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Title: Letters to Catherine E. Beecher, - in reply to an essay on slavery and abolitionism, addressed - to A. E. Grimké
Author: Grimké, Angelina E.
Language: English
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                          CATHERINE E. BEECHER,

                               IN REPLY TO
                              ADDRESSED TO
                              A. E. GRIMKÉ.

                         REVISED BY THE AUTHOR.

                         PRINTED BY ISAAC KNAPP,
                              25, CORNHILL.

       Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1838,
                             by ISAAC KNAPP,
      in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.



                                 BROOKLINE, Mass., _6 month, 12th, 1837_.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Thy book has appeared just at a time, when, from the
nature of my engagements, it will be impossible for me to give it that
attention which so weighty a subject demands. Incessantly occupied in
prosecuting a mission, the responsibilities of which task all my powers, I
can reply to it only by desultory letters, thrown from my pen as I travel
from place to place. I prefer this mode to that of taking as long a time
to answer it, as thou didst to determine upon the best method by which to
counteract the effect of my testimony at the north--which, as the preface
of thy book informs me, was thy main design.

Thou thinkest I have not been ‘sufficiently informed in regard to the
feelings and opinions of Christian females at the North’ on the subject of
slavery; for that in fact they hold the same _principles_ with
Abolitionists, although they condemn their measures. Wilt thou permit me
to receive their principles from thy pen? Thus instructed, however
misinformed I may heretofore have been, I can hardly fail of attaining to
accurate knowledge. Let us examine them, to see how far they correspond
with the principles held by Abolitionists.

The great fundamental principle of Abolitionists is, that man cannot
rightfully hold his fellow man as property. Therefore, we affirm, that
_every slaveholder is a man-stealer_. We do so, for the following reasons:
to steal a man is to rob him of himself. It matters not whether this be
done in Guinea, or Carolina; a man is a _man_, and _as_ a man he has
_inalienable_ rights, among which is the right to personal _liberty_. Now
if every man has an _inalienable_ right to personal liberty, it follows,
that he cannot rightfully be reduced to slavery. But I find in these
United States, 2,250,000 men, women and children, robbed of that to which
they have an _inalienable_ right. How comes this to pass? Where millions
are plundered, are there no _plunderers_? If, then, the slaves have been
robbed of their liberty, _who_ has robbed them? Not the man who stole
their forefathers from Africa, but he who now holds them in bondage; no
matter _how_ they came into his possession, whether he inherited them, or
bought them, or seized them at their birth on his own plantation. The only
difference I can see between the original man-stealer, who caught the
African in his native country, and the American slaveholder, is, that the
former committed _one_ act of robbery, while the other perpetrates the
same crime _continually_. Slaveholding is the perpetrating of acts, all of
the same kind, in a _series_, the first of which is technically called
man-stealing. The _first_ act robbed the man of himself; and the same
state of mind that prompted _that act, keeps up the series_, having
_taken_ his all from him: it _keeps_ his all from him, not only _refusing_
to _restore_, but still robbing him of all he gets, and as fast as he gets
it. Slaveholding, then, is _the constant or habitual perpetration of the
act of man-stealing. To make_ a slave is _man-stealing_--_the ACT
itself_--to _hold_ him such is man-stealing--the _habit_, the _permanent_
state, made up of _individual_ acts. In other words--to _begin_ to hold a
slave is man-stealing--to _keep on_ holding him is merely a _repetition_
of the first act--a doing the same identical thing _all the time_. A
series of the same acts continued for a length of time is a _habit_--_a
permanent state_. And the _first_ of this series of the _same_ acts that
make up this _habit_ or state is just like all the rest.

If every slave has a right to freedom, then surely the man who withholds
that right from him to-day is a man-stealer, though he may not be the
first person who has robbed him of it. Hence we find that Wesley
says--‘Men-_buyers_ are _exactly on a level_ with men-_stealers_.’ And
again--‘Much less is it possible that any child of man should ever be
_born a slave_.’ Hear also Jonathan Edwards--‘To hold a man in a state of
slavery, is to be _every day guilty_ of robbing him of his liberty, or of
_man-stealing_.’ And Grotius says--‘Those are men-stealers who abduct,
_keep_, sell or buy _slaves_ or freemen.’

If thou meanest merely that _acts_ of that _same nature_, but differently
located in a series, are designated by different terms, thus pointing out
their different _relative positions_, then thy argument concedes what we
affirm,--the identity in the _nature_ of the acts, and thus it dwindles to
a mere philological criticism, or rather a mere play upon words.

These are Abolition sentiments on the subject of slaveholding; and
although our principles are universally held by our opposers at the North,
yet I am told on the 44th page of thy book, that ‘the word man-stealer has
one peculiar signification, and is no more synonymous with slaveholder
than it is with sheep-stealer.’ I must acknowledge, thou hast only
confirmed my opinion of the difference which I had believed to exist
between Abolitionists and their opponents. As well might Saul have
declared, that he held similar views with Stephen, when he stood by and
kept the raiment of those who slew him.

I know that a broad line of distinction is drawn between our principles
and our measures, by those who are anxious to ‘avoid the appearance of
evil’--very desirous of retaining the fair character of enemies to
slavery. Now, our _measures_ are simply the carrying out of our
_principles_; and we find, that just in proportion as individuals embrace
our principles, in spirit and in truth, they cease to cavil at our
measures. Gerrit Smith is a striking illustration of this. Who cavilled
more at Anti-Slavery _measures_, and who more ready now to acknowledge his
former blindness? Real Abolitionists know full well, that the slave never
has been, and never can be, a whit the better for mere abstractions,
floating in the _head_ of any man; and they also know, that _principles,
fixed in the heart_, are things of another sort. The former have never
done any good in the world, because they possess no vitality, and
therefore cannot bring forth _the fruits_ of holy, untiring effort; but
the latter live in the lives of their possessors, and breathe in their
words. And I am free to express my belief, that _all_ who really and
heartily approve our _principles_, will also approve our _measures_; and
that, too, just as certainly as a good tree will bring forth good fruit.

But there is another peculiarity in the views of Abolitionists. We hold
that the North is guilty of the crime of slaveholding--we assert that it
is a _national_ sin: on the contrary, in thy book, I find the following
acknowledgement:--‘_Most_ persons in the non-slaveholding States, have
considered the matter of southern slavery as one in which they were no
more called to interfere, than in the abolition of the press-gang system
in England, or the tithe-system in Ireland.’ Now I cannot see how the same
principles can produce such entirely different opinions. ‘Can a good tree
bring forth corrupt fruit?’ This I deny, and cannot admit what thou art
anxious to prove, viz. that ‘Public opinion may have been _wrong_ on this
point, and yet _right_ on all those great _principles_ of rectitude and
justice relating to slavery.’ If Abolition principles are generally
adopted at the North, how comes it to pass, that there is no abolition
action here, except what is put forth by a few despised fanatics, as they
are called? Is there any living faith without works? Can the sap circulate
vigorously, and yet neither blossoms put forth nor fruit appear?

Again, I am told on the 7th page, that all Northern Christians believe it
is a sin to hold a man in slavery for ‘_mere purposes of gain_;’ as if
this was the _whole_ abolition principle on this subject. I can assure
thee that Abolitionists do not stop here. Our principle is, that _no
circumstances can ever justify_ a man in holding his fellow man as
_property_; it matters not what _motive_ he may give for such a monstrous
violation of the laws of God. The claim to him as _property_ is an
annihilation of his right to himself, which is the foundation upon which
all his other rights are built. It is high-handed robbery of Jehovah; for
He has declared, ‘All souls are _mine_.’ For myself, I believe there are
hundreds of thousands at the South, who do _not_ hold their slaves, by any
means, as much ‘for purposes of gain,’ as they do from _the lust of
power_: this is the passion that reigns triumphant there, and those who do
not know this, have much yet to learn. Where, then, is the similarity in
our views?

I forbear for the present, and subscribe myself,

           Thine, but not in the bonds of gospel Abolitionism,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                               BROOKLINE, Mass., _6th month, 17th, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND: Where didst thou get thy statement of what Abolitionists mean
by immediate emancipation? I assure thee, it is a novelty. I never heard
any abolitionist say that slaveholders ‘were physically unable to
emancipate their slaves, and of course are not bound to do it,’ because in
some States there are laws which forbid emancipation. This is truly what
our opponents affirm; but _we_ say that all the laws which sustain the
system of slavery are unjust and oppressive--contrary to the fundamental
principles of morality, and, therefore, null and void.

We hold, that all the slaveholding laws violate the fundamental principles
of the Constitution of the United States. In the preamble of that
instrument, the great objects for which it was framed are declared to be
‘to establish justice, to promote the _general_ welfare, and to secure the
blessings of _liberty_ to us and to our posterity.’ The slave laws are
flagrant violations of these fundamental principles. Slavery subverts
justice, promotes the welfare of the _few_ to the manifest injury of the
many, and robs thousands of the _posterity_ of our forefathers of the
blessings of liberty. This cannot be denied, for Paxton, a Virginia
slaveholder, says, ‘the _best_ blood in Virginia flows in the veins of
slaves!’ Yes, even the blood of a Jefferson. And every southerner knows,
that it is a common thing for the _posterity of our forefathers_ to be
sold on the vendue tables of the South. _The posterity of our fathers_ are
advertised in American papers as runaway slaves. Such advertisements often
contain expressions like these: ‘has sometimes passed himself off as a
_white_ man,’--‘has been mistaken for a _white_ man,’--‘_quite white_, has
_straight_ hair, and would not readily be taken for a slave,’ &c.

Now, thou wilt perceive, that, so far from thinking that a slaveholder is
bound by the _immoral_ and _unconstitutional_ laws of the Southern States,
_we_ hold that he is solemnly bound as a man, as an American, to _break_
them, and that _immediately_ and openly; as much so, as Daniel was to
pray, or Peter and John to preach--or every conscientious Quaker to refuse
to pay a militia fine, or to train, or to fight. _We_ promulgate no such
time-serving doctrine as that set forth by thee. When _we_ talk of
immediate emancipation, we speak that we do mean, and the slaveholders
understand us, if thou dost not.

Here, then, is another point in which we are entirely at variance, though
the _principles_ of abolitionism are ‘generally adopted by our opposers.’
What shall I say to these things, but that I am glad thou hast afforded
me an opportunity of explaining to thee what _our principles_ really are?
for I apprehend that _thou_ ‘hast not been sufficiently informed in regard
to the feelings and opinions’ of abolitionists.

It matters not to me what meaning ‘Dictionaries or standard writers’ may
give to immediate emancipation. My Dictionary is the Bible; my standard
authors, prophets and apostles. When Jehovah commanded Pharaoh to ‘let the
people go,’ he meant that they should be _immediately emancipated_. I read
his meaning in the judgments which terribly rebuked Pharaoh’s repeated and
obstinate refusal to ‘let the people go.’ I read it in the _universal_
emancipation of near 3,000,000 of Israelites in _one awful night_. When
the prophet Isaiah commanded the Jews ‘to loose the bands of wickedness,
to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye
break every yoke,’ he taught no gradual or partial emancipation, but
_immediate, universal emancipation_. When Jeremiah said, ‘Execute judgment
in the MORNING, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the
oppressor,’ he commanded _immediate_ deliverance. And so also with Paul,
when he exhorted masters to render unto their servants that which is just
and equal. Obedience to this command would _immediately_ overturn the
whole system of American Slavery; for liberty is justly _due_ to every
American citizen, according to the laws of God and the Constitution of our
country; and a fair recompense for his labor is the right of every man.
Slaveholders know this is just as well as we do. John C. Calhoun said in
Congress, in 1833--‘He who _earns_ the money--who _digs it out of the
earth_ with the sweat of his brow, has a _just title_ to it against the
Universe. _No one_ has a right to touch it _without his consent_, except
his government, and _it only_ to the extent of its _legitimate_ wants: to
take more is _robbery_.’

If our fundamental principle is right, that no man can rightfully hold his
fellow man as _property_, then it follows, of course, that he is bound
_immediately_ to cease holding him as such, and that, too, in _violation
of the immoral and unconstitutional laws_ which have been framed for the
express purpose of ‘turning aside the needy from judgment, and to take
away the right from the poor of the people, that widows may be their prey,
and that they may rob the fatherless.’ Every slaveholder is bound to cease
to do evil _now_, to emancipate his slaves _now_.

Dost thou ask what I mean by emancipation? I will explain myself in a few
words. 1. It is ‘to reject with indignation, the wild and guilty phantasy,
that man can hold _property_ in man.’ 2. To pay the laborer his hire, for
he is worthy of it. 3. No longer to deny him the right of marriage, but to
‘let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own
husband,’ as saith the apostle. 4. To let parents have their own children,
for they are the gift of the Lord to _them_, and no one else has any right
to them. 5. No longer to withhold the advantages of education and the
privilege of reading the Bible. 6. To put the slave under the protection
of equitable laws.

Now, why should not _all_ this be done immediately? Which of these things
is to be done next year, and which the year after? and so on. _Our_
immediate emancipation means, doing justice and loving mercy
_to-day_--and this is what we call upon every slaveholder to do.

I have seen too much of slavery to be a gradualist. I dare not, in view of
such a system, tell the slaveholder, that ‘he is physically unable to
emancipate his slaves.’ I say _he is able_ to let the oppressed go free,
and that such heaven-daring atrocities ought to _cease now_, henceforth
and forever. Oh, my very soul is grieved to find a northern woman thus
‘sewing pillows under all arm-holes,’ framing and fitting soft excuses for
the slaveholder’s conscience, whilst with the same pen she is _professing_
to regard slavery as a sin. ‘An open enemy is better than such a secret

Hoping that thou mayest soon be emancipated from such inconsistency, I
remain until then,

           Thine _out_ of the bonds of Christian Abolitionism,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                                            LYNN, _6th Month, 23d, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND:--I now pass on to the consideration of ‘the main principle of
action in the Anti-Slavery Society.’ Thou art pleased to assert that it
‘rests wholly on a false deduction from past experience.’ In this, also,
thou ‘hast not been sufficiently informed.’ Our main principle of action
is embodied in God’s holy command--‘Wash you, make you clean, put away the
evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do
well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead
for the widow.’ Under a solemn conviction that it is our duty as Americans
to ‘cry aloud and spare not, to lift up our voices as a trumpet, and to
show our people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins,’
we are striving to rouse a slumbering nation to a sense of the
retributions which must soon descend upon her guilty head, unless like
Ninevah she repent, and ‘break off her sins by righteousness, and her
transgressions by showing mercy to the poor.’ _This_ is our ‘main
principle of action.’ Does it rest ‘wholly on a false deduction from past
experience?’ or on the experience of Israel’s King, who exclaimed, ‘In
keeping of them (thy commandments,) there is great reward.’

Thou art altogether under a mistake, if thou supposest that our ‘main
principle of action’ is the successful effort of abolitionists in England,
in reference to the abolition of the slave-trade; for I hesitate not to
pronounce the attempts of Clarkson and Wilberforce, at that period of
their history, to have been a _complete failure_; and never have the
labors of any philanthropists so fully showed the inefficacy of halfway
principles, as have those of these men of honorable fame. The doctrines
now advocated by the American Anti-Slavery Society, were not advanced by
the abolitionists of that day. _They_ were _not_ immediate abolitionists,
but just such gradualists as thou art even now. If I supposed that our
labors in the cause of the slave would produce _no better_ results than
those of these worthies, I should utterly despair. I need not remind thee,
that they bent all their energies to the annihilation of the slave-trade,
under the impression that _this_ was the mother of slavery; and that after
toiling for twenty years, and obtaining the passage of an act to that
effect, the result was a mere _nominal_ abolition; for the atrocities of
the slave-trade are, if possible, _greater_ now than ever. I will explain
what I mean. A friend of mine one evening last winter, heard a
conversation between two men, one of whom had, until recently, been a
slave-trader. He had made several voyages to the coast of Africa, and said
that once his vessel was chased by an English man of war, and that, in
order to avoid a search and the penalty of death, he threw every slave
overboard; and when his companion expressed surprise and horror at such a
wholesale murder, ‘Why,’ said the trader, ‘it was the fault of the
English; they had no business to make a law to hang a man on the yard arm,
if they caught him with slaves in his ship.’ He intimated that it was not
an uncommon thing for the captains of slavers thus to save their lives.[1]
Where, then, I ask, is this glorious success of which we _hear_ so much,
but _see_ so little?

Let us travel onward, from the year 1806, when England passed her
abolition act. What were British philanthropists doing for the
emancipation of the slave, for the next twenty years? Nothing at all; and
it was the voice of Elizabeth Heyrick which first awakened them from
their dream of _gradualism_ to an understanding of the simple doctrine of
immediate emancipation; but even though they saw the injustice and
inefficiency of _their own_ views, yet several years elapsed before they
had the courage to promulgate hers. And now I can point thee to the
success of these efforts in the emancipation bill of 1834. But even this
success was paltry, in comparison with what it would have been, had all
the conspicuous abolitionists of England been true to these just and holy
principles. Some of them were false to those principles, and hence the
compensation and apprenticeship system. A few months ago, it was my
privilege to converse with Joseph Sturge, on his return from the West
Indies, via New York, to Liverpool, whither he had gone to examine the
working of England’s plan of emancipation. I heard him speak of the bounty
of £20,000,000 which she had put into the hands of the planters, of their
mean and cruel abuse of the apprenticeship system, and of the hearty
approbation he felt in the thorough-going principles of the Anti-Slavery
Societies in this country, and his increased conviction that _ours_ were
the _only right_ principles on this important subject. That even the
apprenticeship system is viewed by British philanthropists as a complete
failure, is evident from the fact that they are now re-organizing their
Anti-Slavery Societies, and circulating petitions for the substitution of
immediate emancipation in its stead.

Hence it appears, that so far from our resting ‘wholly upon _a false
deduction from past experience_,’ we are resting on _no_ experience at
all; for no class of men in the world ever have maintained the principles
which we now advocate. Our main principle of action is ‘obedience to
God’--our hope of success is faith in Him, and that faith is as unwavering
as He is true and powerful. ‘Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord,
and whose hope the Lord is.’

With regard to the connection between the North and the South, I shall say
but little, having already sent thee my views on that subject in the
letter to ‘Clarkson,’ originally published in the New Haven Religious
Intelligencer. I there pointed out fifteen different ways in which the
North was implicated in the guilt of slavery; and, therefore, I deny the
charge that abolitionists are endeavoring ‘to convince their fellow
citizens of the faults of _another_ community.’ Not at all. We are
spreading out the horrors of slavery before Northerners, in order to show
them _their own sin_ in sustaining such a system of complicated wrong and
suffering. It is because we are politically, commercially, and socially
connected with our southern brethren, that we urge our doctrines upon
those of the free States. We have begun our work _here_, because
pro-slavery men of the North are to the system of slavery just what
temperate drinkers were to the vice of intemperance. Temperance reformers
did not _begin_ their labors among drunkards, but among temperate
drinkers: so Anti-Slavery reformers did not _begin_ their labors among
slaveholders, but among those who were making their fortunes out of the
unrequited toil of the slave, and receiving large mortgages on southern
plantations and slaves, and trading occasionally in ‘slaves and the souls
of men,’ and sending men to Congress to buy up southern land to be
converted into slave States, such as Louisiana and Florida, which cost
_this nation_ $20,000,000--men who have admitted seven slave States into
the Union--men who boast on the floor of Congress, that ‘there is no cause
in which they would sooner buckle a knapsack on their backs and shoulder a
musket, than that of putting down a servile insurrection at the South,’ as
said the present Governor of Massachusetts, which odious sentiment was
repeated by Governor Lincoln only last winter--men who, trained up on
Freedom’s soil, yet go down to the South and marry slaveholders, and
become slaveholders, and then return to our northern cities with slaves in
their train. This is the case with a native of this town, who is now here
with his southern wife and southern _slave_. And as soon as we reform the
recreant sons and daughters of the North,--as soon as we rectify public
opinion at the North,--then I, for one, will promise to go down into the
midst of slaveholders themselves, to promulgate our doctrines in the land
of the slave. But how can we go now, when northern pulpits and
meeting-houses are closed, and northern ministers are dumb, and northern
Governors are declaring that ‘the discussion of the subject of slavery
ought to be made an offence indictable at common law,’ and northern women
are writing books to paralyze the efforts of southern women, who have come
up from the South, to entreat their northern sisters to exert their
influence in behalf of the slave, and in behalf of the slaveholder, who is
as deeply corrupted, though not equally degraded, with the slave. No! No!
the taunts of a New England woman will induce no abolitionist to cease
his rebuke of _northern slaveholders_ and apologists for slavery.
Southerners see the wisdom of _this_, if _thou_ canst not; and over
against thy opinion, I will place that of a Louisiana planter, who, whilst
on a visit to his relatives at Uxbridge, Mass. this summer, unhesitatingly
admitted that the _North was the right place to begin Anti-Slavery
efforts_. Had I not been convinced of this before, surely thy book would
have been all-sufficient to satisfy me of it; for a more subtle defence of
the slaveholder’s right to property in his helpless victims, I never saw.
It is just such a defence as the hidden enemies of Liberty will rejoice to
see, because, like thyself, they earnestly desire to ‘avoid the
_appearance of evil_;’ they are as much opposed to slavery as we are, only
they are as much opposed to Anti-Slavery as the slaveholders themselves.
Is there any middle path in this reformation? Or may we not fairly
conclude, that he or _she_ that is not for the slave, in deed and in
truth, is _against_ him, no matter how specious their professions of pity
for his condition?

