, of exercising reciprocal
justice to their sable _prisoners_, (no longer slaves,) and of educating
and qualifying them for their eventual freedom and reception into an
asylum, which, it may be confidently anticipated, will, ere long, be
prepared for them. In fact, I do not hesitate to predict, that whenever
slaves shall become qualified by intelligence and moral cultivation, for
the rational enjoyment of liberty, and the performance of the various
relative social virtues and duties of life, the enlightened American
legislators and depositories of the rights of man, will listen to the
voice of reason and justice, and the spirit of our social organization,
and _permit_ the release of

  "------the poor fetter'd slave on bended knee,
  From [Columbia's] sons imploring to be free;"

without banishing him, as a traitor, from his native land, where his
services as an industrious, though free laborer, may be indispensable to
its cultivation. But under present circumstances, I am not disposed to
question the policy or propriety of suitable laws, for regulating the
manumission of slaves, with a view to their own welfare and subsistence
as well as the preservation of the public peace. Many benevolent
gentlemen have exercised a sort of morbid or mistaken humanity, in
manumitting, or _turning out of doors_, slaves who had devoted the
greater part of the common period of man's life to their service, and
who, being morally and physically disqualified for securing an _honest_
maintenance, have finished their days in misery and woe. A very
benevolent possessor of slaves, in the district of Columbia, informed
the writer, that he was _principled_ against retaining them any longer
than while the value of their service amounts to the cost of purchase;
and that he had dismissed several, who immediately commenced a career of
wretchedness and final destruction. The sentiments, on this subject, of
"The American convention, for promoting the Abolition of slavery, and
improving the condition of the African race," are highly deserving of
consideration. In their circular, addressed to the general Abolition
Societies in the United States, they make this declaration: "We are
persuaded that the only means of accomplishing the final and complete
emancipation of this unfortunate people throughout our country, is, the
extension to them of the benefits of moral and intellectual cultivation.
That their redemption from the thraldom in which they now are, should be
preceded or accompanied by such aids, as will qualify them to discharge
their relative, social, and religious duties."

37. It would, perhaps, be a problem worthy of the consideration of the
legislators of those states in which slavery is tolerated, whether their
laws for regulating manumissions, might not, with propriety, be so
modified, as to authorise judges, justices, or other magistrates, to
grant _permits_ for the emancipation of such slaves, as shall be
satisfactorily proved to be morally and physically qualified for
liberty. Such a regulation would be peculiarly important to those humane
masters, who are merciful and just to their slaves, until their own
guardianship is annulled by death; and are unwilling to risk them in the
hands of their legitimate heirs, or to strangers who may purchase them
at public auction.

38. I have said, in the beginning of this essay, that separate
colonization, &c. is impracticable, except partially. I then gave one
reason for this opinion, and will now offer another. Were the whole of
_our numerous slave population_, already manumitted, and transferred
totally to a distinct colonial establishment, in this country or in
Africa: _our numerous white population_, in several of the more
southerly states, would need to be provided with another colonial
establishment, in some latitude more favourable to their _physical_
powers, or else perish amidst the desolate cotton and rice fields.

39. My conviction, that the existence of Europeans, (or white men) under
the blaze of a torrid sun, is dependent on African industry, (or on the
labour of such inhabitants of the earth, as are adapted by nature to the
equatorial regions,) must not be mistaken for an assent to the perpetual
duration of involuntary servitude and unconditional vassalage. This is a
circumstance, resulting from the wisdom of Providence, which ought to
fill the hearts of the proprietors of rice and cotton plantations, with
gratitude and kindness towards their _black benefactors_. Let the
magnificent work of progressive and ultimate emancipation, concomitant
with mental improvement, be kept steadily in view;--but let not the
total depopulation of an immense tract of valuable _improved_ country,
be held forth as essential to its accomplishment.

40. But as there is, probably at this moment, in many parts of the
United States, and will continue to be, an increasing excess of free
black and mulatto population, and also of slaves, who might be released
if they could be disposed of; humanity as well as policy, strongly
recommends the institution of some asylum, to which this description of
_strangers in a foreign land_, may resort if they please, and enjoy the
blessings of knowledge, _social happiness_, and the products of their
own industry; and perhaps be protected, at the same time, from the
sacrilegious talons of the numerous hordes of men-stealers, with which
our reputed free soil has long been infested and polluted. And as the
Congress of the United States have hitherto declined patronising this
object, (to which their attention has been frequently invited,) its
accomplishment will devolve, probably, on beneficent societies, and
individuals. The most eligible and practicable plan, perhaps, that could
be devised for this purpose, would be to open subscriptions throughout
the United States, for raising a fund, to be applied to the purchase of
an extensive tract or territory of United States' land, in some proper
district, (which probably might be obtained on a liberal credit,) where
such coloured people, as now are, or may become free, might be invited
to settle as tenants, or eventual purchasers. The settlement might be
committed to the care of proper agents, and if the profits should
ultimately exceed a sufficient amount to remunerate the original
advances with the interest, the surplus might be appropriated to the
education and general benefit of the African race in this country.[11]

41. Having now (as I hope,) shewn the practicability and mutual
advantages, of the melioration and ultimate freedom of the American
slave population, I shall proceed to communicate some facts and remarks
on the interior traffic in slaves, and on the practice of kidnapping
coloured persons, legally free.

42. To those who may object to the propriety of exposing to public view
such deeds as are likely to shock the feelings and sympathy of the
friends of humanity, I reply, that the object is not to excite popular
execration against their authors, but commiseration towards the
sufferers, and to discourage the repetition of cruelty. In supplications
for redress of grievances, it is customary and necessary too, for the
aggrieved party, to represent the wrongs complained of. The facts
adduced, can be well substantiated:--but as it is believed that no
valuable purpose will be gained, by the mention of names and specific
places where they occurred, they will be omitted as far as it may be

43. In the structure of our political institutions, we have, in some
respects, undoubtedly excelled the ancient republics:--and in others, we
have evidently degenerated. Solon perceived that slavery was a fruitful
source of moral depravity to the Athenians, and abolished it;
notwithstanding it had its origin in the previous voluntary contraction
of debts, by the slaves. We neglect this valuable lesson of Solon, and
also a political maxim of his, which ought to form the corner-stone of
every republic. Being asked what kind of government is best, he
answered, "that in which an injury to the meanest member of the
community is esteemed an aggression upon the whole." Our laws for the
protection of the rights and liberty of free yellow and black people,
must be exceedingly defective, or there could not at this moment be
thousands of them illegally held in slavery.

44. Slavery, says Sterne, however disguised, _is still a bitter
draught_; but it is rendered tenfold more bitter and intolerable, when
the members of families are dragged asunder, never to behold each
other, or their native _wonted_ country again.--And it is the
_uncontrolled slave trade_, between the middle and southerly states,
which gives facility to the extensive and increasing practice of
kidnapping (slaves as well as freemen,) and secures it from the
possibility of detection, except casually. Under the existing laws, if a
free coloured man travels without passports certifying his right to his
liberty, he is generally apprehended; and frequently plunged into
slavery, by the operation of the laws. But after being seized and
manacled by the kidnapper, the slave merchant drives him through several
states, without interruption, and sells him where he seldom regains his
liberty. If the wisdom of the state or general governments should not
recommend the complete abolition of the internal as well as external
slave trade, it believed, at least, that an acquaintance with its abuses
will convince them of the necessity of so regulating it, as to confine
the traffic _totally_ to legal _slaves_. This could, perhaps, be
effectually accomplished by compelling every travelling slave-trader to
report his slaves to a proper magistrate, in every township or county
through which he passes; and to produce certificates, from some
magistrate residing near the place in which they were purchased, of
their being legal slaves and legally sold;--and also by compelling every
purchaser of imported slaves, (by _land_ or _sea_,) to register them,
and file similar certificates, in the offices of the respective county

45. The act of depriving a free man of his liberty, being a violation of
the constitution of the United States, and an _overt attack_ upon the
public liberty, ought to be declared treason of some sort or other, and
punished by a reciprocity, in some degree, of the fate, to which the
conspirator attempts to involve his victim;--imprisonment in a
penitentiary, or some other secure place of industry, and moral
education;--for, I do not believe there ever lived a kidnapper, who had
read the whole of the New Testament, or any part of Seneca's Morals, or
Paley's Principles of Moral Philosophy, or any similar books.

46. On the 4th day of December 1815, (the day on which the session of
congress commenced,) being at the seat of government of the United
States, I was preparing to enjoy the first opportunity that had occurred
to me, of beholding the assembled representatives of the American
republic. As I was about to proceed to the building where the session
was opened, my agreeable reverie was suddenly interrupted by the voice
of a stammering boy, who, as he was coming into the house, from the
street, exclaimed, "There goes the Ge-Ge-orgy men[12] with a drove o'
niggers chain'd together two and two." What's that, said I,--I must
see,--and, going to the door, I just had a distant glimpse of a light
covered waggon, followed by a procession of men, women and children,
resembling that of a funeral. I followed them hastily; and as I
approached so near as to discover that they were bound together in
pairs, some with ropes, and some with iron chains (which I had hitherto
seen used only for restraining beasts,) the involuntary successive
heavings of my bosom became irrepressible. This was, with me, an
affection perfectly peculiar to itself, which never having before
experienced, gave me some surprise. I have since heard an intelligent
gentleman, from Scotland, describe a similar symptom. He affirmed, that
on his arrival upon the coast of the United States, (in Chesapeake Bay,)
his first view of the slaves _brought his heart into his throat_. I have
also been told by a gentleman, who holds a seat in the senate of the
United States, that "a drove of manacled slaves was to him an
insupportable spectacle, which he generally endeavoured to avoid;"--and
by a representative, (since deceased,) from one of the slave states, who
was himself a possessor of slaves, "that he never could bear to see
slaves manacled and fettered with bolts and chains, nor families torn
asunder and sold to the slave-traders, and wondered how any one could be
so inhuman as to do such acts." Overtaking the caravan, just opposite to
the old Capitol (then in a state of ruins from the conflagration by the
British army,)[13] I inquired of one of the _drivers_ (of whom there
were two) what part of the country they were taking all these people to?
"To Georgia," he replied. "Have you not, said I, enough such people in
that country yet?" "Not quite enough," he said. I found myself
incapable of saying more, and was compelled to avert my eyes immediately
from the heart-rending scene! Had Sterne been present, and surveyed
(with _real_ instead of imaginary vision) this groupe of bond-men and
bond-women, and _bond-children_, with their mute sad faces veiled with
_black_ despair--"and heard the chains rattle, which encumbered their
bodies,"--and "had seen the _iron_ enter their souls"--he would again
have "_burst into tears_." I walked along some distance before them,
down Pennsylvania Avenue, and, on turning round, observed that they had
left that street, (as if the spirit of PENN had repelled the contact of
such a tragedy with his name,) and directed their course towards the
Potomac bridge. At the same moment an African passed by, driving a hack;
and beholding his brethren,

  "----Trembling, weeping, captive led,"

extended his arm towards them, and exclaimed, "See there! an't that
right down _murder_? Don't you call that _right down murder_?" On
uttering to him indistinctly, that I did not know, he renewed his
request to be answered, and I replied, "I do not know but it is
_murder_."----These expressions instantly reminded me of the frequency
of murders and deaths, not only of slaves, but of white and free black
men, resulting from despotic slavery, and particularly from the slave
traffic. Several instances of this kind had very recently come to my
knowledge, from unquestionable sources, and at that moment pressed
themselves with peculiar force upon my excited imagination; among which
I will recite the following:

47. A slave having escaped from his master, in the state of North
Carolina, within two or three years past, was seized and brought back,
by a being, who, when requested by the master to name the reward he
should render him for returning the slave, replied, that all the
compensation he desired, was the satisfaction of _flogging_ him. This
being granted, the slave was bound to a log, and the "_resounding lash_"
applied, until the resentment of his executioner was satiated. The
infatuated master then took the ensanguined lash himself, and was about
to repeat the process of flagellation, when Death, not then a _king of
terrors_, but a generous benefactor, a "_friend in need_" rescued him
from the intended protraction of his excruciating torment. After all,
let the balm of compassion, rather than imprecations of divine wrath, be
administered to these erring mortals. Their egregious mistake may be
traced to the mighty force of example, and the deficiency of early,
religious, and moral education. This fact having been before published,
must be, to many persons, already known.

