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Title: An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South
Author: Grimké, Angelina Emily, 1805-1879
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South" ***



Angelina Emily Grimké



"Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not within thyself
that thou shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews. For
if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there
enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place:
but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth
whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. And
Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:--and so will I go in
unto the king, which is not according to law, and _if I perish, I
perish_." Esther IV. 13-16.

Respected Friends,

It is because I feel a deep and tender interest in your present and
eternal welfare that I am willing thus publicly to address you. Some
of you have loved me as a relative, and some have felt bound to me in
Christian sympathy, and Gospel fellowship; and even when compelled by
a strong sense of duty, to break those outward bonds of union which
bound us together as members of the same community, and members of
the same religious denomination, you were generous enough to give me
credit, for sincerity as a Christian, though you believed I had been
most strangely deceived. I thanked you then for your kindness, and
I ask you _now_, for the sake of former confidence, and former
friendship, to read the following pages in the spirit of calm
investigation and fervent prayer. It is because you have known me,
that I write thus unto you.

But there are other Christian women scattered over the Southern
States, a very large number of whom have never seen me, and never
heard my name, and who feel _no_ interest whatever in _me_. But I feel
an interest in _you_, as branches of the same vine from whose root I
daily draw the principle of spiritual vitality--Yes! Sisters in Christ
I feel an interest in _you_, and often has the secret prayer arisen
on your behalf, Lord "open thou their eyes that they may see wondrous
things out of thy Law"--It is then, because I _do feel_ and _do pray_
for you, that I thus address you upon a subject about which of all
others, perhaps you would rather not hear any thing; but, "would to
God ye could bear with me a little in my folly, and indeed bear with
me, for I am jealous over you with godly jealousy." Be not afraid
then to read my appeal; it is _not_ written in the heat of passion
or prejudice, but in that solemn calmness which is the result of
conviction and duty. It is true, I am going to tell you unwelcome
truths, but I mean to speak those _truths in love_, and remember
Solomon says, "faithful are the _wounds_ of a friend." I do not
believe the time has yet come when _Christian women_ "will not endure
sound doctrine," even on the subject of Slavery, if it is spoken to
them in tenderness and love, therefore I now address _you_.

To all of you then, known or unknown, relatives or strangers, (for you
are all _one_ in Christ,) I would speak. I have felt for you at this
time, when unwelcome light is pouring in upon the world on the subject
of slavery; light which even Christians would exclude, if they could,
from our country, or at any rate from the southern portion of it,
saying, as its rays strike the rock bound coasts of New England and
scatter their warmth and radiance over her hills and valleys, and from
thence travel onward over the Palisades of the Hudson, and down the
soft flowing waters of the Delaware and gild the waves of the Potomac,
"hitherto shalt thou come and no further;" I know that even professors
of His name who has been emphatically called the "Light of the world"
would, if they could, build a wall of adamant around the Southern
States whose top might reach unto heaven, in order to shut out the
light which is bounding from mountain to mountain and from the hills
to the plains and valleys beneath, through the vast extent of our
Northern States. But believe me, when I tell you, their attempts will
be as utterly fruitless as were the efforts of the builders of Babel;
and why? Because moral, like natural light, is so extremely subtle in
its nature as to overleap all human barriers, and laugh at the puny
efforts of man to control it. All the excuses and palliations of this
system must inevitably be swept away, just as other "refuges of lies"
have been, by the irresistible torrent of a rectified public opinion.
"The _supporters_ of the slave system," says Jonathan Dymond in his
admirable work on the Principles of Morality, "will _hereafter_ be
regarded with the _same_ public feeling, as he who was an advocate for
the slave trade _now is_." It will be, and that very soon, clearly
perceived and fully acknowledged by all the virtuous and the candid,
that in _principle_ it is as sinful to hold a human being in bondage
who has been born in Carolina, as one who has been born in Africa.
All that sophistry of argument which has been employed to prove, that
although it is sinful to send to Africa to procure men and women as
slaves, who have never been in slavery, that still, it is not sinful
to keep those in bondage who have come down by inheritance, will be
utterly overthrown. We must come back to the good old doctrine of our
forefathers who declared to the world, "this self evident truth that
_all_ men are created equal, and that they have certain _inalienable_
rights among which are life, _liberty_, and the pursuit of happiness."
It is even a greater absurdity to suppose a man can be legally born
a slave under _our free Republican_ Government, than under the petty
despotisms of barbarian Africa. If then, we have no right to enslave
an African, surely we can have none to enslave an American; if it is a
self evident truth that _all_ men, every where and of every color are
born equal, and have an _inalienable right to liberty_, then it is
equally true that _no_ man can be born a slave, and no man can ever
_rightfully_ be reduced to _involuntary_ bondage and held as a slave,
however fair may be the claim of his master or mistress through wills
and title-deeds.

But after all, it may be said, our fathers were certainly mistaken,
for the Bible sanctions Slavery, and that is the highest authority.
Now the Bible is my ultimate appeal in all matters of faith and
practice, and it is to _this test_ I am anxious to bring the subject
at issue between us. Let us then begin with Adam and examine the
charter of privileges which was given to him. "Have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living
thing that moveth upon the earth." In the eighth Psalm we have a still
fuller description of this charter which through Adam was given to
all mankind. "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy
hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen,
yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the
sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." And after
the flood when this charter of human rights was renewed, we find _no
additional_ power vested in man. "And the fear of you and the dread of
you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air,
and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of
the sea, into your hand are they delivered." In this charter, although
the different kinds of _irrational_ beings are so particularly
enumerated, and supreme dominion over _all of them_ is granted, yet
_man_ is _never_ vested with this dominion _over his fellow man;_
he was never told that any of the human species were put _under his
feet;_ it was only _all things_, and man, who was created in the image
of his Maker, _never_ can properly be termed a _thing_, though the
laws of Slave States do call him "a chattel personal;" _Man_ then, I
assert _never_ was put _under the feet of man_, by that first charter
of human rights which was given by God, to the Fathers of the
Antediluvian and Postdiluvian worlds, therefore this doctrine of
equality is based on the Bible.

But it may be argued, that in the very chapter of Genesis from which I
have last quoted, will be found the curse pronounced upon Canaan, by
which his posterity was consigned to servitude under his brothers Shem
and Japheth. I know this prophecy was uttered, and was most fearfully
and wonderfully fulfilled, through the immediate descendants of
Canaan, i.e. the Canaanites, and I do not know but it has been through
all the children of Ham but I do know that prophecy does _not_ tell us
what _ought to be_, but what actually does take place, ages after it
has been delivered, and that if we justify America for enslaving
the children of Africa, we must also justify Egypt for reducing
the children of Israel to bondage, for the latter was foretold as
explicitly as the former. I am well aware that prophecy has often been
urged as an excuse for Slavery, but be not deceived, the fulfilment of
prophecy will _not cover one sin_ in the awful day of account. Hear
what our Saviour says on this subject; "it must needs be that offences
come, but _woe unto that man through whom they come"_--Witness some
fulfilment of this declaration in the tremendous destruction, of
Jerusalem, occasioned by that most nefarious of all crimes the
crucifixion of the Son of God. Did the fact of that event having been
foretold, exculpate the Jews from sin in perpetrating it; No--for
hear what the Apostle Peter says to them on this subject, "Him being
delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, _ye_
have taken, and by _wicked_ hands have crucified and slain." Other
striking instances might be adduced, but these will suffice.

But it has been urged that the patriarchs held slaves, and therefore,
slavery is right. Do you really believe that patriarchal servitude was
like American slavery? Can you believe it? If so, read the history
of these primitive fathers of the church and be undeceived. Look at
Abraham, though so great a man, going to the herd himself and fetching
a calf from thence and serving it up with his own hands, for the
entertainment of his guests. Look at Sarah, that princess as her name
signifies, baking cakes upon the hearth. If the servants they had were
like Southern slaves, would they have performed such comparatively
menial offices for themselves? Hear too the plaintive lamentation of
Abraham when he feared he should have no son to bear his name down
to posterity. "Behold thou hast given me no seed, &c, one born in my
house _is mine_ heir." From this it appears that one of his _servants_
was to inherit his immense estate. Is this like Southern slavery? I
leave it to your own good sense and candor to decide. Besides, such
was the footing upon which Abraham was with _his_ servants, that he
trusted them with arms. Are slaveholders willing to put swords and
pistols into the hands of their slaves? He was as a father among his
servants; what are planters and masters generally among theirs? When
the institution of circumcision was established, Abraham was commanded
thus; "He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you,
_every_ man-child in your generations; he that is born in the house,
or bought with money of any stranger which is not of thy seed." And
to render this command with regard to his _servants_ still more
impressive it is repeated in the very next verse; and herein we may
perceive the great care which was taken by God to guard the _rights
of servants_ even under this "dark dispensation." What too was the
testimony given to the faithfulness of this eminent patriarch. "For I
know him that he will command his children and his _household_ after
him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and
judgment." Now my dear friends many of you believe that circumcision
has been superseded by baptism in the Church; _Are you_ careful to
have _all_ that are born in your house or bought with money of any
stranger, baptized? Are _you_ as faithful as Abraham to command
_your household to keep the way of the Lord?_ I leave it to your own
consciences to decide. Was patriarchal servitude then like American

But I shall be told, God sanctioned Slavery, yea commanded Slavery
under the Jewish Dispensation. Let us examine this subject calmly and
prayerfully. I admit that a species of _servitude_ was permitted to
the Jews, but in studying the subject I have been struck with wonder
and admiration at perceiving how carefully the servant was guarded
from violence, injustice and wrong. I will first inform you how these
servants became servants, for I think this a very important part of
our subject. From consulting Horne, Calmet and the Bible, I find there
were six different ways by which the Hebrews became servants legally.

1. If reduced to extreme poverty, a Hebrew might sell himself, i.e.
his services, for six years, in which case _he_ received the purchase
money _himself_. Lev. xxv, 39.

2. A father might sell his children as servants, i.e. his _daughters_,
in which circumstance it was understood the daughter was to be the
wife or daughter-in-law of the man who bought her, and the _father_
received the price. In other words, Jewish women were sold as _white
women_ were in the first settlement of Virginia--as _wives_, _not_ as
slaves. Ex. xxi, 7.

3. Insolvent debtors might be delivered to their creditors as
servants. 2 Kings iv, 1

4. Thieves not able to make restitution for their thefts, were sold
for the benefit of the injured person. Ex. xxii, 3.

5. They might be born in servitude. Ex. xxi, 4.

6. If a Hebrew had sold himself to a rich Gentile, he might be
redeemed by one of his brethren at any time the money was offered; and
he who redeemed him, was _not_ to take advantage of the favor thus
conferred, and rule over him with rigor. Lev. xxv, 47-55.

