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Title: Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery - As Exhibited in the Institution of Domestic Slavery in the - United States, with the Duties of Masters to Slaves
Author: Smith, William A.
Language: English
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    LECTURES ON THE Philosophy and Practice OF SLAVERY,
    AS EXHIBITED IN THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY
    IN THE UNITED STATES:

    WITH THE
    Duties of Masters to Slaves.

    BY
    WILLIAM A. SMITH, D.D.,
    PRESIDENT OF RANDOLPH-MACON COLLEGE,
    AND PROFESSOR OF MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY.

    EDITED BY THOMAS O. SUMMERS, D.D.


    Nashville, Tenn.:
    STEVENSON AND EVANS.
    1856.


         Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
         WILLIAM A. SMITH, In the Office of the Clerk of the District
         Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.


    STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY A. A. STITT,
    SOUTHERN METHODIST PUBLISHING HOUSE, NASHVILLE, TENN.



     Contents.


     PREFACE


     LECTURE I.

     INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE SUBJECT OF AFRICAN SLAVERY IN THE
     UNITED STATES.

     General subject enunciated--Why this discussion may be regarded
     as humiliating by Southern people--Other stand-points, however,
     disclose an urgent necessity, at this time, for a thorough
     investigation of the whole subject--The results to which it is
     the object of these lectures to conduct the mind


     LECTURE II.

     THE ABSTRACT PRINCIPLE OF THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY.

     If the system be sinful, _per se_, the sin of it must be found
     in the principle--Is the principle sinful?--The principle
     defined--Objections to the term “submission” answered--The
     effects of Mr. Jefferson’s doctrine upon many conscientious
     persons in the Southern States


     LECTURE III.

     OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.

     Objections classified--Popular views discussed--“All men are
     born free and equal”--“All men are created equal”--“All men in
     a state of nature are free and equal”--And the particular form
     in which Dr. Wayland expresses the popular idea, viz., “The
     relation in which men stand to each other is the relation of
     equality; not equality of condition, but equality of
     right”--Remarks on Dr. Wayland’s course--His treatise on Moral
     Science as a text-book.


     LECTURE IV.

     THE QUESTION OF RIGHTS DISCUSSED.

     Why it is necessary to define the term RIGHTS--The RIGHT in
     itself defined to be the GOOD--The doctrine that the will of
     God is the origin of the right considered--The will of God not
     the origin of the right, but an expression of the right which
     is the GOOD--Natural rights and acquired rights, each defined


     LECTURE V.

     THE DOCTRINES OF RIGHTS APPLIED TO GOVERNMENT.

     Government, human as well as Divine, is a necessity of man’s
     fallen condition--All men concur in this--Man did not originate
     government: he has only modified the form--The legitimate
     objects of government, and the means which it employs to effect
     these objects--The logical inferences: 1. Although he has the
     power, he has no _right_ to do _wrong_; 2. As a fallen being,
     he is, without a government over him, liable to lose the power
     of self-control--What are the rights of man, 1. In a state of
     infancy, 2. In a state of maturity, and, 3. In a savage or
     uncivilized state--Civil government is not founded on a
     concession of rights


     LECTURE VI.

     THE ABSTRACT PRINCIPLE OF SLAVERY DISCUSSED ON SCRIPTURE
     GROUNDS, AND MISREPRESENTATION OF THE PRINCIPLE EXAMINED.

     The true subjective right of self-control defined according to
     the Scriptures--The abstract principle of slavery sanctioned by
     the Scriptures--The Roman government--Dr. Wayland’s Scripture
     argument examined and refuted--The positions of Dr. Channing
     and Professor Whewell examined and refuted


     LECTURE VII.

     THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY.

     The question stated--The conduct of masters a separate
     question--The institution defined--The position of the
     abolitionists, and that of the Southern people--The
     _presumption_ is in favor of the latter--Those who claim
     freedom for the blacks of this country failed to secure it to
     those on whom they professed to confer it--The _doctrine_ by
     which they seek to vindicate the claim set up for them,
     together with the _fact_ of history assumed to be true, is
     false


     LECTURE VIII.

     DOMESTIC SLAVERY, AS A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE AFRICANS IN
     AMERICA, EXAMINED AND DEFENDED ON THE GROUND OF ITS ADAPTATION
     TO THE PRESENT CONDITIONS OF THE RACE.

     There should be a separate and subordinate government for our
     African population--Objection answered--Africans are not
     competent to that measure of self-government which entitles a
     man to political sovereignty--They were not prepared for
     freedom when first brought into the country; hence they were
     placed under the domestic form of government--The humanity of
     this policy--In the opinion of Southern people, they are still
     unprepared--The fanaticism and rashness of some, and the
     inexcusable wickedness of others, who oppose the South


     LECTURE IX.

     THE NECESSITY FOR THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY
     EXEMPLIFIED BY FACTS.

     The attempts made at domestic colonization--The result of the
     experiment in the case of our free colored population--The
     colonization experiment on the coast of Africa--The example of
     the Canaanitish nations--Summary of the argument on the general
     point, and inferences


     LECTURE X.

     EMANCIPATION DOCTRINES DISCUSSED.

     Gradual emancipation the popular plan--It would operate to
     collect the slaves into a few States, cut them off from contact
     with civilization, and reduce them to barbarism--It would make
     an opening for Northern farmers and their menials to come into
     those States from which they retired--The modifications which
     the system of slavery has undergone within late years--A
     comparison of the menials of the free and of the slave States,
     and the only plan of emancipation admissible--The gospel the
     only remedy for the evils of slavery--Paul’s philosophy and
     practice, 1 Tim. vi. 1-5


     LECTURE XI.

     TEACHING THE SLAVES TO READ AND WRITE.

     Superiors frequently neglect inferiors--The policy of the South
     vindicated by necessity--The results that would follow an
     _attempt_ to establish a system for instructing the blacks in
     letters, and those which would follow the establishment of such
     a system--The domestic element of the system of slavery in the
     Southern States affords the means for their improvement adapted
     to their condition and the circumstances of the country--It
     affords the _natural_, _safe_, and the effectual means of the
     intellectual and moral elevation of the race--The prospects of
     the Africans in this country, and their final removal to
     Africa--The country never will be entirely rid of them--The
     Southern policy wise and humane


     LECTURE XII.

     THE CONSERVATIVE INFLUENCE OF THE AFRICAN POPULATION OF THE
     SOUTH.

     Preliminary remarks--American party--The present and
     prospective condition of our country--The large number of
     voters in the free-soil States who will be under a foreign
     influence, political and religious, inducing them to discard
     the Bible and the right of private judgment--The freedom of the
     Southern States from this anti-Christian and anti-republican
     influence--The presence of the African race in the Southern
     States secures them this advantage--The unpatriotic policy of
     freesoilism


     LECTURE XIII.

     THE DUTIES OF MASTERS TO SLAVES.

     “Masters, give unto your servants (δούλοις, slaves) that which
     is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in
     heaven.”--COL. iv. 1.

     The duty of masters and the rights of slaves reciprocal--1. The
     duty of masters to their slaves considered as “their money:” in
     regard to working, resting, feeding, clothing, housing, and the
     employment of persons over them: also to the sick and the aged.
     2. Their duty to their slaves considered as social
     beings--Punishments and the social principle discussed. 3.
     Their duty to their slaves considered as religious
     beings--Public instruction on the Sabbath and at other times,
     and the opportunity of attending--The employment of preachers,
     and the religious instruction of children



PREFACE.


The following pages contain the substance of Lectures on the subject
of Domestic Slavery in the United States, which for several years have
been delivered to the classes in Moral Science in Randolph Macon
College.

Since the year 1844, I have been frequently called on to discuss this
subject on various popular occasions in Virginia and North Carolina.
My classes in college were compelled to deal with the subject of
domestic slavery. Not only the popular ideas in regard to African
slavery in this country, but the specific treatment of this topic by
numerous text authors in Moral Science, rendered this unavoidable. A
deep conviction that the minds of young men were receiving a wrong,
and, in the present state of the country, a fatal direction, both as
regards the principles of the institution, and the institution itself,
induced me to substitute the text authorities on the subject by a
course of lectures. These lectures, therefore, were originally drawn
up with a view to oral delivery. They were modified by the
circumstances of their origin. In preparing them for the press,
however, I was led to consider the class of persons for whose use they
were chiefly designed, and at the same time to adapt them as far as
possible to the general reader. I was aware of the difficulty of
fixing definitely on the mind of the student the nature and limits of
abstract truths, and that this difficulty is, if any thing, greatly
increased when we pass to those whose reading is not characterized by
habits of thought,--as would be the case with many of those whose
interest in the general subject of slavery might induce them to read
these lectures. The task of meeting these difficulties was encountered
with a measure of painful distrust.

My views on the subject of slavery, as a practical question, will be
found very generally to accord with the popular ideas of those
communities in which the African population chiefly resides. But, as
a question of Moral Science, I will be found to differ, and in some
aspects very materially, from those who have spoken and written on the
subject.

The closing lecture is on the duties of masters to slaves. On this
point it may also appear that my views do not accord with those of
some others. There are men whose views I judge to be entirely too
loose on the whole subject. But I should consider any treatise on the
subject of slavery as inexcusably defective that did not embrace the
duties of masters to slaves; and I persuade myself that the number, if
any, who take a different view of the subject will be found to be
exceedingly small.

Whether I have acted wisely in endeavoring to combine in one
performance a treatise adapted to the habits of the student, and at
the same time to the habits of the general reader; and whether I have
succeeded to any desirable extent in so difficult an undertaking, it
is not for me to determine. I can only say, that in giving these
lectures to the public, I have yielded to the earnest desire, often
expressed, of a large number of friends whose judgment is entitled to
my highest respect and confidence. In meeting their wishes, I have
endeavored to do justice to the subject. I have written honestly, and
with a sincere desire to do good.

For the many imperfections of this volume, the author persuades
himself that the assurance that it has been written and prepared for
the press under the pressure of other important and frequently
distracting avocations, will be received as some apology. In the
humble hope that it may, nevertheless, shed some light on the
difficulties of the general subject, and thereby contribute to diffuse
sounder views on the principles involved, quiet the irritation of the
public mind, and give more stability to our political union, and, at
the same time, impress masters more deeply with the importance and
obligations of their providential position, it is with diffidence
submitted to the judgment of the public.

    RANDOLPH MACON COLLEGE, VA.,
        _August 18th, 1856_.



LECTURES ON THE Philosophy and Practice of Slavery.



LECTURE I.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE SUBJECT OF AFRICAN SLAVERY IN THE UNITED
STATES.

     General subject enunciated--Why this discussion may be regarded
     as humiliating by Southern people--Other stand-points, however,
     disclose an urgent necessity, at this time, for a thorough
     investigation of the whole subject--The results to which it is
     the object of these lectures to conduct the mind.


The great question which arises in discussing the slavery of the
African population of this country--correctly known as “Domestic
Slavery”--is this: _Is the institution of domestic slavery sinful?_

The position I propose to maintain in these lectures is, that slavery,
_per se_, is right; or that the great abstract principle of slavery
is right, because it is a fundamental principle of the social state;
and that domestic slavery, as an _institution_, is fully justified by
the condition and circumstances (essential and relative) of the
African race in this country, and therefore equally right.

I confess that it is somewhat humiliating to discuss the question
enunciated--Is the institution of domestic slavery sinful? The
affirmative assumes that an immense community of Southern people, of
undoubted piety, are, nevertheless, involved in great moral
delinquency on the subject of slavery. This is a palpable absurdity in
regard to a great many. For nothing is more certain than this, that if
it be sinful, they either know it, or are competent to know it, and
hence are responsible. And as no plea of necessity can justify an
enlightened man in committing known sin, it follows that all such
Southern people are highly culpable, which is utterly inconsistent
with the admission that they are pious. To say, as some are accustomed
to do, that “slavery is certainly wrong in the _abstract_,” that is,
in plain terms, in itself sinful, but that they cannot help
themselves, appears to me to be wholly unfounded. It assumes that a
man may be absolutely compelled to commit sin. This certainly cannot
be true. All candid minds will readily allow, that so far as Deity
has yet explained himself, he has in no instance enjoined upon man the
observance of any principle as his duty, which he may be compelled, in
the order of his providence, to violate. It is equally false in fact,
for it is not true that we are absolutely compelled to be
slaveholders. If government be, as it undoubtedly is, the agent of the
people, and the people choose, they are certainly competent by this
agent to free themselves from this institution. True, the immense cost
of such an enterprise would be the least in the catalogue of evils
resulting from it; for the total ruin of the African race in this
country may be put down among the rest. But what of all this? Nothing
can justify an enlightened and civilized people in committing sin. No;
not even the sacrifice of life itself. Withal, if the civil society
refuse to make so costly a sacrifice to avoid sin, there is nothing
that can compel any individual citizen to remain a slaveholder. He can
live in the community, as some do, without even hiring or owning a
slave; or he can remove to one of the so-called free States. We should
give no countenance, therefore, to any such mere attempts to
_apologize_ for domestic slavery. The conduct of bad men may sometimes
find apologists. The conduct of good men always admits _of defence_.
Hence, with many others, I have often been grieved by the repeated
attempts of certain pseudo-friends to pass off this flimsy and
ridiculous apology as an able defence of the South.

In maintaining the institution of domestic slavery, we are either
right or wrong, in a moral point of view. We ask no mere apology on
the score of necessity, and we can certainly claim none on the ground
of ignorance. Those who affirm that we are wrong, directly attack our
morals. In doing this, they arraign the character of many thousands,
who are among the most civilized and pious people now living. This
fact alone is a sufficient refutation of so foul an aspersion; and in
this view, it may be readily admitted that any attempt at a more
formal refutation is a humiliating condescension, to which few
Southern men can willingly submit.

But there is another stand-point from which this subject is to be
viewed, and which reflects it in a very different light, and clearly
indicates the duty of submitting it to the test of the soundest
principles of philosophy and religion. It is this: _the ascendency
which certain popular errors on the subject of African slavery have
acquired, and the extent to which they peril the peace of the country,
if not the very liberties of the whole republic_. I allude to the fact
that there are many in the country--and not a few of this number
spread through our Southern States--who would not intentionally
arraign the piety of their fellow-citizens, but whose minds (it is
painfully humiliating to know) are in a state of great embarrassment
on this subject; so much so, that they are constantly liable to be
made the victims of any fanatical influences abroad in the land, no
less than the dupes of that large class of political aspirants who,
reckless of both truth and morals, would secure their elevation at any
price.

Nor need we wonder at the ascendency of erroneous opinions on the
subject of slavery, any more than at the results which they threaten.

At an early period in our history, Thomas Jefferson denounced domestic
slavery as sinful, _per se_, and declared that “there was no attribute
in the Divine mind which could take sides with the whites in a
controversy between the races:” thus assuming in this remark, that the
providences as well as the attributes of the Deity are against the
slaveholder. Owing to the prominence given by our Puritan fathers to
the higher institutions of learning, together with the fact that the
soil and the climate of New England were unfavorable to agricultural
pursuits, citizens of these States have, from an early period in the
history of the republic, supplied the most of the text-books for the
schools and colleges of the whole country. This grossly offensive
error of Mr. Jefferson has been more or less diffused through the
whole of these text-books. It has been among the first of speculations
upon abstract truth presented to the minds of the American people. It
has been studiously inculcated from professors’ chairs in colleges and
universities in the Northern States, while Southern literary
institutions have been for the most part silent. The pulpits of the
South have also lent their aid, and in some instances have been
zealous and active in propagating this error.

As early as 1780, the Methodists declared, in a general convention of
preachers, that “slavery is contrary to the laws of God, man, and
nature, and hurtful to society; contrary to the dictates of conscience
and pure religion; doing that which we would not that others should do
to us and ours; and that we pass our disapprobation upon all our
friends who keep slaves, and advise their freedom.” This doctrine was
reässerted after the organization of the Church in 1784, and, with
short intervals of time, and unimportant variations of phraseology,
the essential features of this doctrine have been adhered to until the
present time, by this most numerous body of professing Christians in
this country. At an early day, Bishop Coke, of the M. E. Church,
openly advocated this doctrine in the pulpits of the country, until
silenced by the force of public opinion; yet he did not cease, while
he remained in the country, to exert the full amount of his personal
influence in private and social circles against the institution of
domestic slavery. His example was followed by a large number of his
preachers, and many ministers of other Christian denominations, who
imbibed the same doctrine and were animated by the same spirit of
hostility to the institution; and who, like himself, were only held in
abeyance by the same force of public opinion. Many politicians, also,
there were, from time to time, who did not scruple to avow Mr.
Jefferson’s doctrine, and like him affect to foresee dreadful
calamities overhanging the country as a consequence of domestic
slavery. In view of these facts, it cannot be a matter of surprise
that abolition opinions and sentiments should pervade the
non-slaveholding sections of the country; and that at least a private
but painful impression or suspicion that there must be something wrong
in the principle of domestic slavery, should be found to pervade a
portion even of the Southern mind. Reluctant as we may be to admit the
truth, necessity compels us to do so. Let the following facts bear
witness.

No communities on earth are so free from domestic insurrections, and
the disturbing influences which come up from the lower orders of
society as those of the Southern States of this Union. The social
condition of England and Ireland, and the states of the continent of
Europe, are perpetually subject to the disturbing and ruinous
influence of local, and often widely spread, insurrectionary movements
against the social order, and even the safety of the governments. Nor
are the Northern States of this Union any more free from these
agrarian movements, than may be accounted for by the relative
sparseness of their population. Yet a general feeling of security
pervades all these people, whilst it is notorious that there are a
great many in Southern communities who are in a constant state of
feverish excitement on the subject of domestic insurrections. Any
announcement of that kind is sufficient to convulse a whole community.
The trifling affair of Nat. Turner (trifling compared with the
frequent disturbances and loss of life common in the communities just
referred to) painfully agitated the whole State of Virginia; and
occupied her Legislature through a whole winter in grave discussions
as to the “best means of freeing the State from the incubus of
slavery.” These results have all followed from the causes at which we
have glanced.

In this state of things, it is in vain to appeal to the fact that Mr.
Jefferson, though a profound statesman, and to some extent a
logician, was neither a divine nor a metaphysician; and that no people
on the globe have shared more largely in the blessings of a bountiful
Providence than those of the Southern States of this Union. In the
progress of civilization and religion, they have advanced more rapidly
than any communities in the country. Still, Mr. Jefferson’s name does
not lose its enchantment; and having already learned to despise the
unexampled blessings of Providence, many of the Southern people
actually believed--until railroad communications began to dispel the
illusion--that their own happy States were really falling back in
civilization to the darkness of the middle ages. Add to all this, the
halls of legislation continue to echo the opinion that “domestic
slavery is a great moral, political, and social evil.” In this
connection, the phrase, moral evil, is restricted to its appropriate
meaning, _sin_. No doubt, Messrs. Doddridge, Rives, Clay, Webster, and
many others--illustrious names!--who have substantially used this
language in various connections, only meant to deprecate the evils of
slavery in strong terms, that they might propitiate a more favorable
consideration of what they had to say in its defence. But if we be
correct in the position already postulated, it is quite time our
politicians, no less than our ecclesiastics, had learned to chasten
their language on this subject. The fountains of public thought and
feeling have, to a great extent, been poisoned: that is, the abstract
opinions and religious sentiments of the people have been corrupted
and perverted.

The three great Protestant denominations[1] of the country have been
torn asunder. The flags of their time-honored unions are trailing in
the dust; and they have ceased to operate as bonds to our political
union. A secret suspicion of the morality of African slavery in the
South, occupies the minds of many of our best citizens--citizens who
are at a vast remove from the fanaticism which stigmatizes those who
are known as the ultra abolitionists of the country. The great family
of Methodists in the District of Columbia, the slave States of
Delaware and Maryland, in Western Virginia, and a part of Missouri,
retain their connection with the abolition division of the M. E.
Church. All along the line of division between the M. E. Church,
North, and the M. E. Church, South,--running through Virginia,
Kentucky, and Missouri,--the evils resulting from the conflict and
strife of opinions on this subject are daily multiplying. The
experiment of abolition fanaticism is progressing; and the souls as
well as the bodies of men are in the crucible. It is clear that
“whilst we have slept, an enemy hath sown these tares,” in our
literature, our politics, and our theology.

     [1] The Methodists and Baptists, it is well known, divided
     directly upon the subject of slavery; and the Presbyterians
     mediately upon a question of constitutional law; but there is
     reason to believe that the slavery agitation in the
     Presbyterian Church precipitated a division, which otherwise
     would probably have been averted.

Two striking phenomena remain to be noticed and accounted for. Amid
all the conflict of opinion and feeling upon this subject,--which was
inseparable from doctrines so utterly at war with the practices of the
country--a conflict which at an early period found its way into the
halls of legislation, civil and ecclesiastical, and has not ceased to
the present time to modify the federal politics of the country,--the
African population has yielded only to certain physical and moral laws
as to the place of its location; whilst the institution of slavery,
which embodies the great mass of that population in the country, has
held on the even tenor of its way, unchecked in the slightest degree
by the antagonistic doctrines and sentiments which have warred so
fiercely against it, and which at so many periods have threatened the
country with a legion of disastrous consequences. In the first place,
the African population has gradually receded to those sections of the
Union which, from their climate and soil, were better adapted to
slave labor. Why did not the abstract opinions and sentiments set
forth by Mr. Jefferson and the M. E. Church, and which are supposed to
have given birth to the emancipation laws of the Northern States,
operate to retain within those States the large portion of slave
population then held, and secure their practical freedom? Why did they
escape the supposed charity of these doctrines, and find their way,
not as freemen, but as slaves, to a climate and soil more congenial to
their nature and destiny? Are these doctrines real abstract truths, as
their advocates profess to believe them to be? Then they are
fundamental--they are vital--they are life-giving, and can never fail
to impress their own essential character upon every system to which
they are applied. The citizens of the Northern States adopted these
doctrines. Then it was an affair of conscience. Emancipation laws were
said to be the result. But that these laws, supposed to be founded in
the belief of certain great abstract truths, which secured to the
African his civil freedom, should operate only to transfer him to a
climate and soil better suited to his condition as a slave, is a
phenomenon for which the hypothesis does not account. And again, the
institution itself, of domestic slavery, by reason of causes which are
evidently, though mysteriously, at work, is this day more firmly
grounded in the confidence of the great mass of the Southern people,
and more extensively ramified and interlocked with other civil
institutions of the whole country, than at any former period of its
history! How is this? The abstract opinions and sentiments in
question, pervading our literature, our politics, and our theology,
have been adopted by so many of our citizens as to entitle the
doctrine to be regarded as a kind of national belief--the sentiment a
kind of national feeling. We are told that all men _believe_ slavery
to be wrong in principle; that is, wrong in itself! and that all men
feel that it is wrong! And certain it is, there is more truth than
fiction in all this! It is strictly true, as to the citizens of the
so-called free States. The same doctrine is not without advocates at
the South; whilst many more, as we have before stated, who may not be
said to believe it, are nevertheless often the subjects of painful
misgivings. They _fear_ it may be true. The causes to which we have
traced this, fully account for it; and we need not fear to state the
truth. But then again, the question recurs--How is this, that the
institution itself, a great practical truth, should daily, for a long
series of years, become more and more practical--a fixed fact in the
country? Truly, this is a phenomenon for which the philosophy of the
day will not account. If those who believed this doctrine were
ruthless fanatics--ultra abolitionists in the strictest sense--if
those who oppose it were really “pro-slavery” men, in the bad sense in
which certain persons understand this phrase, that is, men who, on the
subject of slavery, wickedly do what they know and feel to be wrong:
on either hypothesis we could account for the phenomenon in question.
But these are not the men with whom I deal in these lectures. I lay
all such out of the account. They are men not to be reasoned with. No:
the men of whom I speak, both North and South, are candid, honest men.
I personally know many of them at the North. I have met them on great
battle-fields, where more than blood was shed! I know them to be good
men and true, and I believe the same of the large class they
represent. With many of those at the South who affiliate with them in
opinion as firm believers in Jefferson’s doctrine, or whose embryo
opinions excite painful misgivings of mind, I have often communed
freely, and have equal confidence in their integrity and honesty. The
whole taken together form a very numerous class, and may be safely
regarded as embodying the national belief and feeling on the subject
of slavery. And yet we find that slavery is a great practical truth, a
fixed fact in the country. Now, can it be true that this opinion and
feeling embodies a great abstract truth--a fundamental, vital,
immutable principle, which never did and never can fail to hold
practical error in check, because it takes hold of the conscience of
an honest people--and whose tendency, therefore, is always to an
ultimate practical triumph, with all those who honestly receive it? We
dare not affirm this.

It is not mere belief, nor is it mere honesty, that produces results
in practice; but it is the _reception of the truth in an honest
heart_, which can never fail to result in practice. Now in this case
the people are honest, and the people believe; and if it be essential
truth which they thus believe, then, we say, the fact that in all
those States of this republic in which climate and soil are adapted to
African labor--that precisely there the institution of domestic
slavery should be rooted in the practice of a large portion of this
believing and honest people, and that it should strike its roots into
the federal constitution, and penetrate deeper and deeper every year
into the legislation of the whole country, and thus implicate more and
more the whole mass of this believing people in the sin of it, is a
phenomenon, for which the postulate, that it is the truth they
believe, does not account--nor can it be made to account.

A false principle may be believed to be the truth. And a false
principle believed, has its results, because it is believed; and they
very much resemble the results of truth believed. But we dare not
admit that error can take hold of the conscience as pure principle,
essential truth will do it. But, again, there is another great
psychological fact, which is often overlooked. A false principle may
be honestly believed by minds which, at the same time, adopt
antagonistic principles that are essential truths; but, owing to
various causes calculated to confuse the ideas, the inconsistency is
not perceived. Now, in such a case as this, the principle of essential
truth is really brought into practical antagonism with essential
error, and that in the same minds and upon the same subject. And as
truth is more powerful than error in the minds of all honest people,
the truth holds its way in practical results, in defiance of false
principle, which is relatively powerless in the presence of truth. The
antagonism between the false principle and the practical results of
things may be perceived and acknowledged; whilst the antagonism of the
false principle with the true principle, which underlies and produces
these practical results by a law of its own operation, is not only not
perceived, but actually denied to exist. Now so long as this false
principle is honestly believed to be true, and clearly perceived to be
in conflict with the _practice_, but not perceived to be in conflict
with other and more latent principles, which are in themselves
_truths_, and admitted to be _truths_, and which produce this
_practice_, just so long will this false principle wage war, by the
simple law of belief, against this _practice_. But as this war is not
sufficiently potent to overturn this practice, because it is founded
on the belief of principles _true_ in themselves, the practice will
remain; and so long as this false belief remains, the strife with the
practice must remain. Hence, if this be the state of the public mind
in this country on the subject of African slavery, and it find no
efficient remedy, we can see nothing awaiting us but interminable
strife--men against themselves--the country against the country! We
forbear to sketch the future.

But, young gentlemen, I submit if this psychology may not furnish a
solution of the phenomena I have brought to your notice, and also a
remedy against that otherwise interminable strife which has already
done so much to impair the moral power and blight the fairest hopes of
the country. May it not be that in admitting the great abstract
doctrine of Mr. Jefferson, that the principle of African slavery is,
_per se_, sinful, and that, as such, the attributes and providence of
Deity are opposed to all who practice it, we have most unwisely
admitted a false doctrine? And as this false doctrine, though honestly
believed by a number sufficiently large to designate it as the
national belief and the national feeling, has utterly failed to
abolish or even to modify the institution of African slavery, does it
not afford a strong and clear presumption, to say the least, that this
system which has held unbroken dominion over the African race in this
country for over two centuries, and which continues to strike its
roots deeper and deeper into all the relations of society, North and
South--that this system, so potent in practical results, and so
heedless of the fierce war that is waged against it, is, after all,
_underlaid_ somewhere by a _vast mine of principles_--_pure essential
truths_--which are firmly rooted in the belief of all civilized and
honest men, and which, all along, have imparted a spontaneous being
and activity to the system, and will continue to do so perhaps as long
as any considerable portion of the race shall remain in the country?

If this hypothesis shall prove true, the sovereign remedy for the
otherwise interminable strife, so potent for mischief, is at hand. Let
us then free ourselves, let us free the country, of the dominion of
Mr. Jefferson’s philosophy, because it is false. In doing this, we
shall terminate the conflict which now rages with so much violence. We
shall be free to address ourselves to any modifications in the system
of African slavery which may be demanded to adapt it to the progress
of civilization.

Regarding the whole subject in this light, the duty of thoroughly
investigating it seems to me to be laid upon the country as a moral
necessity. It is useless to talk of “delicacy and humiliation,” in the
presence of such fruits as a false philosophy has already borne
plentifully throughout the land.

As your chosen instructor, I owe you a service. I dare not give up
your minds to the dominion of Wayland’s Philosophy, (your text,) nor
to any other text on this subject, now known to the country. I propose
to lead your way in _exploring the mine of truth_ which we may assume
to underlie the system of African slavery. We may look with confidence
to reach these results:

1. That the philosophy of Jefferson is false, and that the opposite is
true, namely, that the great abstract principle of domestic slavery
is, _per se_, RIGHT; and therefore it is not in the use but in the
abuse of this principle that we are liable to sin, and thereby incur
the Divine displeasure.

2. That we should have a Southern literature. Our schools must be
supplied with correct text-books on this subject. The poison which our
texts now contain must be distilled from them by the learned of the
land. The Church should not only right herself as she has done in the
South, but her voice should be heard in the pulpit enforcing _right
principles_, as well as right duties, upon this subject. Truth is at
all times intolerant of any abuse. Her voice should certainly be heard
under circumstances so urgent as the present. It is due to many in
Southern communities whose minds are, more or less, disturbed by the
long-continued abuse of the pulpit, and the social influence of
mistaken ministers of religion in private life. It is due to the
interests of our common country. We have lost much already in
suppressing the truth. We have much to gain by boldly asserting her
claims--for “truth is great, and will prevail.”

    “Truth crushed to earth will rise again:
      The eternal years of God are hers;
    But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
      And dies amid her worshippers.”



LECTURE II.

THE ABSTRACT PRINCIPLE OF THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY.

     If the system be sinful, _per se_, the sin of it must be found
     in the principle--Is the principle sinful?--The principle
     defined--Objections to the term submission answered--The effect
     of Mr. Jefferson’s doctrine upon many conscientious persons in
     the Southern States.


I now propose to enter directly upon the inquiry, _Is the institution
of domestic slavery sinful?_ My plan will make it necessary, in this
lecture, to limit the inquiry to the _principle_ of the institution.
If the institution be sinful, it must be so either in the abstract
principle it involves, or in the specific form under which it embodies
that principle, or in both. In either case, Mr. Jefferson’s doctrine
is verified; for if the _abstract principle_ be wrong, then the
institution which envelops the principle, and from which it derives
its character, is of course wrong. It certainly is never right to act
upon a wrong principle. Injustice, as a principle, is confessedly
wrong in itself, according to the ideas of all mankind. No form which
an action can take will make it right, if it proceed upon an unjust
principle. Hence, no circumstances can justify any man in knowingly
doing an act of injustice. If the institution of domestic slavery
envelops the idea of injustice, or any similar element, as its generic
or abstract principle, in such case it would certainly be wrong both
in principle and in practice; that is, wrong in itself; and we should,
without scruple, abandon the controversy. But a similar conclusion
will not follow from a contrary proposition; that is, it will not
follow, that if the abstract principle of the institution be right,
the institution itself is right; because the truth of a conditional
proposition does not turn on the hypothesis, but on the _consequent_,
as both true in itself and dependent upon the antecedent condition.
That this is not the case in this instance is developed by the fact
that the _affirmative_ proposition involved in this conditional is, in
itself, an absurdity, viz., “An _abstract principle_ of action being
right, the _action itself_ is right.” This is absurd. For instance,
justice, in itself, is a _right principle_ of action, according to the
ideas of all mankind; but it does not follow that all actions which
proceed upon the principle of _justice_ are _right_ actions. A.
justly owes B. one hundred dollars: now, to enforce the payment of
this money would be in itself a just act, because the money is
honestly owed by A.; but if, in doing this, B. should take the last
bed from under the wife and children of A., and deprive them of the
last morsel of bread, the _act itself_ would be a very wicked one, and
he would be judged by mankind as but little less guilty than a highway
robber, because this is a case in which the claims of _benevolence_
march before the claims of mere _justice_. Not to respect the claims
of benevolence in such a case is to act upon the _principle_ of pure
_selfishness_. This act, then, would envelop also a wrong
principle--selfishness; and it is the nature of a wrong principle to
spread the hue and poison of guilt over every act into which it
enters. Truth, and its opposite, as principles, are striking examples.
If we speak at all, we should speak the truth. Every utterance into
which, in its proper, generic sense, the _lie_ enters, even in the
least degree, is a poisoned act; and he who does this, is to that
extent a basely wicked man, however smooth his tongue or winning his
manners. Guilt has poisoned his utterance; and if this vice be not
speedily arrested in its progress, it will spread itself through the
whole mass, and break down his entire moral constitution. But it does
not certainly follow that all utterances which are in themselves
_truths_, are right utterances. There are many facts, to which, if we
were to give utterance, we should only speak the truth, but at the
same time we all know that they should lie buried (perhaps for ever)
in the depths of our own hearts. To injure our neighbor by speaking
the truth when no claim of paramount justice demanded it, and the
claims of charity or kindness forbade it, would be a wicked act. For a
child in a similar way to injure a parent would be the conduct of a
demon. All such acts, though they envelop a right principle--truth--do
at the same time envelop a wrong principle--_malevolence_; and it is
the nature of wrong principle to stamp every act into which it enters
with the character of guilt--_it is wrong_.

The conclusion we reach is this: If the abstract or generic principle
of an action be _wrong_, the action itself is therefore _wrong_; but
that, if the abstract principle be _right_, it does not follow that
the action is therefore _right_, but that the action itself is _either
right or wrong_, as may be determined by the presence or absence of
certain other coincident principles; or, as we usually say, as may be
determined by the circumstances.

If, then, the abstract principle of the institution of domestic
slavery be wrong, the institution itself is wrong, and ought to be
abolished; but if the principle be correct, the institution itself is
or is not _right_, just as the circumstances of the case may or may
not require that it be maintained; as in the case of any other act
involving correct principle. The points to be settled, then, are--

I. Is the abstract or generic principle of domestic slavery _right or
wrong_? And if it be right, then,

II. Is the system (so far as it is a system, simply) of domestic
slavery, enveloping this abstract principle, justified by the
circumstances of the case? If so, the system itself is also _right_.
Whether many slaveholders or few, or any at all, are themselves doing
right in the exercise of the legal functions of that relation, are
questions foreign from the present inquiries, even on the hypothesis
that the system itself is right. Their conduct, be it right or wrong,
(and in many cases it is right, and in many others it is no doubt
wrong,) does not at all affect the truth or error of the questions now
before us. It is not with the conduct of individual men that we now
deal; but with the act of that great being, the State--the system of
African slavery established by law in the country--and with that
profound principle of truth or error which not only makes it a
_system_, but makes it a right system or a wrong system, as the case
may be.

The philosophy which prevails on the question before us has originated
two schools--the _abolitionist_ and the _anti-slavery_. The
abolitionist maintain that the _abstract principle of the system is
wrong_, and that therefore the system itself is wrong under all
circumstances. The anti-slavery school agree with the abolitionist
that the _principle is wrong_, but divide among themselves as to the
conclusion they draw. Some hold that the institution itself is not
wrong under all circumstances, and that therefore slaves may be held
under it in given cases without guilt; and others, that the
institution _is wrong in itself_, and should be abolished by the
State, but that the holding of slaves under this _wrong_ system is not
an act in itself _wrong_ in all cases.

A strict analysis of the subject will show that here is a strange
medley of principles and conclusions. I shall be found to agree with
each, and to disagree with each. I _disagree_ with both on the
abstract principle. Hence, I disagree with the abolitionists on the
whole proposition. But I agree with the abolitionists that IF the
abstract principle be _wrong_, the institution is wrong in all cases.
I say with them that all who grant the antecedent of this conditional
are bound to admit the consequent. Hence I disagree with the
anti-slavery school in admitting that the principle is wrong; but in
so far as they admit that the system may be right under given
circumstances, or that slaves may be held under it without guilt, we
agree. I stand, therefore, committed to the affirmative of the
question, both in regard to the principle and to the institution, and
hence proceed to discuss the question:

I. Is the abstract principle of domestic slavery right or wrong?

I have already noticed that the public mind has been so long abused on
this subject, that it is usual for highly intelligent persons, who
have no idea of affirming that the slaveholder is necessarily a
sinner, to allow that slaveholding is _wrong in principle_. But this,
to say the least, is a strange abuse of terms. The right or wrong of
an action, in itself considered, is determined by the _principle_
which it envelops, and the moral character of the _actor_ is
determined by his intention in the performance, or by his voluntary or
involuntary ignorance of the principle. It is reasonable, therefore,
to infer that the public attach no well-defined meaning to the phrase,
the _abstract principle of slavery_. Its definite meaning, however, is
indispensable in this investigation; and, indeed, on all occasions, if
we would speak correctly, and avoid a misapplication of this term.

What, then, is the _principle_ of the system of domestic slavery?

Observe that it is the principle for which we inquire. What, then, is
the system itself? For (to speak with strict philosophical propriety)
our idea of the system is the chronological condition of our idea of
the principle, as our idea of the principle is the logical condition
of our idea of the system. We must perceive an action before we can
determine what is the principle of it, although we must have an
antecedent knowledge of the principle before we can determine what
character that principle gives to the action.

The system is made up of two correlative relations--master and slave.
Here there are but two ideas--the idea of master and the idea of
slave, as correlatives. These are all the ideas that enter into the
system, as a system merely. Whatever abstract principle, therefore,
this system envelops, is to be found in these two terms. It need not
and should not be sought for anywhere else; for these two relations
make the whole system. Without these it could not be a system of
slavery; and with these, it is therein, and in virtue of that fact
alone, a system of slavery. The answer to the question depends upon
the meaning of these terms alone. What, then, is the correlative
meaning of these terms?

“MASTER. The Latin is _magister_, compounded of the root of _magis_,
_major_, greater; and the Teutonic, _ster_, Saxon, _steoran_, _to
steer_.” The word, then, signifies _a chief director_--_one who
governs or directs either men or business_. The leading idea is that
of governor by his own will.

SLAVE. The _derivation_ of this word is not a settled question. There
is no difficulty, however, in fixing the meaning--_one who is subject
to the will or direction of another_.

As a concrete, _master_ means one who is governing _in some particular
instance or form_ by his own will; and _slave_, one who is so governed
_in some particular instance_. But these are _abstract_ terms. The
ideas they convey may be conceived and held in the mind, apart from
any particular application of the one or the other. And whether
they are considered as abstract or concrete terms, they are
correlatives--the one implies the other.

A _system_ of slavery is a state or order of things established by law
or custom, in which one set of men are the masters to a given extent,
and another are the slaves to that extent.

_Domestic_ slavery is an instance in which the order or state of
things constituting the system itself, is made a part of the family
relation. The head of the family is the _master_, and the slave is
subject, as to the use of his time and labor, to the control of the
master, as the other members of the family. Domestic slavery,
therefore, is one of the forms of the _general_ system of slavery. The
system has existed under various forms. The ancient system of
villanage in England, of serfdom in Russia, the peon system of Mexico,
as well as domestic slavery in the United States, are all examples of
slavery proper. This leads us to remark that the terms _master_ and
_slave_ are not only abstract but _general abstract_ terms: _general_,
because the abstract ideas they convey are common to each of these
conditions. Each of these systems is pervaded by generic principles or
ideas, which classify the whole as belonging to the same genus--system
of slavery. The abstract principle of slavery is therefore the general
idea, which is enveloped alike in each and every form or system of
slavery. Hence, as the abstract idea of master is governing by one’s
own will, and that of slave is submission or subjection to such
control; and as a system of slavery is a condition into which these
ideas enter in correlation--it follows that _the abstract principle of
slavery is the general principle of submission or subjection to
control by the will of another_. This is the fundamental idea which is
common to every form of slavery. No condition into which this does not
enter as a fundamental idea is a state of slavery. Every condition
into which it enters is a state of slavery to the extent in which it
does so enter.

_Submission or subjection to control by the will of another_ being our
definition of the abstract principle of the system of slavery, two
questions arise: First--Is this a correct definition? and second--If
it be correct, is it a sound, legitimate principle, which may and
ought to be adopted in practice, whenever it may be wise to do so?

_First_--Is the definition correct?

