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A Visit To The United States In 1841 by Joseph Sturge

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Havana for New York. His fears, not his conscience, were alarmed, for he
still carries on his diabolical traffic between Africa and Cuba, and is
reported to have gained by it, last year, one hundred thousand dollars.
He lives in great splendor, and has the character of a liberal and
generous man, but with the most implacable hatred to the blacks. "One
murder makes a villain, thousands a hero." How wide the distinction
between this man and the wretches who paid the forfeit of their lives
for a solitary murder![A]

[Footnote A: Sir F. Buxton has shown that two lives at least are
sacrificed for every slave carried off from Africa.]

On the evening of the 17th, in company with several of my abolition
friends, I started for Albany, where the State legislature was then in
session. The distance from New York is about a hundred and fifty-five
miles, and is frequently performed by the steamers, on the noble river
Hudson, in nine hours and a half up the stream, and in eight hours down.
On these steamers there is accommodation for several hundred passengers
to lodge, and the fare is only one dollar, with an extra charge for beds
and meals. For an additional dollar, two persons may secure a state room
to themselves.

As night drew on, and the deck began to be cleared, I observed a
well-dressed black man and woman sitting apart, and supposing they could
obtain no berths on account of their color, I went and spoke to them. I
told them I and several others on board were abolitionists. The man then
informed us they were escaping from slavery, and had left their homes
little more than two days before. They appeared very intelligent, though
they could neither read nor write, and described to us how they had
effected their escape. They had obtained leave to go to a wedding, from
which they were not expected to return till the evening of the day
following. Having procured forged certificates of freedom, for which
they paid twenty-five dollars, each, they came forward with expedition
by railway and steam boat. They had heard of emancipation in the British
West Indies, and the efforts of the abolitionists in the States, but
they were unacquainted with the existence of vigilance committees, to
facilitate the escape of runaway slaves. We assisted them to proceed to
the house of a relative of one of our party, out of the track of the
pursuer, should they be followed. There is little doubt that they have
safely reached Canada, for I was told at Albany, public opinion had
become so strong in favor of self-emancipation, that if a runaway were
seized in the city, it is probable he would be rescued by the people.

I would also point attention to the fact, which is brought to light by
this relation, that the slave-holders have not only to contend with the
honest and open-handed means which the abolitionists most righteously
employ,[A] to facilitate the escape of slaves, but with the mercenary
acts of members of their own community, who live by the manufacture and
sale of forged free papers.

[Footnote A: See Deut. xxiii, 15, 16.]

During my stay in Albany, I waited upon William H. Seward, the Governor,
and on Luther Bradish, the Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.
It will, I trust, be considered no breach of confidence, if I state that
I found their sentiments on the true principles of liberty, worthy of
the enlightened legislators and first magistrates of a free republic.
They concur in the general sentiment that public opinion in this
metropolitan State is making rapid progress in favor of full and
impartial justice to the people of color, a movement to which their own
example in the high stations which they adorn has given a powerful

I attended part of the sittings of the Senate and Assembly, and
conversed with a number of members of both houses. The public business
was transacted with at least as much order and decorum as in the Lords
and Commons of Great Britain. I left Albany the same evening, and had
the satisfaction of hearing, a few days afterwards, that the repeal of
"the nine months law" had passed both houses, and was ratified by the
Governor; and that in the Assembly upwards of fifty members had voted
for it, although it was thought not ten would have done so two years
since. By this change of the law any slave brought by his master within
the limits of the State, even with his own consent, is not obliged to
return to slavery.

I proceeded by way of New York to Hartford in Connecticut, in order to
be present at an anti-slavery meeting of the State Society, to which I
had been invited. On my arrival, on the afternoon of the 19th, I found
the meeting assembled, and in the chair my friend J.T. Norton, a member
of the Connecticut legislature, a munificent and uncompromising friend
to the anti-slavery cause, and one of the delegates to the London
Convention. A black minister of religion addressed the meeting in an
able and interesting manner. Soon after the close of his speech, a
circumstance, quite unexpected to me, introduced a discussion on the
right of women to vote and publicly act, conjointly with men. The
chairman decided that the motion in favor of it was negatived, but the
minority required the names on both sides to be taken down; this
consumed much time, and disturbed the harmony of the meeting. I attended
in the evening a committee of the legislature, which was sitting at the
court house, to hear the speeches of persons who were allowed to address
the committee in support of a petition that the word "white" should be
expunged from the constitution of Connecticut. This change would of
course give equal rights to the colored class. When I entered, the same
colored minister I had heard in the afternoon, was addressing the
committee. He was listened to with great attention, not only by the
members, but by near two hundred of the inhabitants, who were present.
He was followed on the same side, by a white gentleman in a very strong
and uncompromising speech. The next day I paid my respects to William W.
Ellsworth, the Governor of the State, and to one of the judges of the
court; and afterwards attended the adjourned meeting of the Anti-Slavery
Society. The vexed question of "women's rights" was again brought
forward in another shape; the names on both sides again called for, with
the same result as before. My belief was fully confirmed, that those who
differ so widely in sentiment, have no alternative but to meet and act
in distinct organizations.

The Amistad captives arrived at Hartford on the afternoon of the same
day, and were to address a meeting in the evening. An anti-slavery
bazaar or fair which I visited this day, furnished ample testimony of
the zeal of the female friends of the oppressed slave in this district.
I returned the same evening to New Haven, and subsequently received a
copy of two resolutions, approving the proceedings of the general
Anti-Slavery Convention, in which it is stated by the Connecticut
anti-slavery committee, "they have abundant evidence that the cause of
the slave has been essentially promoted thereby;" also recommending
"that a convention of men from all parts of the world, friendly to the
cause of immediate emancipation, be again called in London, in the
summer of 1842."

On the 21st, I proceeded to the residence of Judge Jay, where I was very
kindly received by his wife and family, the Judge himself being from
home. On his return the next day, I had much interesting conversation
with him on the prospects of our cause. He is convinced that it is
making steady progress, notwithstanding the schism in the anti-slavery
ranks. He said also, that of the runaway slaves who called at his house,
some have told him that their condition had improved of late years;
others saw no change in their treatment; not one has complained that
they suffered more than formerly, in consequence of the discussions at
the North about abolition. With regard to the free blacks, he fears that
the persecution of them by the slave-holders has increased; though at
the North the prejudice against them has unquestionably, in his opinion,
been much mitigated by the efforts of the abolitionists. It is an
interesting fact, and one that ought to encourage the humble and retired
laborer in the cause of truth and righteousness, that this able and
distinguished advocate of the claims of the oppressed slaves and people
of color, was converted to his present views by Elizabeth Heyrick's
pamphlet, "Immediate, not Gradual, Abolition of West India Slavery." Let
me for a moment pause to render a tribute of justice to the memory of
that devoted woman. Few will deny that the long and heart-sickening
interval that occurred between the abolition of the slave-trade of Great
Britain, and the emancipation of her slaves, was owing to the false, but
universal notion, that the slaves must be gradually prepared for
freedom: a notion that we now confess is as contrary to reason and
Christian principle as it is opposed to the past experience of our
colonies. Yet a generation passed away while the abolitionists of Great
Britain were trying to make ropes of sand--to give practical effect to
an impracticable theory; pursuing a delusion, which this honored woman
was the first to detect; and that less by force and subtlety of
argument, than by the statement of self-evident truths, and by the
enforcement of the simple and grand principle that Christianity admits
of no compromise with sin. This was an easy lesson, yet it was one which
our senators and statesmen, our distinguished philanthropists, and our
whole anti-slavery host were slow to learn. The pamphlet produced little
immediate effect, but to cause its writer to be regarded as an amiable
enthusiast and visionary. It now remains a monument of the
indestructible nature, and the irresistible power of truth, even when
wielded by feeble and despised hands.

Judge Jay read to me part of a very interesting and important
manuscript, which he had prepared on the preservation of international
peace. He suggests that any two nations, entering into an alliance,
should embody in their treaty a clause mutually binding them to refer
any dispute or difficulty that may arise, to the arbitration of one or
more friendly powers. As he has concluded to publish his pamphlet, I
trust it will shortly be in the hands of the friends of peace in this
country, as well as in America. This idea is beautifully simple, and of
easy application. Through the kindness of the author, I have been
furnished with a long and important extract from his manuscript, which I
am permitted to lay before the British public by anticipation, in the
Appendix to the present work.[A] On returning from his hospitable
mansion, he obligingly sent his carriage with me to Sing Sing, but the
steamboat had started earlier than we expected, and I hired a carriage
and a pair of horses, with the driver, who was also the proprietor, to
convey me the remainder of the way to New York. The distance for which I
engaged it, was thirty-six miles, for the moderate sum of five dollars.
On the road, the man pointed out the place where Major Andre was taken,
whose tragical end excites sympathy even to this day, in the breast of
the Americans. On entering the city, we passed a man in livery, and my
driver remarked, "There, that is English; I would not wear _that_ for a
hundred dollars a day." Long may the American, who lives by his daily
labor, preserve this feeling of honorable independence.

[Footnote A: See Appendix F.]

During my stay at New York this time, I was the guest of my friend
William Shotwell, Jr., at whose hospitable dwelling, I afterwards took
up my abode, whenever I lodged in the city. From the 24th to the 28th, I
was chiefly occupied in attending the sittings of the Friends' Yearly
Meeting of this State; and, during the intervals, in seeing many Friends
in private company. I was much encouraged to find among them, a
considerable number thoroughly imbued with anti-slavery sentiments;
especially, from the western parts of the State. The subject of slavery
was introduced, in the Yearly Meeting, by reading the Epistle from the
Society in England, which is elsewhere quoted.[A] This was followed on
the part of many, by expressions of deep feeling; and the question was
referred to a committee, for practical consideration. In consequence of
the report of this committee, at a subsequent sitting, five hundred
copies of the English address were directed to be printed, and
circulated among Friends, within the compass of the Yearly Meeting; and
the whole subject was referred to its "meeting for sufferings," with an
earnest recommendation, that they should embrace every right opening for
furthering the great object. The clerk of the Yearly Meeting expressed
his firm conviction, that the work was on the wheel, and that nothing
would be permitted to stop its progress, until, either in mercy or in
judgment, the bonds of every slave should be broken. He spoke in a very
powerful manner. In most of the epistles sent out from this Yearly
Meeting, as well as from that of Philadelphia, the subject of slavery
was introduced, and commended to the earnest consideration of the body,
here and elsewhere. Previous to the assembling of the Yearly Meeting, I
had placed in the hands of one of its members, the following letter:

[Footnote A: See Appendix A.]

My Dear Friend,--Wilt thou have the kindness to ask the Friends
with whom it rests to grant such a request, to permit the use of
the meeting house at a convenient time, either during the Yearly
Meeting, or before those who attend from the country leave the
city, for the purpose of affording my friend John Candler an
opportunity of giving Friends some outline of emancipation in
Jamaica. I should like at the same time to give a little
information on the state of the anti-slavery question in other
parts of the world. John Candler, it is I believe generally
known, visited Jamaica with the full sanction of the "meeting
for sufferings," in London. My visit to this country had no
particular reference to the members of our Society, but my
friends in England kindly furnished me with the enclosed



_New York, 5th Month 17th_, 1841.

This request was kindly complied with. The large meeting house was
granted for the evening of the 27th. The clerks of the men's and women's
meetings gave public notice of it in their respective assemblies. The
former, the venerable and worthy Richard Mott, encouraged Friends to be
present, and said, as a thinking and reasoning people, they need fear no
harm from a calm consideration of the subject. The attendance was large,
including, I believe, most of those Friends who were from the country.
The following brief notice of it in the American and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Reporter, will explain the character of the meeting.