Before going into an examination of the laws by which these servants
were protected, I would just ask whether American slaves have become
slaves in any of the ways in which the Hebrews became servants. Did
they sell themselves into slavery and receive the purchase money into
their own hands? No! Did they become insolvent, and by their own
imprudence subject themselves to be sold as slaves? No! Did they steal
the property of another, and were they sold to make restitution for
their crimes? No! Did their present masters, as an act of kindness,
redeem them from some heathen tyrant to whom _they had sold
themselves_ in the dark hour of adversity? No! Were they born in
slavery? No! No! not according to _Jewish Law_, for the servants who
were born in servitude among them, were born of parents who had _sold
themselves_ for six years: Ex. xxi, 4. Were the female slaves of
the South sold by their fathers? How shall I answer this question?
Thousands and tens of thousands never were, _their_ fathers _never_
have received the poor compensation of silver or gold for the tears
and toils, the suffering, and anguish, and hopeless bondage of _their_
daughters. They labor day by day, and year by year, side by side, in
the same field, if haply their daughters are permitted to remain on
the same plantation with them, instead of being as they often are,
separated from their parents and sold into distant states, never again
to meet on earth. But do the _fathers of the South ever sell their
daughters_? My heart beats, and my hand trembles, as I write the awful
affirmative, Yes! The fathers of this Christian land often sell
their daughters, _not_ as Jewish parents did, to be the wives and
daughters-in-law of the man who buys them, but to be the abject slaves
of petty tyrants and irresponsible masters. Is it not so, my friends?
I leave it to your own candor to corroborate my assertion. Southern
slaves then have _not_ become slaves in any of the six different ways
in which Hebrews became servants, and I hesitate not to say that
American masters _cannot_ according to _Jewish law_ substantiate their
claim to the men, women, or children they now hold in bondage.

But there was one way in which a Jew might illegally be reduced to
servitude; it was this, he might be _stolen_ and afterwards sold as a
slave, as was Joseph. To guard most effectually against this dreadful
crime of manstealing, God enacted this severe law. "He that stealeth a
man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be
put to death." [1] As I have tried American Slavery by _legal_ Hebrew
servitude, and found, (to your surprise, perhaps,) that Jewish law
cannot justify the slaveholder's claim, let us now try it by _illegal_
Hebrew bondage. Have the Southern slaves then been, stolen? If they
did not sell themselves into bondage; if they were not sold as
insolvent debtors or as thieves; if they were not redeemed from a
heathen master to whom _they had sold themselves_; if they were not
born in servitude according to Hebrew law; and if the females were
not sold by their fathers as wives and daughters-in-law to those who
purchased them; then what shall we say of them? what can we say of
them but that according _to Hebrew Law they have been stolen_.

But I shall be told that the Jews had other servants who were absolute
slaves. Let us look a little into this also. They had other servants
who were procured in two different ways.

1. Captives taken in war were reduced to bondage instead of being
killed; but we are not told that their children were enslaved Deut.
xx, 14.

2. Bondmen and bondmaids might be bought from the heathen round about
them; these were left by fathers to their children after them, but
it does not appear that the _children_ of these servants ever were
reduced to servitude. Lev. xxv, 44.

I will now try the right of the southern planter by the claims of
Hebrew masters over their _heathen_ slaves. Were the southern slaves
taken captive in war? No! Were they bought from the heathen? No! for
surely, no one will _now_ vindicate the slave-trade so far as to
assert that slaves were bought from the heathen who were obtained by
that system of piracy. The _only_ excuse for holding southern slaves
is that they were born in slavery, but we have seen that they were
_not_ born in servitude as Jewish servants were, and that the children
of heathen slaves were not legally subjected to bondage even under the
Mosaic Law. How then have the slaves of the South been obtained?

I will next proceed to an examination of those laws which were enacted
in order to protect the Hebrew and the Heathen servant; for I wish you
to understand that _both_ are protected by Him, of whom it is said
"his mercies are over _all_ his works." I will first speak of those
which secured the rights of Hebrew servants. This code was headed

1. Thou shalt _not_ rule over him with _rigor_, but shalt fear thy

2. If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve, and in
the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing. Ex. xxi, 2. [2]

3. If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were
married, then his wife shall go out with him.

4. If his master have given him a wife and she have borne him sons and
daughters, the wife and her children shall be his master's, and he
shall go out by himself.

5. 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, and he shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post,
and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall
serve him _forever_. Ex. xxi, 5-6.

6. If a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that
it perish, he shall let him go _free_ for his eye's sake. And if he
smite out his man servant's tooth or his maid servant's tooth, he
shall let him go _free_ for his tooth's sake. Ex. xxi, 26, 27.

7. On the Sabbath rest was secured to servants by the fourth
commandment. Ex. xx, 10.

8. Servants were permitted to unite with their masters three times in
every year in celebrating the Passover, the feast of Pentecost, and
the feast of Tabernacles; every male throughout the land was to appear
before the Lord at Jerusalem with a gift; here the bond and the free
stood on common ground. Deut. xvi.

9. If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under
his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue
a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money. Ex. xxi,
20, 21.

From these laws we learn that Hebrew men servants were bound to serve
their masters _only six_ years, unless their attachment to their
employers their wives and children, should induce them to wish
to remain in servitude, in which case, in order to prevent the
possibility of deception on the part of the master, the servant was
first taken before the magistrate, where he openly declared his
intention of continuing in his master's service, (probably a public
register was kept of such) he was then conducted to the door of the
house, (in warm climates doors are thrown open,) and _there_ his ear
was _publicly_ bored, and by submitting to this operation he testified
his willingness to serve him _forever_, i.e. during his life, for
Jewish Rabbins who must have understood Jewish _slavery_, (as it is
called,) "affirm that servants were set free at the death of their
masters and did _not_ descend to their heirs:" or that he was to
serve him until the year of Jubilee, when _all_ servants were set at
liberty. To protect servants from violence, it was ordained that if a
master struck out the tooth or destroyed the eye of a servant, that
servant immediately became _free_, for such an act of violence
evidently showed he was unfit to possess the power of a master, and
therefore that power was taken from him. All servants enjoyed the rest
of the Sabbath and partook of the privileges and festivities of the
three great Jewish Feasts; and if a servant died under the infliction
of chastisement, his master was surely to be punished. As a tooth
for a tooth and life for life was the Jewish law, of course he was
punished with death. I know that great stress has been laid upon the
following verse: "Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he
shall not be punished, for he is his money."

Slaveholders, and the apologists of slavery, have eagerly seized upon
this little passage of scripture, and held it up as the masters' Magna
Charta, by which they were licensed by God himself to commit the
greatest outrages upon the defenceless victims of their oppression.
But, my friends, was it designed to be so? If our Heavenly Father
would protect by law the eye and the tooth of a Hebrew servant, can we
for a moment believe that he would abandon that same servant to the
brutal rage of a master who would destroy even life itself. Do we not
rather see in this, the _only_ law which protected masters, and was
it not right that in case of the death of a servant, one or two days
after chastisement was inflicted, to which other circumstances might
have contributed, that the master should be protected when, in all
probability, he never intended to produce so fatal a result? But the
phrase "he is his money" has been adduced to show that Hebrew servants
were regarded as mere _things_, "chattels personal;" if so, why were
so many laws made to _secure their rights as men_, and to ensure their
rising into equality and freedom? If they were mere _things_, why were
they regarded as responsible beings, and one law made for them as well
as for their masters? But I pass on now to the consideration of how
the _female_ Jewish servants were protected by _law_.

1. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself,
then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto another nation he
shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

2. If he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after
the manner of daughters.

3. If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of
marriage, shall he not diminish.

4. If he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out _free_
without money.

On these laws I will give you Calmet's remarks; "A father could not
sell his daughter as a slave, according to the Rabbins, until she
was at the age of puberty, and unless he were reduced to the utmost
indigence. Besides when a master bought an Israelitish girl, it was
_always_ with the presumption that he would take her to wife. Hence
Moses adds, 'if she please not her master, and he does not think
fit to marry her, he shall set her at liberty,' or according to the
Hebrew, 'he shall let her be redeemed.' 'To sell her to another nation
he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her;' as
to the engagement implied, at least of taking her to wife. 'If he have
betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of
daughters, i.e. he shall take care that his son uses her as his wife,
that he does not despise or maltreat her. If he make his son
marry another wife, he shall give her her dowry, her clothes and
compensation for her virginity; if he does none of these three, she
shall _go out free_ without money." Thus were the _rights of female
servants carefully secured by law_ under the Jewish Dispensation; and
now I would ask, are the rights of female slaves at the South thus
secured? Are _they_ sold only as wives and daughters-in-law, and when
not treated as such, are they allowed to _go out free?_ No! They have
_all_ not only been illegally obtained as servants according to Hebrew
law, but they are also illegally _held_ in bondage. Masters at the
South and West have all forfeited their claims, (_if they ever had
any_,) to their female slaves.

We come now to examine the case of those servants who were "of the
heathen round about;" Were _they_ left entirely unprotected by law?
Horne in speaking of the law, "Thou shalt not rule over him with
rigor, but shall fear thy God," remarks, "this law Lev. xxv, 43, it
is true speaks expressly of slaves who were of Hebrew descent; but
as _alien born_ slaves were ingrafted into the Hebrew Church by
circumcision, _there is no doubt_ but that it applied to _all_
slaves;" if so, then we may reasonably suppose that the other
protective laws extended to them also; and that the only difference
between Hebrew and Heathen servants lay in this, that the former
served but six years unless they chose to remain longer, and were
always freed at the death of their masters; whereas the latter served
until the year of Jubilee, though that might include a period of
forty-nine years,--and were left from father to son.

There are however two other laws which I have not yet noticed. The
one effectually prevented _all involuntary_ servitude, and the other
completely abolished Jewish servitude every fifty years. They were
equally operative upon the Heathen and the Hebrew.

1. "Thou shall _not_ deliver unto his master the servant that is
escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even
among you, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates
where it liketh him best: thou shall _not_ oppress him." Deut. xxiii,
15, 16.

2. "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim _Liberty_
throughout _all_ the land, unto _all_ the inhabitants thereof: it
shall be a jubilee unto you." Lev. xxv, 10.

Here, then, we see that by this first law, the _door of Freedom was
opened wide to every servant who_ had any cause whatever for
complaint; if he was unhappy with his master, all he had to do was to
leave him, and _no man_ had a right to deliver him back to him again,
and not only so, but the absconded servant was to _choose_ where he
should live, and no Jew was permitted to oppress him. He left his
master just as our Northern servants leave us; we have no power to
compel them to remain with us, and no man has any right to oppress
them; they go and dwell in that place where it chooseth them, and live
just where they like. Is it so at the South? Is the poor runaway slave
protected _by law_ from the violence of that master whose oppression
and cruelty has driven him from his plantation or his house? No! no!
Even the free states of the North are compelled to deliver unto his
master the servant that is escaped from his master into them. By
_human_ law, under the _Christian Dispensation_, in the _nineteenth
century we_ are commanded to do, what _God_ more than _three thousand_
years ago, under the _Mosaic Dispensation, positively commanded_ the
Jews _not_ to do. In the wide domain even of our free states, there is
not _one_ city of refuge for the poor runaway fugitive; not one spot
upon which he can stand and say, I am a free man--I am protected in my
rights as a _man_, by the strong arm of the law; no! _not one_. How
long the North will thus shake hands with the South in sin, I know
not. How long she will stand by like the persecutor Saul, _consenting_
unto the death of Stephen, and keeping the raiment of them that slew
him. I know not; but one thing I do know, the _guilt of the North_ is
increasing in a tremendous ratio as light is pouring in upon her on
the subject and the sin of slavery. As the sun of righteousness climbs
higher and higher in the moral heavens, she will stand still more and
more abashed as the query is thundered down into her ear, "_Who_ hath
required _this_ at thy hand?" It will be found _no_ excuse then that
the Constitution of our country required that _persons bound to
service_ escaping from their masters should be delivered up; no more
excuse than was the reason which Adam assigned for eating the forbidden
fruit. _He_ was _condemned and punished because_ he hearkened to the
voice of _his wife_, rather than to the command of his Maker; and _we_
will assuredly be condemned and punished for obeying _Man_ rather than
_God_, if we do not speedily repent and bring forth fruits meet for
repentance. Yea, are we not receiving chastisement even _now_?