                     In haste, I remain thy friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.

    [1] And in ‘Laird’s Expedition to Africa, &c.’ a work recently
    published in England, this assertion of the slave trader is fully
    sustained. Laird relates that ‘there is _proof_ of the horrid fact,
    that several of the wretches engaged in this traffic, when hotly
    pursued, consigned _whole cargoes_ to the deep.’ He then goes on to
    state several such instances, from which I select the following: ‘In
    1833, the Black Joke and Fair Rosamond fell in with the Hercule and
    Regule, two slave vessels off the Bonny River. On perceiving the
    cruisers, they attempted to regain the port, and pitched overboard
    upwards of 500 human beings, chained together, before they were
    captured; from the abundance of sharks in the river, their track was
    literally a blood-stained one. The slaver not only does this, but
    _glories in it_: the first words uttered by the captain of the Maria
    Isabelle, seized by captain Rose, were, ‘that if he had seen the man
    of war in chase an hour sooner, he would have thrown _every_ slave
    in his vessel overboard, as _he was fully insured_.’



                                         DANVERS, Mass., _7th mo., 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND:--I thank thee for having furnished me with just such a simile
as I needed to illustrate the connection which exists between the North
and the South. Thou sayest, ‘Suppose two rival cities, one of which
becomes convinced that certain practices in trade and business in the
other are dishonest, and have an oppressive bearing on certain classes in
that city. Suppose, also, that these are practices, which, by those who
allow them, are considered as honorable and right. Those who are convinced
of this immorality wish to alter the opinions and the practices of the
citizens of their rival city, and to do this they commence the collection
of facts, that exhibit the tendencies of these practices and the evils
they have engendered. But, instead of going among the community in which
the evil exists, and endeavoring to convince them, they proceed to form
voluntary associations among their neighbors at home, and spend their
time, money, and efforts to convince their fellow citizens that the
inhabitants of their rival city are guilty of a great sin.’ Now I will
take up the comparison here, and suppose a few other things about these
two cities. Suppose that the people in one city were _known never_ to pay
the laborer his wages, but to be in the constant habit of keeping back the
hire of those who reaped down their fields; and that, on examination, it
was found that the people in the other city were continually going over to
live with these gentlemen oppressors, and instead of rebuking them, were
joining hands in wickedness with them, and were actually _more_ oppressive
to the poor than the native inhabitants. Suppose, too, it was found that
many of the merchants in the city of Fairdealing, as it was called, were
known to hold mortgages, not only upon the property which ought to belong
to the unpaid laborers, but mortgages, too, on the _laborers themselves_,
ay, and _their wives and children also_, a thing altogether contrary to
the laws of their city, and the customs of their people, and the
principles of fundamental morality. Suppose, too, it was found that the
people in the city of Oppression were in the constant practice of sending
over to the city of Fairdealing, and bribing their citizens to seize the
poorest, most defenceless of their people for them, because they were so
lazy they would not do their own work, and so mean they would not pay
others for doing it, and chose thus to supply themselves with laborers,
who, when they once got into the city, were placed under such severe laws,
that it was almost impossible for them ever to return to their afflicted
wives and children. Suppose, too, that whenever any of these oppressed,
unpaid laborers happened to escape from the city of Oppression, and after
lying out in the woods and fastnesses which lay between the two cities,
for many weeks, ‘in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, in hunger and
thirst, in cold and nakedness,’ that, as soon as they reached the city of
Fairdealing, they were most unmercifully hunted out and sent back to their
cruel oppressors, who it was well known generally treated such laborers
with great cruelty, ‘_stern necessity_’ demanding that they should be
punished and ‘rebuked before all, that others might fear’ the consequences
of such elopement. In short, suppose that the city of Fairdealing was so
completely connected with the city of Oppression, that the golden strands
of their interests were twisted together so as to form a bond of Union
stronger than death, and that by the intermarriages which were constantly
taking place, there was also a silken cord of love tying up and binding
together the tender feelings of their hearts with all the intricacies of
the Gordian knot; and then, again, that the identity of the political
interests of these cities were wound round and round them like bands of
iron and brass, altogether forming an union so complicated and powerful,
that it was impossible even to _speak_ in the most solemn manner, in the
city of Fairdealing, of the enormous crimes which were common in the city
of Oppression, without having brickbats and rotten eggs hurled at the
speaker’s head. Suppose, too, that although it was perfectly manifest to
every reflecting mind, that a most guilty copartnership existed between
these two cities, yet that the ‘gentlemen of property and standing’ of the
city of Fairdealing were continually taunting the people who were trying
to represent _their_ iniquitous league with the city of Oppression in its
true and sinful bearings, with the query of ‘Why don’t you go to the city
of Oppression, and tell the people there, not to rob the poor?’ Might not
these reformers very justly remark, we cannot go there _until_ we have
persuaded _our own_ citizens to cease _their unholy co-operation with
them_, for they will certainly turn upon us in bitter irony and
say--‘Physician, heal thyself;’ go back to your own city, and tell your
own citizens ‘to break off _their_ sins by righteousness, and _their_
transgressions by showing mercy to the poor,’ who fly from our city into
the gates of theirs for protection, but receive it not. Would not common
sense bear them out in refusing to go there, until they had _first_
converted _their own_ people from the error of their ways? I will leave
thee and my other readers to make the application of this comparison; and
if thou dost not acknowledge that abolitionists have been governed by the
soundest common sense in the course they have pursued at the North with
regard to slavery, then I am very much disappointed in thy professions of
_candor_. With regard to the parallel thou hast drawn (p. 16,) between
abolitionists, and the ‘men (who) are daily going into the streets, and
calling all bystanders around them’ and pointing out certain men, some as
liars, some as dishonest, some as licentious, and then bringing proofs of
their guilt and rebuking them before all; at the same time exhorting all
around to point at them the finger of scorn; thou sayest, ‘they persevere
in this course till the whole community is thrown into an uproar; and
assaults and even bloodshed ensue.’ But why, I should like to know, if
these people are themselves _guiltless_ of the crimes alleged against the
others? I cannot understand why they should be so angry, unless, like the
Jews of old, they perceived that the parable had been spoken ‘_against
them_.’ To my own mind, the exasperation of the North at the discussion of
slavery is an undeniable proof of _her guilt_, a certain evidence of the
necessity of her plucking the beam out of her own eye, _before_ she goes
to the South to rebuke sin there. To thee, and to all who are continually
crying out, ‘Why don’t you go to the South?’ I retort the question by
asking, why don’t YOU go to the South? _We_ conscientiously believe that
this work must be commenced _here_ at the North; this is an all-sufficient
answer for US; but YOU, who are ‘as much anti-slavery as we are,’ and
differ _only_ as to the modus operandi, believing that the South and _not_
the North ought to be the field of Anti-Slavery labors--YOU, I say, have
no excuse to offer, and are bound to go there now.

But there is another view to be taken of this subject. By all our printing
and talking at the North, we _have actually reached the very heart of the
disease at the South_. They acknowledge it themselves. Read the following
confession in the Southern Literary Review. ‘There are _many good men even
among us, who have begun to grow timid_. They think that what the virtuous
and high-minded men of the North look upon as a crime and a plague-spot,
_cannot_ be perfectly innocent or quite harmless in a slaveholding
community.’ James Smylie, of Mississippi, a minister of the gospel, _so
called_, tells us on the very first page of his essay, written to uphold
the doctrines of Governor McDuffie, ‘that the abolition maxim, viz. that
slavery is _in itself sinful_, had gained on and entwined itself among the
_religious_ and _conscientious_ scruples of _many_ in the community, so
far as to render them _unhappy_.’ I could quote other southern testimony
to the same effect, but will pass on to another fact just published in the
New England Spectator; a proposition from a minister in Missouri ‘to have
separate organizations for slavery and anti-slavery professors,’ and
indeed ‘all over the _slaveholding States_.’ Has our labor then been in
vain in the Lord? Have we failed to rouse the slumbering consciences of
the South?

Thou inquirest--‘Have the northern States power to rectify evils at the
South, as they have to remove their own moral deformities?’ I answer
unhesitatingly, certainly they have, for _moral_ evils can be removed only
by _moral_ power; and the close connection which exists between these two
portions of our country, affords the greatest possible facilities for
exerting a _moral_ influence on it. Only let the North exert as much moral
influence over the South, as the South has exerted demoralizing influence
over the North, and slavery would die amid the flame of Christian
remonstrance, and faithful rebuke, and holy indignation. The South has
told us so. In the report of the committee on federal relations in the
Legislature of South Carolina last winter, we find the following
acknowledgement: ‘Let it be admitted, that by reason of an efficient
police and judicious internal legislation, we may render abortive the
designs of the fanatic and incendiary within our limits, and that the
torrent of pamphlets and tracts which the abolition presses of the North
are pouring forth with an inexhaustible copiousness, is arrested the
moment it reaches our frontier. Are we to wait until our enemies have
built up, by the grossest misrepresentations and falsehoods, a _body of
public opinion, which it would be impossible to resist_, without
separating ourselves from the social system of the rest of the civilized
world?’ Here is the acknowledgement of a southern legislature, that it
will be _impossible for the South to resist the influence_ of that body of
_public opinion_, which abolitionists are building up against them at the
North. If further evidence is needed, that anti-slavery societies are
producing a powerful influence at the South, look at the efforts made
there to vilify and crush them. Why all this turmoil, and passion, and
rage in the slaveholder, if we have indeed rolled back the cause of
emancipation 200 years, as thy father has asserted? Why all this terror at
the distant roar of free discussion, if they feel not the earth quaking
beneath them? Does not the _South_ understand what really will affect her
interests and break down her domestic institution? Has _she_ no subtle
politicians, no far-sighted men in her borders, who can scan the practical
bearings of these troublous times? Believe me, she has; and did they not
know that we are springing a mine beneath the great bastile of slavery,
and laying a train which will soon whelm it in ruin, she would not be
quite so eager ‘to cut out our tongues, and hang us as high as Haman.’

I will just add, that as to the committee saying that abolitionists are
building up a body of public opinion at the North ‘by the grossest
misrepresentations and falsehoods,’ I think it was due to _their_
character for veracity, to have cited and refuted some of these calumnies.
Until they do, we must believe them; and as a Southerner, I can bear the
most decided testimony against slavery as the mother of _all_

Farewell for the present.

                          I remain thy friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                                        NEWBURYPORT, _7th mo. 8th, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND: As an Abolitionist, I thank thee for the portrait thou hast
drawn of the character of those with whom I am associated. They deserve
all thou hast said in their favor; and I will now endeavor to vindicate
those ‘men of pure morals, of great honesty of purpose, of real
benevolence and piety,’ from some objections thou hast urged against their

‘Much evidence,’ thou sayest, ‘can be brought to prove that the character
and measures of the Abolition Society are not either peaceful or christian
in tendency, but that they are in their nature calculated to generate
party spirit, denunciation, recrimination, and angry passion.’ Now I
solemnly ask thee, whether the character and measures of our holy Redeemer
did not produce exactly the same effects? Why did the Jews lead him to the
brow of the hill, that they might cast him down headlong; why did they go
about to kill him; why did they seek to lay hands on him, if the tendency
of _his_ measures was so very _pacific_? Listen, too, to his own
declaration: ‘I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword;’ the effects
of which, he expressly said, would be to set the mother against her
daughter, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. The rebukes
which he uttered against sin were eminently calculated to produce
‘recriminations and angry passions,’ in all who were determined to
_cleave_ to their sins; and they did produce them even against ‘him who
did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.’ He was called a
wine-bibber, and a glutton, and Beelzebub, and was accused of casting out
devils by the prince of the devils. Why, then, protest against our
measures as _unchristian_, because they do not smooth the pillow of the
poor sinner, and lull his conscience into fatal security? The truth is,
the efforts of abolitionists have stirred up the _very same spirit_ which
the efforts of _all thorough-going_ reformers have ever done; we consider
it a certain proof that the truths we utter are sharper than any two edged
sword, and that they are doing the work of conviction in the hearts of our
enemies. If it be not so, I have greatly mistaken the character of
Christianity. I consider it pre-eminently aggressive; it waits not to be
assaulted, but moves on in all the majesty of Truth to _attack_ the strong
holds of the kingdom of darkness, carries the war into the enemy’s camp,
and throws its fiery darts into the midst of its embattled hosts. Thou
seemest to think, on the contrary, that Christianity is just such a weak,
dependent, puerile creature as thou hast described woman to be. In my
opinion, thou hast robbed both the one and the other of all their true
dignity and glory. Thy descriptions may suit the prevailing christianity
of this age, and the general character of woman; and if so, we have great
cause for shame and confusion of face.

I feel sorry that thy unkind insinuations against the christian character
of Wm. Lloyd Garrison, have rendered it necessary for me to speak of him
individually, because what I shall feel bound to say of him may, to some
like thyself, appear like flattery; but I must do what justice seems so
clearly to call for at my hands. Thou sayest that ‘though he professes a
belief in the christian religion, he is an avowed opponent of most of its
institutions.’ I presume thou art here alluding to his views of the
ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, and the Sabbath. Permit me to
remind thee, that in _all_ these opinions, he coincides entirely with the
Society of Friends, whose views of the Sabbath never were so ably
vindicated as by his pen: and the insinuations of hypocrisy which thou
hast thrown out against him, may with just as much truth be cast upon
_them_. The Quakers think that these are not _christian_ institutions, but
thou hast assumed it without any proof at all. Thou sayest farther, ‘The
character and spirit of _this man_ have for years been exhibited in the
Liberator.’ I have taken that paper for two years, and therefore
understand its character, and am compelled to acknowledge, that harsh and
severe as is the language often used, I have never seen any expressions
which _truth_ did not warrant. The abominations of slavery _cannot_ be
otherwise described. I think Dr. Channing exactly portrayed the character
of brother Garrison’s writings when he said, ‘That deep feeling of evils,
which is _necessary_ to _effectual_ conflict with them, which marks
_God’s most powerful messengers to mankind, cannot_ breathe itself in soft
and tender accents. The deeply moved soul _will_ speak strongly, and
_ought_ to speak strongly, so as to move and shake nations.’ It is well
for the slave, and well for this country, that such a man was sent to
sound the tocsin of alarm before slavery had completed its work of moral
death in this ‘hypocritical nation.’ Garrison began that discussion of the
subject of slavery, which J. Q. Adams declared in his oration, delivered
in this town on the 4th inst. ‘to be the only safety-valve by which the
high pressure boiler of slavery could be prevented from a most fatal
explosion in this country;’ and as a Southerner, I feel truly grateful for
all his efforts to redeem not the slave only, but the _slaveholder_, from
the polluting influences of such a system of crime.

In his character as a man and a Christian, I have the highest confidence.
The assertion thou makest, ‘that there is to be found in that paper, or
_any thing else, any_ evidence of his possessing the peculiar traits of
Wilberforce, (benignity, gentleness and kind heartedness, I suppose thou
meanest,) not even his warmest admirers will maintain,’ is altogether new
to me; and I for one feel ready to declare, that I have never met in any
one a more lovely exhibition of these traits of character. I might relate
several anecdotes in proof of this assertion, but let one suffice. A
friend of mine, a member of the Society of Friends, told me that after he
became interested in the Anti-Slavery cause through the Liberator, he
still felt so much prejudice against its editor, that, although he wished
to labor in behalf of the slaves, he still felt as if he could not
identify himself with a society which recognized such a leader as he had
heard Wm. L. Garrison was. He had never seen him, and after many struggles
of feeling, determined to go to Boston on purpose to see ‘this man,’ and
judge of his character for himself. He did so, and when he entered the
office of the Liberator, soon fell into conversation with a person he did
not know, and became very much interested in him. After some time, a third
person came in and called off the attention of the stranger, whose
benevolent countenance and benignant manners he had so much admired. He
soon heard him addressed as Mr. Garrison, which astonished him very much;
for he had expected to see some coarse, uncouth and rugged creature,
instead of the perfect gentleman he now learned was Wm. L. Garrison. He
told me that the effect upon his mind was so great, that he sat down and
wept to think he had allowed himself to be so prejudiced against a person,
who was so entirely different from what his enemies had represented him to
be. He at once felt as if he could most cheerfully labor, heart and hand,
with such a man, and has for the last three or four years been a faithful
co-worker with him, in the holy cause of immediate emancipation. And his
confidence in him as a man of pure, _christian_ principle, has grown
stronger and stronger, as time has advanced, and circumstances have
developed his true character. I think it is impossible thou canst be
personally acquainted with brother Garrison, or thou wouldst not write of
him in the way thou hast. If thou really wishest to have thy erroneous
opinions removed, embrace the first opportunity of being introduced to
him; for I can assure thee, that with the fire of a Paul, he does possess
some of the most lovely traits in the character of Wilberforce.

                   In much haste, I remain thy friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                                          AMESBURY, _7th mo. 20th, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND: The _aggressive_ spirit of Anti-Slavery papers and pamphlets,
of which thou dost complain, so far from being a repulsive one to me, is
very attractive. I see in it that uncompromising integrity and fearless
rebuke of sin, which will bear the enterprize of emancipation through to
its consummation. And I most heartily desire to see these publications
scattered over our land as abundantly as the leaves of Autumn, believing
as I do that the principles they promulgate will be as leaves for the
healing of this nation.

I proceed to examine thy objections to ‘one of the first measures of
Abolitionists:’ their attack on a _benevolent_ society.

That the Colonization Society is a _benevolent_ institution, we deny:
therefore our attack upon it was not a sacrilegious one; it was absolutely
necessary, in order to disabuse the public mind of the false views they
entertained of its character. And it is a perfect mystery to me how men
and women can _conscientiously_ persevere in upholding a society, which
the very objects of its professed benevolence have repeatedly, solemnly,
constantly and universally condemned. To say the least, this is a very
suspicious kind of benevolence, and seems too nearly allied to that, which
induces some southern professors to keep their brethren in bonds _for
their benefit_. Yes, the free colored people are to be exiled, because
public opinion is crushing them into the dust; instead of their friends
protesting against that corrupt and unreasonable prejudice, and living it
down by a practical acknowledgement of their _right_ to _every_ privilege,
social, civil and religious, which is enjoyed by the white man. I have
never yet been able to learn, how our hatred to our colored brother is to
be destroyed by driving him away from us. I am told that when a colored
republic is built up on the coast of Africa, then we shall respect that
republic, and acknowledge that the character of the colored man can be
elevated; we will become connected with it in a commercial point of view,
and welcome it to the sympathies of our hearts. Miserable sophistry!
deceitful apology for present indulgence in sin! What man or woman of
common sense now doubts the intellectual capacity of the colored people?
Who does not know, that with all our efforts as a nation to crush and
‘_annihilate the mind_ of this portion of our race,’ we have never yet
been able to do it? Henry Berry of Virginia, in his speech in the
Legislature of that State, in 1832, expressly acknowledged, that although
slaveholders had ‘as far as possible closed every avenue by which light
might enter their minds,’ yet that they never had found out the process
by which they ‘could extinguish the _capacity_ to see the light.’ No! that
capacity remains--it is indestructible--an integral part of their nature,
as moral and immortal beings.