_Subjection_ is the being put under the control of another.
_Submission_ is the delivery of one’s self to the control of another.
The one implies the consent of the will, and the other does not. That
subjection is an idea which fulfils the condition of slavery will not
be disputed by any. Hence our definition is sufficiently wide to
embrace that which is conceded by all. But our definition gives much
greater breadth to the principle. It takes in _submission_ as well as
_subjection_. It assumes that the willing or the nilling of the
subject of this form of control does not necessarily enter into the
principle which logically defines it. He who is subjected to such
control is a slave; and he who submits to such control is not
the less so. This principle might therefore be still further
generalized--_control by the will of another_, with its correlative
idea submission or subjection only implied. But we prefer to define
it in the terms employed, as being more likely to be appreciated in
the sense intended. Are we correct in giving this wide compass of
meaning to the principle in question? Do we assume too much when we
say that a man is not the less a captive, and subject to the control
of the captor, because he voluntarily gives himself up as such? Is a
man then the less a slave who voluntarily consents to be controlled by
the will of another? The popular use of terms in all languages shows
that mankind have conceded this point. They all apply the idea of
slave to such a case. Nay, more, they furnish a constructive meaning
of the term based upon this meaning. They call a man a “slave to his
passions,” who has _voluntarily_ given himself up to be controlled in
his future volitions by his passions as the subjective motive of his
actions. “No bondage is more grievous than that which is voluntary,”
says Seneca. “To be a slave to the passions is more grievous than to
be a slave to a tyrant,” says Pythagoras. “No one can be free who is
intent on the indulgence of evil passions,” says Plato. And Cicero
says, “All wicked men are slaves.” St. Paul, Rom. vi. 16, uses the
term in the same sense, and with the greatest propriety: “Know ye not
that to whom ye yield yourselves servants [δούλους, _slaves_] to
obey, his servants [slaves] ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin
unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?” (See Dr. A. Clarke, _in
loc._) And again, Ephesians vi. 5-7: “Servants, [δοῦλοι.] be obedient
to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and
trembling, in singleness of your hearts as unto Christ: not with
eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the
will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the
Lord, and not to men.” _Doing the will of God--with good will._ We
must certainly understand that it was the duty of those slaves to give
both assent and consent to their condition, as a thing coming to them
in the order of God’s providence, _and pleasing to him_; and therefore
serve their masters with the same willing obedience, because therein
they were serving the Lord. For these persons, we may suppose, were
originally made slaves by subjection. They are exhorted to submit
themselves not only to the particular commands of their masters, but
also to their providential condition. The commands of their masters
might be obeyed from mere prudential considerations. In this case,
their obedience would be without the religious element. Paul exhorts
them to religious obedience. Many, no doubt, obeyed: gave the
_consent_ of their wills, as they gave the assent of their
understandings; and hence, cheerfully submitting to their providential
condition as from the Lord, they obeyed their masters “in singleness
of heart, as unto Christ.” They submitted, as any other good man
submits, with consent as well as assent to his providential condition,
and goes forth to the duties of that condition with a cheerful heart.
Their condition was therefore changed from that of _subjection_ to one
of _submission_, and for as long a time as God might be pleased to
continue it. Did they, by reason of such submission, cease to be
slaves? Certainly not. They were slaves when in a state of
_subjection_. They were not the less so when, from the high Christian
motives commanded by the apostle, their condition was changed to one
of _submission_. Be this, however, as it may, the following case is
decisive of the whole question. The ancient Jew, who _gave_ himself
into slavery, was not the less a slave because he did it voluntarily;
and the Mosaic law provided that such should be held and treated as
slaves in perpetuity. See Exodus xxi. 5, 6: “And if the servant shall
plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children: _I will not
go out free_; then his master shall bring him unto the judges: he
shall also bring him unto the door, or to the door-post; and his
master shall bore his ear through with an awl; _and he shall serve him
for ever_.” Thus the law of God made a man a slave who became so by
his own voluntary act. A state of _submission_, therefore, to _control
by the will of another_, is no less a state of slavery than a state of
_subjection_. If the state itself be one of slavery, the idea,
_submission_, which makes it so, is in this case an element of the
system. Hence, the true philosophical definition of the principle, as
before stated, is _control by the will of another_, with its
correlative (subjection, or submission, as the case might be) implied.
It may be the one; it may be the other; and whichever it is in a given
case, is the mere logical accident of _that_ case, and does not at all
affect the _principle_ itself.

As the whole of the abstract idea of the system of slavery is to be
found in the terms _master_ and _slave_ in correlation; and
_submission and subjection to control by the will of another_ is the
whole idea contained in the correlative sense of these terms,
(certainly nothing more and nothing less,) the definition given is the
whole, and nothing more, of the abstract principle of the institution.
Whoever is in this condition is to that extent a slave. Whatever
system envelops this principle--it matters not what form it may take,
what coincident principles it may include, or what name may be given
to it, or how far the practical working of this principle may be
modified--it is nevertheless to the extent that this principle enters
into it _a system of slavery_. It may be a wise system, because it is
a necessary means for the accomplishment of some desirable end; or it
may be an unwise system, because it is a means unsuited to the end
proposed. But neither hypothesis will at all affect the principle.
That is the same in the one case as in the other; that is, whether it
be abused or properly used, the principle itself is the same. But can
it be properly used at all? This leads to the _second_ inquiry--Is
this a sound, legitimate principle, which may and should be adopted in
practice whenever it may be wise to do so?

We need not scruple to admit that if injustice or any similar idea
should be found to enter as an element into the abstract principle, it
is a poisoned principle, upon which no honest man will allow himself
to act. But is this the case? Doubtless, there may be injustice in
slavery, as in every system which has persons for its subjects: that
is, any _master_ acting under the authority of this system may
perpetrate great injustice; but we maintain that when he does so he
introduces a principle foreign to the system, and for which he is
individually responsible: he does that which mars the character of the
whole performance, and stamps his own personal conduct with the guilt
of injustice.

However carelessly many persons are accustomed to speak on this
subject, yet we may assure ourselves that a little reflection will
satisfy any candid mind that the principle is a legitimate one, and
cannot with any degree of propriety be regarded as sinful. It will
readily occur to all intelligent minds, that this principle enters
more or less as an essential element into every form of human
government. No government can be appropriate to human beings, in their
present fallen condition, that does not embody this generic element in
a greater or less degree.

A form of control, clearly embodying the idea of government, and at
the same time conferring absolute freedom, is a solecism. If men would
uniformly govern themselves aright by their own wills, there could be
no necessity for government, or room for its exercise, at least in the
sense in which we now understand the term. A government adapted to
such a people, I allow, might be without the element of physical
control, so indispensable in human governments. It would be (compared
to human) a modification of government--if government it might be
called--for which our language supplies no term. We cannot conceive it
to be appropriate to any intelligences this side of the “spirits of
just men made perfect in heaven.” These, we conceive, are
sufficiently intelligent to understand clearly and correctly all the
duties appertaining to the various relations they sustain, and so
perfected in moral feeling as to fulfil these duties from the impulses
of their own _spontaneous volitions_. Government, as it may be
understood and applied to such intelligences, must be essentially
different from that which is appropriate to beings of arbitrary
volition; and who, therefore, should be held to accountability in the
exercise of their freedom by the most rigid restrictions from penal
sanctions. To these latter a government that did not embody the
_principle of_ slavery would be no government at all.

Authoritative control, with its correlative, (according to the more
general classification given,) is the abstract principle of slavery.
But a state of freedom is the opposite of a state of slavery. The
abstract principle of a state of freedom or liberty is, therefore, the
opposite to that of slavery. Hence _self-control_ is the abstract
principle of freedom, as its opposite--_control by another_--is the
principle of slavery.

Now every government adapted to fallen beings whose personal or mental
liberty consists in _arbitrary_ volition, is necessarily a combination
of these two opposite elements--the principle of freedom and the
principle of slavery. Either of these entering alone into the system
of government, would in the end defeat the legitimate object of
government--the happiness of the people. If the government were based
upon the principle of freedom alone, allowing every man the
unrestricted liberty of self-control, the wildest anarchy would
result: if to avoid this the opposite principle should be adopted,
allowing no liberty of self-control, but subjecting all to control by
the will of another, it would be found as impracticable as the other
was disastrous, and, as far as successful, only appropriate to idiots
and infants. A good government is such a harmonious union of these
opposing elements, as adapts it to the wants of the people. For as, in
chemistry, elements in opposite states of electricity unite and form
valuable compounds, so in political science, antagonistic principles
enter necessarily into the composition of government. The character or
kind of the government is defined by the ratios in which these
elements enter into its formation. If the principle of slavery enter
very largely into the government, in a highly consolidated form, it is
then an absolute monarchy or military despotism. If the exercise of
this supreme power is distributed among the heads of families, it
assumes the patriarchal or domestic form. If this principle enter in a
less degree, but still in a much greater degree than the principle of
self-control, some one of the forms of constitutional monarchy or
hereditary aristocracy will result. If these opposite principles enter
into the government in somewhat equal ratios, it is then a democratic
republic--a well-balanced government--such as ours is designed to be.
Hence we see that God has rendered the blessing of civil freedom
inseparable from the presence and operation of the principle of
slavery. Such is the present arrangement, that government can no
otherwise secure freedom to its subjects than by abridging them to a
certain extent of self-control; or, in other words, government must
place its subjects under the operation of the principle of slavery in
some things, the more effectually to secure their practical freedom in
other things. And the citizen who may be determined not to submit to
this order of things, and shall persist to do, from the action of a
depraved will, what the State--_his master_--says he shall not do,
will, sooner or later, find himself reduced to a condition of most
abject slavery, within the walls of a public prison.

It is entirely obvious that a government, to secure the highest amount
of happiness to its subjects, must be adapted to their social and
moral condition. This adaptation, as before intimated, can only be
effected by the ratios in which the antagonistic elements of _liberty
and of slavery_ shall enter into the composition of the government.
Now this is virtually the position, after all, of a no less
distinguished abolitionist and literary man than Dr. Wayland, the
author of your text. On the subject “_of the mode in which the objects
of society are accomplished_,” after bringing to view the different
forms of government--“wholly hereditary”--“partly hereditary”--“partly
elective”--and “wholly elective”--he asks, “Which of these is the
preferable form of government?” and adds, “The answer must be
conditional. The best form of government for any people, _is the best
that its present moral and social condition render practicable_. A
people may be _so entirely surrendered to the influence of passion_,
and so feebly _influenced by moral restraint_, that a government which
relied on moral restraint could not exist for a day. In this case a
subordinate and inferior principle yet remains--_the principle of
fear_; and the only resort is to a government of force, or a military
despotism.” Now what is all this but a statement of the great truth
which we have already discussed, only in different terms, that a
government over a people, in the moral and social condition described
by Dr. Wayland, which relied upon “_moral restraint_,” that is, upon
the principle of self-control, “_could not exist for a day_;” and that
for such a people, “the only resort is to a government of force, or a
military despotism”--that is, the _highest conceivable form or system
of slavery_. Now this is said, by Dr. Wayland, after waging a
relentless war against both the principle and practice of slavery! Is
not this an instance in which a great and honest mind, having adopted
certain false notions in antagonism with the system of slavery, wars
against this system; whilst, at the same time, this system is
underlaid, even in his own method of reasoning, by a vast mine of
fundamental principles which, in spite of him, give it both being and
activity? Why need one so learned as Dr. Wayland allow the truth to
escape his notice, because in one connection it wears the livery of
one form of words, and in another connection very properly assumes the
livery of a different form of language?

To proceed: History informs us of many such communities as those
defined by Dr. Wayland, to which any other form of government would be
entirely inappropriate but the one he calls a “_government of force or
a military despotism_,” which is none other than the very highest form
of slavery. And your own good sense, young gentlemen, must assure you
that it would be grossly absurd to confer on reckless boys of fifteen,
or a mass of stupid pagans, all the rights of free citizens of this
great republic. No: the one class should be retained under the slavery
(for let us not scruple to call things by their right names) of
_authoritative control_ by their parents; and the other should be
subjected to the operation of the same general principle by the State.
And to adopt Dr. Wayland’s own language on this point--suicidal as it
is to him--we add, in regard to such citizens as are “_entirely
surrendered to the influence of passion_,” that “after a government of
force has been established, and habits of subordination have been
formed, while the moral restraints are yet too feeble for
self-government, an hereditary government, which addresses itself to
the imagination, and strengthens itself by the influence of domestic
connections and established usage, may be as good a form of government
as they can sustain. As they advance in intellectual and moral
cultivation, it may advantageously become more and more elective; and
in a suitable moral condition, it may be wholly so.” Now, to vary the
language in which these important facts are expressed, so as to bring
out the great philosophical principles which so evidently underlie
them, we would say, that when the government adapted to an ignorant
and depraved people has operated under wise appliances to form habits
of subordination among the masses, a modification of the elements of
government is indicated as best suited to their condition. Some one of
the forms of hereditary government may be adopted. In this
government, the _principle of slavery_ is made to operate less
actively, and there is more room for the play of the opposite
principle of self-control. But as the moral principle is yet too
feeble for self-government proper, it is still held in strong check by
its antagonistic principle--the principle of slavery. As they advance
in intellectual and moral cultivation, a further modification of the
relative operation of these principles is indicated as proper. It may
become more and more elective: that is, more and more of a democratic
republic; and in a suitable moral condition it may be wholly so: that
is, a government in which the _principle of slavery_ and the
_principle of liberty_ operate in about equal ratios. We call this a
well-balanced government. If it fulfil this condition, it is because
these opposing principles so check and counterpoise each other that
the government is not likely to be unbalanced. One holds the other _in
equilibrio_. The principle of self-control is in such vigorous
operation among the masses, and so craned up to a vigilant activity by
coincident forces derived from intelligence and interest, that the
_principle of slavery--control by the will of another, which in this
instance is the will of the majority_--is not competent, according to
the theory of this government, to override and crush the liberties of
the country. On the other hand, the _principle of slavery_, which is
the great _practical force_ of the government, enfeebled as it is by a
prevailing popular enthusiasm for the widest freedom, and deriving no
_present_ aid from interest, finds this deficiency so fully supplied
by the fact that its impersonation is _the will of the majority_, that
it is competent to resist the most violent shocks which may come up
from the misguided self-control of the masses. How often have we seen,
in the history of our glorious republic, the excited passions of the
masses, misdirecting their power of self-control, sweep like a
hurricane over the bosom of our political sea, and lash the waters
into a storm that threatened to engulf the hopes of the nation! But so
_vital_ and so _active_ was that principle which constitutes the true
force of the government, that that great ideal, the State--the “Ship
of State!”--outrode the tempest in perfect safety; and last, as first,
the flag of liberty still streamed from the mast-head.

Now, this is as far as the science of free government, so called, has
been carried into practical operation; and in this we cannot fail to
see that the restraining and controlling _principle of slavery_ is
still in vigorous operation. We call it, by way of eminence, a _free_
government; and so it is, _relatively to other forms, a very free
government_. But then it is only relatively, not absolutely, so; for
if it were rendered entirely free, by excluding the operation of the
principle of slavery altogether, it would be reduced at once to a form
of government which authorizes every man to do in all things and in
all respects just as he might please to do--a guaranty which in the
present state of fallen human nature it could never make good, and,
therefore, virtually it would be no government at all.

Seeing that the abstract principle of slavery enters necessarily and
essentially as an element into every form of civil government, it is
worse than idle to affirm that it is wrong, _per se_. But more than
this, it has the sanction of Jehovah: for government, of which we have
seen it is a necessary element, is expressly declared in Holy
Scripture to be his ordinance. It entered largely into the theocracy
by which he governed the Jewish nation; and indeed is equally
prominent in the government which he exercises over all mankind, if we
take it in its wide sense as comprehending the ultimate rewards and
punishments that await us in a future state. How imbecile then is it
to say of the system of slavery that it is wrong in the
abstract--wrong in principle! How little do men consider what they
affirm in this declaration! Certainly no man in his senses will
gravely affirm of an essential principle of government that it is
wrong! We repeat, then, it is really time that certain politicians, as
well as ecclesiastics, had learned to chasten their language on this
subject. They have already accomplished incalculable mischief. They
have conceded that to the folly of fanaticism which, if it were true,
would render domestic slavery, with every other form of civil
government, wholly indefensible, and their supporters the objects of
the pity and scorn of the civilized world.

There are many among ourselves who, though they are not sufficient
metaphysicians to detect and expose the error of a conclusion, are
sufficiently candid to admit that if the conceded dogma of Jefferson
be true, domestic slavery can never be justified in practice by any
circumstances whatever; and they have pious feeling enough to prompt
them to great hesitation in supporting the institution in view of this
admission, although they are pressed to do so by circumstances of
urgent duty to the slaves themselves. In this state of things there
arises in many sensitive minds a most painful state of feeling.
Pressed on the one hand by what is assumed to be correct principle,
and on the other by the claims of a high moral necessity,--the
necessity of governing and providing for their slaves, which they
erroneously suppose to be in conflict with right principle,--they
really find themselves in a most embarrassing situation, from which
they sigh to be released. Many such have quietly retired from the
State of their nativity and choice as their only alternative. (This
may account for more of those removals, usually attributed to worn-out
lands, than many of our politicians wot of.) Others remain, it is
true, but it is rather an act of subjection than submission. Citizens
of this class (and it is not a small class) are of course always
liable to become the victims of any fanatical movement on the subject
of slavery that may be afoot in the land. To all this mischief, the
speakers and writers in question have contributed their full share.
Yea, for myself, I doubt not they have contributed much more to
dissatisfy the religious community of the South--the large majority of
the whole population--than all the abolitionists of the North put
together. It is doubtless the magic of their names which at present
enables the M. E. Church (the most regular and well-defined
anti-slavery, if not indeed abolitionist, association this day
existing in the country) to maintain its footing in the District of
Columbia, the States of Delaware and Maryland, and along the northern
border of Eastern and through a large part of Western Virginia,
together with a portion of Kentucky and Missouri. It is the authority
of their names, also, which so disquiets the feelings of many good
people in the whole country as to make them the victims of the
political legerdemain of certain politicians, who, under cover of
“free-soilism,” “fugitive slave law,” and “Nebraska” excitements, are
overriding their rights and insulting the whole country before the
civilized world; and who, last though not least, are daily oppressing
the African population by the incubus of a morbid sensibility in
regard to them, which utterly prevents the system under which they
live from any thing like a reasonable participation in the progress of
civilization. In view of these facts, we again assume that it is
really time they had learned to chasten their language on the subject
of African slavery. Public opinion in the whole country must soon
become intolerant of so great an abuse of the truth.



LECTURE III.

OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.

     Objections classified--Popular views discussed--“All men are
     born free and equal”--“All men are created equal”--“All men in
     a state of nature are free and equal”--And the particular form
     in which Dr. Wayland expresses the popular idea, viz., “The
     relation in which men stand to each other is the relation of
     _equality_; not equality of condition, but equality of
     _right_”--Remarks on Dr. Wayland’s course--His treatise on
     Moral Science as a text-book.


It is now appropriate to consider some of the speculations in Moral
Science which may be supposed to invalidate the position discussed in
the preceding lecture. As far as they have come under my notice, they
all belong to one class. The general objection may be thus stated:
_Slavery is an abridgment of rights to which the enslaved are entitled
by nature; or, more logically, slavery is an abridgment of inalienable
rights_. This doctrine is expressed in different forms of language,
but is essentially the same in meaning. It is with the popular view
of this subject that I propose to deal in this lecture. Hence I shall
restrict my remarks, in the first place, to the objection as it
usually _exists in thought_, and notice several popular forms of
expression:

1. “All men are born free and equal.”

Until within a few years past, this dogma was stereotyped in all the
text-books of the country--from the horn-book to the most eminent
treatise on Moral Science for colleges and universities. From the days
of Jefferson until now, it has been the text for the noisy twaddle of
the “stump-politician,” and the profound discussions of the grave
senator in the Congress of the United States. If this dogma, as it
generally exists in thought, be true, it will follow, that any and
every abridgment of liberty is a violation of original and natural
right--that is, inalienable right. Hence every system of slavery must
be based upon a false principle. The popular sense in which this
language is generally understood, from father to son, is evidently the
literal sense. But taken in this sense, the doctrine is utterly false.
For men are born in a state of infancy, and grow up to the state of
manhood; and infants are entirely incapable of freedom, and do not
enjoy a particle of it. They _are_ not, therefore, born equally free,
but in a state of entire subjection. They grow up, it is true--if
they be not imbeciles--to a degree of mental liberty, that is, the
liberty of arbitrary volition in the plain matters of _right_ and
_wrong_, and hence are accountable; but the degree of this liberty, or
how far they are thus mentally free, depends upon the accident of
birth, education, and numerous coincident circumstances, which
destroys all equality of mental freedom; and as to _equality_ in other
respects, it is scarcely a decent regard to the feelings of mankind to
affirm their equality. They are not _physically_ equal. No two men
will compare exactly in this respect. They are not _politically_
equal. The history of all human governments, throughout all time,
shows this. To be “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” in unequal
and subordinate positions, _to the few_, has been the lot of the great
mass of mankind from the days of Adam. But, says the “socialist,” (to
whom the doctrine is far more creditable,) “this latter is precisely
the state of things we deprecate, and affirm that such was never the
intention of Deity, but that it is his will that there should be no
such inequality among men; that his will is in itself _the right_; and
what it is his will we should be, it is _right_ for us to be, and it
is our right _to be_; and that system which makes our condition other
than this, deprives us of our rights.” This is the philosophy of
socialism.

Now it is true that much of the inequality of condition among men is
owing to an abuse of the superior power which intelligence confers
upon the few; but this admission does not advance the cause of
socialism. For if it were allowed that the will of God is the only
rule of right--that is, in itself _the right_, instead of this, that
that which in itself is _the right_ is the will of God--it will not
help the argument. For, on this hypothesis, the will of God is the
only rule of right, as on the other it conforms to the only rule of
right; so that on either, the will of God may be taken as a certain
rule of right. What then does he will? In regard to the present
subject of inquiry, we can only judge what he wills from that which he
has done. Now we have seen that he has not endowed the souls of men
with equal capacity, nor has he even placed them in circumstances of
providential equality, favorable to an equal development of the
unequal capacities he has given them. Superior intelligence is the
condition of inequality. Where this exists, there is essential
inequality, and practical inequality cannot usually be avoided. Hence
_superior_ and _inferior_, and cognate terms, are found in all
languages, and the conditions they represent are found amongst all
people. Hence inequality among men is the will of God; and if his will
is the rule of _our rights_, we have no abstract right to equality.
It is rather our duty to submit to that inequality of condition which
results from the superior intelligence or moral power of others.
Superior physical power may, for a time, give us the ascendency; but
things will find their level. Superior intelligence will ultimately
bear its possessor to his destined eminence. A state of oppression is
not one of _inequality_ merely. It is one in which superior
intelligence has degraded and afflicted those who rank below it, in an
inferior condition; or it is an instance in which, by the aid of brute
force, those of inferior condition have, for a time, risen at the
expense of those of superior intelligence. If we are oppressed, in
either of these ways, we have a right to complain, because our
oppressors violate the will of God concerning us--violate our rights;
but we have no right to complain of _inequality_ merely. Inequality is
the law of Heaven. He who complains of this is not less _unwise_ than
the prisoner who frets at his condition, and chafes himself against
the bars and bolts of the prison which securely confines him!

But if the dogma in question cannot be made to serve the cause of
truth, it has often been made to serve the cause of policy. Many there
are who have not scrupled to use it as a tocsin to call together a
clan, not their inferiors merely, but so degraded in their
inferiority, that, for the price of being honored with the
distinction of “_free and equal fellow-citizens_,” they have been
ready as menials to bow their necks to their masters, debase
themselves, dishonor the state, and insult Jehovah!

2. “All men are created equal.”

This is only another form in which the social philosophy is pleased to
express its one idea. We need only notice the additional error
acquired by the change of language. “All men,” it is said, “are
created.” It is written in the first of Genesis, that “God created man
in his own image: in the image of God created he him: male and female
created he them.” The term “man” is, of course, to be understood in
its generic sense, and all that is affirmed is, that God directly
_created_ Adam and Eve, and all their posterity seminally in them; and
from whom, therefore, they have proceeded, as to both soul and body,
by _generation_, and not by a separate act of creation by Jehovah. Now
of these two created beings, one was placed in direct and immediate
subordination to the other; and although it be true, as it often
practically is, that the _fall_ has reversed this order of things, and
placed the wife at the head of affairs, still the doctrine of
headship, the doctrine of _inequality_, prevails in the one case as in
the other. It is not amiss, however, to remark in passing, that even
so great and humble a man as the Apostle Paul preferred the
old-fashioned doctrine: he insists that we observe the original order
of things: “I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man;” 1
Tim. ii. 12; “but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also
saith the law.” 1 Cor. xiv. 34.

As to other points in this dogma, they have been already treated. We
only add that philosophy, no less than religion and true patriotism,
cannot fail to regret that a dogma setting each of their claims aside,
and teaching the purest agrarianism, and that under the most deadly
form--the form of _pure abstract truth_--should have found its way
into that immortal instrument, the Declaration of American
Independence. We cannot otherwise account for it than by the fact that
one of the presiding minds of that great paper had become strongly
tinctured with the infidel philosophy of France.

3. “All men in a state of nature are free and equal.”

This is the form of words by which that great man, Locke, involved
himself in the doctrine of socialism. The school of philosophy has
freed itself of the errors of Locke, and of much of the infidelity of
Hume which those errors precipitated upon the world. The error now
under notice, in the unsettled political state of France, was seized
upon by the Communists: infidelity and anarchy followed. From them, it
was consecrated in an abridged form of words in the greatest state
paper that was ever written,--the “Declaration of Independence,”--and
incorporated into the popular language of the American people, and,
indeed, into that of every people where the English language is
spoken. Great and good men, who abhor the folly of socialism, do not
scruple to assert that the true theory of all governments is, that
they are an abridgment of original and natural rights; forgetful of
the fact that it is from the fountain of socialism that they draw
their original supply of ideas. Those of the republican type maintain
that the government should be founded upon the _concessions_ of the
majority, and that any thing else is tyranny. I propose to deal with
this idea in a future lecture. I now only consider the dogma in the
literal sense--the form in which it exists in popular thought.

Literally, what is the state of man by nature? and, Is he free and
equal in that state? We can conceive of man as existing only in one or
the other of two states; one of which is his natural state, and the
other merely hypothetical: that is, the _simple_, or individual state,
and the _complex_, or social state. To conceive of men in their simple
state, or as _not in a state of society_, is to conceive of them as
existing as mere individuals: that is, _without connection or relation
one with the other_. Is this the _natural_ state of man--the state
intended for him by nature? Certainly not. It is not known to history,
any more than to us, that any set of men ever existed in this way.
This, then, is a merely hypothetical state. In reality, there never
was such a state of things, and never will be. Indeed, on the
hypothesis that such was the original state of men by nature, or as
intended by the Lord, it would follow as a mere truism that each one
of those separate individuals was _free_ from control by any one or
all of the others: that is, they were all _free_ and equal. That this
truism expresses the truth of the case, no doubt exists in the thought
of a great many; but they overlook the hypothesis which makes it a
hypothetical truism, merely because it never had any existence in
fact, and never can have.

To conceive of men in the _social state_ is to conceive of them in
their relations to each other. Hence it is a _complex_ state. Several
ideas enter into this state--not only individuality, as in the former
case, but also contiguity of time and place, variety, and often
contrariety of relations, together with all the ideas which, as
sequences, grow out of these. Now, a leading idea involved in this
state, and inseparable from it, is the idea of _government_: that is,
the _political_ is inseparable from the social state. These various
and conflicting relations must be defined by certain rules, carrying
the full idea of _control_. Without this, these relations could not
operate in harmonious agreement for a single day. Now, as the
_natural_ state of man is the state for which he was made,--the state
to which alone his entire nature is adapted,--there can be no dispute,
the _social_ state is the _natural_ state of man. “And the Lord God
said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an
helpmeet for him.” He was made, then, for society, and society was
immediately furnished him. But the _law_ of relation, we find, was
coincident with the relation itself: “Therefore shall a man leave his
father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” Gen. ii. 24.
And so also, every one born into the world was born in a state of
society--the social state--and has always existed in this state: that
is, _under government_. But we have before proved that a state of
slavery is fundamental in the _complex_ idea of government. There is,
there can be, _no government without it_. Therefore, the natural state
of man, or the state to which he is adapted by both his mental and
physical constitution, is a state of slavery in combination with
liberty, _which is the complex idea of government_.

4. “The relation which men sustain to each other is the relation of
_equality_: not _equality of condition_, but _equality of right_.”

This is the form in which Dr. Wayland prefers to express the doctrine
of equality.[2] He explains himself thus: “Each separate individual is
created with precisely the same right to use the advantages with which
God has endowed him as any other individual.” From this position, as
thus explained, he deduces an argument the force of which, without
expressing it in so many words, is constructively made to pervade the
whole performance. For his whole argument may be embodied thus: the
government which places an individual in any other condition than that
of political equality is an odious tyranny: the government which
establishes domestic slavery does this, and is therefore an odious
tyranny.

     [2] Moral Science. Part II., Division I--Reciprocity.

Now, the proposition, as he explains it, may be admitted as a truism;
but then the doctrine of essential equality of right will not follow
from such an admission: that is, social and political equality. For
what if it be true that “each separate individual has precisely the
same right to use the advantages with which God has endowed him?” It
only follows that each one has a common right in this respect merely,
but not that there is an essential equality of right in any available
sense in which we are accustomed to understand the phrase. For if so,
it will follow that brutes have an essential equality of rights with
men, and that both men and brutes have an essential equality of rights
with angels. This is not pushing the argument too far in either
direction. For brutes, in a sense well defined by Dr. Wayland himself,
have rights. No one but a _moral_ brute would deny the right of his
fellow-creature--the brute--to appropriate an accessible bucket of
refreshing water to slake his burning thirst. Nothing is more certain
than that brutes, men, and angels have a common right to appropriate
the advantages with which God has endowed them. Brutes could not have
lower, and angels could not have higher, rights in this respect. But
surely it cannot be said that this common right confers on brutes,
men, and angels, essential equality of rights in any practical sense
whatever; for then it will follow that brutes, men, and angels have an
equal right to social and political equality--a bold and reckless
absurdity.

We admit that one man has a common right with each and all other men
in the respect stated; but not that they have common rights in other
respects. The common right to use our “_advantages to promote our
happiness_” will not constitute us equals in any proper sense, unless
our _advantages_ be equal. Now, Dr. Wayland himself allows, in the
very terms of his proposition, that men are _not equal in
condition_--that is, _not equal in advantages_. And nothing is more
obvious than that men are not equal in that intellectual and moral
condition which would enable them to use certain social and political
advantages for the benefit of themselves and others: consequently,
upon his own admission, they would have no right to them. Unless,
then, it can be shown that God has endowed all human beings with
intellectual and moral capacities sufficiently developed to enable
them to be used for the common welfare, they have no right to what we
call political freedom. But it is unquestionable that men are not
universally nor even generally so endowed. It is not the case with
minors. Political freedom is withheld from them by the laws of all
States, for the obvious reason that it is not among the privileges
which God, as yet, endowed them with the ability to use for the common
welfare. Still, no one, so far as we are aware, ever dreamed that
minors were herein abridged of their natural rights, and that
government and parents were “_odious tyrants_” because they subjected
them to one of the known forms of domestic slavery! We are not
surprised, therefore, that Dr. Wayland found himself compelled to
admit that minors were exceptions to his rule; which, however, he had
argued as universal--universals admit of no exceptions.

Again, it is not true of barbarians, through any of the stages of
barbarism. At no period are they in that state of intellectual and
moral development in which they could use for the common welfare the
blessings of civil freedom, as understood and enjoyed by a highly
civilized people. If they were, they would not be barbarians, but a
civilized people, to whom the right of civilization--political
freedom--would inure.

Now I assume here, what I shall prove in a future lecture, that the
African came into this country in a state of extreme barbarism; and
that, in the judgment of Southern people--whom prejudice itself can
hardly deny are honest and the only competent judges in this
matter--they are still, as a race, in a state of semi-barbarism, to
say the least. If we are right in this position, they also are an
example of persons who are clearly not entitled to the rights which
inure only to a state of civilization. With what propriety, therefore,
could any decent man, whose object is not to insult, affirm that we
are “odious tyrants,” for withholding from the African the rights
which are appropriate only to a state of civilization: unless he were
prepared first to show that we are wrong in our position as to the
question of fact, that they are still in a state of semi-barbarism,
and, therefore, not entitled to civil freedom?

How shall we characterize the course of Dr. Wayland! After drawing an
ingenious argument through many pages of his performance: appealing to
the facts and principles of Holy Scripture: not failing, in the
progress and application of his false position, to stigmatize the
system of African slavery as an odious tyranny, and this for the
obvious purpose of degrading the Southern States of this Union in the
eyes of the whole civilized world: then, when he is confronted, as he
necessarily was, in the progress of his own argument, by the only
material fact in the whole discussion, he adroitly evades all
consideration of it whatever! On page 216, fourth edition, he states
the position of the South, that the “slaves are not competent to
self-government,” and shortly replies, “This is a question of fact
which it is not the province of Moral Philosophy to decide.” Why then
did he decide it by an application of his false position to the South?
Echo answers, Why?

Had he confined the application of his principles to the rights which
belong to a civilized people, we should have no cause to complain; or
had he adduced facts to invalidate the position of the South in
regard to its African population, we should be bound to regard him as
maintaining an honorable discussion; or, yielding this point, had he
attempted to define that form of government most appropriate to a mass
of semi-barbarians, dwelling in the midst of a highly civilized
people, with whom they could not amalgamate; or, declining this, had
he frankly confessed his incompetency (as indeed will really appear
upon a discussion of his basis principle) to do justice to the subject
of Moral Philosophy at this point at least--in either case we should
be bound to respect his effort. But departing, as he evidently does,
from all these obvious lines of duty in the pathway of his desolating
errors, and inflicting so deep a wound upon the feelings of the whole
Southern community, it must be allowed that our charity is heavily
taxed in accounting for his course. He can have no cause to complain
that we adopt the opinion that he has permitted an early prejudice to
grow into a feeling of fanaticism, so fixed as to warp his judgment on
points of very simple application in Moral Science.

Dr. Wayland’s treatise is a text-book in many of our literary
institutions, and he himself is eminently distinguished both in the
religious and literary world. Such a text-book, thus endorsed by both
piety and learning, put into the hands of our young men, could rarely
fail of its object--especially if the professor concur in enforcing
its doctrines. This is frequently the case in Northern institutions,
and has often occurred in Southern; and where it has not, the
professor, as a general thing, is either silent, or he concedes the
_doctrines_ of the text, and rests the defence of the South upon the
false position, that “she cannot help herself!” The assumption that
God has placed men in circumstances in which they cannot avoid a
violation of his own immutable principles of right, may be so entirely
overlooked, as to leave the doctrines and arguments of the text to
work an increasing conviction that there is moral wrong in African
slavery. If this state of things continue, we must not be surprised if
abolition fanaticism should have a still more rapid growth in our
land.



LECTURE IV.

THE QUESTION OF RIGHTS DISCUSSED.

     Why it is necessary to define the term RIGHTS--The right in
     itself defined to be _the good_--The doctrine that the will of
     God is the origin of the right considered--The will of God not
     the origin of the right, but an expression of _the right_ which
     is the good--Natural rights and acquired rights, each defined.


There are questions which lie back of this discussion--errors, as I
think, which underlie the popular ideas of both government and rights.
We should not consider that we had fully met the difficulties of the
subject if we passed them by.

Domestic slavery, it is said, is an abridgment of inalienable rights;
and legitimate government is a voluntary concession of certain
alienable rights.

Natural rights are, of course, such as are inherent in the
constitution of man: inalienable, because in point of fact he cannot
be substantively deprived of them. The law which in any case provides
to do this, treats him as though he were not a rational, but a mere
sentient being--and therein alienates his rights. Domestic slavery is
said to treat the slave as a mere chattel, a thing, not an entity, and
hence deprives him by provision of law of the right of being treated
as a rational being as he is, and not a mere thing. This is said,
because it places his time and labor at the disposal of another man.
How far this reproach is just, turns upon a definite answer to the
question--_What are rights?_

“_Government is a voluntary concession of certain alienable rights._”
If this concession be made by the majority of the citizens, the
government is called republican; if otherwise, it is called despotic.
In this theory of government, certain rights are assumed to be given
up, in order to secure other and more important rights. I have shown
government to embody, of necessity, two great abstract principles in
harmonious operation--though, in their essential nature, the one
antagonizes the other. Now the principle of slavery--_control by the
will of another_--certainly operates an abridgment of the exercise of
_self-control_, which is the principle of liberty. And so far as the
principle of slavery operates, in any given instance of government, is
that, in such instance, a giving up, to that extent, of the right of
_self-control_, in order to secure a _right_ to the _self-control_
which remains ungiven up? Is this so? This question also turn upon
the solution of that other question--What are rights?

And again, _self-control_, we say, is the principle of liberty.
Practical freedom is the exercise of the _right_ of self-control. How
far does the right of self-control extend? I say that an instance in
which a body of men emerged from a state of nature, (so called,) and
formed a government by an original act, is unknown to history. It
never occurred. Man was placed originally by Jehovah himself under
political law. The very moment that he placed the first being in a
relation to another by giving him a “_helpmeet_,” he gave him a law to
govern that relation, as we have seen; and all the subsequent acts of
men in the matter of government-making, have been such modifications
of the existing form of government as they supposed would better suit
their circumstances. But it is said that when society meets in
convention to agree upon certain principles called a constitution,
under which the laws shall be made, men do virtually, for the time
being, resolve themselves into their original position or state
without government; and that the constitution so formed is virtually
an original formation. Well, for the sake of the argument, let it be
so. When, therefore, society thus falls back upon its original
position, men stand upon the basis of what are supposed their
_original rights_! What is that? Why, the right that each man has to
do as he may please. They form a government: that is, give up a part,
more or less, of their _original right_. Of course a part remains
ungiven up, and the giving up cannot be to secure the possession of
that which is already in possession! What is it that invests these
questions with difficulty? Is it not the ambiguity of the term rights?
Let us then define _rights_, if we would not be for ever entoiled by
these absurdities.

And still again: Is liberty the right of self-control? Is not
man--accountable man--free in virtue of his very humanity? Does this
freedom imply absolute liberty? If so, absolute liberty is inherent in
his very constitution--it is inalienable. What right, then, can he
have to give it up, or any part of it? If so, he has the right to do
that which subjectively he cannot do. If, then, government be a
concession of the _right_ of self-control in this sense, it is the
concession of an inalienable right, and should be abandoned as a piece
of folly.

It is entirely obvious, therefore, that we cannot advance in these
inquiries at all without first settling the question, _What are
rights?_

The English language is allowed to be one of great power, compass, and
accuracy, and therefore eminently adapted to reasoning. It derives
this quality in a good degree from its flexibility, the different
varieties of idea, and often the different shades of meaning in these
varieties that may be expressed by one word. No language is supposed
to compare with it in this respect. But whilst this adapts it to the
purpose of correct reasoning, it opens also a wide field for errors in
argument. Men usually differ widely in _opinion_, but they do not
often differ in sentiment. All intelligent and good men _feel right_,
and _mean right_. They often differ in opinion because they differ in
the meaning they attach to the language, the same language, which is
the medium through which each views the same subject. Different men
use the same word in different senses. The same man often uses the
same word by habit in different senses in the same connection. They
come to different conclusions, of course, and the same man often
entoils himself by his own argument. Now, there are few words with
which men have more to do in discussions and opinions about liberty
and government--the next most important matters to personal
religion--than with the word _rights_; and there are few words which
are capable of more varied application, and which are in truth oftener
applied to express different shades of meaning, than this word
_rights_. Webster gives correctly some forty different meanings of
this term, together with several subordinate senses in which it
occurs, all of which are in common use. _Our_ language--and of what
language is not the same true?--our literature, our theology, our
politics--society on all sides--is bristling with _rights_! Now, is it
not obvious that there must be some generic idea which classifies all
the different meanings and applications of this term, and which has
its foundation in the common sense, the common reason of all mankind?

If, then, we inquire what are our rights in any given case, this
question directly involves that other and ultimate question, What is
_the right_ in itself? the solution of which solves at once the
general question in regard to all cases. And although the case in
which our _rights_ may appear must be first in point of time before
our minds, to call up our idea of _the right_, still our definite
antecedent idea of the right is the logical condition on which we
determine whether the right appears in that case.

Call then, to your mind, an instance of justice, and one of injustice:
a case of virtue and a case of crime: an example of heroism and an
example of weakness: does not each of these cases embody, the one
class your idea of the _right in itself_, and the other your idea of
the _wrong in itself_? But your conception of the cases in which your
antecedent idea of the _right_ and the _wrong_ appears, and your
antecedent idea of _that right_ and of _that wrong_, are very
different ideas: that is, the case itself and your idea of the
principle are distinct: the one a thing, the other an idea of
something real. What, then, is your idea of the _right_, which is so
distinct in your mind from the case in which it appears? Interrogate
your reason and consciousness. Interrogate the reason and
consciousness of all mankind.

Take this example: “The father of _Caius Toranius_ had been proscribed
by the triumvirate. _Caius Toranius_, coming over to the interest of
that party, discovered to the officers who were in pursuit of his
father the place where he concealed himself, and gave withal a
description by which they might distinguish his person when they found
him. The old man, more anxious for the safety and fortunes of his son
than about the little that might remain of his own life, began
immediately to inquire of the officers who seized him, whether his son
were well, whether he had done his duty to the satisfaction of the
generals. ‘That son,’ replied one of the officers, ‘so dear to thy
affections, betrayed thee to us: by his information thou art
apprehended, and diest.’ The officer, with this, struck a poniard to
his heart, and the unhappy parent fell, not so much affected by his
fate as by the means to which he owed it.”[3] Here is an example of
the greatest filial impiety, and of the highest parental affection.
The one fulfils our idea of _the right_, the other our idea of _the
wrong_. Now, what is this idea of the right and the wrong in which all
are supposed to agree? We would not ask, with the disciple of Paley,
of Condillac, or of Helvetius, what the “wild boy, caught years ago in
the woods of Hanover,” would have thought of this case; nor what the
savage, without experience and without instruction, cut off in his
infancy from all intercourse with his species, would think of it. No:
“the savage state offers us humanity in swaddling-clothes, so to
speak--the germ of humanity, but not humanity entire. The true man is
the perfect man of his kind: true human nature is human nature arrived
at its development.”[4] We utterly deny that, in order to arrive at
the judgment of human nature, we need consult a savage in such
circumstances, or indeed to consult a savage at all. And yet we say
that even a savage of good mind, who has lived long enough in society
to get the idea of the relation of parent and child--such as even
savages have--would pronounce the conduct of the one to be right, and
of the other to be wrong, and have a definite idea of that _right_ and
that _wrong_, each in itself. And we furthermore say, that human
nature cultivated to the highest degree bears the same testimony to
the difference in the conduct of this father and this son, and
attaches essentially the same ideas to that difference. In calling the
one _right_ and the other _wrong_, men say, and they mean to say, that
_the one is good and the other is evil_. This is the uniform judgment
of human reason--the permanent belief of mankind. To this _common
sense_ bears ample testimony. Grammarians have not invented languages.
Government itself dates back of legislators--they have only modified
it. Philosophers have not invented beliefs: without concert, without
conventions, the world has fallen upon certain beliefs, and certain
signs to express these beliefs. In the secret chambers of the soul,
not of any one individual man, but of all men individually,
consciousness bears testimony that such and such is the belief of all
men, and this we call the judgment of common sense; and such is also
her testimony in all languages as to the thing that is _right_, and
that the _right_ in any given case is the idea we have of the _good_
in that case. _The right, then, is the good._

     [3] Paley’s Philosophy.--Moral Science.