"On Thursday evening of last week, the members of the Society of
Friends (Orthodox,) assembled in this city at their Annual
Meeting, met at their meeting house in Orchard street, to listen
to the statements of John Candler, of England, lately returned
from a visit to the West India Islands, as to the results of
emancipation in those Islands, and also of our esteemed friend,
Joseph Sturge, in reference to the general subject of
emancipation throughout the world.

"The meeting was largely attended. The successful and happy
results of the immediate emancipation of the slaves of the
colonies, as detailed by John Candler, were calculated to
strengthen the conviction that to do justice is always
expedient. Joseph Sturge gave a history of the progress of the
anti-slavery cause in Great Britain from the time of the old
abolition society, of which Thomas Clarkson was a member, and of
which he is sole survivor. He also glanced at the state of the
cause in other quarters of the globe--at the efforts for East
India emancipation, and at late movements in France, Brazil and
Spain, in favor of emancipation; concluding with a most
affecting appeal to the members of his religious society to omit
no right opportunity for pleading for the slave, and for
hastening the day of his deliverance.

"We take pleasure in recording such evidences that the good old
testimony of the Society of Friends, on this subject, is still
maintained among them. The Friends of the past generation set a
noble example to other Christian sects, by emancipating their
slaves, from a sense of religious duty; and it seems to us, that
those of the present day have great responsibilities resting
upon them; and that it especially becomes them to see to it that
their light is not hidden in this hour of darkness and
prejudice, on the subject of human rights. The slaveholder and
his victim both look to them;--the one with deprecating gesture,
and words of flattery--the other in beseeching and half
reproachful earnestness. We cannot doubt that the agonizing
appeal of the latter is listened to by all who truly feel the
weight of their religious testimonies resting upon them; and we
trust there will be found among them, an increasing zeal to
secure to these unhappy victims of avarice and the lust of
power, that liberty which George Fox, two centuries in advance
of his contemporaries, declared to be 'the right of all men.'"

When the assembly broke up, the clerk of the Yearly Meeting, who sat by
us, expressed to me his entire satisfaction with the proceedings, as did
others present. One influential member of the Society, however, who met
me the next day in the street, stated very decidedly his disapprobation
of the tenor of certain parts of my address; but I found that he
condemned me on hearsay evidence, not having attended the meeting
himself. On the 29th, I was favored with a call from Lieutenant Governor
Cunningham, of St. Kitts, on his way to England, who gave a very
favorable account of the continued good conduct of the emancipated
slaves in that Island. It is surely an eminent token of the divine
blessing on a national act of justice and mercy, that evidence of this
kind should have been so abundantly and uniformly supplied from every
colony where slavery has been abolished. A fine black man was brought to
me about this time, who showed me papers by which it appeared he had
lately given one thousand five hundred dollars for his freedom. He had
since been driven from the State in which he lived, by the operation of
a law, enacted to prevent the continued residence of free people of
color, and has thus been banished from a wife and family, who are still
slaves. He has agreed with their owner, that if he can pay two thousand
five hundred dollars, in six years, his wife and six children shall be
free, and he was then trying to get employment in New York, in the hope
of being able to raise this large sum within the specified time.

On the 29th, I proceeded to Burlington; while I was there five or six
Friends drew up and presented me with a resolution, expressive of their
readiness and desire to join with other members of their religious
society in active efforts for the abolition of slavery.

On the 30th, I paid a second visit to my venerable friend John Cox. The
next morning his grandson kindly accompanied me to Mount Holly, to see
the humble dwelling of the late John Woolman. I afterwards received from
John Cox a letter, from which I quote the following extract relating to
this remarkable man, whose character confers interest even on the most
trivial incidents of his life which can now be remembered:

"Since our separation on the morning of the 31st ultimo, when my
grandson accompanied thee to Mount Holly, I have been there, it
having been previously reported that the ancient, humble dome,
which passed under thy inspection as the residence of John
Woolman, he never inhabited, though that he built the house (as
Solomon built the temple,) is admitted. With a view to remove
this erroneous impression, I sought and obtained an interview
with the only man now living in the town, who was contemporary
with John Woolman, (now eighty years of age,) and in habits of
occasional intercourse with him. He informed me that John
Woolman's daughter (an only child,) and her husband resided in
the house when her father embarked for London, which was in the
year 1772, as recorded in his journal. The fact of residence is
corroborated by the circumstance of the search for and
destruction of caterpillars in the apple orchard, which I think,
was related to thee.

"The sage historian of by-gone days, whom I met at Mount Holly,
spake of his being at John Woolman's little farm, in the season
of harvest, when it was customary, and so remains to the present
time, for farmers to slay a young calf or a lamb; the common
mode is by bleeding in the jugular vein; but with a view to
mitigate the sufferings of the animal in that mode, he had
prepared, and kept by him for that express purpose, a large
block of wood with a smooth surface, and after confining the
limbs of the animal, it was laid gently thereon, and the head
severed from the body at one stroke."

While in this neighborhood, I made a call on Nathan Dunn, the proprietor
of the "Chinese collection." He resided many years at Canton, and since
his return has built himself a mansion in the Chinese style. His museum
of Chinese curiosities is by far the most extensive and valuable which
has ever been seen out of that country, and forms one of the most
attractive and instructive exhibitions in Philadelphia; one whose
character and arrangement are quite _unique_, and which has some
pretensions to the title of "China in miniature." It occupies the whole
of the lower saloon of that splendid building recently erected at the
corner of Ninth and George streets, by the Philadelphia Museum Company.
The visitor's notice is first attracted by a series of groups of
figures, representing Chinese of nearly every grade in society, engaged
in the actual business of life. The figures, in their appropriate
costume, are modeled in a peculiarly fine clay, by Chinese artists, with
exquisite skill and effect. All are accurate likenesses of originals,
most of whom are now living. The following enumeration of one of the
cases, expanded in the subsequent description, which I quote from the
catalogue, will give an idea of the manner in which Chinese life and
manners are illustrated:

"CASE VIII.--_No_. 21. _Chinese Gentleman_.--22. _Beggar asking
alms_.--23. _Servant preparing breakfast_.--24.
_Purchaser_.--25. _Purchaser examining a piece of black silk.
The proprietor behind the counter making calculations on his
counting board_.--_Clerk entering goods_.--_Circular table, with
breakfast furniture_.

"This has been arranged so as to afford an exact idea of a
Chinese retail establishment. Two purchasers have been placed by
the counter: one of whom is scrutinizing a piece of black silk
that lies before him. The owner, behind the counter, is
carelessly bending forward, and intent on casting an account on
the 'calculating dish,' while his clerk is busy making entries
in the book, in doing which he shows us the Chinese mode of
holding a pen, or rather brush, which is perpendicularly between
the thumb and all the fingers. A servant is preparing breakfast.
A circular eight-legged table, very similar to those used by our
great grandfathers, is spread in the centre of the shop. Among
its furniture, the ivory chopsticks are the most novel. On the
visitor's right hand sits a gentleman, with a pipe, apparently a
chance comer, 'just dropped in' about meal time; on the left, a
blind beggar stands, beating two bamboo sticks against each
other, an operation with which he continues to annoy all whom he
visits, till he is relieved by some trifling gratuity, usually a
single _cash_. A gilt image of Fo is inserted in the front part
of the counter, and a small covered tub, filled with tea, with a
few cups near by, standing on the counter, from which customers
are always invited to help themselves.

"The merchants and shop-keepers of Canton are prompt, active,
obliging, and able. They can do an immense business in a short
time, and without noise, bustle, or disorder. Their goods are
arranged in the most perfect manner, and nothing is ever out of
its place. These traits assimilate them to the more enterprising
of the Western nations, and place them in prominent contrast
with the rest of the Asiatics. It is confidently asserted by
those who have had the best opportunities of judging, that as
business men, they are in advance of Spanish, Italian, and
Portuguese merchants.

"There is a variety of amusing inscriptions on the scrolls hung
up in the interior of some of the shops, which serve at the same
time to mark the thrifty habits of the traders. A few specimens
are subjoined:--'Gossipping and long sitting injure business.'
'Former customers have inspired caution--no credit given.' 'A
small stream always flowing.' 'Genuine goods; prices true.'
'Trade circling like a wheel,' et cet."

In addition to the above models, the collection includes an almost
innumerable variety of specimens of the fine arts and manufactures,
comprising almost every article of use and luxury--furniture, modern and
antique porcelain, models houses, pagodas, boats, junks, and bridges;
pieces of silk, linen, cotton, grass-cloth, and other fabrics
manufactured in China for home consumption; books and drawings, costume,
idols, and appendages of worship; weapons, musical instruments, signs,
mottoes, and entablatures, and numerous paintings, which last, it is
justly observed, "will satisfy every candid mind that great injustice
has been done to the Chinese artists, in the notion hitherto entertained
respecting their want of skill. They paint insects, birds, fishes,
fruits, flowers, with great correctness and beauty; and the brilliancy
and variety of their colors cannot be surpassed. They group with
considerable taste and effect, and their perspective--a department of
the art in which they have been thought totally deficient--is often very

Many of the paintings represent actual scenes and occurrences; and thus,
like the models before mentioned, bring living China before the mind's
eye. The following is a good example.

"910. _View of the interior of the Consoo House, with the court
in session, for the final decision of the charge of piracy
committed by the crew of a Chinese junk on a French captain and
sailors, at a short distance from Macao_.

"The French ship, Navigatre, put in to Cochin China in distress.
Having disposed of her to the government, the captain, with his
crew, took passage for Macao in a Chinese junk belonging to the
province of Fokien. Part of their valuables consisted of about
100,000 dollars in specie. Four Chinese passengers bound for
Macao, and one for Fokien, were also on board. This last
apprised the Frenchmen in the best manner he could, that the
crew of the junk had entered into a conspiracy to take their
lives and seize their treasure. He urged that an armed watch
should be kept. On reaching the Ladrone Islands, the poor Macao
passengers left the junk. Here the Frenchmen believed themselves
out of danger, and exhausted by sickness and long watching,
yielded to a fatal repose. They were all massacred but one, a
youth of about nineteen years of age, who escaped by leaping
into the sea, after receiving several wounds. A fishing boat
picked him up and landed him at Macao, where information was
given to the officers of government, and the crew of the junk,
with their ill-gotten gains, were seized, on their arrival at
the port of destination in Fokien.