If it is true that white Americans only need a demonstration of the
colored man’s capacity for elevation, in order to make them willing to
receive him on the same platform of human rights upon which they stand,
why has not the intelligence of the Haytians convinced them? _Their_ free
republic has grown up under the very eye of the slaveholder, and as a
nation we have for many years been carrying on a lucrative trade with her
merchants; and yet we have never recognized her independence, never sent a
minister there, though we have sent ambassadors to European countries
whose commerce is far less important to us than that of St. Domingo.[2]

These professions of a wish to plant the tree of Liberty on the shores of
Africa, in order to convince our Republican Despotism of the high moral
and intellectual worth of the colored man, are perfectly absurd. Hayti
has done that long ago. A friend of mine (not an Abolitionist) whose
business called him to that island for several months, told me that in the
society of its citizens, he often felt his own inferiority. He was
astonished at the elegance of their manners, and the intelligence of their
conversation. Instead of going into an examination of Colonization
principles, I refer thee to the Appeal to the Women of the nominally free
States, issued by the Convention of American Women, in which we set forth
our reasons for repudiating them.

Thou hast given a specimen of the manner in which Abolitionists deal with
their Colonization opponents. Thy friend remarked, after an interview with
an abolitionist, ‘I love truth and sound argument; but when a man comes at
me with a sledge hammer, I cannot help dodging.’ I presume thy friend only
felt the truth of the prophet’s declaration, ‘Is not my word like as a
fire, saith the Lord, and like a _hammer_ that breaketh the rock in
pieces?’ I wonder not that he did _dodge_, when the sledge hammer of truth
was wielded by an abolition army. Many a Colonizationist has been
compelled to dodge, in order to escape the blows of this hammer of the
Lord’s word, for there is no other way to get clear. We must either
_dodge_ the arguments of abolitionists, or like J. G. Birney, Edward C.
Delevan, and many others, be willing to be broken to pieces by them. I
greatly like this specimen of private dealing, and hope it is not the only
instance which has come under thy notice, of Colonizationists
acknowledging the absolute necessity of _dodging_ Anti-Slavery arguments,
when they were unwilling that the _rock of prejudice_ should be broken to
pieces by them.

Thy next complaint is against the _manner_ in which this benevolent
EXPATRIATION Society was attacked. ‘The style in which the thing was done
was at once offensive, inflammatory and exasperating,’--‘the feelings of
many sincere, upright, and conscientious men were harrowed by a sense of
the injustice, the indecorum and the unchristian treatment they received.’
But why, if _they_ were entirely innocent of the charges brought against
Colonizationists? I have been in the habit, for several years past, of
watching the workings of my own mind under true and false charges against
myself; and my experience is, that the more clear I am of the charge, the
less I care about it. If I really feel a sweet assurance that ‘my witness
is in heaven--my record is on high,’ I then realize to its fullest extent
that ‘it is a small thing to be judged of _man’s_ judgment,’ and I can
bear _false_ charges unmoved; but true ones always nettle me, if I am
unwilling to confess that ‘I have sinned;’ if I am, and yield to
conviction, O then! how sweet the reward! Now I am very much afraid that
these sincere, upright and conscientious Colonizationists are something
like the _pious professors_ of the South, who are very angry because
abolitionists say that all slaveholders are men-stealers. Both find it
‘hard to kick against the pricks’ of conviction, and both are unwilling to
repent. A northern man remarked to a Virginia slaveholder last winter,
‘that as the South denied the charges brought against her by
abolitionists, he could not understand why she was so enraged; for,’
continued he, ‘if you were to accuse us at the North of being
sheep-stealers, we should not care about the charge--we should ridicule
it.’ ‘O!’ said the Virginian with an oath, ‘what the abolitionists say
about slaveholders is _too true_, and _that’s the reason_ we are vexed.’
Is not this the reason why our Colonization brethren and sisters are so
angry? Is not what we say of them also _too true_? Let them examine these
things with the bible and prayer, and settle this question between God and
their own souls.

Every true friend of the oppressed American has great cause to rejoice,
that the cloak of benevolence has been torn off from the monster
Prejudice, which could love the colored man _after_ he got to Africa, but
seemed to delight to pour contumely upon him whilst he remained in the
land of his birth. I confess it would be very hard for me to believe that
any association of men and women loved me or my family, if, because we had
become obnoxious to them, they were to meet together, and concentrate
their energies and pour out their money for the purpose of transporting us
back to France, whence our Huguenot fathers fled to this country to escape
the storm of persecutions. Why not let us live in America, if you really
_love_ us? Surely you never want to ‘_get rid_’ of people whom you _love_.
_I_ like to have such near me; and it is because I love the colored
Americans, that I want them to stay in this country; and in order to make
it a happy home to them, I am trying to talk down, and write down, and
live down this horrible prejudice. Sending a few to Africa cannot destroy
it. No--we must dig up the weed by the roots out of each of our hearts.
_It is a sin_, and we must repent of it and forsake it--and then we shall
no longer be so anxious to ‘_be clear of them_,’ ‘_to get rid of them_.’

Hoping, though against hope, that thou mayest one day know how precious is
the reward of those who can love our oppressed brethren and sisters in
this day of their calamity, and who, despising the shame of being
identified with these peeled and scattered ones, rejoice to stand side by
side with them, in the glorious conflict between Slavery and Freedom,
Prejudice and Love unfeigned, I remain thine in the bonds of universal

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.

    [2] Although there are some who like to discant on the worthless
    character of the Haytians, and the miserable condition of the
    Island, yet it is an indisputable fact, that a population of nearly
    1,000,000 are supported on its soil, and that in 1833, the value of
    its exports to the United States exceeded in value those of Prussia,
    Sweden, and Norway--Denmark and the Danish West Indies--Ireland and
    Scotland--Holland--Belgium--Dutch East Indies--British West
    Indies--Spain--Portugal--all Italy--Turkey and the Levant, or any
    one Republic in South America.



                                    HAVERHILL, Mass., _7th mo. 23, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND:--Thou sayest, ‘the _best_ way to make a person like a thing
which is disagreeable, is to try in some way to make it agreeable.’ So,
then, instead of convincing a person by sound argument and pointed rebuke
that sin is _sin_, we are to _disguise_ the opposite virtue in such a way
as to make him like that, in preference to the sin he had so dearly loved.
We are to _cheat_ a sinner out of his sin, rather than to compel him,
under the stings of conviction, to give it up from deep-rooted principle.

If this is the course pursued by ministers, then I wonder not at the kind
of converts which are brought into the church at the present day. Thy
remarks on the subject of prejudice, show but too plainly how strongly thy
own mind is imbued with it, and how little thy colonization principles
have done to exterminate this feeling from thy own bosom. Thou sayest, ‘if
a certain class of persons is the subject of unreasonable prejudice, the
peaceful and christian way of removing it would be to endeavor to render
the unfortunate persons who compose this class, so useful, so _humble, so
unassuming_, &c. that prejudice would be supplanted by complacency in
their goodness, and _pity_ and sympathy for their disabilities.’ ‘If the
friends of the blacks had quietly set themselves to work to increase their
intelligence, their usefulness, &c. and then had appealed to the _pity_
and benevolence of their fellow citizens, a very different result would
have appeared.’ Or in other words, if one person is guilty of a sin
against another person, I am to let the sinner go entirely unreproved, but
to persuade the injured party to bear with humility and patience all the
outrages that are inflicted upon him, and thus try to soothe the sinner
‘into complacency with their goodness’ in ‘bearing all things, and
enduring all things.’ Well, suppose I succeed:--is that sinner won from
the evil of his ways by _principle_? No! Has he the principle of love
implanted in his breast? No! Instead of being in love with the virtue
exhibited by the individual, because _it is virtue_, he is delighted with
the personal convenience he experiences from the exercise of that virtue.
He feels kindly toward the individual, _because_ he is an _instrument_ of
his enjoyment, a mere _means_ to promote his wishes. There is _no_
reformation there at all. And so the colored people are to be taught to be
‘very _humble_’ and ‘_unassuming_,’ ‘_gentle_’ and ‘_meek_,’ and then the
‘_pity_ and generosity’ of their fellow citizens are to be appealed to.
Now, no one who knows anything of the influence of Abolitionists over the
colored people, can deny that it has been _peaceful_ and christian; had it
not been so, they never would have seen those whom they had regarded as
their best friends, mobbed and persecuted, without raising an arm in their
defence. Look, too, at the rapid spread of thorough temperance principles
among them, and their moral reform and other laudable and useful
associations; look at the rising character of this people, the new life
and energy which have been infused into them. Who have done it? Who have
exerted by far the greatest influence on these oppressed Americans? I
leave thee to answer. I will give thee one instance of this salutary
influence. In a letter I received from one of my colored sisters, she
incidentally makes this remark:--‘Until very lately, I have lived and
acted more for _myself_ than for the good of others. I confess that I am
_wholly indebted to the Abolition cause_ for arousing me from apathy and
indifference, and shedding light into a mind which has been too long wrapt
in selfish darkness.’ The Abolition cause has exerted a powerful and
healthful influence over this class of our population, and it has been
done by quietly going into the midst of them, and identifying ourselves
with them.

But Abolitionists are complained of, because they, at the same time,
fearlessly exposed the _sin_ of the unreasonable and unholy prejudice
which existed against these injured ones. Thou sayest ‘that reproaches,
rebukes and sneers were employed to convince the whites that their
prejudices were sinful, and _without_ any just cause.’ _Without any just
cause!_ Couldst thou think so, if thou really loved thy colored sisters
_as thyself_? The unmeasured abuse which, the Colonization Society was
heaping upon this despised people, was no _just cause_ for pointed
rebuke, I suppose! The manner in which they are thrust into one corner of
our meeting-houses, as if the plague-spot was on their skins; the rudeness
and cruelty with which they are treated in our hotels, and steamboats,
rail road cars and stages, is _no just cause_ of reproach to a professed
christian community, I presume. Well, all that I can say is, that I
believe if Isaiah or James were now alive, they would pour their
reproaches and rebukes upon the heads and _hearts_ of those who are thus
despising the Lord’s poor, and saying to those whose spirits are clothed
by God in the ‘vile raiment’ of a _colored skin_, ‘Stand thou there in
yonder gallery, or sit thou here in ‘the negro-pew.’ ‘Sneers,’ too, are
complained of. Have abolitionists ever made use of greater sarcasm and
irony than did the prophet Elijah? When things are ridiculous as well as
wicked, it is unreasonable to expect that every cast of mind will treat
them with solemnity. And what is more ridiculous than American prejudice;
to proscribe and persecute men and women, because their _complexions_ are
of a darker hue than our own? Why, it is an outrage upon common sense; and
as my brother Thomas S. Grimké remarked only a few weeks before his death,
‘posterity will laugh at our prejudices.’ Where is the harm, then, if
abolitionists should laugh now at the wicked absurdity?

Thou sayest, ‘this tended to irritate the whites, and to increase their
prejudices against the blacks.’ The _truth always_ irritates the proud,
impenitent sinner. To charge abolitionists with this irritation, is
something like the charge brought against the English government by the
captain of the slaver I told thee of in my second letter, who threw all
his human merchandize overboard, in order to escape detection, and then
charged this horrible wholesale murder upon the government; because, said
he, they had no business to make a law to hang a man if he was found
engaged in the slave trade. So _we_ must bear the guilt of man’s angry
passions, because the _truth_ we preach is like a two-edged sword, cutting
through the bonds of interest on the one side, and the cords of caste on
the other.

As to our increasing the prejudice against color, this is just like the
North telling us that we have increased the miseries of the slave. Common
sense cries out against the one as well as the other. With regard to
prejudice, I believe the truth of the case to be this: the rights of the
colored man _never_ were advocated by any body of men in their length and
breadth, before the rise of the Anti-Slavery Society in this country. The
propagation of these ultra principles has produced in the northern States
exactly the same effect, which the promulgation of the doctrine of
immediate emancipation has done in the southern States. It has _developed_
the latent principles of pride and prejudice, not _produced_ them. Hear
John Green, a Judge of the Circuit Court of Kentucky, in reference to
abolition efforts having given birth to the opposition against
emancipation now existing in the South: ‘I would rather say, it has been
the means of _manifesting_ that opposition, which _previously_ existed,
but _laid dormant_ for want of an exciting cause.’ And just so has it
been with regard to prejudice at the North--when there was no effort to
obtain for the colored man his _rights_ as a man, as an American citizen,
there was no opposition exhibited, because it ‘laid dormant for want of an
exciting cause.’

I know it is alleged that some individuals, who treated colored people
with the greatest kindness a few years ago, have, since abolition
movements, had their feelings so embittered towards them, that they have
withdrawn that kindness. Now I would ask, could such people have acted
from _principle_? Certainly not; or nothing that others could do or say
would have driven them from the high ground they _appeared_ to occupy. No,
my friend, they acted precisely upon the false principle which thou hast
recommended; their _pity_ was excited, their _sentiments of generosity_
were called into exercise, because they regarded the colored man as an
_unfortunate inferior_, rather than as an _outraged_ and _insulted equal_.
Therefore, as soon as abolitionists demanded for the oppressed American
the _very same treatment_, upon the high ground of _human rights_, why,
then it was instantly withdrawn, simply because _it never had been
conceded on the right_ ground; and those who had previously granted it
became afraid, lest, during the æra of abolition excitement, persons would
presume _they_ were acting on the fundamental principle of
abolitionism--the principle of _equal rights_, irrespective of color or
condition, instead of on the mere principle of ‘_pity_ and _generosity_.’

It is truly surprising to find a professing christian excusing the
unprincipled opposition exhibited in New Haven, to the erection of a
College for young men of color. Are we indeed to succumb to a corrupt
public sentiment at the North, and the abominations of slavery at the
South, by refraining from asserting the _right_ of Americans to plant a
literary institution in New Haven, or New York, or _any where_ on the
American soil? Are we to select ‘some retired place,’ where there would be
the least prejudice and opposition to meet, rather than openly and
fearlessly to face the American monster, who, like the horse-leach, is
continually crying give, give, and whose demands are only increased by
compromise and surrender? No! there is a spirit abroad in this country,
which will not consent to barter principle for an _unholy_ peace; a spirit
which seeks to be ‘pure from the blood of all men,’ by a bold and
christian avowal of truth; a spirit which will not hide God’s eternal
principles of right and wrong, but will stand erect in the storm of human
passion, prejudice and interest, ‘holding forth the light of truth in the
midst of a crooked and perverse generation;’ a spirit which will never
slumber nor sleep, till man ceases to hold dominion over his fellow
creatures, and the trump of universal liberty rings in every forest, and
is re-echoed by every mountain and rock.

Art thou not aware, my friend, that this College was projected in the year
1831, previous to the formation of the first Anti-Slavery Society, which
was organized in 1832? How, then, canst thou say that the circumstances
relative to it occurred ‘at a time when the public mind was excited on the
subject?’ I feel quite amused at the _presumption_ which thou appearest to
think was exhibited by the projectors of this institution, in wishing it
to be located in New Haven, where was another College ‘embracing a large
proportion of southern students,’ &c. It was a great offence, to be sure,
for colored men to build a College by the walls of the white man’s
‘College, where half the shoe-blacks and waiters were _colored men_.’ But
why so? The other half of the shoe-blacks and waiters were _white_, I
presume; and if these _white_ servants could be satisfied with _their_
humble occupation _under the roof_ of Yale College, why might not the
colored waiters be contented also, though an institution for the education
of colored Americans might _presume_ to lift its head ‘beside the very
walls of this College?’ Is it possible that any professing christian can
calmly look back at these disgraceful transactions, and tell me that such
opposition was manifested ‘_for the best reasons_?’ And what is still
worse, censure the projectors of a literary institution, in free,
republican, enlightened America, because they did not meekly yield to
‘_such reasonable objections_,’ and refused ‘to soothe the feelings and
apprehensions of those who had been excited’ to opposition and clamor by
the simple fact that some American born citizens wished to give their
children a liberal education in a separate College, only because the white
Americans despised their brethren of a darker complexion, and scorned to
share with them the privileges of Yale College? It was very wrong, to be
sure, for the friends of the oppressed American to consider such
outrageous conduct ‘as a mark of the force of sinful prejudice!’ Vastly
uncharitable! Great complaints are made that ‘the worst motives were
ascribed to some of the most respectable, and venerated, and _pious_ men
who opposed the measure.’ Wonderful indeed, that men should be found so
true to their principles, as to dare in this age of sycophancy to declare
the truth to those who stand in high places, wearing the badges of office
or honor, and fearlessly to rebuke the puerile and unchristian prejudice
which existed against their colored brethren! ‘Pious men!’ Why, I would
ask, how are we to judge of men’s piety--by professions or products? Do
men gather thorns of grapes, or thistles of figs? Certainly not. If, then,
in the lives of men we do not find the fruits of christian principle, we
have no right, according to our Saviour’s criterion, ‘by their fruits ye
shall know them,’ to suppose that men are really pious who can be
perseveringly guilty of despising others, and denying them equal rights,
because they have colored skins. ‘A great deal was said and done that was
calculated to throw the community into an angry ferment.’ Yes, and I
suppose the friends of the colored man were just as guilty as was the
great Apostle, who, by the angry, and excited, and _prejudiced_ Jews, was
accused of being ‘a pestilent fellow and a mover of sedition,’ because he
declared himself called to preach the everlasting gospel to the Gentiles,
whom they considered as ‘dogs,’ and utterly unworthy of being placed on
the same platform of human rights and a glorious immortality.

                               Thy friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                                        GROTON, Mass., _6th month, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND:--In my last, I commented upon the opposition to the
establishment of a College in New Haven, Conn., for the education of
colored young men. The same remarks are applicable to the persecutions of
the Canterbury School. I leave thee and our readers to apply them. I
cannot help thinking how strange and unaccountable thy soft excuses for
the _sins of prejudice_ will appear to the next generation, if thy book
ever reach their eye.

As to Cincinnati having been chosen as the city in which the
Philanthropist should be published after the retreat of its editor from
Kentucky, thou hast not been ‘sufficiently informed,’ for James G. Birney
pursued exactly the course which _thou_ hast marked out as the most
prudent and least offensive. He edited his paper at New Richmond, in Ohio,
for nearly three months before he went to Cincinnati, and did not go there
until the excitement appeared to have subsided.

And so, thou thinkest that abolitionists are accountable for the outrages
which have been committed against them; they are the tempters, and are
held responsible by God, as well as the tempted. Wilt thou tell me, who
was responsible for the mob which went with swords and staves to take an
innocent man before the tribunals of Annas and Pilate, some 1800 years
ago? And who was responsible for the uproar at Ephesus, the insurrection
at Athens, and the tumults at Lystra and Iconium? Were I a mobocrat, I
should want no better excuse than thou hast furnished for such outrages.
Wonderful indeed, if, in free America, her citizens cannot _choose_ where
they will erect their literary institutions and presses, to advocate the
self-evident truths of our Declaration of Independence! And still more
wonderful, that a New England woman should, _after years of reflection_,
deliberately write a book to condemn the advocates of liberty, and plead
excuses for a relentless prejudice against her colored brethren and
sisters, and for the persecutors of those, who, according to the opinion
of a _Southern_ member of Congress, are prosecuting ‘the _only plan_ that
can ever overthrow slavery at the South.’ I am glad, _for thy own sake_,
that thou hast exculpated abolitionists from the charge of the ‘deliberate
intention of fomenting illegal acts of violence.’ Would it not have been
still better, if thou hadst spared the remarks which rendered such an
explanation necessary?

I find that thou wilt not allow of the comparison often drawn between the
effects of christianity on the hearts of those who obstinately rejected
it, and those of abolitionism on the hearts of people of the present day.
Thou sayest, ‘Christianity is a system of _persuasion_, tending by kind
and gentle influences to make men _willing_ to leave their sins.’ Dost
thou suppose the Pharisees and Sadducees deemed it was very _kind_ and
_gentle_ in its influences, when our holy Redeemer called them ‘a
generation of vipers,’ or when he preached that sermon ‘full of harshness,
uncharitableness, rebuke and denunciation,’ recorded in the xxiii. chapter
of Matthew? But I shall be told that Christ knew the hearts of all men,
and therefore it was right for him to use terms which mere human beings
never ought to employ. Read, then, the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and
others, and also the Epistles of the New Testament. They employed the most
offensive terms on many occasions, and the sharpest rebukes, knowing full
well that there are some sinners who can be reached by nothing but
death-thrusts at their consciences. An anecdote of JOHN RICHARDSON, who
was remarkable for his urbanity of manners, occurs to me. He one day
preached a sermon in a country town, in which he made use of some _hard_
language; a friend reproved him after meeting, and inquired whether he did
not know that hard wood was split by soft knocks. Yes, said Richardson,
but I also know that there is some wood so rotten at the heart, that
nothing but tremendously hard blows will ever split it open. Ah! John,
replied the elder, I see thou understandest _how_ to do thy master’s work.
Now, I believe this nation is _rotten at the heart_, and that nothing but
the most tremendous blows with the sledge-hammer of abolition truth, could
ever have broken the false rest which we had taken up for ourselves on the
very brink of ruin.

