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Title: An apology for abolitionists: addressed by the anti-slavery society of Meriden, Conn., to their fellow citizens
Author: Pratt, Philo, Tibbals, Isaac I., Webb, Walter
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An apology for abolitionists: addressed by the anti-slavery society of Meriden, Conn., to their fellow citizens" ***


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                               BY THE

                        ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY


                           MERIDEN, CONN.,

                              TO THEIR


                           SECOND EDITION.


                      C. H. PELTON .... PRINT.



  A regard for your good opinion, and a wish to promote the cause,
  which, as Abolitionists, lies near our hearts, is our motive for
  addressing you. We think the opposition to our enterprise arises
  either from commercial, political or domestic connections with
  Slavery, or from misapprehensions respecting our principles,
  measures and prospects. We desire no better means of overcoming
  these obstacles than a fair statement of facts; and to this we now
  solicit your attention.


We believe that all men are born free and equal, and endowed by
their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We believe Slavery is an infraction of these rights, a violation of
the principles of christianity, and under all circumstances sinful.

We believe that Slavery is a great national evil, political as well
as moral, opposed to the genius of a republican government, highly
dangerous to the peace and permanency of the Union, and if persisted
in, destined to bring upon us the severest judgments of Heaven.

We believe the immediate abolition of slavery would be safe and wise,
and that it is the duty of every friend of humanity to use all fair
and just means for its accomplishment.

We believe we have a right to express and publish our opinions
respecting the customs and institutions of the people of this and
every other country; and if we think them in any degree immoral,
unequal, or oppressive, we are under the highest obligations, in the
exercise of all honest and lawful means, to change them.

We believe that Slavery in the several states can be lawfully
abolished only by the legislatures of the states in which it
prevails, and that the exercise of any other than moral means to
induce such abolition, is unconstitutional.

We believe that Congress has a right to abolish Slavery in the
District of Columbia, and in the Territories, and to prohibit the
slave trade between the states, and that the exercise of this right
is required by the divine law, and by the interests of our country.

We believe that no class of men can rightfully be denied, _on account
of their color_, the enjoyment of equal rights with others, in the
protection, immunities and administration of the government under
which they live.


These are our sentiments. We regret to say they are not collectively
the sentiments of our countrymen. It is for our zeal in propagating
them, that we have been assailed with unmeasured abuse and lawless
violence. We think it of high importance to our country and the world
that they should be received by all the people. What the effect of
their general reception in the free states would be, is very apparent.

_We should abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia._ There
Congress has exclusive jurisdiction on all subjects whatsoever,
including of course the subject of Slavery.—This is admitted by
Martin Van Buren, Henry Clay, and an overwhelming majority of
the present Congress. The Abolitionists are to a man in favor of
the exercise of this right. If, therefore, the free states were
_thoroughly_ abolitionized, their Senators and Representatives,
who yet compose a majority in Congress, would at once bow to the
supremacy of their constituents, and abolish Slavery.

_We should prohibit the inter state Slave-Trade._ This trade has
recently been carried on to a greater extent than ever was the
foreign slave trade; it being estimated that not less than 120,000
slaves were exported from Virginia alone, within little more than
a year, and removed for the most part to the southwestern states.
Four of these states are said by their own papers, to have received
within the same period, about 250,000 slaves from the old states.
How many tender ties have in one short year been broken by this
detestable business! How much bodily suffering has been endured! How
much guilt has been contracted! This cruel and wicked traffic is
at the foundation of a system of breeding slaves for market, which
is prosecuted on a large scale, corrupting all concerned, by its
licentiousness and barbarity. Congress has a right to prohibit and
suppress this trade, under that article of the Constitution which
empowers Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations and
between the several states. Were a majority of the citizens of the
free states decided Abolitionists, this right could be exercised. We
should insist upon it. Why then do not they, who profess to regard
the _slave trade_ as the worst feature of Slavery, join with us
against it?

_We should prevent the annexation of Texas to the United States._
The South has long had her eye on that fine and extensive country,
intending to get it by purchase or stratagem, for the purpose of
opening a market for her redundant slave population, and of securing
the balance of power in the general government to the slave-holding
interest. Every enemy of Slavery and friend of _free_ labor, ought
to oppose this design. We apprehend that if the annexation of Texas
to our country should not involve us in war with Mexico and Great
Britain, it would either lead to a dissolution of the union, or
indefinitely prolong the existence of Slavery. The Abolitionists
are now preparing petitions to Congress, protesting against this
insane measure; and were the citizens of the free states generally to
join them, and load the tables of Congress with several millions of
signatures to these protests, the danger would be averted. But they
will not do it, _because_ they are not Abolitionists; and we must,
therefore, in all probability _take_ Texas.

_We should admit no new slave states to the Union._ Had our
sentiments prevailed when the Missouri question was decided, the
fine soil of that state would not now be cursed with Slavery. She
was admitted to the union by northern men. They legalized the sin.
It is a sad proof of the corruption of _our_ public sentiment that
several of these traitors to liberty, have, since that disgraceful
vote was given, been elevated to the first offices in the gift of New
England; and this without any signs of their repentance. Arkansas has
also been lately admitted to the Union by northern votes, with the
singular provision in her constitution, that her legislature shall
have no power to abolish Slavery; so that the “peculiar institution”
may last until the greatest knave in the state is heartily weary
and ashamed of it. Northern men thus voted for _perpetual_ Slavery;
and this they did in the confident expectation of being re-elected
to Congress. Had they known a majority of their constituents to be
Abolitionists, they would have voted differently. Should Florida
be _next_ admitted to the Union as a _slave_ state, the south will
have a majority in the Senate. Who can predict the consequences? But
were the free states thoroughly abolitionized, Florida would never
come into the Union as a _slave_ State; for Abolitionists are in
_principle_ opposed to it.

_We should also prohibit the slave trade between the United States
and Texas._ In the constitution of Texas, whose independence has
already been acknowledged by our government, Slavery is established
as a permanent institution of the country, and a monopoly of the
slave trade granted to the United States. Already thousands of slaves
have been sent there, and unless something is done to prevent it,
vessels will soon be fitted out in northern ports, to carry slaves
from Virginia to Texas, as well as to New Orleans; and this, whether
Texas is annexed to the United States, or remains independent. Were
the citizens of the free states generally Abolitionists, they would
not allow a legal commerce in slaves from our Republic to a foreign

_We should save our own youth from the pollution and guilt of
Slavery._ They would not directly participate in it. When they go
to the South they would neither buy nor _hire_ slaves. Hitherto
nothing has been more common than for our best and most intelligent
young men, the sons of our ministers and church members, to become
slave-holders. At home they were not taught the inherent and
necessary sinfulness of Slavery; at the South the practice was
recommended to them by the example and plausible pretexts of the best
men. They were accustomed from their childhood to see slave-holders
treated with respect because they were rich in human chattels,
without hearing a word respecting the _extortion_ by which their
wealth comes. Hence many of the merchants, physicians, lawyers,
planters, teachers and clergymen of the South, though northern
men by birth, are either slave-holders or abettors of the system.
This would not be the case, had our declaration of sentiments been
taught from the first by our parents and teachers, and been made the
_cherished_ creed of the free states. Then the combined instructions
of the nursery, of the school, and of the pulpit, together with
the impressive power of a sound public sentiment, would have
_established_ our youth in the love and veneration of human rights;
in sympathy for the colored man; in hatred of oppression. Thus would
the general reception of our sentiments withdraw from Slavery one of
its main supports, and at the same time rescue our sons and daughters
from the unutterable calamity of becoming rich by the spoiling of the