48. In the state of Pennsylvania, a considerable number of years ago,
the proprietor of a furnace took up a black boy, a few years old, and in
the presence of his distracted father, wantonly thrust him into the
flames and melted metal, where he was instantly consumed! The
information of this horrible deed was originally communicated by a
respectable citizen of the city of Washington, who formerly resided in
the state of Pennsylvania, and it has been further corroborated by
another, of the city of Philadelphia.

49. In the state of New Jersey, a female slave, several years ago, was
bound to a log, and scored with a knife, in a shocking manner across her
back, and the gashes stuffed with salt! after which she was tied to a
post in a cellar, where, after suffering three days, death kindly
terminated her misery. This fact was communicated at Washington, by the
same gentleman above mentioned.[14]

[Illustration: Paragraph 50.

Barbarity committed on a free African, who was found on the ensuing
morning, by the side of the road, dead!]

50. As two persons were returning from the _horse races_, a few miles
north of the city of Washington, eight or ten years ago, they met on the
road a free man of colour, who resided in the vicinity. They seized him,
and bound him with ropes. His protestations that he was free, and his
entreaties that they would accompany him to the house, (but about half a
mile distant,) where his wife resided, and where he could satisfy them
of his freedom, were in vain. Having fastened him by a rope, to the tail
of one of their horses, they were seen, by a citizen, who met them on
the road dragging him in this manner, and beating him to make him keep
pace with the horses. He cautioned them, and begged of them not to kill
the black man;--but one of the ruffians plucking a stake from the fence,
and threatening with horrid oaths to knock him down, he found it
necessary to retire for his own safety:--a few miles farther along, on
the following morning, this poor African was found by the side of the
road, dreadfully bruised, and his eyes bloodshotten,--dead![15] This
distressing catastrophe strongly exemplifies the defect of the laws of
the state in which it occurred, concerning free Africans, which
authorise their seizure, without any specific judicial authority, if
found without certificates of freedom, by the most vicious and abandoned
members of the community. These two ill-starred wretches, just sallying
forth from a notorious school of intemperance, were undoubtedly
intoxicated, and of course, in a state of insanity at the time they
committed this outrage;--and had probably been reared in the
_wilderness_ of ignorance and vice. I was assured, that one of them had
long been accustomed, in company with his _own father_, to the business
of apprehending runaway slaves, and such free Africans as they could
catch without certificates.

51. In the vicinity of the place where the above transaction occurred, a
young black boy, living at a house in which there are just grounds for
believing that the lives of several slaves had been destroyed, by
whipping, and other severities, yet entertained such horror at the
thoughts of transportation to Georgia, (with which he had often been
threatened, by way of reprimand,[16]) that on seeing a stranger coming
towards the house, (on a cold day,) whom he suspected to be a
_Georgia-man_, he fled into the fields with the greatest precipitation,
and secreted himself so effectually, that he was not discovered until
the expiration of a fortnight,--when he was dead!--frozen!--and the
pupils of his eyes picked out!

52. With these mournful spectra, flitting in succession before me, and
the black procession still in view, the pleasant anticipations which I
had been indulging but fifteen minutes previous, became totally
reversed. Returning pensive towards my lodgings, and passing by the
Capitol, I thought--Alas! poor Africa,--_thy cup_ is the _essence_ of
bitterness!--This _solitary_, magnificent temple, _dedicated to
liberty_,--opens its portals to _all_ other nations but _thee_, and bids
their sons drink _freely_ of the cup of _freedom_ and happiness:----but
when _thy_ unoffending, enslaved sons, clank their blood-smeared
_chains_ under its towers, it sneers at their calamity, and mocks their
lamentations with the echo of contempt!--

53. Blessed, infatuated Columbia! the eyes and the hopes of weeping
admiring nations are upon thee! Suffer not the lamp of public liberty to
be smothered and extinguished by the gloomy shroud of private slavery!
Dost not thou assume a pre-eminent distinction among the nations for
magnanimity and honour? Does any high-minded christian nation chain her
prisoners of war, and subject them and their posterity to perpetual
ignorance, and the oppressive toil of involuntary servitude without
reward? In thy late contest with a powerful sister state, many of her
_political slaves_, who sought the lives of thy sons, and the
conflagration of their dwellings, fell into thy custody by the chances
of war--I have seen fourteen hundred of these at a single
depôt--Fourteen hundred large loaves of good bread, and fourteen hundred
pounds of excellent beef, were daily spread before them. As many as
could meet with opportunities, were permitted to labor for the
neighbouring farmers and manufacturers, for which they received a
pecuniary equivalent in monthly stipends.--Fourteen hundred _thousands_
of the sons and daughters of thy neighbour Africa, _breathe and mourn_
on thy expanded bosom. The privileges of a vast proportion of these
forlorn victims of sorrow and woe, are reduced below the privileges of
the ox, the horse, the hound, and various other domestic animals;--in
respect to sustenance, toil, and severity of chastisement, if not
quarters and raiment!--As an aggregate people, they, nor their
ancestors, never disturbed thy repose, with fire or sword, or the
cannon's deathly roar. _They are, nevertheless, virtually prisoners of
war_:--not by a war in defence of human life, but generally, by _a
hideous sacrilegious war_, waged (among the African kings) for the
plunder of human souls, human flesh, _blood and bones_, to be exchanged
as articles of merchandize, for contemptible gewgaws, implements of war,
distilled spirits, tobacco, &c. The booty thus gained by the savage
despots and man-hunters of Africa, had its assumed sale and exportation
been impracticable, might possibly have been consigned to the same
purposes there as it is now here (_slavery_) or annihilated by massacre;
but most probably would have been sought with much less avidity. If
these commodities were _obtained_ at the sacrifice of justice, and the
natural rights of man, upon no other terms can our laws permit them to
be indefinitely _retained_, by their present _possessors_, who are the
substantial _successors_ and assigns of the original captors.[17]

54. To return from this lengthy excursion, I must acknowledge, (however
ludicrous it may seem to those who are _hardened_ to such things by
repetition,) that the tragedy of a company of men, women and children,
pinioned and bound together with chains and ropes, without accusation of
crime, and driven as beasts of the harness, through the metropolis of
that country, of which I had hitherto indulged both pleasure and pride,
in the consciousness of being a _native citizen_, and, of having
commenced my life coevally with its constitutional organization;
occurring at the precise hour of the convocation of the guardians of its
liberties; produced a new era in my sensations. Disinclination, as well
as the delay incurred, prevented my visit to the congressional hall on
that day.--And I devoted several succeeding days to the purpose of
delineating on paper, a faithful copy of the impressions and sentiments
which involuntarily pervaded my _full_ heart and agitated mind. Those
memoirs have furnished some materials for this essay.

55. One evening while writing notes concerning the occurrence just
mentioned, a lad, sitting in the same room with me, was studying his
lessons in Goldsmith's Abridgment of Geography; in which I noticed he
read these words:--"The United States are celebrated for the excellence
of their constitution, which provides for political liberty and
individual security. _The inhabitants are justly famed for their ardent
love of freedom._" Immediately after reading those paragraphs, he
addressed me, without knowing on what subject I was occupied, thus:
"Why, how can it be said that the inhabitants of the United States love
LIBERTY, _while they hold almost a whole nation of people in a state of
bondage and ignorance_?" I endeavoured to explain to him this puzzling
problem, by replying, that "by _the inhabitants_ was meant the _white_
population of the United States, and the liberty which they ardently
love is probably their _own_ liberty, which they appear to care more
about than they do about the liberty of _black_ men."

56. I mention this minute circumstance more particularly, because it
forms one of the links to a chain of incidents which conducted to the
development of some very important facts; such as I then had no
conception or suspicion of the existence of, on this side the Atlantic
ocean. I then supposed the instances of the streets of the city
consecrated to freedom, being paraded with people led in captivity, were
rare. But I soon ascertained that they were quite frequent, that several
hundred people, including not legal slaves only, but many kidnapped
freemen and youth bound to service for a term of years, and unlawfully
sold as slaves for life, are annually collected at Washington (as if it
were an emporium of slavery,) for transportation to the slave regions.
The United States' jail is frequently occupied as a storehouse for the
slave merchants, and some of the rooms in a tavern devoted chiefly to
that use, are occasionally so crowded that the occupants hardly have
sufficient space to extend themselves upon the floor to sleep.[18]

[Illustration: Paragraphs 57.

"... But I did not want to go, and I jump'd out of the window."]