‘Abolitionism, on the contrary, is a system of _coercion_ by public
opinion.’ By this assertion, I presume thou ‘hast not been correctly
informed’ as to the reasons which have induced abolitionists to put forth
all their energies to rectify public opinion. It is _not_ because we wish
to wield this public opinion like a rod of iron over the heads of
slaveholders, to _coerce_ them into an abandonment of the system of
slavery; not at all. We are striving to purify public opinion, first,
because as long as the North is so much involved in the guilt of slavery,
by its political, commercial, religious, and social connexion with the
South, _her own citizens_ need to be converted. Second, because we know
that when public opinion is rectified at the North, it will throw a flood
of light from its million of reflecting surfaces upon the heart and soul
of the South. The South sees full well at what we are aiming, and she is
so unguarded as to acknowledge that ‘if she does not resist the danger in
its inception, it will _soon_ become _irresistible_.’ She exclaims in
terror, ‘the truth is, the _moral_ power of the world is against us; it is
idle to disguise it.’ The fact is, that the slaveholders of the South, and
their northern apologists, have been overtaken by the storm of free
discussion, and are something like those who go down to the sea and do
business in the great waters: ‘they reel to and fro, and stagger like a
drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.’

Our view of the doctrine of expediency, thou art pleased to pronounce
‘wrong and very pernicious in its tendency.’ Expediency is emphatically
the doctrine by which the children of this world are wont to guide their
steps, whilst the rejection of it as a rule of action exactly accords with
the divine injunction, to ‘walk by faith, _not_ by sight.’ Thy doctrine
that ‘the wisdom and rectitude of a given course depend entirely on the
_probabilities of success_,’ is not the doctrine of the Bible. According
to this principle, how absurd was the conduct of Moses! What probability
of success was there that he could move the heart of Pharaoh? None at all;
and thus did _he_ reason when he said, ‘Who am _I_, that I should go unto
Pharaoh?’ And again, ‘Behold, they will not believe _me_, nor hearken unto
my voice.’ The _success_ of Moses’s mission in persuading the king of
Egypt to ‘let the people go,’ was not involved in the duty of obedience to
the divine command. Neither was the success of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
others of the prophets who were singularly _unsuccessful_ in their mission
to the Jews. All who see the path of duty plain before them, are bound to
walk in that path, end where it may. They then can realize the meaning of
the Apostle, when he exhorts Christians to cast all their burden on the
Lord, with the promise that He would sustain them. This is walking by
_faith_, not by sight. In the work in which abolitionists are engaged,
they are compelled to ‘walk by faith;’ they feel called upon to preach the
truth in season and out of season, to lift up their voices like a trumpet,
to show the people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins.
The _success_ of this mission, _they_ have no more to do with, than had
Moses and Aaron, Jeremiah or Isaiah, with that of theirs. Whether the
South will be saved by Anti-Slavery efforts, is not a question for us to
settle--and in some of our hearts, the _hope of its salvation has utterly
gone out_. All nations have been punished for oppression, and why should
ours escape? Our light, and high professions, and the age in which we
live, convict us not only of enormous oppression, but of the vilest
hypocrisy. It may be that the rejection of the truth which we are now
pouring in upon the South, may be the final filling up of their
iniquities, just previous to the bursting of God’s exterminating thunders
over the Sodoms and Gomorrahs, the Admahs and Zeboims of America. The
_result_ of our labors is hidden from our eyes; whether the preaching of
Anti-Slavery truth is to be a savor of life unto life, or of death unto
death to this nation, we know not; and we have no more to do with it, than
had the Apostle Paul, when he preached Christ to the people of his day.

If American Slavery goes down in blood, it will but verify the
declarations of those who uphold it. A committee of the North Carolina
Legislature acknowledged this to an English Friend ten years ago.
Jefferson more than once uttered his gloomy forebodings; and the
Legislators of Virginia, in 1832, declared that if the opportunity of
escape, through the means of emancipation, were rejected, ‘though they
might _save themselves_, they would rear their posterity to the business
of the dagger and the torch.’ I have myself known several families to
leave the South, solely from a fear of insurrection; and this twelve and
fourteen years ago, long before any Anti-Slavery efforts were made in this
country. And yet, I presume, _if_ through the cold-hearted apathy and
obstinate opposition of the North, the South should become strengthened in
her desperate determination to hold on to her outraged victims, until they
are goaded to despair, and if the Lord in his wrath pours out the vials of
his vengeance upon the slave States, why then, Abolitionists will have to
bear all the blame. Thou hast drawn a frightful picture of the final issue
of Anti-Slavery efforts, as thou art pleased to call it; but none of these
things move me, for with just as much truth mayest thou point to the land
of Egypt, blackened by God’s avenging fires, and exclaim, ‘Behold the
issue of Moses’s mission.’ Nay, verily! See in that smoking, and
blood-drenched house of bondage, the consequences of oppression,
disobedience, and an obstinate rejection of truth, and light, and love.
What had Moses to do with those judgment plagues, except to lift his rod?
And if the South soon finds her winding sheet in garments rolled in blood,
it will _not_ be because of what the North has told her, but because, like
impenitent Egypt, she hardened her heart against it, whilst the voices of
some of her own children were crying in agony, ‘O! that thou hadst known,
even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace; but now
they are hid from thine eyes.’

                               Thy friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                               BROOKLINE, Mass., _8th month, 17th, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND:--Thou sayest ‘There are cases also, where differences in age,
and station, and character, forbid all interference to modify the conduct
and character of others.’ Let us bring this to the only touchstone by
which Christians should try their principles of action.

How was it when God designed to rid his people out of the hands of the
Egyptian monarch? Was _his_ station so exalted ‘as to forbid all
interference to modify his character and conduct?’ And _who_ was sent to
interfere with his conduct towards a stricken people? Was it some brother
monarch of exalted station, whose elevated rank might serve to excuse such
interference ‘to modify his conduct and character?’ No. It was an obscure
shepherd of Midian’s desert; for let us remember, that Moses, in pleading
the cause of the Israelites, identified himself with the _lowest_ and
_meanest_ of the King’s subjects. Ah! he was _one of that despised caste_;
for, although brought up as the son of the princess, yet he had left Egypt
as an outlaw. He had committed the crime of murder, and fled because the
monarch ‘sought to slay him.’ This exiled outlaw is the instrument chosen
by God to vindicate the cause of his oppressed people. Moses was in the
sight of Pharaoh as much an object of scorn, as Garrison now is to the
tyrants of America. Some seem to think, that great moral enterprises can
be made honorable only by Doctors of Divinity, and Presidents of Colleges,
engaging in them: when all powerful Truth cannot be dignified by _any_
man, but _it_ dignifies and ennobles all who embrace it. _It_ lifts the
beggar from the dunghill, and sets him among princes. Whilst it needs no
great names to bear it onward to its glorious consummation, it is
continually making great characters out of apparently mean and unpromising
materials; and in the intensity of its piercing rays, revealing to the
amazement of many, the insignificance and _moral_ littleness of those who
fill the highest stations in Church and State.

But take a few more examples from the bible, of those in high stations
being reproved by men of inferior rank. Look at David rebuked by Nathan,
Ahab and Jezebel by Elijah and Micaiah. What, too, was the conduct of
Daniel and Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, but a _practical_ rebuke of
Darius and Nebuchadnezzar? And _who_ were these men, apart from these acts
of daring interference? They were the Lord’s prophets, I shall be told;
but what cared those monarchs for _this fact_? How much credit did they
give them for holding this holy office? None. And why? Because all but
David were impenitent sinners, and rejected with scorn all ‘interference
to modify their conduct or characters.’ Reformers are rarely estimated in
the age in which they live, whether they be called prophets or apostles,
or abolitionists, or what not. They stand on the rock of Truth, and calmly
look down upon the careering thunder-clouds, the tempest, and the roaring
waves, because they well know that where the atmosphere is surcharged with
pestilential vapors, a conflict of the elements _must_ take place, before
it can be purified by that moral electricity, beautifully typified by the
cloven tongues that sat upon _each_ of the heads of the 120 disciples who
were convened on the day of Pentecost. Such men and women expect to be
‘blamed and opposed, because their measures are deemed inexpedient, and
calculated to increase rather than diminish the evil to be cured.’ They
know full well, that _intellectual_ greatness cannot give _moral_
perception--therefore, _those who have no clear views of the
irresistibleness of moral power, cannot see the efficacy of moral means_.
They say with the apostle, ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ We know full well, that
northern men and women laugh at the inefficacy of Anti-Slavery measures;
_but slaveholders never have ridiculed them_: not that their moral
perceptions are any clearer than those of our northern opponents, but
where men’s _interests_ and _lust of power_ are immediately affected by
moral effort, they instinctively feel that it is so, and tremble for the

But suppose even that our measures were calculated to _increase_ the
evils of slavery. _The measures adopted by Moses, and sanctioned by God,
increased the burdens of the Israelites._ Were they, therefore,
_inexpedient_? And yet, if _our_ measures produce a similar effect, O
then! they are very inexpedient indeed. The truth is, when we look at
Moses and his measures, we look at them in connection with the
emancipation of the Israelites. The _ultimate_ and glorious success of the
measures proves their wisdom and expediency. But when Anti-Slavery
measures are looked at _now_, we see them long _before the end is
accomplished_. We see, according to thy account, the burdens increased;
but we do not yet see the triumphant march through the Red Sea, nor do we
hear the song of joy and thanksgiving which ascended from Israel’s
redeemed host. But canst thou not give us twenty years to complete our
work? Clarkson, thy much admired model, worked twenty years; and the
benevolent Colonization Society has been in operation twenty years. Just
give us as long a time, or half that time, and then thou wilt be a far
better judge of the expediency or inexpediency of our measures. Then thou
wilt be able to look at them in connection with their success or their
failure, and instead of writing a book on thy opinions and my opinions,
thou canst write a _history_.

I cannot agree with thee in the sentiment, that the station of a nursery
maid makes it inexpedient for her to turn reprover of the master who
employs her. This is the doctrine of _modern aristocracy_, not of
primitive christianity; for ecclesiastical history informs us that, in the
first ages of christianity, kings were converted through the faithful and
solemn rebukes of their slaves and captives. I have myself been reproved
by a _slave_, and I thanked her, and still thank her for it. Think how
this doctrine robs the nursery maid of her responsibility, and shields the
master from reproof; for it may be that she alone has seen him ill-treat
his wife. Now it appears to me, so far from her station forbidding all
interference to modify the character and conduct of her employer, that
that station peculiarly qualifies her for the difficult and delicate task,
because nursery maids often know secrets of oppression, which no other
persons are fully acquainted with. For my part, I believe it is _now the
duty of the slaves of the South to rebuke their masters_ for their
robbery, oppression and crime; and so far from believing that such
‘reproof would do no good, but only evil,’ I think it would be attended by
the happiest results in the main, though I doubt not it would occasion
some instances of severe personal suffering. No station or character can
destroy individual responsibility, in the matter of reproving sin. I feel
that a slave has a right to rebuke me, and so has the vilest sinner; and
the sincere, humble christian will be thankful for rebuke, let it come
from whom it may. Such, I am confident, never would think it inexpedient
for their chamber maids to administer it, but would endeavor to profit by

Thou askest very gravely, why James G. Birney did not go quietly into the
southern States, and collect facts? Indeed! Why should he go to the South
to collect facts, when he had lived there forty years? Thou mayest with
just as much propriety ask me, why I do not go to the South to collect
facts. The answer to both questions is obvious:--We have lived at the
South, as _integral_ parts of the system of slavery, and therefore we know
from practical observation and sad experience, quite enough about it
already. I think it would be absurd for either of us to spend our time in
such a way. And even if J. G. Birney had not lived at the South, why
should he go there to collect facts, when the Anti-Slavery presses are
continually throwing them out before the public? Look, too, at the Slave
Laws! What more do we need to show us the bloody hands and iron heart of

Thou sayest on the 89th page of thy book, ‘Every avenue of approach to the
South is shut. No paper, pamphlet, or preacher, that touches on that
topic, is admitted in their bounds.’ Thou art greatly mistaken; every
avenue of approach to the South is _not_ shut. The American Anti-Slavery
Society sends between four and five hundred of its publications to the
South by mail, _to subscribers_, or as exchange papers. One slaveholder in
North Carolina, not long since, bought $60 worth of our pamphlets, &c.
which he distributed in the slave States. Another slaveholder from
Louisiana, made a large purchase of our publications last fall, which he
designed to distribute among professors of religion who held slaves. To
these I may add another from South Carolina, another from Richmond,
Virginia, numbers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and others from
New Orleans, besides persons connected with at least three Colleges and
Theological Seminaries in slave States, have applied for our publications
for their own use, and for distribution. Within a few weeks, the South
Carolina Delegation in Congress have sent on an order to the publishing
Agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, for all the principal bound
volumes, pamphlets, and periodicals of the Society. At the same time, they
addressed a very courteous letter to J. G. Birney, the Corresponding
Secretary, propounding nearly a score of queries, embracing the
principles, designs, plans of operation, progress and results of the
Society. I know in the large cities, such as Charleston and Richmond, that
Anti-Slavery papers are not suffered to reach their destination through
the mail; but _it is not so_ in the smaller towns. But even in the cities,
I doubt not they are read by the postmasters and others. The South may
pretend that she will not read our papers, but it is all pretence; the
fact is, she is very anxious to see what we are doing, so that when the
mail-bags were robbed in Charleston in 1835, _I know_ that the robbers
were very careful to select a few copies of each of the publications
_before_ they made the bonfire, and that these were handed round in a
private way through the city, so that they were _extensively read_. This
fact I had from a friend of mine who was in Charleston at the time, and
_read_ the publications himself. My relations also wrote me word, that
they had seen and read them.

In order to show that our discussions and publications have already
produced a great effect upon many individuals in the slave States, I
subjoin the following detail of facts and testimony now in my possession.

My sister, S. M. Grimké, has just received a letter from a Southerner
residing in the far South, in which he says, ‘On the 4th of July, the
friends of the oppressed met and contributed six or eight dollars, to
obtain some copies of Gerrit Smith’s letter, and some other pamphlets for
our own benefit and that of the vicinity. The leaven, we think, is
beginning to work, and we hope that it will ere long purify the whole mass
of corruption.’

An intelligent member of the Methodist Church, who resides in North
Carolina, was recently in the city of New York, and told the editor of
Zion’s Watchman, that ‘our publications were read with great interest at
the South--that there was great curiosity there to see them.’ A bookseller
also in one of the most southern States, only a few months ago, ordered a
package of our publications. And within a very short time, an influential
slaveholder from the far South, who called at the Anti-Slavery Office in
New York, said he had had misgivings on the subject ever since the
formation of the American Society--that he saw some of our publications
_at the South_ three years ago, and is now convinced and has emancipated
his slaves.

A correspondent of the Union Herald, a clergyman, and a graduate of one of
the colleges of Kentucky, says, ‘I find in this State _many_ who are
decidedly opposed to slavery--but few indeed take the ground that it is
right. I trust the cause of human rights is onward--_weekly, I receive two
copies of the Emancipator_, which I send out as battering rams, to beat
down the citadel of oppression.’ In a letter to James G. Birney, from a
gentleman in a slave State, we find this declaration: ‘Your paper, the
Philanthropist, is regularly distributed here, and as yet works no
incendiary results; and indeed, so far as I can learn, general
satisfaction is here expressed, both as to the temper and spirit of the
paper, and no disapprobation as to the results.’ At an Anti-Slavery
meeting last fall in Philadelphia, a gentleman from Delaware was present,
who rose and encouraged Abolitionists to go on, and said that he could
assure them the influence of their measures was felt there, and their
principles were gaining ground secretly and silently. The subject, he
informed them, was discussed there, and he believed Anti-Slavery lectures
could be delivered there with safety, and would produce important results.
Since that time, a lecturer has been into that State, and a State Society
has been formed, the secretary of which was the first editor of the
Emancipator, and is now pastor of the Baptist church in the capital of the
State. The North Carolina Watchman, published at Salisbury, in an article
on the subject of Abolition, has the following remarks of the editor: ‘It
[the abolition party] is the growing party at the North: we are inclined
to believe, that there is even _more of it at the South_, than prudence
will permit to be openly avowed.’ It rejoices our hearts to find that
there are some southerners who feel and acknowledge the infatuation of the
politicians of the South, and the philanthropy of abolitionists. The
Maryville Intelligencer of 1836, exclaims, ‘What sort of madness, produced
by a jaundiced and distorted conception of the feelings and motives by
which northern abolitionists are actuated, can induce the southern
political press to urge a severance of the tie that binds our Union
together? To offer rewards for those very individuals who stand as
_mediators_ between masters and slaves, urging the one to be obedient, and
the other to do justice?’

A southern Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the session of
the New York Annual Conference, in June of 1836, said: ‘Don’t give up
Abolitionism--don’t bow down to slavery. You have thousands at the South
who are secretly praying for you.’ In a subsequent conversation with the
same individual, he stated, that the South is not that unit of which the
pro-slavery party boast--there is a diversity of opinion among them in
reference to slavery, and the REIGN OF TERROR alone suppresses the free
expression of sentiment. That there are thousands who believe slaveholding
to be sinful, who secretly wish the abolitionists success, and believe God
will bless their efforts. That the ministers of the gospel and
ecclesiastical bodies who indiscriminately denounce the abolitionists,
without doing any thing themselves to remove slavery, have _not_ the
thanks of thousands at the South, but on the contrary are viewed as
_taking sides with slaveholders_, and _recreant to the principles of their
own profession_.--_Zion’s Watchman, November, 1836._

The Christian Mirror, published in Portland, Maine, has the following
letter from a minister who has lately taken up his abode in Kentucky, to a
friend in Maine:--‘Several ministers have recently left the State, I
believe, on account of slavery; and many of the members of churches, as I
have understood, have sold their property, and removed to the free States.
Many are becoming more and more convinced of the evil and _sin_ of
slavery, and would gladly rid themselves and the community of this
scourge; and I feel confident that influences are already in operation,
which, if properly directed and regulated by the principles of the gospel,
may ‘break every yoke and let the oppressed go free’ in Kentucky.