_We should establish the liberties of the free states on a firm
foundation._ We are not so connected with the slave-states that we
must necessarily perish in their ruin. If the judgments of heaven
should overtake them, we may be spared; should their liberties
be prostrated, ours may survive. It depends on our character and
conduct. A people who respect the rights of others, will have their
own rights respected. Regarding man, of whatever color and condition,
as entitled to the sacred rights of liberty, of property, and of
personal security, they will neither forge chains for others, nor
suffer chains to be imposed on themselves. Nor will God forsake
them. Such are the character and security of Abolitionists. Read
our declaration of sentiments. We go for _human nature_. We protest
against Slavery, because it is an infraction of the rights of MAN. We
know that our entire country has forfeited her freedom, by oppressing
the colored man; still we believe we may, by hearty repentance
and the adoption of just and humane sentiments, appease the wrath
of heaven, and should our nation be rent in two, preserve our own
liberties. But if we continue to connive at this wickedness, nothing
is more certain than our ruin in the common destruction of the

_The free people of color would rapidly improve in their moral and
physical condition._ A load of prejudice now crushes them in the
dust. They cannot rise because they are deprived of the motives
and facilities for self-improvement. They are a proscribed people.
COLORED SKIN. It shuts out human beings from schools and colleges,
from the mechanical arts, from the house of God, from a share in
the government of the nation, from social intercourse with their
fellow-creatures, from the best incitements to virtue and enterprise.
We freely confess, that the Abolitionists, if a majority, would
correct all these evils, and cause men in this so called christian
and democratic country, to be treated, according to the bible without
distinction of color.

_We should do much to vindicate the honor and truth of christianity._
Slavery is the _strongest_ hold of infidelity at the South, and a
_strong_ hold at the North. It is so because, while natural religion
declares Slavery to be sinful, the ministers and professors of
christianity practice it, and defend their conduct from the bible.
Such a religion, says the infidel cannot be from God. It is thus that
the church is bringing into contempt and doubt our blessed religion.
It would greatly counteract this prolific cause of infidelity, were
all our churches, ministers, and theological professors, to embrace
and advocate the true doctrine of human rights as it is set forth in
the word of God. We should then hold up to the world, this internal
evidence of the divine origin of the bible, that, being written in
ages of darkness and despotism, it notwithstanding clearly recognizes
and protects MAN as the possessor of natural, inalienable, sacred
rights. Instead of doing this, many northern preachers of the gospel,
are now blaspheming their religion, by saying that both Moses and
Christ tolerated Slavery.

_We should no longer uphold Slavery by recognizing slave-holders as
brethren in good and regular standing in the Church._ We now receive
to the table of the Redeemer, without one word of admonition, men,
who at the South, make merchandize of the image of God, of their
fellow-christians. What is still more astonishing if not more wicked,
we receive slave-holders to our pulpits, to preach to us about loving
God and MAN! Thus we practically say, that Slavery is consistent both
with morality and the gospel of Christ. Were we Abolitionists, it
would be far otherwise; for they do not think it right to lend the
sanction of the church to such outrageous wickedness.

Such would be _some_ of the happy results of the general adoption of
our sentiments in the free states, if nothing more could be effected.
But we doubt not it would issue in THE PEACEABLE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY
BY THE SEVERAL SLAVE STATES. This is the principal object of our
enterprise; and on a strong probability of success, we are willing to
rest its character.

_The constitutional action of Congress in the ways above named, would
do much to induce the South to abolish Slavery._ Its abolition in
the District of Columbia by the assembled wisdom of the country,
would exert a powerful influence on the southern mind. It would be
the testimony of the nation, corroborating the testimony of every
truly civilized and christian people, to the impolicy and wickedness
of Slavery. The prohibition of the inter state slave-trade, and the
confinement of Slavery to its present local limits would render
it unprofitable to the old states, which depend on this trade as
the chief source of profit; and also drive the new states to the
necessity of introducing free labor; for how could they otherwise
cultivate their immense tracts of virgin land, or supply the deficit
occasioned by the rapid consumption of life on their cotton and sugar

We should make a still more _direct appeal to her interests_, by
saying: _You may keep your cotton, rice, and sugar, until you have
abolished Slavery. We shall no longer use the products of unrequited
labor._ It would then be a question of dollars and cents with her,
whether or not she would give liberty to her captives. We should
not be obliged to deny ourselves the use of her productions one
year; for her states would vie with each other to see which could
obtain a monopoly of northern patronage by first abolishing Slavery.
Many northern men have been bought by southern patronage to _do
wrong_; is it not equally possible to buy the south with northern
patronage to _do right_; Human nature is every where the same. We
should indeed regret to have Slavery abandoned from an exclusive
regard to self-interest. We would rather it should be destroyed by
the spirit of repentance; for then the emancipated slave would still
be treated with justice and humanity. But no means of bringing the
South to repentance can be more promising, than the _conscientious_
refusal, by northern men, of all sects and parties, to sustain
Slavery, by consuming its produce. At present this cannot be done on
a scale sufficiently large to secure, certainly and immediately, the
abolition of Slavery; but were the North completely abolitionized, no
doubt she would do it with the most triumphant success.

_We should move the South to abandon Slavery, by appealing to her
love of reputation._ The South shows herself sensitive on this point.
Said Mr. Calhoun in the United States Senate, “do they, [his southern
opponents,] expect the Abolitionists will resort to arms, and
commence a crusade to liberate our slaves by force? Is this what they
mean when they speak of the attempt to abolish Slavery? If so let me
tell our friends of the South who differ from us, that the war which
the Abolitionists wage against us is of a very different character
and _far more effective_—it is waged not against our _lives_, but our
_character_.” Had he said _our reputations and consciences_, he would
have told the truth. We do intend to make Slavery _disgraceful_. Sin
ought to be esteemed a reproach to any people. Were all northern men
of our way of thinking, this sin would be as infamous as any other
kind of fraud and villainy. The _world_ is now pointing the finger
of scorn at _slave-holding America_. The free states bear a merited
portion of the shame, because we share largely in the responsibility.
As we have taken Slavery under our patronage, and consented to stand
godfather to it, what little respectability we have, is thrown
around it, to the great relief and joy of its southern parents. Let
us retire from the relation. Instead of defending Slavery, let us
reiterate the just and indignant censures of the civilized world,
until all shall feel, that so great an enormity cannot be practiced
or connived at, without a forfeiture of character. This would be
the state of feeling, were the citizens of the north generally
Abolitionists; and he knows little of human nature, who doubts
that _such_ a state of feeling, would render the condition of a
slave-holder, the last to be sought, the first to be abandoned.

In these ways, if in no others, we could reach and influence the
South. Although she should attempt to shut out the light by a strict
censorship of the press and post-office; though she should make the
utterance of our sentiments on southern soil an offence against her
laws; she could not prevent the constitutional action of the general
government; she could not compel us to consume her produce; she could
not escape the withering contempt and indignant frown of our virtuous
public sentiment. We could reach her heart in these ways, in spite
of herself, and as we think to the certain overthrow of Slavery. We
could do more.

ground of our confidence. If Slavery is sinful, we can prove it to be
such; and this proof, made plain to the understanding of the South,
cannot fail to awaken her conscience. Such is human nature. Some
would have us think that none but christians have consciences, and
therefore the first step to be taken for the removal of Slavery is
to send missionaries to convert the masters to christianity, thus
laying a foundation for successful appeals to the conscience. But it
seems to us the work of centuries, if not an impracticable work, to
convert the masters, or a majority of them, to true holiness, while
Slavery lasts, _especially if they have no consciences_; and we think
also, if all were converted to such a christianity as consists with a
hearty belief that _Slavery is not condemned by the Bible_, it would
not much facilitate our enterprise. Nor have we so much contempt for
that word, which is mighty through God to the pulling down of strong
holds, as to doubt that _our doctrines_ will commend themselves
to the _reason_ of our southern brethren, and receive a fruitful
response from their _consciences_.