     [4] M. Cousin.

“Right, _rectus_,” says Webster, “straightness, rectitude;” which he
explains to be conformity to rule or law, and that the _will of God_
is the ultimate rule or law which determines the _right_ or the
_wrong_ in all cases. Hence conformity to this rule is the generic
idea of the _right_ in itself, according to Webster. In this view,
Horne Tooke, in his Diversions of Purley, concurs. As his criticism is
ingenious, instructive, and generally truthful, I quote the more
material portion of his article on rights. After telling us in his
dialogue that Johnson only informs us that _right_ is not _wrong_, and
_wrong_ is not _right_, he adds:

“H. RIGHT is no other than RECT_um_, (_regetum_,) the past participle
of the Latin verb _regere_, etc.

“In the same manner, our English word JUST is the past participle of
the verb _jubere_.

“DECREE, EDICT, STATUTE, INSTITUTE, MANDATE, PRECEPT, are all past
participles.

“F. What then is law?

“H. It is merely the past tense and past participle of the Gothic and
Anglo-Saxon verb which means something or any thing laid down as a
rule of conduct. Thus when a man demands his RIGHT, he asks only that
which it is ordered he shall have. A RIGHT conduct is that which is
_ordered_: a RIGHT reckoning is that which is ordered: a RIGHT line is
that which is _ordered_ or _directed_, (not a random extension, but)
the shortest between two points: the RIGHT road is that ordered to be
passed (for the object you have in view:) to do RIGHT is to do that
which is ordered to be done: to be in the RIGHT is to be in such
situation or circumstances as are _ordered_: to have RIGHT or law on
one’s side is to have in one’s favor that which is ordered or laid
down: a RIGHT and JUST action is such an one as is _ordered_ and
_commanded_: a JUST man is such as he is commanded to be--_qui leges
juraque servat_--who observes and obeys the things laid down or
commanded; and the RIGHT hand is that which custom and those who have
brought us up have ordered or directed us to use in preference, when
one hand only is employed; and the LEFT hand is that which is
_leaved_, left, or which we are taught to leave out of use on such
occasions. So that left, you see, is also a past participle.

“F. Every thing, then, that is _ordered_ and _commanded_ is RIGHT and
JUST?

“H. Surely; for that is only affirming that what is _ordered_ and
_commanded_, is _ordered_ and _commanded_.

“F. Now what becomes of your vaunted RIGHTS of man? According to you,
the chief merit of man is obedience; and whatever is ordered and
commanded is RIGHT and JUST. This is pretty well for a _democrat_. And
those have always been your sentiments?

“H. Always; and those sentiments confirm my democracy.

“F. Those sentiments do not appear to have made you very conspicuous
for obedience. There are not a few passages, I believe, in your life,
where you have opposed what was _ordered_ and _commanded_. Upon your
principles, was that RIGHT?

“H. Perfectly.

“F. How now! Was it _ordered_ and _commanded_ that you should oppose
what was _ordered_ and _commanded_! Can the same thing be at the same
time both RIGHT and WRONG?

“H. Travel back to Melinda, and you will find the difficulty easily
solved.” (The people of Melinda are all _left-handed_, i. e., _their
right_ is _our left_. But they are as _right_-handed as we are; for
they use that hand in preference which is _ordered_ by their custom,
and is therefore _their right hand_, and leave out of employ the
other, which is, therefore, their _left_ hand.) “A thing may be at the
same time both RIGHT and WRONG, as well as RIGHT and LEFT. It may be
_commanded_ to be done and _commanded_ not to be done. The law--that
which is _laid down_--may be different by different authorities.

“I have always been most obedient when most taxed with disobedience.
But my RIGHT hand is not the RIGHT hand of Melinda. The RIGHT I
revere is not the right ordered by sycophants: the _jus vagum_, the
capricious command of princes or ministers. I follow the LAW _of God_,
(what is _laid down_ by him for the rule of my conduct,) when I follow
the laws of human nature: which without any human testimony we know
must proceed from God; and upon these are founded the RIGHTS of man,
or what is _ordered_ for man. I revere the constitution and
constitutional laws of England, because they are in conformity with
the LAWS of _God_ and _nature_; and upon these are founded the
rational rights of Englishmen. If princes, or ministers, or the
corrupt sham-representatives of the people, _order_, _command_, or
_lay down_ any thing contrary to that which is _ordered_, _commanded_,
or _laid down_ by God, human nature, or the constitution of this
government, I will still hold fast by the higher authorities. If the
meaner authorities are offended, they can only destroy the body of the
individual, but never can affect the RIGHT, or that which is ordered
by their superiors.”[5]

     [5] See his whole article on Rights.

Thus he is found to agree with Webster, that the _will of God_ is the
ultimate _genus_ of the RIGHT. That is RIGHT, which conforms to the
will of God as _laid down in law_--whether that law be a _written
revelation_, nature, or the customs of society, (as in the case of
the _right_ and _left_ hand,) as the exponent of that will--they are
what is ordered in the case, and make the RIGHT. Hence he condemns as
“wretched mummery” the distinction admitted by M. Portalis, between
obedience to a command, and obedience to what is RIGHT and JUST in
itself, and, on the same ground, pronounces it “highly improper” to
say, with Mr. Locke, “God has a RIGHT to do it: we are his creatures.”
For truly if his will be the ultimate _genus_ of RIGHT, then he can
have no _rights_, for there is certainly no superior to whose
_commands_ he conforms in the acts of his will. But precisely at this
point let us take our stand. I affirm on the authority of Scripture,
no less than sound philosophy, (always in harmony,) that _God has_
RIGHTS, and that the distinction of M. Portalis is in many instances
correct; and that hence Tooke, Dr. Paley, (who also concurs in this
view--see his article Rights, in his Moral Philosophy,) Dr. Webster,
with many others of great distinction, strangely err, not in their
etymology of this word, but in that hypothesis by which they make it a
significate of the _will of God_. We cannot agree with them that
RIGHTS and DUTIES which are reciprocal, are resolvable only into the
will of God--have his will alone for their ultimate foundation. I take
ground back of this. True, I say with them--and I claim full credit
in the declaration--that the volitions, the acts of God, are always
RIGHT; but I do not say that his will makes the essential or true
distinction between _right_ and _wrong_. We dare not assume that God,
could, by an act of volition, make the _right_ to be the _wrong_, and
the _wrong_ to be the _right_--good evil, and evil good! It is absurd
to assume that God can do things that are in themselves contradictory.
Omnipotent, we know, he is; but such things are not the objects of
power, any more than things which _are_ the objects of power, are, in
the same sense, the objects of Omniscience. To affirm that he could
make the _right_ to be the wrong, is as _false_ as it would be impious
to affirm that he _would_ do it, if he could--false, because, if he
can, he has not deposited the truth in that great master-work of his
hand, the mind of man; for, by the power of the intuition he has given
us, we are assured that the idea is in itself a gross absurdity. And
if this be not decisive of the question, then neither intuition nor
the deductions of intuition are of any authority. Man is the victim of
a false guide within! He may “eat and drink, for to-morrow he dies!”
There will be no more of him; or, what is worse, he is but a link in a
chain of sentient beings who are governed by a cruel fate, which
regards not the distinctions of _right_ and _wrong_; and he may be
the sport of wickedness in the world to come, as he has been the
victim of deception in this! I think it more than error to reason
thus! I think it profane!

We may take ground back of this--ground as honorable to God as it is
exalting to man and encouraging to his hopes. It is true, that both
rectitude and duty, together with liberty, are resolvable into the
essential good. Or, in other words, _freedom_, _rectitude_, and _duty_
are the modes of thought in which we conceive of the good as existing
in the soul of man, and that they are, each of them, in their distinct
nature and harmonious union, the true ideal of the good--the modes of
thought, also, in which the intuition of man perceives the good in the
case of every moral action which is good. And concerning the good in
itself, which is thus in an humble degree perceived by us, it is
certainly a reality which is immutable and eternal. God did not make
it--nor was it made. It is of the essential nature of God, and
eternal. He is the great impersonation of the good. His will, his
volitions, in all cases, are but the expressions of this high
attribute. His will, therefore, always conforming to the essential
good, is a perfect rule of what is right in itself, and proper to be
observed by us, as a rule of duty or conduct. Such a rule, it will be
seen, is eminently adapted to the wants of humanity; but, at the same
time, his will and the good are different realities. The one is an
essential quality of his holy nature, and the other is, to a certain
extent, an expression of this attribute in the form of volitions. That
the will of God did not make the right in itself, will readily appear.
Is it to be conceived that there ever was a period in eternity past,
when truth was not truth, or when truth did not exist? when _the good_
was not the _good_, or when the good did not exist? But does it not
accord with the clearest teachings of reason, that the truth always
was the truth, and ever will be the truth? that the good always will
be the good? That two and two are equal to four; that to affirm a
thing to be and not to be at the same time is an absurdity and a
contradiction; and that things equal to one and the same thing are
equal to one another, we say are all intuitive truths--we cannot be
mistaken about them. So also in morals: that the truth is good; that
virtue is good; that a good action is not an evil action; and that to
affirm that a good action is not a good action is an absurdity, a
contradiction, we say, _are all intuitions_--_we cannot be mistaken
about them_. But is it not equally intuitive that these things were
always so--that these truths were always truths--the good was always
the good, just as certainly as that they are so now? Then the
_eternity_ of these things is just as certainly an intuition, as that
they exist now is an intuition. Hence the eternity of God, who is the
great impersonation of this high quality, or whose attribute it is, is
an intuitive truth. Hence his will did not make it, for it is absurd
to say that he made himself. His will, therefore, which, in given
cases, is his volition, is but the expression of this essential
quality of his holy nature. Hence his will is a rule of right, because
in all cases it conforms to the good, but it did not make the good.

Therefore the RIGHT, as it conforms to the essential GOOD, is of the
nature of the GOOD. It is properly a significate of the good, and not
a significate of the _will of God_. Things agreeing with one and the
same thing agree with each other. Hence it coincides with the will of
God. But such coincidence does not constitute any thing _right_ in
itself; but it is because, like the will of God, it conforms to, or is
of the nature of, the ESSENTIAL GOOD, _that it is right_. The RIGHT
then, in itself, is the GOOD. The GOOD is the true generic idea which
classifies all the different applications of this term. So far as any
thing is of the nature of the GOOD, it is in itself RIGHT. So far as
any thing, to which the idea of the RIGHT applies, is negative of the
_good_, i. e., is evil, it is WRONG.

The GOOD, therefore, as an ultimate _genus_, is much more extensive in
meaning than the RIGHT. It extends to all _physical_ as well as
_moral_ good. Our subject requires us to consider it only so far as it
applies to humanity. And how far is this? When Jehovah created man, he
pronounced him to be “very good,” i. e., essentially good in the
attributes of his nature. He was created in “his own image: in the
image of God created he him.” “And the Lord God formed man of the dust
of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and
_man became a living soul_.” That is, he was created a pure spiritual
intelligence. He had a clear and correct perception and judgment of
pure abstract truth, and of the relations of truth; with the
corresponding feelings of obligation to duty, and a power of will
sufficient to control the mental states within the sphere of its
operations. Now, as a pure intelligence, thus endowed, he is within
the limits of his capacity a cause within himself--strictly a
self-acting agent, and hence accountable. And as he was created with a
feeling of obligation to observe the good as a rule in all his
conduct, he was created a subject of duty--he was under obligation to
do, to act; and as in each of these respects, and in all others, he
was created in conformity with the essential good, he was _rectus_,
_right_. All this is implied in that declaration of his essential
nature, as a pure spiritual intelligence, (who was therein made in the
image of God,) which defined him to be “_very good_.” Nor can we think
of this good as a quality or attribute of humanity, without being
conscious, if we reflect closely, of associating in our minds the idea
that the being who personates it is for that reason _free_; that for
that reason he is _rectus_, _straight_, conformed to the good as the
rule, that is, _right_; and that for the same reason he is under
obligation--it is his _duty_ to act according to that rule. Every
instance of moral action that is good implies these ideas: it is
_free_, it is _rectus_, _straight_, and it is done in accordance with
_duty_. In the same sense in which _life_, _sense_, and _motion_ enter
into and so form the comprehension of the creature, animal; so
_liberty_, _rectitude_, and _duty_ form the comprehension of moral
good, so far as it applies to humanity. These are distinct ideas.
Still they coincide, and either implies the others as correlatives.
Hence we say of a _free_ action that it is _good_, implying that it is
at the same time _rectus_, and done in accordance with duty; and of an
action in conformity to a proper rule, that it is _good_, implying at
the same time that it is _free_, and done in accordance with _duty_;
and also of an action in compliance with _duty_, that it is _good_,
implying that it is also _free_, and straight, i. e., conformed to
rule: thus in each case we imply the correlative ideas.

Now, whatever is in my possession by natural endowment is _mine_, in
the strictest sense. Hence, _freedom_ is mine, _duty_ is mine, and
_rectitude_ is mine, because the _good_ is mine, and those are the
elements of the good, each one implying the others.

Hence arises the idea of _natural right_: that is, the _right_ with
which I am endowed by the constitution of my nature as a rational
being. But what is that RIGHT? Evidently, the _good_. The good as an
attribute is in my possession. I am constituted with it and by it.
Hence it is inalienable. Divest me of the good as an attribute of my
nature, i. e., liberty, rectitude, and duty, and I sink at once in the
scale of being: I cease altogether to be a rational or accountable
being.

Let no one imagine that this position conflicts with the well-known
fact that man is a fallen being. For although fallen, he is still
accountable. True, his moral nature is in ruins, but still it is a
moral nature. Though disordered, it is not eradicated. Hence the
restoration by grace is called a conversion; but if the essential
moral nature of man had been destroyed by the fall, and an attribute
of essential evil had taken the place of it, his restoration could not
be called, as it is, a _change_, but should be called in the
strictest sense an _original_ creation. Hence, although man is fallen,
depraved--and we need not object to the strong terms in which this
depravity is usually expressed--still we find that the sentiment of
all mankind is on the side of virtue, on the side of the good; and
that men, though unchanged by sovereign grace, are still required to
be honest, gentlemanly, and in all things regardful of each other’s
rights. We admit of exceptions or modifications of this only in the
case of those in whom humanity has not been fully developed, as before
noticed, and those in civilized life who have so far abused their
moral nature as, in the language of Paul, to fit themselves for
destruction. Therefore, it still remains that the _good_ in the form
of rectitude, _right_, is in some modification an endowment of my
nature: the _right_, in itself, is mine by nature.

But the good, as an attribute, is an _active_ principle. We were
endowed with it for the purpose of movement--for results. It is my
duty to act _right_--straight, or in accordance with the _good_ as a
rule. Hence, whatever is a necessary _condition_ of the operation of
this active principle, the essential good, is in itself a good which
is either in my possession, and hence is mine by possession; or it
_ought_ to be in my possession, and hence is mine by just title.
Hence, to breathe, under all circumstances, together with all physical
motion and the sustenance of the body, which involves the right of
property to a certain extent, each in given circumstances, is the
natural right of every one. So also the right of the embryo-man, the
idiot, the imbecile, the uncivilized, or the savage, to protection and
defence, is a natural right; and for the same reason, to be protected
and defended from certain helpless conditions by others, is the
natural right of every one in all states of humanity. Because each of
these, and of all similar things, is in itself good, being a necessary
condition of the operation of the essential good, and is either in our
possession or ought to be in our possession; each one is also a
_natural right_, the good that is or ought to be in our possession.

But there are _acquired rights_.

It is the _duty_ of man to act, from the very fact that he is endowed
with the attribute of the _good_, which envelops the idea of duty. He
also has _power_ to act from the very same natural constitution. Now,
if he use this _power_ as duty and rectitude indicate that he should
do, all nature teaches, what the Bible confirms, that he will glorify
God, i. e., exemplify his goodness, and therein promote his own
happiness and the happiness of those with whom he is associated; or,
in other words, he will secure for himself and confer upon his
fellows eminent benefits resulting from the performance of his duty.
Now, whatever results to him in this way is certainly his by
possession, or by Divine grant, as much so as any natural _right_; but
these _benefits_, being of the nature of the essential good, (for the
reason that they are _benefits_, are in themselves _right_,) result to
him in the performance of his duty, and therefore are _his rights_.
But the acquisition is made to depend upon the exercise of his
_arbitrary_ volition. If he use this in pursuance of duty, they
follow. If he use it in violation of duty, they do not follow. Hence,
if he realize them at all, either by possession or by title, they are
_acquired_, and therefore are acquired _rights_ or benefits.

Therefore, _acquired rights_ may be defined, such good, in the form of
benefits or privileges, as results from the performance of duty.
Logically, they belong to the class of the essential good called
benefits or privileges, with the “_essential difference_” that they
are such as result from the performance of duty. Any other result,
though in itself of the nature of the essential good, yet, as it
conferred no benefit, could not be said to be _our right_. Capital
punishment, for example, when in accordance with the Divine will, is
in itself of the nature of the essential good; still, it would be an
abuse of language to say, in any ordinary case, that it was the right
of the criminal to be hung! because for no reason that we can imagine
does it confer any benefit or privilege upon the criminal. To be
_acquired rights_, therefore, they must not only be of the nature of
the good--that is, actual benefits--but this good must result from the
performance of duty, and not from the non-performance of duty, as in
the example given.

The definition corresponds with the language of common sense. All men,
in speaking of cases which are supposed to involve the question of
_rights_, employ the term in this sense. You say, of a farmer in a
given case, that he had no _right_ to an abundant harvest: why?
because he neglected his farm: his lands were not properly prepared,
and the growing crop was left open to depredations from stock: that
is, he neglected his duty; he had no _right_ to the benefit of an
abundant harvest. And again, you say to a neighbor, You should have
paid a certain sum of money to A., in a given case. He had a _right_
to the money, because he complied with the conditions on which the
money was to be paid. _He did his duty_, and therefore had a _right_
to the money. Thus, the neglect of duty negatives _right_ in the one
case, and the performance affirms it in the other, according to the
common usage of language.

Another idea which clearly enters into the common and correct use of
this term is that it is reciprocal with _obligation_: that is,
wherever there is a right in one person, there is a corresponding
obligation, _duty_, upon others. If one man has a _right_ to an
estate, others are under obligation, that is, it is their _duty_, to
abstain from it. If the letting of it alone be the result of duty on
the part of others, the enjoyment of it by him must also result from
duty on his part, or the ideas do not coincide: that which was duty in
one set of men would not be duty in another, in regard to the same
thing, and in correlative circumstances. This would be absurd:
therefore, the duty of one set of men to let another alone in the
enjoyment of a certain benefit, implies the correlative idea that they
enjoy the benefit in virtue of doing their duty. Hence, those benefits
which are our rights result to us from the performance of our duty.

The points established in this discussion are:

1. That conformity to what is _ordered_ or commanded is not the true
generic idea of _the right_ in itself. What is ordered or commanded
can only interpret _the right_, when the command itself conforms to
the essential good, as in the case of the Divine will. This is always
_right_, because it so conforms, or is always an expression of the
essential good.

Hence, the _good_ is the true generic idea of _the right_. This alone
can interpret _the right_ in any case. Therefore, although man, in
virtue of his constitution as a pure intelligence, has the _power_ to
do _wrong_, he has not, and never can have, _the right_ to do wrong.
For wrong is the negative of right; and any thing, whether attribute,
quality, opinion, doctrine, or act--every thing, whether moral or
physical--to be _right_, must be of the nature of the _good_: all else
is _wrong, not right_. And it further follows, that the only true
subjective _right_ which any man has to exercise his power of
self-control, is in doing that which is good, and not in doing that
which is evil.

2. The _natural rights_ of man are,

First--The essential good in his possession by natural endowment, and
which is therefore inalienable. And, Second--The necessary conditions,
whatever they may be, of the operation of the inherent good as an
active principle. Some of these are inalienable, and others are
alienable. To this view of natural rights the common usage of language
conforms.

3. The _acquired rights_ of man are, such good, in the form of
benefits or privileges, as results to him from the performance of
duty.



LECTURE V.

THE DOCTRINES OF RIGHTS APPLIED TO GOVERNMENT.

     Government, human as well as Divine, is a necessity of man’s
     fallen condition--All men concur in this--Man did not originate
     government: he has only modified the form--The legitimate
     objects of government, and the means which it employs to effect
     these objects--The logical inferences: 1. Although he has the
     power, he has no right to do wrong; 2. As a fallen being, he
     is, without a government over him, liable to lose the power of
     self-control--What are the rights of man: 1. In a state of
     infancy; 2. In a state of maturity; and, 3. In a savage or
     uncivilized state--Civil government is not founded on a
     concession of rights.


Philosophers, it seems to me, strangely overlook the tendency of man’s
fall to modify the operation of the laws of mind; and those who admit
the fall still overlook this fact, that the depravity of man’s nature
was the result of _deprivation_, and not the infusion of an evil
principle as an attribute of his nature. But it is not with the
theology of this subject that we are now dealing. The fact that, as a
fallen being, he was deprived of the immediate presiding influence of
the Divine Spirit, is the matter that more immediately engages our
attention. His lower physical nature, the great medium of the soul’s
communication with the outward world, and of consciousness in the
embodied state, _originally_ operated in perfect and harmonious
subordination to his higher spiritual nature. In this condition, his
appetites, propensities, and passions presented no bar to his
happiness, or to that of his fellows. The government or control which
his situation demanded, we may suppose, was simple, and concerned
chiefly his relation to the Deity. But when, on the great occasion of
his trial, he exercised his power of self-action, and exalted this
nature as a rule of moral action, instead of the essential good of his
higher nature, of which the will of God in the given case was the full
and just exponent, there resulted a deprivation of the Divine Spirit,
such as entirely changed the relation of those departments of his
nature. Under the clouded condition of intellect consequent upon this
deprivation, his lower nature, with its appetites, propensities, and
passions, is brought into constant and fierce conflict with his
spiritual nature. This change in the condition of his humanity
presents his case in an aspect altogether new. The history of each
individual man becomes the history of a warfare--a warfare with
himself, and a warfare with his fellows. With a highly vigorous moral
nature, he is also the subject of a carnal or depraved nature. In this
state of things, _government_ becomes an _actual necessity of his
condition_. The Divine government, with all the aids and appliances
afforded by the grand scheme of atonement, must appeal to his
passions, both of hope and of fear. For it is only by reducing his
lower nature to its originally subordinate and harmonious position
that an equilibrium will be established, and his primordial happiness
regained. But the Divine government, though operating in harmony with
the claims of his moral nature, and founded upon the relation which he
sustains to Jehovah, and indispensable to his happiness here and
hereafter, of itself alone does not meet a great many of the immediate
demands of his condition. Hence the statement of Solomon: “Because
sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” The
consequences of obedience, high and holy as they are, and the
consequences of disobedience, great and terrible as they are, are too
remote from man, in many states of intellect and feeling in which he
often places himself, to meet the immediate demands of his nature.
Hence, that modification of government called civil government, is no
less demanded by the necessities of his condition than the Divine.

Civil government deals chiefly with the relations of man to his
fellow-man. It coincides with the Divine government. They each aim at
the control of the lower nature of man, and the development of his
higher nature. The means they employ are the same in principle. They
address the same passions. The rewards and punishments of the one are
in this life, and of the other chiefly in the life to come. Withal,
the civil has the sanction of the Divine, and the Divine should always
have the sanction of the civil, government. But still they are
entirely distinct, and should not be confounded either in theory or in
practice. The one is secular, and the other is Divine.

Now, we say that civil government--for of that we are called more
particularly to speak--_is a necessity of man’s condition_. It dates
back as early as the creation of man. God himself established it in
the law he gave to govern the first relation that existed on
earth--the relation between Adam and his “helpmeet.” After the fall, a
necessity arose which gave it a new and more important bearing. We
soon see it ramifying itself through all society, and dealing with all
the relations of life.

Its necessity and authority, as a great means of controlling the
lower nature of man, is among the permanent beliefs of mankind.
Neither legislators nor philosophers originated these beliefs. They
are among the intuitions of man. The common judgment of mankind is not
more assured that man exists, than that fallen man must be controlled
in his appetites, propensities, and passions--the sum of what is often
considered his interest and his happiness--by the _physical powers of
government_. Each individual man feels that he needs its powerful
sanctions to arm him against himself, when violently tempted to do
wrong; and that he needs its sanctions to protect him from outrage and
wrong from his fellow-men, when moved by similar forces. The instincts
of animal nature are not more certain in their movements than are the
_intuitive_ perceptions and spontaneous feelings of mankind, causing
them to lean upon the strong arm of civil government, to _control_ the
propensities and passions, and to promote the free exercise of the
higher moral nature of man.

Government is the whole society in action. No people was ever known to
exist for any definite period without government. Sometimes, it is
true, _the form_ has been the result of implied understandings among
the people--as when “there was no judge in Israel:” at others, a
master-spirit has assumed the reins, and been deferred to by common
consent; and at others, it has been modified by formal processes--such
as conventions and constitutions. Be this, however, as it may,
government has always existed. Legislators did not make it. They have
had much to do in modifying, directing, and often in corrupting the
form; but nothing to do in originating government, in any proper sense
of the term. It sprang spontaneously from the common sense of mankind.
An agent indispensable to self-preservation was certainly coeval with
the race.

In its true generic sense, that is, in a sense equally applicable to
all forms, government is _control_ by the authority of God and the
people. God, in his word, declares the authority of the magistrate to
be his ordinance; and this accords with the intuitive belief and
feeling of necessity of all mankind: not that either approves in all
cases of the _form_ which government assumes, but that the generic
principle, in all cases, has the sanction of each.

The legitimate object of government is to secure to the people the
highest amount of freedom which their moral condition and relative
circumstances will admit. The means which it employs to effect this
object, are, 1. Suitable penalties, addressed to their hopes and
fears, to lay them under such restraints as to the indulgence of their
appetites, propensities, and passions, as thereby to prevent them
from operating as a bar to the free exercise of their intellectual and
moral powers in pursuit of the _essential_ good; and, 2. The security
which it offers to every man, in the exercise of the higher powers of
his nature, that he may do it without restraint from the passions of
men; or, in other words, to guarantee to every man the free exercise
of his essential power to do good.

That both the object of government, and the means which it employs,
are correctly stated, will not be disputed. All men concur in these
views. They underlie all our opinions and reasonings on the subject of
civil government. But in assenting to this much, (and how can it be
avoided?) may we not stand committed to much more than many
theoretical politicians are aware?

Let us trace the logical inferences which arise from the principles
discussed.

I. Man, we find, is endowed with a self-acting power of will, which is
called mental liberty, and hence he is accountable. For although it is
admitted that there cannot be a volition without a motive, yet it is
an idea inseparable from our notions of mental liberty, that there
cannot be any thing in these motives necessitating the volition; for
in that case it would not be free. But he is free to adopt either the
right or the wrong motive of volition, and therefore he is
accountable for his actions. Nor does it follow that this liberty
confers the _right_ to do _wrong_. His liberty, as we have shown, is
to be understood in a sense agreeing with the coincident ideas of
_right_ and _duty_. We are all conscious, that so soon as we perceive
_the good_, in any case, we have a feeling of _obligation_ to observe
it as the rule of conduct, and to avoid the contrary as _wrong_; that
is, _each man has a conscience_. Hence, although man has the _power_
to do wrong, he has no _right_ to do wrong; but only a _right_ to do
that which is good. Such, and such only, is the true subjective _right
of self-control_. It is not a right to do as we may please, unless we
shall please to do that which, in itself, is _right_; that is, _the
good_.

II. His fall, we have seen, has had the effect to place him in such
circumstances, that the attributes of his lower nature, his appetites,
propensities, and passions, often have such ascendency as motives of
action, that he is always liable to do wrong. Many reasons, _à
priori_, could be given for this. The mind is first brought into
contact with the outward world through the bodily senses. They come
first into play; and hence the natural sensibilities are first
developed. The will, in the form of spontaneous volition, is
accustomed, from earliest life, to act from these as a motive, for the
reason that there is no other from which it can act. The pure
intelligence, the percipient of the good, and the corresponding
feelings of obligation, unfold themselves slowly; and long before it
may be said that the mind is matured, the will is accustomed to make
the natural sensibilities the motive of spontaneous volition. Now the
will is, like all other faculties of the mind, subject to the great
law of habit; and if not checked, restrained according to the true
idea of government, a _habit_ of submission is formed, which, if not
early dissolved, becomes a confirmed habit. The will, instead of being
the governing power of the mind, becomes, in truth, the faculty
governed. _It has lost the power of self-control._ It has become the
slave of passion--confirmed in the habit of submission. It is
precisely at this point of mental degradation that Paul declares of
“vessels of wrath,” those who have brought themselves into this state
by their own act, that “they are fitted to destruction.” Now, in view
of these facts and the principles already established, what are the
rights of man?

First. In the state of infancy. It has been proved that the subjective
endowments of humanity, and whatever is necessary to their existence
and operation, are the _natural right of man_. That the undeveloped
good is the endowment of this form of humanity will not be disputed:
hence whatever is necessary to its existence and operation, is the
natural right of infants. But it is obvious that a governing power,
existing somewhere, is indispensably necessary in the case of the
child; that is, a power must exist sufficiently potent to control the
spontaneous volitions of the will, or, in the circumstances of its
position, it will probably extinguish its own liberty, by the law of
habit. Government, then,--absolute government,--is necessary to the
existence and operation of the endowment of humanity in the state of
infancy; and therefore absolute government is the _natural right of
the infant_. Hence all civil governments have exercised (so far as the
will and physical condition are concerned) an absolute despotism over
the child, and have recognized the parent, or some one appointed in
the place of the parent, as the agent of its functions in this
respect. Not to accord to the infant this extreme form of control,
would be a practical denial of its natural rights. Therefore this
extreme form of despotism, so far from being a curse, is the natural
right of infants--the good to which they are entitled by nature. And
again, the civil government accords to the child a progressive
modification of this form of government under given circumstances. It
requires its agent to relax the stringency of this control, and to
extend a privilege of self-control, in the ratio in which the pure
intelligence and feelings of obligation or duty are _practically_
developed. For a child who had become, to a certain extent, a subject
of duty, and was disposed to fulfil this duty, but was kept, _per
force_, in the physical condition of infancy until he lost the use of
his limbs, would be considered as deprived of the right of
self-control to that extent, and thereby cruelly treated. The agent in
such a case would be severely punished, and the child committed to
other hands.

Hence, in the ratio in which the pure intelligence is unfolded, and
feelings of obligation arise, or conscience is developed, and becomes
the practical rule of action, the individual _acquires_ the right of
self-control, and only in that ratio. This right may ultimately reach
to all things in themselves good--the civil government always holding
the authority to punish departures from duty, and thereby always
abridging men of the moral power to do wrong, (because it never could
be their right to do wrong,) and always fortifying them in the right
exercise of liberty of will, by furnishing motives, addressed to their
intelligence and passions, to observe the right and to avoid the wrong
in the exercise of the volitive power. Therefore, the _natural right
of man_ is the right to such absolute control by others, in the
earlier periods of his life, as that his will may retain its
self-acting power unimpaired, as his mind is naturally unfolded by
time and circumstances; and to such modification of this absolute
control in after life, as may afford him due restraint under
temptation to do wrong, and proper encouragement, at all times, to do
right.

Second. _The right of man in a state of maturity._

1. The government should accord him all his natural rights, and
protect him in the exercise of the same. That is, the political
government should coöperate with the Divine to preserve his will in
its normal condition as a self-acting power, and to guarantee to him
the exercise of this power of self-action in all things good. The man
who is protected in the enjoyment of this inherent liberty of will, is
a free man in the strictest sense of the word. The government over him
may be concentrated in the hands of one man, or it may be divided
among an aristocracy, more or less numerous, or it may be what is
called a democracy, but this does not of itself affect the fact of his
freedom. If the government secure him in the enjoyment of these
rights, and of all which necessarily attaches to them, he is
essentially free. The kind of government, as a hereditary monarchy, or
a democratic republic, does not, of itself, determine the actual
freedom of its subjects. History furnishes many examples of
government in which the power of control was concentrated in the hands
of but one, or of a few individuals, which afforded its subjects the
highest amount of essential liberty. To this day, “_the freedom of the
British Constitution_”--as much as we justly prefer our own--is by no
means an idle boast. It is a great mistake to suppose that a
government which deposits the sovereignty among the great mass of the
people, is the only free government. We are constrained to acknowledge
that it is better to be oppressed by _one_, or by a few tyrants, than
by a multitude of tyrants. It is not _this_ or _that kind_ of
government that makes the subject essentially free. But it is the fact
that the controlling power, whether wielded by one or by many, secures
each man in the enjoyment of his natural rights--affords him that
system of appliances which develops and matures the self-acting power
of his will--discourages all abuse of this power, and fully protects
him in the proper exercise of it in the pursuit of the essential good.
_It is this that makes him free._

We prefer, for those to whom it is applicable, a democratic republic;
because it is a more secure government, and less liable to an abuse of
power; not because it is necessarily a more free government than any
other. Another form of government may secure equal freedom in every
essential particular; and this form may be as oppressive as any
other; and whenever it is so, the condition of the down-trodden
minority is far more hopeless than is that of the oppressed majority
under some other form of government. Still, in certain conditions of
the people, it is a much more secure form of government. The
sovereigns of a state should always be socially equal, and, at the
same time, honest as well as intelligent. Such rulers will not be
oppressors. If the sovereigns of a democracy are intelligent, for the
reason that but few participate directly and personally in the
administration of government and the spoils of office, they have but
few inducements to corruption, and are more likely to be honest. The
mass of the people, though often wrong in opinion, are always right in
sentiment--they mean to do right, and they desire to do right. If they
do err in a given case, they may usually be set right, for they have
no motive to stay wrong. Hence, we think that when the condition of
intelligence is fulfilled in the case of those occupying a social
footing, we may expect a wiser and purer government; whilst the extent
to which they may participate in the affairs of government, giving it
a firmer hold upon their affections, cannot fail to make it a more
secure government. It is widely different in the case of a government
concentrated in the hands of a few. The sovereigns are at the same
time the administrators of law. They share not only the honors of
sovereignty, but also the immediate profits of sovereignty--the spoils
of office. Temptations to abuse power are always present and active.
Hence we find that such governments are more frequently oppressive.
Withal, even in cases in which they are not, (for they need not be,)
for the reason that the mass of the people do not immediately
participate in the affairs of government, they are not as devoted to
its interests, and hence the government cannot be as secure. For these
reasons, a democratic republic is called by way of eminence a _free
government_; but, evidently, not because it is the only form which
secures freedom to its subjects. Any of these forms are legitimate
when they are so adapted to the condition of the people as to secure
to them the highest amount of freedom of which that condition will
admit.

2. The government should secure to him all his acquired rights, or the
rights which he acquires by the proper use of his essential rights. Of
these, we notice,

1. His rights of social equality with those with whom he holds common
interests, pleasures, benefits, happiness, and duties. These rights
usually vary with the condition of different individuals, or
different classes of individuals. It will not be maintained that an
infant or idiot, and a man of rude intellect and vulgar habits, have
interests and duties common to each other, and common to persons in a
different condition, in any such sense as would entitle them all to
social equality. Both their mental and physical condition would be a
bar to any such equality. So in the case of the sexes, difference in
physical condition is a bar, except in the marriage state. So also
certain races of men are by their physical condition barred from
social equality, in many respects, with those of other races. Those
duties required by one condition in order to attain the essential good
are very different from those of another condition which are necessary
to attain the same object. But the privilege of social equality with
all in a similar condition, which results from the discharge of the
duties of that condition, is the right of every one. Some will require
positive law to secure them; as in the marriage relation, the social
as well as other rights of the parties must be secured by law; whilst
others will be better secured by leaving them to be regulated by the
conventional usages of society--only another form of government. But
there is an obvious difference in the social rights of men which
government is bound to respect, unless it would arrest the progress
of civilization; because it is an inequality founded in that
difference of condition, against which no government can provide, nor
was it intended that it should provide. We notice,

2. That government should secure to him all those political rights to
which he is entitled by making a proper use of his essential rights.

We need not specify all the political rights which may be regarded
acquired rights. It is sufficient to consider this topic in regard to
the question of sovereignty. We say, that all the members of a given
society, having a common interest in that society, are entitled to
share the sovereignty of its government _on certain conditions, and on
no other conditions_. We take the ground that mere humanity, in itself
considered, does not entitle any one to the rights of political
sovereignty. If this were so, we should be bound to place females,
together with minors of both sexes, and the inmates of State prisons,
among the sovereigns of society. They are all perfect specimens of
humanity. Of the first it may be said, they are often equal in
intellect with the other sex, and in other respects are generally
superior specimens of humanity. These all have an interest in society
common to all other members of it, and yet it is admitted that they
should not be numbered among the sovereigns of the land. What is it,
then, that entitles a man to the right of political sovereignty?
First--He should have reached that point in mental development in
which he will have a capacity, in common with others, to understand
and appreciate the leading principles of government and their
applications. Second--He should have reached that period in life in
which there is usually a corresponding development of the moral
sense--the feeling of obligation to do right--which affords a
reasonable guaranty for the faithful application of his knowledge in
discharging the duties of sovereignty. Third--He should be in that
state of social equality which gives him a common interest, a common
happiness, and common duties as a citizen, with other sovereigns,
which will also afford a necessary guaranty for the faithful
performance of his duties. And, Fourth--He should be in that physical
condition, also, which is necessary to the duties of so responsible a
position, under all ordinary circumstances. If one or more of these
conditions exclude a whole sex, together with all minors, idiots,
felons, and foreigners, they at the same time limit it to a definite
class of males, and bar all others from any title to it. No sensible
man would admit that the power of sovereign control inherent in
government could, with safety to the only legitimate object of
government, the happiness of the subjects, be deposited with any
other class of men. But those who fulfil these conditions have a right
to rule. They have acquired it by the performance of those duties
which have elevated them to the condition of being qualified for
sovereignty. It should not be withheld. If those in a society
qualified for sovereignty be numerous, the government should take the
popular form--a democratic republic. But if those qualified to rule
are a limited portion of the whole society, some other form of
government is more appropriate.

But our subject leads us to notice:

Third. _The rights of man in the savage or uncivilized state._

No savage community was ever known to rise unaided to a state of
civilization; and every example of savage society furnishes evidence
that it is a state into which they have fallen by the tendencies of
depraved nature. They are instances in which the government originally
enjoyed--both human and Divine--has failed to preserve to the
individual that liberty of will in the pursuit of the good which
government is designed to secure. The pure intelligence is not
sufficiently developed to constitute an enlightened conscience.
Dwelling apart from civilized society, the absence of all the
artificial wants of civilization is highly favorable to many of the
natural virtues--such as hospitality to strangers, truth, fidelity,
and generosity to their friends; but the undeveloped state of the pure
reason leaves the moral sense in a state of so much immaturity, as to
characterize them as unfaithful, cruel, and revengeful to their
enemies. These are characteristics which, in their condition of
physical maturity, make them terrible to their neighbors.

Now the question is, What are the rights of such a people? It is
useless to discuss this question so far as it relates to mere savage
government; for in this view it is a question of no interest. But the
question, What rights can they claim of a civilized people? is the one
with which we have to deal.

They certainly have a natural right to protection under given
circumstances, and freedom from oppression under all circumstances. If
a civilized people, holding a balance of power in virtue of superior
intelligence, have an undisputed right to protect themselves from the
cruelty and infidelity of neighboring savages, still it will be
admitted that oppression in any proper sense of the term would be an
invasion of their natural rights. They have a right to be left in the
enjoyment of the highest amount of freedom which their mental state
will allow them to use legitimately. And more than this, their natural
rights claim for them reasonable exertions to elevate their moral
condition. Hence the noble efforts now being made by the Christian
people of this country to evangelize the savages on our border, and
the no less commendable efforts of the United States government to
favor this design, by an annual appropriation from the national
treasury. All this is only according them their rights. But do these
rights entitle them to claim social equality with a civilized people?
That which it is the right of another to claim of me, it is my duty to
grant. Is it then my duty to grant social equality to any or to every
wandering savage that may chance to pass my dwelling? Should I not
only extend to him the rights of hospitality due to a wandering
savage--give him food and shelter in given circumstances, and treat
him kindly in all respects--but extend to him true social equality,
such as it is my duty to do to other men in certain states of
civilization! No man--himself not a savage--would dare affirm this!
The savage has no right to claim it. The reason is obvious on the
principles discussed. Certain social rights arise only on certain
conditions of moral development, and the fulfilment of the duties
which attach to that state. The savage has not reached this condition;
hence has not fulfilled its duties, and is not entitled to the right
of social equality which attaches to that state. For a sensible man
to affirm that he has this right in virtue of his mere humanity, would
be simply ridiculous. And this being so, it follows, _a fortiori_,
that it is much less our duty to allow him an equal participation in
the sovereignty of the State--allow him a control in the affairs of
government--share the authority to regulate our relations, domestic
and foreign; and even to participate in governing our families.

The man who should gravely propose in Congress to annex the savage
tribes of our border, as sovereign States of this Union, would, by all
right-minded men, be regarded as insane. No one of the managers of
looms, spindles, and other machinery, among the agrarian portion of
our northern community, with all their boasted knowledge of the
natural rights of man, and their readiness to accord equal rights to
all men, and to protect them in asserting those rights, have, as yet,
made up their minds to go thus far--although we may be at a loss to
account for it that they so far falsify their principles as not to do
so.