In 1st month, 1835, when Theodore D. Weld was lecturing in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, at the close of one of his evening lectures, a man sought
him through the crowd, and extending his hand to him through his friends,
by whom he was surrounded, solicited him to step aside with him for a
moment. After they had retired by themselves, the gentleman said to him
with great earnestness, ‘I am a slaveholder from Maryland--_you are
right--the doctrine you advocate is truth_.’ Why, then, said the lecturer,
do you not emancipate your slaves? ‘Because,’ said the Marylander, ‘I have
not religion enough’--He was a professing christian--‘I dare not subject
myself to the torrent of opposition which, from the present state of
public sentiment, would be poured upon me; but do you abolitionists go on,
and you will effect a change in public sentiment, which will render it
possible and easy for us to emancipate our slaves. I know,’ continued he,
‘a great many slaveholders in my State, who stand on precisely the same
ground that I do in relation to this matter. _Only produce a correct
public sentiment at the North and the work is done; for all that keeps the
South in countenance while continuing this system, is the apology and
argument afforded so generally by the North; only produce a right feeling
in the North generally, and the South cannot stand before it; let the
North be thoroughly converted, and the work is at once accomplished at the
South._’ Another fact which may be adduced to prove that the South is
looking to the North for help, is the following: At an Anti-Slavery
concert of prayer for the oppressed, held in New York city, in 1836, a
gentleman arose in the course of the meeting, declaring himself a
Virginian and a slaveholder. He said he came to that city filled with the
deepest prejudice against the abolitionists, by the reports given of their
character in papers published at the North. But he determined to
investigate their character and designs for himself. He even boarded in
the family of an abolitionist, and attended the monthly concert of prayer
for the slaves and the slaveholders. And now, as the result of his
investigations and observations, he was convinced that _not only the
spirit but the principles and measures of the abolitionists_ ARE
RIGHTEOUS. He was now ready to emancipate his own slaves, and had
commenced advocating the doctrine of immediate emancipation--‘and
here,’ said he, pointing to two men sitting near him, ‘are the first
fruits of my labors--these two fellow Virginians and slaveholders, are
converts with myself to abolitionism. And I know a thousand Virginians,
who need only to be made acquainted with the true spirit and principles
of abolitionists, in order to their becoming converts as we are. _Let
the abolitionists go on in the dissemination of their doctrines, and
let the Northern papers cease to misrepresent them at the South--let
the true light of abolitionism be fully shed upon the Southern mind,
and the work of immediate and general emancipation will be speedily
accomplished._‘--_Morning Star, N. Y._

A letter from a gentleman in Kentucky to Gerrit Smith, dated August, 1836,
contains the following expressions:--

    ‘I am fully persuaded, that the voice of the free States, lifted up
    in a proper manner against the evil, [Slavery] will awaken them
    [slaveholders] from their midnight slumbers, and produce a happy
    change. I rejoice, dear brother in Christ, to hear that you are with
    us, and feel deeply to plead the cause of the oppressed, and undo
    the heavy burdens. May God bless you, and the cause which you

In the summer of 1835, William R. Buford, of Virginia, who had then
recently emancipated his slaves, wrote a letter which was published in the
Hampshire Gazette, North Hampton, Mass. from which I give thee some

    DEAR SIR:--As you are ardently engaged in the discussion of Slavery,
    I think it likely I may be of service to you, and through you to the
    cause which you are advocating. … I was born and brought up at the
    South in the midst of slavery, as you know. My father inherited
    slaves from his father, and I from him. So far from thinking slavery
    a sin, or that I had no right to own the slaves inherited from my
    father, I thought no one could venture to dispute that right, any
    more than he could my right to his land or his stock. I advocated
    Colonization, as I thought it on many accounts a good plan to get
    rid of such colored persons as wished to go to Africa; but my
    conscience as a slaveholder was not much troubled by it. Of course,
    I had no tendency to make me disclaim my right to my slaves.
    Abolition--immediate abolition, began afterwards to be discussed in
    various parts of the country. My right to the slaves I owned began
    to be disputed. I had to defend myself. In vain did I say I
    inherited my slaves from a pious father, who seemed to be governed
    in his dealings by a sense of duty to his slaves. In vain did I say
    that nearly all my property consisted in slaves, and to free them
    would make me a poor man. My duty to emancipate was still urged. At
    length my eyes were opened--partly by the arguments used by the
    abolitionists: but mainly, by long being compelled _by them_ to
    examine the subject for myself. No longer could I close my eyes to
    the evils of slavery, nor could I any longer despise the
    abolitionists, ‘the only true friends of their country and kind.’ I
    now think, I know, I have no more right to own slaves, whether I
    inherited them or not, than I have to encourage the African slave
    trade. By declaring this sentiment, I expect and design to abet the
    cause of Abolition at the North, and through the North the
    emancipation of the slaves at the South. I know that in doing this,
    I condemn the South. No one can suppose, however, that I have any
    unkind feelings towards the South. All my relatives live in the
    slaveholding States, and are almost all slaveholders.

    I think the abolitionists have done, and are doing a great deal of
    good, by holding slavery up to the public gaze. Sentiment at the
    North on the subject of slavery must have the same effect on the
    South, that their opinions have on any other matter.’

The writer of the foregoing is, as I am told, still a resident of
Virginia, where he has long been known, and is highly respected.

In the 11th month, 1835, the United States Telegraph, published at
Washington city, contains the following remarks by the Editor, Duff

    ‘We are of those who believe the South has nothing to fear from a
    servile war. We do not believe that the abolitionists intend, nor
    could they if they would, excite the slaves to insurrection. The
    danger of this is remote. We believe that we have most to fear from
    the _organised action upon the consciences_ and fears of the
    slaveholders themselves; _from the insinuations of their dangerous
    heresies into our schools, our pulpits, and our domestic circles. It
    is only by alarming the consciences of the weak and feeble, and
    diffusing among our own people a morbid sensibility on the question
    of slavery, that the abolitionists can accomplish their object._
    PREPARATORY TO THIS, they are now laboring to saturate the
    non-slaveholding States with the belief that slavery is a ‘sin
    against God.’ We must meet the question in all its bearings. We must
    SATISFY THE CONSCIENCES, we must allay the fears of our own people.
    We must satisfy them that slavery is of itself right--that it is not
    a sin against God--that it is not an evil, moral or political. To do
    this, we must discuss the subject of slavery itself. We must examine
    its bearing upon the moral, political, and religious institutions of
    the country. In this way, and this way only, can we prepare our own
    people to _defend their own institutions_.’

In another number of the same paper, the Editor says,

    ‘We hold that our sole reliance is on ourselves; that we have _most
    to fear from the gradual operation on public opinion among
    ourselves_; and that those are the most insidious and dangerous
    invaders of our rights and interests, who, coming to us in the guise
    of friendship, endeavor to _persuade_ us that slavery is a sin, a
    curse, an evil. It is not true that the South sleeps on a
    volcano--that we are afraid to go to bed at night--that we are
    fearful of murder and pillage. _Our greatest cause of apprehension
    is from the operation of the morbid sensibility which appeals to
    the consciences of our own people_, and would make them the
    voluntary instruments of their own ruin.’

In 1835, I think about the close of the year, a series of articles on
Slavery appeared in the Lexington (Kentucky) Intelligencer. In one of the
numbers, the writer says:--

    ‘Much of the preceding matter was inserted (May, 1833) in the
    Louisville Herald. A _great change_ has since taken place in public
    sentiment. Colonization, then a favorite measure, is now rejected
    for instant emancipation. Were this last feasible, I would gladly
    join its advocates,’ &c.

In a letter to the publisher of the Emancipator, dated ‘April 1, 1837,’
from a Southerner, I find the following language:--

    ‘Though a ---- born and bred, I now consider the Anti-Slavery cause
    as a just and holy one. Deep reflection, the reading of your
    excellent publications, and--years of travel in Europe, have made
    me, what I am now proud to call myself, an abolitionist.

    ‘For the present, accept the assurances of my unswerving devotion to
    the cause of liberty and justice. Any letter from yourself will
    always give me sincere pleasure, and whenever I go to New York, I
    shall call upon you, _sans ceremonie_, as I would upon an old

A short time since, J. G. Birney received a donation of $20 for the
Anti-Slavery Society, from an individual residing in a slave State,
accompanied with a request that his name might not be mentioned.

About the time of the robbery of the U. S. Mail, and the burning of
Abolition papers by the infatuated citizens of my own city, the Editor of
the Charleston Courier made the following remarks in his paper, which
plainly reveal the cowering of the spirit of slavery, under the searching
scrutiny occasioned by the Anti-Slavery discussions in the free States.

    ‘_Mart for Negroes._--We understand that a proposition is before the
    city council, relative to the establishment of a mart for the sale
    of negroes in this city, in a place _more remote from observation_,
    and less offensive to the public eye, than the one now used for that
    purpose. We doubt not that the proposition before the council will
    be acceptable to the community, and that it may be so matured as to
    promote public decency, without prejudice to the interest of

Hear, too, the acknowledgement of the Southern Literary Review, published
at Charleston, South Carolina, which was got up in 1837, to sustain the
system of Slavery.

    ‘There are _many_ good men even among us, who have begun to grow
    _timid_. They think that what the virtuous and high-minded men of
    the North look upon as a crime and a plague-spot, cannot be
    perfectly innocent or quite harmless in a slaveholding community. …
    Some timid men among us, whose ears have been long assailed with
    outcries of tyranny and oppression, wafted over the ocean and land
    from North to South, begin to look _fearfully_ around them.’

A correspondent of the Pittsburgh Witness, detailing the particulars of an
Anti-Slavery meeting in Washington co. Pennsylvania, says:--

    ‘After Dr. Lemoyne, the President of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery
    Society, had finished his address, in which the principles and
    measures of the Anti-Slavery Society were fully exhibited, the Rev.
    Charles Stewart, of Kentucky, a slaveholding clergyman of the
    Presbyterian church, who was casually present, rose and addressed
    the audience, and instead of opposing our principles as might have
    been expected, fully endorsed every thing that had been said,
    declaring his conviction that such a speech would have been well
    received by the truly religious part of the community in which he
    resided, and would have been opposed only by those who were actuated
    by party politics alone, or those who ‘neither feared God nor
    regarded man.’

I give thee now a letter from a gentleman in a South Western slaveholding
State, to J. G. BIRNEY.

    ‘_Very Dear Sir_:--I knew you in the days of your prosperity at the
    South, though you will not recognize me. Ever since you first took
    your stand in defence of _natural rights_, I have been looking upon
    you with intense interest. I _was_ violently opposed to
    Abolitionists, and verily thought I was doing service to both church
    and State, in decrying them as _incendiaries_ and _fanatics_. What
    blindness and infatuation! Yet I was _sincere_. Ah! my dear sir, God
    in mercy has taught me that something more than _sincerity_, in the
    common acceptation of the term, is necessary to preserve our
    understandings from idiocy, and our hearts from utter ruin. How
    could I have been such a _madman_, as coolly and composedly to place
    my foot upon the necks of immortal beings, and from that horrid
    point of elevation, hurl the deep curses of church and State at the
    heads of----whom? Fanatics? No, sir!--_but of the only persons on
    the face of the earth, who had HEART enough to FEEL, and SOUL
    enough to ACT, in behalf of the RIGHTS OF MAN_! Yet I was just
    such a madman! Yes, sir, I was a _fanatic_, and an _incendiary_
    too--setting on fire the worst passions of our fallen nature. But I
    have repented. I have become a convert to political, and I trust,
    also, to _Christian Freedom_. The spectacle exhibited by yourself,
    and your compatriots and fellow-christians, has completely overcome
    me. Your reasonings convince my judgment, and your ACTIONS win my
    heart. God speed you in your work of love! The hopes of the world
    depend, under God, upon the success of your cause.

    Very respectfully and with undying affection,

                        Your friend and brother,

                                                         A SOUTHERNER.’

Another of J. G. Birney’s southern correspondents says, in 1836,

    ‘That portion of the Church with which I am connected, seem to have
    no sympathy with the indignation against the abolitionists, which
    prevails so extensively North and South; but, on the other hand,
    consider the _South_ as _infatuated_ to the highest degree.

    There is more credit for philanthropy given those who manumit their
    slaves, without _expatriation_, than formerly.

    The thirst for information is increasing, while the ‘_non
    liquetism_’ [voting on neither side] of brethren in church courts is
    becoming less and less satisfactory; and such of them as advocate
    the perpetuity of the system, are looked upon with surprise and

    Those who view with horror the traffic in slaves by ministers of the
    gospel, express more freely their pain at its indulgence, _than I
    have ever known_. I am acquainted with several such cases. In no
    instances have they left the brother’s standing where it was, before
    it took place. Of such cases--even those, too, where the usual
    allowances might be called for--I have heard professors of religion
    remark, ‘Mr. A. could not get an audience to hear him preach’--‘Mr.
    B. has more assurance than I could have, to preach, after selling my
    slaves as he has done’--‘He can never make me believe he has any
    religion’--‘This is the first time you have done so, but repeat it,
    and I think I shall never hear you preach again.’

These remarks were made by slaveholding professors of religion themselves,
and under circumstances neither calculated nor intended to deceive.

The following letter was written by an intelligent gentleman in the
interior of Alabama, to Arthur Tappan, of New York, who had sent him some
Anti-Slavery publications. The date is March 21, 1834.

    ‘Dear Sir--Your letter of Dec. last, I read with much interest. The
    numbers of the Anti-Slavery Reporter, also, which you were so kind
    as to send me, I carefully examined, and put them in circulation.

    Your operations have produced considerable excitement in some
    sections of this country, but humanity has lost nothing. The more
    the subject of slavery is agitated, the better. A distinguished
    gentleman remarked to me a day or two since, that ‘there was a great
    change going on in public sentiment.’ Few would acknowledge that it
    was to be ascribed to the influence of your Society. There can be no
    doubt, however, that this is directly and indirectly the principal

During the same year, the Editor of the New York Evangelist received a
letter from a christian friend in North Carolina, from which I give thee
an extract.

    _To the Editor of the Evangelist_--

    ‘The subject of slavery, recently brought up and discussed in your
    paper, is the one which elicits the following remarks.

    In the first place I will state, that I entertain very different
    views _now_, to what I did six months ago. I was among those who
    thought (and honestly too) that there was no more moral guilt
    attached to the holding our fellow beings in bondage, regarding them
    as property, than to the holding of a mule or an ox. It was natural
    enough for me to think so, for I had been trained from my very
    infancy to view the subject in no other light. I shall never forget
    my feelings when the subject was first hit upon in the Evangelist. I
    became angry, and was disposed to attribute sinister motives to all
    who were concerned in the matter. With some others, I determined to
    stop the paper forthwith.

    Though I made every effort to turn my mind away from the subject, my
    conscience in spite of me began to awake, and to be troubled. The
    word of God was resorted to, with the hope of finding something to
    bring peace and quietude, but all in vain. It was but adding fuel to
    the flame. I determined, let others do as they would, to meet the
    subject, to examine it in all its bearings, and to abide the result;
    and if it should be found that God regards slavery as an evil, and
    incompatible with the gospel, I would give it up. If not, I should
    be made wiser without incurring any harm by the investigation.

    In the very nature of God’s dealings with men, this subject must and
    will be agitated, until conviction shall be brought home to the
    heart and conscience of every man, and _slavery shall be banished
    from our land_. And woe be to him who wilfully closes his eyes, and
    stops his ears against the light of God’s truth.’

In 8th month of the same year, the same paper contained the following
extract from another correspondent in North Carolina.

                                               ---- N. C. JULY 9, 1834.

    ‘Rev. and dear Sir--If I owe an apology for intruding on you, and
    introducing myself, I must find it in the fact, that I wish to bid
    you God speed in the good cause in which you are so heartily
    engaged. While so many at the North are opposing, I wish to cheer
    you by one voice from the South. If it is unpopular to plead the
    cause of the oppressed negro in New York, how dangerous to be known
    as his friend in the far South, where, as a correspondent in the
    Evangelist justly observes, a minister cannot enforce the law of
    love, without being suspected of favoring emancipation. I am glad
    the people with you are beginning to feel and to act. I pray God
    that you may go on with all the light and love of the gospel, and
    that the cry of ‘Let us alone,’ will not frighten you from your
    labor of love.’

James A. Thome, a Presbyterian clergyman, a native, and still a resident
of Kentucky, said in a speech at New York, at the Anniversary of the
American Anti-Slavery Society in 1834:

    ‘Under all these disadvantages, you are doing much. The very little
    leaven which you have been enabled to introduce, is now working with
    tremendous power. One instance has lately occurred within my
    acquaintance, of an heir to slave property--a young man of growing
    influence, who was first awakened by reading a single number of the
    Anti-Slavery Reporter, sent to him by some unknown hand. He is now a
    whole-hearted abolitionist. I have facts to show that cases of this
    kind are by no means rare. A family of slaves in Arkansas Territory,
    another in Tennessee, and a third, consisting of 88, in Virginia,
    were successively emancipated through the influence of one abolition
    periodical. Then do not hesitate as to duty. Do not pause to
    consider the propriety of interference. It is as unquestionably the
    province of the North to labor in this cause, as it is the duty of
    the church to convert the world. The call is urgent--it is
    imperative. We want light. The ungodly are saying, ‘the church will
    not enlighten us.’ The church is saying, ‘the ministry will not
    enlighten us.’ The ministry is crying, ‘Peace--take care.’ We are
    altogether covered in gross darkness. We appeal to you for light.
    Send us facts--send us kind remonstrance and manly reasoning. We are
    perishing for lack of truth. We have been lulled to sleep by the
    guilty apologist.’

A letter from a Post Master in Virginia, to the editor of ‘Human Rights,’
dated August 15, 1835, contains the following:--

    ‘I have received two numbers of Human Rights, and one of The
    Emancipator. I have read and loaned them, had them returned, and
    loaned again. I can see no unsoundness in the arguments there
    advanced--and until I can see some evil in your publications, I
    shall distribute all you send to this office. It is certainly high
    time this subject was examined, and viewed in its proper light. I
    know these publications will displease those who hold their fellow
    men in bondage: but reason, truth and justice are on your side--and
    why should you seek the good will of any who do evil?

    I would be pleased to have a copy of the last Report of the Am.
    Anti-Slavery Society, if convenient, and some of your other
    pamphlets, which you have to distribute gratis. I will read and use
    them to the best advantage.’

A gentleman of Middlesex County, Mass. whose house is one of my New
England homes, told me that he had very recently met with a slaveholder
from the South, who, during a warm discussion on the subject of slavery,
made the following acknowledgment: ‘The worst of it is, _we have fanatics
among ourselves_, and we don’t know what to do with them, for they are
_increasing fast_, and are sustained in their opposition to slavery by the
Abolitionists of the North.’

A Baptist clergyman whom I met in Worcester County, Mass., a few months
since, told me that his brother-in-law, a lawyer of New Orleans, who had
recently paid him a visit, took up the Report of the Massachusetts
Anti-Slavery Society, and read it with great interest. He then inquired,
whether the principles set forth in that document were Anti-Slavery
principles. Upon being informed that they were, he expressed his entire
approbation of them, and full conviction that they would prevail as soon
as the South understood them; for, said he, they are the principles of
truth and justice, and must finally triumph. This gentleman requested to
be furnished with some of our publications, and carried them to the South
with him.

There certainly can be no doubt to a reflecting and candid mind, as to
what will and _must_ be the result of Anti-Slavery operations. Hear now
the opinion of one of the leading political papers in Charleston, South
Carolina, the Southern Patriot.

    ‘While agitation is _permitted_ in Congress, there is _no security
    for the South_. While discussion is _allowed_ in that body, year
    after year, in relation to slavery and its incidents, the rights of
    property at the South _must, in the lapse of a short period, be
    undermined_. It is the weapon of all who expect to work out _great
    changes in public opinion_. It was the instrument by which O’CONNELL
    gradually shook the fabric of popular prejudice in England on the
    Catholic question. His sole instrument was agitation, both in
    Parliament and out of it. His constant counsel to his followers was,
    agitate! agitate! They did agitate. They happily carried the
    question of Catholic rights.

    Agitation may be successfully employed for a bad as well as good
    cause. What was the weapon of the English abolitionists?--Agitation.
    Regard the question of the abolition of the slave trade when first
    brought into Parliament--behold the influence of PITT and the tory
    party beating down its advocates by an overwhelming majority! Look
    at the question of abolition itself, twenty years after, and you see
    WILBERFORCE and his adherents carrying the question itself of
    _abolition of slavery_, by a majority as triumphant! How was all
    this accomplished?--By agitation in Parliament! It was on this ample
    theatre that the abolitionists worked their fatal spells. It was on
    this wide stage of discussion that they spoke to the people of
    England in that voice of fanaticism, which, at length, found an echo
    that suited their purposes. It was through the debates, which
    circulated by means of the press throughout every corner of the
    realm, that they carried that question to its extremest borders, to
    the hamlet of every peasant in the empire. Can it then be expected,
    if we give the American abolitionists the same advantage of that
    wide field of debate which Congress affords, that the _same results_
    will not follow? The local legislatures are limited theatres of
    action. Their debates are comparatively obscure. These are not read
    by the people at large. Allow the agitators a great political
    centre, like that of Washington--_permit_ them to address their
    voice of fanatical violence to the whole American people, through
    their diffusive press, and they want no greater advantage. They have

    The course of the southern States is therefore marked out by a
    pencil of light. They should obtain additional guarantees against
    _the discussion of slavery in Congress, in any manner, or in any of
    its forms, as it exists in the United States_. This is the only
    means that promises success in removing agitation. We have said that
    this is the accepted time. When we look at the spread of opinion on
    this subject in some of the eastern States--in Vermont,
    Massachusetts and Connecticut--what are we to expect in a few years,
    in the middle States, should discussion proceed in Congress? These
    States are yet uninfected, in any considerable degree, by the
    fanatical spirit. _They may not remain so after a lapse of five
    years._ If they are animated by a true spirit of patriotism--by a
    genuine love for the Union, they should, and could with effect,
    interpose to stay this _moral_ pestilence. Their voice in this
    matter would be influential. New York and Pennsylvania are
    intermediate between the South and East in position and in physical

Samuel L. Gould, a minister of the Baptist denomination, writing to the
Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, from Fayette County,
Pennsylvania, in 4th month, 1836, says:--

    ‘The Smithfield Anti-Slavery Society, [on the border of Virginia]
    has among its members, several residents of Virginia. Its President
    has been a slaveholder, and until recently, was a distinguished
    citizen of Virginia, the High Sheriff of Rockingham County. Having
    become convinced of the wickedness of slaveholding, a little more
    than a year ago he purchased an estate in Pennsylvania, and removed
    to it, his colored men accompanying him. He now employs them as
    hired laborers.’