Some would have the world believe, if every person in the free states
were an Abolitionist, it would not hasten the emancipation of the
slaves; for, say they, we could not then get a hearing at the south,
and if we could, she is too much exasperated at our interference
to do any thing on the subject. In our opinion, they are entirely

We believe _we can get a hearing at the South, or convey a knowledge
of our sentiments to the southern mind, and that these sentiments are
more potent than her prejudices and passions_. In proof of it—

_She is now constantly receiving numerous publications containing
our views._ There were, the last year, about five hundred regular
southern subscribers to the publications of the American Anti-Slavery
Society. The Cincinnati Philanthropist, the Alton Observer, the New
York Evangelist, and scores of other papers, religious and political,
have subscribers at the South, with whom from week to week they
advocate this cause. Many valuable anti-slavery books are also
doing a good work in the very midst of the evil. Several thousands
of Miss Grimke’s Appeal, together with the writings of Jay, Child,
Channing and others, are daily tearing off the mask from Slavery, and
awakening the slumbering conscience of the South. Not unfrequently
slave-holders themselves come to the anti-slavery office in New York
and buy whole sets of our publications. The speeches of her Senators,
and the messages of her Governors evince a better acquaintance with
our writings and movements than the great men of the North can boast.
Her own press is doing much to disseminate our sentiments. The
United States Telegraph of February 18, 1837, edited by Duff Green,
Washington, D. C., was nearly half filled with extracts from our
prints. Her clergy by publishing apologies for slavery in refutation
of our views, are also making these views known and waking up a
spirit of inquiry. Indeed, such is human nature, and such is the
course of the south, that we have come to believe she will not allow
us at the north to _think aloud on the subject of Slavery without
knowing what we think and why we think so. She will not allow us
to form and express opinions on this subject_ WITHOUT KNOWING OUR
OPINIONS AND THE GROUNDS OF THEM. She is too much interested, and
knows that we have too much power, to pass our sentiments by in utter
contempt without even ascertaining them.

But were the free states completely abolitionized, not only the
presses of the Anti-Slavery Societies, assisted by a few others,
would carry our doctrines to the South; but _all the religious,
political and commercial papers of the North, indeed the whole body
of our literature, would breathe the same spirit, would speak the
same language_. Were she, therefore, ever so much averse to the
truth, these numberless publications, aided by the English press and
by private correspondence, would force upon her a knowledge of our

_The social intercourse of the North and South would also afford us
ample opportunities for publishing our sentiments._ The citizens
of every state in the Union are daily meeting in the steam-boats,
coaches, rail-road cars and hotels of our country. We are constantly
_walking arm in arm_ with the South, so that she cannot fail to learn
what we think of Slavery, and of the duty and pre-eminent safety of
immediate emancipation. If we are decided Abolitionists, we shall
certainly talk enough to let her know _what_ we think and _why_ we
think so.

_Many of the youth of the South must continue, as in times past, to
be educated in the free states._ Mr. Calhoun was educated at Yale
College. Who can doubt that an influence might have been exerted on
his mind, in relation to Slavery, of the most happy character, if the
officers of that institution, if the surrounding community, if the
literature of the day, had all breathed the spirit of Arthur Tappan
and Gerritt Smith? There are now hundreds of southern youth in our
schools, and hundreds will succeed them, whose minds would be set in
deadly and deathless hostility to the robbery of God’s poor, were
their teachers Abolitionists. Some think that in such an event, they
would be kept at home. A few might be, but not all. The salubrity
of our climate, the excellence of our institutions, the comparative
purity of our morals, give us an advantage, that the more virtuous
and intelligent of southern parents, would not relinquish, for fear
that their sons should embrace views, which in their own hearts they
must approve.

It should also be remembered, that we not only educate the most
precious youth of the South, but we _supply many of her pulpits,
professorships, and shops with our own sons_. The great body of
southern merchants are northern men. Such is the genius of Slavery
that this will continue to be the case. The result would be, were we
all Abolitionists, that the adopted sons of the South would soon form
a strong body of opposition to Slavery, laboring to overthrow it, by
their votes, their arguments and their example. Some may think that
lynch law would then drive us all from the South; or that we should
be received there only on condition of letting Slavery alone. They
are mistaken. Were we _all_ Abolitionists, we should be defended. The
national government would protect us. The constitution guarantees the
rights of a citizen in all the states to the citizens of each state;
and had the North been thoroughly abolitionized, she would have
demanded and obtained redress for the blood of her innocent citizens,
who have been hung without color of law, by southern ruffians. Be
assured when we all become Abolitionists, an end will be put to the
reign of terror in every part of the country. Men of all creeds and
colors, will then go where they please, speak what they please, and
do what they please, with perfect safety, so long as they commit no
offence against just and impartial law.

_The interests of a large class at the South must predispose them
to favor our enterprise._ Probably not more than half of the whites
are directly interested in the continuance of Slavery. Many hire
Slaves, who could on equally eligible terms, and with more peace of
conscience, hire them as _free_ laborers, were they emancipated.
Some own land without slaves; and it is admitted, that immediately
on the abolition of Slavery, the soil would rise in value, and
continue to appreciate with the general improvement of the country. A
multitude of the whites are too poor to own slaves, and too ignorant
to obtain a living, except by manual labor, and Slavery makes that
disreputable, and comparatively unprofitable. All these classes need
only open their eyes, to see that Slavery is subversive of their
interests: and we may therefore rationally calculate on having their
attention and sympathy.

_What we have already effected at the South, is a pledge of entire
success_, the moment the leading influences at the North shall
second our efforts instead of counteracting them. Several hundred
slaves have been set at liberty through the labors of those two
distinguished Abolitionists, David Nelson and James G. Birney. We
have heard of various other instances in which our doctrines have
had such successful access to the southern mind. We will mention
one. Some time since, in New York, a gentleman rose in a monthly
concert of prayer for the slaves, and said: “I am a slave-holder from
Virginia. I came to the North with violent prejudices against the
Abolitionists, in consequence of what I read in northern papers; but
I was determined to investigate the matter for myself. Accordingly
I sought lodgings in the family of an Abolitionist, obtained and
read your publications, and attended this monthly concert; and I am
now convinced that not only your doctrines but your measures are
righteous.” And he added, turning to two gentlemen who sat beside
him, “these gentlemen are also slave-holders from Virginia, and
my first converts to abolitionism; and I know a thousand men in
Virginia, who if they could have the truth stated to them, would
agree with us.” He then exhorted the Abolitionists present to go on,
saying “you have only to correct the public sentiment of the North so
that their papers shall not misrepresent you at the South, and THE
WORK IS DONE.” Besides many such facts evincive of the power of truth
over the southern mind, and proving that the leaven is working there,
we have frequent admissions from the lips and pens of the defenders
of Slavery at the South, that the Abolitionists are disturbing the
conscience of her people, that there is more sympathy with them there
than it would be prudent to acknowledge; that if the fanatics are
suffered to go on they will succeed; that they _may_ build up a body
of public sentiment which the South cannot resist. These facts, these
admissions, and the very nature of man, convince us that we have many
allies at the South. The violence of the friends of Slavery, has
forced them to a temporary silence; but no doubt many of them long
to unburden their hearts, and are only waiting to be sustained by
a healthy public sentiment among us.—Were we all Abolitionists, it
would be less odious and less hazardous to avow our sentiments at the
South; and she would find a body of Abolitionists on her own soil,
too respectable to be despised—too strong to be resisted.