57. A short time after having completed the memorandums above alluded
to, the youth just mentioned, having learned the subject on which I had
been occupied, and being prompt to communicate whatever he might meet
with relative to it, informed me on returning from school, in the
evening of the 19th December 1815, that a black woman, destined for
transportation to Georgia with a coffle, which was about to start,
attempted to escape, by jumping out of the window of the garret of a
three story brick tavern in F. street, about day-break in the morning;
and that in the fall she had her back and both arms broken! I remarked,
that I did not wonder that she did so; and inquired, whether it had not
killed her? To which he replied, that he understood that she was dead,
and that the _Georgia-men_ had gone off with the others. The relation of
this shocking disaster excited considerable agitation in my mind, and
fully confirmed the sentiments which I had already adopted and recorded,
of the multiplied horrors added to slavery, when its victims are bought
and sold, frequently for distant destinations, with as much indifference
as fourfooted beasts. Supposing this to have been a recent occurrence,
and being desirous of seeing the mangled slave before she should be
buried, I proceeded with some haste early on the following morning, in
search of the house already mentioned. Calling at a house near the one
at which the catastrophe occurred, I was informed, that it had been
three weeks since it took place, and that the woman was still living.
Having found the house, I desired permission of the landlord to see the
wounded woman; to which he assented, and directed a lad to conduct me to
her room, which was in the garret over the third story of the house. On
entering the room I observed her lying upon a bed on the floor, and
covered with a white woollen blanket, on which were several spots of
blood (from her wounds,) which I perceived was _red_, notwithstanding
the _opacity_ of her skin. Her countenance, though very pale from the
shock she had received, and dejected with grief, appeared complacent and
sympathetic. Both her arms were broken between the elbows and wrists,
and had undoubtedly been well set and dressed; but from her restlessness
she had displaced the bones again, so that they were perceptibly
crooked. I have since been informed by the Mayor of the city, who is a
physician, and resides not far distant from the place, that he was
called to visit her immediately after her fall, and found, besides her
arms being broken, that the lower part of the spine was badly shattered,
so that it was doubtful whether she would ever be capable of walking
again, if she should survive. The lady of the Mayor said she was
awakened from sleep by the fall of the woman, and heard her heavy
struggling groans.

58. I inquired of her, whether she was asleep when she sprang from the
window. She replied, "No, no more than I am now." Asking her what was
the cause of her doing such a frantic act as that, she replied, "They
brought me away with two of my children, and wouldn't let me see my
husband--they didn't sell my husband, and I didn't want to go';--I was
so confused and 'istracted, that I didn't know hardly what I was
about--but I didn't want to go, and I jumped out of the window;--but I
am sorry now that I did it;--they have carried my children off with 'em
to Carolina." I was informed that the Slave Trader, who had purchased
her near Bladensburgh, (she being a _legal_ slave,) gave her to the
landlord, as a compensation for taking care of her. Thus her family was
dispersed from north to south, and herself _nearly_ torn in pieces,
without the shadow of a hope of ever seeing or hearing from her
_children_ again! He that can behold this "poor woman," (as a
respectable citizen of Washington afterwards expressed himself, on
requesting of her landlord the privilege of seeing her,) and listen to
her _unvarnished story_; and then delineate it with the mental pencil,
(_quill_) and then view the picture from his _own hand_, without a
_humid eye_, I will confess possesses a _stouter heart_ than I do.

59. The sympathy of the whole American white population, (and it is
presumed of the black also, for they know how to estimate such matters
by dear experience,) has recently been very justly excited towards young
King Prather and his "confus'd and 'istracted" mother roaming in search
of him, along half the extent of the coast of the United States. As he
was kidnapped by a son of Africa, (though not for the detestable purpose
of cupidity or enslavement, but for a ladder to his own liberty,) it is
presumed if Africa's Genius were permitted to offer her sentiments on
the subject, she would pronounce it a _retort courteous apropos_, from
Africa to her sister Columbia.

60. I have since learned many recent instances of the tragical
consequences of the usurped trade in the souls and bodies of men.[19] I
have been informed by several different persons in the district of
Columbia, that a woman who had been sold in Georgetown, for the southern
slave market, cut her own throat, ineffectually, while on the way, in a
hack, to the same depository above mentioned; and that on the road to
Alexandria she completed her design of destroying her life, by cutting
it again mortally. A statement was published in the Baltimore Telegraph,
a few months ago, that a female slave, who had been sold in Maryland,
with her child, on the way from Bladensburgh to Washington, heroically
cut the throats of both her child and herself, with mortal effect. This
narrative has been since confirmed by a relative of the person who sold
them. An African youth, in the city of Philadelphia, lately cut his
throat almost mortally, merely from the apprehension, as he said, of
being sold. This information was obtained from several respectable
citizens of Philadelphia, who had personal knowledge of the fact.

[Illustration: Paragraphs 61. 63. 65. 66

The Author noting down the Narratives of several free-born People of
Colour who had been kidnapped.]

61. Believing the facts already recited are sufficient to satisfy every
candid reader, of the unreasonableness, injustice, and inhumanity of the
prevailing interior slave trade, and of the necessity of legislative
control; I will now commence a delineation of the still more outrageous
and abominable practice of seizing, and selling into exile, _men_,
_women_, _and children_, whose freedom and _moral_ rights are guaranteed
by our national and state constitutions. In the same recess with that
mangled woman, while interrogating her, I discovered (without having the
least previous intimation, or even suspicion, of any thing of the kind)
three persons of colour, who were born free, and had been forcibly
seized in the time of night, bound and transported in the night, out of
their native state, (Delaware) and sold as slaves for life to itinerant
_Man-Dealers_[20] in Maryland, who generally range themselves along near
the line of division between the two states. One of these was a mulatto
man, about 21 years of age. I found him thoroughly secured in irons. His
arms were manacled with strong loops round his wrists, resembling a
_clevis_, connected by a strong iron bolt. On the shelf over the
fireplace, lay a pair of heavy rough hopples (or hobbles,) with which he
said his legs had been fettered until a short time previous, but were
then secured by a pair of polished gripes, (perhaps manufactured for the
purpose, resembling the patent horse fetters with locks,) connected by a
strong new tug chain, with a loose end of two or three feet in length,
lying upon the floor.[21] He stated, that a journeyman to the man with
whom he resided, and to whom he had been bound to service for a term of
years, having decoyed him into the fields, some distance from the house,
late in the evening, on pretence of hunting oppossums, two strangers
rushed upon him with ropes in their hands, and with the assistance of
the person[22] just mentioned, bound his hands, and led him with a
pistol held each side of him (with which he said they threatened to
shoot him if he made any alarm,) 15 or 20 miles, where he was secreted
till the next evening; when another person came with a chaise and
conveyed him to a tavern in Maryland, a little over the line;[23] from
whence one of the Man-Dealers, (who has since been advertised as a
man-stealer, in a different case,) brought him to Washington in
manacles, and sold him to another, as a slave for life. He said his
_Driver_ overhearing him tell a coloured woman near Annapolis, that his
parents (both of whom are light coloured mulattos) were free-born,
threatened to shoot him, if he should catch him talking to any body
again about his being free. He said the trader did strike him on the
head with his fist, after his arrival at Washington, for telling a
person to whom he was offered for sale, that he was lawfully free,
and threatened to flog him if he should fail of selling him in the city
on that account. He also stated, that another boy, about sixteen, was
brought off with him at the same time, and sold for a slave in
Washington, who was lawfully free, and had been sold to the traders, by
a person to whom the boy's father had let him to service.

62. This statement has been since confirmed by corroborative
information; and I am in possession of memorandums, by which the boy
might probably be traced and found.

[Illustration: Paragraph 63.


63. The others, whom I found in the same garret, and at the same time,
were a young black widow woman, with an infant at the breast, both of
whom were born free. Her husband had died but a few days previous to her
seizure, and she was in a state of pregnancy at the time. She stated,
that the man in whose house she resided, together with his brother, and
three other persons, came into the room (a kitchen,) where she was in
bed, seized and dragged her out;--fastened a noose round her neck, to
prevent her from screaming, and attempted to blindfold her, which she
resisted with such violence, that she prevented them from succeeding.
She said, while one of them was endeavouring to fix the bandage over her
eyes, that she seized his cheek with her teeth, and tore a piece of it
entirely off. She said one of them struck her head several times with a
stick of wood, from the wounds of which she was almost covered with
blood. She shewed me a large scar upon her forehead, occasioned by one
of the blows, which a gentleman, who saw her the day previous to her
seizure, has since informed me was not there before. She said, while she
was struggling against them, and screaming, the man in whose house she
lived _bawled out_, "Choke the d----d b----h! don't let her
halloo--she'll scare my wife!" Having conquered her by superior force,
she said they placed her with the child in a chaise, (her description of
which, with the horse and the driver, who was one of the victors,
corresponds precisely with that given by the mulatto man of the
carriage, &c. by which he also was conveyed,) and refusing to dress
herself, three of them, leaving the two who belonged to the house,
carried her off in the condition that she was dragged from bed, to a
certain tavern in Maryland, and sold them both to the Man-Dealer, who
brought them to the city of Washington. She stated, that one of her
captors drove the carriage, and held the rope which was fixed to her
neck, and that one rode each side, on horseback.--That, while one of
them was negociating a bargain with her purchaser, he asked her who her
master was; and, replying that she had none, her seller beckoned to him
to go into another room, where the business was adjusted without
troubling her with any farther inquiries. She stated, that her purchaser
confessed, while on the way to Annapolis, that he believed she might
have had some claim to freedom, and intimated that he would have taken
her back, if the man[24] of whom he bought her had not ran away; but
requested her, notwithstanding, to say nothing to any body about her
being free, which she refused to comply with. She affirmed, that he
offered her for sale to several persons, _who refused to purchase, on
account of her asserting that she was free_. She stated, that her
purchaser had left her in Washington for a few weeks, and gone to the
_Eastern Shore_, in search of more black people, in order to make up a
drove for Georgia.

64. These facts clearly exemplify the safety with which the free born
inhabitants of the United States may be offered for sale and sold, even
in the metropolis of Liberty,[25] as oxen; even to those who are
notified of the fact, and are perhaps convinced of it, that they are

65. The discovery of these captives, on their road to the dismal
_gulf_[27] of (perhaps) interminable slavery to themselves, and their
multiplying progeny; in this very accidental, unless providential
manner, filled me with a mixture of astonishment, compassion and joy.
With a view to commence immediate legal measures, for restoring them to
their liberty, I took my pencil and noted down their narratives

66. I had not quite finished, before the purchaser of the mulatto man
came into the room. He seemed a little surprised to find me writing, but
made no inquiries about it, and having obtained all the information that
I wished, I continued noting it down, notwithstanding his being present,
until my memorandums were completed; when I left him in the room,
without having had any conversation with him, except answering some
questions, which he asked me relative to the wounded slave. Without
hesitation, I commenced a suit in the circuit court of the United
States, for the District of Columbia, for the restitution of their
liberty. The first attempt to secure the persons of the captives, by a
writ of habeas corpus, was ineffectual. I accompanied the deputy marshal
myself, to the house in which I found them. The landlord declared, that
"if he had known I was writing so long in the room where the Negroes
were, he should have been very angry with me; and that if I had no other
evidence of their freedom, but their stories, we should not see them."
He said he believed "Negroes were made to serve the Whites, and that
they had no more sense than horses." He stated, that the person who saw
me writing, suspected some difficulty, and had directed him to conceal
the Negroes, and that he had done it. He told me, in a sneering manner,
that if I wished to take the part of the negroes, he could find me
plenty of such business. He informed me that he had been in the way of
keeping Negroes for the Traders many years, and took better care of them
than they received in the jail.[28]

67. Notwithstanding the writ of habeas corpus was returned to the
magistrate unexecuted, I still persevered, and obtained a process of
injunction, in order to prevent the removal of the captives from the
District, until the commencement of the session of the court; by which
it was ascertained that they still remained in the same house. A second
writ of habeas corpus having been issued from the court while sitting,
they were at length produced, which, fortunately, was accomplished on
the very day that the purchaser of the woman and child left Washington,
with a coffle of ten or twelve coloured persons, with whom he had just
returned from Maryland.[29] The court having examined them, placed them
in safe custody for further examination at the ensuing summer session,
so that time could be had for procuring the requisite testimony from
Delaware. For defraying the expense of accomplishing this purpose, and
of prosecuting the suits, a subscription was drawn up by Francis T. Key,
esq. who volunteered his own services as attorney, gratis, as did also
J. B. Caldwell, and J. B. Lear, Esqs. The subscription was commenced by
general Van Ness; the heads of the executive departments of the
government, with but rare exception; several gentlemen of the senate and
house of representatives, and the mayor and citizens of Washington
generally, (possessors of slaves as well as others,) to whom application
was made, joined in the contribution. I was highly gratified to meet
with this practical evidence, that the disposition to extend the hand of
relief to abused _African_ strangers, is not at the present period, by
any means confined exclusively to the limits of a solitary religious
society. Between one and two hundred dollars having been collected,[30]
I proceeded myself to the state of Delaware; and having travelled from
Wilmington to Lewestown and Georgetown, returned with unequivocal proof
of the legal right of the captives to their liberty, which was
accordingly restored to them by the court at the ensuing June session.