"Having been found guilty by the court, in their own district,
they were sent down to Canton, by order of the Emperor, to the
Unchat-see, (criminal judge) to be confronted with the young
French sailor. This trial is represented in the painting. The
prisoners were taken out of their cages, as is seen in the
foreground. The Frenchman recognized seventeen out of the
twenty-four; but when the passenger, who had been his friend,
was brought in, the two eagerly embraced each other, which scene
is also portrayed in the painting. An explanation of this
extraordinary act was made to the judge, and the man forthwith
set at liberty. A purse was made up for him by the Chinese and
foreigners, and he was soon on his way homeward. The seventeen
_were_ decapitated, in a few days, in the presence of the
foreigners; the captain, was to be put to a 'lingering death,'
the punishment of traitors, and the stolen treasures were

I do not quote the above for the sake of the anecdote, though the
relation is authentic, but as, affording a striking illustration of the
advanced civilization of the Chinese. It shows that the supremacy of the
law is universal, and its administration efficient. The criminals, in
this instance, are promptly seized, tried, and condemned on strong
evidence; but, before they are executed, reference is made to the
distant metropolis, Pekin. Here it is observed, that the most important
witness was not 'confronted with the prisoners,' and they are forthwith
directed to be conveyed to Canton, to be examined in his presence.
Seventeen are recognized by him and are executed. The rest escape. Now
this is just what might have taken place under the best ordered
governments of Europe. The humane maxims of British jurisprudence, if
not acknowledged in theory, may be here witnessed in practical
operation, and the single circumstance of referring capital convictions
to the Emperor, in his distant metropolis, for confirmation, before they
are carried into effect, shows a respect for human life, even in the
persons of criminals, which is one of the surest tokens of a high state
of civilization. Such is the criminal jurisprudence of China, in
practice; in theory, its just praise has been awarded, some years ago,
by an able writer in the Edinburgh Review. He says:--

"The most remarkable thing in this code, is its great
reasonableness, clearness, and consistency; the businesslike
brevity and directness of the various provisions, and the
plainness and moderation of the language in which they are
expressed. It is a clear, concise, and distinct series of
enactments, savoring throughout of practical judgment and
European good sense. When we turn from the ravings of the
Zendavesta, or the Puranas, to the tone of sense and of business
of this Chinese collection, we seem to be passing from darkness
to light--from the drivellings of dotage to the exercise of an
improved understanding; and, redundant and minute as these laws
are in many particulars, we scarcely know any European code that
is at once so copious and so consistent, or that is nearly so
free from intricacy, bigotry and fiction."

In addition to what have been noticed, the Chinese exhibition includes a
copious and very interesting collection of specimens of the natural
history of China.

I trust the extended notice I have given to the subject, will at least
prove that this is not an ordinary exhibition, but a representation of a
distant country and remarkable people, in which amusement is most
skilfully and philosophically made subservient to practical instruction.
A beneficent Creator has implanted within us a thirst for information
about other scenes and people. To be totally devoid of this feeling
would argue, perhaps, not merely intellectual but moral deficiency. Such
being the case, the founder of the "Chinese collection" deserves to be
regarded as a public benefactor, for, by spending a few hours in his
museum, with the aid of the descriptive catalogue, one may learn more of
the Chinese than by the laborious perusal of all the works upon them
that have ever been written.[A]

[Footnote A: While the above was passing through the press, I have
learned that this interesting Collection has arrived for exhibition in
this country.]

I cannot dismiss this subject without expressing my deep regret that the
British public should appear to view with indifference, or complacency,
the cruel and unjust war which our Government is now waging against this
highly cultivated and unoffending people, at the instigation of a
handful of men, who have acquired wealth and importance in the vigorous
pursuit of an immoral and unlawful traffic, by means the most criminal
and detestable. I have attempted, since my return from the United
States, to give some expression to my sentiments, in a letter which has
been widely circulated, and which will be found reprinted in the
Appendix.[A] I trust none under whose notice this subject may come will
endeavor to evade their share of responsibility. If the present war with
China were the sole consideration, perhaps no course would be left to
the Christian citizen, but to record his protest and mourn in silence;
but the conclusion of the war _per se_ would not terminate the
difficulty, for trade and mutual intercourse between the two countries,
_on the basis of a reciprocation of interests_, can never be restored
till the EAST INDIA COMPANY'S OPIUM TRADE, a traffic, like the slave
trade, hateful in the sight of God and man, is suppressed; or at least,
until British connection with it is severed; If asked who are the guilty
persons, I would say, in the first instance, the East India Company;
secondly, the opium smugglers; thirdly, the British government, and
lastly, the British people, who, by silent acquiescence, make the whole
guilt, and the whole responsibility their own.

[Footnote A: See Appendix G.]

The author of the most popular modern work on China, who long
superintended the interests of the British merchants at Canton, and
whose work, to a considerable extent, reflects their views, after
stating the increasing discouragements imposed by the authorities on
foreign commerce, the effect for the most part of opium smuggling, and
other lawless proceedings, observes:--"These (discouragements) are their
(the British merchants) real subjects of complaint in China; and
whenever the accumulation of wrong shall have proved, by exact
calculation, that it is more profitable, according to merely commercial
principles, to remonstrate than submit, these will form a righteous and
equitable ground of quarrel!!"[A]

[Footnote A: Davis's China and the Chinese, (Murray's Family Library,)
vol. i. p. 195.]

The remonstrance here alluded to is WAR, as is apparent from the context
of the passage, as well as from the fact, that by the author's own
showing no other kind of remonstrance remained to be tried. The true
"casus belli" is set forth by anticipation in this passage without
disguise, and by one who knew well, and has clearly described the causes
that were operating to produce a rupture. The opium merchants have
discovered that now, in the fulness of time, it is _profitable_ to go to
war with China, and forthwith the vast power of Great Britain, obedient
to their influence, is put in motion to sustain their unrighteous
quarrel, to the unspeakable degradation of the character of this
professedly Christian nation. The morality of the war on our side, is
the morality of the highwayman; that morality by which the strong in all
ages have preyed upon the weak. And though a handful of unprincipled men
find their account in it, before the people of Great Britain have paid
the expenses of the war, and the losses from derangement and
interruption of commerce, it will cost millions more than all the profit
that has ever accrued to them from the opium trade. From what motive
then, do we uphold a traffic, which is the curse of China, the curse of
India, and a calamity to Great Britain? Such a war may be fruitful in
trophies of military glory, if such can be gained by the slaughter of
the most pacific people in the world; but to expect that it will promote
the reputation, the prosperity, or the happiness of this country, would
be to look for national wickedness to draw down the Divine blessing. The
descriptive catalogue of the "Ten thousand Chinese things," concludes
with sentiments on this subject which do equal honor to the head and
heart of the writer.

"Alas for missionary efforts, so long as the grasping avarice of
the countries, whence the missionaries go, sets at nought every
Christian obligation before the very eyes of the people whom it
is sought to convert! Most devoutly do we long for the
auspicious day, when the pure religion, that distilled from the
heart, and was embodied in the life of Jesus, shall shed its
sacred influence on every human being; but, in our inmost soul
we believe it will not come, till the principles of religion
shall take a firmer hold on the affections of those who profess
to receive it, and rear a righteous embankment around their
sordid and stormy passions. When the missionary shall find an
auxiliary in the stainless life of every compatriot who visits
the scene of his labors, for purposes of pleasure or of
gain,--when he can point not only to the pure maxims and sublime
doctrines proclaimed by the Founder of his faith, but to the
clustering graces that adorn its professors,--then indeed will
the day dawn, and the day star of the millennium arise upon the

During my short stay in Philadelphia on this occasion, I visited several
of its prisons, philanthropic institutions, et cet. These are
pre-eminently the glory of this beautiful city; yet as they have been
often described, I shall pass them by in silence, with the exception of
two, the Refuge, and the Penitentiary; which I briefly notice because I
may offer a few general remarks in another place, on the important
subject of prison discipline. The Refuge is an asylum for juvenile
delinquents, founded on the just and benevolent principle that offences
against society, committed by very young persons, should be disciplined
by training and education, rather than by punishment. In this
establishment there are from eighty to ninety boys, and from forty to
fifty girls, of ages varying from eight to twenty-one years. The former
are employed in various light handicraft trades, and the latter in
domestic services, and both spend a portion of their time in school.
They remain from six months to four years. From the statements of the
superintendent and matron, it appeared that about three-fourths of the
male, and four-fifths of the female inmates become respectable members
of society, and the remainder are chiefly such as are fifteen or sixteen
years of age when first admitted into the Refuge, an age at which
character may be considered as in a great measure formed. The labor of
the children pays about one-fifth of the expense of the establishment,
the rest being defrayed by the legislature.

The prejudice of color intrudes even here, no children of that class
being admitted into the Refuge. Colored delinquency is left to ripen
into crime, with little interference from public or private
philanthropy. As might have been expected, colored are more numerous
than white criminals, in proportion to relative population; and this is
appealed to as a proof of their naturally vicious and inferior
character; when in fact the government and society at large are
chargeable with their degradation.

The Penitentiary contained, at the time of my visit, about three hundred
and forty male, and thirty-five female prisoners. In this celebrated
prison, hard labor is combined with solitary confinement, an arrangement
which is technically known as the "separate system." Silence and
seclusion are so strictly enforced as to be almost absolute and
uninterrupted; even the minister who addresses the prisoners on the
Sabbath is known to them only by his voice. A marked feature of this
institution is security without the aid of any deadly weapon, none being
allowed in the possession of the attendants, or indeed upon the
premises. As compared with the "silent system," exhibited in the not
less famed prisons of the State of New York, this is much less
economical, as the mode of employing the prisoners, in their solitary
cells, greatly lessens the power of a profitable application of their
labor. If prisoners exceed their allotted task, one-half of their
surplus earnings is given to them on being set at liberty. My visit was
too cursory to enable me to give a decisive opinion on the "separate
system," but I confess my impression is, that the punishment is one of
tremendous and indiscriminating severity, and I find it difficult to
believe that either the safety of society, or the welfare of the
prisoner, can require the infliction of so much suffering. Criminals are
sometimes condemned for very long periods, or for life; and in these
cases, I was informed, occasionally manifested great recklessness and
carelessness of their existence. I am also not quite convinced that the
reformation of prisoners is effected to the extent sometimes inferred
from the small number of recommittals. A statistical conclusion cannot
be drawn from this datum, unsupported by other proofs.

On the 2d of the 6th Month, (June,) I proceeded to Wilmington, Delaware,
with my friend John G. Whittier. Here we met a company of warm-hearted
and intelligent abolitionists, with whom we discussed the prospects of
the cause. It was calculated that if compensation were conceded, to
which many would on principle object, a tax of less than one dollar per
acre would buy up all the slaves in the State for emancipation. It was
admitted by all, that the abolition of slavery would advance the price
of land in a far greater ratio; probably ten or twenty dollars per acre.

We went forward the same evening to Baltimore, accompanied by one of our
Wilmington acquaintance, and in the railway carriage was a member of the
Society of Friends from North Carolina, who, though a colonizationist,
appeared to be a man of candor. He gave it as his opinion that the
majority of the free people of that State are in favor of the abolition
of slavery. We also had the company, a part of the way, of Samuel E.
Sewall, Counsellor at Law, in Boston, an early and tried abolitionist,
and a faithful friend and legal adviser of the free people of color.

The next morning, we left Baltimore for Washington, two hours' ride by
railway. The railroads of this country being often extremely narrow, the
trains frequently pass almost close to the piers of the bridges and
viaducts, a circumstance which explains the following printed notice in
the carriages: "Passengers are cautioned not to put their arms, head, or
legs out of the window."

In passing from a free to a slave State, the most casual observer is
struck with the contrast. The signs of industry and prosperity on the
broad face of the country are universally in favor of the former, and
that to a degree which none but an eye witness can conceive. This fact
has been often noticed, and has been affirmed by slaveholders
themselves, in the most emphatic terms. In cities the difference is not
less remarkable, and was forcibly brought to our notice in the hotel at
which we took up our residence on arriving at Washington, and which,
though the first in the city, and the temporary residence of many
members of Congress, was greatly deficient in the cleanliness, comfort,
and order, which prevail in the well-furnished and well-conducted
establishments of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, &c. At this house, I
understood, some of the servants were free, and others slaves.