Our expectations of success in making known our sentiments to our
southern brethren, are rendered still more sanguine, _by the history
of emancipation in the West Indies_. It will be impossible for our
countrymen, to close their eyes against the light, which the working
of the British abolition act, will constantly throw on the duty and
safety of immediate emancipation.

We are nevertheless told, with surprising assurance, by men great
and small, that we have postponed the abolition of Slavery, at least
half a century; that our ultra doctrines and violent measures have
so incensed the South, that she has settled down in the inflexible
determination to keep her slaves. Is this human nature? They who
think so, seem to imagine that the work of reform must be carried
on solely by coaxing and flattering the sinner: that a declaration
of his guilt and of his duty, sufficiently plain and unequivocal to
excite his displeasure, is the last way to bring him to repentance.
We think otherwise. We take the anger of the South as a precious
omen of success. The hit bird flutters. She shows herself conscious
of the truth of our charges. Accuse a consistent temperance man
of drunkenness, he will smile in your face; accuse the drunkard
himself and he will be ready to fight you. The faithful reproof
of sin always irritates the sinner, and his irritation continues
until he either repents or forgets the admonition. Had our efforts
produced no such sensation among slave-holders, we should be far more
ready to despair. She believes unless this discussion is stopped,
Slavery must cease, or else she will be disgraced in the eyes of the
world, and exceedingly embarrassed and trammeled in the possession
of her slaves. We do not, however, attribute all the wrath of the
South against us, to awakened conscience, and the anticipation of
our success. We have been shamefully misrepresented by _northern_
papers and mobs, which have not hesitated to charge us with the
worst of motives and the most hostile feelings towards the South;
as if we would gladly involve her in a servile war. The belief of
these calumnies has doubtless excited her worst passions; and the
moment she learns the truth, it will create a re-action in our
favor. Nor should it be overlooked that many of her own citizens
have no sympathy for Slavery, and no strong prejudices against us.
Facts also show that argument can appease this very wrath, to which
our opponents attribute such indomitable energy. When the students
of Lane Seminary, under the Presidency of the Rev. Dr. Beecher,
commenced a discussion of the subject of Slavery, about fifteen
young men from the South, all of them slave-holders or sons of
slave-holders, were not a little incensed at the faithful exposure of
Slavery by their fellow-students; but at the close of the discussion,
all these young men, save one, were thorough going Abolitionists; and
several of them are now lecturing in the free states for the purpose
of correcting our public sentiment, as a necessary and infallible
means of rectifying that of the South.

We believe, therefore, that if we succeed in abolitionizing the
North, we shall the South. Were the North already abolitionized,
we should do all the good specified above. We should preserve our
own liberties, virtue and religion, and save the South from man’s
greatest curse, his own voluntary wickedness. Is it not, then,
desirable that our sentiments should prevail? Do they not carry
with them the clearest credentials of truth—the very best practical
tendencies? Is it not the grossest hypocrisy in the North to pretend
hostility to Slavery, when she refuses to do the good which she
would rejoice to do, were she a convert to abolitionism? Is it not
a crime in her to fight against the diffusion of these sentiments?
In one word—ought not the Abolitionists to do all they can, in a
constitutional and christian manner, to propagate their views?

Success at the North is certain; for she has an interest in
destroying Slavery: her political principles are opposed to it; and
the great mass of her citizens are intelligent and virtuous, unbought
by southern patronage, and accustomed to abhor cruelty and injustice.
Our success is also written in the desperate, but ineffectual
endeavors of the opposition, to prevent the agitation of the subject.
By their own showing, Slavery cannot endure the light of free
inquiry. If northern abettors of Slavery were not convinced, that the
discussion will inevitably abolitionize the mass of the people, they
would rely on argument rather than on lawless violence. Our progress
too, has already been astonishing. In the course of three years
nearly a thousand Anti-Slavery Societies have been organized; many
enemies have become friends, and many opposers, the able advocates
of our cause. The prejudices of the people have been softened, and
thousands are now on the eve of joining us, who lately were our most
bitter antagonists. We have made all this progress notwithstanding
the abuse of the political and commercial press has been heaped upon
us without measure, and no man could join us but at the peril of his
reputation, if not also his life and property. We are, therefore,
encouraged to persevere. What have we to accomplish, which we have
not in part achieved, while our powers and facilities are constantly


We propose to convert the country to our views by measures which some
of our opponents, (ashamed to deny our doctrines,) allege to be the
principal ground of their dissent. We think they have failed to make
a proper distinction between our _measures_ and the _abuse_ of these
measures. The constitutional action of Congress, the pulpit, the
press, public debate, private conversation, anti-slavery societies,
_these_ are our measures. If any of our associates, through human
infirmity, prosecute any of these measures in ill-temper or with
indiscretion, we regret and condemn it. The measures themselves,
and the prosecution of them we approve, and shall now attempt to

Some object to _our organizing Anti-Slavery Societies_, which in our
opinion they would not do, if they wished well to our enterprise.
For it is manifest that union gives us strength, influence,
courage, money and other facilities for carrying on the work; it
lays a foundation for concentrated, permanent, economical effort.
Societies have their stated and occasional meetings, without giving
offence and provoking popular violence. They animate each other by
friendly correspondence, and prosecute their work systematically
and vigorously, by the gratuitous labors of their most enlightened
members. A general organization will enable us to petition the
various legislative bodies in behalf of human rights, with unanimity
and regularity, until our objects are gained. We see other ends to
be secured by it. There is no disputing our constitutional right to
adopt this measure; which we believe any men of common sense would
adopt in our circumstances. Even the wisdom of Christ sanctions the
measure, for what is his _church_ but a _society_ formed for the
purpose of converting men to the truth and progressively sanctifying
them? Nor do we see how we can testify to the South our abhorrence
of Slavery unless we form societies for the purpose. Had none been
formed, it might be doubted whether there are a thousand decided
Abolitionists in the country. It would be said in Congress and
believed at the South, that we are few in numbers, and constantly
becoming fewer and more contemptible. The existence and rapidly
increasing number of our _societies_ precludes the possibility
of such misrepresentations and mistakes. As soon as our plan is
completed, in the formation of a flourishing society in each village
of the free states, embodying a majority of the people, the South
will know what our public sentiment is. It will be concentrated upon
her. She will feel it. We learn from intelligent sources, that the
general opinion at the South now is, that all the citizens of the
North who are not Abolitionists, sympathize with the slave-holders.
It is natural they should think so. We must, therefore, rank
ourselves with the Abolitionists, by joining an Anti-Slavery Society,
if we would give our decided testimony against the GREAT SOUTHERN