Now, as it is not our duty to do this in behalf of a neighboring race
of uncivilized people, for the reason that they have no right to it,
how does the question stand in regard to a numerous class of such
persons, spread through a definite section of our country? Does this
change of position and contact with civilization confer on them
higher rights than it has already been admitted belong to them in a
separate state in virtue of their humanity? Is it our duty to accord
to them equality of political rights? and for the reason that they are
diffused through the mass of society? Can this position be maintained?
On the contrary, the change of position, and the service which in that
position they render to the cause of civilization, which is assumed to
acquire for them a right that does not belong to their class of
persons in a separate position, so far from affording a vindication of
this doctrine, furnishes a still stronger reason against it. They are
not only uncivilized, but are now in a position to exert an evil
influence, which in a separate state they could not do, although they
might dwell upon our border. In a separate state, the artificial wants
of civilized life are unknown to them. The great sources of temptation
to do wrong by invading the rights of neighbors, is not supplied to
them by their position. But when in immediate contact with
civilization, a great many of these artificial wants are learned by
them, and felt to be objects of desire. These desires, by a fixed law
of the human mind, must be a constant source of temptation--they
clamor for gratification. If the indulgence should not be restrained,
either by a system of laws which reached the case, or by the motives
which a state of civilization supplies, they would inevitably result
in a disregard of the rights of property, and a general depravation of
morals. They are without the latter, for they are uncivilized. Hence
the demands of their position must be met by laws appropriate to an
uncivilized people. The laws appropriate to a state of civilization,
coöperating as they do with the motives supplied by that state, are
not more than equal to the task of restraining the passions of
civilized men. To rely upon them in the case of uncivilized men would
be the grossest folly. Hence if it were not our duty to share our
political rights with such a people, dwelling upon our border, in a
separate state, for a much stronger reason it is not our duty to do
this for those dwelling in our midst. If it is not our duty to do it,
it cannot be their right to claim it; for rights and duties are always
reciprocal. But, on the contrary, for the same general reasons by
which it becomes the duty of a civilized state to place all its minors
under the despotism of parental control, as before defined, it is the
duty of the state to place an uncivilized race which may chance to
dwell within its borders, under a similar form of government. This
despotism need not be oppressive in the one case any more than in the
other. It is the proud boast of all our native citizens that they
have always lived under a free government; and yet they were brought
up to the age of twenty-one under a pure despotism. But this does not
deprive them of their right to boast. True, the government conferred
almost absolute control upon the parent, or guardian, or master of the
apprentice! These might have oppressed them. But the government, which
stood ready to vindicate their rights, did not do it. The government,
in what it did, only accorded them their natural rights, as we have
seen--provided to confer on them the highest amount of freedom of
which their condition would admit. It was to them essentially a free
government, though in one of the forms of despotism. So in that form
of despotism appropriate to a race of uncivilized people dwelling in
the midst of a civilized people, if adapted to their condition, or
securing to them (as in the case of minors) their natural rights, it
is, _for_ them, and _to_ them, a _free government_. So far from being
a curse, as many of our philosophers teach, it is a blessing, which
their essential rights entitle them to claim. Any other form of
government would be, in their case, as well as in that of minors, a
practical denial of their rights; because it would result in the
annihilation of their essential rights; that is, the enslavement of
their wills to the basest passions of fallen nature.

Hence, we find that government, both human and Divine, is a special
necessity of man’s fallen condition, and coeval with the history of
the race: that its legitimate object is to preserve him from that
annihilation of his essential liberty of will which would inevitably
follow if there were no government, and to secure him in the enjoyment
of the highest amount of this liberty which his condition will allow:
that to do this, various forms of civil government are admissible; and
that the one best adapted to the condition of the people is the one
that should be applied, and is the only strictly _free government_ for
the people to whom it is appropriate. A democracy applied to minors or
savages, in the midst of a civilized people, would be the most
grinding of all oppressions. We have seen that the _means_ appropriate
to government are suitable penalties addressed to our passions of hope
and fear: that the only _right_ which a man has to exercise his
inherent liberty--that is, the only right he has of self-control--is
the authority to do that which, in itself, _is right_--not a right to
do _wrong_: that the exclusive authority of government is to restrain
man from doing _wrong_, and to protect and encourage him in doing
_right_--restrain his _power_ to do wrong, not his power to do
right--this it seeks to strengthen. We have seen that the rights of
man in a state of minority--and the same of uncivilized men dwelling
in a community of the civilized--are to the benefits of an absolute
form of government; any other would be only a system of ruinous
oppression to them: that at his maturity as a civilized man, he should
be protected in the exercise of all the rights which naturally belong
to a state of maturity, and also the enjoyment of all those rights
which he has acquired by availing himself of the privileges afforded
by his condition. Of his acquired rights, we see that on certain
conditions he is entitled to social equality; and that on certain
further conditions, he is entitled to the right of political
sovereignty.

Now, we ask, in what sense can it be said that legitimate government
is a concession of some rights, in order to secure others? Certainly,
in no good sense, seeing it only limits his power to do _wrong_, by
laying him under suitable disabilities, and that it does this in order
to secure both the power and the privilege of doing right. But by
falsely assuming that government is a concession of rights, and that
the government in which every citizen does not make a voluntary
concession of the rights exercised by government is a cruel
oppression, men fall upon conclusions which, when carried out, (and
principles will tend to work out their results,) lead to agrarianism:
that is, the destruction of all rights, by the annihilation of all
civilization.

And again we ask, How does it follow that the domestic slavery of the
negro in America is an abridgment of his inalienable rights? Certainly
not from the fact that he is placed under an absolute form of control,
for we have seen that, in certain conditions of humanity, that is the
only form of government that will secure any freedom at all: as in the
case of all minors, and the case of an uncivilized race that may
chance to be diffused among the mass of a civilized people. If, then,
his government be an oppression at all, it is because his state of
civilization, and the relative circumstances of his condition, have
acquired for him the _rights of social equality_ and the _rights of
political_ sovereignty. These are questions of fact that will be
considered in their proper place.



LECTURE VI.

THE ABSTRACT PRINCIPLE OF SLAVERY DISCUSSED ON SCRIPTURE GROUNDS, AND
MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLE EXAMINED.


     The true subjective right of self-control defined according to
     the Scriptures--The abstract principle of slavery sanctioned by
     the Scriptures--The Roman government--Dr. Wayland’s Scripture
     argument examined and refuted--The positions of Dr. Channing
     and Prof. Whewell examined and refuted.

The inquiry, if the institution of domestic slavery existing amongst
us agrees in its _details_ with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures,
is reserved for a future lecture. We now inquire how far it agrees
with the Holy Scriptures in its great fundamental principles?--the
abstract principles which, thus far, have been shown to be right.

We, of course, acknowledge the full authority of the Scriptures.
Although not a formal philosophical treatise, the Bible embodies no
other than the profoundest principles both of mental and moral
science; and all its teachings are in accordance with them. “To the
law,” then, “and to the testimony.” Do they sanction the principles I
have sought to establish? Do they accord to man any other subjective
right of self-control than simply the _right_ to do that which in
itself is _right_--that is, _good_? True, they assume that he has the
_power_ to do wrong, but at the same time they deny to him _all right_
to do wrong. All those scriptures which forbid his doing _wrong_, and
enjoin it upon him to do _right_, under severe penalties for
disobedience, are in proof. They are too numerous and familiar to
require that I quote them. They all assume that he has power to do
either _right_ or _wrong_, but only a _right_ to do that which is
_right_. Whoever, then, sets up a _right_ to do a thing, and can give
no better reason for it than that he has power to do it in virtue of
his humanity, and that therefore others should not interpose obstacles
in the way of his doing it, on peril of abridging him of a natural
right, assumes far more than the Scriptures allow him; nay, he assumes
that which is forbidden him in Holy Scripture, no less than in reason
and common sense; and if allowed to exercise such lawless power, under
the plea of _natural right_, he could not fail to put an end to all
law, and to precipitate society into a state of anarchy. Therefore,
the government which places minors, aliens, and citizens, who at the
same time allow themselves to be subjects of a foreign prince,
together with uncivilized persons, in circumstances in which they
cannot, or are not likely, to injure their neighbors, or to injure
society, does not, for that reason, deprive them of a _natural_ right,
unless it could be shown that they have a natural right to do the very
thing which the Scriptures declare they have no right to do, that is,
to injure their neighbors! It further follows, that the right to do an
act which involves accountability, is the right to do that which, _in
itself_, _is right_; or, in other words, the only natural right of
self-control is the right to do that which is good. Hence, those who
claim for any class of society a right to political sovereignty,
should be prepared to show that the essential good requires that such
privilege be accorded them, or they fail to establish their right, for
the reason that no right can ever be justly _acquired_ which does not
coincide with the natural right to do good.

Again, we have shown that the abstract principle of slavery is control
by the will of another, with its correlatives: that this is an
essential element of all government; for a government which did not
exercise the right to control men, even against their wills, under
given circumstances, would be no government at all. Do these views
accord with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures? That control is an
essential idea of government, is an intuitive perception, and needs no
proof. The question then resolves itself into this: Do the Scriptures
sanction government? That the Bible itself is only a system of
government, will not be disputed. It _forbids_ and _commands_, and
requires all men to conform their volitions to its requirements, as to
that which is in itself good. Moreover, it sanctions civil government
in the most express terms: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher
powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are
ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power,” that is,
the authority of government, “resisteth the ordinance of God; and they
that resist shall receive to themselves damnation,” etc. (Rom. xiii.
1-7. See A. Clarke’s notes.) This was said to the Roman Christians,
and was an injunction to obey Caesar’s government. In that government,
it is well known, the slavery element greatly predominated: but little
room was left for the exercise of self-control; political sovereignty
being denied to the people. In declaring government, even in this
extreme form of controlling the wills of men, to be his appointment,
God establishes the _principle, as in itself right_. Dr. Wayland,
however, (see article, Modes in which Personal Liberty may be
violated,) affirms, “that the gospel is diametrically opposed to the
_principle_ of slavery.”

The moral precepts of the Bible, which he assumes to be diametrically
opposed to the principle of slavery, are, (as quoted by himself,)
“Thou shalt love _thy neighbor as thyself_; and _all things
whatsoever_ ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto
them.” He says that, “were this precept obeyed, it is manifest that
slavery could not in fact exist for a single instant. The _principle_
of the precept is absolutely subversive of the _principle_ of
slavery.” That the gospel should, nevertheless, acknowledge
slaveholders (for neither the Jewish nor the Roman law _required_ any
citizen to hold slaves) as “_believers_,” and “_worthy of all honor_,”
and require of the Christian slaves held by them to acknowledge them
as _brethren_, that is, good men, and accord them _all honor_, is
evidently a troublesome question to the Doctor. There is no room for
surprise. The second scripture quoted, it is allowed, interprets the
first. In what sense then are we to understand the duty inculcated in
the second? There are only two senses in which the form of the
expression will allow us to evolve any significance whatever. The
first is, Do unto another whatsoever you would have him to do unto
you, if you were in his situation; and the second is, Do unto another
whatsoever you would have a _right_ to require another to do unto you,
if you were in his circumstances.

Now if we could suppose that the Saviour intended his language to be
understood in the first sense, it will not perhaps be disputed that it
is our duty to abolish domestic slavery, for we should, no doubt,
desire to be released, if we were in a state of domestic slavery. But,
unfortunately for the argument, this interpretation would not stop at
the abolition of domestic slavery in the case of the African. It would
reach to the domestic slavery of the child also. There is scarcely a
wayward lad in Christendom who could not justly claim release from
parental restraint on the same principle! Nay, more, the criminal at
the bar of civil justice, the inmates of State prisons, and the poor
man in his hovel, would all claim release! And as that which is duty
in others, in such cases, is a right in them, not to grant them
release would certainly be a denial of their just rights! Is this the
sense in which Dr. Wayland would have us understand the Saviour of
mankind? Certain it is, that this is the only sense in which his words
can be understood so as to involve the necessary abolition of slavery!
We cheerfully acquit Dr. W. from the purpose to teach any such
agrarian folly. Still, we can see no good reason why one so eminent,
as a Christian and a scholar, should permit even an early prejudice as
to a practical question, about which he allows that he is uninformed,
to betray him into such views of a plain principle as logically
involve him in the grossest absurdities.

That the second sense given is the proper one in which to understand
the Saviour’s doctrine can admit of no dispute. What we should have a
_right to claim_, if we were in the circumstances of a slave, is
precisely that which we are to accord to such slave, according to the
precept of the Saviour. If we should have a right to claim political
sovereignty, in those circumstances, we are bound to allow them such
sovereignty, that is, release them from slavery. This directly
involves the question, Whether they are fitted for that
self-government which is involved in such sovereignty? That they are
not so in virtue of their humanity merely, we have proved; and whether
they are so or not, by acquirement, is a practical question which Dr.
Wayland allows that he is not competent to decide. This question will
be met in another place. It is sufficient here to state, that the
scripture so confidently relied on as repudiating the principle of
slavery, is found not to reach the question of the principle at all,
and, therefore, is wholly misapplied.

The patriarchal form of government, which existed before the
theocracy of the Jews, constituted the patriarch (he being the head of
the family) the owner of slaves. Abraham, Lot, and others, held them
in large numbers. These men enjoyed the unqualified approbation of
Jehovah, and in their character of slaveholders, no less than in many
other respects. According to Dr. W., they enjoyed the Divine
approbation in the practice of iniquity; for he says, the Bible
condemns both the _principle_ and the _practice_ of slavery!

It is evident that the Jews brought slaves with them from Egypt; for
the terms of the Decalogue not only imply that they were familiar with
domestic slavery, but also that it was, at that time, an existing
practice among them. But more than this, the Decalogue is strictly the
constitution which Jehovah himself gave to the Jewish nation. Now to
assume that he provided in this constitution to protect in all time to
come (for it is allowed to embody immutable principles) a relation
which was, in itself, _an iniquity_, is more than a mere
absurdity--_it is profanity_. And it is certain that the tenth article
of this constitution provides to protect the right of property in
slaves: “_Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s_ MAN-SERVANT, _nor his_
MAID-SERVANT, _nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s_.”

The Saviour has recognized this law, as it was originally designed to
be, of universal obligation and force: “_Think not that I am come to
destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to
fulfil_.” Matt. v. 17.

In accordance with this fundamental law of the nation, God proceeded
to provide in their civil institutions for the operation of a regular
system of domestic slavery. Under these institutions, a Hebrew might
lose his liberty and become a domestic slave, in six different ways.
(See A. Clarke, on Ex. xxi.)

1. In extreme poverty, he might sell his liberty. Lev. xxv. 39: “_If
thy brother be waxed poor and be sold unto thee_.”

2. A father might sell his child. Ex. xxi. 7: “_If a man sell his
daughter to be a maid-servant_.”

3. Insolvent debtors became the slaves of their creditors. 2 Kings iv.
1: “_My husband is dead, and the creditor is come to take unto him my
two sons to be bondsmen_.” Also, Matt. xviii. 25.

4. A thief, if he had not money to pay the fine laid on him by the
law, was to be sold for his profit whom he had robbed. Ex. xxii. 3:
“_If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for the theft_.”

5. A Hebrew was liable to be taken in war, and sold for a slave. 2
Chron. xii. 8.

6. A Hebrew slave who had been ransomed from a Gentile by a Hebrew,
might be sold by him who ransomed him to one of his own nation.

All who became slaves under this system were emancipated in the
seventh year, except those who should refuse to accept liberty. Ex.
xxi. 2-6. They were emancipated in the year of jubilee.

But then, the law further provided for domestic slaves _in
perpetuity_.

“Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have, shall be of
the _heathen_ that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bondmen
and bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do
sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that
are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your
possession; and ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children
after you, to inherit them for a possession: they shall be your
bondmen for ever; but over your brethren, the children of Israel, ye
shall not rule over one another with rigor.” Lev. xxv. 44-46.

The attempts which are sometimes made to prove that δοῦλος, of the
Septuagint, and _servus_, of the Vulgate version, translated
indifferently _servant_ or slave, means only a _hired servant_, need
only to be mentioned to be refuted. That these terms defined an actual
state of slavery among the Greeks and Romans, no one acquainted with
the facts will deny. But whatever might be their original meaning,
they are to be understood, as Bible terms, in the sense of the
original Hebrew, which they are employed to express. Now, nothing is
more certain than this, that the Hebrew Bible (and the same is true of
the English translation) speaks of _servants_, _hired_ servants, and
_bond_ servants. The term servant is the generic form, and evidently
means, a person who is controlled by the will of another: _hired_
servant is one who serves in that way by contract for a definite
period; whilst _bond_ servant is one who has either contracted to do
so through his whole life, or who, by the usages of war, or by
inheritance, or by purchase from another, was so bound to
service--(such as Paul calls a “servant under the yoke.” 2 Tim. vi.
1.) These different relations are distinctly marked by the use of
these terms in the Bible, and especially the meaning of BOND SERVANT,
in distinction from a HIRED SERVANT: “_If thy brother that dwelleth by
thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shall not compel him
to serve as a_ BOND SERVANT, _but as a_ HIRED SERVANT, _and as a
sojourner, shall he be_.” Lev. XXV. 39, 40.

Thus we find that the Jewish constitution provided to protect the
right of property in servants or slaves in the generic sense: that is,
whether in the one form or the other; and that He who gave them their
civil institutions, also provided under their constitution for the
organization of a regular system of domestic slavery, in two distinct
forms: the _one_, the enslavement, in the true generic sense, of
Hebrews in given circumstances, for a definite period; and the
_other_, the enslavement, in the same sense, of the neighboring
heathen, _in perpetuity_.

Such was the legal origin of domestic slavery among the Jews. During
all the calamities that have befallen that people, this constitution
and these laws have known neither repeal nor modification. At no
period of their history were they without domestic slaves; and when
the Saviour dwelt among them, the whole land was filled with such
slaves. No State in this Union can with more propriety be regarded a
slaveholding community, than was that of the Jewish people in the days
of the Saviour. In every congregation which he addressed, bond slaves
may have mingled. The hospitalities of every family of which he
partook, were probably ministered to him, more or less, by domestic
slaves. And in all this time, and under all these circumstances, not a
word is known to have escaped him, either in public or in private,
declaring the relation of master and slave to be sinful! But, on the
contrary, Paul’s denunciation--1 Tim. vi. 3--of the teachers of
abolition doctrines, that they “_consent not to wholesome words, even
the words of our Lord Jesus Christ_,” is sufficient reason to believe
that he was always understood to approve of the relation, and to
condemn in express terms all attempts to abolish it as a duty of the
religion which he taught. And certain it is, that this relation is
made the subject of some of his most eloquent allusions, and the basis
of some of his most instructive parables: “One is your Master, even
Christ,” Matt. xxiii. 10: “Good Master, what shall I do?” Mark x. 17:
“No man can serve two masters,” Matt. vi. 24--are specimens of the
former; whilst the parable, Matt. xiii. 24-28, “And the servants said,
Wilt thou that we go and gather them up?”--of the vineyard, Matt.
xxi.; of the talents, Matt. xxv.; and others of a similar nature, are
striking examples of the latter. And yet, young gentlemen, the author
of your text says, the doctrines of the Bible, and especially the
teachings of the Saviour, are “diametrically opposed to both the
principle and the practice of domestic slavery.” If this be true, it
is really passing strange that Jehovah himself should provide, in the
organic law of the Jewish commonwealth, for the working of a system of
domestic slavery, and, by a series of laws drawn up under this
constitution, set such a system in actual operation; and that the
Saviour of mankind should also give, according to every legitimate
interpretation that can be put, either upon his language or his
conduct, his unqualified approbation to that which was so flatly
opposed to all his doctrines! It is saying but little of all this to
affirm that it is grossly absurd! It can appeal to no doctrine that we
are aware of for its defence, unless it be the kindred absurdity that
the _will of God_ is not the rule of right, in this sense, that it
always conforms to that which, _in itself, is right_, i. e., good; but
that it is the rule of right in this other sense, that it is
absolutely, in itself, the only rule of right; and that, in the case
under consideration, domestic slavery was right for the Jews, because
God so willed it, but the same thing in principle, and under similar
circumstances, would be wrong for any other people, because in regard
to them God had willed differently: thus assigning to Deity the power
to make _the wrong the right, and the right the wrong_! We regret to
know that this absurd view of the Divine volitions has found its way
beyond the pages of Dr. Paley. It is countenanced by some writers of
eminent distinction in theology. But to give it a definite application
in any case, is all that is required for its entire refutation. We
rely with confidence on the conclusion that what God thus provided for
in the Jewish constitution, was right in principle in itself, and
that, under the circumstances of the Jewish people, it was right in
practice.

Among the strange, if not wholly unaccountable, misconceptions, if not
gross misrepresentations, of the fundamental ideas of domestic
slavery, we may place those of Dr. Channing and Prof. Whewell. The
latter, in his “Elements of Morality,” states that “slavery converts a
person into a thing--a subject merely passive, without any of the
recognized attributes of human nature.” “A slave,” he further says,
“in the eye of the law which stamps him with that character, is not
acknowledged as a man. He is reduced to the level of a brute;” that
is, as he explains it, “he is divested of his moral nature.”

Dr. Channing, the great apostle of Unitarianism in America, says, “The
very idea of a slave is that he belongs to another: that he is bound
to live and labor for another; to be another’s instrument, that is, in
all things, just as a threshing-machine, or another beast of burden;
and to make another’s will his habitual law, however adverse to his
own.” He adds, in another place, “We have thus established the reality
and sacredness of human rights; and that slavery is an infraction of
these, is too plain to need any labored proof. Slavery violates not
one, but all; violates them not incidentally, but necessarily,
systematically, from its very nature.”

These, together with your text, young gentlemen, are leading
authorities on this subject. Following these, we should adopt the
belief that the principle of slavery in question is, as they express
it, “an absorption of the humanity of one man into the will of
another;” or, in other words, that “slavery contemplates him, not as a
responsible, but a mere sentient being--not as a man, but a brute.”

If this be so, the wonder is not, as they affirm, that the civilized
world is so indignant at its outrageous wrongs, but that “it has been
so slow in detecting its gross and palpable enormities: that mankind,
for so many ages, acquiesced in a system as monstrously unnatural as
would be a general effort to walk upon the head or to think with the
feet!” We need have no hesitation in flatly denying the truth of this
description, and pronouncing it a caricature. For if this be a
faithful description, we can safely affirm that no instance of slavery
ever existed under the authority of law in any nation known to
history.

In the first place, the state of things so rhetorically described is a
palpable impossibility. The constitution of the human mind is in flat
contradiction to the idea of the absorption of the will, the
conscience, and the understanding of one man into the personality of
another! This is a state of things which the human mind cannot even
conceive to be possible, but does intuitively perceive to be utterly
impossible. In the next place, we affirm that the idea of _personal
rights_ and _personal responsibility_ pervades the whole system. Both
the Divine and human laws which recognize the system assume the
personality and responsibility of the slave. Even under the Roman and
Grecian codes--which recognized far more stringent forms of slavery
than that of the African in this country, at any period of its
history--this view of the system will find no support. Paul and Peter,
who wrote with special allusion to slaves under these laws, so far
from regarding this personality as lost and swallowed up in the
humanity of the master, expressly assumed their personality and
responsibility. For whilst they _recognize him as a servant_, they
treat him as a man: they declare him possessed, though a slave, of
certain rights, which it was injustice in the master to disregard, and
under obligation to certain duties, as a slave, which it would be
sinful in him to neglect; and, moreover, that it was the office of
that religion whose functions they filled, to protect these rights and
duties with its most solemn sanctions. Hence they enjoin upon masters
the moral obligation of rendering to their bondmen “_that which is
just and equal_,” and upon servants to “_be subject to their masters
with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the
froward_. _For this is thankworthy, if a man, for conscience toward
God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully._” Was this treating them as
beings whose wills were absorbed in the humanity of the master, who
therefore was the only accountable person for all their conduct!
Nothing could be more alien from truth, and significant of falsehood!
No: obedience is never applied, except as a figurative term, and
especially by the apostles, to any but rational and accountable
beings. And with such inspired requisitions before us--“_obedience
from the one, and justice from the other_”--it is grossly absurd to
affirm that the relation of master and slave regards the slave as a
brute, and not as an accountable man. “The blind passivity of a
corpse, or the mechanical obedience of a tool,” which Channing and
Whewell regard as constituting the essential idea of slavery, seems
never to have entered the minds of the apostles. They considered
slavery as a social and political economy, in which relations
involving reciprocal rights and duties subsisted, between moral,
intelligent, and responsible beings, between whom, as between men in
other relations, religion held the scales of justice.

The right of property in man, as man, is nowhere taught in Scripture,
although it distinctly recognizes the relation of master and slave.
The right which the master has in the slave, according to the
Scriptures, is, _not to the man_, but to so much of his time and labor
as is consistent with his rights of humanity. The master who
disregards these claims, denies his slave that which is “just and
equal.” The duty which the slave owes, is the service which, in
conformity with these rights, the master exacts. A failure in either
party is a breach of Scripture.

The only difference between free and slave labor is, that the one is
rendered in consequence of a contract, and the other in consequence of
a command. Each is service rendered according to the will of another;
and each may, or may not, be according to the consent of the party
rendering service. The former is often as _involuntary_, in point of
fact, as the latter. Hirelings _assent_ to it, in most cases, as a
necessity of their condition. They do not _consent_ to it--they are
far from choosing it. A few persons reach that high attainment of a
pure Christianity, in which they learn in every state in which they
are placed, in the providence of God, “therewith to be content”--they
choose it. But in the general, hired service is, in point of fact, as
involuntary as slave labor.

A right, therefore, to the time and labor of another to a definite
extent, by no means involves the right to his humanity. Such right is
a mere fiction, to which even the imagination can give no significance
or consistency. “It is the miserable cant of those who would storm by
prejudice what they cannot demolish by argument.”

Thus, young gentlemen, that the abstract principle of the institution
of slavery, and the principles of natural rights, coincide, and that
both have the unqualified approbation of Holy Scripture, cannot be
successfully controverted. Natural rights and the principle of slavery
do not conflict. No man has a natural right to do wrong. That wherein
the principle of slavery is in itself _right_, is that, when carried
out in the form of civil government, it furnishes an instance in which
the subjects of government who are liable to injure society by doing
wrong, are placed under such disabilities, or in such circumstances,
in which they cannot or are not likely to do this wrong, but to do
that which they have a natural right to do, that is, do good. In all
cases in which this principle enters into the government in such ratio
or modification as to secure these ends, it coincides with natural
rights, and insures to the subject the highest amount of freedom of
which his moral condition will admit; it is to him essentially a free
government, although, in adapting itself to his moral condition, it
may assume an extreme form of despotism.

Whether the Southern States of this Union have wisely adapted this
principle to the moral condition of the African population residing
within their borders, and thereby secured to them an essentially free
government, remains to be considered.



LECTURE VII.

THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY.

     The question stated--The conduct of masters a separate
     question--The institution defined--The position of the
     abolitionists and that of the Southern people--The presumption
     is in favor of the latter--Those who claim freedom for the
     blacks of this country failed to secure it to those on whom
     they professed to confer it--The doctrine by which they seek to
     vindicate the claim set up for them, together with the fact of
     history assumed to be true, is false.


Having proved that the abstract principle of the institution of
domestic slavery is a legitimate principle, both in itself, and in
this, that it coincides with the great fundamental principle of
_right_, and does not necessarily conflict with the _right_, and is
therefore in itself _good_, and _not evil_; the next inquiry that
arises is this: “_Is the institution of domestic slavery, existing
among us, and involving this principle, justified by the circumstances
of the case, and therefore right?_”--according to the doctrine evolved
in the second lecture, namely, that the principle of an action, being
itself _right_, the action is right, _provided_ other and coincident
principles justify the action, or, as we usually say, provided the
circumstances require it.

Let it be observed, that the conduct of individual slaveholders, in
the exercise of any discretion conferred on them by the nature of
their relation as masters, is still a separate question, and not here
to be taken into the discussion. We inquire as to the propriety of the
institution: Is it demanded at all by the circumstances of the case?
This is eminently a practical question, and is the only one which
involves the morality of the _institution_ itself, now that the
abstract principle is shown to be legitimate.

Domestic slavery is one of the subordinate forms of civil government.
It may be defined an _imperium in imperio_--a government within a
government: one in which the subject of the inferior government is
under the control of a master, up to a certain limit defined by the
superior government, and beyond which both the master and the slave
are alike subject to control by the superior government. The question
now arises, Is this a suitable government for the negro race in
America? Without doubt, this question is to be settled on the same
general principles by which we should settle a similar question in
regard to the suitableness of any other form of government for any
other people. For example, the same principles which determine the
fitness of a military despotism, a constitutional monarchy, or a
democratic republic, to any particular community of white persons,
will determine the suitableness of this form of government to the
African race in this country. They are all different forms of control,
belonging to the same genus--government; and pervaded by the same
generic elements--the principles of slavery and liberty combined in
different ratios, in order to secure the greatest amount of happiness
to those communities to which they are fitly applied. The claims of
the African might be separately examined in regard to each of these
forms of government; but this course is not demanded by the interests
of this discussion. Nor need we stop to inquire, how the Africans came
into this country: whether lawfully or unlawfully--whether by their
own act, or the act of another. These are in truth side issues, and do
not necessarily attach to this discussion. They will be treated as
incidental to the main question; for although it were allowed that
they are here unlawfully, and that it is our duty to remove them, yet
it is still true that they are here, and cannot be immediately
removed, and must therefore be subjected, as human beings, to some
one of the known forms of civil government. What form of government
shall this be? According to principles well established, and admitted
on all sides, it should be such a form of government as, from its
adaptation to their intellectual, moral, relative, and physical
condition, is best calculated to promote their happiness and the
happiness of those with whom they are necessarily associated. But what
form of government is it which will most probably accomplish this
object?

The anti-slavery party, as well as the abolition faction, claim for
the Africans a democratic republic: that is, that they should have
equal political privileges with the whites, and only be subject with
them to the same modified form of slavery! On the contrary, we of the
South maintain that, from their _present state_ of mental imbecility,
moral degradation, and physical inferiority, they should be placed
under that more decided form of control called domestic slavery. _Who
is right?_

In discussing this question, we take the ground, first, that, in
advance of all direct argument, we are entitled to the full benefit of
the _presumption_ in argument--the burden of proof lies upon those who
dispute our position; and, secondly, that we are right in fact--that
the circumstances of the case demand this form of government on behalf
of the race, as _their right, their blessing_; because this form of
government, duly and properly administered, as it _may_ be, and
_ought_ to be, is calculated to afford them the _highest_, if not the
only amount of political freedom and happiness to which their humanity
is at present adapted, and especially in view of their existing
relations to a higher form of civilization, in the case of those among
whom they dwell.

1. We are _presumptively_ right. The _onus_ lies wholly upon those who
oppose our position.

In taking this ground, we readily waive the _presumption_ founded upon
the _mere_ fact that domestic slavery is an existing institution, and
is entitled to stand as good, until the contrary is made to appear. We
go back of this. We throw ourselves upon original ground. We say, that
if this were now an original question in the country, the
_presumption_ would be, that this was the appropriate form of
government for the African race in this country.

As an original case, it would be an undisputed fact that the race was
in an uncivilized state. We have demonstrated, in a former lecture,
that an uncivilized people is not adapted to a state of political
freedom. To such a people dwelling in the midst of a civilized people,
it could not be a _right_, because it would not be a _good_, but _an
evil_, _a curse_. There is no reason to assume that to place them in
this condition would elevate them at once to such fitness as would
make it a blessing, but there is every reason to _presume_ that the
reverse would follow an elevation to political freedom. If any think
otherwise, the burden of proof lies upon him.

This presumption is greatly strengthened by the fact that they who
claim political freedom for the Africans now in the country, have
signally failed to secure it for those upon whom they have professed
to confer it. Essential freedom is inseparably interlaced with _social
equality_. Without the latter, the former cannot possibly exist. The
Northern States have long since conferred the forms of civil freedom
upon the African portion of their population, but to the present hour
they have denied them _social equality_. Herein, they extinguish all
the lights and comforts of essential freedom. They settle upon them a
suffocative anhelation, which is truly the most oppressive form of
slavery. The social inequality of the races, it is well known, exists
in a much more modified form at the South than at the North. That
those who have made, as we allow, an honest effort to confer essential
freedom upon them, have signally failed, greatly strengthens the
_presumption_ that we are right in believing that the end they
proposed was impracticable, and that we need not be so unwise as to
imitate their folly.

But this _presumption_ is still further strengthened by the fact that
the basis argument upon which the abolitionists usually rest the
claims of the African, is entirely sophistical. It is this: Slave
property was originally acquired by robbery and violence, and
therefore can never become lawful property. Hence we should confer
upon them political freedom, regardless of whatever consequences may
follow; seeing that an act of robbery can never extinguish the
original right of the person robbed, or confer original title upon the
robber.

The _doctrine_ assumed in this argument is, that possessions unjustly
acquired originally, can never become legal possessions; or that a
state of things originally resulting from _wrong_, can never, by lapse
of time, or the force of any circumstances, become right. The _fact_
assumed as the basis of this doctrine in its application to the
African is, that they were stolen while in a state of freedom, and
reduced to a state of slavery. But we deny both the _doctrine_ and the
hypothetical assumption on which it is based.

1. If the _doctrine_ be true, it will follow that all wrong is without
any remedy, except in the few cases in which things may be restored to
their original state. This would be a deplorable state of things
indeed. It would work special disaster to our Northern brethren. For,
first, if this doctrine be true, they own scarcely one foot of honest
land; nor is there any in the whole country, save the original
purchase of William Penn, and a few other unappreciable portions of
territory. The Indians were the original and rightful owners of this
whole country, according to the theory of rights which forms the basis
of this doctrine. From the most of their possessions they were
forcibly ejected at the peril of life as well as liberty; and from the
remainder they were driven by a policy which in civilized life would
be held and treated as knavery. These lands, according to this
doctrine, should in all honesty be restored to their rightful owners,
or to those who inherit them under their title, or the present holders
are robbers. Second. The Africans, it is said, were stolen! If so,
those who received them in this country can only be regarded as the
receivers of stolen property--no better, if not worse, than the
original thieves. But on this hypothesis, Who stole them? and who
received this stolen property, knowing it to be so stolen? These
questions admit of but one answer: The forefathers of the present
generation of New England population! From their ports, vessels were
fitted out, and employed in this system of “man-stealing.” They
became the receivers of this stolen property. Those who were not
demanded by their own agricultural pursuits, were sold in Southern
markets. As the climate and soil of the South were better suited to
such labor, the larger portion of all this stolen property was
accumulated in the South. The product of the lands of New England, and
the product of these sales of stolen Africans, have been, from time to
time, invested in commercial and manufacturing pursuits. These
constitute the chief sources of the great wealth of the New England
States, to the present day; and these, it is well known, are mainly
supported by the products of slave labor at the South. This being so,
the great wealth of the Northern States can be regarded only as so
much dishonest gain! Really, it is time they were looking to the duty
of restitution! But the disaster of this doctrine does not exhaust
itself with our Northern brethren. The Norman Conquest of Great
Britain is that by which all the land-titles of England are held to
the present day. All these titles are held under the rights acquired
by this conquest. Now it is well known that the Norman Conquest was
the most lawless piece of injustice and butchery, the record of which
ever disgraced the pages of human history! Upon the basis of the
doctrine in question, it is equally certain that there is scarcely an
honest shilling in all England! Nor is this all: the present titles of
all Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, are traceable, more or less
remotely, to a source equally cruel and unjust! Thus there is an end
pretty much to all honesty, as to the possessions of the civilized
world! Surely, the absurdity of this conclusion is sufficient to
invalidate the soundness of the doctrine from which it arises.

Now we are far from affirming that _wrong_--which is the negative of
_right_--can ever become, by circumstances or any thing else,
otherwise than it is, that is, _wrong_, namely, not _right_. But the
_state_ or _thing_ which, under one set of circumstances, is _wrong_,
may, under other circumstances, become _right_. It is not the _wrong_
in itself which, in such a case, changes to right; but, by a change of
circumstances, the _wrong_ no longer inheres, but the right inheres in
that which formerly involved the wrong; and therefore the state or
thing which was before wrong, now becomes _right_. Hence, although it
be admitted that the land-titles of the civilized world were
originally founded in _wrong_, and therefore were unjust titles, it
may not follow that those who now hold them, do so by an unjust title,
because the original title was unjust. The facts may be thus stated in
regard to the most of them. The titles were originally acquired by
_wrong_; in many instances, _cruel wrong_! The authors of these wrongs
were usually the heads of government, who, in their circumstances,
were beyond control. _They_ did the wrong. The ultimate results of
their doings, by the lapse of time with its perpetual changes, upset
all the existing relations of society, merged the descendants of the
actors and sufferers in these wrongs into the mass of society, beyond
the power of just discrimination, and introduced an altogether new
state of things. Under these circumstances, the original wrong was
ultimately placed beyond all remedy. The restoration of the lands to
the original and lawful owners became an impossibility. To attempt
such a work could only be followed by the grossest injustice to all
the parties concerned. In this state of things, the question of
title--Who shall own these lands? becomes an original question. And in
this state of the case, the simple fact of present _possession_--there
being no one to claim antecedent possession--according to the
fundamental belief of all mankind, confers moral title, and should
therefore be made legal. Hence the title is just, because the idea of
the _right_ in itself--that which is good--now inheres in the man who
holds property under such circumstances. The argument authorizes this
prescriptive principle in political science: _That when the original_
_wrong cannot be remedied, without inflicting greater injury_, ON ALL
THE PARTIES CONCERNED, _than to permit the existing state of things to
remain, in this state of the case, the existing state of things is in
itself_ RIGHT, _and should be permitted to remain_.

Upon the basis of this principle--without which, we have no scruple to
say, society could nowhere harmonize for a single hour--we have no
difficulty in vindicating the honesty of the descendants of the
Puritans, or the land-titles of the civilized world, or the thousand
other titles which are equally involved by the absurd doctrine under
consideration. Nor do we find any difficulty in allowing them a just
title to all the proceeds of the African traffic, even though it
should be conceded that their forefathers were, as they characterize
them, a set of mere _men-stealers_!

Having invalidated this doctrine as a piece of gross sophistry, we
remark:

2. That we also deny the hypothesis upon the basis of which this false
doctrine has been made to apply to the Africans of this country; that
is, we deny that African slavery in this country had its origin or was
founded in cruelty and robbery.

There is no reason to doubt the statements of history, that many
slave-ships originally (as perhaps is still the case to some extent)
acquired their cargoes, some by robbery and violence, and some by
purchase. The sufferings of what is called the “middle passage” are,
no doubt, correctly stated in history. We have no motive to controvert
these statements, nor indeed to inquire into their authenticity. We
are not even the apologists of any of the actors in these scenes, much
less their defenders. There may have been cruel wrongs, and under
circumstances of even greater aggravation than those recorded in
history. Be it so! The actors have long since gone to their account,
and we may safely leave them to Him who judgeth righteously. The
conduct of these agents, whether cruel or kind, is not an element in
this discussion. Our inquiry goes to the foundation of this
matter--the true producing cause for the introduction of the African
into this country, and his position as a slave. What was this? It will
not be maintained that these agents, whether humane or not, can in any
proper sense be said to be the cause or foundation of African slavery
in this country. With much greater propriety it may be said that the
artisans of Boston were the founders and builders of the city. They
were necessary agents. They might have done their part well. They
might have done it dishonestly, cruelly. Neither hypothesis will
entitle them to rank as the true and proper founders and builders of
the city. So neither are the men in question to be regarded as the
founders and builders of African slavery in America. Whether they did
their part as they should have done, or should not have done; or
whether _they_ did the work at all, or not, is the mere logical
accident of a _cause_, which lay back of all they did, and of all they
might have done, whether good or bad. This cause is evolved by the
inquiry, Why did they bring them into the country at all? If some
potent _cause_ had not been at work, would they or any others have
brought them into the country? Certainly not. This _cause_, then,
whatever it was, is without doubt the true foundation, the immediate
cause, of African slavery in America. What, then, was this cause? But
one answer can be given to this inquiry. On it there can be no
division of opinion. It was the state of public opinion in Great
Britain, and the state of public opinion in her colonies in this
country at the time. This state of public opinion demanded their
introduction and employment as slaves, and hence they were introduced
and so employed. Whatever demerit or merit, then, was in the origin
and maturity of this state of things, is traceable directly to public
opinion, and attaches directly as a virtue or a crime, as the case may
be, to those who controlled public opinion, through the long period
of its inception, formation, and maturity, and to them alone. This
being the true origin and foundation of the system, if it had its
foundation in _robbery_ and _violence_, it was because public opinion,
through that long period, was so eminently corrupt as to set itself,
deliberately and of full purpose, to work to perpetrate _robbery_ and
_violence_, without any redeeming virtue; for such crimes admit of
none. Was this so? Can we be prepared to believe it? In default of all
history at this point to detail the origin and progress of public
opinion on this subject, we are left to form our judgment from our
knowledge of the men whom we know to have participated more largely
than any others in directing public opinion in their day, and to the
history of the times in which they lived.

In the seventeenth century, African slaves were first introduced into
this country, and the practice was continued, under the sanction of
law, until the years 1778 and 1808, inclusive. At an early period,
public opinion was matured on this subject both in England and in the
colonies, and we see that for a long period it sustained the practice
of introducing slaves directly from Africa into this country. Now, we
affirm that the position postulated in regard to this case is among
the most palpable absurdities that can be conceived. The character of
the men who controlled public opinion in that day, and the patriotic
and Christian age in which they lived, utterly disprove the gross
assumption that they yielded themselves up to falsify the truth and
the conscience that was in them, and become a mere corporation of
landpirates and freebooters! If our ignorance of the history of those
times should disqualify us to account for the existence of this state
of public opinion on any strictly rational grounds, common sense would
forbid that we assign for it so unreasonable a cause as this; whilst
the least that charity could suggest would be, that we place it among
those things for which we were unable to account.