We were now in the District of Columbia, the seat of this powerful
Federal Government, and in the city of Washington, the metropolis of the
United States. Here are concentrated as it were into one focus, the
associations of the past, connected with the great struggle for
independence, and the memory of those names and events which already
belong to history. Whatever may be our political principles, or the
opinions of those who like myself consider all resort to arms as
forbidden under the Christian dispensation, it is impossible to recall
without emotion, transactions which have exerted and will continue to
exert, so marked an influence on the destinies of mankind. This city was
not the scene of those events, but it was erected to be a perpetual
monument of them, and in the limited district of ten miles square, in
which it stands, the Government which was then called into existence
reigns sole and supreme. If a stranger were to inquire here for the
monuments of the fathers of the Revolution, the American would proudly
point to the Capitol, with the national Congress in full session, and to
the levee of the President, crowded by free citizens, and
representatives of foreign nations. The United States were thirteen
dependent colonies, they are now twenty-six sovereign States, rich and
populous, covering the face of this vast continent, and compacted into
one powerful confederacy. But notwithstanding the glowing emotions which
seem naturally called forth by the locality, there is many an American
who bitterly feels that the District of Columbia is the shame, rather
than the glory of his country. Here is proclaimed to the whole world by
the united voice of the American people, "We hold these truths to be
self-evident--that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain inalienable rights--that among these are
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and here also by a
majority of the same people expressing their deliberate will, through
their representatives, this declaration is trampled under foot, and
turned into derision.[A]

[Footnote A: "Large establishments have grown up upon the national
domain, provided with prisons for the safe keeping of negroes till a
full cargo is procured; and should, at any time, the factory prisons be
insufficient, the public ones, erected by Congress, are at the service
of the dealers, and the United States Marshal becomes the agent of the
slave trade."--_Judge Jay's View of the action of the Federal Government
in behalf of Slavery_, _page_ 93. "But the climax of infamy is still
untold. This trade in blood,--this buying, imprisoning, and exporting of
boys and girls eight years old,--this tearing asunder of husbands and
wives, parents and children,--is all legalized, in virtue of authority
delegated by Congress!! The 249th page of the laws of the city of
Washington is polluted by the following enactment, bearing date 28th
July, 1838:--'For a _license_ to trade or traffic in slaves for profit,
four hundred dollars.'"--_Ibid_, _page_ 98.]

The District of Columbia is the chief seat of the American slave trade;
commercial enterprize has no other object! Washington is one of the best
supplied and most frequented slave marts in the world. The adjoining and
once fertile and beautiful States of Virginia and Maryland, are now
blasted with sterility, and ever-encroaching desolation. The curse of
the first murderer rests upon the planters, and the ground will no
longer yield to them her strength. The impoverished proprietors find now
their chief source of revenue in what one of themselves expressly
termed, their "crop of human flesh." Hence the slave-holding region is
now divided into the "slave-breeding," and "slave-consuming" States.
From its locality, and, from its importance as the centre of public
affairs, the District of Columbia has become the focus of this dreadful
traffic, which almost vies with the African slave trade itself in extent
and cruelty, besides possessing aggravations peculiarly its own.[A] Its
victims are marched to the south in chained coffles, overland, in the
face of day, and by vessels coastwise. Those who protest against these
abominations are the abolitionists; a body whose opinions are so
unpopular that no term of reproach is deemed vile enough for their
desert; yet if these should hold their peace, the very stones would
surely cry out. The state of things in this District has one peculiar
feature; being under the supreme local government of Congress, it
presents almost the only tangible point for the political efforts of
those hostile to slavery. Against slavery in any but their own States,
the abolitionists have neither the power nor the wish to exert that
constitutional interference which they rightfully employ in the States
of which they are citizens; but with respect to the District of
Columbia, they are, in common with the whole republic, responsible for
the exercise of political influence for the abolition of slavery within
its limits. Hence this is the grand point of attack. They have
experienced a succession of repulses, but their eventual success is
certain; the political influence of the slave-holding interest, which is
now paramount, and which controls and dictates the entire policy of the
general Government will be destroyed. Then will the abolition of
American slavery be speedily consummated.

[Footnote A: "Human flesh is now the great staple of Virginia, In the
legislature of this State, in 1833, Thomas Jefferson Randolph declared
that Virginia had been converted into 'one grand menagerie, where men
are reared for the market, like oxen for the shambles.' This same
gentleman thus compared the foreign with the domestic traffic: 'The
trader (African) receives the slave, a stranger in aspect, language and
manner, from the merchant who brought him from the interior. But _here_,
sir, individuals whom the master has known from infancy,--whom he has
seen sporting in the innocent gambols of childhood,--who have been
accustomed to look to him for protection,--he tears from the mother's
arms, exiles into a foreign country, among a strange people, subject to
cruel task-masters. In my opinion, it is much worse.'--Mr. Gholson, of
Virginia, in his speech in the legislature of that State, January 18,
1831, says: 'The master forgoes the service of the female slave, has her
nursed and attended during the period of her gestation, and raises the
helpless and infant offspring. The value of the property justifies the
expense; and I do not hesitate to say, that in its increase consists
much of our wealth.'--Professor Dew, now President of the College of
William and Mary, Virginia, in his review of the debate in the Virginia
legislature, 1831-3, speaking of the revenue arising from the trade,
says: 'A full equivalent being thus left in the place of the slave, this
emigration becomes an advantage to the State, and does not check the
black population as much as at first view we might imagine; because it
furnishes every inducement to the master to attend to the negroes, to
_encourage breeding_, and to cause the greatest number possible to be
raised. Virginia is, in fact, a negro-raising State, for other
States.'--Mr. C.F. Mercer asserted, in the Virginia Convention of 1829,
'The tables of the natural growth of the slave population demonstrate;
when compared with the increase of its numbers in the commonwealth for
twenty years past, that an annual revenue of not less than a million and
a half of dollars is derived from the exportation of a part of this
population.'"--_Judge Jay's View_, _pages_ 88, 89.]

Very soon after our arrival, we proceeded to the House of
Representatives, then sitting, and were favored, by introductions from a
member, with seats behind the Speaker's chair. The subject before the
House was, of course, peculiarly interesting to me, being the proposed
re-enactment of the "gag;" a rule of the House, by which petitions for
the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, are laid upon the
table, without being read or referred, and thus are virtually rejected.
One of the speakers, William Slade, of Vermont, who was opposed to the
"gag," told the pro-slavery members that they were greatly mistaken in
supposing that such a measure would suppress the anti-slavery feeling of
the country. They might, for a time, block up the Potomac, but it would
only be to direct its waters into a new channel; in the same way as the
rejection of anti-slavery petitions had resulted in the formation of a
third abolition political party, which was now regularly organized and
in the field. Having previously heard much of the virulence of the
pro-slavery members, I was particularly impressed with the silence and
attention with which they listened to this speech, and with the feeling
which seemed evidently to prevail, that the subject could no longer be
met with contempt and ridicule. One of the liberal members told me
afterwards, that they felt themselves in a different atmosphere to what
they did two years ago, both in the House and in the city, when touching
upon this subject. Before the debate closed, the House divided on the
question, whether ex-president Adams, the veteran defender of the
constitutional right of petition, and who had brought forward this
motion for the repeal of the "gag," was entitled to the right of reply.
This was decided in his favor, and the House adjourned till the
beginning of the following week.

In the afternoon, I proceeded, by a steam packet, with one of my
friends, to Alexandria, about six miles distant, on the other side of
the Potomac. A merchant, to whom I had an introduction, kindly
accompanied us to a slave-trading establishment there, which is
considered the principal one in the District. The proprietor was absent;
but the person in charge, a stout, middle-aged man, with a good-natured
countenance, that little indicated his employment, readily consented to
show us over the establishment. On passing behind the house, we looked
through a grated iron door, into a square court or yard, with very high
walls, in which were about fifty slaves. Some of the younger ones were
dancing to a fiddle, an affecting proof, in their situation, of the
degradation caused by slavery. There were others, who seemed a prey to
silent dejection. Among these was a woman, who had run away from her
master twelve years ago, and had married and lived ever since as a free
person. She was at last discovered, taken and sold, along with her
child, and would shortly be shipped to New Orleans, unless her husband
could raise the means of her redemption, which we understood he was
endeavoring to do. If he failed, they are lost to him for ever. Another
melancholy looking woman was here with her nine children, the whole
family having been sold away from their husband and father, to this
slave-dealer, for two thousand two hundred and fifty dollars. This
unfeeling separation is but the beginning of their sorrows. They will,
in all probability, be re-sold at New Orleans, scattered and divided,
until not perhaps two of them are left together. The most able-bodied
negro I saw, cost the slave-dealer six hundred and eighty-five dollars.

Our guide told us that they sometimes sent from this house from fifteen
hundred to two thousand slaves to the South in a year, and that they
occasionally had three hundred to four hundred at once in their
possession. That the trade was not now so brisk, but that prices were
rising. The return and profits of this traffic appear to be entirely
regulated by the fluctuations in the value of the cotton. Women are
worth one-third less than men. But one instance of complete escape ever
occurred from these premises, though some of the slaves were
occasionally trusted out in the fields. He showed us the substantial
clothing, shoes, &c., with which the slaves were supplied when sent to
the South; a practice, I fear, enforced more by the cupidity of the
buyers, than the humanity of the seller. Our informant stated, in answer
to inquiries, that by the general testimony of the slaves purchased,
they were treated better by the planters than was the case ten years
ago. He also admitted the evils of the system, and said, with apparent
sincerity, he wished it was put an end to.

We went afterwards to the city jail, to see a youth whose case I had
heard of in Delaware, who had come to Alexandria on board a vessel, and
had here been seized and imprisoned on suspicion of being a slave, not
having any document to prove his freedom. He had now been incarcerated
for near twelve months, and though admitted by the jailer and every one
else to be free, he was about to be sold in a few days into slavery for
a term, in order to pay the jail-fees, amounting to eighty dollars. In
the evening on returning to Washington, we paid a visit by appointment
to John Quincy Adams, ex-president of the United States; who though
considerably more than seventy years of age, is yet one of the most
assiduous and energetic members of the House of Representatives, and one
of the most influential public men of the day. To this must be added the
far higher praise that his distinguished powers are employed in the
service of humanity, truth, and justice. How rare is it to witness such
a union of intellectual and moral greatness! Posterity will do justice
to his fame, when slavery shall exist only in the records of the past,
and when it shall be related with wonder, that this venerable man,
standing almost alone in his defence of the right of petition, received
daily anonymous letters threatening him with assassination. He received
us very kindly, and in the course of conversation expressed how much
importance he attached to the late repeal of the "nine months law," in
the State of New York, as a favorable indication of the current of
public feeling. He did not appear sanguinely to anticipate that he
should be in a majority on his pending motion for the repeal of the

One of the principal objects of my visit to Washington was to present an
Address to the President, from the Committee of the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society. In the course of my inquiries of various official
persons, members of Congress, et cet., I found that to obtain an
audience for the express purpose would be very difficult, as no member
of Congress appeared willing to undertake the unpopular service of
introducing the bearer of such a document. I was not disposed to apply
to the British Ambassador, who on some occasions had shown a want of
sympathy with the anti-slavery cause. I found, however, that it was not
contrary to etiquette, in this country, for a private individual to
address a note to the President, to which, in ordinary courtesy,
according to the custom of the place, he has a right to expect a reply.
I would remark, however, that nothing is more easy than to gain access
to the President; but I felt that to avail myself of those facilities,
to place in his hands a document which he might object to receive, would
be uncandid. I therefore addressed a note to him, stating that I was the
bearer of a memorial from the Committee of the British and Foreign
Anti-slavery Society, signed by Thomas Clarkson, addressed to the
President of the United States, in which I said, "It may, perhaps, be
right to state, that the memorial refers to slavery and the slave-trade
in the United States, and that it was written before the death of
General Harrison was known in Europe." I then asked permission to
present it.