Some object to _our employing itinerant lecturers_. We think they
would not object, if they had considered the matter with friendly
feelings. The subject of Slavery has so many relations in this
country, and involves so many questions in morals, in biblical
literature, in constitutional law, in political economy, in history,
and other departments of learning, that our stated clergy, have not
sufficient time for its thorough investigation, were they disposed
to make it. We ought not to expect of them more than a faithful
exposition of the testimony of God against Slavery, and in favor of
immediate emancipation. As a general rule, they can do no more. We
need an extensive and thorough discussion of the whole subject. Nor
are all our clergymen yet Abolitionists. Some are with us; others
are against us. This was to be expected. The subject has but just
come before the public mind. It found almost all our ministers
colonizationists. It would have been surprising, if they had all
embraced our views at the first blush, without discussion. We don’t
do things so in Connecticut. Hereafter we doubt not they will all
join us; but in the interim, we must employ _itinerant_ lecturers, if
we would disseminate what we believe to be the truth. And who will be
harmed by it? The truth will hurt no one; and even “error,” we quote
the words of Jefferson, “may safely be tolerated, so long as reason
is left free to combat it.” Some think it an interference with the
rights of the stated ministry to introduce an itinerant lecturer,
without the advice and consent of the settled pastor. How so? Suppose
there are several clergymen in the same village. One of them being
an Abolitionist does all he can, by conversation, the distribution
of papers, and public lectures, to make the people Abolitionists,
without distinction of sect or party. Is that an interference with
the rights of the other pastors? No; such a course has never been
thought so. Nor is there the least difference in the two cases. The
several churches introduce these pastors to be their teachers. We,
the Abolitionists, another body of people, introduce a man to teach
on a particular subject. We have the right; he has a right to come;
therefore no right is violated.[1]

_Some object to our employing severe epithets in speaking of
Slavery and slave-holders._ They say our condemnation is too hard,
denunciatory and indiscriminate. We wish all who allege this against
us would illustrate their meaning and sustain their charge by quoting
the offensive expressions. It would put them to great inconvenience.
They may think the language “hard” and “too hard,” when it barely
expresses what ought to be said, and cannot be better said. We do
indeed tell slave-holders their sins plainly, calling things by their
right names; but it is only in the conclusion of an argument to
prove the charge, that we justify making it. Nor is our language any
harder than the sober language of moral philosophers, and of the most
eminent fathers of the church. Wesley says: “You, [the slave-holder,]
first acted the villain in making them slaves, whether you stole
them or bought them.” “This equally concerns all slave-holders, of
whatever rank and degree: seeing _men-buyers are exactly on a level
with men-stealers_.” The younger President Edwards says: “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_.” Grotius says: “Those are
men-stealers, who abduct, _keep_, sell or buy _slaves_ or freemen. To
steal a man is the highest kind of theft.” Adam Clarke says: “Among
the heathen Slavery was in some sort excusable; among _christians_
ADEQUATE STATE OF PUNISHMENT.” We use no language more hard, more
true, or more indiscriminate. We think these great men understood
how to do good, at least as well as our critics. We are also fully
persuaded, that the South is far less incensed at our _language_
than at our _sentiments_. She is indignant at what we say, not the
manner of saying it. Dr. Channing had this vulgar prejudice, that we
were injuring our cause by using abusive language. And Mr. Leigh of
Virginia, took the very book, in which he reproves us, and quoted
passages which he declared in the United States Senate, rivalled the
most insulting language of Garrison. So difficult is it to tell the
truth about Slavery in palatable terms.

We are also censured for _sending pictures to the South illustrative
of the horrors of Slavery_. We do indeed employ the art of painting,
as well as the arts of printing and speaking, to awaken sympathy
for the Slave; but our pictures are designed for the North, not
the South. Though some of them may find their way there, they are
_never sent_ to the slaves, are not apt to fall into their hands,
and not adapted to make them uneasy and turbulent. Were they painted
as large as life, and set up at the corner of every street and on
every plantation, the sole effect would be to awe the slaves into
subjection, by reminding them of the consequences of disobedience.

We are accused of _sending papers to the slaves_. The charge is
false. Our publications are sent exclusively to the free white
population. Were it in our power to send to the slaves, we should
indeed rejoice at it. If they could read and the mails would carry
them papers, we would prepare tracts on purpose for them, explaining
the doctrines and duties of christianity, inculcating the forgiveness
of injuries, the patient endurance of wrong, the faithful service of
their masters, until such time as they _can be made free_. We would
even send them the Bible, which says: “Woe unto him that buildeth his
house by unrighteousness and his chambers by wrong; _that useth his
neighbor’s service without wages and giveth him not for his work_.”
Jer. xxii, 13.

The foregoing are current objections to _specific_ measures of the
Abolitionists. There are other objections of a more general and
sweeping character, which go to condemn _all_ our measures, calling
upon us to disband our societies, to dismiss our agents, to break up
our printing presses, and interfere in no way with Southern Slavery.
We can give these only a brief notice.

It is a current objection to our enterprise, that _Slavery is
no concern of ours_: that the South alone is interested in the
subject, and we have no right to _interfere_. Interference is a very
indefinite term. We acknowledge we have no right to interfere by
force of arms; and have ever disclaimed the intention of interfering,
except by the constitutional and peaceable action of Congress,
and the application of truth to the hearts and consciences of our
southern brethren. As to our having no right to interfere in _this
manner_, because Slavery is no concern of ours, it is a strange
doctrine to be promulgated in the nineteenth century by republicans
and christians. What interest had we in the struggle of Greece and
Poland with Turkish and Russian despotism? What concern have we in
the moral and political degradation of the Hindoo, Hottentot and
Chinese? We have the answer in the motto of the christian church:
we are concerned for the spiritual welfare of all classes at the
South; the great mass of whom are now sunk in infidelity and vice.
Their alarming destitution of the means of religion, and the general
corruption of their morals, are justly attributed to Slavery. What
would become of the virtue, intelligence and religious institutions
of Meriden, if all the real estate and all the inhabitants of the
town, were held as property by one man? He might be an infidel;
and if he were a christian, what dependence could be placed on
him to support the gospel, or what confidence would the oppressed
people have in his religion? Such is the state of things at the
South. Slavery not only creates a distaste for true religion, but
withdraws from its support the laboring class, which in every free
country, embodies a great proportion of the most devoted and liberal
christians. There is also much in the habits which Slavery fosters,
to indispose pious youth to enter the ministry and to disqualify them
for its laborious duties; while many who enter upon the work, abandon
it for secular pursuits, or remove to the free states, where they
can preach the _whole_ gospel with more security and success. Not
only must a slave-holding community be destitute of men and means to
make known the way of salvation, but the preaching of the gospel will
generally be inefficacious with all classes; with the _masters_, for
Slavery fosters in them the worst passions of human nature, affords
them facilities for the unbounded indulgence of their appetites,
and relieves them from the necessity of personal exertion for a
livelihood; with the _poor white population_, for Slavery accumulates
the wealth of the community in a few hands, renders free labor
disreputable, and multiplies temptations to low and degrading vices;
with the _free people of color_, for Slavery holds most of them in a
state of abject poverty, ignorance and sin; with the _slaves_, for
Slavery robs them of the bible, of self-control, of hope, of parent,
wife and child, of the best motives to be virtuous, and of the best
evidences of christianity; it makes them vicious; it makes them
sceptics. We are concerned for these perishing millions.

Slavery is a concern of ours for it involves our personal interests.
It throws back upon us a moral pestilence; it scatters the seeds
of intemperance, licentiousness, and infidelity; it popularizes
gambling, Sabbath breaking, profaneness and lawless violence; it
casts an undeserved stigma on manual labor, it encourages idleness
and prodigality. It disgraces us in the eyes of the whole world;
it impairs our national strength; it encroaches on the spirit of
liberty; it is constantly undermining our free institutions. The
northern states have no greater enemy. Were Slavery abolished, her
religion, her morals, her liberties, her general prosperity would be
far more secure. The chief source of danger to the integrity of our
union, and to our domestic tranquility would be removed; a greater
market would be opened for our manufactures, and a wider field for
our industry and enterprise; the emancipated slaves would purchase
our goods, and our youth could enter into competition with the sons
of the South in raising cotton, &c. without becoming slave-holders.
Labor would soon cease to be disgraceful; property would accumulate
in every part of the land; education would flourish; religion would
revive; the entire country would rejoice in peace and plenty under
the smiles of an approving providence. Tell us not, that we have no
concern in removing the greatest sin, curse and shame of the nation,
and in securing for ourselves and our posterity, a truly free and
virtuous government.