But by the second of these laws a still more astonishing fact is
disclosed. If the first effectually prevented _all involuntary
servitude_, the last absolutely forbade even _voluntary servitude
being perpetual_. On the great day of atonement every fiftieth year
the Jubilee trumpet was sounded throughout the land of Judea, and
_Liberty_ was proclaimed to _all_ the inhabitants thereof. I will not
say that the servants' _chains_ fell off and their _manacles_ were
burst, for there is no evidence that Jewish servants _ever_ felt the
weight of iron chains, and collars, and handcuffs; but I do say that
even the man who had voluntarily sold himself and the _heathen_ who
had been sold to a Hebrew master, were set free, the one as well as
the other. This law was evidently designed to prevent the oppression
of the poor, and the possibility of such a thing as _perpetual
servitude_ existing among them.

Where, then, I would ask, is the warrant, the justification, or the
palliation of American Slavery from Hebrew servitude? How many of
the southern slaves would now be in bondage according to the laws of
Moses; Not one. You may observe that I have carefully avoided using
the term _slavery_ when speaking of Jewish servitude; and simply for
this reason, that _no such thing_ existed among that people; the word
translated servant does _not_ mean _slave_, it is the same that is
applied to Abraham, to Moses, to Elisha and the prophets generally.
Slavery then never existed under the Jewish Dispensation at all, and
I cannot but regard it as an aspersion on the character of Him who is
"glorious in Holiness" for any one to assert that "_God sanctioned,
yea commanded slavery_ under the old dispensation." I would fain
lift my feeble voice to vindicate Jehovah's character from so foul a
slander. If slaveholders are determined to hold slaves as long as
they can, let them not dare to say that the God of mercy and of truth
_ever_ sanctioned such a system of cruelty and wrong. It is blasphemy
against Him.

We have seen that the code of laws framed by Moses with regard to
servants was designed to protect them as men and women, to secure to
them their rights as human beings, to guard them from oppression and
defend them from violence of every kind. Let us now turn to the Slave
laws of the South and West and examine them too. I will give you the
substance only, because I fear I shall tresspass too much on your
time, were I to quote them at length.

1. _Slavery_ is hereditary and perpetual, to the last moment of the
slave's earthly existence, and to all his descendants to the latest

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

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

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

5. Neither a slave nor a free colored person can be a witness against
any _white_, or free person, in a court of justice, however atrocious
may have been the crimes they have seen him commit, if such testimony
would be for the benefit of a _slave_; but they may give testimony
_against a fellow slave_, or free colored man, even in cases affecting
life, if the _master_ is to reap the advantage of it.

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

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

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

9. The slave is entirely unprotected in his domestic relations.

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

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

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

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

14. The laws operate most oppressively upon free people of color. [4]
Shall I ask you now my friends, to draw the parallel between Jewish
_servitude_ and American _slavery_? No! For there is _no likeness_ in
the two systems; I ask you rather to mark the contrast. The laws of
Moses _protected servants_ in their _rights as men and women_, guarded
them from oppression and defended them from wrong. The Code Noir of
the South _robs the slave of all his rights_ as a _man_, reduces him
to a chattel personal, and defends the master in the exercise of the
most unnatural and unwarrantable power over his slave. They each bear
the impress of the hand which formed them. The attributes of justice
and mercy are shadowed out in the Hebrew code; those of injustice
and cruelty, in the Code Noir of America. Truly it was wise in the
slaveholders of the South to declare their slaves to be "chattels
personal;" for before they could be robbed of wages, wives, children,
and friends, it was absolutely necessary to deny they were human
beings. It is wise in them, to keep them in abject ignorance, for the
strong man armed must be bound before we can spoil his house--the
powerful intellect of man must be bound down with the iron chains of
nescience before we can rob him of his rights as a man; we must reduce
him to a _thing_ before we can claim the right to set our feet upon
his neck, because it was only _all things_ which were originally _put
under the feet of man_ by the Almighty and Beneficent Father of all,
who has declared himself to be _no respecter_ of persons, whether red,
white or black.

But some have even said that Jesus Christ did not condemn slavery. To
this I reply that our Holy Redeemer lived and preached among the Jews
only. The laws which Moses had enacted fifteen hundred years previous
to his appearance among them, had never been annulled, and these laws
protected every servant in Palestine. If then He did not condemn
Jewish servitude this does not prove that he would not have condemned
such a monstrous system as that of American _slavery_, if that had
existed among them. But did not Jesus condemn slavery? Let us examine
some of his precepts. "_Whatsoever_ ye would that men should do to
you, do _ye even so to them_," Let every slaveholder apply these
queries to his own heart; Am _I_ willing to be a slave--Am _I_ willing
to see _my_ wife the slave of another--Am _I_ willing to see my mother
a slave, or my father, my sister or my brother? If _not_, then in
holding others as slaves, I am doing what I would _not_ wish to be
done to me or any relative I have; and thus have I broken this golden
rule which was given _me_ to walk by.

But some slaveholders have said, "we were never in bondage to any
man," and therefore the yoke of bondage would be insufferable to us,
but slaves are accustomed to it, their backs are fitted to the burden.
Well, I am willing to admit that you who have lived in freedom would
find slavery even more oppressive than the poor slave does, but then
you may try this question in another form--Am I willing to reduce _my
little child_ to slavery? You know that _if it is brought up a slave_
it will never know any contrast, between freedom and bondage, its back
will become fitted to the burden just as the negro child's does--_not
by nature_--but by daily, violent pressure, in the same way that the
head of the Indian child becomes flattened by the boards in which it
is bound. It has been justly remarked that "_God never made a slave_,"
he made man upright; his back was _not_ made to carry burdens, nor his
neck to wear a yoke, and the _man_ must be crushed within him, before
_his_ back can be _fitted_ to the burden of perpetual slavery; and
that his back is _not_ fitted to it, is manifest by the insurrections
that so often disturb the peace and security of slaveholding
countries. Who ever heard of a rebellion of the beasts of the field;
and why not? simply because _they_ were all placed _under the feet of
man_, into whose hand they were delivered; it was originally designed
that they should serve him, therefore their necks have been formed
for the yoke, and their backs for the burden; but _not so with man_,
intellectual, immortal man! I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers;
Are you willing to enslave _your_ children? You start back with horror
and indignation at such a question. But why, if slavery is _no wrong_
to those upon whom it is imposed? why, if as has often been said,
slaves are happier than their masters, free from the cares and
perplexities of providing for themselves and their families? why not
place _your children_ in the way of being supported without your
having the trouble to provide for them, or they for themselves? Do you
not perceive that as soon as this golden rule of action is applied to
_yourselves_ that you involuntarily shrink from the test; as soon as
_your_ actions are weighed in _this_ balance of the sanctuary that
_you are found wanting_? Try yourselves by another of the Divine
precepts, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Can we love a man
_as_ we love _ourselves_ if we do, and continue to do unto him, what
we would not wish any one to do to us? Look too, at Christ's example,
what does he say of himself, "I came _not_ to be ministered unto, but
to minister." Can you for a moment imagine the meek, and lowly, and
compassionate Saviour, a _slaveholder_? do you not shudder at this
thought as much as at that of his being _a warrior_? But why, if
slavery is not sinful?

Again, it has been said, the Apostle Paul did not condemn Slavery, for
he sent Onesimus back to Philemon. I do not think it can be said he
sent him back, for no coercion was made use of. Onesimus was not
thrown into prison and then sent back in chains to his master, as your
runaway slaves often are--this could not possibly have been the case,
because you know Paul as a Jew, was _bound to protect_ the runaway,
_he had no right_ to send any fugitive back to his master. The state
of the case then seems to have been this. Onesimus had been an
unprofitable servant to Philemon and left him--he afterwards became
converted under the Apostle's preaching, and seeing that he had been
to blame in his conduct, and desiring by future fidelity to atone for
past error, he wished to return, and the Apostle gave him the letter
we now have as a recommendation to Philemon, informing him of the
conversion of Onesimus, and entreating him as "Paul the aged" "to
receive him, _not_ now as a servant, but _above_ a servant, a brother
beloved, especially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the
flesh and in the Lord. If thou count _me_ therefore as a partner,
_receive him as myself_." This then surely cannot be forced into a
justification of the practice of returning runaway slaves back to
their masters, to be punished with cruel beatings and scourgings as
they often are. Besides the word [Greek: doulos] here translated
servant, is the same that is made use of in Matt. xviii, 27. Now it
appears that this servant owed his lord ten thousand talents; he
possessed property to a vast amount. Onesimus could not then have been
a _slave_, for slaves do not own their wives, or children; no, not
even their own bodies, much less property. But again, the servitude
which the apostle was accustomed to, must have been very different
from American slavery, for he says, "the heir (or son), as long as he
is a child, differeth _nothing from a servant_, though he be lord of
all. But is under _tutors_ and governors until the time appointed of
the father." From this it appears, that the means of _instruction_
were provided for _servants_ as well as children; and indeed we know
it must have been so among the Jews, because their servants were
not permitted to remain in perpetual bondage, and therefore it was
absolutely necessary they should be prepared to occupy higher stations
in society than those of servants. Is it so at the South, my friends?
Is the daily bread of instruction provided for _your slaves?_ are
their minds enlightened, and they gradually prepared to rise from
the grade of menials into that of _free_, independent members of the
state? Let your own statute book, and your own daily experience,
answer these questions.