68. One of the attornies having addressed letters to several respectable
citizens of Delaware, for the purpose of obtaining information
respecting the correctness of the statements of the captives, an answer
was received relative to the female, of which the following is an

69. "Your letter of the 30th ult. I received by yesterday's mail, and am
happy to find the unfortunate negro woman is once more rescued from the
fangs of the ----s and others, as vile a banditti as ever were permitted
to disturb the peace of society. The statement by ---- [the woman] is no
doubt true. This poor creature was rescued from the ----s some time last
winter, and seems in the case which occurred then, as well as that which
you relate, to have been saved by an almost miraculous intervention. The
----s stand now indicted for taking her off last winter.--Their gang is
numerous, daring--full of money, &c."

70. Understanding that several of the persons concerned in the cases had
been arrested, and having been informed by one of the representatives to
congress, from Delaware, that the laws of that state inflict corporeal
punishment for offences of this kind, such as whipping, cropping the
ears, and exposure in the pillory, I wrote a reply to the above letter,
of which the following is an extract:

71. "Not for vengeance, but for the sake of humanity, I hope this fell
banditti, with which the free (or ought to be free) soil of America is
polluted, may be routed. But, for Heaven's sake, and for the sake of
their wives and children, and _for my sake_, let the wrath of justice
and law be so managed, that their _animal_ bodies shall not be
tormented, in consequence of my exertions to arrest the progress of
their outrageous and unpardonable conduct, equal to the scratch of a
pin. Yet I cannot help charging that state jurisprudence, which permits
the easy repetition of the crimes of which they have been guilty, with
being exceedingly defective. It seems to me, that where there is no
work-house in a state, such persons should be limited under sufficient
securities and penalties, to their own farms, or some prescribed
boundaries;--and, in case they transgress these, to be declared to be
outlawed, and liable to be estimated and treated no other than as wolves
and tygers, to which they have already assimilated themselves of their
own accord."

72. Governor Miller of North-Carolina, says in his speech already
alluded to, "The principle will be conceded, that the end of punishment
is the prevention of crimes." Lacerations and mutilations of the human
frame, exasperate its occupant in the highest degree, and are very
likely to excite an obstinate perseverance in crimes, by way of
retaliation and spite. Imprisonment, with labour, if it does not reform
the disturber of the public peace, by the opportunity of reflection and
salutary instruction, it certainly restrains his career for a specific
time, effectually.

73. The satisfaction of beholding the yellow man, and the black woman,
with her two female infants, (one of them having been born but a short
time previous to their release,) seated in the stage, under the care of
one of the senators of the legislature of Delaware, who had attended the
court as a witness in behalf of the woman; afforded me a rich reward for
thus having performed an indispensable _duty_, which I owed to their
Creator, to them as their _neighbour_, to the principles of our social
and political system, and to myself.

74. The specimen here given of _man-stealing_, forms but a mere speck in
an extensive system of this nefarious profession, which for many years
has been, and continues to be pursued, with increasing vigor and
_pecuniary_ profit, in all the middle states. Even the city of
Philadelphia is not exempt from this moral pestilence.

75. To enumerate all the horrid and aggravating instances of
men-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 heavy volume. In many cases, whole families of free coloured
people have been attacked in the night, beaten _nearly_ to death with
clubs, gagged and bound, and dragged into distant and hopeless captivity
and slavery, leaving no traces behind, except the blood from their

76. During the last winter, since the seizure of the woman and infant,
as related above, 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; and 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.

77. I consider myself more fully warranted in particularising this fact,
from the circumstances of having been at New-Castle 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 the woman
and child whom I discovered at Washington. The ingenuity and stratagems
employed by kidnappers, in effecting their designs, are such as to
prove, that the most consummate cunning is no evidence of wisdom or
moral purity, nor incompatible with the most consummate villainy. 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 objects, through the instrumentality of the
laws:--Having selected a suitable free coloured person, to make a
_pitch_ upon, the _conjuring_ kidnapper employs a confederate, to
ascertain the distinguishing marks of his body and 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

78. From the best information that I have had opportunities to collect,
in travelling by various routes through the states of Delaware and
Maryland, and from statements of an ingenuous trader exclusively, (as I
believe,) in lawful slaves, I am fully convinced that there are, at this
time, within the jurisdiction of the United States, several thousands of
legally free people of colour, 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. This is a work, both from its nature and magnitude,
impracticable to individuals or benevolent societies to accomplish;
besides, it is perfectly a national business, and claims national
interference, equally with the captivity of our sailors in Algiers. The
most successful, economical, politic, and just method of effecting this
object would, perhaps, be to institute a board of commissioners, with
authority to redeem every individual satisfactorily ascertained to be
legally free, at a fair appraisal of the common value of a similar
slave. Inquiries might be made in those districts where many coloured
persons are known to have been kidnapped, and all possessors of slaves
might be required to report the names, ages, and origin of their
possession, of all the coloured persons in their custody, under legal
affirmation, to the clerk of such county, to be transmitted by them to
some department designated for the purpose in each state. The most of
the present holders of these _stolen men_, probably acquired possession
of them as innocently as they do of legal slaves, and an attempt by
coercion, although justifiable with respect to the captive, would render
the enterprise abortive, through evasion, and probably would be more
expensive if successful.

79. It is my impression, that the introduction of slaves for sale into
almost every state in the union, is prohibited by specific statutes, and
if an annual inspection and registering of all slaves were enforced, it
would guarantee a compliance with such laws in a most effectual manner,
and dissolve the man-hunting fraternity at once.

80. I shall close this subject, which indeed "_is almost too deep and
awful to look into_," by declaring my solemn and decided conviction,
that the abstract relative principles of moral and political justice;
the sacred axioms of our Declaration of Independence, and of our
Constitution, as well as sound policy and prudence, obligate this
nation, most unequivocally, to ransom every human creature held in
_lawful_ bondage for life, against his will, without accusation of
crime; at an equitable valuation of his worth to the possessor under
existing laws, within the jurisdiction of the republic; and to place him
so nearly in a state of _personal_ liberty, and the enjoyment of his
natural and moral rights, as to secure to him the fruits or reward of
his own labour, the benefits of mental improvement, and exemption from
corporeal laceration. I do not consider it to be our duty to grant them
a participation in the _civil_ privileges of citizenship;[31]--but, they
have an incontestable claim to the protection of the laws, and to the
common privileges of aliens and strangers, or at least of prisoners of
war, so far as is compatible with the public peace and welfare. They are
created a distinct race of people, and the designs of the Author of
Nature ought not to be thwarted, by permitting their conjugal commixture
with a race physically different. Without examining the problematical
question of the inherent physical or moral superiority of either in the
scale of being, (which is not relevant to the present subject,)[32] I
must affirm, that in my humble view there is both a moral and political
propriety in prohibiting by energetic laws, the sexual commerce between
the descendants of Europe and Africa, either by marriage, _slavery_, or
otherwise. The extinction of slavery would promote this purpose far more
than its toleration. Uncontrolled slavery, as facts have manifested, in
the United States as well as the West Indies, facilitates and protects
licentiousness, and a species of brutal debauchery, the consequences of
which are deplorable and afflicting beyond description.[33]

81. It was a wise sentiment of the late Dr. Benjamin Rush, that "Nothing
can be politically right that is morally wrong; and that no necessity
can sanctify a law that is contrary to equity." It is morally and
politically wrong both, (and without necessity too,) that an innocent,
"feeble and untutored people"[34] should be detained by a powerful and
enlightened people, professing superior honour and justice, in a state
of beastly, unwilling, unrequited servitude, and indescribable moral and
physical degradation! But let not the fell stigma be attached entirely
to the present retainers of the slaves. Every citizen of the republic,
entitled to the right of suffrage, is responsible for his proportionable
quota of the miseries inflicted on the defenceless Africans, in our
privileged country. Human nature is such, that a large proportion of
men, will improve every means within their reach, for advancing their
fortunes, indulged by political laws. In this country the laws emanate
primitively from the people. The outrage upon the rights of our present
slave population originated in Africa. Our laws have, from their
infancy, until recently, sanctioned the perpetration of that outrage, in
Africa, by permitting its principles and products to be transferred to,
and adopted in, our own country; and they still sanction their
continuance. Laws ought to be responsible for their own operations and
results. If a law were enacted authorizing the sale of all the debtors
now in prison in the United States, for unconditional and perpetual
servitude, with their posterity, and they should be accordingly sold, it
would be morally unjust, with respect to the purchasers, but not the
slaves, to proclaim an immediate emancipation, without restoring the
purchase money: that is, it would be unjust not to restore it. Hence the
people of the United States, considered collectively as a nation, having
confirmed and _legalized_ the transfer, (or abdication) of the assumed
power of African despots and banditti, to their assigns in America, and
now holding the sovereignty over the laws in their own hands, are the
_master aggressors_ upon the victims of those savage tyrants, and are
bound to make them appropriate reparation. While justice is rendered to
the slave, remuneration is due to the holder, for the loss he sustains
in consequence of his prior confidence of the continuation of his legal
power over him. It would be necessary and right, probably, until several
successive rising generations shall have been moralized by education,
that the government should retain, or leave with their present
possessors a rational and definite civil guardianship over the persons
of these national prisoners. The redemption of the existing population
of slaves would preclude the necessity of purchasing any of their
descendants; and thus the blessings of freedom and moral improvement
might be guaranteed to unknown millions of unborn members of the human
family. As the interests of the southern white population would be
vitally benefited by the accomplishment of this object, even if they
were to consummate it without the co-operation of the northern states,
the additional impulse of humanity cannot fail to influence their
unanimous assent and a generous compromise. Such an act of national
magnanimity, beneficence and justice, would diffuse joy and admiration
amongst all colours and all nations. There would be no murmuring. It
might be effected without making any man feel the poorer for it; and if
it did, that is no excuse for injustice and oppression. A great
proportion of the necessary sum might be raised from duties on the
imported products of the labour of slaves, which are generally luxuries,
as rum, sugar, coffee, &c.; and the amount of all the funds heretofore
raised, or to be raised, from the taxation of slaves, is justly due to
them, for this purpose; for they have resulted exclusively from the
products of their toil and sweat. It is both the right and the duty of
the citizens of the north to unite with their brethren in the south, in
washing away this obnoxious stain upon the national character. Let the
public will and honour be consulted; let the national voice be elicited
by universal public meetings, and concentrated, so as to vibrate with
irresistible effect, in the sanctuaries of freedom and justice. Mr.
Randolph, in the house of representatives, on the subject of
constitutional compromise, said, (alluding to the words "_three fourths
of all other persons_," made use of in the constitution, in order that
the statute book should not be stained with the name slave,) "he wished
to God our consciences were not stained."