It is said that _Slavery is an agitating subject, which cannot be
discussed without disturbing the peace and harmony of our churches_.
Why so? This subject can be discussed in the churches in Great
Britain without discord and division. We think it could be here,
were it not for the corruption of our public sentiment, which can
be corrected only by free discussion. It is where the truth needs
most to be heard, that it creates most opposition and variance.
Primitive christianity was accused of turning the world upside down.
The temperance cause has occasioned strife, and separated “very
friends.” We hold to the Apostolic injunction: “_first_ pure, _then_
peaceable.” We love a virtuous peace. A truce with sin we abhor. If
we must surrender our liberties, and connive at iniquity, to avoid
a war, we say with Patrick Henry, “The war is inevitable, and let
it come; I repeat it, sir, let it come.” Who does not see that if
polygamy were common in our churches, it would create a terrible
excitement to preach against it, and lead to the dismission of
pastors? Yet any one would acknowledge, that religion could never
prosper, while the church was so corrupt; and that she had better be
torn into ten thousand fragments, than that polygamy should continue
in vogue; for she would soon be re-organized in greater purity and
strength. So it is with a _slave-holding_ Church; and with a Church
in which the _spirit_ of Slavery is so rife, that she will not live
in peace with her Anti-Slavery members, nor tolerate the exercise
of their Constitutional rights. But we do not believe this of our
Churches. We think the more this “delicate and agitating” subject is
discussed among us, the less unpleasant excitement will prevail.

It is said _that our measures to overthrow Slavery are
unconstitutional_. Our opponents may easily test this question
by bringing it before the U. S. Court. We claim to be acting
constitutionally. Our plan of operations is essentially the same as
that pursued by the early Anti-Slavery Societies, of which such men
as John Jay, Benj. Franklin, Benj. Rush, and Jonathan Edwards, were
active members; some of whom were engaged in forming our federal
Constitution. Did they not understand that instrument? Did their
contemporaries ever dispute their right to discuss the merits of
Slavery? Have not our citizens, from time immemorial and without
restriction, exercised this right? Does not the Constitution, instead
of guaranteeing Slavery against this moral influence, guarantee to
us the right of employing it, by forbidding Congress to pass any law
abridging the freedom of speech and of the press?

We are told our measures are an _invasion of the rights of
property_. This objection assumes, what nature denies, that _man_
may be _rightfully_ held as property. Blackstone maintains in his
Commentaries, that man cannot be reduced by any just process to a
state of absolute Slavery; that he cannot be born in that state, nor
sell himself into it, nor be placed there when taken captive in war,
without flagrant injustice. We also hold it to be _self-evident_,
that all men are _born free and equal_, and entitled to certain
_inalienable_ rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness. The Slave owns himself by grant of his Creator.
_Slavery_ is, therefore, an invasion of his rights of property. It is
the slave-master who makes an aggression on the property of others,
not we, who exhort him to relinquish that property. The Slaves
being the rightful owners of themselves, the abolition of Slavery
is merely an act declarative of this indisputable title. Nor do we
seek the destruction of Slavery, except through the constitutional
authorities. Even were the slaves the _property_ of their masters, it
would be lawful for us to _persuade_ them to part with it. Would it
not? The Legislatures of the several states have a right to abolish
Slavery. Have they not? It has hitherto been conceded, that the law
making power of every slave-holding country has this right. May
we not then persuade the states to exercise it, by convincing them
of the moral wrong and frightful impolicy of Slavery? Should it be
said that the government encouraged its citizens to invest property
under the protection of the slave code, and therefore ought not
to abolish Slavery without indemnifying them, our answer is, that
mankind are under a paramount obligation not to invest property under
the protection of _immoral_ laws; that all such laws are in their
nature null and void from the beginning; that governments have always
exercised the power of correcting abuses; and there is no greater
abuse than Slavery; none more unjust and oppressive; none more
pernicious and perilous to our national interests.

Some object, that the abolition of Slavery _on our plan_, without
compensation to the masters, _would be taking away the bread of poor
widows and orphans_. We have no plan. We say only, that Slavery is
wrong, and ought forthwith to be abandoned. The South will adopt
and prosecute her own plan. When her Legislatures abolish Slavery,
they can, if they will, provide for widows and children, who are
left destitute by that act. If they will not do it, we will raise
contributions for their relief; for we deem the claims of _charity_,
nearly as imperative as the claims of justice. But we can never
sanction the _principle_ of Slavery, by saying, that slave-holders
have a _right_ to compensation for restoring to the slaves their
stolen rights. We must always consider it a greater hardship to be
unjustly held as a slave, than to be made poor by freeing such slave.
It is a sad blunder in morals, that this man may make that man,
perhaps fifty other men, poor for life, lest he himself should be a
pauper; that this man may make that man poor by _dishonesty_, lest he
himself should become poor by _being honest_.

No objection to our measures is more senseless, or more common,
than an _alleged tendency to dissolve the Union_. Which had we
better surrender, the Union or our liberties? The Union is a curse
instead of a blessing, if we must surrender for it, _freedom of
speech and personal protection in any part of the country_. And
if Slavery continues to be protected by public sentiment, and by
popular violence, how long could the Union last, even were _all_ the
abolitionists this day laid in their graves? Slavery endangers the
integrity of the Union, more than all other enemies; and unless soon
destroyed, will be the destroyer both of it and us. If we love the
Union, we should labor to overthrow Slavery. Wesley somewhere defines
fanaticism, to be the expectation of accomplishing ends without
the use of means. Let us not hope for the peaceable destruction of
Slavery, by such a fanatical course. Let us do _something_; and if
we do any thing, what can be done which the abolitionists are not
attempting? In doing this we shall not peril the Union, but preserve
it. The South will never venture on the mad experiment of secession,
_because_ the North is opposed to Slavery. Such an act would be
suicidal. It would encourage the slaves to revolt. It would leave her
defenceless against the invasion of a foreign foe. It would release
us from the constitutional obligation to suppress domestic violence,
and to restore fugitives from service. It would open several thousand
miles of frontier, over which her slaves would escape into a land
of liberty. It would make the south “a good country to emigrate
from,” and she would find herself losing her best citizens, and her
condition becoming more and more exposed and perilous. She would be
ruined. She knows it. Were our legislators in Congress to retort her
stereotyped threat to dissolve the Union, with a challenge to do it,
if she dares, we should hear no more of this empty bravado.