If this apostle sanctioned _slavery_, why did he exhort masters-thus
in his epistle to the Ephesians, "and ye, masters, do the same things
unto them (i.e. perform your duties to your servants as unto Christ,
not unto me) _forbearing threatening_; knowing that your master also
is in heaven, neither is _there respect of persons with him_." And in
Colossians, "Masters give unto your servants that which is _just
and equal_, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven." Let
slaveholders only obey these injunctions of Paul, and I am satisfied
slavery would soon be abolished. If he thought it sinful even to
_threaten_ servants, surely he must have thought it sinful to flog and
to beat them with sticks and paddles; indeed, when delineating the
character of a bishop, he expressly names this as one feature of it,
"_no striker_." Let masters give unto their servants that which is
_just_ and _equal_, and all that vast system of unrequited labor would
crumble into ruin. Yes, and if they once felt they had no right to the
_labor_ of their servants without pay, surely they could not think
they had a right to their wives, their children, and their own bodies.
Again, how can it be said Paul sanctioned slavery, when, as though
to put this matter beyond all doubt, in that black catalogue of
sins enumerated in his first epistle to Timothy, he mentions
"_menstealers_," which word may be translated "_slavedealers_." But
you may say, we all despise slavedealers as much as any one can; they
are never admitted into genteel or respectable society. And why not?
Is it not because even you shrink back from the idea of associating
with those who make their fortunes by trading in the bodies and souls
of men, women, and children? whose daily work it is to break human
hearts, by tearing wives from their husbands, and children from their
parents? But why hold slavedealers as despicable, if their trade is
lawful and virtuous? and why despise them more than the _gentlemen of
fortune and standing_ who employ them as _their_ agents? Why more than
the _professors of religion_ who barter their fellow-professors to
them for gold and silver? We do not despise the land agent, or the
physician, or the merchant, and why? Simply because their professions
are virtuous and honorable; and if the trade of men-jobbers was
honorable, you would not despise them either. There is no difference
in _principle_, in _Christian ethics_, between the despised
slavedealer and the _Christian_ who buys slaves from, or sells slaves,
to him; indeed, if slaves were not wanted by the respectable, the
wealthy, and the religious in a community, there would be no slaves
in that community, and of course no _slavedealers_. It is then the
_Christians_ and the _honorable men_ and _women_ of the South, who are
the _main pillars_ of this grand temple built to Mammon and to Moloch.
It is the _most enlightened_ in every country who are _most_ to blame
when any public sin is supported by public opinion, hence Isaiah says,
"_When_ the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount _Zion_ and
on _Jerusalem_, (then) I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of
the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks." And was it not
so? Open the historical records of that age, was not Israel carried
into captivity B.C. 606, Judah B.C. 588, and the stout heart of the
heathen monarchy not punished until B.C. 536, fifty-two years _after_
Judah's, and seventy years _after_ Israel's captivity, when it was
overthrown by Cyrus, king of Persia? Hence, too, the apostle Peter
says, "judgment must _begin at the house of God_." Surely this would
not be the case, if the _professors of religion_ were not _most
worthy_ of blame.

But it may be asked, why are _they_ most culpable? I will tell you, my
friends. It is because sin is imputed to us just in proportion to the
spiritual light we receive. Thus the prophet Amos says, in the name of
Jehovah, "You _only_ have I known of all the families of the earth:
_therefore_ I will punish _you_ for all your iniquities." Hear too
the doctrine of our Lord on this important subject; "The servant
who _knew_ his Lord's will and _prepared not_ himself, neither did
according to his will, shall be beaten with _many_ stripes:" and
why? "For unto whomsoever _much_ is given, _of him_ shall _much_ be
required; and to whom men have committed _much_, of _him_ they will
ask the _more_." Oh! then that the _Christians_ of the south
would ponder these things in their hearts, and awake to the vast
responsibilities which rest _upon them_ at this important crisis.

I have thus, I think, clearly proved to you seven propositions,
viz.: First, that slavery is contrary to the declaration of our
independence. Second, that it is contrary to the first charter of
human rights given to Adam, and renewed to Noah. Third, that the fact
of slavery having been the subject of prophecy, furnishes _no_ excuse
whatever to slavedealers. Fourth, that no such system existed under
the patriarchal dispensation. Fifth, that _slavery never_ existed
under the Jewish dispensation; but so far otherwise, that every
servant was placed under the _protection of law_, and care taken
not only to prevent all _involuntary_ servitude, but all _voluntary
perpetual_ bondage. Sixth, that slavery in America reduces a _man_ to
a _thing_, a "chattel personal," _robs him_ of _all_ his rights as
a _human being_, fetters both his mind and body, and protects the
_master_ in the most unnatural and unreasonable power, whilst it
_throws him out_ of the protection of law. Seventh, that slavery
is contrary to the example and precepts of our holy and merciful
Redeemer, and of his apostles.

But perhaps you will be ready to query, why appeal to _women_ on this
subject? _We_ do not make the laws which perpetuate slavery. _No_
legislative power is vested in _us; we_ can do nothing to overthrow
the system, even if we wished to do so. To this I reply, I know you
do not make the laws, but I also know that _you are the wives and
mothers, the sisters and daughters of those who do;_ and if you really
suppose _you_ can do nothing to overthrow slavery, you are greatly
mistaken. You can do much in every way: four things I will name. 1st.
You can read on this subject. 2d. You can pray over this subject. 3d.
You can speak on this subject. 4th. You can _act_ on this subject.
I have not placed reading before praying because I regard it more
important, but because, in order to pray aright, we must understand
what we are praying for; it is only then we can "pray with the
understanding and the spirit also."

1. Read then on the subject of slavery. Search the Scriptures daily,
whether the things I have told you are true. Other books and papers
might be a great help to you in this investigation, but they are not
necessary, and it is hardly probable that your Committees of Vigilance
will allow you to have any other. The _Bible_ then is the book I want
you to read in the spirit of inquiry, and the spirit of prayer. Even
the enemies of Abolitionists, acknowledge that their doctrines are
drawn from it. In the great mob in Boston, last autumn, when the books
and papers of the Anti-Slavery Society, were thrown out of the windows
of their office, one individual laid hold of the Bible and was about
tossing it out to the ground, when another reminded him that it was
the Bible he had in his hand. "_O! 'tis all one_," he replied, and
out went the sacred volume, along with the rest. We thank him for the
acknowledgment. Yes, "_it is all one_," for our books and papers
are mostly commentaries on the Bible, and the Declaration. Read the
_Bible_ then, it contains the words of Jesus, and they are spirit and
life. Judge for yourselves whether _he sanctioned_ such a system of
oppression and crime.

2. Pray over this subject. When you have entered into your closets,
and shut to the doors, then pray to your father, who seeth in secret,
that he would open your eyes to see whether slavery is _sinful_,
and if it is, that he would enable you to bear a faithful, open and
unshrinking testimony against it, and to do whatsoever your hands find
to do, leaving the consequences entirely to him, who still says to us
whenever we try to reason away duty from the fear of consequences,
"_What is that to thee, follow thou me_." Pray also for that poor
slave, that he may be kept patient and submissive under his hard
lot, until God is pleased to open the door of freedom to him without
violence or bloodshed. Pray too for the master that his heart may be
softened, and he made willing to acknowledge, as Joseph's brethren
did, "Verily we are guilty concerning our brother," before he will be
compelled to add in consequence of Divine judgment, "therefore is all
this evil come upon us." Pray also for all your brethren and sisters
who are laboring in the righteous cause of Emancipation in the
Northern States, England and the world. There is great encouragement
for prayer in these words of our Lord. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the
Father _in my name_, he _will give_ it to you"--Pray then without
ceasing, in the closet and the social circle.

3. Speak on this subject. It is through the tongue, the pen, and
the press, that truth is principally propagated. Speak then to your
relatives, your friends, your acquaintances on the subject of slavery;
be not afraid if you are conscientiously convinced it is _sinful_, to
say so openly, but calmly, and to let your sentiments be known. If you
are served by the slaves of others, try to ameliorate their condition
as much as possible; never aggravate their faults, and thus add fuel
to the fire of anger already kindled, in a master and mistress's
bosom; remember their extreme ignorance, and consider them as your
Heavenly Father does the _less_ culpable on this account, even
when they do wrong things. Discountenance all cruelty to them, all
starvation, all corporal chastisement; these may brutalize and
_break_ their spirits, but will never bend them to willing, cheerful
obedience. If possible, see that they are comfortably and _seasonably_
fed, whether in the house or the field; it is unreasonable and cruel
to expect slaves to wait for their breakfast until eleven o'clock,
when they rise at five or six. Do all you can, to induce their owners
to clothe them well, and to allow them many little indulgences which
would contribute to their comfort. Above all, try to persuade your
husband, father, brothers and sons, that _slavery is a crime against
God and man_, and that it is a great sin to keep _human beings_ in
such abject ignorance; to deny them the privilege of learning to read
and write. The Catholics are universally condemned, for denying the
Bible to the common people, but, _slaveholders must not_ blame them,
for _they_ are doing the _very same thing_, and for the very same
reason, neither of these systems can bear the light which bursts
from the pages of that Holy Book. And lastly, endeavour to inculcate
submission on the part of the slaves, but whilst doing this be
faithful in pleading the cause of the oppressed.

  "Will _you_ behold unheeding,
  Life's holiest feelings crushed,
  Where _woman's_ heart is bleeding,
  Shall _woman's_ voice be hushed?"

4. Act on this subject. Some of you own slaves yourselves. If you
believe slavery is _sinful_, set them at liberty, "undo the heavy
burdens and let the oppressed go free." If they wish to remain with
you, pay them wages, if not let them leave you. Should they remain
teach them, and have them taught the common branches of an English
education; they have minds and those minds, _ought to be improved_.
So precious a talent as intellect, never was given to be wrapt in a
napkin and buried in the earth. It is the _duty_ of all, as far as
they can, to improve their own mental faculties, because we are
commanded to love God with _all our minds_, as well as with all our
hearts, and we commit a great sin, if we _forbid_ or _prevent_ that
cultivation of the mind in others, which would enable them to perform
this duty. Teach your servants then to read &c, and encourage them to
believe it is their _duty_ to learn, if it were only that they might
read the Bible.

But some of you will say, we can neither free our slaves nor teach
them to read, for the laws of our state forbid it. Be not surprised
when I say such wicked laws _ought to be no barrier_ in the way of
your duty, and I appeal to the Bible to prove this position. What was
the conduct of Shiphrah and Puah, when the king of Egypt issued his
cruel mandate, with regard to the Hebrew children? "_They_ feared
_God_, and did _not_ as the King of Egypt commanded them, but saved
the men children alive." Did these _women_ do right in disobeying that
monarch? "_Therefore_ (says the sacred text,) _God dealt well_ with
them, and made them houses" Ex. i. What was the conduct of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, when Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image in
the plain of Dura, and commanded all people, nations, and languages,
to fall down and worship it? "Be it known, unto thee, (said these
faithful _Jews_) O king, that we _will not_ serve thy gods, nor
worship the image which thou hast set up." Did these men _do right
in disobeying the law_ of their sovereign? Let their miraculous
deliverance of Daniel, when Darius made a firm decree that no one
should ask a petition of any mad or God for thirty days? Did the
prophet cease to pray? No! "When Daniel _knew that the writing was
signed_, he went into his house, and his windows being _open_ towards
Jerusalem, he kneeled upon this knees three times a day, and prayed
and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." Did Daniel
do right this to _break_ the law of his king? Let his wonderful
deliverance out of the mouthes of lions answer; Dan. vii. Look, too,
at the Apostles Peter and John. When the ruler of the Jews "_commanded
them not_ to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus," what did
they say? "Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto
you more than unto God, judge ye." And what did they do? "They spake
the word of God with boldness, and with great power gave the Apostles
witness of the _resurrection_ of the Lord Jesus;" although _this_ was
the very doctrine, for the preaching of which they had just been cast
into prison, and further threatened. Did these men do right? I leave
_you_ to answer, who now enjoy the benefits if their labours and
sufferings, in that Gospel they dared to preach when positively
commanded _not to teach any more_ in the name of Jesus; Acts iv.