I may mention, in this connection, an Alabama slaveholder, a lawyer named
Smith, who emancipated his slaves, I think about twenty in number, a few
months since. He was the brother-in-law of William Allan of Huntsville,
who was in 1834, president of the Lane Seminary Anti-Slavery Society, and
subsequently an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and who had
for years previous been in kind and faithful correspondence with him on
the subject of slavery.

Henry P. Thompson, a student of Lane Seminary, and a slaveholder at the
time of the Anti-Slavery discussion in that Institution, was convinced by
it, went to Kentucky, and emancipated his slaves.

Arthur Thome, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Kentucky,
emancipated his slaves, fourteen in number, about two years since. J. G.
Birney, speaking of him in the Philanthropist, says:--

    ‘For a long time he had been a professor of religion, but had not,
    till the doctrines of abolition were embraced by his son on the
    discussion of the subject at Lane Seminary, given to the subject
    more attention than was usual among slaveholding professors at the
    time. At first he thought his son was deranged--and that his
    intended trip to New York, to speak at the anniversary of the
    American Anti-Slavery Society, was evidence of it. He sought him (as
    we have heard,) on the steamboat, which was to convey him up the
    Ohio river, that he might stop him from going. Something, however,
    prevented his seeing his son before his departure, and there was no

    The truth bore on the mind of Mr. T. till it produced its proper
    fruit--and he now says, that he is confident no other doctrine but
    that of the SIN of slaveholding, connected with an _immediate_
    breaking off from it, will influence the slaveholder to do justice.’

I see by the late Washington papers, that one of my South Carolina
cousins, Robert Barnwell Rhett, the late Attorney General of the State,
has come up to my help on this point, with his characteristic chivalry;
[howbeit ‘he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.’] In his
late address to his Congressional Constituents, he says:--

    ‘Who that knows anything of human affairs, but must be sensible that
    the subject of abolition may be approached in a thousand ways,
    without direct legislation? By perpetual discussion, agitation and
    threats, accompanied with the real or imaginary power to perform,
    _there will be need of no other action than words to shake the
    confidence of men in the safety and continuance of the institution
    of slavery, and its value and existence will be destroyed_. These
    are all the weapons the abolitionist desires to be allowed to use to
    accomplish his purpose. When Congress moves, it will be the last act
    in the drama; and it will be prepared to enforce its legislation. To
    acknowledge the right, or to tolerate the act of interference at all
    with this institution, is to give it up--to abandon it entirely;
    and, as this must be the consummation of any interference, the
    sooner it is reached the better. The South must hold this
    institution, not amidst alarm and molestation, but in peace--perfect
    peace, from the interference or agitation of others; or, I repeat
    it, she _will_--she _can_--hold it not at all. … There is no one so
    weak, but he must perceive that, whilst the spirit of abolition in
    the North is increasing, slavery in the South, in all the frontier
    States, is decreasing.’

Farther, I may add the names of J. G. Birney of Alabama, John Thompson and
a person named Meux, Jassamine County, Kentucky, J. M. Buchanan, Professor
in Center College, Kentucky, Andrew Shannon, a Presbyterian minister in
Shelbyville, Kentucky, Samuel Taylor, a Presbyterian minister of
Nicholasville, Kentucky, Peter Dunn of Mercer County, Kentucky, a person
named Doake in Tennessee, another named Carr in North Carolina, another
named Harndon in Virginia--with a number of others, the particulars of
whose cases I have not now by me, all of whom were slaveholders four years
since, and were induced to emancipate their slaves through the influence
of Anti-Slavery discussions and periodicals.

The Democrat, a political paper published at Rochester, New York,
contained the following in the summer of 1835.

    ‘On Saturday last, many of our citizens had an opportunity of
    witnessing a noble scene. On board the boat William Henry, then
    lying at the Exchange street wharf, were TEN SLAVES, or those who
    had recently been such, and several free persons of color. The
    master, a gentleman of more than seventy years of age, accompanied
    them. His residence was in Powhattan County, seventy miles below
    Richmond, Virginia. He was on his way to Buffalo, near which place
    he intends purchasing a large farm, where his ‘people,’ as he calls
    them, are to be settled. The above named gentleman was led to
    sacrifice much of this world’s lucre, besides some $5000 of _human
    ‘property,’_ by becoming convinced of the sinfulness of his practice
    while reading _Anti-Slavery publications_.’

A letter now lies before me from an elder of a religious denomination in
the far South-West, who was converted to Abolition sentiments by
Anti-Slavery publications sent to him from the city of New York, and who
has already emancipated his slaves, ten in number. The writer says, ‘my
hopes are revived when I read of the progress of the cause in the Eastern
States, and of the increase of Anti-Slavery Societies. My soul glows with
gratitude to God for his mercy to the down-trodden slaves, in raising up
for them in these days of savage cruelty, hundreds who, fearless of
consequences, are standing up for the entire abolition of slavery, whom,
though unseen, I dearly love. O! how it would delight me to listen to the
public addresses of some of these dear friends.’

Hear, too, the reason assigned by James Smylie, a Presbyterian minister of
the Amite Presbytery, Mississippi, for writing a book in 1836, to prove
that slavery is a divine institution.

    ‘From his intercourse with religious societies of _all_
    denominations in Mississippi and Louisiana, he was aware that the
    Abolition maxim, viz: that _Slavery is in itself sinful, had gained
    on and entwined itself among the religious and conscientious
    scruples of many_ in the community, so far as to render them
    _unhappy_. The eye of the mind, resting on Slavery itself as a
    _corrupt fountain_, from which, of necessity, _nothing but corrupt_
    streams could flow, was _incessantly_ employed in search of some
    plan by which, with safety, the fountain could, in some future time,
    be _entirely_ dried up.’ An illustration of this important
    acknowledgement, will be found in the following fact, extracted from
    the Herald of Freedom: ‘A young gentleman who has been residing in
    South Carolina, says our movements (Abolitionists) are producing the
    best effects upon the South, _rousing the consciences of
    Slaveholders_, while the slaves seem to be impressed as a body with
    the idea, that help is coming--that an interest is felt for them,
    and plans devising for their relief somewhere--which keeps them
    quiet. He says it is not uncommon for ministers and good people to
    make confession like this. One, riding with him, broke forth, ‘O, I
    fear that the groans and wails from our slaves enter into the ear of
    the Lord of Sabaoth. I am distressed on this subject: my
    _conscience_ will let me have no peace. I go to bed, but not to
    sleep. I walk my room in agony, and resolve that I will never hold
    slaves another day; but in the morning, my heart, like Pharaoh’s, is

In the autumn of 1835, an influential minister in one of the most southern
States, (who only one year before had stoutly defended slavery, and
vehemently insisted that northern abolitionists were producing unmixed and
irremediable evil at the South,) wrote to the Corresponding Secretary of
one of our State Anti-Slavery Societies who had furnished him with
Anti-Slavery publications, avowing his conversion to Abolition sentiments,
and praying that Anti-Slavery Societies might persevere in their efforts,
and increase them. Among other expressions of strong feeling the letter
contained the following:

    ‘I am greatly surprised that I should in any form have been the
    apologist of a system so full of deadly poison to all holiness and
    benevolence as slavery, the concocted essence of fraud, selfishness,
    and cold-hearted tyranny, and the fruitful parent of unnumbered
    evils, both to the oppressor and the oppressed, THE ONE THOUSANDTH

    ‘Do you ask why this change, after residing in a slave country for
    twenty years? You remember the lines of Pope, beginning:

        ‘Vice is a monster, of so frightful mien
        As to be hated, needs but to be seen,
        But seen too oft, _familiar_ with her face;
        We first endure, then pity, then _embrace_.’

    ‘I had become so familiar with the loathsome features of slavery,
    that they _ceased to offend_--besides, I had become a _southern man_
    in all my feelings, and it is a part of our _creed_ to defend

About two years since, Arthur and Lewis Tappan received a letter from a
Virginian slaveholder, who held nearly one hundred slaves, and whose
conscience had been greatly roused to the sin of slavery. In the letter,
he avowed his determination to absolve himself from the guilt of
slaveholding, declaring that he ‘had rather be a wood cutter or a coal
heaver, than to _remain in the midst of slavery_.’

An intelligent gentleman, a lawyer and a citizen of the District of
Columbia, has just written a letter to a gentleman of New York city, from
which I give thee the following extract:

    ‘The proceedings in Congress at this session have had the effect, I
    think, to rouse the attention of the public in all quarters, to the
    subject of slavery; and that, of itself, I think is a good: and it
    is in my opinion the chief present good that is to grow out of it.
    Discussion of some sort takes place, and the real foundation on
    which the system rests, cannot but be brought more or less into
    view. My hope is, that men who _denounce_ now, will at length
    _reason_. That is what is wanted--reasoning, reflection, and a true
    perception of the basis on which slavery is founded.’

The foregoing are but a few of the facts and testimonies in the possession
of Abolitionists, showing that their discussions, periodicals, petitions,
arguments, appeals and societies, have extensively moved, and are still
mightily moving the slaveholding States--_for good_. Did time and space
permit, I might, by a little painstaking, procure many more. Before
passing from this part of the subject, I must record my amazement at the
clamors of many of the opponents of Abolitionists, from whom better things
might indeed be hoped. What slaveholders have you convinced? they demand.
Whom have you made Abolitionists? Give us their names and places of abode.
Now, those who incessantly stun us with such unreasonable clamor, know
full well, that to give the public the names and residences of such
persons, would be in most instances to surrender them to butchery. But be
it known to the North and to the South, we have names of scores of
citizens of the slaveholding states, many of them slaveholders, who are in
constant correspondence with us, persons who feel so deeply on the subject
as to implore us to persevere in our efforts, and not to be dismayed by
Southern threats nor disheartened by Northern cavils and heartlessness.
Yea more, these persons have committed to us the custody even of their
lives, thus encountering imminent peril that they might cheer us onward in
our work. Shall we betray their trust, or put them in jeopardy? Judge

Now let me ask, when in former years Anti-Slavery tracts, with our
doctrines, could be circulated at the South? The fact is, there were
_none_ to be circulated there; our principle of repentance is quite new.
But I can tell thee of two facts, which it is probable thou ‘hast not been
informed of.’ In the year 1809, the steward of a vessel, a colored man,
carried some Abolition pamphlets to Charleston. Immediately on his
arrival, he was informed against, and would have been tried for his life,
had he not promised to leave the State, never to return. Was South
Carolina willing to receive abolition pamphlets _then_? Again, in 1820, my
sister carried some pamphlets there--‘Thoughts on Slavery,’ issued by the
Society of Friends, and therefore _not_ very incendiary, thou mayest be
assured; and yet she was informed some time afterwards, that had it not
been for the influence of our family, she would have been imprisoned; for
she, too, was accused of giving one of them to a slave; just as
Abolitionists have been falsely charged with sending their papers to the
enslaved. What she did give away, she was _obliged_ to give _privately_.
Was Charleston ready to receive Abolition pamphlets _then_? Or when?
please to tell me. I say that _more_, far more Anti-Slavery tracts, &c.
are _now_ read in the South, than ever were at any former period. As to
Colonization tracts, I know they have circulated at the South; but what of
that, when Southerners believed that Colonization had _no_ connection with
the overthrow of Slavery? Colonization papers, &c. are not Abolition

As to preachers, let me assure thee, that they _never_ have dared to
preach on the subject of slavery in my native city, so far as my knowledge
extends. Ah! I for some years sat under two _northern_ ministers, but
never did I hear them preach in public, or speak in private, on the _sin_
of slavery. O! the _deep_, DEEP injury which such unfaithful ministers
have inflicted on the South! It is well known that our young men have, to
a great extent, been educated in Northern Theological Seminaries. With
what principles were _their_ minds imbued? What kind of religion did the
_North_ prepare them to preach? A slaveholding religion. What kind of
religion did _northern men_ come down and preach to us? A slaveholding
religion--and multitudes of them became slaveholders. Such was one of my
_northern_ pastors. And yet thou tellest me, the North has nothing to do
with slavery at the South--is _not_ guilty, &c. &c. ‘Their own clergy,’
thou sayest, ‘either entirely hold their peace, or become the defenders
of a system they once lamented, and attempted to bring to an end.’ Do name
to me one of those valiant defenders of slavery, who formerly lamented
over the system, and attempted to bring it to an end. ‘What is his name,
or what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?’ Strange indeed, if,
because _we_ advocate the truth, others should begin to hate it; or
because we expose sin, they should turn round and defend what once they
lamented over! Is this in accordance with ‘the known laws of mind,’ where
principle is deeply rooted in the heart?

And then thou closest these assertions _without proof_, with the
triumphant exclamation, ‘This is the record of experience, as to the
tendencies of abolitionism, as thus far developed. The South is just now
in that state of high exasperation, at the sense of wanton injury and
_impertinent interference_, which makes the influence of truth and reason
most useless and powerless.’ Hadst thou been better informed as to the
real tendencies of abolitionism on the South, this assertion also might
have been spared. Again I repeat, the _South_ does not tell us so. Read
the subjoined extract of a letter now lying before me from a correspondent
in a _Southern_ State. ‘12 or 15 at this place believe that _all_ men are
born free and equal, that _prejudice against color is a disgrace to the
man who feels it_, that such a feeling is without foundation in reason or
scripture, and ought to be abandoned _immediately_, that slavery is a
_malum in se_, yea, a _heinous crime_ in the sight of God, to be repented
of _without delay_.’ Read also the following, extracted from the Marietta
Gazette: ‘A citizen of one of the free states, not many months ago,
observed to a distinguished southerner, that the operations of the
abolitionists were impeding the cause of emancipation--or to that effect.
‘Sir,’ said the Southerner, ‘You are mistaken. Depend upon it, these
agitations have put the slaveholders to very serious thinking.’ These,
then, are the effects which Abolitionism is producing on some at the
South. That others are exasperated, I do not deny. Hear what Bolling of
Virginia said in 1832, in the Legislature of that State: ‘It has long been
the pleasure of those who are wedded to the system of slavery, to brand
_all_ its opponents with opprobrious epithets; to represent them as
enemies to order, as persons desirous of tearing up the foundation of
society thereby endeavoring to brand them with infamy in order to avert
from them the public ear.’ Here then we find a Southern Legislator
acknowledging that _all_ the opponents of Slavery have ever excited the
same exasperation in those who are ‘wedded to the system.’ Who is to be
blamed? Is _this_ any cause of discouragement? That we have succeeded in
rousing the North to reflection, thou art thyself a living proof; for let
me ask, what it was that set _thee_ to such serious thinking, as to induce
_thee_ to write a _book_ on the Slave Question?

                          Thy friend in haste,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



DEAR FRIEND: Thou sayest, ‘that this evil (Slavery,) is at no distant
period to come to an end, is the unanimous opinion of all who either
notice the tendencies of the age, or believe in the prophecies of the
Bible.’ But how can this be true, if Abolitionists have indeed rolled back
the car of Emancipation? If our measures really tend to this result, how
can this evil come to an end at no distant period? Colonizationists tell
us, if it had not been for our interference, they could have done a vast
deal better than they have done; and the American Unionists say, that we
have paralyzed their efforts, so that they can do nothing; and yet ‘the
tendencies of the age’ are crowding forward Emancipation. Now, what has
produced this tendency? Surely every reflecting person must acknowledge,
that Colonization cannot effect the work of Abolition. The American Union
is doing nothing; and Abolitionists are pursuing a course which ‘will tend
to bring slavery to an end, _if at all_, at the _most distant_
period,’--then do tell me, how the tendencies of the age can possibly lean
towards Emancipation! Perhaps I shall be told, that the movements of Great
Britain in the West Indies created this tendency. Ah! but this is a
_foreign influence_, more so even than Northern influence; and if the
North is ‘a foreign community,’ as thou expressly stylest it, and can on
_that account_ produce _no_ influence on the South, how can the doings of
England affect her?

Now I believe with thee, that the tendencies of the age are toward
Emancipation; but I contend that nothing but free discussion has produced
this tendency--‘the present agitation of the subject’ is in fact _the
thing_ which is producing this happy tendency. Now let us turn to the
South, and ask her eagle-eyed politicians what _they_ are most afraid of.
Read their answer in their desperate struggles to fetter the press and gag
the mouths of--_whom?_--Colonizationists? Why no--_they_ talk colonization
_themselves_, and are not at all afraid that the expatriation of a few
hundreds or thousands in 20 years will ever drain the country of its
millions of slaves, where they are now increasing at the rate of 70,000
every year. The American Unionists? O no! the South has not deemed them
worthy of any notice! Pray, then, _whose_ mouths are slaveholders so
fiercely striving to seal in silence? Why, the mouths of Abolitionists, to
be sure--even our infant school children know this. Strange indeed, when
the labors of these men are actually rolling back the car of Emancipation
for one or two centuries! Why, the South ought to pour out her treasure,
to support Anti-Slavery agents, and print Anti-Slavery papers and
pamphlets, and do all she can to aid us in _rolling back_ Emancipation.
Pray, write _her a book_, and tell her she has been very needlessly
alarmed at our doings, and advise her to send us a few thousand dollars:
her money would be very acceptable in these hard times, and we would take
it as the wages due to the unpaid laborers, though we would never admit
the donors to membership with us. How dost thou think _she_ would receive
_such a book_? Just try it, I entreat thee.

Thou seemest to think that the North has _no right_ to rebuke the South,
and assumest the ground that Abolitionists are the enemies of the South.
We say, we have the right, and mean to exercise it. I believe that every
northern Legislature has a right, and ought to use the right, to send a
solemn remonstrance to every southern Legislature on the subject of
slavery. Just as much right as the South has to send up a remonstrance
against our free presses, free pens, and free tongues. Let the North
follow her example; but, instead of asking her to enslave her subjects,
entreat her to _free_ them. The South may pretend _now_, that we have no
right to interfere, because it suits her convenience to say so; but a few
years ago, (1820,) we find that our Vice President, R. M. Johnson, in his
speech on the Missouri question, was amazed at the ‘cold insensibility,
the eternal apathy towards the slaves in the District of Columbia,’ which
was exhibited by _northern_ men, ‘though they had occular demonstration
continually’ before them of the abominations of slavery. _Then_ the South
wondered _we did not interfere with slavery_--and _now_ she says we have
no right to interfere.

I find, on the 57th p. a false assertion with regard to Abolitionists.
After showing the folly of our rejecting the worldly doctrine of
expediency, so excellent in thy view, thou then sayest that we say, the
reason why we do not go to the South is, that we should be murdered. Now,
if there are any half-hearted Abolitionists, who are thus recreant to the
high and holy principle of ‘Duty is ours, and events are God’s,’ then I
must leave such to explain their own inconsistencies; but that this is the
reason assigned by the Society, as a body, I never have seen nor believed.
So far from it, that I have invariably heard those who understood the
principles of the Anti-Slavery Society best, _deny_ that it was a duty to
go to the South, _not_ because they would be killed, but because the
_North was guilty_, and therefore ought to be labored with _first_. They
took exactly the same view of the subject, which was taken by the southern
friend of mine to whom I have already alluded. ‘Until northern women,
(said she,) do their duty on the subject of slavery, _southern_ women
cannot be expected to do theirs.’ I therefore utterly deny this charge.
Such may be the opinion of a few, but it is not and cannot be proved to be
a principle of action in the Anti-Slavery Society. The fact is, we need no
excuse for not going to the South, so long as the North is as deeply
involved in the guilt of slavery as she is, and as blind to her duty.