From the time they were first introduced into the colonies, about
1620, to the time the system may be considered as permanently
established, makes a period of some hundred and fifty years. Among the
eminent personages who appeared in Great Britain during this period,
and did not fail to impress their genius and moral character upon the
age in which they lived, we may mention, James I., Cromwell, and
William III., Burnet, Tillotson, Barrow, South, with Bunyan and
Milton; and also Newton and Locke.

In the colonies, during this time, there lived Cotton Mather,
Brainerd, Eliot, and Roger Williams; Winthrop, Sir H. Vane, and
Samuel Adams, with Henry, Washington, and Franklin.

These great men, and some of them eminently good men, stood connected
with a numerous class of highly influential men, though inferior in
position, and all together may be regarded as embodying and
controlling public opinion in their day. Some of them were
preëminently distinguished for their patriotic devotion to the rights
of humanity. Many others were men of wide views on all subjects, and
of broad and expansive feelings of benevolence, and indeed of the
soundest piety. Add to all this, many of them are to this day without
a peer in intellectual distinctions, if indeed the same may not be
said of their attainments in literature and science. The age of
Barrow, and of Locke, and Newton, in philosophy, and of Washington and
Franklin, in patriotism, public benevolence, common sense, and general
learning, still stands on the pages of history without a rival. But
these men, and their numerous compeers and co-laborers, were no better
than a hoard of mountain robbers! They coolly coincided with each
other, without formal concert or convention, but by the common
attraction of their natural affinity for power and plunder, to murder,
rob, and enslave thousands of their innocent and defenceless
fellow-creatures--the helpless victims of public cupidity! Such is
the shameless position strangely postulated in regard to these men and
their times! We scruple not to affirm that this is more than a stupid
gratuity! It is a gross calumny upon humanity itself, of which the
authors should be profoundly ashamed!

The advantages enjoyed in this day, by the great success which has
attended the art of printing--an art for which we are indebted to the
genius of a former age--would no doubt afford us a satisfactory
history of the rise and progress of public opinion on such a subject,
if it were to occur in this age. The state of the art at that period,
the proscription of the press, and especially the new and unsettled
condition of the colonies, furnishes good cause for the deficiency. We
may not, therefore, account for public opinion as satisfactorily now,
as might have been done at that time. Still we have abundant materials
for a charitable construction of the conduct of our forefathers--both
here and in England. The savage, and indeed the brutal condition of
the larger portion of Africa, had long since been a matter of history.
All well-informed men were familiar with the facts of African history.
They were not only Pagans, but Pagans of the most stupid and enslaved
kind--without the knowledge of God, or the rudest forms of
civilization. The population was divided into tribes, each governed
by an ignorant petty king, who ruled his equally Pagan subjects as
absolute slaves. In the place of the knowledge and worship of the true
God, which was found to exist among the savages of America, the
African worships the devil--the evil spirit, and that by the most
humiliating and debasing rites of superstition. His superstitions
furnished frequent occasions for wars. These wars were highly
sanguinary--often exterminating, as all wars amongst an ignorant and
highly superstitious people have always been. To spare the life of an
enemy in war, make him a prisoner, guard him as such, or make him
labor as a slave for his support, is an advance of civilization. To
continue to put the enemy to death to the end of the war, is the
necessary condition of a state of war in uncivilized life. Such was
the known condition of all the African population south of Egypt and
the States of Barbary. Did not their condition appeal, as it still
does, to the benevolence of the civilized world? But what could they
do? Send Christian missionaries? No. We, in this country, have
succeeded, to some extent at least, in civilizing the savage tribes
upon our border! But the Indians were not, like the Africans,
idolatrous Pagans. Be this as it may, the competency of missionary
enterprise to civilize and christianize Pagans, was, as it still is
to any very material extent, an untried experiment. The opinion then
obtained, and to this hour it is not wholly invalidated, that to
reduce Pagans to a state of labor was, among other agencies, a
necessary condition of their civilization. What then could Christians
do in that age for African civilization? They could not introduce them
as laborers in England, or on the continent of Europe. Such a step
would have denied bread to the multitudes who already filled the
menial offices of society. It was impracticable to do this, and
inhuman to attempt it. Thus for long ages had degraded and enslaved
Africa “stretched forth” her imploring hands, appealing to the
benevolence of the world for relief. But the wisest and best men of
the times saw no means of relief, and attempted none. In this state of
African history, colonial settlements were ultimately effected on the
coast of North America. At an early period an experiment was made by a
Dutch Manhattan, to introduce African labor into the colonies. Here a
wide field was open for their labor. It was greatly demanded. To labor
here denied bread to no other laboring poor, as would have been the
case in England. The idea was caught at in both hemispheres, as a
“_God-send_” for the African--for the colonies, and a common
civilization. No one dreamed of robbery, injustice, or wrong to any
one! All considered it a wide door which a kind Providence had opened,
and which piety itself bade them enter! No man who was worthy of the
age authorized any one to fit out a ship, from the port of Boston or
elsewhere, go to the coast of Africa, steal a cargo of natives, murder
all who stood in the way of his schemes, tumble them into the hold of
their ship, without regard to health or comfort, and make their way
with their piratical cargo to Boston and other markets, and turn them
into money! Those who did this--as many no doubt did--acted on their
own responsibility, and have long since given their dreadful account
to God! But the men who were worthy of the age, and who would be
worthy of any age, did authorize, by a common public opinion, the
practice of going to Africa, and negotiating a purchase with those who
had long held and treated them as slaves, and especially those who by
the usages of barbarous war were condemned to death. They considered
that thus to arrest the practice of putting prisoners to death was
humane, and worthy of a Christian people; that to introduce them into
civilized society, teach them the habits of civilized life, the
principles and experience of Christianity, and ultimately perhaps to
send them back to regenerate their fatherland, was an achievement
worthy of the highest attainments of piety! Hence they had no scruple
to purchase them when brought to the country. The most eminently
patriotic and benevolent of the colonists purchased them. The most
pious members of churches, and distinguished Christian ministers, did
the same. The immortal Whitefield did not scruple to sustain his pious
foundation in Georgia by a large income, for the times, from slave
property. Were they correct in these views? We appeal to facts.
Multitudes were brought to the country who had otherwise perished in
barbarous warfare, or been murdered as captives, and the others would
have remained in a state of Pagan ignorance, superstition, and
slavery. By coming into the country, they have been greatly improved
in their mental, moral, and physical condition. I do not stay to
trouble you with statistical details. But my investigations warrant a
statement, which you can test at your leisure; it is this: the number
of Africans who have died in the communion of the Methodist and
Baptist churches of America to the present time--and who, therefore,
we may assume, were christianized by their residence in this
country--exceeds the whole number of all the heathen who have been
christianized by the labors of all the Protestant denominations of
Christendom since the days of Luther. Hence, we conclude, that
whatever were the cruelties of individuals engaged in the original
slave trade, (for which they were responsible,) and whatever may have
been the abuses of the system since, by individual slave owners, the
system itself was originally founded in a profound view of the
principles of political science, so far as regards this country, and
of political economy, and the claims of Christian benevolence, so far
as it regards the Africans themselves. The resources of this vast
country have been rapidly developed. It is already the asylum of the
oppressed, and the home of the poor, of all lands. Slave labor has had
no small share in all this. The regeneration of the continent of
Africa has already commenced, and the ultimate result is looked to
with increasing confidence.

Thus we have invalidated the _doctrine_, and also the hypothesis,
which form the basis on which the abolitionists rest their argument
against the justice and policy of the South. That their position is
not tenable is no direct proof that ours is right; but it does afford
a _presumption_ that we are right. This _presumption_ we claim, for
the several reasons given. The direct argument in vindication of the
system of domestic slavery, upon its own merits, is reserved for the
next lecture.



LECTURE VIII.

     DOMESTIC SLAVERY, AS A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE AFRICANS IN
     AMERICA, EXAMINED AND DEFENDED ON THE GROUND OF ITS ADAPTATION
     TO THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE RACE.


     There should be a separate and subordinate government for our
     African population--Objection answered--Africans are not
     competent to that measure of self-government which entitles a
     man to political sovereignty--They were not prepared for
     freedom when first brought into the country, hence they were
     placed under the domestic form of government--The humanity of
     this policy--In the opinion of Southern people they are still
     unprepared--The fanaticism and rashness of some, and the
     inexcusable wickedness of others, who oppose the South.

It having been proved that both the doctrine and the assumption of
fact by Northern fanatics, in regard to the claim of the African to a
republican form of government, are false, and that the presumption is
in favor of the position of the South, that domestic slavery is the
appropriate form of government for them, we are now left free to
pursue our inquiry, without offset from these vagaries, into the
merits of this system, and its appropriateness to the African race in
this country.

The African is now here. Whether right or wrong originally, is not the
question before us. He is here. What form of government is best suited
to him, and those with whom he is necessarily associated? And,

I. Let it be observed, that they are a distinct race of people,
separated by strongly marked lines of moral and physical condition
from those amongst whom they reside. This difference is so strongly
marked that there can be no spontaneous amalgamation by intermarriage,
and consequently no reciprocity of social rights and privileges
between the races. Their history in the whole country shows this to be
the case. They must therefore continue to exist as a separate race. To
this state of things the government over them should be adapted,
unless we would violate a material condition of the problem to be
solved. For if the law should not provide for this state of the case,
the conventional usages of the superior race amongst whom they dwell
will certainly do so. This is in proof from the example of all those
States which have failed to provide for the African as a separate and
distinct race; for the usages of society always supply the deficiency.
This omission on the part of the law is evidently to the injury of
the African. The history of the race in the Northern States will show
this. Essential liberty is founded in, and is inseparable from,
certain social rights and privileges. But in these respects, the
African is a far more proscribed and degraded race in the Northern
than in the Southern States.

A government, then, should be provided for the African, as a distinct
and separate race, existing in the bosom of another and superior race.
Of course this will be an _imperium in imperio_. And as they are
confessedly the inferior race, who can never enjoy essential liberty
or reciprocity of social condition with the whites, the government
adapted to them must be inferior and subordinate to that of the whites
amongst whom they dwell. It must be subordinate; for, in the nature of
things, it must be an independent or a subordinate one. But two
independent civil governments cannot coëxist, and control distinct
races dwelling together in the same community. It follows that it must
be subordinate. As subordinate, it must either assume some form of
military government, or it must conform to the patriarchal species of
government--a kind of family government--that is, the domestic form
for which we contend. And as between a subordinate military or
patriarchal form of government, both as regards the expense and the
comfort, there can be no controversy, we may consider the claims of
the patriarchal form, or the system of domestic slavery, as
established in this case.

But it may be supposed that the experiment in the Northern States
invalidates the position, that this, being a distinct race of people,
must be controlled by a separate and subordinate form of government.
These States have a portion of this race, and it is said they find no
difficulty to result from having placed them on a political footing
with other citizens. But this is a mere assumption. It is not borne
out by the facts of history.

As before stated, the conventional usages of society have denied them
the social rights and privileges of free citizens! They have
proscribed them as an inferior and degraded race.

The usage which forbids intermarriage is at once a bar to all social
equality. The road to offices of trust, honor, and profit, is closed
against them--nay, even the means of subsistence beyond a scanty
supply of the necessaries of life. These facts are undeniable. Now, to
talk of liberty when we effectually deny to a people all that
essentially constitutes it, is idle in the extreme. It is a mere
paper liberty!--liberty to submit to the crushing usages of
society!--liberty to perish, in many instances, and that without
sympathy from the State. In these respects the condition of the race
is unquestionably better in the Southern States. If they must be a
degraded race in the North as well as in the South, I hesitate not to
affirm that our domestic system affords them a much better security
for a competent and comfortable living. It makes better provision for
them in old age and in youth, in sickness and in health, than is
secured to them by their so-called liberty in the Northern States.

Of course, poor families (in the literal sense) in the South do not
own slaves. They are usually held by those who at least enjoy the
necessaries of life. Now, the progress of civilization has established
the custom in all such families of sharing with their slaves the
necessaries, and, not unfrequently, many of the comforts of life. The
exceptions only make the rule general.

Again, the Southern system, by making the African a part of the family
circle, brings him into more immediate contact with the habits of
civilized life, and cultivates a high degree of sympathy between him
and his owners. Hence, the well-known attachment of slaves to the
families in which they were brought up; and their utter repugnance to
being hired to a Northern family, whatever may be their reputation for
piety. They are without practical sympathy for them. They often
subject them to a degree of hard labor to which they are not
accustomed. Many humane men in the South decline hiring their servants
to such persons.

There are evils, it is true, inseparable from the presence of the race
in this country, under any circumstances. By conferring on them a mere
paper liberty, the Northern States have adroitly freed themselves of a
portion of these evils; but then they have evidently accumulated them
upon the African. The policy is marked by no sympathy for the blacks.
There is much more of selfishness than of benevolence in the working
of the system. We conclude that our position is true, that the
Africans, being a separate and distinct race of people, who cannot
spontaneously amalgamate with the whites, should be placed under a
separate and subordinate form of government, if we consult either
their welfare or our own. The examples referred to, as proof of the
contrary, are strongly confirmatory of the position.

But to claim for the African political equality with the whites is
subject to still stronger objections. We may further appeal to facts
in support of our proposition.

II. They are not, in point of intellectual and moral development, in
the condition for freedom: that is, they are not fitted for that
measure of self-government which is necessary to political
sovereignty. It cannot, therefore, be justly claimed for them. They
have no right to it. It would not be to them an essential good, but an
essential evil, a curse. To confer it on them, either by an act of
direct or gradual emancipation, would be eminently productive of
injury to the whole country, and utterly ruinous to them.

This proposition is capable of division. We will discuss the points in
the order in which they stand.

First. They are not, in point of intellectual and moral development,
fitted for that measure of self-government which is necessary to
political sovereignty.

We have said they are an inferior race. That they are so in the
original structure of their minds I pretend not to affirm--nay, I do
not believe it. I believe in the unity of the races--that _God “hath
made of one blood all nations of men_.” Acts xvii. 26. But that the
race in this country are inferior, in the general development of their
intellectual and moral faculties, I am free to affirm. This I
attribute to the crushing influence of the ages of barbarous and pagan
life to which their forefathers in Africa were subjected. For, as, in
the progress of civilization, each succeeding generation of civilized
persons occupies a higher intellectual and moral platform, so, in the
descending scale of barbarism, each succeeding generation of
barbarians occupies a lower platform of intellectual and moral
development. Hence, we can account for the exceedingly barbarous
condition of the race when first brought into this country. It also
follows, that a race of men whose intellects have been long stultified
by ages of barbarism, cannot, by any contact with the principles and
usages of civilized life, be speedily thrown up to an elevated
platform.

This also accounts, in a good degree, for the slow progress which the
race has made in civilization, since their introduction into the
country.

To recur now to the fact, which cannot be controverted, that they were
brought into this country in a state of extreme barbarism and Pagan
ignorance: in the first place, were they then in a condition which
fitted them for political sovereignty, and equality of social rights
and privileges with the whites? If they were not for the latter, it is
very plain that they were not for the former. It is quite certain that
they were not prepared for either. If they were, why did not the
Puritans of New England allow them this sovereignty and equality? By
their consent and active coöperation, they were brought into the
country. Shall we revilingly say, with some of their ungrateful
descendants, that the good sense and love of liberty which had so
lately driven them from their fatherland, to find an asylum here from
the galling yoke of British oppression, had been so entirely absorbed
in the passion for gain, as to cause them to be deaf to the claims of
justice and humanity in behalf of the African! Shame on their
graceless accusers! No: their good sense forbade that a race of
barbarous Pagans, who could not be absorbed by intermarriage, but who
must continue to exist amongst them as a separate and inferior race,
should be placed on a common platform with free citizens! Their
humanity, no less than their good sense, induced them to adopt the
plan of domestic government, or slavery, sanctioned by the usages of
all civilized nations in similar circumstances. If, for any cause, a
horde of barbarians should be introduced into New England in the
present day, in numbers too great to be absorbed without injury, and
in a physical condition making it improper to permit their absorption
by intermarriage with themselves, as in the case of the Africans, does
any man in his senses pretend to believe that those States would
confer on them either social equality or political freedom? They would
certainly consider it due to themselves, no less than to the
barbarians, to place them under a subordinate government of some
kind. Well, this is precisely what their forefathers did in the case
of the Pagan Africans; and what the Southern colonies did when the New
Engenders brought them South. Thus the origin of domestic slavery, as
a political institution, in the country, shows that it was founded in
the humanity of our forefathers, no less than in their good sense.
Hence the second position stated: Political equality cannot be justly
claimed for them. They have no right to it. To them it would not be an
essential good, but an essential evil--a curse.

On the basis of the doctrine of rights discussed in a preceding
lecture, this proposition follows as a conclusion from the fact here
established in regard to the Africans of this country.

But it may be said that the barbarous character of the race has
greatly improved since their first introduction into this country.
This is true--eminently so. And standing, as this fact evidently does,
connected with the civilization and redemption of a whole continent of
barbarians, upon whom the crushing sceptre of Pagan ignorance has lain
for unnumbered ages, it fully vindicates both the wisdom and
benevolence of the providence of God, which permitted their
introduction in such vast numbers into civilized life, as affording
the only means of accomplishing his humane design.

But the question of practical interest at this point is, Have they
been so far raised in the scale of intellectual and moral elevation as
to acquire for them the right in question? This point can be settled
only by an appeal to facts. I hesitate not to allow, that if they are,
it may be justly claimed for them, because they are in that moral
condition which justly entitles them to it. It is also admitted that
if at the same time, they are in a condition to be absorbed by a
spontaneous amalgamation, they are entitled to it here; and much more
so than a certain other class, who are flocking into the country, and
to whom the right is accorded without scruple! This latter, however,
is certainly not the case, as the facts before alluded to do clearly
show. If, then, they be entitled to political freedom, they should be
removed to another territory. Africa is the rightful home of the
Africans. Thither they must go, if they should ever be fitted for
self-government. Providence has wisely forecast this result, and is
rapidly building up a free government on the coast of Africa, as their
future home, and the centre of civilization and Christianity to that
long-benighted continent.

But what of the question--Are they indeed fitted for political
sovereignty? That many of the free colored population, and some among
the slaves, may be so, I think is more than probably true. Of the
former I would say, that it is a duty they owe themselves no less than
the country to accept the offer of the Colonization Society, and
remove to their native land. For, although it be allowed that they are
in the moral condition of freedom, it is obvious that they never can
be essentially free, in the bosom of a people with whom they can never
amalgamate by marriage. And in regard to the latter, I have to say
that such of their owners as give that play to their benevolent
feelings which their circumstances admit, and, as far as they can do
so with propriety, facilitate their removal to Africa by consent,
entitle themselves to high commendation, and it is usually awarded
them with great unanimity by Southern people.

But that the same admissions can be made in regard to the masses of
this population in the country, I utterly deny. On the contrary, I
affirm that duty to ourselves and humanity to them alike forbid that
civil liberty be conferred on them in Africa, or elsewhere, and least
of all in this country.

The assumption of Northern agitators, that the Southern people are not
competent judges in this matter, because they are too much interested
in their bondage, is as untrue in fact as it is offensive to our good
sense and morals. No doubt there are many in the South capable of any
form of wickedness; nor need it be denied that we are as liable to be
misled in our judgments as other people. But it is equally true, that
the good sense and integrity of the great mass of our population is a
full counterbalance to the acknowledged cupidity of the few. And for a
set of Northern agitators, who never resided at the South, and who
know but little or nothing of the African character, to affect to
understand it better than the intelligent communities of the South, is
perhaps the coolest piece of impertinent self-conceit to be found on
record!

The intelligent and honest portion of the country will scarcely fail
to allow that the judgment of the Southern people as to the character
and capabilities of the African is entitled to the highest confidence,
and may be regarded as an authoritative settlement of this question.
What, then, is the concurrent opinion of the Southern people? I think
myself well and fully informed on this point. I hazard nothing in
asserting, that it is the general and well-nigh the universal opinion
of the intelligent and pious portion of our entire population, that
our African subjects, taken as a whole, are not fitted for any form of
political freedom of which we can conceive; that they are not in a
condition to use it to their own advantage, or the peace of the
communities in which they reside; and that to confer it upon them, in
these circumstances, would in all probability lead to the extirpation
of the race, as the only means of protecting civilization from the
insufferable evils of so direct a contact with an unrestrained
barbarism. It is also an opinion equally sanctioned, that if they were
prepared for political freedom, it would be scarcely less disastrous
to confer it upon them in this country. The reason is obvious. As they
cannot spontaneously amalgamate with the whites, they could not, in
the nature of things, enjoy freedom in their midst. Hence, if the
masses should ever reach that point, in the progress of civilization,
at which it might be proper to confer on them the rights of political
freedom, another location would have to be sought for them.

The Southern people (using the term in the sense specified) constitute
a large portion of the whole Union. They have progressed as far in
civilization, and, in many respects, much farther than any people in
the whole country. A very large portion of them are confessedly pious,
as well as intelligent. Taken as a whole, they are as eminently
entitled to be regarded a religious people as any other people on the
face of the globe. Now, that such a people, so obviously entitled to
the highest consideration throughout the civilized world, should, in
their circumstances of proximity to the African race, and
long-continued personal acquaintance with their habits and character,
their capabilities and their liabilities, be of the settled and almost
undisputed opinion that they are not competent to self-government; and
that, in their present circumstances, both the law of reciprocity and
the law of benevolence to the African forbid that the rights of
political freedom be accorded to them, does appear to me to afford the
most conclusive settlement of this question of fact that the subject
is capable of receiving. For, although a question of fact, it is
capable of no more conclusive settlement than an enlightened public
opinion can afford; and who are so well situated to form an opinion as
the free and intelligent communities of the South? and who can be more
honest in its expression?

As we cannot suppose the agitators of the country on this subject to
be ignorant of the fact that such is the opinion of the Southern
people, and as we cannot allow that they are incapable of appreciating
the weight of this testimony, we reach the conclusion that they are
the victims of a fanaticism resulting from a mistaken religious
opinion and feeling, which hurries them madly forward, as regardless
of the extent to which they implicate their own good sense as they are
of the extent to which they are aspersing the reputation of their
fellow-citizens, or the degree to which they are actually putting to
hazard the lives of the very people for whom they piously persuade
themselves they are laboring.

Those whose conduct does not admit of this apology are generally men
who occupy the arena of political agitation. Their object, evidently,
is to accumulate political power in the so-called free States, and to
promote the ends of personal ambition. The fanatical excitement of the
country may be turned to the account of these objects. Hence, they
labor with a zeal worthy of a better cause. We of the South regard the
agitators in Congress, for the most part, to be of this class. We
consider them highly culpable, if, indeed, they be not actually
criminal. For we cannot suppose them to be ignorant of the facts and
reasonings here adduced. And besides these, there are other facts of
great and conclusive authority in the settlement of this question,
which we cannot suppose have escaped the attention of men occupying
their high stations. I propose to notice some of them in the next
lecture.



LECTURE IX.

THE NECESSITY FOR THE INSTITUTION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY EXEMPLIFIED BY
FACTS.

     The attempts made at domestic colonization--The result of the
     experiment in the case of our free colored population--The
     colonization experiment on the coast of Africa--The example of
     the Canaanitish nations--Summary of the argument on the general
     point, and inferences.


“That the Africans are not, in point of intellectual and moral
development, fitted for that measure of self-government which is
necessary to political sovereignty: that political equality cannot be
justly claimed for them--they have no right to it: that to them it
could not be an essential good, but an essential evil, a curse; and
that to confer it on them, by an act of direct or gradual
emancipation, would be eminently productive of injury to the whole
country, and utterly ruinous to them.”

This is the general proposition still under consideration. We have
already discussed to some extent the first two points. I reserve the
subject of emancipation for future lectures. I now proceed to
exemplify the truth of the positions discussed on this general
proposition, and thereby show the actual necessity that we sustain, in
the present circumstances of the race, the system of domestic slavery.
And,

First. We adduce the fact of domestic colonization.

This has been frequently attempted in the Southern States, and has as
often failed for the want of success. Eminently humane, though
mistaken men, have tried this experiment with their slaves. Some have
tried it on a small scale: standing only as their nominal owners, and
giving them the control of their time and labor, and the use of
necessary lands for cultivation. Others have tried the same plan on a
more extended scale of operations. But if there is a single successful
experiment now in operation in the Southern country, I am not aware of
it. In every instance the owners have been compelled to resume the
control of their slaves, to prevent them from becoming a tax on the
community, and a nuisance in the neighborhood.

Second. The result of the experiment in the case of the free colored
population, is equally in proof that the race, taken collectively, is
not fitted for self-government.

Humane individuals have, from time to time, freed their slaves. In
this way a large number has been accumulated. There is not a county in
any one of the older States in which there are not many, and in some a
large number. In this experiment we have a full test of what the
African is in the enjoyment of civil liberty, or of his capacity for
self-government, at least in the midst of a people with whom he cannot
amalgamate. The result is daily before our eyes, and may be known and
read of all men. After a few honorable exceptions, the multitude are
by no means as well fed or clothed, and otherwise provided for, as the
slaves in their vicinity. They make but little provision against the
inclemency of winter, and in sickness are often the objects of public
charity. A disposition to live by petty depredations upon society,
instead of by honest industry, and a general depravation of morals,
are characteristic of the caste. Their retrograde tendency is so
obvious, that no doubt is entertained among men of reflection that,
but for the props and checks thrown around them by the laws and usages
of civilization, they would soon relapse into the savage state. These
facts are so obvious as long since to have engaged the attention of
our domestics. Among them, the term “free nigger” is one of deepest
reproach. Those who respect themselves, it is well known, form no
matrimonial alliance with them, from sheer contempt of their
degradation. I have frequently met, in my travels, with old men, in
independent circumstances, who by the doctrines of the pulpit,
enforced by the personal influence of a favorite minister in private
life, were induced, in early life, to free their slaves, who now
confess, with the result of their mistaken piety before their eyes,
that they conferred no boon upon them, but rather inflicted an injury
both upon them and upon society. They console themselves with the
reflection that they intended all for the best. This picture is not
surcharged. You will do me the justice to remember that no dark
picture can be drawn without dipping the pencil in dark colors.

I have an interest in a slave, who is no doubt in the moral condition
of freedom, as before defined. I have assured this man that he ought
to go to Liberia, in Africa, and have insisted on his consenting to
go. But still I am so deeply convinced of the truth and importance of
the facts here stated in regard to our free colored population, that a
sense of duty to him and to the community forbid that he be placed
among the number.

But it may be supposed that a popular feeling of selfish hostility
serves to crush a people who would otherwise rise at once in the scale
of civilization. But this is not so. I repeat, with confidence, this
is not so. The honorable exceptions, to which allusion has already
been made, are universally respected. “John” (to use a general title)
“is as honest a man, and has as much self-respect, as any man in the
neighborhood,” is a meed of praise which is readily accorded to free
blacks, by all intelligent citizens, and with peculiar satisfaction,
whenever it can be done. Such men of course enjoy the confidence and
respect of their white neighbors in a high degree. But, I repeat, that
examples of this kind are rare among our free colored population. No!
an original cause of this general degradation is found in the fact
stated, that is, that they are not prepared for self-government, and
therefore can derive but little, if any, benefit from its political
and social advantages. The crushing weight of ages of barbarism still
presses heavily upon the intellect of the African, and in his present
circumstances, to say the least, he is too feeble to rise. It is the
accident of his position that he is free, and not the law of his
intellectual and moral nature that makes him so. He is a slave in
fact; and without the restraints of the domestic system, the
tendencies of his barbarous nature are left, in a good degree, to take
their downward way. In many counties within our knowledge containing
a large population of free colored persons, I am satisfied that
nothing but the humanity developed by a high state of civilization,
prevents the adoption of a summary process, by which the nuisance
would be abated.

But if the objection I am combating be modified and restricted to the
influence of that usage which denies them social freedom, I will agree
that it has weight. It certainly retards the progress of those who are
rising to the moral condition of freedom: hangs like an incubus upon
those who have already risen to that state, and effectually shuts the
door of enjoyment against them. This is no doubt true. But why are
they denied social freedom? The answer is, Because they cannot
amalgamate by a spontaneous intermarriage with the whites. But this is
a disability under which God, by the nature of their physical
constitution, has placed them, and which the progress of civilization
itself forbids the whites to disregard. Therefore it is obvious that
they never can be free in a community of whites. Because, as there is
no essential freedom, but that which is inseparable from social as
well as political freedom, and as there can be no social freedom, but
that which coincides with the law of amalgamation by intermarriage;
and as Divine Providence has closed the door against this, it follows
that the African never can be free in the midst of a community of
whites.

But still, that this is not the primary and essential cause of the
extreme degradation of those Africans upon whom the experiment of
freedom has been tried in this country and found to be a failure, and
that it is originally traceable to the fact that they are not,
intellectually and morally, prepared for self-government, is still
more clearly deducible from a

Third consideration--the colonization experiment on the coast of
Africa.

The colony of Liberia has already taken its place among the nations of
the earth as a free and independent government. No colony has ever
prospered as that has done. As a rising nation, it shares the sympathy
of the civilized world. It is destined to become the asylum of the
Africans of America, and the centre of civilization to the
long-benighted continent of Africa. Thither all eyes are turned as the
oasis of hope in her desert history.

But let us briefly trace the progress of this hopeful colony. How has
it arisen to its present position? It has been built up from the free
colored population of this country--colonized by their own consent.
Herein Divine Providence has wisely discriminated the proper subjects
for this great enterprise. His own established order of things has
effected a judicious discrimination of the proper persons for this
work. The sacrifices to be made were great. The climate was
inhospitable. Extreme hazard of life, in all cases, was to be
encountered in the process of acclimation. A Pagan and savage
population were to be encountered and subdued. Every thing gave
undoubted indications, that if ever the tree of African liberty should
be made to flourish upon that Pagan coast, its roots must be watered
by the blood of many patriot martyrs. In these circumstances, it is
obvious that there would be no volunteers in this work but men of the
right stamp. Those only whose intellects furnished the flint and steel
from which the spark of liberty could be struck, and upon the altar of
whose hearts the fires of freedom could be kindled, to light their
pathway to that far-off and inhospitable land, would embark in this
great work. Those who were in the condition of freedom--whose hearts
throbbed with the pulsations of liberty--were the first to embark in
the cause of African civilization. For several years the work went
on--slowly, but surely. Many fell in the conflict. Still the work went
on! The spirit which animated the patriot colonists is eloquently
expressed in the dying words of the immortal Cox: “Let a thousand
missionaries fall, ere Africa be given up!”

Thus far the work went on in the order of Divine Providence. The
voluntary principle was discriminating. Those who were in the moral
condition of freedom gladly embraced the opportunity. Those who were
below that condition were deaf to the call. But this divinely
sanctioned process was quite too slow for the fiery zeal of
emancipationists. The door of Providence did not open fast enough!
Encouraged by past successes, they attempted to hasten the work.
Forgetful of the original and avowed objects of the Society--the
colonization of the free people of color, _with their own
consent_--the friends of colonization began to preach manumission to
the owners of slaves. Many hearkened to the call as a Macedonian
appeal to their feelings of benevolence. The slaves upon large
plantations were emancipated, and funds placed at the disposal of the
Society, to remove and settle them as free citizens in the new colony.
They were sent off in considerable numbers, for several years. The
result was disastrous. It threatened speedily to reduce the whole
colony to a savage state. They were not in the moral condition of
freedom--they were not prepared for that degree or form of
self-government. They could not be absorbed by the body politic,
without imparting their character to the body. The full measure of
their golden dreams was simply liberty to do nothing. We need only
glance at the results. Mr. Ashman, at that time Governor of the
colony, remonstrated, in official communications, with the
Colonization Society in this country: the officers generally, and
other eminent citizens, also remonstrated in private letters to their
friends--all begging to be spared the calamities that awaited them
from so great an influx of population, evidently unprepared for
freedom, and praying that they might be strengthened, as heretofore,
by a judicious selection of persons in some degree, at least,
qualified for civil liberty!

If the colonization experiment has proved the capacity of the African,
under suitable developments, for self-government, (which, in our view,
it has very satisfactorily done,) it has proved, with equal clearness,
that without those developments he is wholly unfit for it; and that
the masses of the race are, as yet, undeveloped, and consequently
unfit for political sovereignty.

These facts are open to the observation of all men. They strongly
rebuke the restless agitators of the country. They clearly confirm our
position that the Africans in America are not, as yet, in the moral
condition for freedom. I have proved in a former lecture that
political sovereignty is not a natural but an acquired right. The
facts here adduced demonstratively prove that they have not yet
acquired this right, and that therefore it cannot be justly claimed
for them. But more than this--they afford the strongest presumption
(and further than the presumption in its favor, I do not design to
notice this topic at this time) that the emancipation of the slaves,
in their present moral condition, confers no benefit upon them, but is
calculated to inflict a deep injury both upon them and upon society.

It is a general, and indeed an almost universal opinion in the South,
that any thing like a system of emancipation, whether direct or
gradual, by which the number of free colored persons should be
materially increased in the Southern States, would inevitably be
followed by their indiscriminate massacre, as the only means of
abating an insufferable nuisance, unless the citizens were to forsake
the soil in favor of a barbarous horde. Such an opinion, (I may
repeat,) so generally entertained by so large a community of
enlightened and virtuous citizens, who are in immediate proximity with
the race, and acquainted with their character from early life, taken
in connection with the historical facts here enumerated, affording to
any mind so clear a proof of the correctness of their opinion, should
be admitted as an authoritative settlement of the position I have
taken on this branch of the subject. Hence, we may conclude that the
law of reciprocity and the law of benevolence require that the
Africans be continued under an inferior and subordinate government.

The question again recurs, What form of government shall this be? Of
course, it must be a modification of a military despotism, or a
modification of the patriarchal form of government. I am free to say
that I can conceive of none so appropriate as that adopted by
civilization, for the purpose of controlling a barbarous or
semi-barbarous race (and especially such as could not amalgamate)
dwelling in the midst of a civilized community: that is, the system of
domestic government now in operation in the Southern States. If any
shall devise another, it will, at least, have the merit of novelty to
commend it to public attention.

The correctness of the doctrine here assumed, that domestic slavery is
the appropriate form of government for a people in the circumstances
of the Africans in America, is very strikingly exemplified by the
history of the remnant of Canaanites, who still dwelt in the land
after its subjugation and settlement by the ancient Israelites. An
inquiry into the Divine policy in regard to these heathen will fully
vindicate this position. The civil code of a nation is admitted to be
the best index of the habits and morals of the people. This remark,
however, cannot always be taken without modification. We shall greatly
underrate the civilization of the Israelites, who first settled the
land of Canaan, if we judge them alone by their civil code. Smiting
and cursing father and mother, brutal assaults upon pregnant married
women, digging pits to destroy neighbors’ cattle, (Ex. xxi.,)
seduction, adultery, dealing with familiar spirits and witchcraft, and
various wickedness which delicacy forbids to repeat, (see Lev.
xviii.,) unnatural marriages, such as with mothers, sisters, children,
and grandchildren, (Lev. xviii.,) are all practices which are
mentioned in a manner that shows they were common in that day. If we
judge the morals of the Israelites by the statutes here referred to,
we shall certainly conclude that they had not the slightest claim to
the character of a civilized people; but it is equally certain that
such judgment would be wide of the truth. For although in many
respects the national morals and standard of public opinion and
feeling were in a feeble condition, as seen in their obvious
proclivity to idolatry, still those laws are far from being
characteristic of the morals of the nation. The Divine record does not
leave us to conjecture the cause for these laws. It is written, Lev.
xviii., “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these; for in all these
the nations are defiled which I cast out before you. For all these
abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and
the land is defiled;” and, “Ye shall not walk in the manners of the
nations which I cast out before you; for they committed all these
things, and therefore I abhorred them.”

We can be at no loss to see that the remnant of heathen who survived
the slaughter, and still dwelt in the land which the Israelites
settled, were in such power, and accustomed to such opinions and
habits of bestiality, as to render the progress of civilization, in
unrestrained contact with them, at least a problem, if not an absolute
impossibility.

Equality of political and social condition with the Jews would have
made short work of civilization in that age. Hence we find that bold
lines of demarcation were drawn between the Jews and those depraved
“strangers.” Both political and social equality were forbidden. The
Jews were authorized (Lev. xxv.) to make “bond-men and bond-maids” in
perpetuity (unlike the slavery of their brethren, which was for a
definite period) of the “heathen that were round about them, and of
the children of the strangers that sojourned among them; of them they
should buy and of their families that were with them, which they begat
in the land”--“they should take them as an inheritance for their
children, and they should be their bond-men for ever.” The theory of
certain pseudo-philanthropists of the present day, would have led them
to prate loudly in behalf of equality, and the duty and practicability
of speedily elevating this people in the scale of civilization. But He
who was too wise to err and too good to do wrong, knew better, and
ordered differently. Barbarism--long-continued barbarism--cannot be
speedily elevated by any contact with the forms of civilization. He
who denied them political sovereignty, (except on certain conditions,
which clearly indicated such an appreciation of the privilege as
properly entitled them to the right,) at the same time provided that
they be denied social equality, and reduced to a state of absolute
slavery--they were made bond-slaves in perpetuity. Herein they were
placed under the ban of social as well as political proscription--a
position in which they could do the least possible mischief to the
progress of civilization, but would contribute greatly to its
advancement, and thereby promote their own improvement much beyond any
thing they could have attained in their original heathen state.

The Africans when first brought into this country were not a whit
better in morals, and were greatly inferior in intellect to the
ancient inhabitants of Canaan. And, although it be admitted that they
have improved, the facts given clearly prove that they are still
incompetent to self-government. They are, therefore, no more entitled
to the right of political sovereignty than the Canaanites were. But
more than this, the Canaanites did not materially differ from the Jews
in their physical condition. There were no physical reasons against
amalgamation. Intermarriage, it is true, was forbidden, but it was for
reasons growing out of their heathen state alone. Whilst that state
should last, the common interests of each in civilization forbade such
social equality; but this cause out of the way, the Canaanites could
be absorbed and lost in the stream of posterity. But not so with the
African, as we have shown. He is destined to exist as a separate
people. We do not say he shall not, but he cannot to any material
extent amalgamate with the Caucasian race. If, therefore, it was
proper for the Jews to make slaves of the Canaanites, for a much
stronger reason it is now right for us to retain the African in a
similar state, and until such time as Providence shall--if ever--open
the door for his return to his fatherland.

On the general question, Is the system of domestic government existing
amongst us, and involving the abstract principle of slavery, justified
by the circumstances of the case, and therefore right? we reach an
affirmative conclusion, for the reasons:

I. That the Africans are a distinct race of people, who cannot
amalgamate to any material extent with the whites, and who, therefore,
must continue to exist as a separate class.

II. That they are, as a class, decidedly inferior to the whites in
point of intellectual and moral development, so much so as to be
incompetent to self-government. Although they have shared largely in
the progress of civilization, they have not reached this point. The
proof is:

1. Such is the almost universal opinion of the most intelligent and
pious communities throughout the whole Southern country, who certainly
are well acquainted with their character and capabilities, and
therefore fully competent to judge in their case.

2. The experiments at domestic colonization which have been made in
this country prove it.

3. The experiments in the case of the free colored population spread
through the country are equally in proof.

4. The colonization experiment on the coast of Africa is still more
conclusive.

III. That domestic slavery is the appropriate form of government for a
people in such circumstances, is fully exemplified by the Divine
procedure in the case of the heathen subdued by the ancient
Israelites.

We infer:

1. That they have no right to social equality or to political
sovereignty--that to accord them either, in their present moral
condition, would be a curse instead of a blessing. It would in all
probability lead to the extermination of the race, and inflict a deep
injury both upon the moral and physical condition of the whole
country.

2. That every consideration of humanity and prudence requires that,
until a better form of subordinate government shall be devised, they
must be continued under the system of domestic slavery now in
operation.



LECTURE X.

EMANCIPATION DOCTRINES DISCUSSED.

     Gradual emancipation, the popular plan--It would operate to
     collect the slaves into a few States, cut them off from contact
     with civilization, and reduce them to barbarism--It would make
     an opening for Northern farmers and their menials to come into
     those States from which they retired--The modifications which
     the system of slavery has undergone within late years--A
     comparison of the menials of the free and of the slave States,
     and the only plan of emancipation admissible--The gospel the
     only remedy for the evils of slavery--Paul’s philosophy and
     practice, 1 Tim. vi. 1-5.


Immediate emancipation is the scheme of the abolitionists proper,
whilst gradual emancipation is the favorite plan of the anti-slavery
party. The ground we should take is this, that no plan of
emancipation, either immediate or gradual, is adapted to the present
moral condition and relative circumstances of our African population.
Nothing of the kind could at this time be attended with good, but only
with evil.

I limit this discussion to the subject of gradual emancipation,
because the reasons by which we invalidate this doctrine will, _a
fortiori_, disprove the doctrine of immediate emancipation.

It is said that a system of gradual emancipation succeeded well in the
Northern States, and that it would succeed equally well in the
Southern. But I deny the assumption in each case.