But some of you may say, if we do free our slaves, they will be taken
up and sold, therefore there will be no use in doing it. Peter and
John might just as well have said, we will not preach the gospel, for
if we do, we shall be taken up and put in prison, therefore there will
be no use in our preaching. _Consequences_, my friends, belong no more
to _you_, than they did to these apostles. Duty is ours and events are
God's. If you think slavery is sinful, all you have to do is to set
your slaves at liberty, do all you can to protect them, and in humble
faith and fervent prayer, commend them to your common Father. He can
take care of them; but if for wise purposes he sees fit to allow them
to be sold, this will afford you an opportunity of testifying openly,
wherever you go, against the crime of _manstealing_. Such an act will
be _clear robbery_, and if exposed, might, under the Divine direction,
do the cause of Emancipation more good, than any thing that could
happen, for, "He makes even the wrath of man to praise him, and the
remainder of wrath he will restrain."

I know that this doctrine of obeying _God_, rather than man, will be
considered as dangerous, and heretical by many, but I am not afraid
openly to avow it, because it is the doctrine of the Bible; but I
would not be understood to advocate resistance to any law however
oppressive, if, in obeying it, I was not obliged to commit _sin_. If
for instance, there was a law, which imposed imprisonment or a fine
upon me if I manumitted a slave, I would on no account resist that
law, I would set the slave free, and then go to prison or pay the
fine. If a law commands me to _sin I will break it_; if it calls me to
_suffer_, I will let it take its course unresistingly. The doctrine
of blind obedience and unqualified submission to _any human_ power,
whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and
ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.

But you will perhaps say, such a course of conduct would inevitably
expose us to great suffering. Yes! my Christian friends, I believe it
would, but this will _not_ excuse you or any one else for the neglect
of _duty_. If Prophets and Apostles, Martyrs, and Reformers had not
been willing to suffer for the truth's sake, where would the world
have been now? If they had said, we cannot speak the truth, we cannot
do what we believe is right, because the _laws of our country or
public opinion are against us_, where would our holy religion have
been now? The Prophets were stoned, imprisoned, and killed by the
Jews. And why? Because they exposed and openly rebuked public sins;
they opposed public opinion; had they held their peace, they all might
have lived in ease and died in favor with a wicked generation. Why
were the Apostles persecuted from city to city, stoned, incarcerated,
beaten, and crucified? Because they dared to _speak the truth_; to
tell the Jews, boldly and fearlessly, that _they_ were the _murderers_
of the Lord of Glory, and that, however great a stumbling-block the
Cross might be to them, there was no other name given under heaven
by which men could be saved, but the name of Jesus. Because they
declared, even at Athens, the seat of learning and refinement, the
self-evident truth, that "they be no gods that are made with men's
hands," and exposed to the Grecians the foolishness of worldly wisdom,
and the impossibility of salvation but through Christ, whom they
despised on account of the ignominious death he died. Because at Rome,
the proud mistress of the world, they thundered out the terrors of the
law upon that idolatrous, war-making, and slaveholding community. Why
were the martyrs stretched upon the rack, gibbetted and burnt, the
scorn and diversion of a Nero, whilst their tarred and burning bodies
sent up a light which illuminated the Roman capital? Why were the
Waldenses hunted like wild beasts upon the mountains of Piedmont, and
slain with the sword of the Duke of Savoy and the proud monarch of
France? Why were the Presbyterians chased like the partridge over the
highlands of Scotland--the Methodists pumped, and stoned, and pelted
with rotten eggs--the Quakers incarcerated in filthy prisons, beaten,
whipped at the cart's tail, banished and hung? Because they dared
to _speak_ the _truth_, to _break_ the unrighteous _laws_ of their
country, and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God,
"not accepting deliverance," even under the gallows. Why were Luther
and Calvin persecuted and excommunicated, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer
burnt? Because they fearlessly proclaimed the truth, though that truth
was contrary to public opinion, and the authority of Ecclesiastical
councils and conventions. Now all this vast amount of human suffering
might have been saved. All these Prophets and Apostles, Martyrs,
and Reformers, might have lived and died in peace with all men, but
following the example of their great pattern, "they despised the
shame, endured the cross, and are now set down on the right hand of
the throne of God," having received the glorious welcome of "well done
good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord."

But you may say we are women, how can our hearts endure persecution?
And why not? Have not women stood up in all the dignity and strength
of moral courage to be the leaders of the people, and to bear a
faithful testimony for the truth whenever the providence of God has
called them to do so? Are there no women in that noble army of martyrs
who are now singing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Who led out the
women of Israel from the house of bondage, striking the timbrel, and
singing the song of deliverance on the banks of that sea whose waters
stood up like walls of crystal to open a passage for their escape? It
was a _woman_; Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Moses and Aaron.
Who went up with Barak to Kadesh to fight against Jabin, King of
Canaan, into whose hand Israel had been sold because of their
iniquities? It was a woman! Deborah the wife of Lapidoth, the judge,
as well as the prophetess of that backsliding people; Judges iv, 9.
Into whose hands was Sisera, the captain of Jabin's host delivered?
Into the hand of a _woman_. Jael the wife of Heber! Judges vi, 21.
Who dared to _speak the truth_ concerning those judgments which were
coming upon Judea, when Josiah, alarmed at finding that his people
"had not kept the word of the Lord to do after all that was written
in the book of the Law," sent to enquire of the Lord concerning these
things? It was a woman. Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum; 2,
Chron. xxxiv, 22. Who was chosen to deliver the whole Jewish nation
from that murderous decree of Persia's King, which wicked Hannan had
obtained by calumny and fraud? It was a _woman_; Esther the Queen;
yes, weak and trembling _woman_ was the instrument appointed by God,
to reverse the bloody mandate of the eastern monarch, and save the
_whole visible church_ from destruction. What Human voice first
proclaimed to Mary that she should be the mother of our Lord? It was
a woman! Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias; Luke 1, 42, 43. Who united
with the good old Simeon in giving thanks publicly in the temple, when
the child, Jesus, was presented there by his parents, "and spake of
him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem?" It was a
_woman_! Anna the prophetess. Who first proclaimed Christ as the true
Messiah in the streets of Samaria, once the capital of the ten tribes?
It was a woman! Who ministered to the Son of God whilst on earth, a
despised and persecuted Reformer, in the humble garb of a carpenter?
They were women! Who followed the rejected King of Israel, as his
fainting footsteps trod the road to Calvary? "A great company of
people and of _women_;" and it is remarkable that to _them alone_, he
turned and addressed the pathetic language, "Daughters of Jerusalem,
weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children." Ah! who
sent unto the Roman Governor when he was set down on the judgment
seat, saying unto him, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man,
for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him?"
It was a _woman!_ the wife of Pilate. Although "_he knew_ that for
envy the Jews had delivered Christ," yet _he_ consented to surrender
the Son of God into the hands of a brutal soldiery, after having
himself scourged his naked body. Had the _wife_ of Pilate sat upon
that judgment seat, what would have been the result of the trial of
this "just person?"

And who last hung round the cross of Jesus on the mountain of
Golgotha? Who first visited the sepulchre early in the morning on the
first day of the week, carrying sweet spices to embalm his precious
body, not knowing that it was incorruptible and could not be holden by
the bands of death? These were _women!_ To whom did he _first_ appear
after his resurrection? It was to a _woman!_ Mary Magdalene; Mark xvi,
9. Who gathered with the apostles to wait at Jerusalem, in prayer and
supplication, for "the promise of the Father;" the spiritual blessing
of the Great High Priest of his Church, who had entered, _not_ into
the splendid temple of Solomon, there to offer the blood of bulls,
and of goats, and the smoking censer upon the golden altar, but into
Heaven itself, there to present his intercessions, after having
"given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet
smelling savor?" _Women_ were among that holy company; Acts i, 14.
And did _women_ wait in vain? Did those who had ministered to his
necessities, followed in his train, and wept at his crucifixion, wait
in vain? No! No! Did the cloven tongues of fire descend upon the heads
of _women_ as well as men? Yes, my friends, "it sat upon _each one of
them;_" Acts ii, 3. _Women_ as well as men were to be living stones in
the temple of grace, and therefore _their_ heads were consecrated by
the descent of the Holy Ghost as well as those of men. Were _women_
recognized as fellow laborers in the gospel field? They were! Paul
says in his epistle to the Philippians, "help those _women_ who
labored with me, in the gospel;" Phil. iv, 3.

But this is not all. Roman _women_ were burnt at the stake, _their_
delicate limbs were torn joint from joint by the ferocious beasts of
the Amphitheatre, and tossed by the wild bull in his fury, for the
diversion of that idolatrous, warlike, and slaveholding people. Yes,
_women_ suffered under the ten persecutions of heathen Rome, with the
most unshrinking constancy and fortitude; not all the entreaties of
friends, nor the claims of new born infancy, nor the cruel threats
of enemies could make _them_ sprinkle one grain of incense upon the
altars of Roman idols. Come now with me to the beautiful valleys of
Piedmont. Whose blood stains the green sward, and decks the wild
flowers with colors not their own, and smokes on the sword of
persecuting France? It is _woman's_, as well as man's? Yes, _women_
were accounted as sheep for the slaughter, and were cut down as the
tender saplings of the wood But time would fail me, to tell of all
those hundreds and thousands of _women_, who perished in the Low
countries of Holland, when Alva's sword of vengeance was unsheathed
against the Protestants, when the Catholic Inquisitions of Europe
became the merciless executioners of vindictive wrath, upon those
who dared to worship God, instead of bowing down in unholy adoration
before "my Lord God the _Pope_," and when England, too, burnt her Ann
Ascoes at the stake of martyrdom. Suffice it to say, that the Church,
after having been driven from Judea to Rome, and from Rome to
Piedmont, and from Piedmont to England, and from England to Holland,
at last stretched her fainting wings over the dark bosom of the
Atlantic, and found on the shores of a great wilderness, a refuge from
tyranny and oppression--as she thought, but _even here_, (the warm
blush of shame mantles my cheek as I write it,) _even here, woman_ was
beaten and banished, imprisoned, and hung upon the gallows, a trophy
to the Cross.

And what, I would ask in conclusion, have _women_ done for the great
and glorious cause of Emancipation? Who wrote that pamphlet which
moved the heart of Wilberforce to pray over the wrongs, and his
tongue to plead the cause of the oppressed African? It was a _woman_,
Elizabeth Heyrick. Who labored assiduously to keep the sufferings of
the slave continually before the British public? They were women.
And how did they do it? By their needles, paint brushes and pens, by
speaking the truth, and petitioning Parliament for the abolition of
slavery. And what was the effect of their labors? Read it in the
Emancipation bill of Great Britain. Read it, in the present state of
her West India Colonies. Read it, in the impulse which has been given
to the cause of freedom, in the United States of America. Have English
women then done so much for the negro, and shall American women do
nothing? Oh no! Already are there sixty female Anti-Slavery Societies
in operation. These are doing just what the English women did, telling
the story of the colored man's wrongs, praying for his deliverance,
and presenting his kneeling image constantly before the public eye on
bags and needle-books, card-racks, pen-wipers, pin-cushions, &c. Even
the children of the north are inscribing on their handy work, "May the
points of our needles prick the slaveholder's conscience." Some of the
reports of these Societies exhibit not only considerable talent, but a
deep sense of religious duty, and a determination to persevere through
evil as well as good report, until every scourge, and every shackle,
is buried under the feet of the manumitted slave.

The Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society of Boston was called last fall, to a
severe trial of their faith and constancy. They were mobbed by "the
gentlemen of property and standing," in that city at their anniversary
meeting, and their lives were jeoparded by an infuriated crowd; but
their conduct on that occasion did credit to our sex, and affords a
full assurance that they will never abandon the cause of the slave.
The pamphlet, Right and Wrong in Boston, issued by them in which a
particular account is given of that "mob of broad cloth in broad day,"
does equal credit to the head and the heart of her who wrote it wish
my Southern sisters could read it; they would then understand that
the women of the North have engaged in this work from a sense of
_religious duty_, and that nothing will ever induce them to take their
hands from it until it is fully accomplished. They feel no hostility
to you, no bitterness or wrath; they rather sympathize in your trials
and difficulties; but they well know that the first thing to be done
to help you, is to pour in the light of truth on your minds, to urge
you to reflect on, and pray over the subject. This is all _they_ can
do for you, _you_ must work out your own deliverance with fear and
trembling, and with the direction and blessing of God, _you can do
it_. Northern women may labor to produce a correct public opinion at
the North, but if Southern women sit down in listless indifference and
criminal idleness, public opinion cannot be rectified and purified at
the South. It is manifest to every reflecting mind, that slavery
must be abolished; the era in which we live, and the light which is
overspreading the whole world on this subject, clearly show that the
time cannot be distant when it will be done. Now there are only two
ways in which it can be effected, by moral power or physical force,
and it is for you to choose which of these you prefer. Slavery always
has, and always will produce insurrections wherever it exists, because
it is a violation of the natural order of things, and no human power
can much longer perpetuate it. The opposers of abolitionists fully
believe this; one of them remarked to me not long since, there is no
doubt there will be a most terrible overturning at the South in a few
years, such cruelty and wrong, must be visited with Divine vengeance
soon. Abolitionists believe, too, that this must inevitably be the
case if you do not repent, and they are not willing to leave you to
perish without entreating you, to save yourselves from destruction;
Well may they say with the apostle, "am I then your enemy because I
tell you the truth," and warn you to flee from impending judgments.

But why, my dear friends, have I thus been endeavoring to lead you
through the history of more than three thousand years, and to point
you to that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before, "from works
to rewards?" Have I been seeking to magnify the sufferings, and exalt
the character of woman, that she "might have praise of men?" No! no!
my object has been to arouse _you_, as the wives and mothers, the
daughters and sisters, of the South, to a sense of your duty as
_women_, and as Christian women, on that great subject, which has
already shaken our country, from the St. Lawrence and the lakes, to
the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Mississippi to the shores of the
Atlantic; _and will continue mightily to shake it_, until the polluted
temple of slavery fall and crumble into ruin. I would say unto each
one of you, "what meanest thou, O sleeper! arise and call upon thy
God, if so be that God will think upon us that we perish not."
Perceive you not that dark cloud of vengeance which hangs over our
boasting Republic? Saw you not the lightnings of Heaven's wrath, in
the flame which leaped from the Indian's torch to the roof of yonder
dwelling, and lighted with its horrid glare the darkness of midnight?
Heard you not the thunders of Divine anger, as the distant roar of the
cannon came rolling onward, from the Texian country, where Protestant
American Rebels are fighting with Mexican Republicans--for what? For
the re-establishment of _slavery_; yes! of American slavery in the
bosom of a Catholic Republic, where that system of robbery, violence,
and wrong, had been legally abolished for twelve years. Yes! citizens
of the United States, after plundering Mexico of her land, are now
engaged in deadly conflict, for the privilege of fastening chains, and
collars, and manacles--upon whom? upon the subjects of some foreign
prince? No! upon native born American Republican citizens, although
the fathers of these very men declared to the whole world, while
struggling to free themselves the three penny taxes of an English
king, that they believed it to be a _self-evident_ truth that _all
men_ were created equal, and had an _unalienable right to liberty_.

Well may the poet exclaim in bitter sarcasm,

  "The fustian flag that proudly waves
  In solemn mockery o'er _a land of slaves_."

Can you not, my friends, understand the signs of the times; do you not
see the sword of retributive justice hanging over the South, or are
you still slumbering at your posts?--Are there no Shiphrahs, no Puahs
among you, who will dare in Christian firmness and Christian meekness,
to refuse to obey the _wicked laws_ which require _woman to enslave,
to degrade and to brutalize woman_? Are there no Miriams, who would
rejoice to lead out the captive daughters of the Southern States to
liberty and light? Are there no Huldahs there who will dare to _speak
the truth_ concerning the sins of the people and those judgments,
which it requires no prophet's eye to see, must follow if repentance
is not speedily sought? Is there no Esther among you who will plead
for the poor devoted slave? Read the history of this Persian queen, it
is full of instruction; she at first refused to plead for the Jews;
but, hear the words of Mordecai, "Think not within thyself, that
_thou_ shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews, for
_if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time_, then shall there
enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but
_thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed_." Listen, too, to her
magnanimous reply to this powerful appeal; "_I will_ go in, unto the
king, which is _not_ according to law, and if I perish, I perish."
Yes! if there were but _one_ Esther at the South, she _might_ save her
country from ruin; but let the Christian women there arise, at the
Christian women of Great Britain did, in the majesty of moral
power, and that salvation is certain. Let them embody themselves in
societies, and send petitions up to their different legislatures,
entreating their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons, to abolish the
institution! of slavery; no longer to subject _woman_ to the scourge
and the chain, to mental darkness and moral degradation; no longer to
tear husbands from their wives, and children from their parents; no
longer to make men, women, and children, work _without wages_; no
longer to make their lives bitter in hard bondage; no longer to reduce
_American citizens_ to the abject condition of _slaves,_ of "chattels
personal;" no longer to barter the _image of God_ in human shambles
for corruptible things such as silver and gold.

The _women of the South can overthrow_ this horrible system of
oppression and cruelty, licentiousness and wrong. Such appeals to your
legislatures would be irresistible, for there is something in the
heart of man which _will bend under moral suasion_. There is a swift
witness for truth in his bosom, _which will respond to truth_ when
it is uttered with calmness and dignity. If you could obtain but six
signatures to such a petition in only one state, I would say, send up
that petition, and be not in the least discouraged by the scoffs and
jeers of the heartless, or the resolution of the house to lay it on
the table. It will be a great thing if the subject can be introduced
into your legislatures in any way, even by _women_, and _they_ will be
the most likely to introduce it there in the best possible manner, as
a matter of _morals_ and _religion_, not of expediency or politics.
You may petition, too, the different ecclesiastical bodies of the
slave states. Slavery must be attacked with the whole power of truth
and the sword of the spirit. You must take it up on _Christian_
ground, and fight against it with Christian weapons, whilst your feet
are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. And _you are
now_ loudly called upon by the cries of the widow and the orphan, to
arise and gird yourselves for this great moral conflict, with the
whole armour of righteousness upon the right hand and on the left.

There is every encouragement for you to labor and pray, my friends,
because the abolition of slavery as well as its existence, has been
the theme of prophecy. "Ethiopia (says the Psalmist) shall stretch
forth her hands unto God." And is she not now doing so? Are not the
Christian negroes of the south lifting their hands in prayer for
deliverance, just as the Israelites did when their redemption was
drawing nigh? Are they not sighing and crying by reason of the hard
bondage? And think you, that He, of whom it was said, "and God heard
their groaning, and their cry came up unto him by reason of the hard
bondage," think you that his ear is heavy that he cannot _now_ hear
the cries of his suffering children? Or that He who raised up a Moses,
an Aaron, and a Miriam, to bring them up out of the land of Egypt from
the house of bondage, cannot now, with a high hand and a stretched out
arm, rid the poor negroes out of the hands of their masters? Surely
you believe that his aim is _not_ shortened that he cannot save. And
would not such a work of mercy redound to his glory? But another
string of the harp of prophecy vibrates to the song of deliverance:
"But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree,
and _none shall make them afraid;_ for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts
hath spoken it." The _slave_ never can do this as long as he is a
_slave_; whilst he is a "chattel personal" he can own _no_ property;
but the time _is to come_ when _every_ man is to sit under _his
own_ vine and _his own_ fig-tree, and no domineering driver, or
irresponsible master, or irascible mistress, shall make him afraid of
the chain or the whip. Hear, too, the sweet tones of another string:
"Many shall run to and fro, and _knowledge_ shall be _increased_."
Slavery is an insurmountable barrier to the increase of knowledge in
every community where it exists; _slavery, then, must be abolished
before this prediction can be fulfiled_. The last chord I shall
touch, will be this, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy

_Slavery, then, must be overthrown before_ the prophecies can be
accomplished, but how are they to be fulfiled? Will the wheels of the
millennial car be rolled onward by miraculous power? No! God designs
to confer this holy privilege upon _man_; it is through _his_
instrumentality that the great and glorious work of reforming the
world is to be done. And see you not how the mighty engine of _moral
power_ is dragging in its rear the Bible and peace societies,
anti-slavery and temperance, sabbath schools, moral reform, and
missions? or to adopt another figure, do not these seven philanthropic
associations compose the beautiful tints in that bow of promise which
spans the arch of our moral heaven? Who does not believe, that if
these societies were broken up, their constitutions burnt, and the
vast machinery with which they are laboring to regenerate mankind was
stopped, that the black clouds of vengeance would soon burst over our
world, and every city would witness the fate of the devoted cities of
the plain? Each one of these societies is walking abroad through the
earth scattering the seeds of truth over the wide field of our world,
not with the hundred hands of a Briareus, but with a hundred thousand.

Another encouragement for you to labor, my friends, is, that you
will have the prayers and co-operation of English and Northern
philanthropists. You will never bend your knees in supplication at the
throne of grace for the overthrow of slavery, without meeting there
the spirits of other Christians, who will mingle their voices with
yours, as the morning or evening sacrifice ascends to God. Yes, the
spirit of prayer and of supplication has been poured out upon many,
many hearts; there are wrestling Jacobs who will not let go of the
prophetic promises of deliverance for the captive, and the opening of
prison doors to them that are bound. There are Pauls who are saying,
in reference to this subject, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
There are Marys sitting in the house now, who are ready to arise and
go forth in this work as soon as the message is brought, "the master
is come and calleth for thee." And there are Marthas, too, who have
already gone out to meet Jesus, as he bends his footsteps to their
brother's grave, and weeps, _not_ over the lifeless body of Lazarus
bound hand and foot in grave-clothes, but over the politically and
intellectually lifeless slave, bound hand and foot in the iron chains
of oppression and ignorance. Some may be ready to say, as Martha did,
who seemed to expect nothing but sympathy from Jesus, "Lord, by this
time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days." She thought it
useless to remove the stone and expose the loathsome body of her
brother; she could not believe that so great a miracle could be
wrought, as to raise _that putrefied body_ into life; but "Jesus said,
take _ye_ away too stone;" and when _they_ had taken away the stone
where the dead was laid, and uncovered the body of Lazarus, then it
was that "Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that
thou hast heard me," &c. "And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a
loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." Yes, some may be ready to say of
the colored race, how can _they_ ever be raised politically and
intellectually, they have been dead four hundred years? But _we_ have
_nothing_ to do with _how_ this is to be done; _our business_ is to
take away the stone which has covered up the dead body of our brother,
to expose the putrid carcass, to show _how_ that body has been bound
with the grave-clothes of heathen ignorance, and his face with the
napkin of prejudice, and having done all it was our duty to do, to
stand by the negro's grave, in humble faith and holy hope, waiting to
hear the life-giving command of "Lazarus, come forth." This is just
what Anti-Slavery Societies are doing; they are taking away the stone
from the mouth of the tomb of slavery, where lies the putrid carcass
of our brother. They want the pure light of heaven to shine into that
dark and gloomy cave; they want all men to see _how_ that dead body
has been bound, _how_ that face has been wrapped in the _napkin of
prejudice_; and shall they wait beside that grave in vain? Is not
Jesus still the resurrection and the life? Did he come to proclaim
liberty to the captive, and the opening of prison doors to them that
are bound, in vain? Did He promise to give beauty for ashes, the oil
of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness unto them that mourn in Zion, and will He refuse to beautify
the mind, anoint the head, and throw around the captive negro the
mantle of praise for that spirit of heaviness which has so long bound
him down to the ground? Or shall we not rather say with the prophet,
"the zeal of the Lord of Hosts _will_ perform this?" Yes, his promises
are sure, and amen in Christ Jesus, that he will assemble her that
halteth, and gather her that is driven out, and her that is afflicted.