One word with regard to these remarks: ‘Before the Abolition movements
commenced, both northern and southern men expressed their views freely at
the South.’ This, also, I deny, because, as a southerner, _I know_ that
_I_ never could express my views freely on the abominations of slavery,
without exciting anger, even in professors of religion. It is true, ‘the
_dangers_, _evils_ and _mischiefs_ of slavery’ could be, and were
discussed at the South and the North. Yes, we might talk as much as we
pleased about _these_, as long as we viewed slavery as a _misfortune_ to
the _slaveholder_, and talked of ‘the dangers, evils and mischiefs of
slavery’ to _him_, and pitied _him_ for having had such a ‘sad inheritance
entailed upon him.’ But could any man or woman ever ‘express their views
freely’ on the SIN of slavery at the South? I say, never! Could they
express their views freely as to the dangers, mischiefs and evils of
slavery to the _poor suffering slave_? No, never! It was only whilst the
_slaveholder_ was regarded as _an unfortunate sufferer_, and sympathized
with _as such_, that he was willing to talk, and be talked to, on this
‘delicate subject.’ Hence we find, that as soon as _he_ is addressed as a
_guilty oppressor_, why then he is in a phrenzy of passion. As soon as we
set before him the dangers, and evils, and mischiefs of slavery to _the
down-trodden victims of his oppression_, O then! the slaveholder storms
and raves like a maniac. Now look at this view of the subject: as a
southerner, I know it is the only correct one.

With regard to the discussion of ‘the subject of slavery, in the
legislative halls of the South,’ if thou hast read these debates, thou
certainly must know that they did not touch on the SIN of slavery at all;
they were wholly confined to ‘the dangers, evils and mischiefs of slavery’
to the _unfortunate slaveholder_. What did the discussion in the Virginia
legislature result in? In the _rejection of every_ plan of emancipation,
and in the passage of an act which they believed would give additional
permanency to the institution, whilst it divested it of its dangers, by
removing the free people of color to Liberia; for which purpose they voted
$20,000, but took very good care to provide, ‘that no slave to be
thereafter emancipated should have the benefit of the appropriation,’ so
fearful were they, lest masters might avail themselves of this scheme of
expatriation to manumit their slaves. The Maryland scheme is altogether
based on the principle of banishment and oppression. The colored people
were to be ‘got rid of,’ for the benefit of their lordly oppressors--_not_
set free from the noble principles of justice and mercy to _them_. If
Abolitionists have put a stop to all _such_ discussions of slavery, I, for
one, do most heartily rejoice at it. The fact is, the South is enraged,
because we have exposed her horrible hypocrisy to the world. We have torn
off the mask, and brought to light the hidden things of darkness.

To prove to thee that the South, as a body, never was prepared for
emancipation, I might detail historical facts, which are stubborn things;
but I have not the time to go into this subject that would be necessary. I
will, therefore, give a few extracts from documents published by the old
Abolition Societies, whose principle was gradualism. In 1803, in the
report of the Delaware Society, I find the following statement:--‘The
general temper and opinion of the opulent in this state, is either
_opposed_ to the generous principles of emancipation to the people of
color, or indifferent to the success of the work.’ In 1804, when a
Committee was appointed to draft a memorial to the Legislature of North
Carolina, we find the following sentiment expressed in their
Report:--‘They believe that public opinion in that state is _exceedingly
hostile to the abolition of slavery_; and _every_ attempt towards
emancipation is regarded with an indignant and jealous eye; that at
present, the inhabitants of that State consider the preservation of their
lives, and all they hold dear on earth, as depending on the continuance of
slavery, and are even riveting _more firmly_ the fetters of oppression.’
‘They believe that great difficulty would attend the presentation of an
address to the public, and that, if presented, it would not be read.’ The
address was, however, issued, and in it we find this complaint--‘Many
_aspersions_ have been cast upon the advocates of the freedom of the
blacks, by malicious and interested men.’ In 1805, in the Report of the
Alexandria Society, District of Columbia, they say--‘There is rather a
disposition to _increase_ the measure of affliction already appointed to
the poor deserted African:’ and complain of the decline of the Society,
for which they assign several reasons, one of which is, ‘the admission of
slaveholders into fellowship at its formation.’ Several of the Reports
state, that they fully learned the impolicy of _this_ measure, by the
violent opposition which these slaveholding members made to their efforts
for emancipation. Just as well might a Temperance Society admit a
practical drunkard into their ranks, as for an Abolition Society to admit
a slaveholder to membership.

In 1806, the Report of the Pennsylvania Society says--‘We believe the true
reason, why ostensible and public measures are not pursued by the
advocates of abolition in the southern states, will be found in the pretty
general impression, that it would not, _under existing circumstances_, and
in the _present temper of the public mind_, be expedient and useful.’ The
Wilmington Report ‘laments that the people of South Carolina _continue
opposed_ to our cause’--and in 1809, the Report of this same Society says,
‘We regret most sincerely the difficulty we labor under in establishing
corresponding agents in the southern states, on whose fidelity and
integrity we can firmly rely.’ In 1816, the Delaware Society makes the
following confession--‘When we look back at the bright prospects which
opened on this cause within the last 20 years, and recur to the joyful
feelings excited by the just anticipations of speedy success in this
conflict with cruelty and wrong, we cannot but feel the pressure of that
gloom which is the consequence of _disappointment and defeat_.’ In 1826,
we find the North Carolina Report acknowledging that ‘the _gentlest_
attempt to agitate the subject, or the _slightest hint_ at the work of
emancipation, is sufficient to call forth their _indignant resentment_, as
if their dearest rights were invaded.’

How, then, can our opponents say, that the cause of emancipation has been
_rolled back_ by _us_? We ask, when was it ever _forward_? As a
southerner, I repeat my solemn conviction, from _my own experience_, and
from all I can learn from historical facts, and the reports of the Gradual
Emancipation Societies of this country, and the scope of the debates
which took place in the Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland Legislatures, that
it _never was_ forward. If the tendencies of the age are towards
emancipation, they are tendencies peculiar to this age in the United
States, and have been brought about by free discussion, and in accordance,
too, with the _known laws of mind_; for collision of mind as naturally
produces light, as the striking of the flint and the steel produces fire.
_Free discussion is this collision_, and the results are visible in the
light which is breaking forth in every city, town and village, and
spreading over the hills and valleys, through the whole length and breadth
of our land. Yes! it has already reached ‘the dark valley of the shadow of
death’ in the South; and in a few brief years, He who said, ‘Let there be
light,’ will gather this moral effulgence into a focal point, and beneath
its burning rays, the heart of the slaveholder, and the chains of the
slave, will melt like wax before the orb of day.

Let us, then, take heed lest we be found fighting against God while
standing idle in the market place, or endeavoring to keep other laborers
out of the field now already white to the harvest.

                               Thy Friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                               BROOKLINE, Mass., _8th month, 28th, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND: I come now to that part of thy book, which is, of all others,
the most important to the women of this country; thy ‘general views in
relation to the place woman is appointed to fill by the dispensations of
heaven.’ I shall quote paragraphs from thy book, offer my objections to
them, and then throw before thee my own views.

Thou sayest, ‘Heaven has appointed to one sex the _superior_, and to the
other the _subordinate_ station, and this without any reference to the
character or conduct of either.’ This is an assertion without proof. Thou
further sayest, that ‘it was designed that the mode of gaining influence
and exercising power should be _altogether different and peculiar_.’ Does
the Bible teach this? ‘Peace on earth, and good will to men, is the
character of all the rights and privileges, the influence and the power of
_woman_.’ Indeed! Did our Holy Redeemer preach the doctrines of _peace to
our sex_ only? ‘A _man_ may act on Society by the collision of intellect,
in public debate; _he_ may urge his measures by a sense of shame, by fear
and by personal interest; _he_ may coerce by the combination of public
sentiment; _he_ may drive by physical force, and _he_ does _not_ overstep
the boundaries of his sphere.’ Did Jesus, then, give a different rule of
action to men and women? Did he tell his disciples, when he sent them out
to preach the gospel, that man might appeal to the fear, and shame, and
interest of those he addressed, and coerce by public sentiment, and drive
by physical force? ‘But (that) all the power and all the conquests that
are lawful to _woman_ are those only which appeal to the kindly, generous,
peaceful and benevolent principles?’ If so, I should come to a very
different conclusion from the one at which thou hast arrived: I should
suppose that _woman was the superior_, and _man the subordinate being_,
inasmuch as moral power is immeasurably superior to ‘physical force.’

‘Woman is to win every thing by peace and love; by making _herself_ so
much respected, &c. that to yield to _her_ opinions, and to gratify _her_
wishes, will be the free-will offering of the heart.’ This principle may
do as the rule of action to the fashionable belle, whose idol is
_herself_; whose every attitude and smile are designed to win the
admiration of others to _herself_; and who enjoys, with exquisite delight,
the double-refined incense of flattery which is offered to _her_ vanity,
by yielding to _her_ opinions, and gratifying _her_ wishes, because they
are _hers_. But to the humble Christian, who feels that it is _truth_
which she seeks to recommend to others, _truth_ which she wants them to
esteem and love, and not herself, this subtle principle must be rejected
with holy indignation. Suppose she could win thousands to her opinions,
and govern them by her wishes, how much nearer would they be to Jesus
Christ, if she presents no higher motive, and points to no higher leader?

‘But this is all to be accomplished in the domestic circle.’ Indeed! ‘Who
made thee a ruler and a judge over all?’ I read in the Bible, that Miriam,
and Deborah, and Huldah, were called to fill _public stations_ in Church
and State. I find Anna, the prophetess, speaking in the temple ‘unto all
them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.’ During his ministry on
earth, I see women following him from town to town, in the most public
manner; I hear the woman of Samaria, on her return to the city, telling
the _men_ to come and see a man who had told her all things that ever she
did. I see them even standing on Mount Calvary, around his cross, in the
most exposed situation; but He never _rebuked_ them; He never told them it
was unbecoming _their sphere in life_ to mingle in the crowds which
followed his footsteps. Then, again, I see the cloven tongues of fire
resting on each of the heads of the one hundred and twenty disciples, some
of whom were _women_; yea, I hear _them preaching_ on the day of Pentecost
to the multitudes who witnessed the outpouring of the spirit on that
glorious occasion; for, unless _women_ as well as men received the Holy
Ghost, and _prophesied_, what did Peter mean by telling them, ‘This is
_that_ which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in
the last days, said _God_, I will pour out my spirit upon _all_ flesh: and
your sons and your _daughters shall prophesy_. … And on my servants and on
my _handmaidens_, I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and _they
shall prophesy_.’ This is the plain matter of fact, as Clark and Scott,
Stratton and Locke, all allow. Mine is no ‘private interpretation,’ no
mere sectarian view.

I find, too, that Philip had four daughters which did _prophesy_; and what
is still more convincing, I read in the xi. of I. Corinthians, some
particular directions from the Apostle Paul, as to _how_ women were to
pray and prophesy in the assemblies of the people--_not_ in the domestic
circle. On examination, too, it appears that the very same word,
_Diakonos_, which, when applied to Phœbe, Romans xvi. 1, is translated
_servant_, when applied to Tychicus, Ephesians vi. 21, is rendered
_minister_. Ecclesiastical History informs us, that this same Phœbe was
pre-eminently useful, as a minister in the Church, and that female
ministers suffered martyrdom in the first ages of Christianity. And what,
I ask, does the Apostle mean when he says in Phillipians iv. 3.--‘Help
those women who labored with me in the gospel’? Did these holy women of
old perform all their gospel labors in ‘the domestic and social circle’? I
trow not.

Thou sayest, ‘the moment woman begins to feel the promptings of ambition,
or the thirst for power, her ægis of defence is gone.’ Can man, then,
retain his ægis when he indulges these guilty passions? Is it woman only
who suffers this loss?

‘All the generous promptings of chivalry, all the poetry of romantic
gallantry, depend upon woman’s retaining her place as _dependent_ and
_defenceless_, and making no claims, and maintaining no rights, but what
are the gifts of honor, rectitude and love.’

I cannot refrain from pronouncing this sentiment as beneath the dignity of
any woman who names the name of Christ. No woman, who understands her
dignity as a moral, intellectual, and accountable being, cares aught for
any attention or any protection, vouchsafed by ‘the promptings of
chivalry, and the poetry of romantic gallantry’? Such a one loathes such
littleness, and turns with disgust from all such silly insipidities. Her
noble nature is insulted by such paltry, sickening adulation, and she will
not stoop to drink the foul waters of so turbid a stream. If all this
sinful foolery is to be withdrawn from our sex, with all my heart I say,
_the sooner the better_. Yea, I say more, no woman who lives up to the
true glory of her womanhood, will ever be treated with such _practical
contempt_. Every man, when in the presence of true moral greatness, ‘will
find an influence thrown around him,’ which will utterly forbid the
exercise of ‘the poetry of romantic gallantry.’

What dost thou mean by woman’s retaining her place as defenceless and
dependent? Did our Heavenly Father furnish man with any offensive or
defensive weapons? Was _he_ created any less defenceless than _she_ was?
Are they not equally defenceless, equally dependent on Him? What did Jesus
say to his disciples, when he commissioned them to preach the
gospel?--‘Behold, I send you forth as SHEEP in the midst of wolves; be ye
wise as serpents, and _harmless_ as _doves_. What more could he have said
to women?

Again, she must ‘make no claims, and maintain no rights, but what are the
gifts of honor, rectitude and love.’ From whom does woman receive her
_rights_? From God, or from man? What dost thou mean by saying, her rights
are the _gifts_ of honor, rectitude and love? One would really suppose
that man, as her lord and master, was the gracious giver of her rights,
and that these rights were bestowed upon her by ‘the promptings of
chivalry, and the poetry of romantic gallantry,’--out of the abundance of
his honor, rectitude and love. Now, if I understand the real state of the
case, woman’s rights are not the gifts of man--no! nor the _gifts_ of God.
His gifts to her may be recalled at his good pleasure--but her _rights_
are an integral part of her moral being; they cannot be withdrawn; they
must live with her forever. Her rights lie at the foundation of all her
duties; and, so long as the divine commands are binding upon her, so long
must her rights continue.

‘A woman may seek the aid of co-operation and combination among her own
sex, to assist her in her appropriate offices of piety, charity,’ &c.
_Appropriate_ offices! Ah! here is the great difficulty. What are they?
Who can point them out? Who has ever attempted to draw a line of
separation between the duties of men and women, as _moral_ beings, without
committing the grossest inconsistencies on the one hand, or running into
the most arrant absurdities on the other?

‘Whatever, in any measure, throws a woman into the attitude of a
combatant, either for herself or others--whatever binds her in a party
conflict--whatever obliges her in any way to exert coercive influences,
throws her out of her appropriate sphere.’ If, by a _combatant_, thou
meanest one who ‘drives by _physical force_,’ then I say, _man_ has no
more right to appear as _such_ a combatant than woman; for all the pacific
precepts of the gospel were given to _him_, as well as to her. If, by a
_party conflict_, thou meanest a struggle for power, either civil or
ecclesiastical, a thirst for the praise and the honor of man, why, then I
would ask, is this the proper sphere of _any_ moral, accountable being,
man or woman? If, by _coercive influences_, thou meanest the use of force
or of fear, such as slaveholders and warriors employ, then, I repeat, that
_man_ has no more right to exert these than _woman_. All such influences
are repudiated by the precepts and examples of Christ, and his apostles;
so that, after all, this appropriate sphere of woman is _just as
appropriate to man_. These ‘general principles are correct,’ if thou wilt
only permit them to be of _general application_.

Thou sayest that the propriety of woman’s coming forward as a suppliant
for a portion of her sex who are bound in cruel bondage, depends entirely
on its _probable results_. I thought the disciples of Jesus were to walk
by _faith_, _not_ by sight. Did Abraham reason as to the _probable
results_ of his offering up Isaac? No! or he could not have raised his
hand against the life of his son; because in Isaac, he had been told, his
seed should be called,--that seed in whom all the nations of the earth
were to be blessed. O! when shall we learn that God is wiser than
man--that his ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts than our
thoughts--and that ‘obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken
than the fat of rams?’ If we are always to _reason_ on the _probable
results_ of performing our duty, I wonder what our Master meant by telling
his disciples, that they must become like _little children_. I used to
think he designed to inculcate the necessity of walking by faith, in
childlike simplicity, docility and humility. But if we are to _reason_ as
to the _probable results_ of obeying the injunctions to plead for the
widow and the fatherless, and to deliver the spoiled out of the hand of
the oppressor, &c., then I do not know what he meant to teach.

According to what thou sayest, the women of this country are not to be
governed by principles of duty, but by the effect their petitions produce
on the members of Congress, and by the opinions of these men. If they deem
them ‘obtrusive, indecorous, and unwise,’ they must not be sent. If _thou_
canst consent to exchange the precepts of the Bible for the opinions of
_such a body of men_ as now sit on the destinies of this nation, I cannot.
What is this but _obeying man_ rather than God, and seeking the _praise of
man_ rather than of God? As to our petitions increasing the evils of
slavery, this is merely an opinion, the correctness or incorrectness of
which remains to be proved. When I hear Senator Preston of South Carolina,
saying, that ‘he regarded the concerted movement upon the District of
Columbia as an attempt to storm the gates of the citadel--as throwing the
bridge over the moat’--and declaring that ‘the South must resist the
_danger_ in its inception, or it would _soon become irresistible_‘--I feel
confident that petitions will effect the work of emancipation, _thy_
opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. And when I hear Francis W.
Pickens, from the same State, saying in a speech delivered in
Congress--‘Mr. Speaker, we cannot mistake all these things. The truth is,
the moral power of the world is against us. It is idle to disguise it. We
must, sooner or later, meet the great issue that is to be made on this
subject. Deeply connected with this, is the movement to be made on the
District of Columbia. If the power be asserted in Congress to interfere
here, or any approach be made toward that end, _it will give a shock to
our institutions_ and the country, the consequences of which no man can
foretell. Sir, as well might you grapple with iron grasp into the very
heart and vitals of South Carolina, as to touch this subject here.’ When I
hear these things from the lips of keen-eyed politicians of the South,
northern apologies for not interfering with the subject of slavery, ‘lest
it should increase, rather than diminish the evils it is wished to remove’
affect me little.

Another objection to woman’s petitions is, that they may ‘tend to bring
females, as petitioners and partisans, into every political measure that
may tend to injure and oppress their sex.’ As to their ever becoming
partisans, i.e. sacrificing principles to power or interest, I reprobate
this under all circumstances, and in _both_ sexes. But I trust my sisters
may always be permitted to _petition_ for a redress of grievances. Why
not? The right of petition is the only political right that women have:
why not let them exercise it whenever they are aggrieved? Our fathers
waged a bloody conflict with England, because _they_ were taxed without
being represented. This is just what unmarried women of property now are.
_They_ were not willing to be governed by laws which _they_ had no voice
in making; but this is the way in which women are governed in this
Republic. If, then, _we_ are taxed without being represented, and governed
by laws _we_ have no voice in framing, then, surely, we ought to be
permitted at least to remonstrate against ‘every political measure that
may tend to injure and oppress our sex in various parts of the nation, and
under the various public measures that may hereafter be enforced.’ Why
not? Art thou afraid to trust the women of this country with discretionary
power as to petitioning? Is there not sound principle and common sense
enough among them, to regulate the exercise of this right? I believe they
will always use it wisely. I am not afraid to trust my sisters--not I.

Thou sayest, ‘In this country, petitions to Congress, in reference to
official duties of legislators, seem, IN ALL CASES, to fall entirely
without the sphere of female duty. Men are the proper persons to make
appeals to the rulers whom they appoint,’ &c. Here I entirely dissent from
thee. The fact that women are denied the right of voting for members of
Congress, is but a poor reason why they should also be deprived of the
right of petition. If their numbers are counted to swell the number of
Representatives in our State and National Legislatures, the _very least_
that can be done is to give them the right of petition in all cases
whatsoever; and without any abridgement. If not, they are mere slaves,
known only through their masters.

In my next, I shall throw out my own views with regard to ‘the appropriate
sphere of woman’--and for the present, subscribe myself,

                               Thy Friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                               EAST BOYLSTON, Mass., _10th mo. 2d, 1837_.

DEAR FRIEND: In my last, I made a sort of running commentary upon thy
views of the appropriate sphere of woman, with something like a promise,
that in my next, I would give thee my own.