To this I received no reply. We were afterwards introduced to the
President, by a member of Congress, who evinced an anxiety that I should
make no reference to the memorial; and the President, on his part, made
no allusion to it, or to my letter to himself. After this interview, we
proceeded to the Senate, but it had risen just as we entered. I had a
short conversation with Henry Clay, who alluded to Joseph John Gurney's
work on the West Indies, which I need scarcely add, is written in a
series of letters to this statesman. He said that the recent short crop
of sugar in Jamaica was a proof that the author had been misled in the
favorable information he had collected, and also that this deficiency in
the crop was a proof not only of the idleness, but of the immorality of
the negroes. He accused my companion, John G. Whittier, of deserting
him, after having been his warm friend; and on J.W.'s giving his reasons
for so doing, he complained that the abolitionists improperly interfered
with the affairs of the South, though he made an exception in favor of
the Society of Friends. He inquired if J.G. Whittier was a "Friend" in
regular standing, evidently intimating a doubt on that point, on account
of his being so decided an abolitionist. The praise of such men is the
strongest testimony that could be adduced to the declension of the
Society of Friends in anti-slavery zeal. To a great extent I fear their
sentiments on this subject have been held traditionally; and that in
many cases, they have not only done nothing themselves, but by example
and precept have condemned the activity of others; I trust, however, a
brighter day in regard to their labors is approaching. I feel
disinclined to take leave of Henry Clay, without some animadversions
which, on the public character of a public man, I may offer without any
breach of propriety. In early life, that is in some part of the last
century, he supported measures tending to the "eradication of slavery"
in Kentucky, and at various periods since, he has indulged in cheap
declamation against slavery, though he is not known to have committed
himself by a solitary act of manumission. On the contrary, having
commenced life with a single slave, he has industriously increased the
number to upwards of seventy. As a statesman, his conduct on this
question has been consistently pro-slavery. He indefatigably negotiated
for the recovery of fugitive slaves from Canada, when Secretary of
State, though without success. In the Senate he successfully carried
through the admission of Missouri into the Union, as a slave State. He
has resisted a late promising movement in Kentucky in favor of
emancipation; and lastly, in one of his most elaborate speeches, made
just before the late presidential election, the proceedings of the
abolitionists were reviewed and condemned, and he utterly renounced all
sympathy with their object. By way of apology for his early
indiscretion, he observes, "but if I had been then, or were _now_, a
citizen of any of the planting States--the southern or southwestern
States--I should have opposed, and would continue to oppose, any scheme
whatever of emancipation, gradual or immediate."

In this extract, and throughout the whole speech, slavery is treated as
a pecuniary question, and the grand argument against abolition, is the
loss of property that would ensue. Joseph John Gurney, who appears to
have been favorably impressed by Henry Clay's professions of liberality,
his courteous bearing, and consummate address, manifested a laudable
anxiety that so influential a statesman should be better informed on the
point on which he seemed so much in the dark; he therefore addressed to
him his excellent "Letters on the West Indies," of which the great
argument is, that emancipation has been followed by great prosperity to
the planters, and attended with abundant blessings, temporal and
spiritual, to the other classes, and that the same course would
necessarily be followed by the same results in the United States. He has
accumulated proof upon proof of his conclusions supplied by personal and
extensive investigation in the British Colonies. But Henry Clay shews no
sign of conviction. Yet though he made to us the absurd remark, already
quoted, on Joseph John Gurney's work, I have too high an opinion of his
understanding to think him the victim of his own sophistry. He is a
lawyer and a statesman. He is accustomed to weigh evidence, and to
discriminate facts. I have little doubt that all my valued friend would
have taught him, he knew already. He could not be ignorant of the
contrast presented by his own State of Kentucky, and the adjoining State
of Ohio, and that the difference is solely owing to slavery. If J.J.
Gurney could have shewn that abolition would soon be the high road to
the President's chair, it is not improbable that he would have made an
illustrious convert to anti-slavery principles. Henry Clay's celebrated
speech before alluded to, was delivered in the character of a candidate
for the Presidency just before the last election--it was prepared with
great care, and rehearsed beforehand to a select number of his political
friends. The whig party being the strongest, and he being the foremost
man of that party, he might be looked upon as President-elect, if he
could but conciliate the south, by wiping off the cloud of abolitionism
that faintly obscured his reputation. He succeeded to his heart's desire
in his immediate object, but eventually, by this very speech, completely
destroyed his sole chance of success, and was ultimately withdrawn from
the contest. Thus does ambition overleap itself.[A]

[Footnote A: As a practical commentary on Henry Clay's professions of a
regard for the cause of human liberty, I append the following
advertisement, which, about two years ago, was circulated in Ohio:


"_Run away_ from James Kendall, in Bourbon County, Ky., to whom
he was hired the present year, on Saturday night last, the 14th
instant, a negro man, named Somerset, about twenty-six years of
age, five feet, seven or eight inches high, of a dark copper
color, having a deep scar on his right cheek, occasioned by a
burn, stout made, countenance bold and determined, and voice
coarse. His clothing it is thought unnecessary to describe, as
he may have already changed it.


"From E. Muir, of the same county, on the same night, (and
supposed to have gone in company,) a negro man, named Bob, about
twenty-nine years old, near six feet high, weighing about 180 or
90 pounds, of a dark copper color, of a pleasant countenance,
uncommonly smooth face, and a remarkable small hand for a negro
of his size. He spells and reads a little. His clothing was a
greenish jean coat and black cloth pantaloons.

"We will give the above reward for the delivery of said negroes
to the undersigned, or their confinement in jail, so that we get
them; or 150 dollars for either of them, if taken out of the
State, or 100 dollars for them, or 50 dollars for either, if
taken out of the county, and in the State.

"HENRY CLAY, Senior,


"_Bourbon Co. Ky., Sept_. 17, 1839."


On leaving the Senate House, we drove to a slave-dealer's establishment,
near at hand, and within sight of the _Capitol_. I have given some
particulars of this visit elsewhere, which I need not repeat. I cast my
eye on some portraits and caricatures of abolitionists, British and
American, among whom Daniel O'Connell figured in association with Arthur
Tappan, and the ex-president Adams. The young man in charge of the
establishment began to explain them, for our amusement; on which, one of
my companions pointed to me, and informed him I was an English
abolitionist. He looked uneasy at our presence, and evidently desirous
we should not prolong our stay. He told us there were five or six other
dealers in the city who had no buildings of their own, and who kept
their slaves here, or at the public city jail, at thirty-four cents per
diem, the difference in comfort being wholly on the side of the private

We subsequently visited the city jail, to which reference is made in the
letter below, and were able to confirm this statement from our own

We left for Baltimore this afternoon. Although I had not succeeded in
presenting the address before-mentioned to the President, I little
regretted the failure, being convinced that it would not be less
generally read by the public on that account, and in this I have not
been disappointed. I proceeded at once, the next morning, to
Philadelphia; and here I concluded to print and publish the following
letter, which, was sent, through the post, to the President, and to each
member of the Senate and House of Representatives.

"_To the Abolitionists of the United States_.

"I was commissioned by the committee of the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society, to present a memorial from them to your
President, and proceeded to Washington, a few days ago,
accompanied by John G. Whittier, of Massachusetts, and a friend
from the State of Delaware.

"It was my first visit to the seat of legislation of your great
republic. On our arrival we went to the House of
Representatives, then in session. A member from Maryland was
speaking on our entrance, who was the author of a resolution,
which had been carried in a former Congress, excluding nearly
three millions of your countrymen, on whom every species of
wrong and outrage is committed with impunity, from all right of
petition, either by them selves or their friends. He was
advocating the re-enactment of this very resolution for the
present Congress, and stated that he had a letter from your
President approving the measure. Although I believe I do not
speak too strongly when I say an attempt to enforce such a
resolution by any crowned head in the civilized world, would be
inevitably followed by a revolution, yet it seemed evident that
no small portion of your _present_ members were in favor of it.
It was with no ordinary emotion that I saw the venerable
ex-president Adams at his post, nobly contending against this
violation of the rights of his countrymen, and I could not but
regret that, with one or two exceptions, be appeared to find
little support from his younger colleagues of the free States.

"The same day we visited one of the well-known slave-trading
establishments at Alexandria. On passing to it we were shewn the
costly mansion of its late proprietor, who has lately retired on
a large property acquired by the sale of native born Americans.
In an open enclosure, with high walls which it is impossible to
scale, with a strong iron-barred door, and in which we were told
that there were sometimes from three to four hundred persons
crowded, we saw about fifty slaves. Amongst the number thus
incarcerated was a woman with nine children, who had been
cruelly separated from their husband and father, and would
probably be shortly sent to New Orleans, where they would never
be likely to see him again, and where the mother may be for ever
severed from every one of her children, and each of them sold to
a separate master. From thence we went to the Alexandria city
jail, where we saw a young man who was admitted to be free even
by the jailer himself. He had been seized and committed in the
hope that he might prove a slave, and that the party detaining
him would receive a reward. He had been kept there nearly twelve
months because he could not pay the jail fees, and instead of
obtaining any redress for false imprisonment, was about to be
sold into slavery for a term to reimburse these fees.

"The next morning I was desirous of handing to the President the
memorial, of which the following is a copy:

"'_Address to the President of the United States, from
the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery

"'SIR,--As the head of a great Confederacy of States,
justly valuing their free constitution and political
organization, and tenacious of their rights and their
character, the Committee of the British and Foreign
Anti-slavery Society, through their esteemed coadjutor
and representative, Joseph Sturge, would respectfully
approach you in behalf of millions of their fellow-men,
held in bondage in the United States. Those millions are
denied, not only the immunities enjoyed by the citizens
of your great republic generally, and of the equal
privileges and the impartial protection of the civil
law, but are deprived of their personal rights, so that
they cease to be regarded and treated, under your
otherwise noble institutions, as MEN, except in the
commission of crime, when the utmost rigor of your penal
statutes is invoked and enforced against them; but are
reduced to the degraded condition of "chattels personal
in the hands of their owners and possessors, to _all
intents, constructions, and purposes, whatsoever_."

"'This is the language and the law of slavery; and under
this law, guarded with jealousy by their political
institutions, the slaveholders of the South rest their
claims to property in man But, sir, there are claims
anterior to all human laws, and superior to all
political institutions, which are immutable in their
nature,--claims which are the birthright of every human
being, of every clime, and of every color,--claims which
God has conferred, and which man cannot destroy without
sacrilege, or infringe without sin. Personal liberty is
among these, the greatest and best, for it is the root
of all other rights, the conservative principle of human
associations, the spring of public virtues, and
essential to national strength and greatness.

"'The monstrous and wicked assumption of power by man,
over his fellow man, which slavery implies, is alike
abhorrent to the moral sense of mankind; to the
immutable principles of justice; to the righteous laws
of God; and to the benevolent principles of the gospel.
It is, therefore, indignantly repudiated by all the
fundamental laws of all truly enlightened and civilized
communities, and by none more emphatically than by that
over which, Sir, it is your honor to preside.