But I will now say a few words on the subject of Abolitionism.
Doubtless you have all heard Anti-Slavery Societies denounced as
insurrectionary and mischievous, fanatical and dangerous. It has been
said they publish the most abominable untruths, and that they are
endeavoring to excite rebellions at the South. Have you believed these
reports, my friends? have _you_ also been deceived by these false
assertions? Listen to me, then, whilst I endeavor to wipe from the
fair character of Abolitionism such unfounded accusations. You know
that _I_ am a Southerner; you know that my dearest relatives are
now in a slave Slate. Can you for a moment believe I would prove so
recreant to the feelings of a daughter and a sister, as to join a
society which was seeking to overthrow slavery by falsehood, bloodshed
and murder? I appeal to you who have known and loved me in days that
are passed, can _you_ believe it? No! my friends. As a Carolinian I
was peculiarly jealous of any movements on this subject; and before I
would join an Anti-Slavery Society, I took the precaution of becoming
acquainted with some of the leading Abolitionists, of reading their
publications and attending their meetings, at which I heard addresses
both from colored and white men; and it was not until I was fully
convicted that their principles were _entirely pacific_, and their
efforts _only moral_, that I gave my name as a member to the Female
Anti-Slavery Society of Philadelphia. Since that time, I have
regularly taken the Liberator, and read many Anti-Slavery pamphlets
and papers and books, and can assure you I never have seen a single
insurrectionary paragraph, and never read any account of cruelty which
I could not believe. Southerners may deny the truth of these
accounts, but why do they not _prove_ them to be false? Their violent
expressions of horror at such accounts being believed _may_ deceive
some, but they cannot deceive _me_, for I lived too long in the midst
of slavery, not to know what slavery is. When I speak of this system,
"I speak that I do know," and I am not at all afraid to assert, that
Anti-Slavery publications have _not_ overdrawn the monstrous features
of slavery at all. And many a Southerner _knows_ this as well as I do.
A lady in North Carolina remarked to a friend of mine, about eighteen
months since, "Northerners know nothing at all about slavery; they
think it is perpetual bondage only; but of the _depth of degradation_
that word involves, they have no conception; if they had, _they
would never cease_ their efforts until so _horrible_ a system was
overthrown." She did not know how faithfully some Northern men and
Northern women had studied this subject; how diligently they had
searched out the cause of "him who had none to help him," and how
fearlessly they had told the story of the negro's wrongs. Yes,
Northerners know _every_ thing about slavery now. This monster of
iniquity has been unveiled to the world, her frightful features
unmasked, and soon, very soon will she be regarded with no more
complacency by the American republic than is the idol of Juggernaut,
rolling its bloody wheels over the crushed bodies of its prostrate

But you will probably ask, if Anti-Slavery societies are not
insurrectionary, why do Northerners tell us they are? Why, I would ask
you in return, did Northern senators and Northern representatives give
their votes, at the last sitting of congress, to the admission of
Arkansas Territory as a state? Take those men, one by one, and ask
them in their parlours, do you _approve of slavery?_ ask them on
_Northern_ ground, where they will speak the truth, and I doubt not
_every man_ of them will tell you, _no!_ Why then, I ask, did they
give their votes to enlarge the mouth of that grave which has already
destroyed its tens of thousands? All our enemies tell us they are
as much anti-slavery as we are. Yes, my friends, thousands who are
helping you to bind the fetters of slavery on the negro, despise you
in their hearts for doing it; they rejoice that such an institution
has not been entailed upon, them. Why then, I would ask, do they lend
you their help? I will tell you, "they love _the praise of men more_
than the praise of God." The Abolition cause has not yet become
so popular as to induce them to believe, that by advocating it in
congress, they shall sit still more securely in their seats there,
and like the _chief rulers_ in the days of our Saviour, though _many_
believed on him, yet they did _not_ confess him, lest they should _be
put out of the synagogue_; John xii, 42, 43. Or perhaps like Pilate,
thinking they could prevail nothing, and fearing a tumult, they
determined to release Barabbas and surrender the just man, the poor
innocent slave to be stripped of his rights and scourged. In vain will
such men try to wash their hands, and say, with the Roman governor,
"I am innocent of the blood of this just person." Northern American
statesmen are no more innocent of the crime of slavery, than Pilate
was of the murder of Jesus, or Saul of that of Stephen. These are high
charges, but I appeal to _their hearts_; I appeal to public opinion
ten years from now. Slavery then is a national sin.

But you will say, a great many other Northerners tell us so, who can
have no political motives. The interests of the North, you must know,
my friends, are very closely combined with those of the South. The
Northern merchants and manufacturers are making _their_ fortunes out
of the _produce of slave labor_; the grocer is selling your rice and
sugar; how then can these men bear a testimony against slavery without
condemning themselves? But there is another reason, the North is most
dreadfully afraid of Amalgamation. She is alarmed at the very idea of
a thing so monstrous, as she thinks. And lest this consequence _might_
flow from emancipation, she is determined to resist all efforts at
emancipation without expatriation. It is not because _she approves of
slavery_, or believes it to be "the corner stone of our republic,"
for she is as much _anti-slavery_ as we are; but amalgamation is
too horrible to think of. Now I would ask _you_, is it right, is it
generous, to refuse the colored people in this country the advantages
of education and the privilege, or rather the _right_, to follow
honest trades and callings merely because they are colored? The same
prejudice exists here against our colored brethren that existed
against the Gentiles in Judea. Great numbers cannot bear the idea of
equality, and fearing lest, if they had the same advantages we enjoy,
they would become as intelligent, as moral, as religious, and as
respectable and wealthy, they are determined to keep them as low as
they possibly can. Is this doing as they would be done by? Is this
loving their neighbor _as themselves?_ Oh! that _such_ opposers of
Abolitionism would put their souls in the stead of the free colored
man's and obey the apostolic injunction, to "remember them that are
in bonds _as bound with them_." I will leave you to judge whether
the fear of amalgamation ought to induce men to oppose anti-slavery
efforts, when _they_ believe _slavery_ to be _sinful_. Prejudice
against color, is the most powerful enemy we have to fight with at the

You need not be surprised, then, at all, at what is said _against_
Abolitionists by the North, for they are wielding a two-edged sword,
which even here, cuts through the _cords of caste_, on the one side,
and the _bonds of interest_ on the other. They are only sharing the
fate of other reformers, abused and reviled whilst they are in the
minority; but they are neither angry nor discouraged by the invective
which has been heaped upon them by slaveholders at the South and their
apologists at the North. They know that when George Fox and William
Edmundson were laboring in behalf of the negroes in the West Indies in
1671 that the very _same_ slanders were propogated against them, which
are _now_ circulated against Abolitionists. Although it was well known
that Fox was the founder of a religious sect which repudiated _all_
war, and _all_ violence, yet _even he_ was accused of "endeavoring to
excite the slaves to insurrection and of teaching the negroes to cut
their master's throats." And these two men who had their feet shod
with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, were actually compelled
to draw up a formal declaration that _they were not_ trying to raise
a rebellion in Barbadoes. It is also worthy of remark that these
Reformers did not at this time see the necessity of emancipation under
seven years, and their principal efforts were exerted to persuade
the planters of the necessity of instructing their slaves; but the
slaveholder saw then, just what the slaveholder sees now, that an
_enlightened_ population never can be a _slave_ population, and
therefore they passed a law that negroes should not even attend the
meetings of Friends. Abolitionists know that the life of Clarkson was
sought by slavetraders, and that even Wilberforce was denounced on the
floor of Parliament as a fanatic and a hypocrite by the present King
of England, the very man who, in 1834 set his seal to that instrument
which burst the fetters of eight hundred thousand slaves in his West
India colonies. They know that the first Quaker who bore a _faithful_
testimony against the sin of slavery was cut off from religious
fellowship with that society. That Quaker was a _woman_. On her
deathbed she sent for the committe who dealt with her--she told them,
the near approach of death had not altered her sentiments on the
subject of slavery and waving her hand towards a very fertile and
beautiful portion of country which lay stretched before her window,
she said with great solemnity, "Friends, the time will come when there
will not be friends enough in all this district to hold one meeting
for worship, and this garden will be turned into a wilderness."

The aged friend, who with tears in his eyes, related this interesting
circumstance to me, remarked, that at that time there were seven
meetings of friends in that part of Virginia, but that when he was
there ten years ago, not a single meeting was held, and the country
was literally a desolation. Soon after her decease, John Woolman began
his labors in our society, and instead of disowning a member for
testifying _against_ slavery, they have for fifty-two years positively
forbidden their members to hold slaves.

Abolitionists understand the slaveholding spirit too well to be
surprised at any thing that has yet happened at the South or the
North; they know that the greater the sin is, which is exposed, the
more violent will be the efforts to blacken the character and impugn
the motives of those who are engaged in bringing to light the hidden
things of darkness. They understand the work of Reform too well to be
driven back by the furious waves of opposition, which are only foaming
out their own shame. They have stood "the world's dread laugh," when
only twelve men formed the first Anti-Slavery Society in Boston in
1831. They have faced and refuted the calumnies at their enemies, and
proved themselves to be emphatically _peace men_ by _never resisting_
the violence of mobs, even when driven by them from the temple of God,
and dragged by an infuriated crowd through the Streets of the emporium
of New-England, or subjected by _slaveholders_ to the pain of corporal
punishment. "None of these things move them;" and, by the grace of
God, they are determined to persevere in this work of faith and labor
of love: they mean to pray, and preach, and write, and print, until
slavery is completely overthrown, until Babylon is taken up and cast
into the sea, to "be found no more at all." They mean to petition
Congress year after year, until the seat of our government is cleansed
from the sinful traffic of "slaves and the souls of men." Although
that august assembly may be like the unjust judge who "feared not God
neither regarded man," yet it _must_ yield just as he did, from the
power of importunity. Like the unjust judge, Congress _must_ redress
the wrongs of the widow, lest by the continual coming up of petitions,
it be wearied. This will be striking the dagger into the very heart of
the monster, and once 'tis done, he must soon expire.