There never was a large slave population in the Northern States, owing
to the unsuitableness of the climate. The question arises, How did
this system operate with the few they had? It is well known that the
owners anticipated the time appointed for the law of emancipation to
go into operation, and sold their slaves in the South! This law only
operated to transfer the slaves, for the most part, to a climate and
soil more congenial to their constitution and habits. The operation of
the scheme, therefore, resulted only in the emancipation of a few of
the whole number, (see Lecture I., page 22;) and these few, as has
been proved, have, by the social, and, we may add, in many instances,
by the municipal regulations of the States within which they reside,
been essentially injured by the change instead of benefited. Hence the
scheme did not succeed well in the Northern States. And can it be
assumed that it would succeed better in the Southern States? On the
contrary, the result would be much more fatal in the Southern, for
the reason that we have a much larger African slave population than
existed in the Northern States at the time their emancipation laws
were adopted. Now, suppose (what, however, can scarcely, if at all, be
allowed a supposable case) that all the Southern States should
simultaneously pass laws, providing for the gradual emancipation of
the slaves, and hence, ultimately, effect their emancipation, as
provided for by law, for the reason that there would be no market open
for the sale of them, as was the case when the scheme was attempted at
the North: even in such a state of things, you cannot fail to perceive
that the propriety of such a measure turns entirely upon the truth or
error of a position already discussed.

If my position be correct, (and it is evidently established by the
facts adduced in the preceding lecture,) that their mental imbecility
and moral degradation is such that, whilst it remains a fact that for
physical and uncontrollable causes they cannot amalgamate, any
material addition to our present number of free colored population
would result in their extermination, humanity, leaving all other
reasons out of the account, would forbid the measure! Nor can I
persuade myself that there is an emancipationist, however fanatical,
this side the strange delirium of a deliberately wicked purpose to do
wrong, who would not “pause upon the brink of this Rubicon,” when
assured that the Southern people generally believed that extermination
would, in all probability, be the result of his priceless experiment.

But it is extremely idle to suppose that all the Southern States would
simultaneously pass such a law; nor does the scheme assume that they
would do so. No: the plan advocated is, that the District of Columbia,
and the States of Delaware and Maryland, should first emancipate their
slaves; then Virginia, then Kentucky, then Missouri, and so on, until
the work should be consummated by a gradual process, requiring several
years in each State. Let us now inquire what this plan promises.

If the owners of slaves in the States which first in order passed such
a law, did not anticipate the time of its taking effect, (as in the
case before referred to,) and sell them in the States where no such
law had, as yet, been passed, the result would be, as already stated,
an accumulation of free colored population, with its inevitable
consequences. But this would certainly not be the general operation of
such a law. For if cupidity should not prompt a different course, the
owners, foreseeing the results of such an accumulation of free colored
population, both to the whites and the blacks, would anticipate the
law, in by far the greater number of instances, and sell their slaves
in the States in which no such law had been passed. Still, many, no
doubt, would not take this course: a want of forecast, and most
generally a mistaken notion of humanity, would prevent its adoption.
In this way, we cannot hesitate to believe that the accumulation of
free colored population would be so great as to induce their
extermination at no distant day. This calamity could be averted only
by a sale of the slaves into some other State in anticipation of the
law providing for their manumission.

Now, whatever of mere selfishness there may be in the proposed
measure, nothing is more certain than that it is entirely destitute of
all humanity for the slave, and of all just regard to his progress in
civilization, and his more speedy elevation to moral fitness for
freedom. For by the time this work had progressed through the District
of Columbia, the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky,
Missouri, and, it might be, North Carolina and Tennessee, the far
greater part of the numerous slave population of the whole country
would be accumulated in the remaining States of the South and
South-west. This would be the inevitable result. For the free-soilers,
it seems, are determined, if the effect of agitation can accomplish
it at the ballot-box, that there shall be a cordon of free States,
formed by the newly acquired territory of New Mexico and California;
and in this case there would be no further outlet for the retiring
slave.

Let us now inquire what would be the effect of the accumulation of the
race within the limits of a few States:

At present, that element of slavery which is properly called domestic,
confers incalculable advantages on the slave. By this feature of the
system, as it now operates, the slaves are distributed in small
numbers in different families. There they are brought, every one of
them, into more or less of immediate contact with a high state of
civilization. Many of them pass the early part of their lives in the
dwelling-houses, and around the tables and firesides of their owners,
and in the midst of all the company visiting the house. Others are
engaged in field and mechanical pursuits, requiring frequent
intercourse with the whites. Their Sabbaths are often spent (and it is
daily becoming more and more so) in the midst of our worshipping
assemblies. In all these ways, to go no farther, they enjoy the means
of improvement, and are making daily progress in civilization. This,
without doubt, is the plan indicated by Providence, as affording the
most natural means of accomplishing their ultimate fitness for a more
desirable form of civil liberty.

That it cannot be said of any material portion of them that they have
thrown off the incubus of preceding ages of barbarism, may be true;
yet it is equally true that their progress in civilization, and that
in an increasing ratio, is perfectly obvious to any man whose age and
acquaintance with the race would entitle his opinion to credit. Any
old man amongst us is prepared to speak of the great improvement of
slaves within thirty or forty years past. The domestic element of the
system has accomplished this improvement, and will certainly in
process of time greatly elevate the race above what it now is; and
they are now a very different people from their forefathers who first
came into this country. I have no hesitation in believing that it is
the grand design of Providence that they shall be thus fitted (the far
greater portion of them) for position in Africa as the source of
civilization to that long-benighted continent.

Now, to take from the present system its domestic element, or, what is
virtually the same thing, to place it under such disabilities as to
prevent its benevolent results, would arrest the progress of African
civilization, and put off his moral elevation for ages to come. And
this is precisely the effect which the accumulation of all the slaves
of the whole country within the limits of a few States must have. The
domestic element of the system would be effectually crippled, if not
entirely destroyed. A large number of slaves would be congregated on
single plantations. The whole territory would be in the possession of
but a few wealthy planters. They would chiefly reside in the cities
and more healthy districts of the country. Their plantations would be
under the control of stewards. The steward and his family (usually
small) would constitute the whole white population on a plantation,
numbering, as would often be the case, several hundred slaves; and the
same state of things would exist, to a greater or less extent, through
large districts of country. This would be a condition of the race
essentially different from that in which they are placed by the
present system; and we cannot fail to perceive that they would be
well-nigh cut off from all contact with civilization. Instead of
continuing to rise in the scale of civilization, as they will do under
the present system, they would begin at once to relapse into the
barbarism of their original pagan state. This result would be
inevitable--only so far as their downward progress might be arrested
by the occasional voice of the self-sacrificing missionary, calling to
the altars of Christian worship! Would this be humane? Rather, would
it not be brutal? Yet such would be the result of the scheme of
“gradual emancipation!”

There is, however, another result of this pseudo-philanthropy that I
need not omit to mention: the removal of the slaves from the States
named, and the extermination of the remaining free colored population,
should they be found to exist (as it is most likely they would) in
numbers so great as to constitute a nuisance requiring summary
abatement, would make a fine opening for the enterprising farmers of
the Northern States to come in and possess these fertile hills and
valleys, abounding in wealth and blessed with a most salubrious
climate. It would also afford a fine outlet for their own menial
population, which threatens so many and serious results to them--the
papal vice and ignorance from Ireland and the continent of Europe,
which is now flooding the free States. How far these lofty
considerations may constitute items in the catalogue of motives which
prompt the political agitators of the country to press the subject of
African emancipation, I pretend not to say! One thing, however, I may
say in behalf of the Southern people, and that is, that as they have
no idea of perpetrating these cruel wrongs upon the unfortunate race
which Providence has thrown amongst them, so they expect to have no
use for those depraved and perishing menials. They prefer the slaves,
in any view of the subject. We may conclude, then, that the position
established is not weakened in any degree by considerations of either
direct or gradual emancipation. No: the emancipation and removal to
Africa of those, and those only, whose moral and social condition
entitles them to a higher form of political freedom, as the voluntary
act of the individual owner, is the only natural and safe method of
emancipation. It affords the only hope of Africa, and of the African
in America.

The proposition discussed, and, I think, clearly established, relates
to the essential propriety and the fitness of the system of domestic
slavery as an institution. Whether this institution is capable of
improvement, and, if so, what improvements are demanded by the
progress of civilization, are questions quite independent of any thing
yet discussed. These topics may engage our attention at a future
period in these lectures. I would only remark, in this place, that the
system has undergone great modifications since its adoption. Laws and
usages that were, no doubt, eminently adapted to the extremely
barbarous character of the race, when first brought into the country,
have long since become obsolete, and the same may be said of many
subsequent regulations. Even the stringent measures adopted on the
rise of abolition excitement in late years, have had but a brief
authority. The progress of civilization is the same in its results in
this case as in that of any other people. As a state of barbarism
yields to the light of civilization, men are more and more disposed to
do right, and the laws and usages which were before necessary to
compel them to do right, are thereby superseded, and soon grow into
disuse. Hence, many of our Northern citizens who form their opinions
(as many do) of the practical character of this institution at the
present day from the historical account of the laws and usages of a
former period, regardless of the fact that they have become, for the
most part, obsolete, entertain a very incorrect opinion. The
institution at this day is a very different affair, practically, from
what they suppose it to be, judging, as they do, from the laws and
usages appropriate to a more barbarous condition of the race.

I have no hesitation in affirming that in by far the greater number of
instances, the condition of Southern families, embracing domestic
slaves, is much better (that is, both whites and blacks) than that of
the larger number of Northern families, with hired domestics, on large
farms. The labor is much less severe, and the discipline much less
strict. The Northern family has more frequently to appeal to the
authority of civil law, and to the right of dismissing unfaithful
servants, than the Southern has to appeal to domestic discipline. And
still further, the Southern domestic is practically, in all respects
save one, quite as much upon a social footing with the white members
of the family as the Northern domestic is with the family in which he
is employed, whilst the sympathy existing between these different
castes in the Southern family is much greater than that which exists
in the Northern.

I acknowledge but one difference in regard to practical social
equality between the domestics of these families. The white domestic,
from the fact that he belongs to the same race, is capable, by
industry and enterprise, of rising to an entire social footing with
his employer, whilst the African domestic cannot do so. Although the
civil law should confer on him the right to do so, the paramount
usages of civilized life, founded upon his physical condition, would
forbid it. This advantage, we admit, is above all price; but having
its foundation in the wise and inscrutable providence of God, it is
without remedy by any means which we can adopt; and, indeed, why
should we wish even to alter a condition of things founded in physical
nature by Him “who is too wise to err and too good to do wrong,”
simply because to our limited view of the Divine economy it presents
points of friction which, viewing them from another stand-point, we
should desire to avoid! But aside from this advantage, I feel free to
affirm, that in every neighborhood which is brought permanently under
the influence of the apostolic precepts enjoining the relative duties
of master and slave, the practical working of the system secures to
the African a higher degree of essential happiness than is found to
exist with the whites who fill the menial offices of society in the
free States. No white man can be satisfied with the position of a
menial in society. Perpetually chafed by the chains which fetter all
his attempts to rise in the scale of social equality, he is the
subject of a constant and painful irritation. Every failure in an
enterprise which promised to elevate him to social equality with those
around him, is a new cause of heart-burning and jealousy of all about
him, and often an overwhelming source of temptation, not only to
distrust the providence of God, but to employ the political franchise
to unsettle the foundations of society, by levelling down the whole to
a common platform. Hence the agrarian doctrines which find embodiment
in various social organizations in the free States. Nothing but that
religion which both teaches the duty and imparts the moral power to
“be careful for nothing, but in every thing to give thanks,” and in
every condition in which Divine Providence places us, “therewith to
be content,” can reconcile a white menial to his condition in such a
country as ours. The government itself can only be secure in a
republic so long as a pure Christianity (for that only can do it)
operates to elevate the social condition of those laboring classes who
would otherwise be menials, or reconcile them to a station to which
the accident of birth, miscarriage in business, or inferiority in
intellect, inevitably consigns them in the competition of business
life; or so long as pure religion shall so operate as to leave the
balance of political power with those who are either so elevated or so
reconciled to an inferior condition. But little, if any thing, of all
this, so far as it relates to our colored menials, is to be found at
the South. Always conscious of their intellectual inferiority (I speak
of the masses) from constant contact with the superior moral power of
the whites, and equally conscious that their physical condition is an
impassable bar to all social equality by marriage, they not only do
not aspire to it in their feelings, but, in all cases in which they
are treated as the Scriptures require masters to treat their servants,
they learn to be contented with their lot, and, looking to their
owners as their lawful and safe protectors, become affectionately
attached to the whole family, and, dismissing all care, are the most
cheerful and, indeed, merry class of people we have amongst us. A
slave who did not think more of himself, and feel himself to be better
off, in all respects, than the state which agreed with his idea of
what he calls “poor white folks” and “free niggers,” really would not
be worth having as a house servant in any Christian family of my
acquaintance. Indeed, in freedom from care, and all the elements of a
mere temporal happiness, the slaves of an enlightened and well-ordered
family are often in a much more desirable situation than the heads of
the family, who are occupied with the duty of caring for all and of
providing for all. For the master of such a family to plod his weary
way to daily labor on his farm, with a care-worn countenance, which
traces itself in his slow and measured step, whilst the loud laugh of
his merry hearted slaves is echoing around him, is no uncommon thing
in the South. As to the corroding cares which weigh down the spirits
and often bring on premature old age, the condition of heads of
families do not perhaps materially differ in any part of our country.
But, I repeat, the difference is very great between the menials of
families in the free and in the slave States, and this difference is
greatly in favor of the slaves of the South. The one--especially in
the cities--is often oppressed by a grinding poverty, and an active
discontent which is as corroding to the heart as it is dangerous to
the state; whilst the other is a stranger, for the most part, to real
want--is free from painful cares, contented and cheerful in his
condition--adding daily to the progress of civilization and the
permanency of the government. The emancipation and removal to Africa
of those whose progress in civilization has so far developed their
minds as to constitute them exceptions to this remark, for the reason
that they are by their moral condition fitted for a higher form of
civil freedom, may be allowed as the voluntary act of the owner. But
all other schemes of emancipation, whether immediate or gradual, are
totally inadmissible. For if successful, for the reason that they
cannot share social equality with the whites, they sink in the scale
of civilization, and become a nuisance in the community requiring
abatement; and if the scheme should prove a failure, the result of the
effort can only be, as we have seen, to accumulate large bodies of
slaves within small districts of country, cut them off from a more
direct contact with civilization, and arrest their progress in
improvement. No: emancipation in the popular sense offers no relief to
any of the evils, real or imaginary, of African slavery in America;
but rather aggravates all that now exist, and threatens to multiply
them a thousand-fold. If any in the whole country be moved with
sympathy for the race--as many think themselves to be--let them
diffuse the charities of a pure gospel through the whole extent of our
country. No field was ever more “white to the harvest,” and none
perhaps in which laborers could be employed to greater advantage in
the cause of humanity. They will promote a charity which shall save
the country from discord and civil war. They will give efficiency to
those precepts of the Scriptures which enjoin the duties of masters
and slaves. By doing this they will lighten the task of masters, and,
at the same time, interest them more deeply in all that concerns the
welfare of the slave. They will greatly improve the physical comfort
of the slaves, and, what is of far greater importance, they will
develop their moral natures, and therein add to their present cheerful
and contented state, the enjoyment of that religion which, as it fits
them for the higher walks of life on earth, at the same time fits them
for the rest of heaven. In a word, they will effect all that the most
devoted friend of the slave can reasonably desire. For in this state
of advanced progress, whatever modification of the system or change in
either the condition or location of the race may be demanded by sound
principles, will be readily adopted, and as peaceably effected. Thus
the long-disputed problem of emancipation will be found to solve
itself. But instead of this active and efficient service in the cause
of humanity, to stand aloof and pronounce silly and sluggish
invectives--for such they really are--against the South, for not
following the example of certain Northern States in manumitting their
slaves,--which, by the way, we have shown they never did to any
material extent,--is calculated only to produce an irritation which
must result in the most incurable prejudices. These invectives are
often founded upon certain abstract principles of political philosophy
which are usually misunderstood, and still more frequently misapplied
to the South. Such men, together with the nature and results of their
labors, are graphically described by the Apostle Paul, as “proud,
knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words,
whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil-surmisings, perverse
disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is godliness.” The whole paragraph from which this
quotation is made--1 Tim. vi. 1-5--is commended to particular
attention. And I submit, that if the apostle understood the subject of
domestic slavery, either as a philosophical or a practical question,
the class of men now engaged in agitating our country on the subject
do not!



LECTURE XI.

TEACHING THE SLAVES TO READ AND WRITE.

     Superiors frequently neglect inferiors--The policy of the South
     vindicated by necessity--The results that would follow an
     attempt to establish a system for instructing the blacks in
     letters, and those which would follow the establishment of such
     a system--The _domestic_ element of the system of slavery in
     the Southern States affords the means for their improvement
     adapted to their condition and the circumstances of the
     country: it affords the _natural_, the _safe_, and the
     _effectual_ means of the intellectual and moral elevation of
     the race--The prospects of the Africans in this country, and
     their final removal to Africa--The country never will be
     entirely rid of them--The Southern policy wise and humane.


One point remains to be considered to complete a full and candid view
of the _institution_ of domestic slavery.

It is erroneously said that “we _keep_ the African in a state of
barbarism, and then plead that barbarism in vindication of our
policy.”

Every thing is liable to abuse. I know that there are instances in the
South of great neglect of the slaves, both of their moral and
physical condition. The same may be said of individuals at the North.
Superiors often neglect their inferiors, and that, in many instances,
to a very culpable degree. I know no efficient remedy for this, but
that which the diffusion of a pure Christianity is calculated to
afford. If any complain of these neglects in a captious spirit, we
have nothing to hope from them. But from those who claim to be
sincere, we have a right to expect an active and hearty cooperation in
diffusing Christianity, as the only thing calculated to afford a
remedy.

But it is said that a feature of the system, as established by law,
_necessarily_ produces this result: that is, the law which excludes
the African from the benefits of school instruction.

The term _necessarily_ is in this instance certainly misapplied. The
barbarism in question is not the result of this law, _necessarily_, or
otherwise. It existed originally. It still exists, and to a great
extent, though greatly modified; and in the present circumstances of
the race, an authorized system of school instruction would cause it to
continue to exist, and perhaps in a much greater degree than it now
does, and for a longer time than it promises to do under the present
system. If this be so, it is the semi-barbarism that creates the
necessity for the _law_, and not the _law_ that makes the barbarism
the _necessary_ result.

An unwieldy mass of semi-barbarism dwelling in the midst of a
civilized community, with whom they cannot amalgamate by
intermarriage, will, at all times, require a peculiar system of
appliances for their improvement, so as to make it consistent with the
common welfare. The principle of slavery must, of course, be kept in
vigorous operation, and the means of improvement be wisely adapted to
the state of the pupil. Otherwise, there may not only be a very
improvident expenditure of means, but the most disastrous results. The
horn-book might be a valuable agent in the hands of a child, but the
instruments and agents in a chemical laboratory might prove its ruin.

Should the time ever arrive (which in the opinion of some will be the
case, at some distant day) when the progress of African civilization
will justify it; and when an asylum in Africa is provided for
them--together with the means of their removal in large numbers--I
have no doubt that a system of popular education would not only be
indicated as proper, but afford one of the most brilliant fields for
the display of public and of individual benevolence, that has ever yet
presented itself in behalf of that degraded race. But what I have
to say of this hypothesis is, that if it ever should, the
generations--both North and South--that may then live, I have no
doubt, will have both sagacity enough to perceive it, and benevolence
enough to improve it to the mutual advantage of themselves and the
African race. But it is very evident that neither of these conditions
has been fulfilled as yet. In this state of things, it cannot be
supposed that the Southern people are prepared for any enterprise of
the kind. I cannot imagine that any public movement, having for its
object the instruction of the blacks in reading and writing, could be
made without involving the most disastrous results.

Let us suppose that a majority in our legislative councils were in
favor of such a measure, and were actually to tax the people to
support a system of primary education for the blacks: any man would
certainly be excessively stupid who would not allow that a minority
would, at all times, (in the present state of public experience,)
exist, who deemed the law sufficiently oppressive to justify
repudiation and physical resistance. If this object were sought to be
accomplished by individual enterprise, the results could scarcely be
less embarrassing. This will readily appear; for it would have to be
effected either in the common schools of the country, or by the
establishment of separate schools for the Africans. But I am not
aware that the former is allowed to any material extent even in the
free States, where certainly, if the scheme were practicable, the free
blacks might be educated in the same schools with the whites. The
usage of civilization, which denies them a social footing in so many
other respects, must, of course, so far deny them this privilege as to
render the scheme mainly ineffectual in the accomplishment of good, or
the usage is singularly inconsistent with itself.

And can it be supposed that such a scheme would operate better in the
South, where the reasons against it are a thousand-fold stronger,
growing out of the large number of the African population? Certainly
nothing could be more utopian than an enterprise of this kind. Public
opinion would scarcely be sufficiently divided to justify even the
wildest schemer in making a serious attempt to effect it. The latter
plan might perhaps be attempted, but, on account of the evils it would
involve, it would still be subject to impassable objections.

Slaves, though not owned by the poor, are held for the most part by
farmers and planters whose pecuniary circumstances are what is called
moderate. There are exceptions. Occasionally, they are held by men of
wealth; but in the older States particularly, (and of these I speak
from personal knowledge,) the great mass of those who own them cannot
be said, in any popular sense of the term, to be rich. Now, the habits
of half-labor, as any Northern man would regard them, in which the
slaves are usually indulged, would put it quite out of the power of
most of slave-owners to afford the necessary support for such schools,
however favorable they might be to the scheme. Withal, there is but
little if any room to doubt that a great many, both among the rich as
well as the poor, would oppose the measure, for what appeared to them
reasons of sound policy. This would leave the scheme to be supported
entirely by the few rich men, whose benevolence might lead them to
overlook the strong popular objections against it. It requires no
particular sagacity to foresee the practical mischiefs which would
attend the efforts of a few rich men who might attempt to override the
popular feeling on a subject of this kind. Public opinion would put it
down! This would be the end of it in one direction, but not in
another.

The whole movement would be attended, from first to last, with an
irritation of the public mind in the highest degree unfavorable, and,
indeed, dangerous to the peace and prosperity of the commonwealth. All
irritations of the public mind in regard to the blacks, it is well
known, result injuriously to them, generally abridging them of their
civil privileges and social comforts. In this instance, viewing the
subject as a practical question, I cannot see that it would be
attended with a single redeeming virtue, so far as the blacks are
concerned. But to place it in the most favorable light, let us suppose
that, by some means, one or the other of these plans had actually gone
into operation--which, by the way, can scarcely be conceived to be
possible in the present state of society--and had already made a
decided impression upon the public mind of the Africans. Even in this
case it would still be liable to strong and impassable objections. It
would be educating them in advance of their circumstances and
prospects. In their circumstances, it would be even more objectionable
than it could be to take the time and labor of a white youth, which
(we will also suppose) were required for the immediate support of
himself and of those depending upon his labor, and educate him for the
learned pursuits of a Newton or a Macaulay, whilst at the same time,
for causes beyond his control, he was doomed for the remainder of his
days to work in the mines of Cornwall or Chesterfield, by the light of
Sir Humphrey Davy’s lamp! No one of the important objects of so high
an education is accessible to him. The least part of the objection to
such a course as this is, that it would be a useless expenditure of
time and labor.

But the reason is much stronger in the case of the African. The civil
offices are _all_ closed against him. No _one_ of the learned
professions is open to him. The law of caste which forbids his
amalgamation bars him out from every thing of the kind. He is doomed
to occupy, so long as he remains in the midst of a white community,
the position of an inferior. God himself has so ordered it. The bold
line of distinction he has drawn between the races, is fully
declarative of his will. He only can reverse the decree, “The
Ethiopian cannot change his skin,” any more than “the leopard can
change his spots.” In this state of facts, would not the public
mind--whose decisions must be authoritative in the settlement of such
a question--very naturally inquire for _the good_ that it was thought
might result from so material a change in the circumstances of the
institution? And is it not obvious that no answer could be given that
would insure satisfaction? No power of eloquence with which it is
competent to enforce the claims of education, could possibly move the
public mind from the sober conviction that the advantages and
privileges of education, so necessary to a state of civil liberty, and
so appropriate in other respects to that state, could not, with any
degree of propriety, be demanded in behalf of a necessary condition of
slavery!

Thus far, the principles of political economy, alone considered,
would, in the public estimation, fully settle this question. But this
is not all. The question has much graver aspects than money can
possibly give it. The effect of generally enlisting the African mind
in literary pursuits and inquiries, is too obvious either to be
overlooked or slightly regarded. A state of popular disquietude must
inevitably result, and this, too, at a time when the door of
Providence remains effectually closed against his release from slavery
and his removal to Africa. This disquietude could not fail to lead to
many fanatical and fruitless attempts to effect a change in the
political condition of the race. Such a state of popular solicitude
among the blacks would of course be followed by much greater
solicitude and even irritation on the part of the whites. So potent a
cause would certainly precipitate its appropriate results. The
oppressive and, in some respects, the savage laws by which ancient
Sparta, Greece, and Rome governed their slaves--some of whom were
highly educated men--would of necessity be reenacted in this country.
Our present mild form of slavery would be substituted by a form of
oppression unknown to the history of this country, even in the most
barbarous condition of the African race. And thus would end the
chapter of abolition benevolence in behalf of the African race in the
United States.

In view of these considerations, the policy of the South on this
subject, allow me to affirm, is founded no less in benevolence to the
African and the peace of the commonwealth, than in the soundest
principles of political economy. It relies upon the _domestic_ element
of the system of slavery, as the _natural_, the only _safe_, and
ultimately the _effectual_ means of the intellectual and moral
elevation of the African--so far as any means can be effectual in the
accomplishment of that object.

1. It is the _natural_ way--that is, the way adapted to their
condition as an inferior and naturally distinct race, who, both on
account of the physical facts which constitute them a distinct race,
and the low state of civilization (if it may be called civilization at
all) which they have yet been able to attain, should not be admitted
to a social footing by intermarriage with the superior race.

In a former lecture, it was demonstrated that an uncivilized race,
dwelling in the midst of a civilized community, had _no right_ to
social equality, and, for a still stronger reason, _no right_ to
political sovereignty in such a community. It was also shown that
their natural rights entitled them to _protection_, and reasonable
provision for their _improvement_, and, as in the case of minors, to
such “_authoritative control_” as is best calculated to preserve their
power of self-action--their power of volition--from that enslavement
to the baser passions of depraved nature, which is destructive of all
true liberty, and the most degraded and ruinous form of
slavery--subjection to the devil; in comparison with which, a physical
subjection to a fellow-man, in civilized life, with a power, defined
by law, only to control his time and labor to a reasonable extent, is
a paradise. These--we of the South say--are their _natural
rights_--the good to which they are entitled in virtue of their
humanity. Now as these rights are in their nature relative, they imply
the _duty_ on the part of the civilized race amongst whom, in the
providence of God, they dwell, to afford them both the _protection_
and _control_ in question. Their DUTY, in these respects, is clearly
reciprocal with the _rights_ of the Africans. They can no more omit
these duties to the blacks with impunity, than they can do so to the
minors and imbeciles of their own race. Now what form of control will
more naturally or appropriately fulfil the conditions of this problem?
They are to exercise the _sovereign_ control: all political freedom is
denied the blacks by their condition. They have no right to it. It is
not, to them, the essential good. Their _rights_ lie, as in the case
of imbeciles of any other race, in being governed, not in governing
themselves, in those matters which constitute the objects of civil
government. To exercise this sovereign control of the blacks, and at
the same time afford them the _protection_ and _improvement_ which are
appropriate to a necessary condition of slavery, or state of
subjection to such sovereign control, is the solemn _duty_ of the
superior race. The position here advocated is, that the _domestic_
element of the present system in operation amongst us, affords a more
perfect guaranty that all the conditions of this problem will be
fulfilled, than could be effected by any other system, or by the
proposed modification of the present system. The element in question
constitutes for them an invaluable school of instruction--a school in
which both the mental and moral nature is developed. A school for the
formal instruction of the blacks in letters, we have seen would
operate only to defeat the end proposed by its establishment. To
govern and protect them, and at the same time make them useful to
themselves and to society, by a system of military police, could find
but few if any advocates, even among the visionary. But what more
natural than to accomplish all these objects, by a system which
distributes them in small numbers through the different families of
civilized life? Here they are brought into immediate connection with
much that is calculated to develop the mind, cultivate the moral
sense, and train the will to the habit of obedience to its high
behests. The law confers upon the head of the family the same right to
direct and appropriate the time and labor of the blacks, that he
enjoys in the case of his children--and no more. The period of time to
which this authority extends, differs in the one case from that of the
other; but this is the only difference known to the law. Great abuses
of this authority sometimes occur in the case of the blacks; but the
same is occasionally true of parental authority in all parts of the
civilized world. The former may furnish a fit theme for the perverted
genius of Mrs. Harriet Stowe. The fruit of such a genius may have a
poetry--of its kind; but it can lay claim to neither philosophy nor
common sense. The same force of logic which is hurled against the
authority of the master, rakes the authority of the parent in the line
of its fire, with an effect no less destructive. Both are equally
necessary; both are equally protected by law; and both are open to
great abuses. The poetry which invests these abuses with the show of
argument against the authority of the master may cater to the corrupt
taste of both the “great vulgar” and the “little vulgar;” but it is
the same cormorant appetite which is fed, that leads the _mere_
“readers and cipherers” of the land to turn aside from those valuable
productions so appropriate to their real wants, and delight themselves
in tragic stories of murder, arson, and rape, from the perusal of
which they rise with passions inflamed to crusade against the morals
of society. Christianity sternly rebukes the abuses complained of; and
equally condemns that perversion of genius which employs those abuses
to corrupt the public taste and the public morals. As far as
Christianity prevails, the civil law which requires humanity in the
exercise of domestic authority, no less in the case of the slave than
in the case of the child or the apprentice, is sanctioned, and, in
cases demanding it, is duly enforced by public opinion and sentiment.
In all communities in which Christianity is the presiding influence,
African slavery must, therefore, be a mild form of domestic servitude.
It even contributes in a measure to a knowledge of letters. Many
servants are raised by their associations with civilized life to a
desire to read the word of God. The domestic relation often supplies
them with the means of gratifying this desire. Many pious slaves read
the word of God as a part of their family worship; and instances are
not wanting of those of whom it may be said, they “are mighty in the
Scriptures.” Such are the tendencies and capabilities of domestic
slavery as a system recognized by law; and apart from those abuses
which all good men deplore--no less in the case of the slave than in
the case of the child and the apprentice, who are no further protected
from inhumanity by the provisions of law than is the slave. Hence this
system is the natural way of protecting, improving, and governing the
African for the mutual benefit of society. It is evidently indicated
by Providence. No other can be appropriate to a mass of population who
can never be politically free in our midst, for the reason that, in
the order of Divine Providence, they never can amalgamate with us. But
it is,

2. The only _safe_ way.

It is slow, it is true, but it is for that reason only the more safe.
Its effects are, for the most part, without observation. Hence, it
produces no irritation of the public mind. It develops the law of
sympathy on both sides in the ratio in which it unfolds the
intellectual and moral nature of the subordinate race. It raises no
visionary and fanatical hopes in the one, nor excites any morbid fears
in the other. I say, its results march forward without observation. A
_revenue tariff_, for example, affords a full support to the
government by a virtual tax upon the pockets of the people; and it
does this at a time when they would not for a moment consent to pay
that tax, if it were made a _direct_ tax, to be collected by the
authority of an exciseman. So, without observation, the domestic
element of slavery is accomplishing its results, with equal safety.
Or, more in point, perhaps, it is like the “kingdom of heaven,” which
“comes without observation.” The “kingdom of heaven,” in the form of
_principles_, diffuses itself through the mass of society, and
ultimately works, as a legitimate result, the boldest political
revolutions. But by diffusing itself quietly, or “without
observation,” it prepares the public mind for its changes in the exact
ratio in which it effects them; and thus accomplishes that, by the
popular will, the attempt to do which in another way would have razed
the foundations of civil society, and closed the history of
civilization for ages to come. So, this divine agent--for such I must
consider it--is working constant changes. It is daily modifying the
features of the system, and so developing the moral character of the
African, as to throw him up, by successive steps, higher and still
higher on the scale of civilization. But this it does so quietly,
because naturally, that it actually works a specific result on the
masters, and accomplishes its objects by the consent of their wills
and their own active coöperation.

All this, we see, is effected with entire _safety_. Even in those
instances--and they are numerous--in which the working of the domestic
element of the system results in teaching the African to read, we are
not aware that it involves, or even threatens, society, with any of
those evils which it is so obvious a more formal system of school
instruction would precipitate. Slaves who are below a certain point in
civilization, cannot be induced, by any of the influences employed by
young masters and mistresses, (and they are often specific,) to deal
with the task of learning to read. Only those who are so far raised in
the scale of civilization as to have awakened in them a hallowed
desire to learn more of the will of God, and their duty as Christians,
ever avail themselves of the opportunities afforded them by their
domestic relations, and learn to read. These devote a portion of their
spare hours to reading the Bible; and a pious African, who reads his
Bible, is always known and appreciated as a better servant, as well as
a better man. He enjoys the respect and confidence of his owner, and
is highly appreciated by all the family. I have often known the prayer
of such a slave to be more relied on in times of domestic affliction
than that of any minister whose services could be commanded.

But, more than this, the results which have been brought to view are
not only effected with safety, but also with a high degree of
satisfaction to the owners. Everywhere families may be met with, who
will call your attention with hallowed satisfaction to what they have
done for the improvement or comfort of their slaves. But it will be
found that this very good is just such that if you had attempted to
effect it by other means than the quiet influences of the _domestic_
element of this system, you would, by a universal law of our
nature--self-preservation--have converted each of those families into
a kind of Roman amphitheatre, and made the unhappy slaves the chief
victims of your rashness. Hence, it is not without the gravest reasons
that the intelligence of the South rebukes the fanatical spirit of
abolitionists, with the most solemn assurances that they know not the
things whereof they speak, when they urge upon the Southern people the
duty of schooling and emancipating their slaves.

3. But I also affirm that the feature of the system under
consideration will ultimately effect the moral elevation of the
African, so far as any means can be effectual in the accomplishment of
this object, whilst he remains in the bosom of a community with which
he cannot be admitted to a social footing.

So unobserved is the influence of this _element_, that I find but few,
even among intelligent and practical men, who, before their attention
is particularly called to the subject, are aware of what it has
already effected. But in numerous public addresses in the States of
Virginia and North Carolina, I have appealed to the oldest and most
observant men in large assemblies, and in no instance have I met with
a single individual who did not concur in my statement that the
present race of Africans were very materially improved, both in their
moral and physical condition, above what they were some twenty or
forty years ago, and that the change has been much greater with the
slaves than with the free colored population. Now, it is obvious that
this improvement will continue to go on, and in an increasing ratio.
On the same principle that labor applied to capital is productive in
an increasing ratio, the means in operation for the improvement of the
African will greatly accelerate his progress. Hence, _some_ future
period will present a generation of Africans highly improved above
what they are now. Consequently, there will arrive, at some distant
day, a period at which this people will have reached that point of
moral progress at which they will be capable of appreciating, and, in
a _suitable physical condition, adapting them to social equality_,
will be prepared to occupy and wisely improve, the privileges of civil
liberty.

It is on this principle that the laws of all civilized States confer
the privilege of political freedom on the descendants of their free
citizens. At the age of twenty-one they are made politically free.
The law assumes, what is found generally to be true, that previously
to this period they are incapable of using this privilege to the
advantage of themselves and of the community; but that, at this age,
their capacities are sufficiently developed to make a proper use of
this privilege; and as neither their physical condition nor any
accidents of their position operate as a bar to their social equality
with other free citizens, it is conferred on them. By analogy,
therefore, we may infer, that when the African in America shall have
reached a similar moral state, and when his physical condition and the
accidents of his position shall fit him for social equality with other
free citizens, a similar right of political freedom will inure to him.
It will be to him _the right_--that is, _the good_--which ought to be
allowed him. To withhold it would be despotism. Now, the former
condition of this problem, his moral state in this country at some
future day may fulfil; but that the latter can never be fulfilled in
this country is obvious from the facts and reasonings already
adduced. But when in future time his state shall fulfil the first
condition, it is a grave question which we may safely anticipate,
whether it will not be the duty of the superior race amongst whom the
Africans now dwell, to remove them to a land where they can enjoy
social equality. We hazard nothing in deciding this question in the
affirmative. Rights and duties are reciprocal. Then whatever it shall
be the right of the African to claim of their superiors, it will be
their duty to confer. That they would be entitled to removal in large
numbers, will appear--1. They will have contributed largely to develop
the resources of the country, as the price of their civilization. 2.
It would be to them the good, without which their civilization could
but partially avail them. Hence, it would be the duty of their
superiors to remove them in such numbers as their means of doing so
might allow. But more than this, it would be a duty which they owed
themselves, even if they were under no obligations to the inferior
race. For when a numerous population in our midst, though confessedly
inferior, shall arise to the moral condition defined, the difficulties
attending their longer continuance in a state of slavery, domestic or
otherwise, will be far too great to justify the experiment.

Hence I have long thought that there was usually a very unnecessary
expenditure of sympathy on behalf of certain enslaved nations of
Europe, as well as the African of this country. A nation, the masses
of whom have arisen to the moral condition of freedom, will assert
their political rights; and they will usually do it on practicable
grounds. It is only at this point that they challenge public sympathy.
For the mind was never before sufficiently free to make their
situation an oppressive one, assuming that their rulers do not abuse
their power. Before this period, their rights lay in being
governed--not in governing. Political freedom would be as dangerous
intrusted to them, as a razor would be in the hands of a child, and
should, for the same general reasons, be withheld from them. But
withheld by whom? asks the philosophy of Dr. Wayland. I answer, By
those who have the intelligence to do it. Both the principle of
benevolence and the law of reciprocity require this; and that
intelligence which imposes this duty, can never fail to supply the
means for the restraint of brute force.

Of the truth of this general position no people appear to be more
sensible than the aristocracy of Europe. De Tocqueville clearly
asserts this on their behalf, when he states that the object of his
tour through the United States arose from the necessity of becoming
acquainted with the spirit and character of democracy, that a proper
direction might be given to it in Europe. To direct it wisely might be
done; but to crush it was utterly impossible. Now if this author be
correct in supposing that the spirit of democracy is truly awake among
the masses of European population, and that consequently they are
asserting their right to freedom--not from the abuse of legitimate
power, which calls for _reform_ merely, but from the power _itself_,
which their improved moral and social condition has rendered no longer
appropriate, and which, therefore, they now sensibly feel to be an
oppression, calling for revolution--they are following the indications
of nature, and there is no power in those nations that can shut the
door of Providence against them. An obedient child will cheerfully
submit to the reasonable though _stringent despotism_ exercised over
him by his parent, and even look back upon it in after life with the
highest pleasure. Nevertheless, on reaching his maturity, he will
refuse to submit to it any longer, and even feel an attempt to force
it upon him as an oppression too intolerable to be borne. So, by
parity of reasoning, will the masses of these nations demand an entire
abolition of the existing modes of government, and claim such as are
adapted to their state of maturity. But, on the other hand, if the
movements in question are the work of only a few master-spirits who
have mistaken the actual condition of the masses, who have not yet
risen to the moral condition of freedom, they will be found to be
fighting against God. The door of his providence is closed against
them. There are no means in the compass of their power by which they
can force an entrance through this door. They may shed oceans of
blood, but it shall not avail. So, in the former case, the aristocracy
may exhaust alike their treasures and their diplomatic resources, but
it can only be to fill the land with desolation and mourning. The
enlightened popular mind and will must prevail. “Verily,” a premature
resistance in either case “has its reward”--great suffering, and a
vast accumulation of guilt, but not success.

These principles are not without their application to the Africans in
this country. Should the remote period arrive when the state of the
Africans fulfils the first condition of the problem laid down, they
will certainly feel their political condition in this country to be an
oppressive one, and, if necessary, assert their right to remove. I
say, assert their right to remove; for in the mental condition
assumed, they would have far too much good sense to do what many less
qualified to judge than they would then be have done--ask for
_political_ equality amongst a people with whom they could never be
on a footing of _social_ equality. I am equally satisfied that they
would be under no necessity to ask this. The intelligence and virtue,
no less than the interest, of that age, will forestall such a
necessity, by the measures which justice and humanity will dictate as
proper to meet the circumstances of the case.

For my own part, I have no doubt that, under that wise superintending
Providence which has so signally marked the progress of African
civilization, by introducing so large a portion of the race into this
country, that distant day, when it arrives, will provide for itself.
Anxious solicitude on the part of the present age is not demanded.
Neither the intelligence nor the benevolence of _that_ remote age will
be unequal to the task of providing for the necessities of its times.
Already, indeed, “coming events cast their shadows before.” The
elements have been long combining, both to usher in and to dispose of
those events. The _domestic_ element of slavery is, as we have seen,
quietly and effectually doing its work. God is raising up a vast
government on the coast of Africa, which promises to reach a
respectable station among the civilized nations of the earth--in moral
and physical resources. In the progress of events, there is no ground
to doubt that the abolition spirit, abroad in so large a portion of
our country, will have had its day, and run its course through all the
usual stages and phases of fanaticism, and, giving place to a sounder
philanthropy and a purer benevolence, those who now advocate it will
be prepared to unite with the philosophy of the South, and availing
themselves of the vast resources of this great country, and of those
of the new government in Africa, will _transport_ large numbers to a
community in which their social equality will enable them to enjoy the
freedom for which they were fitted in this country. Many of those who
remain will, no doubt, amalgamate with the whites, however it may be
in violation of the laws of civilization. Those barriers which
free-soilism is now erecting on our Southern border, will ultimately
yield to a sounder policy, and many of our slaves will find their way
to the remote South, where the state of civilization will admit of a
more general amalgamation, and be lost in the Mexican races; whilst
the remainder--perhaps a large number--will continue in the United
States, but in a highly improved condition, and under a form of civil
government which will not be felt by them as a political oppression,
and continue to bless the country. I have no idea that the race will
ever become extinct in this country, or cease to exist under a
subordinate government of some kind.