"'The great doctrine, that God hath "created all men
equal, and endowed them with certain inalienable rights,
and that amongst these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness," is affirmed in your Declaration
of Independence, and justified in the theory of your
constitutional laws. But there is a stain upon your
glory; slavery, in its most abject and revolting form,
pollutes your soil; the wailings of slaves mingle with
your songs of liberty; and the clank of their chains is
heard, in horrid discord with the chorus of your

"'The records of your States are not less distinguished
by their wise provisions for securing the order and
maintaining the institutions of your country, than by
their ingenious devices for riveting the chains, and
perpetuating the degradation of your colored brethren;
their education is branded as a crime against the
State--their freedom is dreaded as a blasting
pestilence--the bare suggestion of their emancipation is
proscribed as treason to the cause of American

"'These things are uttered in sorrow; for the committee
deeply deplore the flagrant inconsistency, so glaringly
displayed between the lofty principles embodied in the
great charter of your liberties, and the evil practices
which have been permitted to grow up under it, to mar
its beauty and impair its strength. But it is not on
these grounds alone, or chiefly, that they deplore the
existence of slavery in the United States. Manifold as
are the evils which flow from it--dehumanizing as are
its tendencies--fearful as its reaction confessedly is
on its supporters,--the reproach of its existence does
not terminate on the institutions which gave it birth:
the sublime principles and benign spirit of Christianity
are dishonored by it. In the light of Divine Truth it
stands revealed, in all its hideous deformity, a crime
against God,--a daring usurpation of the prerogative and
authority of the Most High! It is as a violation of His
righteous laws, an outrage on His glorious attributes, a
renunciation of the claims of His blessed gospel, that
they especially deplore the countenance and support it
receives among you; and, in the spirit of Christian love
and fraternal solicitude, would counsel its immediate
and complete overthrow, as a solemn and imperative duty,
the performance of which no sordid reasons should be
permitted to retard--no political considerations
prevent. Slavery is a sin against God, and ought,
therefore, to be abolished.

"'The utter extinction of slavery, and its sister
abomination, the internal slave-trade of the United
States, second only in horror and extent to the African,
and in some of its features even more revolting, can
only be argued, by the philanthropy of this country, on
the abstract principles of moral and religious duty; and
to those principles the people of your great republic
are pledged on the side of freedom beyond every nation
in the world!

"'The negro, by nature our equal, made like ourselves in
the image of his Creator, gifted by the same
intelligence, impelled by the same passions and
affections, and redeemed by the same Savior, is reduced
by cupidity and oppression below the level of the brute,
spoiled of his humanity, plundered of his rights, and
often hurried to a premature grave, the miserable victim
of avarice and heedless tyranny! Men have presumptuously
dared to wrest from their fellows the most precious of
their rights--to intercept as far as they may the bounty
and grace of the Almighty--to close the door to their
intellectual progress--to shut every avenue to their
moral and religious improvement, to stand between them
and their Maker! It is against this crime the committee
protest as men and as Christians, and earnestly but
respectfully call upon you, Sir, to use the influence
with which you are invested, to bring it to a peaceful
and speedy close; and, may you in closing your public
career, in the latest hours of your existence on earth,
be consoled with the reflection that you have not
despised the afflictions of the afflicted, but that
faithful to the trust of your high stewardship, you have
been "just, ruling in the fear of the Lord," that you
have executed judgment for the oppressed, and have aided
in the deliverance of your country from its greatest
crime, and its chiefest reproach.

"'On behalf of the Committee,


"'British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, for the
Abolition of Slavery and the Slave-trade throughout the

"'27, _New Broad Street, London, March 5th_, 1841.'

"I thought it most candid to address a letter to the President
informing him of the character of the foregoing memorial, rather
than take advantage of a merely formal introduction to present
it, without a previous explanation. To this letter no reply was
received, and no allusion was made to it by the President at a
subsequent introduction, which we had to him. It may be proper
to mention in this connection, that memorials of a similar
character, bearing upon slavery and the slave-trade, signed by
the venerable Clarkson, have been presented to different Heads
of Governments, in other parts of the world, and have been
uniformly received with marked respect.

"Previous to our departure, we visited a private slave-trading
establishment in the city, and looked in upon a group of human
beings herded together like cattle for the market, within an
enclosure of high brick walls surrounding the jail. The young
man in attendance, informed us that there were five or six other
regular slave-dealers in the city, who, having no jails of their
own, either placed their slaves at this establishment, or in the
public CITY PRISON. The former was generally preferred, on
account of its superior accommodations in respect to food and
lodging. On my making some remarks to the young man on the
nature of his occupation, he significantly, and as I think, very
justly replied, that he knew of no reasons for condemning
slave-traders, which did not equally apply to slave-holders. You
will bear in mind that this was said within view of the Capitol,
where slave-holders control your national legislation, and
within a few minutes' walk of that mansion where a slave-holder
sits in the presidential chair, placed there by your votes; and
it is certainly no marvel, that, with such high examples in his
favor, the humble slave-dealer of the District should feel
himself in honorable company, and really regard his occupation
as one of respectability and public utility.

"From thence we proceeded to the city prison, an old and
loathsome building, where we examined two ranges of small stone
cells, in which were a large number of colored prisoners. We
noticed five or six in a single cell, barely large enough for a
solitary tenant, under a heat as intense as that of the tropics.
The keeper stated that in rainy seasons the prison was
uncomfortably wet. The place had to us a painful interest, from
the fact that here Dr. Crandall, a citizen of the free States,
was confined until his health was completely broken down, and
was finally released only to find a grave, for the crime of
having circulated a pamphlet on emancipation, written by one of
the friends who accompanied me.[A] On inquiry of the keeper, he
informed us that slaves were admitted into his cells, and kept
for their owners at the rate of thirty-four cents per day, and
that transfers of them from one master to another sometimes took
place during their confinement; thus corroborating the testimony
of the keeper of the private jail before mentioned, that this
city prison, the property of the people of the United States,
and for the rebuilding of which, a large sum of your money has
been appropriated, is made use of by the dealers in human beings
as a place of deposit and market; and thus you, in common with
your fellow citizens, are made indirect participators in a
traffic equal in atrocity to that foreign trade, the suppression
of which, to use the words of your President in his late
message, 'is required by the public honor, and the promptings of

[Footnote A: On being released from prison, Dr. Crandall went to
Kingston, Jamaica, to recruit his health. A gentleman of that
city, W. Wemyss Anderson, found him in his lodgings, solitary
and friendless, and rapidly sinking under his disease. He took
him, though a perfect stranger, into his own house; and the last
days of Dr. Crandall were soothed by the kind sympathy and
attentions of a Christian family. It was also manifest, that he
enjoyed the sunshine of inward peace, and the rich consolations
of the gospel. His kind host, whom I count it a privilege to
call my friend, obeyed, in this instance, the apostolic
injunction, and experienced the consequent reward, "Be not
forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares."]

"As one who has devoted much of his humble labors to the cause
you wish to promote, I perhaps shall be excused for thus stating
these facts to you, as they all passed before my personal
observation in the course of a few hours. I shall deem it right
to publish them in Europe, where I am about shortly to return.
Recollect, they all occurred and exist within the District of
Columbia, and that those who elect the legislators who uphold
the slave system, are justly responsible for it in the sight of
God and man. Is it not all the natural consequence of your
electing slave-holders and their abettors to the highest offices
of your State and nation? Some of your most intelligent citizens
have given it as their opinion that fully two-thirds of the
whole population of the United States are in favor of the
abolition of slavery; and my own observation, since I landed on
these shores, not only confirms this opinion, but has convinced
me that there is a very rapid accession to their numbers daily
taking place; and yet we have the extraordinary fact exhibited
to the world, that about two hundred and fifty thousand
slave-holders--a large proportion of whom, bankrupt in fortune
and reputation, have involved many of the North in their
disgrace and ruin--hold in mental bondage the whole population
of this great republic, who permit themselves to be involved in
the common disgrace of presenting a spectacle of national
inconsistency altogether without a parallel. I confess that,
although an admirer of many of the institutions of your country,
and deeply lamenting the evils of my own government, I find it
difficult to reply to those who are opposed to any extension of
the political rights of Englishmen, when they point to America
and say, that where all have a control over the legislation but
those who are guilty of a dark skin, slavery and the slave-trade
remain not only unmitigated, but continue to extend; and that
while there is an onward movement in favor of its extinction,
not only in England and France, but even in Cuba and Brazil,
American legislators cling to this enormous evil, without
attempting to relax or mitigate its horrors. Allow me,
therefore, to appeal to you by every motive which attaches you
to your country, seriously to consider how far you are
accountable for this state of things, by want of a faithful
discharge of those duties for which every member of a republican
government is so deeply responsible; and may I not express the
hope that, on all future occasions, you will take care to
promote the election of none as your representatives who will
not _practically_ act upon the principle that in every clime,
and of every color, 'all men are equal?'

"Your sincere friend,


"_Philadelphia, 6th Month 7th_, 1842."

This letter was extensively reprinted, not only in the anti-slavery but
in pro-slavery newspapers, both in the North and South. In the numerous
angry comments upon it, no attempt that has come to my knowledge was
made to deny any one of my statements. One of the papers intimates that
the vote by which the house soon after refused to adopt a specific and
exclusive rule against abolition petitions, was brought about by "the
sinister influence of Mr. Sturge." I need not add how happy I should
have been to have possessed the influence with which this writer has so
liberally invested me, and that I should have regarded it as a talent to
be employed and improved to the very utmost.

I spent from the 5th to the 11th of the Sixth Month, (June) in
Philadelphia and the vicinity, during which time, I made numerous calls,
and met several large parties in private.

During this stay, in company with John G. Whittier, I paid a visit to my
excellent friend, Abraham L. Pennock, at his residence in Haverford,
Delaware county, about ten miles from the city. He is an influential
member of the Society of Friends, and until recently he has been a
resident in the city. He has, for many years, been an uncompromising
abolitionist, and an active member and officer of anti-slavery
societies; yet he appears to enjoy the respect and confidence not only
of his anti-slavery associates, but of the Society of Friends, and the
community generally. I found him a warm advocate, in practice as well as
theory, of entire abstinence from the products of slave labor, as well
as of independent political action on the part of abolitionists. He
expressed much regret that he was unable to attend the General
Anti-Slavery Convention, in London, and gave his cordial approbation to
its proceedings.[A]

[Footnote A: See Appendix H.]

We reluctantly bade farewell to our kind friend and his interesting
family, all the members of which appear to share his zeal and untiring
devotion to the cause of the oppressed, and returned to our lodgings in
the city. Even now I look back to this visit as among the most grateful
recollections of my sojourn in the United States.

I may mention, in this connection, that A.L. Pennock, as well as others
with whom I conversed on the subject, spoke with much regret of the want
of faithfulness on the part of members of the Society of Friends, in
maintaining their testimony against slavery, while exercising their
civil rights as citizens and electors. From all I could learn, I have
been led to fear that "Friends" in the United States, with few
exceptions, are in the practice of voting for public officers, without
reference to their sentiments on the important subject of slavery. At
the late Presidential election it is very evident that the great body of
"Friends" who took any part in it, voted for John Tyler, the

Among the active friends of emancipation, who occupy a high station in
our society, I can scarcely omit mentioning Enoch Lewis, of Chester
county, Pennsylvania, whose talents and literary acquirements, devoted
as they are, to the maintenance and promulgation of the principles and
Christian testimonies of our religious society, deservedly command a
high degree of respect.

Among the members of the society which have separated from "Friends" in
Philadelphia and elsewhere, I met with many warm and steady friends of
emancipation, some of whom have proved their sincerity by great
sacrifices. Amongst these I cannot omit mentioning James and Lucretia
Mott, James Wood, Dr. Isaac Parish, and Thomas Earle, of this city.

I republished in Philadelphia, with the permission of the author, in two
separate pamphlets, for distribution amongst those to whom it was
addressed, "A Letter to the Clergy of various Denominations, and to the
Slave-holding Planters in the Southern parts of the United States of
America, by Thomas Clarkson." This remarkable production was written
after its venerable author had attained his eightieth year, and has been
pronounced by a very competent judge the most vigorous production of his
pen. As its circulation had but just commenced when I left the United
States, I could not judge of the effect produced by this energetic
appeal from one whose name must command respect, even from the
slave-holders; but I have since been informed it has been read with
interest and attention.