Abolitionists have been accused of abusing their Southern brethren.
Did the prophet Isaiah _abuse_ the Jews when he addressed to them the
cutting reproofs contained in the first chapter of his prophecies and
ended by telling them, they would be _ashamed_ of the oaks they had
desired, and _confounded_ for the garden they had chosen? Did John
the Baptist _abuse_ the Jews when he called them "_a generation of
vipers_" and warned them "to bring forth fruits meet for repentance?"
Did Peter abuse the Jews when he told them they were the murderers of
the Lord of Glory? Did Paul abuse the Roman Governor when he reasoned
before him of righteousness, temperance, and judgment, so as to send
conviction home to his guilty heart, and cause him to tremble in view
of the crimes he was living in? Surely not. No man will _now_ accuse
the prophets and apostles of _abuse_, but what have Abolitionists done
more than they? No doubt the Jews thought the prophets and apostles in
their day, just as harsh and uncharitable as slaveholders now, think
Abolitionists; if they did not, why did they beat, and stone, and kill

Great fault has been found with the prints which have been employed to
expose slavery at the North, but my friends, how could this be done
so effectually in any other way? Until the pictures of the slave's
sufferings were drawn and held up to public gaze, no Northerner had
any idea of the cruelty of the system, it never entered their minds
that such abominations could exist in Christian, Republican America;
they never suspected that many of the _gentlemen_ and _ladies_ who
came from the South to spend the summer months in travelling among
them, were petty tyrants at home. And those who had lived at the
South, and came to reside at the North, were too _ashamed of slavery_
even to speak of it; the language of their hearts was, "tell it _not_
in Gath, publish it _not_ in the streets of Askelon;" they saw no use
in uncovering the loathsome body to popular sight, and in hopeless
despair, wept in secret places over the sins of oppression. To such
hidden mourners the formation of Anti-Slavery Societies was as life
from the dead, the first beams of hope which gleamed through the dark
clouds of despondency and grief. Prints were made use of to effect the
abolition of the Inquisition in Spain, and Clarkson employed them when
he was laboring to break up the Slave trade, and English Abolitionists
used them just as we are now doing. They are powerful appeals and
have invariably done the work they were designed to do, and we cannot
consent to abandon the use of these until the _realities_ no longer

With regard to those white men, who, it was said, did try to raise
an insurrection in Mississippi a year ago, and who were stated to be
Abolitionists, none of them were proved to be members of Anti-Slavery
Societies, and it must remain a matter of great doubt whether, even
they were guilty of the crimes alledged against them, because when any
community is thrown into such a panic as to inflict Lynch law upon
accused persons, they cannot be supposed to be capable of judging with
calmness and impartiality. _We know_ that the papers of which the
Charleston mail was robbed, were _not_ insurrectionary, and that they
were _not_ sent to the colored people as was reported, _We know_ that
Amos Dresser was _no insurrectionist_ though he was accused of being
so, and on this false accusation was publicly whipped in Nashville in
the midst of a crowd of infuriated _slaveholders_. Was that young man
disgraced by this infliction of corporal punishment? No more than
was the great apostle of the Gentiles who five times received forty
stripes, save one. Like him, he might have said, "henceforth I bear
in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," for it was for the _truth's
sake, he suffered_, as much as did the Apostle Paul. Are Nelson, and
Garrett, and Williams, and other Abolitionists who have recently been
banished from Missouri, insurrectionists? _We know_ they are _not_,
whatever slaveholders may choose to call them. The spirit which now
asperses the character of the Abolitionists, is the _very same_ which
dressed up the Christians of Spain in the skins of wild beasts and
pictures of devils when they were led to execution as heretics. Before
we condemn individuals, it is necessary, even in a wicked community,
to accuse them of some crime; hence, when Jezebel wished to compass
the death of Naboth, men of Belial were suborned to bear _false_
witness against him, and so it was with Stephen, and so it ever has
been, and ever will be, as long as there is any virtue to suffer
on the rack, or the gallows. _False_ witnesses must appear against
Abolitionists before they can be condemned.

I will now say a few words on George Thompson's mission to this
country. This Philanthropist was accused of being a foreign emissary.
Were La Fayette, and Steuben, and De Kalb, foreign emissaries when
they came over to America to fight against the tories, who preferred
submitting to what was termed, "the yoke of servitude," rather than
bursting the fetters which bound them to the mother country? _They_
came with _carnal weapons_ to engage in _bloody_ conflict against
American citizens, and yet, where do their names stand on the page of
History. Among the honorable, or the low? Thompson came here to war
against the giant sin of slavery, not with the sword and the pistol,
but with the smooth stones of oratory taken from the pure waters of
the river of Truth. His splendid talents and commanding eloquence
rendered him a powerful coadjutor in the Anti-Slavery cause, and in
order to neutralize the effects of these upon his auditors, and rob
the poor slave of the benefits of his labors, his character was
defamed, his life was sought, and he at last driven from our Republic,
as a fugitive. But was _Thompson_ disgraced by all this mean and
contemptible and wicked chicanery and malice? No more than was Paul,
when in consequence of a vision he had seen at Troas, he went over to
Macedonia to help the Christians there, and was beaten and imprisoned,
because he cast out a spirit of divination from a young damsel which
had brought much gain to her masters. Paul was as much a foreign
emissary in the Roman colony of Philippi, as George Thompson was in
America, and it was because he was a _Jew_ and taught customs it was
not lawful for them to receive or observe, being Romans, that the
Apostle was thus treated.

It was said, Thompson was a felon, who had fled to this country to
escape transportation to New Holland. Look at him now pouring the
thundering strains of his eloquence, upon crowded audiences in Great
Britain, and see in this a triumphant vindication of his character.
And have the slaveholder, and his obsequious apologist, gained any
thing by all their violence and falsehood? No! for the stone which
struck Goliath of Gath, had already been thrown from the sling. The
giant of slavery who had so proudly defied the armies of the living
God, had received his death-blow before he left our shores. But what
is George Thompson doing there? Is he not now laboring there, as
effectually to abolish American slavery as though he trod our own
soil, and lectured to New York or Boston assemblies? What is he
doing there, but constructing a stupendous dam, which will turn the
overwhelming tide of public opinion over the wheels of that machinery
which Abolitionists are working here. He is now lecturing to _Britons_
on _American Slavery_, to the _subjects_ of a _King_, on the abject
condition of the _slaves of a Republic_. He is telling them of that
mighty confederacy of petty tyrants which extends over thirteen States
of our Union. He is telling them of the munificent rewards offered by
slaveholders, for the heads of the most distinguished advocates for
freedom in this country. He is moving the British Churches to send
out to the churches of America the most solemn appeals, reproving,
rebuking, and exhorting them with all long suffering and patience to
abandon the sin of slavery immediately. Where then I ask, will the
name of George Thompson stand on the page of History? Among the
honorable, or the base?

What can I say more, my friends, to induce _you_ to set your hands,
and heads, and hearts, to this great work of justice and mercy.
Perhaps you have feared the consequences of immediate Emancipation,
and been frightened by all those dreadful prophecies of rebellion,
bloodshed and murder, which have been uttered. "Let no man deceive
you;" they are the predictions of that same "lying spirit" which spoke
through the four hundred prophets of old, to Ahab king of Israel,
urging him on to destruction. _Slavery_ may produce these horrible
scenes if it is continued five years longer, but Emancipation _never

I can prove the _safety_ of immediate Emancipation by history. In St.
Domingo in 1793 six hundred thousand slaves were set free in a
white population of forty-two thousand. That Island "marched as by
enchantment" towards its ancient splendor, cultivation prospered, every
day produced perceptible proofs of its progress, and the negroes all
continued quietly to work on the different plantations, until in 1802,
France determined to reduce these liberated slaves again to bondage.
It was at _this time_ that all those dreadful scenes of cruelty
occured, which we so often _unjustly_ hear spoken of, as the effects
of Abolition. They were occasioned _not_ by Emancipation, but by the
base attempt to fasten the chains of slavery on the limbs of liberated

In Gaudaloape eighty-five thousand slaves were freed in a white
population of thirteen thousand. The same prosperous effects followed
manumission here, that had attended it in Hayti, every thing was quiet
until Buonaparte sent out a fleet to reduce these negroes again to
slavery, and in 1802 this institution was re-established in that
Island. In 1834, when Great Britain determined to liberate the slaves
in her West India colonies, and proposed the apprenticeship system;
the planters of Bermuda and Antigua, after having joined the other
planters in their representations of the bloody consequences of
Emancipation, in order if possible to hold back the hand which was
offering the boon of freedom to the poor negro; as soon as they found
such falsehoods were utterly disregarded, and Abolition must take
place, came forward voluntarily, and asked for the compensation which
was due to them, saying, _they preferred immediate emancipation_, and
were not afraid of any insurrection. And how is it with these islands
now? They are decidedly more prosperous than any of those in which
the apprenticeship system was adopted, and England is now trying
to abolish that system, so fully convinced is she that immediate
Emancipation is the safest and the best plan.

And why not try it in the Southern States, if it never has occasioned
rebellion; if _not_ a _drop of blood_ has ever been shed in
consequence of it, though it has been so often tried, why should we
suppose it would produce such disastrous consequences now? "Be not
deceived then, God is not mocked," by such false excuses for not doing
justly and loving mercy. There is nothing to fear from immediate
Emancipation, but _every thing_ from the continuance of slavery.

Sisters in Christ, I have done. As a Southerner, I have felt it was
my duty to address you. I have endeavoured to set before you the
exceeding sinfulness of slavery, and to point you to the example of
those noble women who have been raised up in the church to effect
great revolutions, and to suffer for the truth's sake. I have appealed
to your sympathies as women, to your sense of duty as _Christian
women_. I have attempted to vindicate the Abolitionists, to prove the
entire safety of immediate Emancipation, and to plead the cause of the
poor and oppressed. I have done--I have sowed the seeds of truth, but
I well know, that even if an Apollos were to follow in my steps to
water them, "_God only_ can give the increase." To Him then who is
able to prosper the work of his servant's hand, I commend this Appeal
in fervent prayer, that as he "hath _chosen the weak things of the
world_, to confound the things which are mighty," so He may cause His
blessing, to descend and carry conviction to the hearts of many Lydias
through these speaking pages. Farewell--Count me not your "enemy
because I have told you the truth," but believe me in unfeigned

Your sympathizing Friend,

Angelina E. Grimkè.


[1] And again, "If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the
children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him;
then _that thief shall die_; and thou shall put away evil from among
you." Deut. xxiv, 7.

[2] And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let
him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him _liberally_ out of thy flock
and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine-press: of that wherewith the
Lord thy God hath blessed thee, shalt thou give unto him. Deut xv, 13,

[3] There are laws in some of the slave states, limiting the labor
which the master may require of the slave to fourteen hours daily. In
some of the states there are laws requiring the masters to furnish a
certain amount of food and clothing, as for instance, _one quart_ of
corn per day, or _one peck_ per week, or _one bushel_ per month, and
"_one_ linen shirt and pantaloons for the summer, and a linen shirt
and woolen great coat and pantaloons for the winter," &c. But "still,"
to use the language of Judge Stroud "the slave is entirely under the
control of his master,--is unprovided with a protector,--and,
especially as he cannot be a witness or make complaint in any known
mode against his master, the _apparent_ object of these laws may
_always_ be defeated." ED.

[4] See Mrs. Child's Appeal, Chap. II.

[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been relocated to the end.]

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