The investigation of the rights of the slave has led me to a better
understanding of my own. I have found the Anti-Slavery cause to be the
high school of morals in our land--the school in which _human rights_ are
more fully investigated, and better understood and taught, than in any
other. Here a great fundamental principle is uplifted and illuminated, and
from this central light, rays innumerable stream all around. Human beings
have _rights_, because they are _moral_ beings: the rights of _all_ men
grow out of their moral nature; and as all men have the same moral nature,
they have essentially the same rights. These rights may be wrested from
the slave, but they cannot be alienated: his title to himself is as
perfect _now_, as is that of Lyman Beecher: it is stamped on his moral
being, and is, like it, imperishable. Now if rights are founded in the
nature of our moral being, then the _mere circumstance of sex_ does not
give to man higher rights and responsibilities, than to woman. To suppose
that it does, would be to deny the self-evident truth, that the ‘physical
constitution is the mere instrument of the moral nature.’ To suppose that
it does, would be to break up utterly the relations, of the two natures,
and to reverse their functions, exalting the animal nature into a monarch,
and humbling the moral into a slave; making the former a proprietor, and
the latter its property. When human beings are regarded as _moral_ beings,
_sex_, instead of being enthroned upon the summit, administering upon
rights and responsibilities, sinks into insignificance and nothingness. My
doctrine then is, that whatever it is morally right for man to do, it is
morally right for woman to do. Our duties originate, not from difference
of sex, but from the diversity of our relations in life, the various gifts
and talents committed to our care, and the different eras in which we

This regulation of duty by the mere circumstance of sex, rather than by
the fundamental principle of moral being, has led to all that multifarious
train of evils flowing out of the anti-christian doctrine of masculine and
feminine virtues. By this doctrine, man has been converted into the
warrior, and clothed with sternness, and those other kindred qualities,
which in common estimation belong to his character as a _man_; whilst
woman has been taught to lean upon an arm of flesh, to sit as a doll
arrayed in ‘gold, and pearls, and costly array,’ to be admired for her
personal charms, and caressed and humored like a spoiled child, or
converted into a mere drudge to suit the convenience of her lord and
master. Thus have all the diversified relations of life been filled with
‘confusion and every evil work.’ This principle has given to man a charter
for the exercise of tyranny and selfishness, pride and arrogance, lust and
brutal violence. It has robbed woman of essential rights, the right to
think and speak and act on all great moral questions, just as men think
and speak and act; the right to share their responsibilities, perils and
toils; the right to fulfil the great end of her being, as a moral,
intellectual and immortal creature, and of glorifying God in her body and
her spirit which are His. Hitherto, instead of being a help meet to man,
in the highest, noblest sense of the term, as a companion, a co-worker, an
equal; she has been a mere appendage of his being, an instrument of his
convenience and pleasure, the pretty toy with which he wiled away his
leisure moments, or the pet animal whom he humored into playfulness and
submission. Woman, instead of being regarded as the equal of man, has
uniformly been looked down upon as his inferior, a mere gift to fill up
the measure of his happiness. In ‘the poetry of romantic gallantry,’ it is
true, she has been called ‘the last _best_ gift of God to man;’ but I
believe I speak forth the words of truth and soberness when I affirm, that
woman never was given to man. She was created, like him, in the image of
God, and crowned with glory and honor; created only a little lower than
the angels,--not, as is almost universally assumed, a little lower than
man; on her brow, as well as on his, was placed the ‘diadem of beauty,’
and in her hand the sceptre of universal dominion. Gen: i. 27, 28. ‘The
last _best gift_ of God to man!’ Where is the scripture warrant for this
‘rhetorical flourish, this splendid absurdity?’ Let us examine the account
of her creation. ‘And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made
he a woman, and brought her unto the man.’ Not as a gift--for Adam
immediately recognized her _as a part of himself_--(‘this is now bone of
my bone, and flesh of my flesh’)--a companion and equal, not one hair’s
breadth beneath him in the majesty and glory of her moral being; not
placed under his authority as a _subject_, but by his side, on the same
platform of human rights, under the government of God only. This idea of
woman’s being ‘the last best gift of God to man,’ however pretty it may
sound to the ears of those who love to discourse upon ‘the poetry of
romantic gallantry, and the generous promptings of chivalry,’ has
nevertheless been the means of sinking her from an _end_ into a mere
_means_--of turning her into an _appendage_ to man, instead of recognizing
her as _a part of man_--of destroying her individuality, and rights, and
responsibilities, and merging her moral being in that of man. Instead of
_Jehovah_ being _her_ king, _her_ lawgiver, and _her_ judge, she has been
taken out of the exalted scale of existence in which He placed her, and
subjected to the despotic control of man.

I have often been amused at the vain efforts made to define the rights and
responsibilities of immortal beings as _men_ and _women_. No one has yet
found out just _where_ the line of separation between them should be
drawn, and for this simple reason, that no one knows just how far below
man woman is, whether she be a head shorter in her moral responsibilities,
or head and shoulders, or the full length of his noble stature, below him,
i.e. under his feet. Confusion, uncertainty, and great inconsistencies,
must exist on this point, so long as woman is regarded in the least degree
inferior to man; but place her where her Maker placed her, on the same
high level of human rights with man, side by side with him, and
difficulties vanish, the mountains of perplexity flow down at the presence
of this grand equalizing principle. Measure her rights and duties by the
unerring standard of _moral being_, not by the false weights and measures
of a mere circumstance of her human existence, and then the truth will be
self-evident, that whatever it is _morally_ right for a man to do, it is
_morally_ right for a woman to do. I recognize no rights but _human_
rights--I know nothing of men’s rights and women’s rights; for in Christ
Jesus, there is neither male nor female. It is my solemn conviction, that,
until this principle of equality is recognised and embodied in practice,
the church can do nothing effectual for the permanent reformation of the
world. Woman was the first transgressor, and the first victim of power. In
all heathen nations, she has been the slave of man, and Christian nations
have never acknowledged her rights. Nay more, no Christian denomination or
Society has ever acknowledged them on the broad basis of humanity. I know
that in some denominations, she is permitted to preach the gospel; not
from a conviction of her rights, nor upon the ground of her equality as a
_human being_, but of her equality in spiritual gifts--for we find that
woman, even in these Societies, is allowed no voice in framing the
Discipline by which she is to be governed. Now, I believe it is woman’s
right to have a voice in all the laws and regulations by which she is to
be _governed_, whether in Church or State; and that the present
arrangements of society, on these points, are _a violation of human
rights_, _a rank usurpation of power_, a violent seizure and confiscation
of what is sacredly and inalienably hers--thus inflicting upon woman
outrageous wrongs, working mischief incalculable in the social circle, and
in its influence on the world producing only evil, and that continually.
_If_ Ecclesiastical and Civil governments are ordained of God, _then_ I
contend that woman has just as much right to sit in solemn counsel in
Conventions, Conferences, Associations and General Assemblies, as
man--just as much right to sit upon the throne of England, or in the
Presidential chair of the United States.

Dost thou ask me, if I would wish to see woman engaged in the contention
and strife of sectarian controversy, or in the intrigues of political
partizans? I say no! never--never. I rejoice that she does not stand on
the same platform which man now occupies in these respects; but I mourn,
also, that he should thus prostitute his higher nature, and vilely cast
away his birthright. I prize the purity of _his_ character as highly as I
do that of hers. As a moral being, _whatever it is morally wrong for her
to do, it is morally wrong for him to do_. The fallacious doctrine of
male and female virtues has well nigh ruined all that is morally great and
lovely in his character: he has been quite as deep a sufferer by it as
woman, though mostly in different respects and by other processes. As my
time is engrossed by the pressing responsibilities of daily public duty, I
have no leisure for that minute detail which would be required for the
illustration and defence of these principles. Thou wilt find a wide field
opened before thee, in the investigation of which, I doubt not, thou wilt
be instructed. Enter this field, and explore it: thou wilt find in it a
hid treasure, more precious than rubies--a fund, a mine of principles, as
new as they are great and glorious.

Thou sayest, ‘an ignorant, a narrow-minded, or a stupid woman, cannot feel
nor understand the rationality, the propriety, or the beauty of this
relation’--i.e. subordination to man. Now, verily, it does appear to me,
that nothing but a narrow-minded view of the subject of human rights and
responsibilities can induce any one to believe in _this subordination to a
fallible_ being. Sure I am, that the signs of the times clearly indicate a
vast and rapid change in public sentiment, on this subject. Sure I am that
she is not to be, as she has been, ‘_a mere second-hand agent_’ in the
regeneration of a fallen world, but the acknowledged equal and co-worker
with man in this glorious work. Not that ‘she will carry her measures by
tormenting when she cannot please, or by petulant complaints or obtrusive
interference, in matters which are out of her sphere, and which she cannot
comprehend.’ But just in proportion as her moral and intellectual
capacities become enlarged, she will rise higher and higher in the scale
of creation, until she reaches that elevation prepared for her by her
Maker, and upon whose summit she was originally stationed, only ‘a little
lower than the angels.’ Then will it be seen that nothing which concerns
the well-being of mankind is either beyond her sphere, or above her
comprehension: _Then_ will it be seen ‘that America will be distinguished
above all other nations for well educated women, and for the influence
they will exert on the general interests of society.’

But I must close with recommending to thy perusal, my sister’s Letters on
the Province of Woman, published in the New England Spectator, and
republished by Isaac Knapp of Boston. As she has taken up this subject so
fully, I have only glanced at it. That thou and all my country-women may
better understand the true dignity of woman, is the sincere desire of

                               Thy Friend,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.



                               HOLLISTON, Mass., _10th month, 23d, 1837_.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I resume my pen, to gather up a few fragments of thy
Essay, that have not yet been noticed, and in love to bid thee farewell.

Thou appearest to think, that it is peculiarly the duty of _women_ to
educate the little children of this nation. But why, I would ask--why are
they any more bound to engage in this sacred employment, than men? I
believe, that as soon as the rights of women are understood, our brethren
will see and feel that it is their duty to co-operate with us, in this
high and holy vocation, of training up little children in the way they
should go. And the very fact of their mingling in intercourse with such
guileless and gentle spirits, will tend to soften down the asperities of
their characters, and clothe them with the noblest and sublimest Christian
virtues. I know that this work is deemed beneath the dignity of man; but
how great the error! I once heard a man, who had labored extensively among
children, say, ‘I never feel so near heaven, as when I am teaching these
little ones.’ He was right; and I trust the time is coming, when the
occupation of an instructer to children will be deemed the most honorable
of human employment. If it is drudgery to teach these little ones, then it
is the duty of men to bear a part of that burthen; if it is a privilege
and an honor, then we generously invite them to share that honor and
privilege with us.

I know some noble instances of this union of principles and employment,
and am fully settled in the belief, that abolition doctrines are
pre-eminently calculated to qualify men and women to become faithful and
efficient teachers. _They alone_ teach fully the doctrine of human rights;
and to know and appreciate these, is an indispensable prerequisite to the
wisely successful performance of the duties of a teacher. The right
understanding of these will qualify her to teach the fundamental, but
unfashionable doctrine, that ‘God is no respecter of persons,’ and that he
that despiseth the colored man, because he is ‘guilty of a skin not
colored like our own,’ reproacheth his Maker for having given him that
ebon hue. I consider it absolutely indispensable, that this truth should
be sedulously instilled into the mind of every child in our republic. I
know of _no_ moral truth of greater importance at the present crisis.
Those teachers, who are not prepared to teach _this in all its fullness_,
are deficient in one of the most sterling elements of moral character, and
are false to the holy trust committed to them, and utterly unfit to train
up the children of _this_ generation. So far from urging the deficiency of
teachers in this country, as a reason why women should keep out of the
anti-slavery excitement, I would say to my sisters, if you wish to become
pre-eminently qualified for the discharge of your arduous duties, come
into the abolition ranks, enter this high school of morals, and drink from
the deep fountains of philanthropy and Christian equality, whence the
waters of healing are welling forth over wide desert wastes, and making
glad the city of our God. Intellectual endowments are _good_, but a high
standard of moral principle is _better_, is _essential_. As a nation, we
have too long educated the _mind_, and left the _heart_ a moral waste. We
have fully and fearfully illustrated the truth of the Apostle’s
declaration: ‘Knowledge puffeth up.’ We have indeed been puffed up,
vaunting ourselves in our mental endowments and national greatness. But we
are beginning to realize, that it is ‘Righteousness which exalteth a

Thou sayest, when a woman is asked to sign a petition, or join an
Anti-Slavery Society, it is ‘for the purpose of contributing her measure
of influence to keep up agitation in Congress, to promote the excitement
of the North against the iniquities of the South, to coerce the South by
fear, shame, anger, and a sense of odium, to do what she is determined not
to do.’ Indeed! Are these the only motives presented to the daughters of
America, for laboring in the glorious cause of Human Rights? Let us
examine them. 1. ‘To keep up agitation in Congress.’ Yes--for I can adopt
this language of Moore of Virginia, in the Legislature of that State, in
1832: ‘I should regret at all times the existence of any unnecessary
excitement in the country on any subject; but I confess, I see no reason
to lament that which may have arisen on the present occasion. It is often
necessary that there should be some excitement among the people, to induce
them to turn their attention to questions deeply affecting the welfare of
the Commonwealth; and _there never can arise any subject more worthy their
attention, than that of the abolition of slavery_.’ 2. ‘To promote the
excitement of the North against the iniquities of the South.’ Yes, and
against her own sinful copartnership in those iniquities. I believe the
discussion of Human Rights at the North has already been of incalculable
advantage to this country. It is producing the happiest influence upon the
minds and hearts of those who are engaged in it; just such results as
Thomas Clarkson tells us, were produced in England by the agitation of the
subject there. Says he, ‘Of the immense advantages of this contest, I know
not how to speak. Indeed, the very agitation of the question, which it
involved, has been highly important. Never was the heart of man so
expanded; never were its generous sympathies so generally and so
perseveringly excited. These sympathies, thus called into existence, have
been useful preservatives of national virtue.’ I, therefore, wish very
much to promote the Anti-Slavery excitement at the North, because I
believe it will prove a useful preservative of national virtue. 3. ‘To
coerce the South by fear, shame, anger, and a sense of odium.’ It is true,
that I feel the imminent danger of the South so much, that I would fain
‘save them with fear, pulling them out of the fire;’ for, if they ever are
saved, they will indeed be ‘as a brand plucked out of the burning.’ Nor
do I see any thing wrong in influencing slaveholders by a feeling of shame
and odium, as well as by a sense of guilt. Why may not abolitionists speak
some things _to their shame_, as the Apostle did to the Corinthians? As to
anger, it is no design of ours to excite so wicked a passion. We cannot
help it, if, in rejecting the truth, they become angry. Could Stephen help
the anger of the Jews, when ‘they gnashed upon him with their teeth’?

But I had thought the principal motives urged by abolitionists were not
these; but that they endeavored to excite men and women to active
exertion,--first, to cleanse _their own_ hands of the sin of slavery, and
secondly, to save the South, if possible, and the North, at any rate, from
the impending judgments of heaven. The result of their mission in this
country, cannot in the least affect the validity of that mission. Like
Noah, they may preach in vain; if so, the destruction of the South can no
more be attributed to them, than the destruction of the antediluvian world
to him. ‘In vain,’ did I say? Oh no! The discussion of the rights of the
slave has opened the way for the discussion of _other rights_, and the
ultimate result will most certainly be, ‘the breaking of _every_ yoke,’
the letting the oppressed of _every_ grade and description go free,--an
emancipation far more glorious than any the world has ever yet seen,--an
introduction into that ‘liberty wherewith Christ hath made his people

I will now say a few words on thy remarks about Esther. Thou sayest, ‘When
a woman is placed in similar circumstances, where death to herself and
all her nation is one alternative, and there is nothing worse to fear, but
something to hope as the other alternative, then she may safely follow
such an example.’ In this sentence, thou hast conceded every thing I could
wish, and proved beyond dispute just what I adduced this text to prove in
my Appeal. I will explain myself. Look at the condition of our
country--Church and State deeply involved in the enormous crime of
slavery: ah! more--claiming the sacred volume, as our charter for the
collar and chain. What then can we expect, but that the vials of divine
wrath will be poured out upon a nation of oppressors and hypocrites? for
we are loud in our professions of civil and ecclesiastical liberty. Now,
as a Southerner, I know that reflecting slaveholders expect their peculiar
institution to be overthrown in blood. Read the opinion of Moore of
Virginia, as expressed by him in the House of Delegates in 1832:--‘What
must be the ultimate consequence of retaining the slaves amongst us? The
answer to this enquiry is both obvious and appalling. It is, that _the
time will come, and at no distant day, when we shall be involved in all
the horrors of a servile war_, which will not end until both sides have
suffered much, until the land shall everywhere be red with blood, and
until the slaves or the whites are totally exterminated. If there be any
truth in history, and if the time has not arrived when causes have ceased
to produce their legitimate results, the dreadful catastrophe in which I
have predicted that our slave system must result, if persisted in, _is as
inevitable as any event which has already transpired_.’

Here, then, is one alternative, and just as tremendous an alternative as
that which was presented to the Queen of Persia. ‘There is _nothing worse_
to fear’ for the South, let the results of abolition efforts be what they
may, whilst ‘there is something to hope as the other alternative;’ because
if she will receive the truth in the love of it, she may repent and be
saved. So that, after all, according to thy own reasoning, the women of
America ‘may safely follow such an example.’

After endeavoring to show that woman has no moral right to exercise the
right of petition for the dumb and stricken slave; no business to join, in
any way, in the excitement which anti-slavery principles are producing in
our country; no business to join abolition societies, &c. &c.; thou
professest to tell our sisters what they are to do, in order to bring the
system of slavery to an end. And now, my dear friend, what does all that
thou hast said in many pages, amount to? Why, that women are to exert
their influence in private life, to allay the excitement which exists on
this subject, and to quench the flame of sympathy in the hearts of their
fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. Fatal delusion! Will Christian women
heed such advice?

Hast thou ever asked thyself, what the slave would think of thy book, if
he could read it? Dost thou know that, from the beginning to the end, not
a word of compassion for _him_ has fallen from thy pen? Recall, I pray,
the memory of the hours which thou spent in writing it! Was the paper once
moistened by the tear of pity? Did thy heart once swell with deep
sympathy for thy sister _in bonds_? Did it once ascend to God in broken
accents for the deliverance of the captive? Didst thou ever ask thyself,
what the free man of color would think of it? Is it such an exhibition of
slavery and prejudice, as will call down _his_ blessing upon thy head?
Hast thou thought of _these_ things? or carest thou not for the blessings
and the prayers of these our suffering brethren? Consider, I entreat, the
reception given to thy book by the apologists of slavery. What meaneth
that loud acclaim with which they hail it? Oh, listen and weep, and let
thy repentings be kindled together, and speedily bring forth, I beseech
thee, fruits meet for repentance, and henceforth show thyself faithful to
Christ and his bleeding representative the slave.

I greatly fear that thy book might have been written just as well, hadst
thou not had the heart of a woman. It bespeaks a superior intellect, but
paralyzed and spell-bound by the sorcery of a worldly-minded expediency.
Where, oh where, in its pages, are the outpourings of a soul overwhelmed
with a sense of the heinous crimes of our nation, and the necessity of
immediate repentance? Farewell! Perhaps on a dying bed thou mayest vainly
wish that ‘_Miss Beecher on the Slave Question_’ might perish with the
mouldering hand which penned its cold and heartless pages. But I forbear,
and in deep sadness of heart, but in tender love though I thus speak, I
bid thee again, Farewell. Forgive me, if I have wronged thee, and pray for
her who still feels like

             Thy sister in the bonds of a common sisterhood,

                                                            A. E. GRIMKÉ.

P. S. Since preparing the foregoing letters for the press, I have been
informed by a Bookseller in Providence, that some of thy books had been
sent to him to sell last summer, and that one afternoon a number of
southerners entered his store whilst they were lying on the counter. An
elderly lady took up one of them and after turning over the pages for some
time, she threw it down and remarked, here is a book written by the
daughter of a northern dough face, to apologize for our southern
institutions--but for my part, I have a thousand times more respect for
the Abolitionists, who openly denounce the system of slavery, than for
those people, who in order to please us, cloak their real sentiments under
such a garb as this. This southern lady, I have no doubt, expressed the
sentiments of thousands of the most respectable slaveholders in our
country--and thus, they will tell the North in bitter reproach for their
sinful subserviency, after the lapse of a few brief years, when interest
no longer padlocks their lips. At present the South feels that she must at
least _appear_ to thank her northern apologists.

                                                                 A. E. G.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to Catherine E. Beecher, - in reply to an essay on slavery and abolitionism, addressed - to A. E. Grimké" ***

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