I had several conferences with "Friends" who were interested in the
cause, to discuss the best mode of engaging the members of the Society
to unite their efforts on behalf of the oppressed and suffering slaves;
and though no immediate steps were resolved on, yet I found so much good
feeling in many of them, that I cannot but entertain a hope, that fruit
will hereafter appear. I had spent much of my time and labor in
Philadelphia, particularly among that numerous and influential body with
whom I am united in a common bond of religious belief, and I trust of
Christian affection. Of the kindness and hospitality I experienced I
shall ever retain a grateful recollection; yet I finally took my leave
of this city, under feelings of sorrow and depression that so many of
the very class of Christian professors who once took the lead in efforts
for the abolition of slavery, efforts evidently attended with the favor
and sanction of the Most High, should now be discouraging, and holding
back their members from taking part in so righteous a cause. Among the
warmest friends of the slave, sound both in feeling and sentiment, are a
few venerable individuals who are now standing on the brink of the
grave, and whose places, among the present generation, I could not
conceal from myself, there were but few fully prepared to occupy. I had
found in many Friends much passive anti-slavery feeling, and was to some
extent cheered by the discovery. May a due sense of their responsibility
rest upon every follower of Christ, to remember them that are in bonds,
and under affliction, not only with a passive, but with an active and
self-denying sympathy, a sympathy that makes common cause with its

Apart from the fact, that Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful
cities in the world, to a member of the Society of Friends it must ever
be an object of peculiar interest. Here William Penn made his great
experiment of a Christian government. Here, to the annual assemblies of
Friends, came Warner Mifflin, and John Woolman, and James Pemberton, and
George Dillwyn, and other worthies of the past, who have now gone from
works to rewards. A few miles distant, in Frankford, is still to be seen
the residence of the excellent Thomas Chalkley. Here Benezet
exemplified, in the simplicity, humility, and untiring benevolence of
his daily life, the lessons inculcated in his writings. And here, at
this day, are a larger number of members of our religious society than
can be found congregated elsewhere, within an equal space of territory.
They are, in general, in easy circumstances, many of them wealthy, and
occupying a high rank in the community.

Who can recur, without a lively feeling of interest, to the hopes and
prayers of the benevolent founder of the city, as expressed in affecting
terms in his farewell letter, written as he was about taking his final
departure for England.

"And thou, Philadelphia, the virgin settlement of this province,
named before thou wert born, what love, what care, what service,
and what travail has there been to bring thee forth, and
preserve thee from such as would defile thee! Oh, that thou
mayest be kept from the evil that would overwhelm thee! that
faithful to the God of Mercies, in a life of righteousness, thou
mayest be preserved to the end!"

On the 11th, with John G. Whittier, I left for New York, and the next
day we proceeded by steam packet to Newport, on Rhode Island, to attend
the New England yearly meeting of the Society of Friends, which was to
be held the next week. We arrived about seven o'clock in the morning. I
found the change of climate particularly refreshing and agreeable.
During the last fortnight, the range of the thermometer had frequently
reached 94 degrees or 96 degrees in the shade: a tropical heat, without
those alleviations which render the heat of the tropics not only
tolerable, but sometimes delightful. In Rhode Island, the climate, while
we were there, was almost as temperate as an English summer.

Some parts of the New England States are much resorted to by southern
families of wealth; and their annual migrations have the effect of
materially adding to the vast amount of complicated pro-slavery
interests which exist in the free States, as well as of diffusing
pro-slavery opinions and feelings throughout the entire community. We
may hope this current will soon set in the opposite direction. The
season was too early for the arrival of these visitors, and the hotels
were generally filled with "Friends," collected from near and distant
places, to attend the yearly meeting. There were upwards of a hundred
boarding at the same house with ourselves. Soon after our arrival I
addressed a letter, making the same application for the use of the
meeting house for my friend, John Candler, who was also here, and
myself, which had been complied with at New York, forwarding at the same
time my credentials. My request, however, in this instance was not
granted. Yet there was plainly a willingness on the part of many to
receive information, and we caused it to be known that we should be at
home at our hotel, on the evening of the sixteenth. About two hundred
friends assembled, and appeared interested in a brief outline of the
state and prospects of the cause in Europe which I endeavored to give

The subject of slavery was brought before the yearly meeting by a
proposition from one of its subordinate, or "quarterly meetings," to
encourage more action, on the part of the society, for its abolition. A
proposal was immediately made, and assented to without discussion, that
the consideration of it should be referred to a committee. On the
reading of the address on slavery from the London yearly meeting, it
was, in like manner, immediately proposed and agreed to, that it should
be referred to the same committee. At a subsequent sitting, this
committee reported, that they should recommend the whole subject to be
left under the care of their "Meeting for Sufferings," which was
adopted. With the exception of reading the documents, and going through
the necessary forms of business, these proceedings passed almost in
silence; yet, in the several epistles drawn up to be forwarded to the
other yearly meetings, allusion was made to the deep exercise of Friends
at this meeting, on the subject of slavery, and their strong desire and
wish to encourage others to embrace every right opening for promoting
its abolition; with a plain intimation, however, in their epistle to
Great Britain, of their disapproval of Friends uniting with any of the
anti-slavery associations of the day. These passages in the epistles
passed without remark or objection. The Meeting for Sufferings, of Rhode
Island, has thus virtually undertaken to do, or at least to originate,
all that is to be done, during the present year, by Friends of New
England, to help the helpless, and to relieve the oppressed slaves.
Sincerely do I desire, that it may not incur the responsibility of
neglecting so solemn a charge. I subsequently met, on board the steamer
in which we left Newport, many members of this body; with one of whom I
had some conversation, in the presence of other Friends, to whom I felt
it right to state, that the declarations of sympathy for the slaves, in
the epistles which had been sent out, were stronger, in my judgment,
than was justified by any thing which had been expressed, or had been
manifested, in the Yearly Meeting. This conviction I yet retain. I
afterwards obtained some authentic extracts from the laws of Rhode
Island, affecting the people of color, and under which slavery is very
distinctly recognized and sanctioned, even in this _free_ State. I felt
it my duty to forward a copy of these to the "Meeting for Sufferings,"
accompanied by the following letter:--

"_To the Meeting for Sufferings of New England_

_Yearly Meeting of Friends._

"On passing through Providence, from the Yearly Meeting at Rhode
Island, a solicitor of that place kindly furnished me with the
annexed extracts from the laws of the State of Rhode Island. I
thought it best to send a copy to you, as it is probable some
members of your meeting may not be aware of their precise
nature; and it is a source of regret to me, and I know it will
be so to my friends in England, to know that in the State in
which your Yearly Meeting is held, slavery is fully legalized,
if the slaves are the property of persons not actually citizens
of that place;--the most odious distinctions of color also
remain on the statute book, including one (Section 10, No. 2,)
which is a disgrace to any civilized community. I may add, that
two very respectable solicitors in Providence expressed their
decided opinion, that if Friends heartily promoted the repeal of
these obnoxious laws, which throw all the moral influence of the
State on the side of slavery, it might easily be accomplished. I
cannot but hope the subject will receive your prompt attention.

"Truly your friend,


To soften the impression which I fear the preceding detail will give, I
may remark, that I am convinced, from extensive private communication
with Friends in New England, that there is yet among them much genuine
anti-slavery feeling, especially where the deadening commercial
intercourse with the South does not operate; and though, at present,
with some bright individual exceptions, this is a talent for the most
part hidden or unemployed, I trust that many faithful laborers in this
great cause will yet be found among them.

During our stay in Rhode Island, we twice visited Dr. Channing, at his
summer residence, a few miles from Newport. The delicacy which ought
ever to protect unreserved social intercourse, forbids me to enrich my
narrative with any detail of his enlightened and comprehensive
sentiments; yet I cannot but add, that, widely differing from him as I
do, on many important points, I was both deeply interested and
instructed by his modest candor and sincerity, and by the spirit of
charity with which he appeared habitually to regard those of opposite
opinions. Our conversation embraced various topics. I may be allowed to
mention, that he highly approved of Judge Jay's suggestion for the
promotion of permanent international peace. He also made a practical
suggestion on the anti-slavery movement, which I trust will be acted
on--That petitions should be sent to Congress, praying that the free
States should be relieved from all direct or indirect support of
slavery. As the South has loudly complained of Northern interference,
this will be taking the planters on their own ground.

Sixth Month, (June) 19th.--We went on to New Bedford, where, the next
day, we called on a number of persons friendly to abolition, and met a
large party of them the same evening, at the house of a Friend. A public
meeting for worship was appointed during our stay, at the request of a
minister of the Society of Friends from Indiana, which we attended. I
had the pleasure of witnessing the colored part of the audience, placed
on a level, and sitting promiscuously with the white, the only
opportunity I had of making such an observation in the United States;
as, on ordinary occasions, the colored people rarely attend Friends'
meetings. One of the waiters at our hotel told me he had escaped from
slavery some years before. The idea of running away had been first
suggested to his mind, by reflecting on his hard lot, being over-worked,
and kept without a sufficiency of food, and cruelly beaten, while his
owner was living in luxury and idleness, on the fruits of his labor. He
had been flogged for merely speaking to one of his master's visitors, in
reply to a question, because it was suspected he had divulged matter
that his master did not wish the stranger to know.

On the 21st, we arrived at Boston, and stopped at the Marlborough hotel.
One of the first things noticed by a visitor to the States is the number
and extent of the hotels, almost all of which are on the principle of
the English boarding houses. Besides the number of casual visitors in a
population which travels from place to place, perhaps more than any
other in the world, the hotels are the permanent homes of a numerous and
important class of unmarried men, engaged in business, and often indeed
of young married persons, who choose to avoid expense and the cares of
housekeeping. At many, if not most of the hotels, cleanliness,
regularity, and order, pervade all the arrangements, and as much comfort
is to be found as is compatible with throng and publicity. Still the
domestic charm of private life is wanting, and its absence renders the
system of constant residence most uncongenial to English habits and
feelings. An unsocial reserve lies on the surface of English character,
and the love of privacy, or at least of a retirement which can be closed
and expanded at will, is an extensive and deep-seated feeling. Yet the
Anglo-American, even of the purest descent, has early lost the latter
characteristic, while he often retains the first unimpaired. What law
governs the hereditary transmission of such traits? Several first rate
hotels in New England are strictly on the temperance plan, and among
them is the Marlborough, in Boston, the second in extent of business in
this important city, and which makes up from one hundred to two hundred
beds. No intoxicating liquor of any kind can be had in the house.
Printed notices are also hung up in the bed rooms, that it is the
established rule to take in no fresh company and to receive no accounts
on the first day of the week, and the cooking and other preparations are
as much as possible performed before hand, that the servants may enjoy
the day of rest, and partake of the moral and Spiritual benefit of a
weekly pause from the whirl and turmoil of secular engagements.

I had scarcely ventured to hope that I should ever witness a large hotel
like this, conducted on such principles; but having now seen it, it adds
additional strength to my conviction, that in proportion as Christianity
is carried out in common life, in the same proportion is the lost
happiness of man recovered. Too many in the present day, who are not
behind-hand in profession, keep their principles more for show than use.
They acknowledge the purity of them, and have some faint perception of
their moral beauty, but secretly believe, and sometimes, openly avow
them to be impracticable in the present state of the world. They who
exhibit proof of the contrary, are benefactors to their fellow men; and
among these, justly deserves to be classed Nathaniel Rogers, the
proprietor of the Marlborough Hotel, in Boston.