Since the foregoing part was composed, a highly respectable meeting,
consisting of a considerable number of the Members of our National
Legislature, with many benevolent and intelligent citizens of the
District of Columbia, has been held in the City of Washington (on the
21st Dec. ult.) for the purpose, as expressed by the gentleman who
presided as chairman, (Mr. Clay,) "_of considering the propriety and
practicability of colonizing the free" people "of colour in the United
States, and of forming an asylum in relation to that object_."

As the proceedings of this Meeting indicate a flattering prospect of the
consummation of a measure, on which I had recorded my sentiments, and
hope[35] of its adoption, several weeks previous to the time that the
meeting was announced, it is deemed useful and appropriate to annex a
sketch of their deliberations, as published in the National

       *       *       *       *       *

Extracts from the speech of Mr. CLAY, (on taking the chair.)

"That class of the mixt population of our country was peculiarly
situated. They neither enjoyed the immunities of freemen, nor were they
subject to the incapacities of slaves, but partook in some degree of the
qualities of both. From their condition, and the unconquerable
prejudices resulting from their colour, they never could amalgamate with
the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it
respected them, and the residue of the population of the country, to
drain them off. Various schemes of colonization had been thought of,
and a part of our own continent, it was supposed by some, might furnish
a suitable establishment for them. But for his part, Mr. C. said, he had
a decided preference for some part of the coast of Africa. There ample
provision might be made for the colony itself, and it might be rendered
instrumental to the introduction, into that extensive quarter of the
globe, of the arts, civilization, and christianity. There was a
peculiar, a moral fitness in restoring them to the land of their
fathers. And if, instead of the evils and sufferings which we had been
the innocent cause of inflicting upon the inhabitants of Africa, we can
transmit to her the blessing of our arts, our civilization, and our
religion, may we not hope that America will extinguish a great portion
of that moral debt which she has contracted to that unfortunate
continent? Can there be a nobler cause than that which, whilst it
proposes, &c. contemplates the spreading of the arts of civilized life,
and the possible redemption from ignorance and barbarism of a benighted
quarter of the globe?

"It was proper and necessary distinctly to state, that he understood it
constituted no part of the object of this Meeting to touch or agitate in
the slightest degree, a delicate question connected with another
portion of the coloured population of our country. It was not proposed
to deliberate upon, or consider at all, any question of emancipation, or
that was connected with the abolition of slavery. It was upon that
condition alone, he was sure, that many gentlemen from the south and the
west, whom he saw present, had attended, or could be expected to
co-operate. It was upon that condition, only, that he had himself

       *       *       *       *       *

Extracts from the speech of ELIAS B. CALDWELL, Esq. of the District of

"The more you improve the condition of these people, the more you
cultivate their minds, the more miserable you make them, in their
present state. You give them a higher relish for those privileges which
they can never attain, and turn what we intend for a blessing into a
curse. No, if they must remain in their present situation, keep them in
the lowest state of degradation and ignorance. The nearer you bring them
to the condition of brutes, the better chance do you give them of
possessing their apathy. Surely, Americans ought to be the last people
on earth, to advocate such slavish doctrines, to cry peace and
contentment to those who are deprived of the privileges of civil
liberty. They who have so largely partaken of its blessings--who know so
well how to estimate its value, ought to be among the foremost to extend
it to others."

These sentiments, it will be readily perceived, clash diametrically with
those which I had previously advanced in paragraph 30, on the subject of
extending mental cultivation to the African race in this country. And
notwithstanding I have no inclination to retract the sentiments which I
have heretofore had occasion to express, concerning the practical
benevolence and ardent zeal of Mr. Caldwell in the cause of religion and
human happiness; yet, it is out of my power to unite with him in his
opinion, of the utility of subjecting _men_ of any colour, or any
situation whatever, to "_the lowest state of degradation and
ignorance_," and, as near as possible, "_to the condition of brutes_."
Right education and knowledge should teach the legitimate slave
fortitude, and the advantages of submission, duty, and fidelity; and
should elevate the free man, of whatever colour, above the unhallowed
crime of despising himself for its having been ordained this or that
tint, or for its being obnoxious to those who have been created with a
different colour, or with none at all. Ask Capt. Paul Cuffee, Prince
Saunders, and many other well educated and worthy persons of African
extraction, whether they hate themselves, or whether any body else
possessing common sense, hates them, because they cannot _repeal_ the
laws of nature; or because there is a political and physical propriety
in their being considered as foreigners and aliens in _our_ country.

Mr. Caldwell, having considered the various positions in which it had
been respectively proposed to establish the colony, and expressing his
preference of Africa, enlarged upon the greater importance of selecting
that quarter of the globe, "in the belief and hope of thereby
introducing civilization and the christian religion, &c." correspondent
to the sentiments of Mr. Clay. "The great movements (said he) and mighty
efforts in the moral and religious world, seem to indicate some great
design of Providence on the eve of accomplishment. The unexampled and
astonishing success attending the various and numerous plans which have
been devised and which are now in operation in different parts of the
world, and the union and harmony with which christians of different
denominations unite in promoting these plans, clearly indicate a Divine
Hand in their direction. Nay, sir, the subject on which we are now
deliberating has been brought to public view, nearly about the same
time in different parts of our country. In New Jersey, New York,
Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and perhaps other places not known to me,
the public attention seems to have been awakened, as from slumber, to
this subject."

Mr. Caldwell remarked, that "it is a great national object, and ought to
be supported by the public purse. And that, as had been justly observed
by the honourable gentleman in the chair, there ought to be a national
atonement for the wrongs and injuries which Africa had suffered." He
said that "as a nation, we cannot rid ourselves entirely from the
disgrace attending the iniquitous slave traffic formerly pursued by this
country, until we, as a nation, have made every reparation in our
power." He observed, that the example of our own ancestors, braving the
various dangers and hardships of their early emigration and settlement
upon these shores; and the prospect of the enjoyment of civil rights and
a state of equality, ought to encourage and influence these people to
comply cheerfully with the proposed plan of colonization.

       *       *       *       *       *

The question being stated by the Chairman, on agreeing to the preamble
and resolutions offered by Mr. Caldwell, for forming an association to
accomplish the object of the meeting:

"Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH (of Roanoke) rose and said, that it had been properly
observed, by the chairman as well as by the gentleman from this
district, that there was nothing in the proposition submitted to
consideration which in the smallest degree touches another very
important and delicate question, which ought to be left as much out of
view as possible, (Negro Slavery.)

"There was no fear, Mr. R. said, that this proposition would alarm the
slave holders; they had been accustomed to think seriously of the
subject. There was a popular work on agriculture, by John Taylor of
Caroline, which was widely circulated, and much confided in, in
Virginia. In that book, much read because coming from a practical man,
this description of people were pointed out as a great evil. They had
indeed been held up as the greater bug-bear to every man who feels an
inclination to emancipate his slaves, not to create in the bosom of his
country so great a nuisance. If a place could be provided for their
reception, and a mode of sending them hence, there were hundreds, nay
thousands of citizens, who would, by manumitting their slaves, relieve
themselves from the cares attendant on their possession. The great slave
holder, Mr. R. said, was frequently a mere sentry at his own
door--bound to stay on his plantation to see that his slaves were
properly treated, &c. Mr. R. concluded by saying, that he had thought it
necessary to make these remarks, being a slave holder himself, to shew
that, so far from being connected with abolition of slavery, the measure
proposed would prove one of the greatest securities, to enable the
master to keep in possession his own property."

       *       *       *       *       *

Extracts from the Speech of Mr. WRIGHT.

"Mr. Robert Wright (of Md.) said he could not withhold his approbation
of a measure that had for its object the amelioration of the lot of any
portion of the human race, particularly of the free people of colour,
whose degraded state robs them of the happiness of self-government, so
dear to the American people. And, said he, as I discover the most
delicate regard to the rights of property, I shall with great pleasure
lend my aid to restore this unfortunate people to the enjoyment of their
liberty; but I fear gentlemen are too sanguine in their expectation,
that they would be willing to abandon the land of their nativity, so
dear to man. However, I have no indisposition to give them that election
by furnishing all the means contemplated by the honourable and
benevolent propositions submitted to our consideration."

"Nothing would have a stronger tendency to effect the contemplated
relief of the free people of colour, than some efficient laws to secure
the restoration of those not entitled to liberty, to their masters,
whose rights ought to be protected by law, and who, without such law,
would be certainly sacrificed by the transportation of the free blacks
with whom they would most certainly mix for that purpose. However, I
feel no hesitation in saying, I should be happy to see some plan for the
gradual abolition of slavery, that would prepare the rising generation
for that state, and remunerate the master out of the funds of the
nation, amply abundant for that purpose, without being felt by the
people of America."

It is a strong presumptive evidence in favour of the rationality of a
moral proposition, when it emanates from several sources perfectly
distinct and remote from each other. The sentiments of Mr. Wright on the
propriety of adopting some plan for the gradual abolition of slavery,
&c. and to remunerate the master out of the funds of the nation, &c. are
so perfectly analogous to those which I had adopted and recorded,
(precisely as expressed in paragraphs 80 & 81,) fifteen days previous to
the Meeting at Washington, that my confidence in their correctness, and
hope of their favourable reception by the citizens in general of the
United States, is greatly strengthened; particularly as Mr. Wright is
one of the representatives of a large state in which slavery prevails,
and is himself probably a possessor of slaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Preamble and Resolutions having been unanimously adopted by the
Meeting, committees were appointed to draught articles of association,

       *       *       *       *       *

The following are the two first articles of the Constitution:--

     "Article I.--The Society shall be called 'The American Society for
     Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the United States.'