I would not claim entire accuracy for these views of the distant
future; but of their general accuracy I have no doubt. Future history
will, doubtless, challenge the gratitude of the Christian world for
that wonderful providence by which the residence of the African in
this country was made as the sojourn of Joseph in Egypt. As God sent
him before his brethren “to preserve life,” so it will be found that
he permitted the introduction of the pagan African into this country,
that he might be raised by contact with civilization, redeemed by the
genius of the gospel, and returned to bless his kindred and his
country. Thus all Africa shall, sooner or later, share the blessings
of civilization and religion. I am not able to see any thing that can
or will embarrass the progress of this great work, but the spirit of a
premature abolition. The doctrines of emancipation and school
instruction may keep up an irritated state of the public mind, that
must act as a serious check to the civilizing tendencies of the
_domestic_ element of the system; for the long-continued agitation of
these questions may excite fanatical aspirants to attempt to pass
limits which God has declared to be impassable--that is, to procure
political freedom for a people who are not prepared for it, and that
in the midst of another people with whom they can never generally
amalgamate. All attempts of this sort, it is well known, are
extremely hurtful to the progress of the African in civilization.
Every consideration, therefore, of policy and of humanity forbids that
these doctrines should receive the slightest encouragement from an
enlightened people. The race is not prepared for the operation of
either of these schemes. No better evidence need be required by those
not personally acquainted with the character of the Africans, than the
fact that they have never once attempted to assert a right to
political freedom. The fact that, nowhere throughout the Southern
States, can it be said of even a respectable minority of the race,
that they have given the slightest indication of such a disposition,
_is proof_ that they have not yet risen to that mental state, and
hence are not entitled to the political privileges which are
appropriate to it. It is vain to point to the few attempts at local
insurrection which have occurred. The highest conception which the
masses have ever yet formed of political freedom is simply _liberty to
do nothing_. To win this cherished object of _barbarism_--not of
_civilization_--a bare handful, on a few occasions, have concocted
plans as hopeless as the spirit in which they were conceived was
barbarian, and as visionary as the dreams of Miller that he could make
an intelligent Christian people believe his vagaries; or the leaders
of the Mormon folly and wickedness, that they could impose their
grossly stupid imposture upon the civilized world.

In view, therefore, of these facts and reasonings, we conclude that
the Southern people are not obnoxious to the charge of keeping the
Africans in a state of barbarism, by their policy, either on the
subject of emancipation or of school instruction; but that they are
following the indications of Divine Providence, and serving the cause
of humanity in the civilization of the African in America, and the
redemption of his fatherland.



LECTURE XII.

THE CONSERVATIVE INFLUENCE OF THE AFRICAN POPULATION OF THE SOUTH.

     Preliminary remarks--American party--The present and
     prospective condition of our country--The large number of
     voters in the free-soil States who will be under a foreign
     influence, political and religious, inducing them to discard
     the Bible and the right of private judgment--The freedom of the
     Southern States from this anti-Christian and anti-republican
     influence--The presence of the African race in the Southern
     States secures them this advantage--The unpatriotic policy of
     free-soilism


We have seen that nowhere throughout the South have the masses of our
African population given evidence of the first intelligent conception
of political freedom. As to insurrections, we are freer from their
disturbing influences than are the communities of many of the Northern
States from the progress of a no less dangerous influence--the
agrarian spirit which pervades a somewhat similar portion of society.
We of the South fear them less; and we have less cause to fear them.
On this score they make a useless expenditure of sympathy on our
behalf. It may be demonstrated that, without a singular interposition
of Divine Providence, the South (using the term, as I generally do,
for all those States which maintain the system of domestic slavery)
will, ere long, be called upon to protect the liberties of the North
from the progress of agrarianism, whilst there is not the remotest
probability that these will ever be called on to protect the South
from the insurrectionary movements of their blacks. I repeat--no! no
people in the whole country who fill the menial offices of society are
more contented than our blacks, or as much so. There are none who less
feel their condition to be oppressive, or who have as little cause to
feel it so.

In discussing the proposition enunciated, it is proper to premise,
that if I should be found to agree to any extent with the “American
party,” whose “councils” are now attracting so much attention, as to
the accumulation of a dangerous influence in the country, I find the
chief remedy (whatever may or may not be true of those proposed by
this party) in a providential arrangement which seems not so much to
have engaged public attention.

I propose to submit a brief sketch of the present and prospective
condition of our country.

We live in a country of vast geographical extent. A large portion of
it is uninhabited. It is, however, rapidly filling up. Immigrants from
every section of the civilized world are rapidly arriving in our
eastern cities, and spreading to remote sections of our republic: men
of every conceivable variety of taste, disposition, and opinion, both
in politics and in religion. The fertility and abundance of our soil,
and the variety of our staple articles of produce, have attracted
universal activity and enterprise. To compare the civilized world to
one vast city, our republic seems destined to become the great market
or business-street of it. Here, all is bustle and activity. Nowhere on
the face of the globe is so much energy of character displayed. No
attentive observer can fail to perceive the tendency of all this to
call off the mind from those moral and intellectual pursuits that so
eminently fit men for the sober duties of life and the felicities of
heaven. The public mind is already kept in a state of most unnatural
excitement, stimulated in the highest degree to the pursuits of wealth
and political distinction, to the almost entire neglect of every other
interest. This is daily becoming the supreme attraction, to which the
popular impulse yields as readily as the unfortunate ship obeys the
resistless circles of the maelstrom.

Thus far, it is true, we have succeeded to “lay that broad foundation
of modern society which promises the noble superstructure of rational
liberty. But regarding the tendencies of this restless people, looking
at the growth of our own improvidence, and at the copious additions
which overstocked and perishing Europe is daily sending us, in
multiplied forms of ignorance and superstition, insomuch that in many
respects in our Northern States our republican fabric is fast changing
and passing away before our very eyes, who can exult in the certainty
of success! Who will not despair, except so far as he may be sanguine
that a tone and energy of moral effort is put forth, equal to that
which achieved our national liberties! For if this be not done, in a
day we may go down into hopeless bondage! The physical battle of our
liberties has been fought and won, and we are fast rushing up to
unparalleled eminence; but from this dizzy height, if we be not
sustained by some conservative power, we shall go down in a moment to
the degradation of slavery. For let it be remembered that whilst
liberty may be achieved by the sword, it cannot be maintained by the
sword. Enlightened principles and moral excellence alone can maintain
the liberty that force achieves.”

I say nothing of that large class of foreign population whose
education and pecuniary resources enable them to come among us from a
choice of our institutions, and the other means of happiness which
this great country affords. I bid them all welcome. They add alike to
the permanency and strength of our institutions. Nor do I say any
thing against that unfortunate multitude which accompanies these,
whose ignorance and vice compel them, reluctantly or not, to seek
their bread in our fruitful country. So far as we may be able to
receive them, I rejoice that we have a home for them. But it is
obvious that our safety can be found only in our ability to absorb
them into our political body, and impart our character to them; and in
those providential arrangements which shall sustain us through the
protracted process. Without these, there is no ground to hope for
success. For what power is that which (in the language of another)
“has been fitly styled the ‘terror of Europe’--the power that has sent
earthquake after earthquake, rolling under the deep foundations of
governments, till they have rocked to their basis, and tottered to
their fall? It is the order, or rather the mass of vicious ignorance
and poverty which has there accumulated for ages.” This maniac power
must continue to work its extended desolations in Europe, except so
far as it may be enervated by expanding on the wilderness of North
America. It is fortunate for Europe that this enfeebling process is
rapidly going forward; but it is most unfortunate for us that we are
destined soon to concentrate a power which Europe is so happily
expanding. We are destined, ere long, to become a great manufacturing,
as well as commercial and agricultural people. Our condition is soon
to condense millions into cities and manufacturing districts, where,
as in Europe, from the class of population flowing in upon us, a
distinct class of menial poverty will be formed, “imbecile of mind,
and inapt but for one employment.”[6]

     [6] Some years ago, a pamphlet fell into my hands, written by
     some one whose name, if I ever knew it, I have forgotten. I
     think it likely that this language, or much of it, is to be
     credited to that pamphlet.

Nor is _this_ all. It lays no claim to prophetic honor to venture the
prediction, that the youth of our country who shall survive the next
half century, will witness that which many will not believe, “though a
man declare it unto them.” But reasoning from the past, or from
well-established principles of political economy, it is morally
certain that our present population of twenty-three millions will then
have swelled to near one hundred millions. “Agriculture, commerce, and
manufactures will have expanded their resources and powers of
production to an inconceivable extent. The various portions of our
country will be linked together by railroads, canals,” telegraphic
wires, and by some other--God knows what!--as yet undiscovered means
of connection. Already, the cities of our Atlantic coast converse
freely, by means of “lightning post-boys,” with their next-door
neighbors--the cities of the great Mississippi valley! “Flourishing
cities are now lifting their spires in the hitherto pathless wilds of
Iowa, Oregon,” and California, and will soon be in telegraphic
connection with those of the East. Who can doubt that in less than ten
years the prediction of an eminent son of Virginia, J. E. Heath, Esq.,
will be verified: “American steamships from the cities of our Western
coast shall strike off in the path of the setting sun, and following
that burning luminary where he dips his glowing axle in the waters of
the Pacific, return in the short space of thirty or forty days, laden
with the commerce and population of China, and the isles of the
remotest West!”[7]

     [7] Literary Messenger.

Can any man doubt the political and commercial changes that will then
follow throughout the civilized world? But who can estimate the extent
of these changes? Who can tell the result upon the political and
moral destiny of this great country? Who can tell the end of that
commercial revolution by which a large portion of the tea trade of
China, now in the hands of that greatest of all monopolies--the
British East India Company, contributing largely to the support of the
British government--shall be transferred to American bottoms, and flow
into this country through our cities on the Pacific coast! Already the
walls of pagan China have bowed to the thunder of British cannon, and
the deep foundations of her ancient government are destined at no
distant day to yield alike to American enterprise and American
liberty. Thousands of her perishing population--indeed, already they
come!--shall, ere long, flow in from the West, and meet the vast tide
of papal superstition and vice that has been long setting in from
Europe on the east. I am free to own that I contemplate this period
with profound amazement! I know not the extent of the vision that
confounds me. And when I turn my eyes to the canvas of Divine
inspiration, and decipher its unerring pencillings, I cannot doubt
that the strange elements that even now are so rapidly combining, and
that are soon to concentrate the maddened powers of pagan ignorance,
and papal superstition and vice, in the heart of this republic, are,
ere long, to make my native land the great theatre of those eventful
battles--the conflicts of truth and error in both politics and
religion--so graphically described in the apocalyptic vision of John.
And as I believe in the truth of the prophecy, and confide in the
promise of Heaven, I cannot doubt the result. But mark you, “the peril
of our condition--the peril of that state of things on which our
children may be but just entering!” This conflict is to be the more or
less fierce, the more or less disastrous to those who shall
immediately sustain its calamities, as they shall be the more or less
prepared for it. And what are the great agencies that shall prepare us
for a successful conflict? What is it that shall give comparative
mildness to this great moral and perhaps physical conflict that awaits
our children, or the want of which shall arm it with all the terrors
of a barbarous warfare? But one answer can be given to these
questions. The general education of the sovereigns of the land, and
the conservative influence of our institutions, or perdition, is the
alternative.

Upon the importance of the great educational movement of the country,
I need not remark just now; nor need we notice in this connection the
conservative influence of our free institutions, or rather the
tendency of the great principle of liberty, (as embodied in our civil
and religious institutions,) which, with all true Americans, is a
kind of instinctive belief, to diffuse itself through the mass of
society. The two together may justly be regarded as forming a bulwark
of American liberty, upon which the intelligent mind of the country
may repose with great confidence. But still, history scarcely leaves
us room to doubt that a _politico_-religious priesthood, firmly
established in the superstitious devotions of a strong minority even
of _menials_, who at the same time are political sovereigns, presents
fearful odds in the strife of principles with the “man of sin.” Nor
need we be surprised at this. A large mass of our population--however
they may constitute but a minority of the whole population--have been
educated from their cradles in the firm belief that it is a sin,
involving the damnation of the soul, to read God’s word, or to
exercise private judgment upon any matters which such a priesthood may
choose to affirm are taught therein, and who are equally established
in a superstitious opinion and feeling of devotion and submission, not
only to its right to decide all such matters, but also its authority
to punish with the highest spiritual torments all who shall
heretically disregard its decisions. This power has proved itself an
overmatch for the genius of liberty in the states of Europe. Thrones
and kingdoms have fallen before it. To this day the despots of Europe
hold their sceptres in virtue of a league with it. Louis Napoleon
exercises despotic sway over a large portion of as free a people in
their opinions and sentiments on all subjects without the range of
priestly dictation and dogmatism as can be found on the globe. But how
does he do it? He crushed the measures of liberty in Italy, and
restored the Pope to his throne. And why? Not only because a republic
in Italy would be a dangerous neighbor, but also because he needed the
authority of the priesthood to enforce the politico-religious dogmas
upon which alone his despotic throne could repose with safety! Thus a
large community who are among the most enlightened and devoted friends
of liberty, are ruled by a grinding despotism; and this is only an
instance in which the genius of liberty is crushed and trodden under
foot by the “man of sin.” Education and the genius of liberty have
done much in Europe, and are daily struggling against fearful odds;
and may do much more in this country to modify and restrain this
power, but they are impotent to its destruction. It is, in itself, so
entirely contradictory of all liberty, and at the same time so full of
vitality, that God in mercy has only relieved the despair of the world
by the assurance that he would destroy it. Thus Paul says: “_The man
of sin, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called
God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple
of God, showing himself that he is God_--WHOM THE LORD SHALL CONSUME
WITH THE SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH, AND SHALL DESTROY WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF
HIS COMING.” 2 Thess. ii. 1-12. The world has no hope of relief from
the oppression of this nightmare of superstition, but that which is
found in _this_ promise of God, that the word of his truth shall
overthrow and utterly destroy this monster power, which for so many
ages has been the terror and the scourge of the civilized world. The
Bible--the word of God--freely circulated, read, and expounded, and
freely judged of by all who read or hear, according to the dictates of
their own judgments and consciences--this is the religion of
Protestants! in exact antagonism to the teachings of the “_man of
sin_.” The triumph of the Bible is the overthrow of his power.

Now, the Bible is not only being circulated, and its truths enforced
from the pulpit, but a great many arrangements of Divine Providence
are in constant operation, not only to secure the prevalence of Bible
truths in our land, but also to place these truths in such
circumstances as shall secure the permanent establishment of civil and
religious liberty. Of these arrangements of Divine Providence, we may
select as germane to the general subject of discussion, the
_conservative influence of the system of domestic slavery_.

That providence of God, by which so large a number of the States of
this Union have been supplied with a population who cannot be absorbed
by the body politic, but must exist among us, and for so long a time,
in a distinct and menial position, provided the means of safety to the
whole Union in the coming conflict which is already awakening the
fears of the country. If we do not greatly mistake the signs of the
times, it is to these States that all eyes and all hopes will be
turned as the great bulwarks of American liberty. The African race in
these States will give them this advantage of position.

Review the facts of the case. As to that class of population coming
into the country with that liberty of choice which intelligence and
pecuniary means afford them, the whole land is before them, and few
are more welcome than they, whatever may be their errors in religion.
But relatively, they make but a small portion of the whole number. The
great mass of this coming population necessarily seek the _menial_
offices of society as the only means of living. This evil is already
sorely felt in some portions of our country; and as our unoccupied
lands shall be filled up by Western as well as Eastern immigration,
this will be still more generally and deeply felt. For all these are
absorbed by the body politic, and form a part of the sovereignty of
the country.

But what portion of our country is it which now suffers, and is
chiefly threatened in future with this heavy calamity? Not the South!
This is evident. Our menial offices are already occupied by a race
which cannot be absorbed, and who therefore can never form a part of
the sovereignty of the country. Hence, there is no room for the
menials of either Europe or China. The door of Providence is closed
against their admission. The foreign population which finds its way
into the South are, for the most part, a valued and welcome class of
society. No: it is in the midst of the Northern States, and those new
States which repudiate the African race, that these shoals of vice,
superstition, and ignorance--these hordes of modern Canaanites--are
gathering, “thick as the frogs and flies of Egypt.” Upon these States,
and not upon the South, this great and increasing calamity is to
display its strength. Are they destined to control the _primary_
schools to a great extent, from which they exclude the Bible, and
educate a large mass of the population to abandon the inherent right
of private judgment on all matters which the priesthood may please to
define--whether correctly or not--as matters of religion: that is, to
abandon those rights of conscience which are guaranteed to every
citizen by the constitution of our country? Already, many of these
schools are thus controlled, and a large portion of the citizens are
thus being educated in the city and State of New York, and other
places! But nothing of this sort can exist to any extent in the
Southern States. So far as popular education is promoted in these
States, it must be strictly Protestant education--Protestant, at
least, in its main feature: that is, every citizen brought up among us
grows up in the educated belief that, whatever aid he may seek or
derive from a gospel ministry, he is still individually and personally
responsible to God and his country, for his opinions and his
practices, both as to politics and religion. He should, therefore,
read, reflect, and judge for himself. No “man of sin,” in the shape of
pope, bishop, priest, minister, or preacher of the gospel, or with any
other title, has authority to “_oppose and exalt himself above all
that is called God, or that is worshipped_,” by dispensing either
political or religious beliefs; “_so that he, as God, sitteth in the
temple of God, showing himself that he is God_:” enforcing his right
to control the consciences of men, by severe spiritual and temporal
penalties--reaching even to “_anathema maranatha_!” No material
portion of Southern sovereigns can ever grow up in such an utter
abandonment of all liberty, whilst the African race shall fill the
menial offices of society. All this, however, and perhaps much more,
is reserved for those States which repudiate this race. And still
further, Is all this calculated to corrupt the purity of elections, as
it has done in many sections of New England and the State of New York,
and eminently so in the cities of New York and Cincinnati?--and is
this evil also destined to reach the national Legislature, either
directly, as the result of numerical strength, or indirectly, as the
action of a powerful minority, holding the balance of power between
contending political parties, and, in either case, sooner or later,
seriously threatening if not precipitating evils upon the whole
country, of which the oppressions of many of the States of Europe now
furnish us the mournful examples! But no such influence can ever
reach, to any material extent, the ballot-boxes of the South. With an
educated sovereignty, we have only to consummate our triumph over
intemperance, and our elections are at once fair exponents of the will
of an enlightened people. Our people may err in opinion, but, always
right in sentiment, and with no motive to stay wrong, they may, in due
time, be put right in _opinion_ also. The Southern States may be
labored by the tempests that shall break upon them from other
sources, but not from this, which its history in Europe shows to be
the most terrible calamity that ever scourged humanity. With their
ships well trimmed and their sails well set, and both worked and
governed by an educated sovereignty, it is morally impossible that
they should founder in the open sea of free discussion. These States,
therefore, will remain, and shall ever remain, through all this fierce
conflict, _free_ to settle the great quarrel of the country between
light and darkness, between religion and a vile superstition! Upon
these States will devolve the duty of holding the balance of power
between these great contending forces, and of preserving the ark of
American liberty in the politico-religious storms that are to sweep
over the land, and shake the foundations of our confederacy.

In view of all the facts, we are at no loss to account for the
agrarian doctrines and organizations which are already so common in
the Northern States, and which are essentially so entirely subversive
of all true liberty. Nor are we at a loss to account for the fact that
the Southern States have always, to the present time, stood forth as
the authors and uniform expounders of the soundest democratic
principles of republican freedom. They owe it, and will for ages to
come continue to owe it, not so much to any superior devotion to
sound principles above that of their intelligent and unbiased brethren
of other States, but to the fact that only a small portion of their
menial population are, or ever can be, sovereigns. The great mass of
their menials belong to a distinct and inferior race, who never can be
absorbed, and who, therefore, are not and never can become sovereigns
of the land. The conservative influence, therefore, of the African
race in the Southern States, I set down as a _fixed fact_, for which,
in the prospective condition of the country, we have abundant cause to
be devoutly thankful to Almighty God.

In view, therefore, of the condition of the Africans themselves, as
well as the calamities which overhang the country, how idly do they
talk who would expel the Africans from these States! How madly do they
reason who, by a cordon of free-soil States, on the West and South,
would shut up the Southern States--as if, with bolts and bars, they
would cage a savage beast! False philosophers! Enemies alike to
justice and humanity! Worse than Nadab and Abihu, in the republic of
Moses! Kindred to Ahithophel and Judas, and, in later days, to
Benedict Arnold! The day will come--passing events cast their long
“shadows before”--when history will record the civilization of all
Africa, and the final solution of the problem, and the permanent
establishment of American liberty. A sound philosophy will be at no
loss to trace both one and the other to the agency, and that in no
small degree, of that wonderful scheme of Divine Providence, by which
so large a number of Africans were introduced into so many of the
States of North America. Ay! and long before that day, the North will
learn to do justice to their brethren of the South. When the fight
shall wax warm, and the “battle-cry” shall be heard throughout all
their coasts, then will it be seen and acknowledged that the Southern
States--always great in the counsels of the nation--are always, and
everywhere, the true friends and invincible supporters of Protestant
freedom, or the rights of conscience; and then shall they do justice
to these States as the chief bulwarks of American liberty, and equal
honor to that wonderful providence which has so signally marked their
history, for good to the whole country, as well as to the continent of
Africa.



LECTURE XIII.

THE DUTY OF MASTERS TO SLAVES.

     “Masters, give unto your servants (δούλοις slaves) that which
     is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in
     heaven.”--Col. iv. 1.


     The duty of masters and the rights of slaves reciprocal.

      1. The duty of masters to their slaves considered as “their
      money”--in regard to working, resting, feeding, clothing,
      housing, and the employment of persons over them; also to the
      sick and the aged.

      2. Their duty to their slaves considered as social beings.
      Punishments and the social principle discussed.

      3. Their duty to their slaves considered as religious beings.
      Public instruction on the Sabbath, and at other times, and the
      opportunity of attending. The employment of preachers, and the
      religious instruction of children.

It has been shown in previous lectures that the principle of slavery
accords fully with the doctrine of abstract rights, civil and social;
and that a system of domestic slavery in the United States is demanded
by the circumstances of the African population in the country. But it
by no means follows that the conduct of all masters, in the exercise
of their functions as masters, is proper, any more than that the
conduct of all parents, or the owners of apprentices, is such as it
should be. The opinion is entertained that the domestic government of
children does not more than approximate propriety as a general thing;
and that the government of apprentices and of African slaves falls far
short of what is proper. In this lecture it is proposed to deal with
the relations of masters to slaves, that is, the duties they owe them.
The doctrine that the system of domestic slavery assumes that the
slave is a “mere machine--a chattel,” has been fully exploded. The
Bible particularly regards the slave an accountable being. It requires
him to yield a willing obedience to his master, and teaches him that
such service is accepted of the Lord as service done unto himself,
Ephesians vi. 5-8; and in the 9th verse, the master is required to “do
the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your
Master also is in heaven.” And again, (Colossians iv. 1,) “Masters,
give unto your servants that which is just and equal.” Hence, in the
strictest sense, religion holds the scales of justice between masters
and slaves. Each one is held to a strict accountability for the
faithful performance of his duty, the one to the other--“for there is
no respect of persons with God.”

It behooves us, then, who are masters, or who expect to become
masters, to inquire into the duties of this relation. The master who
does not inform himself on this subject, and endeavor conscientiously
to do his duty, is strangely wanting in important elements of
Christian character, and, indeed, even in some of those attributes
which enter materially into the character of a good citizen.

A most fanatical spirit is abroad in the land on the subject of
domestic slavery. The inhumanity of masters at the South is greatly
exaggerated. (Instances in which the institution of slavery is abused
no doubt contribute to this excitement.) Even those who are deficient
in the duties they owe their domestics and apprentices--quite as much
so as is common at the South with the masters of African slaves--lend
a willing ear to political demagogues and fanatical party-leaders in
their denunciations of the South. Want of sympathy for hired servants,
and instances in which they are overreached and oppressed beyond the
means of legal redress, are as common in certain quarters as are the
cases of inhumanity to the slaves at the South. But this does not help
the matter. Evils of this kind are to be deplored whether they occur
at the North or the South. The injunction of the apostle reaches every
case of the kind--“Masters, give unto your servants that which is
just and equal: knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

But what may the apostle mean by this precept? The view before taken
of the _right_ will justify a departure from the usual line of thought
on this subject. To give any one that which is _just_ is to confer
upon him that which is his right. To give that which is just and
equal, is a form of expression that may limit the term “just” to its
legal sense, that is, confer on him all the rights guaranteed to him
by law. There is a special necessity for this command in any state of
society. For whatever advantages the law might confer on the slave,
his subordinate relation, and the superior position and authority of
the master, will of necessity place it in his power to defeat the
provisions of the law in favor of the slave. But the command goes
farther than this: Give unto your servants that which is _equal_,
_equitable_, that is, justice in a moral sense, or that which is
_right_--good in itself. Whatever provision the law might make for the
benefit of the slave, as a slave, might be secured to him by his
master, and yet many of his natural and acquired rights might be
overlooked, and the claims of Christian charity annulled. To fulfil
the command, however, we must give the slave _equity_, as well as
legal justice: we must do unto the slave what we would have the slave
to do unto us, on a change of relations. It is needless to repeat the
discussion of this topic in a former lecture. Suffice it to say, that
the master is not required to give to his slave (any more than the
parent is required to give to his child) whatever he might wish, but
whatever justice and equity claim for him, that is, whatever is right
or good in itself; or, if you please, accord to him all his natural
and acquired rights, as a slave. For this is precisely that, and no
more, to which the master would be entitled on a change of relations.

We now meet the question--What are the rights of the slave? The duties
of the master are reciprocal of these. Those who believe, with
Channing, that the relation they sustain as masters assumes that their
slaves have no rights, we may consider are beyond the reach of reason.
If the master owes any duties to his slave, it is because the rights
of the slave entitle him to the benefit of the faithful performance of
these duties on the part of his master. No point is more fully settled
in Scripture than this: masters are held to a strict accountability to
God for the faithful performance of certain duties to their slaves.
The Bible puts it beyond all dispute that “the master stands to his
bond-servant, one bought with his money or born in his house, in a
relation widely different from that which he sustains to the hired
servant, or the stranger within his gates, or the neighbor without
them.” And as he may be a good neighbor, and yet at fault as a husband
and father, so he may be a good husband, a good father, and yet a bad
master.

The duties which the master owes the slave are as binding on the
conscience as those which the slave owes the master. To neglect either
involves the party so neglecting in sin. Indeed, the duties of the
master are as binding as those of any relation in life. On many
accounts, they are peculiarly solemn. They are duties owed to
inferiors, and inferiors in a helpless condition. They appeal to the
magnanimity of the master. He who disregards this appeal, not only
violates duty, but betrays a want of magnanimity, bordering upon that
meanness of spirit which delights to oppress an inferior, whilst it
cowers before an equal. A brave man is always magnanimous, and a
magnanimous man will rarely fail to respect the rights of the
helpless. _Guardianship_, as well as authority, enters as an element
into the idea of master. Masters are not only rulers, but protectors.
If the servant is defrauded of his own, if his wants are not regarded
and his grievances redressed, or he is otherwise oppressed, to whom
can he complain? True, his miseries are not voiceless. His cries
“enter into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” But his only earthly
appeal lies to his master. He has permitted or done this thing, and it
is laid upon the conscience of the slave to submit, “not answering
again.” His master is his only earthly protector. His guaranty that
his master will protect him, is that he too has a “Master in heaven,”
who is no respecter of persons, and that to him belongeth vengeance.

According to principles established in the fourth and fifth lectures,
the Africans of this country, in common with minors, imbeciles, and
uncivilized persons, have a right to be governed and protected, and to
such means of physical comfort and moral improvement as are necessary
and compatible with their providential condition. That which it is
their right to have as slaves, it is the duty of masters to secure to
them. Superior positions devolve higher and more important duties. The
master who ignores these claims, and affects to be offended with any
who may assert them on behalf of the slave, will do well to consider
that the “cries of those who have reaped down their fields,” that is,
the claims of those who have labored for them, and have no earthly
friend to vindicate their rights, are heard by Him who has said,
“Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord.” But Christian
masters, or even men of religious sentiments, who always respect the
claims of the poor, find pleasure in attending to the wants of the
helpless, and to none more than those of their own slaves.

Humanity, the claims of religion, and the pecuniary interest of the
master, all unite to enforce the claims of the slave. The physical and
the moral man are so nicely blended, and the duties we owe the one run
so naturally into those we owe the other, that it is difficult to make
a well-defined classification, especially in the case of either slaves
or children. The following will be found sufficiently accurate for all
practical purposes:

I. The duties of masters to their slaves, considered as “their money:”
such as relate to judicious labor, and reasonable time for rest,
habitations, clothing, food, arrangements for sickness, their own
time, and stewards or overseers.

II. The duties of masters to slaves, considered as social beings: such
as relate to moral treatment, punishments, matrimonial alliances,
family connections, and duties relating to women, children, and the
aged.

III. The duties of masters to slaves, considered as religious beings:
such as relate to the domestic and public instruction of their slaves
in the principles and duties of religion.


I. THE DUTIES OF MASTERS TO THEIR SLAVES, CONSIDERED AS “THEIR
MONEY:” “_for he is his money_,” Ex. xxi. 21.

1. _Slaves should be subjected to reasonable labor._ Instances are to
be found in which ignorance with a natural tendency to idleness, or
vast wealth, joined with a kind of sentimental religion, which
exhausts itself in a morbid sympathy for the poor, leads to a
disregard of that great law of nature under which slaves should be
subjected to labor. Many are indulged in idleness. Idleness is a crime
in any one. Even those whose wealth and social position in society
enable them to indulge in idleness without incurring the ordinary
penalties, inflict a great evil upon society thereby. And for those
who can only be occupied in the menial offices of society to be
indulged in idleness is to create a nuisance. There are families in
the Southern country whose slaves can only be regarded as nuisances.
Sometimes the ignorance, but more frequently the dissipated habits of
the master, lead to this. Again, in some cases, widows with large
fortunes in slaves furnish examples of the same. They are not
generally in circumstances to manage a farm, without the aid of an
intelligent and judicious steward. But a morbid sympathy, joined,
perhaps, with parsimony, prevents the employment of such a one. The
consequence is, the slaves are indulged in great idleness. Families
are sometimes broken up from these causes, and the slaves sold under
the hammer. The separation of family ties, which under given
circumstances is a cause for so much regret, is often to be traced to
these sources. But long before this result, the slaves are considered
and felt to be a nuisance in the neighborhood. Many intelligent and
humane neighbors, who deplore the dissolution of the family and the
separations consequent upon it, are bound to admit that these
disasters after all are the least of evils. Hence, slaves should be
subjected to physical labor. “_If any man will not work, neither shall
he eat_”--so God has said, and the master who disregards it either for
himself or his slaves shall come to poverty; and this shall be the
least part of the evil.

_But slaves should be subjected only to reasonable labor._ There is an
excess of physical exertion which the constitution cannot bear. The
laws of nature cannot be violated with impunity. Sooner or later the
effects will follow. Excessive labor will result in a peculiar
liability to disease, in premature old age, or in death. For the
reckless industry of a few years, all this pecuniary loss and great
moral evil follows. He who transcends the limits which God has fixed
to human labor, pays the forfeit of health, if not of life. “To coax
or bribe one’s slave to go beyond this limit is wretched economy: to
force him to do it is cruelty.” The state of the weather is an
important element in determining the amount of labor that may be
reasonably required. The extremes of heat and cold, or inclement
weather, rain or snow, should always be regarded. African slaves can
do but little, comparatively, in very inclement weather. A reasonable
master will regard the extremes of heat and cold, and especially the
latter.

Suitable tools or implements of labor constitute another important
item in determining the amount of labor that may be reasonably
demanded. It was cruel in Pharaoh to lay upon the Israelites the “same
tale of brick,” without supplying them with the usual “quantity of
straw.” Ex. v. 7, 8. It is equally unjust to require an ordinary day’s
work of your slaves, if you fail to supply them with the tools
necessary to perform it. A dull iron or an ill-shaped helve will
require a much greater outlay of physical strength to accomplish a
certain result. There is certainly an evil in Southern society at this
point. Many persons are negligent of the kind and quality of their
farming implements. Their slaves do a reasonable amount of labor,
still the farm does not prosper. A slave is occasionally sold to meet
expenses. Humane persons struggle with what they call misfortunes.
Those who are less careful of the claims of humanity make unreasonable
exactions of their laborers. They are sufficiently near to certain
neighbors to see that their lands are well cultivated, their fencing
is good, their stock is in good condition, their houses neat and
comfortable for both man and beast, and their farms wear the
appearance of thrift; but they are not sufficiently intimate to know
that it is the intelligence or good common sense that presides over
these farms, and not the extra amount of labor exacted of the slaves,
that makes the difference. The slaves on these prosperous farms,
although they are made to observe great constancy and system in their
labor, are not subjected to the same amount of hard labor as are those
of many less thrifty farmers. The achievements of science in
labor-saving machinery are very great. Man is greatly aided in his
labors by natural agents. They accommodate his work to his physical
structure, relieve his posture, and lessen his fatigue. With sharp
instruments, and those of the best kind, labor is no longer such a
drudgery. Indeed, labor is lightened by a thousand simple and cheap
arts. Science enables us to accomplish with one man the labor of two
or more men in almost every pursuit of life. It is a great practical
mistake to suppose that this is only true of manufacturing
establishments. It is equally so in the improved methods of farming
and the improved implements by which the labor of the farm is
accomplished. Farmers of enlightened views give their laborers the
benefit of the newest and best improvements in their line. To attempt
to rival the productions of such farmers, by exacting extra labor of
the hands, is great injustice. For he who has the same work to do as
another, with only half his means of doing it, has twice his work to
do. “The ease of the patent spring,” and the “speed of the
locomotive,” are not more important to the comfort of the traveller
and his economy of time, which is money, in accomplishing his journey,
than are the improved methods and instruments of farming to the ease,
the economy, and the success of the farmer. “But slaves are careless,
wasteful, and destructive.” So they are, and so perhaps would you be.
There is but little difference between slaves and any others who labor
for us in menial offices. All such operatives require a presiding mind
to effect a proper division of labor, and have its eye in every place
and on every thing. Without this, it is idle to prate about the
wastefulness of slaves. If the master is himself too idle or
improvident for this, he is culpable: if he has no capacity for it, he
is fit to labor under the direction of another--that is, he is fit to
be a slave; but he is not qualified to direct the labor of
others--that is, he is not fit to be a master.

_Slaves should be allowed reasonable time for rest._ All animal nature
requires the refreshment derived from sleep. The muscular and nervous
system of man requires not less than seven hours in twenty-four to
repair the wastes of a day of active labor. This is a general rule.
Some do with less: a few require more. But in every case there is a
limit beyond which we cannot habitually go, without the sacrifice of
health or life. The constitutions of some laboring men can bear a
great loss of sleep; but it is on the same principle that a few
constitutions can, for a long time, resist the effects of the daily
use of alcohol. But still dram-drinking will tell, and so will the
loss of sleep.

We unyoke the ox, we stable the horse, and the whole night is devoted
to their repose. But this is often not the case with the weary slave,
who toiled with them through the day. He is convenient to demands, and
a great many extra jobs may be found for him before he reposes. I say
“reposes,” for sleep is not all that is required for rest. There is a
time of leisure, a waking repose, which is as necessary as sleep. No
reasonable man denies himself the benefit of this. The slave is
entitled to the early part of the night for this. No one has a right
to require him to take all his rest with his eyes shut, and his senses
locked up in sleep. There is the refreshment of mind resulting from
repose from ordinary pursuits, and occupation with things which may
please the humor or minister to innocent gratification, by which, to a
certain degree, the exhausted system is restored as much as by sleep.
Indeed, without this, “balmy sleep” is not a “sweet restorer.” The man
who works hard the six days of the week, does not require to sleep all
Sunday in order to restore his wasted system. There is a transition of
mental pursuits from business to devotion, and there is to a virtuous
mind the hallowed cheerfulness of that holy day, which contributes to
restore the system, no less than cessation from labor, and sleep. The
slave, like his master, is entitled to the night. What if he do employ
a reasonable part of it to turn a penny, and in arranging for his
personal comfort? It gives repose to his mind: it ministers to his
cheerfulness: along with sleep it reïnvigorates his whole system, and
makes him a more valuable as well as a more happy servant. Who, then,
shall deny him the boon? Surely not the economist, who calls him his
“money,” and who, by any other course, would be reducing the value of
“his money” below par!

In Virginia--and we are not at liberty to think it is materially
different in other Southern States--slaves are generally indulged with
time for repose at their day meals, and with the whole night from
early nightfall. A clear evidence of the economy of this system is
afforded by the striking contrast which in some cases is to be found
on plantations between slaves thus treated, and masters of a certain
description. The slaves are fat, sleek, cheerful, and long-lived:
spending their leisure time in cheerful conversation, in singing, or
in those little personal offices which give elasticity to mind and
body. But not so with some masters. They sleep as much--that is, lie
down as much--as their slaves; but their sleep is disturbed by an
incoherent tracing of the anxious thoughts of the troubled day. They
are not refreshed. Both mind and body are worn down by excessive
friction. They hasten to premature old age; and the weary wheels of
life stand still long before the appointed time. Some masters are
personally very industrious and enterprising: they work side by side
with their slaves. It is their boast that they require no more of
their slaves than they do themselves. Yea, they do more than they,
having the direction and care of all. Surely, say they, my slaves
have no right to complain. But this reasoning is not always fair. It
may be that the master overtasks himself. This does not give the right
to overtask his slaves. Withal, he brings to his task a physical
system stimulated to a high degree by those mental activities which
push him forward to enterprise great things. He labors to exhaustion,
and enjoys his rest only the more for having done so. Not so with the
slave who works by his side. When he yields to over-fatigue, his
thoughts administer no cordial to his weary limbs. It is well if he
have not intelligence enough to make them a source of still further
prostration.

Again, the man-servant and the maid-servant, as well as the beast, are
entitled to the rest of the Sabbath. More than this, we are commanded
to “_remember_ the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.” The head of the
family should not only do this himself, but see that all his household
observe the Sabbath. It is not enough that the children and servants
be left free to keep the Sabbath. The head of the family should see
that all the arrangements necessary to promote the due observance of
the Sabbath are properly made, so that, whilst he requires the
observance of the Sabbath, all the domestic arrangements invite to its
observance.

There are certain individuals about many families whose offices are
so difficult to be dispensed with, because they are so necessary to
self-indulgence, that they are often deprived of the rest of the
Sabbath. Of this class there are two humble but very important
personages, which it is neither beneath the subject nor the occasion
to notice, namely, the cook and the carriage-driver. To the
carriage-driver of some families, all days are alike “days of rest.”
He is the most idle personage about the premises. It is well if a
farm-hand be not presently sold to support his idleness. But the
carriage-driver of another family is himself also a farm-hand. With
him the case may be widely different. He may toil on the farm six days
in the week, and spend the day of rest in burnishing harness, and with
carriage and horses. If he drive to church, the care of his horses is
at least a pretext for neglecting the sermon; and if he drive to spend
the day with a neighbor, it is not a day of rest, and may not be a day
of enjoyment. In either case, there is but little companionship, but
few church privileges, and still less opportunity for rest. It may be
no better with the cook, and is often not so well. Indeed, the Sabbath
is seldom a day of rest with the cook. It is oftener a day of much
closer confinement. Stewing, roasting, baking, and broiling the
greater part of the day on Sabbath, afford but little time for the
repose for which the fourth commandment provides. These are evils in
the land. It lies on right-minded men to correct them. At the least,
they can correct their own practices, and in doing this they will do
much to reform the habits of society.

2. _Slaves should be furnished with suitable habitations._ We are
considering slaves as property, and the duty of masters as economists.
On the principle of good economy, slaves are entitled to habitations
sufficiently airy and cool in summer, close and warm in winter. And as
it costs no more, why may not their houses be located with due regard
to their health, their convenience, and comfort? Let them then be
grouped together on the gentle slope of a hill, and, as lime is cheap,
let them all be neatly whitewashed. Who could object to a little
garden spot attached to each? And why may there not be nice rows of
shade trees, and neat grass-plots upon which the children can sport,
and where the men and women can sit and enjoy a delightful Sabbath
evening? Economy will not object to this. The miserable smoky hovels
in low damp situations, black and disagreeable to the sight, in which,
in some instances, they are huddled together, cannot be too severely
condemned on the principles of economy, no less than on those of good
morals. For if the inhabitants of such buildings are not filthy,
degraded, and thievish to an extent that materially depreciates their
value, it can only be because they are extraordinary examples of moral
purity.

3. _Slaves should be comfortably clothed._ All those families whose
self-respect leads them to regard their position in society, supply
their slaves with comfortable clothing, and pay particular attention
to the neatness as well as the comfort of those kept about the house.
It would indicate a very low state of civilization, if these things
should be generally neglected. The improvements in the manufacture of
cotton, wool, and leather have been so great that nothing short of
these could be tolerated in decent society. Our slaves are no doubt
generally better fed, clothed, and housed than are the menials in most
of the nations of Europe. Still, there are instances of neglect, which
should be noticed. Those who pay but little attention to their
habitations, generally neglect their clothing. Feet are to be found
unshod when frost is on the ground; the head uncovered in all
weathers; and the body far from being suitably protected. The color
and tropical habitudes of our slaves render them peculiarly liable to
suffer from cold. Health as well as comfort requires them to be warmly
clad in cold weather. “A shivering servant is a shame to any master.”
It is economy to sell a slave occasionally rather than let all suffer
for the want of clothing. But they should also be supplied with
suitable beds and bedding. The expense is really so trifling, and the
economy so great, that masters entitled to respect cannot be excused
for the neglect of this duty Shucks are plentiful on all farms, and
cotton is abundant on many, and can be easily had at cheap rates on
those on which it is not raised. These articles make excellent
mattresses, and the latter makes most excellent comforts. Those rainy
days on which slaves should not be allowed to work out, should be
employed in providing these articles. Health and life are often thus
preserved. To allow slaves to labor in filth and rags through the
week, and lie about or stroll about on the Sabbath in their unwashed
rags, should be severely censured. It does not help the matter a great
deal to throw them a thin blanket occasionally, with liberty to take
repose wherever they can find it. Such masters pay more in doctors’
bills than it would cost to make their slaves as comfortable as those
of their more prudent neighbors. It is a shame to them. We cannot give
them any more credit for practical sense than for good morals.