We called upon several of our anti-slavery friends on the day of our
arrival, and in the evening, took tea with a number of those who approve
of the proceedings of the London Convention, and who concur in the
principles of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. The subjects
discussed were the time and place of a future convention of the friends
of the slave of different nations. London was unanimously approved as
the place, and the preponderance of sentiment was in favor of 1842 as
the time.

On the 22d we went on to Lynn. Here are a very considerable number of
the Society of Friends, who are desirous of taking part in active
anti-slavery exertion, when they can do so without compromise of
principle. It is greatly to be regretted that in this vicinity, a few
individuals, formerly members of our religious society, have embraced,
in connection with their abolition views, the doctrines of
non-resistance, or non-government, in church and state, and thus greatly
added to the difficulties in the way of efficient action on the part of
consistent members; but whatever may be the errors and indiscretions of
these individuals, they furnish no valid excuse for the apathy and
inaction on the part of "Friends," nor lessen, in the slightest degree,
their responsibility for the firm and faithful maintenance of our
Christian testimony against oppression. We proceeded, the same evening,
to Amesbury, where the family of my friend and companion John G.
Whittier reside, in whose hospitable and tranquil retreat we remained
till the 25th. Here I found myself in a manufacturing district, and paid
a visit to a large woollen mill, and was much pleased with the
cleanliness and order displayed, and with the evident comfort and
prosperity of the working people, who are chiefly young women, none of
whom are admitted under sixteen years of age. Any person given to
intoxication would be instantly discharged. All the manufactories in
this place are joint-stock companies, and the mills are worked by water
power, of which there is an abundant supply.

I had agreed, on my return to Boston, to meet my abolition friends at a
tea party, and found an entertainment provided from the Marlborough
Hotel, in a large room adjoining one of the chapels, on a scale of great
profusion, a little to my disappointment, as I had anticipated one of a
social rather than of a public character, though I could not but feel
the kindness which it was intended to manifest. Charles Stewart Renshaw,
from Jamaica, was opportunely present, and his information on the state
of that Island added much interest to the evening, the proceedings of
which, I hope, gave pretty general satisfaction. In condescension to my
wish, my valued friend, Nathaniel Colver, suggested to the company to
dispense with the usual form of public prayer, and substitute an
interval of silence, after the reading of a portion of scripture, which
was kindly complied with.

Before leaving Boston, I had a long interview with William Lloyd
Garrison. His view of "women's rights" is so far a matter of conscience
with him, as to be made an indispensable term of union; yet though
widely differing on this, and other important points, we parted, I
trust, as we met, on personally friendly terms; and certainly on my part
with a desire to promote a spirit of forbearance, and with a deeper and
stronger conviction that the friends of the bleeding and oppressed
slave, should not spend their strength in unprofitable contention upon
points in regard to which both parties claim to act conscientiously,
while the common cause requires their undivided energies.

On the 28th I left Boston for the beautiful town of Worcester, about
forty miles distant, on the principal line of railway to New York, where
I had the pleasure of visiting, at his own residence, my friend, Cyrus
P. Grosvenor, one of the delegates to the Anti-Slavery Convention last
year. There are here a considerable number of sincere abolitionists, of
whom we met a small company in the evening, in a room used as the
Friends' meeting house. I gave them a brief account of the state of the
anti-slavery cause in other parts of the world. In company with John M.
Earle, editor of one of the Worcester papers, with whom I had formed a
previous acquaintance at the Yearly Meeting, I also called on the
Governor of the State of Massachusetts, who resides in this place. We
had some friendly conversation, but he seemed cautious on the subject of
abolition. The temperance cause in Worcester has made so much progress
that at the three largest and best hotels, which make up nearly one
hundred beds each, no intoxicating liquor of any kind is sold. A people
thus willing to carry out their convictions, to the sacrifice of
prejudice, appetite, and apparent self-interest, cannot long remain a
nation of slave-holders. In common with the rest of New England, this
town is remarkable for the number, size, and beauty of its places of
worship. I calculated, with the aid of a well-informed inhabitant, that
if the entire population were to go to a place of worship, at the same
hour, in the same day, there would be ample accommodation, and room to
spare. Yet here there is no compulsory tax to build churches, and
maintain ministers. By the efficacy of the voluntary principle alone is
this state of things produced.

My dear friend, John G. Whittier returned home from Worcester on account
of increased indisposition, while I proceeded alone to New York. The
journey from Boston to the latter city is a remarkably pleasant one.
Leaving Boston at four in the afternoon, we proceed on one of the best
railways in the States, at the rate of upwards of twenty miles an hour,
through a very beautiful and generally well cultivated country, to the
city of Norwich, in the State of Connecticut, where the train arrives
about eight in the evening, and the passengers immediately embark on a
handsome steamer, for New York, enjoying, as long as daylight lasts, the
fine scenery on the banks of the Thames. The night I went was moonlight;
and, after long enjoying the coolness of the evening on deck, the
company retired to their berths, and arrived at New York at the
seasonable hour of six the following morning.

I remained in New York until the 7th of the Seventh Month (July). My
friends, William Shotwell and wife, had left the city during the hot
months, but very kindly placed their town house at my service, and I
found the retirement thus at my command both refreshing and very
serviceable, in enabling me to bring up arrears of writing. During this
interval, I spent one very pleasant day with Theodore and Angelina
Grimke Weld, and their sister, Sarah Grimke, who reside on a small farm,
a few miles from Newark. To the great majority of my readers these names
need no introduction; yet, for the benefit of the few, I will briefly
allude to their past history. When the American Anti-Slavery Society was
formed, in 1833, Theodore D. Weld was at the Lane Seminary, near
Cincinnati, Ohio. He was unable to attend on that occasion, but wrote a
letter, declaring his entire sympathy with its object. Soon after,
through the influence and exertions of himself and Henry B. Stanton, a
large majority of the students at Lane Seminary, comprising several
slave-holders and sons of slave-holders, became members of an
Anti-Slavery Society. The Faculty opposed the formation of this society,
and finally expelled its members from the seminary. For two or three
years after, Theodore Weld was engaged in anti-slavery effort,
principally in the States of Ohio and New York. His voice failed at
last, and for several years he was unable to address a public assembly.
Angelina Grimke Weld, and her sister, Sarah Grimke, were natives of
South Carolina, the daughters of a distinguished Judge of that State;
for several years they resided in Philadelphia. Having long felt a deep
interest in the condition of the slaves, in the year 1837 they, in
accordance with what they believed to be a sense of religious duty,
visited New York and New England, to plead the cause of those, with
whose sorrows, degradation, and cruel sufferings, they had been familiar
in their native State. They are evidently women of superior endowments,
kind-hearted and energetic, and still retain something of the warmth and
fervor of character peculiar to the South.

Few, even of the well informed abolitionists of England, have an
adequate idea of the extent, variety, and excellence of the anti-slavery
literature of the United States, or of the amount of intellectual power
which has been willingly consecrated to this service. Of the cause
itself, with all its exigencies, we may adopt, in a yet more limited
sense, the sentiment of the Christian poet, on the transient nature of
all sublunary things,

"These, therefore, are occasional, and pass."

The time approaches when the shackles of the slave will fall off--when
his suffering and despairing cry will be no more heard. Slavery itself
is a temporary exigency; but its removal has called, and will yet call
forth, works bearing the impress of intellectual supremacy, which will
be embodied in the permanent literature of the age, and will contribute
to raise the character, and to extend the reputation, of that
literature. The names of Channing, Jay, Child, Green, and Pierpont, are
already their own passport to fame. Other names might be mentioned; but,
one instance excepted, selection might be invidious. That exception is
Theodore D. Weld, whose palm of superiority few would be disposed to
contest. His principal works are, "The Bible against Slavery;" "Power of
Congress over Slavery in the District of Columbia;" and "Slavery as it

All his writings are marked by varied excellence; yet their chief
characteristic is an irresistible and overwhelming power of argument.
Although brief and compressed in style, he exhausts his subject; and his
two principal works, though on warmly controverted topics, have never
been replied to. He would be a bold antagonist who should enter the
lists against him: he would be a yet bolder ally who should attempt to
go over the same ground, or to do better what has been done so well.

One of the most voluminous and popular writers that ever lived, observed
to a friend, "that he was more proud of his compositions for manure,
than of any other compositions with which he had any concern." My
friend, has the same love of rural occupations, and has found severe
manual labor essential for the recovery of health, broken by labor of
another kind. I found him at work on his farm, driving his own wagon and
oxen, with a load of rails. When he had disposed of his freight, we
mounted the wagon, and drove to his home. Two or three of his
fellow-students at the Lane Seminary arrived about the same time, and we
spent the day in agreeable, and, I trust, profitable intercourse. In the
household arrangements of this distinguished family, Dr. Graham's
dietetic system is rigidly adopted, which excludes meat, butter, coffee,
tea, and all intoxicating beverages. I can assure all who may be
interested to know, that this Roman simplicity of living does not forbid
enjoyment, when the guest can share with it the affluence of such minds
as daily meet at their table. The "Graham system," as it is called,
numbers many adherents in America, who are decided in its praise.

My friends, Theodore D. and Angelina Weld, and Sarah Grimke, sympathize,
to a considerable extent, with the views on "women's rights," held by
one section of abolitionists; yet they deeply regret that this, or any
other extraneous doctrine, should have been made an apple of discord;
and, since the rise of these unhappy divisions, they have held aloof
from both the anti-slavery organizations, though, as among the most able
and successful laborers in the field, they may justly be accounted
allies by each party. Difference of opinion on these points did not, for
a moment, interrupt the pleasure of our intercourse; and I could not but
wish, that those, of whatever party, who are accustomed to judge harshly
of all who cannot pronounce their "shibboleth," might be instructed by
the candid, charitable, and peace-loving deportment of Theodore D. Weld.

During my visit to New York, I became acquainted with many who were
deeply interested in the abolition cause, not a few of whom were members
of my own religious society. Among these, I may particularly mention my
venerable friends, Richard Mott and Samuel Parsons. I paid a second
visit to the residence of the latter at Flushing, but regret to say, I
found him too unwell to enjoy company.[A] His sons are anxiously
desirous of furthering the abolition cause on every suitable occasion.
One evening I spent with a respectable minister, who is a man of color,
and who assured me that most of the intelligent persons of his class in
New York approve of the course pursued by the late Convention in London,
and the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. I saw
at his house a man who had purchased his freedom for twelve hundred
dollars, intending to remain in the same State, but, as in a precisely
similar case already noticed, he afterwards found he had no alternative
but to emigrate, leaving his still enslaved family behind him, or to be
again sold into slavery himself, under the laws enacted to drive out
free people of color. He was trying to raise the large sum of fourteen
hundred dollars, to purchase his wife and four children.

[Footnote A: This illness terminated fatally. One of his intimate
friends in this country, has favored me with the following communication
respecting him. "Samuel Parsons had been from early life, a warm friend
to the African race; his love of peace rendered him at the first
accessible to prejudice against the American Anti-Slavery Society,
through the misrepresentations respecting its violent and rash measures;
which misrepresentations it was much more easy to believe than to
investigate. Yet his interest for the negro and colored population of
the United States continued, and he extended acts of protection and
kindness towards them, whenever opportunity for it was afforded. In the
Eleventh Month, last year, I find the following paragraph in one of his
letters to us, viz. 'Though sensible that I am drawing towards the close
of time, I cannot avoid taking a deep interest in the moral reformation,
relative to slavery and intemperance, which is progressing in the earth;
my son Robert and I look at these publications as they appear, with deep
solicitude. The proceedings of the Anti-Slavery Convention of the world,
and its movements, are of great moment to the whole civilized world. The

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