     "Article II.--The object to which its attention is to be
     exclusively directed, is to promote and execute a plan for
     colonizing (with their consent) the free people of colour residing
     in our country, in Africa, or such other places as Congress shall
     deem most expedient."

In pursuance of this object, a Board of Managers have been organized; of
which Bushrod Washington, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the
United States, has been appointed president. This body have submitted
their views to the Congress, by a Memorial.--And as this Memorial
embraces subjects which concern, more or less, every description of
population in the United States, its circulation cannot, perhaps, be too
widely extended.

     _In the House of Representatives, Jan. 14._

     Read, and ordered to lie on the Table.

     To the honourable the Senate and House of Representatives of the
     United States of America, in Congress assembled:

     The Memorial of the President and Board of Managers of the
     "American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the
     United States,"

     Respectfully shews--

     THAT your Memorialists are delegated by a numerous and highly
     respectable association of their fellow citizens, recently
     organized at the seat of government, to solicit Congress to aid,
     with the power, the patronage, and the resources of the country,
     the great and beneficial object of their institution; an object
     deemed worthy of the earnest attention, and of the strenuous and
     persevering exertions, as well of every patriot, in whatever
     condition of life, as of every enlightened, philanthropic, and
     practical statesman.

     It is now reduced to be a maxim, equally approved in philosophy and
     politics, that the existence of distinct and separate casts or
     classes, forming exceptions to the general system of polity adapted
     to the community, is an inherent vice in the composition of
     society; pregnant with baneful consequences, both moral and
     political, and demanding the utmost exertions of human energy and
     foresight to remedy or remove it. If this maxim be true in the
     general, it applies with peculiar force to the relative condition
     of the free people of colour in the United States; between whom and
     the rest of the community, a combination of causes, political,
     physical and moral, has created distinctions, unavoidable in their
     origin, and most unfortunate in their consequences. The actual and
     prospective condition of that class of people; their anomalous and
     indefinite relations to the political institutions and social ties
     of the community; their deprivation of most of those independent,
     political, and social rights, so indispensable to the progressive
     melioration of our nature, rendered, by systematic exclusion from
     all the higher rewards of excellence, dead to all the elevating
     hopes that might prompt a generous ambition to excel; all these
     considerations demonstrate, that it equally imports the public
     good, as the individual and social happiness of the persons more
     immediately concerned, that it is equally a debt of patriotism and
     of humanity, to provide some adequate and effectual remedy. The
     evil has become so apparent, and the necessity for a remedy so
     palpable, that some of the most considerable of the slave-holding
     states have been induced to impose restraints upon the practice of
     emancipation, by annexing conditions, which have the effect to
     transfer the evil from one state to another; or, by inducing other
     states to adopt countervailing regulations, and in the total
     abrogation of a right, which benevolent or conscientious
     proprietors had long enjoyed under all the sanctions of positive
     law and of ancient usage. Your Memorialists beg leave, with all
     deference, to suggest, that the fairest and most inviting
     opportunities are now presented to the general government, for
     repairing a great evil in our social and political institutions,
     and at the same time for elevating, from a low and hopeless
     condition, a numerous and rapidly increasing race of men, who want
     nothing but a proper theatre, to enter upon the pursuit of
     happiness and independence, in the ordinary paths which a benign
     Providence has left open to the human race. Those great ends, it is
     conceived, may be accomplished by making adequate provision for
     planting, in some salubrious and fertile region, a colony, to be
     composed of such of the above description of persons as may choose
     to emigrate; and for extending to it the authority and protection
     of the United States, until it shall have attained sufficient
     strength and consistency to be left in a state of independence.

     Independently of the motives derived from political foresight and
     civil prudence on the one hand, and from moral justice and
     philanthropy on the other; there are additional considerations, and
     more expanded views to engage the sympathies and excite the ardour
     of a liberal and enlightened people. It may be resolved for our
     government (the first to denounce an inhuman and abominable
     traffic, in the guilt and disgrace of which most of the civilized
     nations of the world were partakers) to become the honourable
     instrument, under Divine Providence, of conferring a still higher
     blessing upon the large and interesting portion of mankind,
     benefited by that deed of justice; by demonstrating that a race of
     men, composing numerous tribes, spread over a continent of vast and
     unexplored extent, fertility and riches; known to the enlightened
     nations of antiquity; and who had yet made no progress in the
     refinements of civilization; for whom history has preserved no
     monuments of arts or arms; that even this hitherto ill-fated face
     may cherish the hope of beholding, at last, the orient star
     revealing the best and highest aims and attributes of man. Out of
     such materials, to rear the glorious edifices of well ordered and
     polished society, upon the deep and sure foundations of equal laws
     and diffusive education, would give a sufficient title to be
     enrolled among the illustrious benefactors of mankind; whilst it
     afforded a precious and consolatory evidence of the all-prevailing
     power of liberty, enlightened by knowledge and corrected by
     religion. If the experiment, in its remote consequences, should
     ultimately tend to the diffusion of similar blessings through those
     vast regions and unnumbered tribes yet obscured in primeval
     darkness; reclaim the rude wanderer, from a life of wretchedness,
     to civilization and humanity; and convert the blind idolater, from
     gross and abject superstitions, to the holy charities, the sublime
     morality and humanizing discipline of the gospel; the nation, or
     the individual, that shall have taken the most conspicuous lead in
     achieving the benignant enterprise, will have raised a monument of
     that true and imperishable glory, founded in the approbation and
     gratitude of the human race; unapproachable to all but the elected
     instruments of divine beneficence: a glory with which the most
     splendid achievements of human force or power must sink in the
     competition, and appear insignificant and vulgar in the comparison.
     And above all, should it be considered, that the nation or the
     individual, whose energies have been faithfully given to this
     august work, will have secured, by this exalted beneficence the
     favour of that Being, "whose compassion is over all his works," and
     whose unspeakable rewards will never fail to bless the humblest
     effort to do good to his creatures.

     Your Memorialists do not presume to determine that the views of
     Congress will be necessarily directed to the country to which they
     have just alluded. They hope to be excused for intimating some of
     the reasons which would bring that portion of the world before us,
     when engaged in discovering a place the most proper to be selected,
     leaving it with confidence, to the better information and better
     judgment of your honourable body to make the choice.

     Your Memorialists, without presuming to mark out, in detail, the
     measures which it may be proper to adopt in furtherance of the
     object in view; but implicitly relying upon the wisdom of Congress
     to devise the most effectual measures; will only pray, that the
     subject may be recommended to their serious consideration, and
     that, as an humble auxiliary in this great work, the Association,
     represented by your Memorialists, may be permitted to aspire to the
     hope of contributing its labours and resources.

                                   BUSH. WASHINGTON, _President_.

With respect to the most eligible situation for the establishment of the
proposed colony, I shall probably more certainly avoid the imputation of
unbecoming assurance, by omitting, for the present, to add any thing
more specific to what I had already expressed (Par. 38, 39, 40) before
the least intimation of the design of forming this Association had come
to my knowledge.

I cannot forbear, however, to remark, that although it would give me
inexpressible pleasure to see the banners of knowledge and rational
religion triumphing over ignorance and superstition, in Africa, as well
as in the many other vast regions of the earth, yet it impresses me that
it will absorb all the benevolence, all the delegated authority, and all
the resources, for a century to come, of both our national and state
legislatures, to reclaim from the awful abyss of ignorance, vice, and
consequential misery, in which thousands and hundreds of thousands of
human beings, of all colours and all extractions, are involved on our
own continent:--That moral contamination on this continent cannot
produce religion and moral purification by a transfer to the continent
of Africa:--And that the great moral debt which this continent has
incurred, is due more specifically to the immense population of the sons
of Africa, who still remain in the shackles of slavery, than to those
who are now enjoying personal liberty, or to the continent of Africa.

I have been assured by citizens of Philadelphia, who were active in
aiding Capt. Cuffee in collecting emigrants for Sierra Leone, that the
injunctions of the British authorities were very positive not to admit
any without testimonials of an irreproachable moral character from
respectable magistrates. After a proper system of African education has
become matured in this country, the seeds of much future good might be
gradually disseminated in Africa, by frequent exportations to that
country of well instructed virtuous school-masters, artisans and
farmers; as the Society of Friends have done, with encouraging prospects
of success, amongst the aboriginal natives of this country.

       *       *       *       *       *

I will conclude for the present, with a transcript of the Proceedings of
a Meeting of the free Coloured People at Richmond, (Virg.) which have
come to hand (through the "Freeman's Journal,") just in time for
insertion, before this Work is dismissed from the press.--They are
similar to those of a similar Meeting at Georgetown several weeks ago.

     RICHMOND, JAN. 28.

     _Meeting of Free People of Colour_.

     At a Meeting of a respectable portion of the Free People of Colour,
     of the City of Richmond, on

     Friday the 24th of January 1817, William Bowler was appointed
     Chairman, Ephraim Speed, Moderator, and Lantey Crow, Secretary.

The following Preamble and Resolution was read, unanimously adopted, and
ordered to be printed:

     Whereas a Society has been formed at the seat of Government, for
     the purpose of "colonizing (with their own consent) the Free People
     of Colour of the United States;" Therefore, we the Free People of
     Colour of the city of Richmond, have thought it adviseable to
     assemble together, under the sanction of authority, for the purpose
     of making a public expression of our sentiments on a question in
     which we are so deeply interested. We perfectly agree with the
     Society, that it is not only proper, but would ultimately tend to
     the benefit and advantage of a great portion of our suffering
     fellow-creatures, to be colonized: but while we thus express our
     entire approbation of a measure, laudable in its purposes and
     beneficent in its designs, it may not be improper in us to say, we
     prefer being colonized in the most remote corner of the land of our
     nativity, to being exiled to a foreign country.[36]

     And whereas the President and Board of Managers of the said
     Society, have been pleased to leave it to the entire discretion of
     Congress to provide a suitable place for carrying their laudable
     intentions into effect;--Be it therefore resolved, That we
     respectfully submit to the wisdom of Congress, whether it would not
     be an act of charity to grant us a small portion of their
     territory, either on the Missouri river, or any place that may seem
     to them most conducive to the public good, and our future welfare:
     subject, however, to such rules and regulations as the Government
     of the United States may think proper to adopt.

                                             W. BOWLER, Chairman.

      _Ephraim Speed_, Moderator.
      _Lantey Crow_, Secretary.

The following article from the New York Columbian, may, perhaps, throw a
little additional light on this subject:--


     We gave an abstract of the Constitution of Hayti some weeks ago;
     and out of compassion, &c. we again publish the 44th clause, which
     shows a land of promise nearer our doors than Sierra Leone.

     "44. Every African, Indian, and their descendants, born in the
     colonies of foreign countries, who shall come to reside in the
     Republic, shall be recognized as Haytians, but shall not enjoy the
     rights of citizenship until after a year's residence."