It is said, if our measures should be successful, _the slaves would
resort to the North_, and coming up upon our farms, and into our
shops, like the frogs of Egypt, reduce the wages of our laborers.
No apprehension is more groundless. The free colored people of the
South are quite numerous, and very much oppressed; yet few of them
leave that part of the country; though the whites would be very glad
to have them do so, because they render the slaves uneasy, and come
into competition with slave labor. But were slavery abolished, the
whites would desire to retain all the colored people, in order to
employ them in cultivating the soil; precisely as is now the case in
the West Indies. Nor would the slaves be willing to leave the land of
their nativity, and of their kindred, to reside in the cold regions
of the north, to the business and climate of which they are uninured,
and where they must labor more severely to obtain a comfortable
living. But should they come, what then? Do you prefer perpetual

It is also objected to our enterprise, that _the immediate abolition
of slavery, would be “letting the slaves loose” to be idlers,
vagabonds, thieves, and cut-throats_. This objection is more forcible
against _gradual_ emancipation, which would throw upon society
a multitude of freedmen, while the rest of their brethren still
remained in bondage. The holders of slaves would not encourage the
free by giving them labor; who would, therefore, be more apt to be
idle and vicious; while their release would excite uneasiness in the
minds of the unemancipated. The objection is also equally strong
against _prospective_ emancipation, according to which the slaves
would all be set free at once; but not until some time after the
passage of the act. Experience and human nature both teach us, that
slaves under such circumstances are more apt to be overworked, than
to be better prepared for the enjoyment of freedom. The objection
is, therefore, good for _perpetual_ slavery, or good for nothing.
It is good for nothing. Immediate emancipation would indeed deliver
the slave and his family at once from the hands of an irresponsible
master, and empower him to go where he pleases and do what he
pleases, so long as he breaks none of the laws which restrain
other men. And why not? He could not otherwise rejoin his wife and
children, whom the slave trade has torn from him, nor secure fair
wages, nor be safe from oppression. But this is not letting him
THE SLAVES, _instead of the abolition of slavery letting the slaves
loose upon the masters_. Were there a law authorizing the inhabitants
of Meriden to seize the inhabitants of Berlin, to confine them to
jail limits, and work them without wages, to separate husbands and
wives, parents and children, and even to kill them by that very
indefinite thing, called “moderate correction;” this law would let
the inhabitants of Meriden loose upon the inhabitants of Berlin;
for it would protect the former in the grossest outrages upon the
latter. But the repeal of this law would not let the inhabitants of
Berlin loose upon us. Extending them protection would not be letting
them loose upon us. Had we the power of repealing the law; or if
not, possessing the power of _not enforcing_ it, we should find
our security in doing so. The very way to make them respect _our_
rights, would be to respect _theirs_. Immediate emancipation places
the slaves under the _control_ as well as protection of the laws of
the State against idleness, vagrancy, theft, murder, and all other
aggressions on the rights of men.

We are told that the _Slaves are not fit to be free_; and therefore
our scheme of immediate emancipation, if adopted, would prove a
curse to them and the country. Nothing is more false. The Slaves are
_men_; and therefore they are more fit for freedom than for slavery;
more fit to be treated as persons than as things; to be governed by
appeals to the reason and conscience than by brute force. God made
man to be free and adapted him to that condition. A state of Slavery
is unnatural to him. Nor can his nature so change, that he shall
be more fit to be treated as a brute, than as a free moral agent.
Slaves have often been set at liberty, and have _always_ proved
their capacity for freedom, by their industry, frugality and ready
obedience to the laws.

And why, we would ask, should they be thought unfit to be put under
the control and protection of the same laws, which govern freemen? Do
their vices or their ignorance, disqualify them? While Slavery lasts,
they will remain equally degraded.

Are they _Sabbath breakers_? Slavery has taught them to desecrate
the day of rest, by making it to them almost the only day of
recreation, the only day for visiting, for trading and for tilling
their gardens. Are they _thieves_? They consider stealing from their
masters to be only making _reprisals_ for the robbery of their just
wages; while many of them are strongly tempted to steal by the
desire of more or better food. Are they _liars_? They will continue
such, while they are slaves. They will pretend sickness, to avoid
labor; they will say they do not wish to be free, lest their masters
should sell them into distant banishment; they will lie to conceal
the unavoidable delinquences, for which slaves are daily upbraided
and beaten. Are they _idle_? As slaves they have no hope of reward
to stimulate their exertions. They will work much better, as one
facetiously expresses it, for Mr. CASH than for Mr. LASH. Let their
wives and children be dependent on their industry for support, a
far more noble and efficient motive than the fear of violence, to
call forth the energies of man. Are they _improvident_? They cannot
learn to save property, until they are allowed to hold it in their
own right. Make them free, and then that faculty of their nature,
which the phrenologists call “acquisitiveness” will prompt them to
save their earnings. Are they _licentious_? Then give them their
liberty, that the husband and father may be the legal protector of
his wife and daughters. Are they _revengeful_? Redress their wrongs,
and they will forgive their oppressors. Are they _heathen_? Take
your foot from their necks, before you disgrace christianity, by
attempting to convert them. Are they _ignorant of letters_? So are a
majority of the freemen of the world; nor is it to be expected that
slave-holders will teach their slaves to read and write, until they
repent of Slavery itself. The vices of the Slaves are inseparable
from their condition. If they are not now fit for freedom, Slavery,
which unfitted them, will perpetuate their unfitness. Nor is their
degradation of mind and morals a disqualification for freedom. You
may find its counterpart in the characters of a large class of
citizens in every country.

While Slavery continues, what is the prospect of their becoming
_better_ fitted for freedom? Where are the men and the means? Who
will teach them? Who will support the teachers? The south cannot
supply her _free_ population with instruction. Even with the aid
of the north, she is very destitute of the means of religion. Nor
would she be willing to adopt a general system of education for the
improvement of the Slaves. Instead of giving her money to fit them
for freedom, she would hunt from society any persons, who should
seriously propose the measure. They know little of the spirit of
Slavery, who imagine, that the south was disposed to prepare her
Slaves for freedom, until the abolitionists roused her to resistance.
Had she really wished to free her Slaves, she would have welcomed
us as coadjutors, at least she would not have abandoned her own
plan, because ours was offensive to her. She never intended to fit
her Slaves for freedom. She does not intend it now. Her laws, in
most of the States, are against it. The mass of her Slaves will, no
doubt, be as unfit for freedom fifty years hence, if Slavery should
continue so long, as they are to day. The British abolitionists were
once deceived by this syren song of preparation, but now in allusion
to the words of Paul; “the _glorious_ gospel of the blessed God;”
found it the POWER OF GOD, to awaken the slumbering conscience of the
nation; and the WISDOM OF GOD as a measure of relief to their Slaves.
We shall find it so.

Our opponents also object to _emancipation upon the soil_. Not all,
but some of them, are in favor of Colonization as a remedy for
Slavery, and others execrate us for our opposition to it as a scheme
for benefiting Africa. We are especially averse to the former class.
When men say, that the Slaves ought not to be freed, until they
can be colonized, we _ought to make resistance_, for the following

1. We ought to _resist every wicked prejudice_; and they who object
to emancipation on the soil, do so, in obedience to such a prejudice.
They say the colored people can never rise in this country. They
maintain that our aversion to the race is instinctive and natural;
though we find no one averse to associating with them as _slaves_.
The two races are certainly on very _intimate_ terms at the South.
It is only when they come as _freemen_ between the wind and our
nobility, that they taint the air. We, therefore, say, this prejudice
is unnatural and sinful; and instead of fostering it, we ought to
rebuke, and check it in ourselves and others. Some of us recollect
the time, when as Colonizationists we wished to get rid of the
colored people, and were indignant at them for being unwilling to
leave the country. May we not repent of such a feeling and condemn in
it others, without being hunted from society?

2. _By retaining the emancipated slaves on the soil, we can at less
expense of men and means educate and christianize them._ Were we
to send them beyond the Mississippi or to Africa, it would take
ten times the number of Missionaries and Teachers, that we are
now supporting among the heathen, to save them from sinking into
barbarism. But if they should be retained as free laborers in the
service of their present masters, those masters would provide for
their instruction, and without diverting means from other objects,
the delightful spectacle would soon be witnessed of Schools and
Churches springing up among them, through the voluntary efforts of
the ministers and christians of the South.