4. _Slaves should be well fed._ The quality, the quantity of food, and
reasonable time to eat it and refresh themselves, are the ideas which
enter into this duty. A sufficient quantity of good substantial food,
well prepared, should be furnished. Meat should form a fair proportion
of the diet of a laboring African. The Irish, it is true, eat but
little meat, and do well,--that is, such as do not perish,--but the
African constitution in this climate requires meat, and they must have
it if they do full labor. Their food should be well prepared. To
secure this, it should be prepared by a cook, and eaten at a common
table. To put laboring farm-hands off with an allowance of meat and
meal, to prepare it or seek its preparation as they may, is too
obviously wrong to require argument. The force of habit is exceedingly
stubborn in the African. To eat a piece of meat exhausted of its
nutriment by being crisped on the coals, is very much to the taste of
those accustomed to it: they will yield with great reluctance. But
still, this plan should give place to the better preparation of the
public table. An excellent habit of the slaves is to eat slowly.
Usually something like two hours in the long days is allowed them to
eat and refresh themselves at noon. It is not too much to allow. An
hour’s repose after a meat dinner should be allowed to all laborers in
the heat of summer. Again, they are entitled to such variety as the
season affords. The early roasting ear, the ripe fruit, the melons,
the potatoes, the fat stock, all enter of right in due season and
limited proportions into their bill of fare. Better do all this than
pay doctors’ bills, or tempt them to steal. Nor do I fall out with the
custom of some of our better families, to supply their tables with a
portion of all the delicacies of the “great house,” on particular
occasions. Some may think this too much for slaves! But the attachment
of Southern slaves to the families in which they were born and brought
up is proverbial. And let Northern fanatics believe and prate what
they will, it is still true that the practical workings of the system
generally, on the basis of the duties here inculcated, is in a good
degree the cause of this attachment. Every right-minded master
contemplates the _physique_ of his servants with emotions of pride and
pleasure. Their looks reflect his character. A gang of half-starved,
meanly-clad, overworked slaves, with no heart to laugh or sing, and
even without that attachment for their owners which the ox and the ass
have for theirs, is a disgusting spectacle, and as revolting to every
feeling of humanity as it is in violation of every principle of
economy.

5. _Provision should be made for slaves in times of sickness._ Each of
the topics discussed derives much of its importance from its
connection with this. Reasonable labor, time for repose and sleep,
habitations, clothing, and food, are each and all of them provisions
against the occurrence of sickness. Still, the topic deserves a more
special notice. All families should have such domestic provisions as
anticipate sickness by suitable arrangements for it when it
comes--such as comfortable apartments and the ordinary conveniences
for nursing. All families and manufactories employing a sufficient
number of slaves to require it, should have a hospital: that is, a
house so situated as to location and internal arrangements as to be a
convenient and comfortable place for the sick, and equally convenient
to those who may have to nurse the sick, or to overlook those who do.
The economy of such an arrangement on large farms commends itself to
approbation. So far from encouraging a well-known disposition among
slaves of a certain character to lie by for trifling causes, it will
contribute very much to discourage such habits. If slaves are
permitted to lounge about their own houses when sick, they may often
elude observation, and spend their time in idleness, when they should
be at work; and in cases of actual sickness, they are liable to suffer
for want of attention. On the hospital plan, the case will be very
different with each of these. If all who are sick have to go to the
hospital, and take physic, the former will not be so likely to feign
sickness, and the really sick will be better attended to.

6. _What is usually called their own time should be strictly allowed
them._ Besides Christmas, there are frequent holiday occasions through
the year, and still oftener a Saturday afternoon at particular
seasons, which usage has secured to them as their _own time_. This
time is usually employed by the more provident in cultivating a
garden, in mending their clothes, cleansing about their houses, or in
various ways earning a few dollars with which to purchase little
articles of fancy or comfort in the way of furniture or dress, such as
masters do not usually furnish. Some masters obviate the necessity for
a portion of this, by cultivating a part of the crop, and dividing the
proceeds of its sale among them for their exclusive benefit. None but
a tyrant, who is always a bad economist, will disregard their claims
to what is known as their own time. Any other man who should attempt
it, would soon be taught to feel that the force of public opinion,
even among slaves, well sustained as it is on these points, is a
matter not to be despised. The claims of slaves and the rights of the
public coincide. Plantation slaves who may be no less than a body of
ragamuffins, carrying on petty depredations upon the rights of
property in the neighborhood, are a serious nuisance. Public opinion
will not tolerate it. The economy of such a master is as bad as his
injustice to his neighbors is oppressive.

7. _Stewards or overseers._ The duty which the master owes his slaves
in the selection of a person to be over them is often embarrassing,
and at all times important. That which a farmer has time and ability
to do for himself, he should not employ an agent to do for him. He has
more interest in it than any one else, and will observe more fidelity
in its performance. No economist will employ a steward to manage his
farm if he can prudently supply his place by his own personal
attentions. Some employ them that they may with less loss indulge in
idleness: others, because they distrust their own experience in
farming; and others again, because more important duties put it out of
their power to give the necessary personal attention to their farms.
But whether from the one cause or the other, the master owes certain
duties to his slave as well as to himself in selecting an individual
to take his place over them. Economically considered, the rights of
the slave and the interests of the master coincide. Many overlook
this. An industrious but heartless business man may be found to act as
steward, who, with an interest in the crop, will stir late and early,
and drive hard all the day; but the great laws which regulate the
reciprocal operations of labor, sleep, and repose will be strangely
disregarded by such a man. He may succeed in a crop for a year,
perhaps for a series of years; but the value of the personal property
as well as of the lands will be annually depreciating. There is no
economy in employing an agent of this class. A plantation is an empire
within itself. If the territory be large, and the subjects numerous,
the mind that presides, whether as master or steward, must be
competent to direct a proper division of labor, and to govern on the
principles of justice and equity. In such an empire, talents of a
peculiar kind are required. It is only the income from such estates
that will justify the employment of the best talents, for these will
always command high prices. Masters with less income cannot command
the best talents. But, in either case, due regard should be paid to
the moral character of the man put over slaves. The authority
committed to him is necessarily extensive. Though industrious, he need
not be cruel. He should be fully capable of sympathizing with the
semi-barbarous subjects of his empire. Industry, good moral habits,
and common sense, are essential qualities in an overseer. To be
wanting in any of these, constitutes an entire disqualification for
the office. To be himself immoral, and to contribute to corrupt the
morals of those under him, involves the master who employs him in the
guilt of sin, as well as depreciates the value of his property. When a
man of industry, common sense, and virtue is found, pains should be
taken to attach him to the estate. If he be a single man, he should be
encouraged to marry. His situation should be made as permanent as
possible. The man of common sense, who well understands that nothing
but industry, carefulness or prudence, and virtue, will secure his
situation, will, one year with another, make as good crops as it would
be reasonable to expect. More than a fair crop, like all other unfair
operations, implies unfairness somewhere. If it be in the voiceless
woes of the slave, the master is sadly the loser in the end. He who
retains his steward with a view to extra crops by such means, may be
likened to a barbarian king in Africa, but does not deserve to be
ranked among masters in civilized life. All masters, I should think,
owe it to themselves and to their slaves to give a great deal of
personal attention to their farms.[8]

     [8] I take this occasion to call your attention to a little
     volume on the “Duties of Masters to Servants,” three premium
     essays, by the Rev. Messrs. H. N. McTyeire, C. F. Sturgis, and
     A. T. Holmes, published by the Southern Baptist Publication
     Society, Charleston, S. C., to which I acknowledge myself
     indebted for several suggestions on this topic. Read the book.


II. THE DUTIES OF MASTERS TO SLAVES, AS SOCIAL BEINGS.

They are entitled to the restraints, the protection, and the
encouragement, which a prudent administration of a system of good laws
is calculated to afford. A part of this is secured to them by the
civil government; but a large part is left to the discretion and
fidelity of the master. The civil government assumes that the
pecuniary interest of the master and the duty which he owes his slaves
coincide so perfectly, that the performance of certain duties may with
propriety be left to him. He is the patriarch of his whole house. His
family is his empire, subordinate, it is true, to the civil
government, but still an empire. He commands the time and labor of his
children and his slaves--the one for a definite period in life, the
other for an indefinite period. He gives law to the one and to the
other. So long as he does not violate the constitution and laws of the
political commonwealth of which he is himself a subject, his authority
is absolute. All the rights of his children and his servants appeal to
him. He is responsible to the civil government not to violate its
provisions, and he is responsible to God for the faithful performance
of his duties to his children and his servants; for the sin of
omitting to do his duty to his children or servants could rarely be
reached by the civil authority.

The duty of the master to his slaves as social beings is to give them
laws within the limits prescribed by the civil government, and to
govern them according to the principles of justice and equity.

As his empire is constantly under his eye, or the eye of his immediate
agent, it is not necessary that he have recourse to a code of laws
definitely drawn up and formally announced. As the teacher in his
room, and the mother in her nursery, may have their rules, and have
them obeyed without these formalities, so may the master. But these
rules should not relate merely to the economical use of the slave’s
time and labor, but should be adapted to his character as a social
being. Hence, it is not proposed to give a code of laws for the
plantation, but to discuss certain principles which should influence
the conduct of the master in the government of his domestic empire.

1. _In regard to punishments._ Neither the magistrate, the parent, nor
the master, should bear the sword in vain. Disobedience, which, in all
wise governments, is wickedness, must be restrained, and in extreme
cases by severe punishments. It would be great weakness to forbear.
But one law, however, should govern in the infliction of punishments.
They should be inflicted for the purpose of correction, or as “a
terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well,” and not to
gratify passion or resentment. Punishments inflicted from motives of
resentment merely, and often repeated, tend directly to cow the
spirit, stultify the intellect, destroy self-respect, and greatly
weaken the power of arbitrary volition. Such a man approximates the
nature of a brute, and is, in fact, scarcely of the value of a common
horse. He is a human being, but in circumstances in which he has few
motives of action above those which influence a brute--namely, the
indulgence of his animal nature, restrained only by the fear of
present punishment. He is not as serviceable as a brute, and is far
more dangerous than a brute. A slave to whose sense of what is right
and proper to be done nothing can be trusted, and from whom nothing
can be gotten but that which is extorted from his fears, is of no
value unless it be to a master of the same genus--that is, like
himself, a brute. The prodigality as well as wickedness of this course
requires no comment. There is a more excellent way of maintaining
authority, and it lies upon the conscience of every master no less
than upon his purse to observe it as a duty: it is _to punish for the
purpose of correction only--not to destroy, but to save_.

Punishments can only be salutary as a means of moral discipline in the
measure in which they produce shame and mortification. But one who has
no self-respect can have no shame. The effect of punishment in such a
case is lost only so far as it may help to brutalize him. A desire to
secure the favor and preserve the confidence of those upon whom we are
dependent is the highest guaranty for faithfulness. But he only who
respects himself will value the respect and confidence of others. And
it is difficult for any man to retain his self-respect when he knows
that no one respects him. It is not impossible to be done; but only
men of great moral firmness and conscious integrity succeed in doing
it. We have no right to expect it from slaves. They universally
concede the superior intelligence of the whites. And for one of these,
accustomed from early childhood to hear himself disparaged in company,
and degraded by harsh epithets for his stupidity and disobedience by
those whom he thinks to be superior in every thing, to grow up with
the necessary self-respect, is not to be expected. It would be
singular, indeed, even if one who had been better brought up should be
able to retain his self-respect under this kind of treatment. And
without self-respect, punishment can have no moral effect. Why then
should we thus sin against God? How much better to regard the counsel
of Paul: “_And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing
threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven._” Ephesians
vi. 9. He hath enjoined upon servants to serve their “_masters in
singleness of heart as unto Christ_,” “_with good will doing service
as to the Lord, and not to men_.” _Masters_ are then commanded to “_do
the same things unto them, forbearing threatening_;” that is,
carefully avoiding all those hasty, unjust, and petulant censures,
which display themselves in idle threatenings, or _scoldings_, do your
duty to your servants as an act of duty to God; or, with a view to his
approbation, govern them according to the principles of justice,
equity, and kindness--remembering that your Master is in heaven, from
whose forbearance you may have need of more than you now extend to
your servants.

“I desire to be kind to my servants; but they are often so perverse,
they will not allow me to make their situation as comfortable as I
would.” We sometimes meet with these remarks. There is often a great
deal of reason for them. Our slaves have many faults. They are
ignorant, careless, slothful, and sometimes perverse. These things are
at all times vexatious, and sometimes a great temptation to sin. But
then it should not be forgotten that our children sometimes give us
more trouble, and furnish stronger temptations to sin, than our slaves
could possibly do. Having all the perverseness of the slave, their
superior intelligence may make them much more potent for evil. But
still they are our children. The wisest and best parents will have to
be blind to a great many faults, and ultimately bear in silence with a
great deal which cannot be concealed. The parent that does his best,
and commits results to God, will find in the end that things turn out
a great deal better than his fears dictated they would do. So our
slaves are ours still. They are God’s poor, committed to us. We must
control and protect them for their profit, as well as work them for
our mutual profit. They have great faults. Still, they are our
heritage both for good and for evil. We may not dissolve the relation
between us and them, any more than that between us and our children.
We dare not turn them loose in the savage wilds of Africa, any more
than we dare allow them to be hunted down as wild beasts by the
advances of a superior race, with whom they cannot be permitted to
amalgamate. To govern as well as work them, is, then, a moral
necessity. We cannot fulfil our duty without perhaps a great deal of
trouble in given cases. At all times we must be blind to many faults,
and bear with some others which cannot be concealed. There is no
release from this war. Penalties, severe penalties must be inflicted
occasionally. Every steady government will sometimes have to wield
authority with a strong hand. This is a source of trouble to all, and
often of great pain to good people. Still, there are views to be taken
of the condition of the African which go far to relieve the whole
subject of its difficulties. Many of those faults which are sources of
so much annoyance are to be traced to _ignorance_ and a _want of
self-respect_, and these are oftentimes their infirmities. They are by
nature slow to learn, and hence their ignorance; and few perhaps have
taken pains to cultivate in them much self-respect. Do not these facts
plead in their behalf? Again, what master who desires to do justly can
be wholly indifferent to their good qualities? For a more docile and
kind-hearted race of people are not to be found than the Africans of
the Southern States. Readiness to forgive, gratitude in their rude
notions of it, hospitality to strangers, and affection for friends,
are characteristics of the race. Cases of ingratitude and resentment
are the exceptions, not the rule. Confide, then, in your slaves, as
far as these qualities will allow you to do it. They will not
disappoint your confidence, as seriously, at least, as many others
with the same opportunities would probably do it. Give attention to
their comfort in little things. This will not cost you much, and will
show your care for them. Pay due respect to their feelings and their
reputation. This may cost you no more than a pleasant look or a kind
word. Never be backward under proper circumstances to trust them in
any thing in which it is proper to trust persons in a menial position.
This course will not be without its effect. Confidence will beget
confidence. For one to be respected by others, goes far to beget
respect in one’s self. With a reasonable degree of self-respect in the
slave, and confidence in the kindness and justice of his master, his
discipline cannot fail to be salutary. He may punish in cases of
disobedience with great firmness, and to a merited extent, and it will
not fail to produce shame and mortification. His authority will be “a
terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well.” The public
opinion of his little commonwealth will fully sustain his
administration. The counsels of age, the cutting jokes of early
manhood, and the merry laugh of the young, will all unite to teach the
offender a valuable lesson. He who governs a plantation of slaves
without the aid of a certain measure of public opinion, is a loser in
the end. Some masters affect to despise this. Brute force may sustain
them; but the public opinion even of so humble a commonwealth as a
plantation of slaves is not to be despised. The sensible and humane
master, who would obey the apostolic precept, and maintain a sound and
judicious discipline among his slaves, will obey what is equally
implied in another injunction, and entitle himself to the respect and
confidence of his subjects. Tyrants who have operated upon wider and
nobler fields have affected to despise public opinion, and lost their
crowns. The petty tyrants of whom we treat cannot fail to lose the
respect of their neighbors. It is impossible to respect a man whose
policy infests the neighborhood with a band of freebooters, and this
policy will rarely fail to reduce such a man to poverty also.

2. _In regard to the social principle._ They are social beings. There
are among them those great impulses of our nature, general love for
society, and attachment to the sexes, out of which arise the affection
of husband and wife, the love of parents to children, and children to
parents, and all the various modifications of affection, resulting
from collateral and more distant relationships. Besides these, there
is the feeling of friendship between individuals of similar habits and
corresponding pursuits. All these social principles are common to our
African population. Any evidence to the contrary is only a proof of a
low state of civilization. Now, it is an easy matter for some minds to
overlook the fact that they are _social_ and not _mere_ sentient
beings. But all the elements of simple society are to be found among
them. They associate together as other races. It is not peculiar to
them to wish to be together and to find pleasure in each other’s
society. They obey the common law of humanity. These elements of the
social nature give rise to various relations and duties among
themselves. They do not operate mechanically, but morally. Hence their
society is subject to all the mutations, the conflict of rights and
the violation of duties, of any other simple society, under like
restrictions. As in any other society, these relations must be
understood and made to operate within certain limits. These rights
must be guarded and protected by the observance of certain duties
enforced by certain penalties. Otherwise they may herd together, as in
the wilds of Africa; but they cannot dwell together as rational
beings. For the impulses of nature are not fulfilled when they are
permitted merely to herd together. At this point, the master owes an
important duty to his slaves. Its observance will greatly promote
their progress in civilization, and enhance the value of his property.
He is their civil lawgiver, and the judge in all the grave
controversies which arise among them. He should not be derelict in
duty. He should not think it beneath him to arrest their broils by
authority, and settle their controversies by a kind of judicial
decision. A sensible man will not content himself by saying: “There
were no bones broken: no one was killed or crippled,” or, “A fine
child is born.” These are not the only things which concern his
interest or his duty. It is not doing as he would be done by. The
civil government which protects him would not be worth a tithe of the
taxes, if it concerned itself no further to protect his rights of
property and his happiness. His decisions, therefore, should regulate
the relations of this society, should protect such rights of property
as he allows among them, and enforce the observance of such contracts
as he allows them to negotiate either among their own fellow-servants
or those of another plantation. At the same time that he sees that
they keep themselves within the position which they hold in the great
community of whites, in which they are subordinate members, he should
see that they are not overborne and oppressed by their superiors.

The first and most important of all the social relations is _the
marriage relation_. The civil government has not thought it wise to
interfere with this. It leaves this to the control of the master. His
interest and his duty afford a high guaranty that he will consult the
interests of his slaves in this matter. He should encourage the young
to marry. He should not only positively forbid the herding together
in indiscriminate intercourse, but he should promote marriage by all
suitable arrangements and influences. It is an important interest and
duty with him to have his slaves suitably married and at home. He
should not scruple to buy and to sell to effect proper marriages among
the slaves of his own plantation. And when this cannot be done, he
should permit his slaves to intermarry with those of a neighboring
plantation. There should be in all cases separate apartments for
families, and separate houses as soon as they can be provided.

From causes which need not be enumerated, they are peculiarly addicted
to licentious indulgences, and particularly disposed to violate the
marriage-bed. No master is at liberty to neglect or overlook these
immoralities. He should not allow any to marry without understanding
the obligations of the relation, and he should enforce, as far as his
discipline can reach the case, the obligations of the marriage-bed.
The custom of leaving one wife and taking another, should be
positively prohibited. Those masters whose policy actually makes this
custom in a good degree necessary, cannot be too severely censured. If
slaves were mere chattels, as abolitionists affirm they are, there
might be an apology for this. But as it is, there is no apology for
it. The custom of separating man and wife is the remnant of a
barbarous age: any gentleman should be ashamed of it. The civilization
of the age may not be expected to countenance it. Those who think to
maintain the institution of slavery under so palpable a violation of
the laws of morality, may expect to meet the unqualified censure of
the civilized world. No: the marriage relation must be maintained. To
be maintained, it must be respected. Indiscriminate intercourse should
be restrained. Those masters whose policy renders this custom in a
good degree necessary should revise their system, and they must revise
their system unless they would continue to outrage the moral sense of
their fellow-citizens. For myself, I do not feel at liberty--and I
speak as a citizen--to treat the marriage relation among slaves other
than as a most sacred relation. Those marriages which are maintained
in good faith, no master should feel himself at liberty to violate.
Nothing but conjugal infidelity or some capital offence which subjects
the party offending to imprisonment for life, to banishment, or to
death, can dissolve the marriage obligation. “Those whom God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder.”

I have said that the Africans are a kind and docile race of people;
but still it is true of them, as of all other barbarous people, that
they have but little conception of moral influence as an element of
government. Fear is the motive to which in all cases they appeal--and
with the best intentions. They have but little idea of any thing else.
Whatever authority, therefore, is placed in their hands is likely to
be exercised with great harshness, perhaps with cruelty. Many masters
avail themselves of the services of an intelligent servant, and make
him “head-man,” instead of incurring the expense of an overseer. In
many cases the plan succeeds remarkably well. But in most cases of the
kind, the master owes an important duty to his other slaves: it is to
overlook the exercise of the delegated authority, and restrain the
tendency to excessive severity.

There are other points at which this tendency is liable to display
itself. The husband is likely to exhibit it in the authority exercised
over the wife, and both the husband and the wife in the authority
exercised over the children. The husband is often found to beat and
otherwise maltreat the wife. In fits of passion, some of them are
extremely cruel. The children are brought up in the same way. They are
often subjected to cruel treatment. Impatience, fretfulness, and
stunning blows, make up the system of cabin-discipline. The child is
often stultified in early life, and, without self-respect, grows up a
stupid, slovenly, and insufferable eye-servant. Thus, that which made
the young slave a source of so much annoyance in the kitchen, the
chamber, and the dining-room, began in the discipline of the cabin,
and with those who themselves were good servants, and who, for the
most part, intended to do their duty in their humble way to their
children. Now, there are many families of great moral worth among us
who entirely neglect the discipline of the cabin. They take no account
of the young negro, nor do they inquire into the treatment of wives.
This is a fault--a great fault. It presses with great force upon the
interests of the master, as well as upon the domestic happiness of the
African family and the moral character of the rising generation. The
duty of the master is urgent. He should restrain the exercise of
cruelty to wives. He should do the same in behalf of the children.
Both his example and his precepts should unite to introduce a sounder
system of discipline. A well-trained slave, who respects himself, is
far more valuable in any view than a stupid eye-servant. The master
who will not condescend to pay some attention to the discipline of the
cabin must content himself with the latter.

_The sick and the aged_ should be suitably cared for. It is not enough
that provision be made for these: the master owes them a duty in the
_kind_ of provision which he makes for them. The regular nurse can
serve them with a little medicine, a cup of water, and help them to
the couch of straw, or support their heads in death; but they are
social beings: their claims reach far beyond these things, and the
duty of the master is imperative. It certainly should not come short
of the service rendered by the good Samaritan. He who can free his
conscience short of this, is low enough in the scale of civilization
to change places with many slaves of our acquaintance. Humanity claims
something for the sick and aged on the score of _comfort_ as well as
necessity. Why may they not be frequently ministered unto by their
friends? Do we think that the laws of friendship and consanguinity do
not operate among them? If so, we are mistaken; for they are social
beings, as we are. Why, then, deny them this boon, when it can be
afforded them, as it often can, at so small a cost? I do not scruple
to say that there are many circumstances in which any humane man would
allow the husband and the child to quit even the harvest-field to
minister as occasion might demand to the sick wife and mother, and to
soothe her sorrows in a dying-hour. And the aged father! Shall no
child or grandchild support his tottering limbs to his couch, and lay
him down to die in peace? Shall all these delicate services, if
performed at all, be left to stranger hands? Shall those who never
knew mother, who never cared for grandfather, or who were never
reckoned among their friends, be left to perform these last services?
There may be masters whose business or whose want of thought may lead
them to be inattentive to the social sorrows of the sick and the aged;
but they should remember that “_they also have a Master in heaven_.”
Would they have Him to be as inattentive to their sorrows in sickness
and in age? Let them beware “_lest the same measure they mete be
measured to them again_!”


III. THE DUTIES OF MASTERS TO SLAVES AS RELIGIOUS BEINGS.

There are no duties which we owe our slaves as “our money,” or as
social beings, which do not derive additional weight and importance
from the fact that they are religious beings, and that, as such, we
owe them all these duties, and still higher and more solemn duties.
“But I am not a Christian, and therefore am not concerned in the
discussion of this topic.” But I am not aware that to omit to profess
to be an honest man, or to neglect to strive to be an honest man,
absolves one from the obligation to be honest: so neither will a
failure to profess Christianity free any one from the duty of being a
Christian. Both you and your slaves are religious beings; and if you
are not a Christian, you ought to be, and God will hold you to account
for all the duties of a Christian life, whether in this world you
acknowledge the obligation or not. Your slaves are entitled to the
rights which belong to religious beings in their circumstances; and it
is your duty to treat them as such; nor is there a single master who
will not be held to a strict account for the faithful performance of
these duties to his slaves.

The religious sentiment is strong in the African. Both his mind and
his heart respond readily to the fear of God, the love of virtue, and
the hope of heaven. But they are religious beings in a low state of
civilization. Their intellects are usually dull. They are subject to
wild, extravagant, and superstitious opinions, and consequently to
strong and violent religious emotions. They do not, as some suppose,
have stronger feelings naturally than others. They do not differ in
this respect from barbarians of any other race of people; but they
have a low grade of mental development. Their wills, therefore, are
not supplied with those motives which would enable them to hold their
attention to views of truth such as produce a more chastened,
substantial, and elevated tone of Christian feeling. For the want of
enlightened views, the religious sentiment displays itself in
superstitious conceits, which usually lead to wild and sometimes
frantic feelings. We need not dwell upon the evils of this state of
things. They are too obvious, in their influence upon the blacks, and
oftentimes through them upon the nursery of white children, to require
discussion. That which demands attention is this: it is a duty which
the master owes his slave to pursue that course in the government of
his domestic empire which shall contribute to correct these evils, and
to fit his slaves for their destiny in the spirit-world, where the
distinction of master and slave will no longer exist. Aside, then,
from other and less important objects in that Divine economy which
introduced the African into this country, God has thereby committed to
you these ignorant, these suffering poor. He requires you to care for
their souls as well as their bodies. The latter of these duties you
may fulfil for your own interests merely. But each one of them you
ought faithfully to perform, both for God’s sake and for the common
interests of yourselves and your slaves. “And ye masters, do the same
things unto them:” that is, as the context shows, serve their
interests faithfully, and that for the sake of Christ, as they are
required to serve your commands faithfully, and that for the sake of
Christ. But how may you do this?

You should provide for them the means of public religious instruction.
The owner of a large plantation of slaves should charge himself with
the expense of a minister of the gospel for his slaves. Smaller
plantations should unite to employ the services of a minister. The
owners of still smaller plantations in thinly settled communities of
whites, should see that the usual supply of ministerial service for
the neighborhood is sufficient to meet the demands of their slaves.
Those who employ a minister, or those who unite with others to employ
one to devote himself to the religious instruction of their slaves,
should see that he is a man of blameless life, of sound, practical
Christian experience, simple in his language, familiar in his manners,
and fervent in spirit. He should devote himself to teach the children
the oral catechism, to visit the sick, to bury the dead, and preach
the gospel regularly on the Sabbath. On all occasions of public
worship on the Sabbath, both old and young should be required to be
present, and in their best clothes. Masters should occasionally attend
all these meetings. Our missions on plantations are fine examples of
the system here recommended. The Sabbath--the Christian Sabbath--is
the great civilizer of men. The clean skin, the Sunday suit, the
companionship of friends, all unite with the sound instruction of the
pulpit, and the warm-hearted reception of the truth, to raise man in
the scale of being, to make him a better servant, and a better
citizen--an heir, together with the master, of the inheritance of the
saints in light.

Those more densely populated white communities which are well supplied
with the Christian ministry should afford ample accommodations to the
colored population to hear the word of life, and share the blessings
of the holy Sabbath. Masters should see to this. They have not done
their duty when they subscribe to build a church in the neighborhood,
and pay a trifle to the preacher. Their slaves should also be provided
for. If they will not go to heaven themselves, their slaves can go
there, and many of them desire to go there. Their masters unjustly
withhold the means. In many instances, suitable provision is not made.
The houses are small. The slaves are crowded out. They hear but
little; at least, they are not instructed. A still greater defect of
this system in Virginia is, the slaves are but poorly supplied with
pastoral labor out of the pulpit. The sick are seldom visited. The
dead are only buried in crowds. There is great room, then, for
improvement. Why may not the masters of a neighborhood engage the
services of their minister to have a regular appointment for an
afternoon on the plantation of some one, for the benefit of the slaves
of the neighborhood, and to visit their sick? I know many masters who
are always ready to subscribe liberally to their minister if he would
engage in this service. Why should he not do it? Perhaps some do. I
should rejoice to see this system more generally adopted, and by our
circuit preachers especially. They would accomplish great good. I
doubt if a better remedy for the wants of the African population in
such communities can be found.

But not only to help supply this deficiency, but also on the score of
its own intrinsic value, each family should contribute their personal
attention to supply the religious wants of their slaves. The Sabbath
should be a day of rest, of companionship, and of religious
instruction and enjoyment in every family. From no part of these
should the slaves be excluded or overlooked in the domestic
arrangements. That slaves appear in their clean Sunday-clothes, is the
first duty. They should all know that they are expected to be at
church. For the invalids and the aged, the means of conveyance should
be provided. The old man, the old woman who nursed your parents, and
who have descended to you as the heir-looms of an ancient house; or,
it may be, who began life with you, have nursed your children, and
helped to build up your house and your fortune--shall they be
forgotten in the feebleness of their age? Do they still stand to
service, and help to make their bread; and when the merry crowd hies
away “to the Sabbath-meeting,” shall the weight of their years make
them turn to their seat, because they shrink from the journey of a few
miles on foot? This should not be. We should provide for the old and
the infirm to ride to meeting. I wonder some masters do not fear that
an ungrateful son will one day feed them in their old age in a private
room and from a trencher, instead of at the family table and around
the domestic hearthstone! To the credit of our system, the old family
servants are generally honored. White and black do reverence to their
age and their position. This is right.

But why should the master think it beneath him to call the young
together on a Sabbath afternoon, and invite the attendance of all the
slaves, and instruct them orally in the truths and lessons of our holy
religion: What God is: what the Saviour is: what man is: what is to
become of us when we die; and how we may be saved. The simple forms of
these truths as laid down in our Catechism may by any one be made
interesting to children and instructive to all. The children should
be taught by being made to repeat after us and respond all together.
Their attention will be aroused, and they will readily catch the idea
of a great many truths that may lead them to fear God and desire to do
right. Withal, it will make them feel that you care for them. They
will think more of themselves. They will rise in the scale of social
being. They will be less trouble to you. They will be more happy in
themselves, and ultimately share with you the joys of heaven. Much of
all that is here enjoined, any gentleman may do and ought to do,
though he may not be a Christian. He will himself be profited by the
exercise it will give his mind on spiritual subjects.

I should not omit to notice, that in speaking of the duty of the
_master_, I use the term generically--I embrace the mistress. All the
duties enjoined require the cordial coöperation of the mistress. Much
of it, if done at all, must be done by her. She oftener has a heart to
do it. She can do it, and, with a little encouragement, will do it,
when other persons perhaps cannot or will not. If, then, the master
will not be the high-priest as well as the lawgiver of his house, let
him, at least, devolve a portion of the care for the religious
interest of the slaves upon his wife, and especially that which
relates to the instruction of the young. She, also, can often employ
her own children to aid in this service. It will both interest and
instruct them.

So far as my observation goes, I am satisfied that the Southern family
in which a proper discipline is maintained, and domestic religion, in
that wide sense which embraces both blacks and whites, is duly
cultivated, for good order, for peace and quiet, for general morality
and general prosperity, in all that concerns the comfort and happiness
of a family, stands unrivalled in the history of the country.


THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

Publications of the

M. E. CHURCH, SOUTH.


     =THE HOME CIRCLE; a Monthly Periodical, devoted to Religion and
     Literature. Rev. L. D. Huston, Editor. Super-royal octavo, 48
     pp., each number embellished with one or more engravings.=

      =THE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, a Religious Family Paper, published
      weekly. Rev. J. B. McFerrin, D. D., Editor. Price $1.50,
      invariably in advance.=

      =THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL VISITOR; a Monthly Illustrated Journal,
      designed for Sabbath-schools. Rev. L. D. Huston, Editor.=

Price of single copies, 25 cents per year; from 5 to 20 copies to one
address, 23 cents; from 20 to 50 copies, 20 cents; 50 to 100 copies,
18 cents; 100 copies and over, 15 cents.

     =BEREAVED PARENTS CONSOLED. By the Rev. John Thornton. Carefully
     revised, with an Introduction and Selection of Lyrics for the
     Bereaved, by Thos. O. Summers. 18mo, full gilt, 50 cents; gilt
     backs, 40 cents. 24mo, muslin, 30 cents.=

This is a perfect gem. It will be highly prized in the house of
mourning. The grounds of consolation here adduced are admirably
adapted to sustain the stricken spirit; and the “Songs” are just such
as the Christian may sing to profit “in the night” of bereavement and
sorrow.

     =METHODIST PAMPHLETS FOR THE PEOPLE.=

    =Series I. On Church Economy. 12 pamphlets, 25 cents.=
          =II. On Doctrinal Points. 12 pamphlets, 25 cents.=
         =III. On Romanism. 24 pamphlets, 30 cents.=
          =IV. On Temperance. 12 pamphlets, 15 cents.=

     =SUMMERS ON HOLINESS. Price, neatly bound in muslin, 22 cents,
     with the usual discount to wholesale dealers.=

“Ability, perspicuity, precision, characterize his performance. His
method and proofs are eminently striking. * * * The work is valuable
as a doctrinal treatise, and is a seasonable addition to Methodist
theological literature. We commend it to the Church, to all whose
views are unsettled on the subject, and especially to those who differ
with us concerning it.”--_Southern Methodist Quarterly._

     =BAPTISM: A Treatise on the Nature, Perpetuity, Subjects,
     Administrator, Mode, and Use of the Initiating Ordinance of the
     Christian Church. With an Appendix, containing Strictures on
     Dr. Howell’s “Evils of Infant Baptism,” Plates illustrating the
     Primitive Mode of Baptism, &c. By Thomas O. Summers. 12mo, pp.
     252.=

This book is got up in handsome style, and sold at 65 cents retail,
with the usual discount to wholesale purchasers. Competent
judges--among them the bishops and editors of the Church--have spoken
of this work in unqualified terms of approval. Several thousand copies
were sold very soon after its first issue. Dr. M’Clintock, Ed. Meth.
Quar. Review, says: “This volume differs from ordinary books on the
subject, in treating at some length of the ‘Administrator of Baptism,’
and of the ‘Use of Baptism,’--points rarely noticed, or, if at all,
very inadequately discussed, in the current treatises. It differs from
them also, and very happily, in the clearness of its arrangement, in
the aptness with which the joints of the discussion fit each other,
and in the discrimination with which important points are brought out
strongly, while minor ones are comparatively thrown into abeyance. In
an appendix Dr. Summers reviews Howell’s ‘Evils of Infant Baptism,’
with keen discrimination and with some severity. We cordially commend
this little volume as one of the best summaries of Christian doctrine
on the subject of baptism that has come under our notice.”

     =WESLEY’S SERMONS, with copious Indexes, carefully prepared by
     Thomas O. Summers.=

This is an elegant 12mo edition in four volumes, got up expressly for
the convenience of ministers, Sunday-schools, and family libraries.
Price $2.75--30 per cent. discount to Sunday-schools and wholesale
purchasers.--They are also put up in four packages, as Tracts--price
$1.25.

     =SONGS OF ZION. A Supplement to the Hymn Book of the M. E.
     Church, South. Edited by T. O. Summers. Price 26 cents.=

This work, so loudly called for, has been received with great favor:
the Press of the Church pronounces it just the thing that was in
demand. It should everywhere accompany the Hymn Book.

     =THE GREEK AND EASTERN CHURCHES: their History, Faith, and
     Worship. 18mo, pp. 179. Price 30 cents.=

We have never met with so much reliable information on the Oriental
churches, in so short a compass, as is found in this neat volume.

     =SEASONS, MONTHS, AND DAYS. By Thos. O. Summers. 18mo, pp. 110.
     Price 25 cents.=

The design of this book is to make the reader acquainted with the
origin and import of the names by which the seasons, months, and days
are designated, including some of the historical, mythological, and
poetical relations of the subject, and suggesting such moral
reflections as may lead the contemplative mind through nature up to
nature’s God. The embellishments are beautiful and illustrative.

     =DIALOGUES ON POPERY. By Jacob Stanley. 18mo, pp. 264. Price 35
     cents.=

A carefully revised and beautifully printed edition of an excellent
book: it has had an extensive circulation on both sides of the
Atlantic.

     =THE HEBREW MISSIONARY; Essays Exegetical and Practical, on the
     Book of Jonah. By the Rev. Joseph Cross, D. D. 18mo, pp. 242.
     Price 40 cents.=

This book is a valuable contribution to our Church literature--it
exhibits great research, and abounds in eloquent passages and valuable
reflections. The engravings and maps illustrative of Nineveh, as
brought to light by Layard and others, add great interest to the work.

     =PROGRESS: CONSIDERED WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE M. E.
     CHURCH, SOUTH. By the Rev. W. J. Sasnett, of Emory College, pp.
     320. Price 80 cents.=

This is an elegantly printed 12mo volume, containing 320 pages. The
Advocates speak of it as a book of no common interest. The Home Circle
says: “The work is an earnest plea and practical plan for progress in
the Methodist Church; yet, with all our love of the old landmarks and
_prima facie_ opposition to any interference with them, we have not
met with a sentiment or suggestion that we cannot endorse. We
therefore express the earnest hope that the book may find immediate
access to the entire Church. The sooner we all get our minds fully
settled upon the matters of which it treats, the better: and its pages
will greatly contribute to such settlement.”

     =AN APOLOGY FOR THE BIBLE. In a Series of Letters addressed to
     Thomas Paine, Author of the “Age of Reason.” By Bishop Watson.
     18mo, pp. 228. Price 30 cents.=

A new and elegantly printed edition of this great Christian classic.

     =A REFUTATION CF THE THEOLOGICAL WORKS OF THOMAS PAINE, not
     noticed by Bishop Watson in his “Apology for the Bible.” By
     Thos. O. Summers. 18mo, pp. 84. Price 25 cents.=

The Memphis Christian Advocate speaks of this work as “seasonable”--in
view of the revival of infidelity of the Thomas Paine type--and says,
“The argument is terse and concise, but satisfactory.” The author
aimed at saying a great deal in a few words. The “Refutation” is
beautifully gotten up. The “Apology” and “Refutation” are also bound
together, price 45 cents.

     =STRICTURES ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT. By the Rev. R. Abbey Price 5
     cents.=

This essay has a special bearing on the government of the Baptist
Church.

     =HYMNS FOR SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES, specially designed for the
     Children cf the Church. Edited by Thos. O. Summers. Net price
     to Sunday-schools: boards, 10 cents; roan, 21 cents. Retail, 30
     cents; roan gilt, 50 cents; morocco, 75 cents. The fine ones
     are gems. The book consists of 384 pages, and contains 600
     Hymns.=

“As its title indicates, it is a collection especially designed for
the children of the Church, and it has been compiled with the ability,
research, and taste which characterize the labors of the accomplished
editor in the department of hymnology. We are not saying too much for
it, when we affirm that it leaves nothing to be desiderated hereafter
in this line.”--_Southern Christian Advocate._

     =THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHER; or, the Catechetical Office. By
     Thos. O. Summers. 18mo, pp. 144. Price 30 cents.=

This work discusses the most interesting questions connected with the
Catechetical System--the Teacher’s Qualifications, Difficulties, and
Encouragements. It exhibits the obligations of pastors and teachers to
the children of the Church, and shows how they may be discharged.

     =OLD MICHAEL AND YOUNG MAURICE; or, Country Scenes in England.
     18mo, pp. 178. Price 30 cents.=

A truthful, fascinating, and instructive volume.

     =TALKS, PLEASANT AND PROFITABLE. By Thos. O. Summers 18mo, pp.
     146. Price 30 cents.=

The topics of these dialogues are Orphans, May-Day, Birds, Temperance,
Peter and the Tribute-money, Retribution, Recognition of Friends in
Heaven. The style is adapted to the minds of intelligent youth The
engravings are handsome.

     =THE WORLD OF WATERS. By Fanny Osborne. With Illustrations Two
     vols. 18mo, pp. 186, 224. Price 60 cents.=

A couple of fascinating and instructive volumes. The tales and
narratives beguile, like sailors’ yarns, the voyage over the world of
waters. The descriptions and anecdotes blend the charm of romance with
the credibility of truth.

     =SCRIPTURE VIEWS OF THE HEAVENLY WORLD. By J. Edmondson, A.M.
     18mo, pp. 249. Price 35 cents.=

A neat edition of a book which takes rank with Baxter’s Saints’
Rest--to which great work it is in some respects superior.

     =TRIAL OF THE WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. By Bishop
     Sherlock. With an Introduction by Thos. O Summers 18mo, pp.
     137. Price 30 cents.=

This masterly work is got up in convenient form and beautiful style.
The Introduction contains a brief biography of the illustrious author.





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