     The same constitution that excludes the white man, invites the
     black; and, gentlemen from Port au Prince have assured us, that
     President Petion gives a marked welcome to the Free Blacks from the
     United States who settle in Hayti."


_Printed by C. Clement._

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] The liberty of the black population in but a single state, is
estimated at about thirty millions of dollars.

[2] Governor Miller's message to the legislature of North Carolina in

[3] The Capitol at Washington.

[4] "Political subordination, however hateful to a liberal mind, is as
bright as day when compared with the dark and hopeless bondage of the

[5] Since writing the above, I have been favoured with the perusal of a
letter from the brother of the late Governor of the State of Delaware,
to his friend in Philadelphia, dated Lewes, November 27, 1816, in which,
after mentioning the arrest of a banditti of kidnappers, &c. he relates
the following narrative:--

"A melancholy catastrophe has recently occurred here. A pilot, who owned
a young black man, last Thursday morning, when in the bay off here, for
some small offence, struck him three or four times with a rope's end;
his man observed, 'Master, you have promised whenever I am unwilling to
serve you, that I might choose another master; I now want to leave you.'

'Very well, (replied the master) but I will settle with you first, pull
off your shirt,' and signified or said he would beat him until sun-set.
His man replied, 'I will die first,' and immediately jumped overboard
and drowned himself."

[6] The aboriginal Americans have offered their civilized brethren a
most beautiful and instructive lesson on this subject. The author of
"The Star in the West," Elias Boudinot, LL. D. relates the following
fact. From page 232:--

"The writer of these sheets, many years ago, was one of the
corresponding members of a society in Scotland for promoting the gospel
among the Indians. To further the great work, they educated two young
men, of very serious and religious dispositions, and who were desirous
of undertaking the mission for this purpose. When they were ordained and
ready to depart, we wrote a letter in the Indian style, to the Delaware
nation, then residing on the northwest of the Ohio, informing them that
we had, by the goodness of the Great Spirit, been favoured with a
knowledge of his will, as to the worship he required of his creatures,
and the means he would bless to promote the happiness of men, both in
this life and that which is to come. That thus enjoying so much
happiness ourselves, we could not but think of our red brethren in the
wilderness, and wish to communicate the glad tidings to them, that they
might be partakers with us. We had therefore sent them two ministers of
the gospel, who would teach them these great things, and earnestly
recommended them to their careful attention. With proper passports the
missionaries set off, and arrived in safety at one of their principal

"The chiefs of the nation were called together, who answered them, that
they would take it into consideration, but in the mean time they might
instruct their women, but they should not speak to the men. They spent
fourteen days in council, and then dismissed them very courteously, with
an answer to us. This answer made great acknowledgments for the favor we
had done them: They rejoiced exceedingly at our happiness in thus being
favored by the Great Spirit, and felt very grateful that we had
condescended to remember our red brethren in the wilderness: But they
could not help recollecting that we had a people among us, who, because
they differed from us in colour, we had made slaves of, and made them
suffer great hardships and lead miserable lives. Now, they could not see
any reason, if a people being black, entitled us thus to deal with them,
why a red colour should not equally justify the same treatment: They
therefore had determined to wait, to see whether all the black people
amongst us were made thus happy and joyful, before they could put
confidence in our promises; for they thought a people who had suffered
so much and so long by our means, should be entitled to our first
attention; that therefore, they had sent back the two missionaries, with
many thanks, promising that when they saw the black people among us
restored to freedom and happiness, they would gladly receive our
missionaries. This is what in any other case, would be called close
reasoning, and is too mortifying a fact to make further observations

[7] An inn-keeper, in the south part of Virginia, who hires his stand,
complains that his landlord _does_ him _much_ harm, by inviting nearly
all his respectable company to the festivities of his own dwelling

[8] The ingenious and benevolent Mr. J. M'Leod, teacher of a respectable
seminary in the city of Washington, has assured the author, that he has
extended the science of encouraging promptitude in duty to such a
degree, that, (by his permission) his pupils have often flocked to his
lodgings, in crowds, before the dawn of day, emulating each other, who
should first rouse him from his bed, in order to proceed upon their
studies. At the same time, he did not permit his rules to be violated
with impunity. He pursued the same policy with soldiers, while an
officer a short time formerly, in the United States' army, and with the
same success. While a private teacher in a family in which slaves were
kept, his sympathy was so deeply wounded by the severity of their
punishments for misconduct, that he frequently gave them a quarter of a
dollar out of his own pocket, as an inducement for doing their duty so
as not to incur the displeasure of their masters. Might not such a
system of _genuine_ and _generous republican government_ as this be
adopted with mutual benefit to both _the people and their rulers_, on
the slave plantations universally?

[9] "Give me an uninformed brute," said Mirabeau, "and I will soon make
him a ferocious monster. It was a white, who first plunged a negro into
a burning oven,--who dashed out the brains of a child in the presence of
its father,--who fed a slave with his own proper flesh. These are the
monsters that have to account for the barbarity of the revolted savages.
Millions of Africans have perished on this soil of blood. In this
dreadful struggle the crimes of the whites are yet the most
horrible:--They are the offspring of despotism; whilst those of the
blacks originate in the hatred of slavery--the thirst of vengeance."

[10] Several letters have been addressed to the Pennsylvania Society for
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, by individuals residing in the
southern and south-western states, expressing their desire to emancipate
their slaves, and requesting the Society to receive them under its

In a letter from Dr. John Adams, to the Society, dated Richmond Hill,
Dec. 19, 1815, he states that, "A certain Samuel Guest, deceased, had,
by his will, directed that his slaves, amounting to about 300, should be
emancipated, and his lands sold for their benefit; which, being
prohibited by law, unless they should be removed out of the boundaries
of the commonwealth of Virginia, he requests the aid of the Society, and
recommends their transportation to Guinea."

The committee of the American Convention for Promoting the Abolition of
Slavery, to whom this letter was referred, reported, "that it did not
appear that the convention could, at present, propose any specific plan
for accomplishing the benevolent intention of Samuel Guest." This is
really a distressing case. If there exists _any where_, the power of
affording a remedy in such instances as this, the omission of exercising
it is, in effect, an act of converting freemen into slaves! This subject
demands the serious attention of the government, and of every citizen,
who, like Howard, the model of beneficence, is "a patriot of every

Since the original of the preceding note was written, the following
statement has been published in the National Intelligencer:--

"The legislature of Indiana are now actively engaged in the organization
of the details of the state government. Much debate has taken place on a
petition or letter from W. E. Sumner, of Williamson county, (Tennessee,)
requesting that the legislature may enable him to bring into the state a
number of slaves, with the view which he expresses in the following

"I have about 40, and my intention is, if permitted by the laws of
Indiana, to bring and free them, to purchase land for them and settle
them on it; to give them provisions for the first year, and furnish them
with tools for agriculture and domestic manufactory, and next spring
with domestic animals. You must be aware, sir, that this must be
attended with no small expenditure of money and trouble. I think, that
after a man has had the use of slaves and their ancestors, twenty or
thirty years, it is unjust and inhuman to set them free, unprovided with
a home, &c. &c. All that I have were raised by my father and myself, and
the oldest is about my age (46.) I am also very desirous to leave the
slave states, and spend my few remaining days in that state where
involuntary slavery is not admissible; and will, with the blessing of
God, prepare to do so as soon as I can settle my affairs."

"The mode in which this letter should be treated is the subject of the
debate. It appears to be agreed that the constitution of the state
forbids a compliance with his request."

The writer has been assured that this conscientious, just, and generous
individual is one among the number of those who made similar
propositions to the above, to the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and
with the like disappointment.

[11] A few days subsequent to the time that the above suggestions were
originally committed to paper, the House of Delegates of the Virginia
Legislature, passed the following resolution, by an almost unanimous
vote; "That the Executive be requested to correspond with the President
of the United States, for the purpose of obtaining a Territory upon the
North Pacific, or at some other place, not within any of the states, or
the territorial governments of the United States, to serve as an asylum
for such persons of colour, as are now free, and may desire the same,
and for those who may be hereafter emancipated within this commonwealth,
&c." If the present system of restrictions upon emancipation should be
persevered in, for an indefinite length of time, the necessary final
result must be frightful to contemplate. If a state, containing soil
sufficient to subsist only 1,000,000 of slaves, besides the free
population, provides no outlet, for the excess of that number, by
permitting their emancipation or otherwise, _starvation_ must be the

[12] On first hearing this epithet used, I was at a loss to account for
its meaning. I have since observed that, in the middle states, the
general title applied to slave-traders, indiscriminately, is

[13] Would it be superstitious to presume, that the sovereign Father of
all nations, permitted the _perpetration_ of this apparently execrable
transaction, as a _fiery_, though salutary signal of his displeasure at
the conduct of his Columbian children, in erecting and idolizing this
splendid fabric as the temple of freedom, and at the same time
oppressing with the yoke of captivity and toilsome bondage, twelve or
fifteen hundred thousand of their African _brethren_ (by logical
induction,) making merchandize of their _blood_, and dragging their
bodies with _iron chains_, even under its towering walls? Yet is it a
fact, that _slaves_ are employed in rebuilding this sanctuary of

[14] It is a notorious and afflicting truth, that in the United States,
the head of a _poor black man_ has been cut off _with impunity_, by a
white man (or master;) that black men have been _wantonly shot_ by white
men; and that a free black man (whom I have seen myself) was _hoppled_,
and being unsuccessfully offered for sale as a slave, was bound to a
post in the winter, and left without food until his feet _were frozen_,
where he would probably have perished, had he not extricated himself by
his own struggles.

[15] This statement was furnished by a respectable citizen, who was one
of the first that found the dead body, near his own house.

N.B. Nothing can more strongly indicate the true state of the case than
this _disguising of names_. The _Author_ dared put _his_ name; but he
was in _Pennsylvania_: he would, probably have exposed his
_Maryland_-informant to _death_ by naming him. W. C.

[16] It is a frequent custom in the district of Columbia, Maryland, and
Delaware, for masters to endeavour to reform their bad slaves, by
terrifying them with threats of selling them for the Georgia market, or
"_to Carolina_" them; which is often carried into effect. There are,
notwithstanding, several individuals, so conscientiously opposed to
selling men against their will, that the most unpardonable conduct will
not induce men to do it; and they prefer rejecting them, and letting
them keep all the wages they can get for their own use.

[17] One of the members of the house of representatives (Mr. ADGATE,)
related to me, while at Washington, the following fact:--"That during
the last session of congress, (1815-16,) as several members were
standing in the street, near the new capitol, a drove of manacled
coloured people were passing by; and when just opposite, one of them
elevating his manacles as high as he could reach, commenced singing the
favorite national song, "_Hail Columbia! happy land_," &c.