3. _The labor of the Slaves is wanted on the plantations at the
South._ To withdraw such an amount of labor would bankrupt the
entire country. Nor could their places be supplied, except by the
worst population of the old world; by men, whose religion, whose
morals, whose politics are all, in the highest degree, hostile to our
national interests. The emancipated Slaves, on the contrary, would be
prejudiced in favor of the protestant faith, and prove the staunchest
friends of our free institutions.

4. The _South will not consent to the colonization of the Slaves_.
She is willing we should contribute to carry off the free people of
color, “the nuisances,” “the disturbing force,” as she terms them;
and also those Slaves, whom the more conscientious of her citizens,
who dare not die Slave-holders, may emancipate for the purpose. But
she is unwilling we should go a step further. She does not believe we
can get the means of doing more. We think, if a place were provided
in Africa, and we had the means necessary to transport every Slave
there, and were to go and tell the south, about the sinfulness of
holding Slaves, when they _can_ be colonized, and call upon her in
_good earnest_, to give them up, she would denounce us as fanatics,
and pass no more resolutions in favor of colonization. She is now at
peace with it, because she does not fear it, and hopes to find it of
use in repelling the abolitionists, in _letting off_, as by a safety
valve, the pious feeling of her own citizens, and in expelling the
free people of color.

5. The Slaves _are unwilling to leave the country_; and will never
consent to do it, but on such a dread alternative as no christian
people should impose. _First_ give them their liberty, put them under
the protection of impartial law, and treat them with kindness, and
then if they _ask_ our aid to remove their families to Africa, their
determination to leave this country will evidently be spontaneous.

6. _It is better for them to remain in the employment of southern
capitalists, who are able to pay them wages for their labor than to
go out into the wilderness as paupers, where there is no capital, and
the very necessaries of life, are to be created._

7. _They cannot be colonized without an appalling expense of money,
life and comfort._

8. To colonize the Slaves of this country _on account of their color,
would be in the highest degree dishonorable to christianity_. Were
Christ on earth, he would associate with the despised colored man in
preference to many who think themselves the best society. Can we act,
as he would not and yet exemplify his religion? What, too, would
be the effect on the minds of the heathen, nearly all of whom are
_colored_ men, were they to learn, that that nation, which makes the
loudest professions of attachment to christianity, had banished more
than two millions of her citizens to a land of pagan darkness, being
offended at the _color of their skin_?

9. To _send all the slaves to Africa would be fatal to the natives of
that Continent_. Said Mr. Pinney, agent of the Colonization Society,
and once Gov. of Liberia, ‘the colony must be kept pure, or it will
either enslave or exterminate the African tribes.’ Send 2,500,000 of
people to Africa, four-fifths of whom are in heathenish darkness,
and all of whom have been taught, by the example of their masters,
that slavery is morally right, and labor disgraceful, would they
hesitate to buy Slaves of the native Princes, or to reduce their
captives to a state of servitude? It is said, there is as strong a
line of demarkation between the colonists, and the heathen, though
of the same color, as there is between the white and colored people
in this country. But if they should not become slave-holders, would
they not gradually exterminate the native tribes for the sake of
revenging injuries, and possessing themselves of their lands? Said
Mr. Pinney, the colony must be kept pure, or such a result is
inevitable; and it cannot be kept pure, unless it is conducted on a
very small scale. We doubt whether a commercial and military colony
can be so far controlled by _moral principle_, as to avoid these
results. For if the emigrants were all pious persons, and few in
number, their posterity might become both vicious and powerful. We
are not, therefore, without our objections to African colonization,
even if it should be distinctly abandoned as a remedy for slavery,
and conducted with caution, and on a small scale. We know not to what
it may grow. We like better, the good, old, apostolic plan of sending
_missionaries_ to the heathen—men, who have no commercial and selfish
interests to subserve, and who bear no hostile weapons. There is
danger that a colony, however carefully guarded, will _misrepresent
christianity_ and fatally prejudice the native mind against it. The
fact, that not a native has yet been converted to christianity, in
connection with the colony of Liberia, justifies the inquiry, whether
the _scheme_ is a good one for Africa. The transportation of all our
Slaves would confessedly form a colony too large and corrupt for the
safety of the native tribes; and we tremble for the result of the
present _experiment_.

In this argument we have not denied the practicability of colonizing
two millions and a half of people, at an expense of $125,000,000. We
think it enough to show the thing ought not to be done.


With this view of our sentiments, of their practical value, and of
the propriety and wisdom of our measures, we leave you to judge
whether abolitionists deserve to be out-lawed in their own country;
to be loaded with abuse and contumely; to be denied a right, conceded
to all other decent men, of advocating their cause in our public
halls and churches; and to be left, unprotected, to the violence of
ill-minded men? We beg you also to consider, how terrific would be
the prospects of our country, were we in obedience to popular clamor,
to disband our societies, and retire from the field. Who would ever
again venture to raise his voice in behalf of the down-trodden
slave? Should any one have the temerity to do it, how soon would he
be overwhelmed by the violence of the pro-slavery party, encouraged
by past success, and maddened by the remembrance of the formidable
array of talent, wealth, and piety, which they once encountered. We
verily believe, that the peaceable abolition of Slavery depends,
under God, on our perseverance. Moral means must continue to be used
by us until they issue in success, or slavery will terminate in a
bloody revolution. We anticipate such an event, as a possibility,
with painful emotions; and feel disposed to look, in the use of all
lawful means, to that God, who has promised to do for us, exceeding
abundantly above all that we can ask or think, that so dire a
catastrophe may be averted. We earnestly solicit your co-operation.

We might have said much more to correct misapprehensions, refute
calumnies, and fortify our positions; but our limits forbid it. We
may have said some things, which you will disapprove; for we have
ingenuously confessed our most obnoxious sentiments; but if you will
give us credit for sincerity and weigh our arguments, we shall expect
to stand better in your opinion, than our calumniators would have us.

                With much respect,
                           } PHILO PRATT,
  In behalf of the Meriden } WALTER WEBB,
    Anti-Slavery Society,  } ISAAC I. TIBBALS.


[1] As our enterprise is not sectarian but national and catholic,
it is the highest pitch of arrogance for any sect to denounce this
measure as a violation of ecclesiastical order. Religious freedom
demands that all such claims should be at once and steadfastly


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Some hyphens in words have been silently removed, some added,
  when a predominant preference was found in the original book.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg 9: ‘fraud and villany’ replaced by ‘fraud and villainy’.
  Pg 11: ‘the emancipatton of’ replaced by ‘the emancipation of’.
  Pg 11: ‘they abvocate this’ replaced by ‘they advocate this’.
  Pg 17: ‘until onr objects’ replaced by ‘until our objects’.
  Pg 17: ‘is his _chnrch_’ replaced by ‘is his _church_’.
  Pg 18: ‘_intinerant_ lecturers’ replaced by ‘_itinerant_ lecturers’.
  Pg 21: ‘Their is also’ replaced by ‘There is also’.
  Pg 22: ‘and enterprize; the’ replaced by ‘and enterprise; the’.
  Pg 25: ‘the constistutional’ replaced by ‘the constitutional’.
  Pg 26: ‘not lettting him’ replaced by ‘not letting him’.
  Pg 27: ‘for while slaves’ replaced by ‘for which slaves’.
  Pg 30: ‘the best soeiety’ replaced by ‘the best society’.

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