N.B. This is an excessively stupid song, written more than 20 years ago
by one HOPKINSON, a lawyer of Philadelphia, who seems to have been born
to be an ornament of Grub-Street. But, however silly the thoughts or
inflated the expressions, down it goes if national vanity or party
strife lay hold of it. "_Hail Columbia_" is much about upon a level with
"_God save the king_;" they have both had about the same cause to keep
them in vogue; but, I must confess, that the Americans, with _manacles
on their hands and chains round their necks_, singing songs in praise of
the _freedom_ of that Country, is going a little further than our fools
when they bleat and bellow and bawl out that parcel of stuff, that low
bombast, which the news-papers, in their cant, call "Our great National
_Anthem_;" an "_Anthem_" that talks, amongst other things, of
"confounding _politicks_ and all their _knavish tricks_!" Come, come: we
must not pretend to _laugh_ at the Washington Negro!--W. C.

[18] Judge Morrel, in his charge to the grand jury of Washington, at the
session of the circuit court of the United States, in January 1816, for
the district of Columbia, urged this subject to its attention very
emphatically, as an object of remonstrance and juridical investigation.
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 was calculated to impair the public morals, by familiarizing
scenes of cruelty to the minds of youth.

[19] Extract from the preamble to the first act passed by the
legislature of Pennsylvania, for the gradual abolition of slavery in
that state:

"Sect. 2. And whereas the condition of those persons who have heretofore
been denominated negro and mulatto slaves, has been attended with
circumstances which not only deprived them of the common blessings that
they were by nature entitled to, but has cast them into the deepest
afflictions by an unnatural separation of husband and wife from each
other and from their children--an injury the greatness of which can only
be conceived by supposing that we were in the same unhappy case," &c.

Darwin, who may well be styled an _arch connoisseur_, both in physiology
and morality, in his classification of human diseases, includes one
which he denominates _Nostalgia_, and thus defines it:

"_Nostalgia._ An unconquerable desire of returning to one's native
country, frequent in long voyages, in which the patients become so
insane as to throw themselves into the sea, mistaking it for green
fields and meadows. The Swiss are said to be particularly liable to this
disease, and when taken into foreign service frequently desert from this
cause, and especially after hearing or singing a particular tune, which
was used in their village dances, in their native country; on which
account their playing or singing this tune was punished with death.

Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that hill, which
lifts him to the storms. Goldsmith." Zoonomia, Cl. III. 1. 1. 6.

The late _indefatigable Rush_, in his Inquiry into the Causes of the
Derangement of the Human Mind, states, that the slaves imported into the
_West Indies from Africa_, frequently become distracted when they are
about to commence the toils of perpetual slavery on the plantations.

N. B. This "_indefatigable_ RUSH" was, indeed, _indefatigable_ in
_puffing himself off_ for a friend of _humanity_, in which he was pretty
successful too. He made his court to the Quakers, and even exceeded some
of them in cunning. It was as puny a creature, in point of talent, as
ever contrived to get a reputation for wisdom. Principles he had none:
he wrote about every thing, and about nothing well; but, as a
_pretender_ to humanity he was consummate. Only mind how he _here_ calls
for indignation against the "_West India_" planters. Not a word about
those of his own "_free country_!" What a hypocrite! He was a Doctor of
Physic; and he knew well that he would have lost his best patients,
those that paid best for the _blood-letting_, (for which he was so
famous) if he had made free with the Slave-holders of his own
"free-country."--W. C.

[20] To those speculators in human flesh, who purchase free people as
well as slaves, without discrimination, I must now apply the title of
_Man-Dealers_, instead of Slave Traders.

[21] While interrogating him about the manner of his being seized and
bound, he gave his chains a shake, by moving his feet on the floor, and
with vexation muttered, "When the devil gets 'em he'll _chain them_."
"No, no," said I, "you shouldn't make such speeches as that, perhaps
they were brought up to such things, and don't know any better." "_Well
but_," said he, "_they know what's right_." I have since been assured,
that several instances of _black_ man-stealing had occurred, in which
fathers, sons, brothers, and even wives and daughters, were
promiscuously engaged.

[22] I was informed, on my arrival in the neighbourhood where this
affair was transacted, that this _person_, on hearing that the mulatto
man had been intercepted at Washington, said he had a _bad pain_ on his
mind, and believed he should _clear out_; which he had done accordingly.

[23] Thos. Clarkson states, in his History of the Abolition of the Slave
Trade, that "the arrival of slave ships on the coasts of Africa was the
uniform signal for the immediate commencement of wars for the attainment
of prisoners, for sale and exportation to America and the West Indies."
In Maryland and Delaware, the same drama is now performed in miniature.
The arrival of the Man-Traffickers, _laden_ with cash, at their
respective _stations_, near the coasts of a great American water, called
justly, by Mr. Randolph, "a Mediterranean sea," or at their several
_inland posts_, near the dividing line of Maryland and Delaware, (at
some of which they have grated prisons for the purpose) is the well
known signal for the professed _kidnappers_, like beasts of prey, to
commence their nightly invasions upon the _fleecy flocks_; extending
their ravages, (generally attended with bloodshed, and sometimes
murder,) and spreading terror and consternation amongst both freemen and
slaves throughout the _sandy regions_, from the western to the eastern
shores. These "two-legged featherless animals," or _human bloodhounds_,
when overtaken (rarely) by the messengers of law, are generally found
armed with instruments of death, sometimes with pistols with _latent_
spring daggers attached to them! Mr. Cooper, one of the representatives
to congress from Delaware, assured me that he had often been afraid to
send one of his servants out of his house in the evening, from the
danger of their being seized by kidnappers.

While at Wilmington (Del.) I accidentally heard a black woman telling
the gate-keeper of the bridge, that she had set out to go to Georgetown,
(Del.) but was returning without having reached it, for fear of being
caught on the road by the kidnappers.

[24] I was informed in Delaware, that her seller absconded in about ten
days after the outrage was committed.

[25] The mulatto youth had been purchased in the city of Washington, and
kept in it in irons several weeks, by a person who confessed his regret
that he had not removed him before the suit for the recovery of his
freedom had commenced; and that, if he had known it sooner, he would
have taken him on to ----, (the place of his residence,) even if he had
been satisfied of his being free. One Slave-Trader, to whom he had been
offered, was however so conscientious, that he refused to purchase him,
or the lad who was with him, (before mentioned) being confident that
they were illegally enslaved.

[26] I have been assured by a gentleman of the highest respectability,
that a former representative to Congress, from one of the southern
states, acknowledged to him, that he held a mulatto man as a slave,
having purchased him in company with slaves, who affirmed that he was
free born, and had been kidnapped from one of the New England states;
who was well educated, and who, he had no doubt, was born as free a man
as himself, or my informant. Upon being asked, how he could _bear_ then
to retain him, he replied, that the customs of his part of the country
were such, that these things are not minded much.

[27] I was informed that the mulatto man was probably destined for the
New-Orleans market, not very far distant from the _Gulf of Mexico_,
which probably embraces more personal slavery, including its
neighbouring regions, than any region of equal extent on the globe.

[28] On the ensuing day, having persevered in endeavours to secure the
captives, the son of this landlord (to whom I presume _manacles_,
_hand-cuffs_, _iron man-fetters_, _hopples_ _&c._ are as familiar as
steel-traps and snares to the hunter of the _animals which yield fur_,)
expressed his sympathy for the loss of the purchaser of the mulatto man,
(who still remained in his chains,) should he be set at liberty. I asked
him whether he considered it worse for the trader to lose a few hundred
dollars in money, than for the mulatto man to be transported to a
strange country, and be deprived of his liberty for life. To which he
replied, after a short pause, _that he did not know as there was much
difference_! I assured him, that if he _did not_, I was _sorry_ for him.
This illustrates the invincible force of morbid education and of habit.

[29] By information, derived from distinct and corresponding sources, a
few days after this caravan left Washington, there is no doubt of the
fact, that it contained, in addition to the slaves, a young black woman,
who had been emancipated in Delaware, and was sold by the same person as
an agent, that assisted in seizing and sold the black woman and child;
and also a legally free mulatto man, in irons, who had been sold in the
night by his employer, near Philadelphia, and who was most unmercifully
beaten with a club, on the night previous to their arrival in the city,
for telling a person that he was free.

[30] Additional aid was also rendered by the Abolition Society at

[31] It would be equally as absurd to do this, as it would to import
2,000,000 prisoners of war from Turkey or China, and make citizens of

[32] "It is not for us to inquire why, in the creation of mankind, the
inhabitants of the several parts of the earth were distinguished by a
difference in feature or complexion. It is sufficient to know, that all
are the work of an Almighty Hand." [From the first section of the
Preamble to the Pennsylvania act for the Abolition of Slavery, before
referred to.]

[33] M'Gurran Coulon, in his "Observations on the Insurrection of the
Negroes in the Island of St. Domingo," read before the National Assembly
of France, attributes the _troubles_ of that island, "above all, to the
injustice of which the whites have been guilty, in refusing to let the
mulattos partake of the blessings of liberty." This was evidently one of
the chief _proximate_ causes;--but the primitive radical origin of those
implacable conflicts between different shades of colour, may be traced
to the miserable fatal policy which permitted the production of those
shades. "The white father falls a victim to the unnatural rage of his
mulatto son." "In a country where it is by no means unusual for the
known children of the Planter to undergo all the hardships, and the
ignominy of slavery, in common with the most degraded class of mortals,
is it there we are to seek for instances of filial affection?" [Inquiry
into the Causes of the Insurrection of the Negroes in St. Domingo.]

[34] Recent message of the President of the United States to Congress,
alluding to the red natives of America.

[35] See Parag. 40. I consider it a fortunate circumstance, and one
which will protect me effectually from the imputation of plagiarism, in
respect to the similarity of what I had previously written on the
subject of colonization by "_beneficent societies_" and the national
ransom of slaves (see Parag. 80 & 81) to any thing advanced at this
meeting; that I had communicated the contents of the original manuscript
of the preceding work to page 98, except some notes and slight
alterations, to Roberts Vaux, Esq. one of the members of the common
council of the city of Philadelphia, on or previous to the 8th of Dec.
1816--And the fact is made public, in this manner, with his consent and

[36] Several free persons of colour, of both sexes and all a little
shaded with a yellowish tint, being employed as servants in the house in
which I lodge, I inquired of two of the females, a few days ago, whether
they would like to go to Africa, as it was the country of their
forefathers. One of them expressed great repugnance at going there, and
the other said her fathers did not come from Africa, "and (said she) if
they (the Americans) did not want us, they had no need to have brought
us away: after they've brought us here, and made us work hard, and
_disfigured the colour_, I don't think it would be fair to send us back

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

There is some inconsistency in the placing of italic and small
capital markup. They are as in the original.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Slave Trade - or, An Account of the Manner in which the Slave Dealers - take Free People from some of the United States of America, - and carry them away, and sell them as Slaves in other of - the States; and of the horrible Cruelties  practised in - the carrying on of this most infamous Traffic" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.