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A Visit To The United States In 1841 by Joseph Sturge

Part 3 out of 6

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anti-slavery cause, has not, I fear, advanced much the last year; the
separation in the National Society, and the truckling to the South of
the politicians of both sides, during the late Presidential election,
has for a time marred the work; but the anti-slavery banner of a third
party is still displayed, and it will probably continue to nominate till
it seriously influences the elections. In the mean time, the individual
States, one after another, are freeing the colored people from part of
their civil disabilities. A hard battle is to be fought, but mighty is
truth, and must prevail.'"]

"The fourth of July," the anniversary of the independence of the United
States, fell this year on the first day of the week, and was therefore
celebrated the day following. It is still marked by extravagant
demonstrations of joy, and often disgraced by scenes of intemperance and
demoralization. The better part of the community wisely counteract the
evil, to a great extent, by holding, on the same day, temperance
meetings, school examinations, opening their places of worship, et cet.
I accompanied my friend Lewis Tappan to attend an anti-slavery meeting
at Newark, in which Theodore Weld was expected to take a part for the
first time after an interval of five years' discontinuance of public
speaking. Several years before, he had been carried away by the stream
in crossing a river, and had very narrowly escaped drowning. This
accident caused an affection of the throat, and eventually disqualified
him for public labor except with the pen, to which, though deemed a
great loss at the time by his fellow-laborers in the anti-slavery cause,
we probably owe the invaluable works before referred to. It was on the
same anniversary, five years ago, that he had spoken last, a
circumstance to which he made a touching allusion: he spoke very
impressively for more than half an hour without serious inconvenience,
and I hope it may please Providence to restore his ability to plead, as
he was wont to do with great power, for the cause of the oppressed.

In the afternoon there was a public examination of the scholars
belonging to the place of worship in which the preceding meeting was
held, and in connection with this a little incident occurred, which may
serve to illustrate the state of public feeling. Newark, from its
extensive trade with the south, is much under pro-slavery influence. But
the congregation of this chapel are generally anti-slavery, and have
several colored children in their school. One of these, a little black
girl, was qualified to take part in the public examination; but this, in
the estimation of some of the parents of white scholars, and several
even of the trustees, could not be borne. Others, on the contrary,
resolved to battle with the prejudice of caste, and to call for her, if
she were not brought forward; and, finally, I suppose, by way of
compromise, she was brought on the platform to recite alone, after the
little scholars who could rejoice in the aristocratic complexion had
performed their parts, without suffering the indignity of a public
association with a colored child. Even this was, however, considered a
victory by the anti-prejudice party.

I left on the seventh for Niagara, being desirous to see the celebrated
Falls, and to visit some friends living in the western part of this
State, as well as to find relief from the oppressive and tropical heat.
I hoped also to fall in with my friends and fellow laborers, J. and M.
Candler, who had gone with a party in the same direction. I need not
describe a route so often traversed by Europeans. One of its agreeable
incidents was an accidental meeting with John Curtis, of Ohio, on his
way, on a free trade mission, to Great Britain, from motives which I
believe to be disinterested and philanthropic. His labors, which are
principally intended to show the evils of our taxes upon food, will not
be in vain; though he will find many in England, as I found in America,
who have no ear for truth when it opposes their prejudices or imaginary
self-interest. He gave me a most cheering account of the march of
abolition in Ohio, and said he had lately attended a meeting held at the
invitation of the abolitionists, on the 5th of July, at which there were
three thousand persons, who had come to the place of meeting in nine
hundred vehicles of different kinds. He said he had never witnessed a
more enthusiastic meeting. Another gentleman and his wife made
themselves known to me, in the railway carriage, as warm abolitionists,
and spoke favorably of the prospects of the cause in this part of the
State of New York. The gentleman said he had lately had a discussion
with a deacon of a church he attended, who defended the admission of
slave-holders to the communion. On being asked, however, whether he
would admit sheep-stealers, he acknowledged this was not so great a
crime as man-stealing, and pleaded no further in favor of
church-fellowship with slave-holders.

The journey from New York to the Falls of Niagara, a distance of 480
miles, is performed in about forty-eight hours, and when the railway
communication is further completed, and the speed raised to the standard
of the best English lines, it will probably be accomplished in less than
thirty hours. The railway passed for many miles through the original
forest, in which I observed very lofty trees, but none of an
extraordinary girth. In many places the ground was crowded with fallen
trees, in every stage of decay. I found my friends at the Eagle Hotel,
at Niagara, where I remained till the twelfth, enjoying with them the
views and scenery of "the Falls," a spectacle of nature in her grandest
aspect, which mocks the limited capacity of man to conceive or to
describe.

On the eleventh, being the first day of the week, we held a meeting for
worship, at our hotel, and were joined by an Irish lady and her three
daughters, who had been living here some months. This lady told me she
was present when M'Leod was arrested in this hotel. From all I have been
able to learn, there are a number of reckless men on both sides the
border line, who are anxious to foment war for the sake of plunder; but
the great bulk of the American people, I am persuaded, are for peace,
and especially for peace with England, a feeling which time is
strengthening.

On the twelfth, our whole party left for Buffalo, by railway, getting a
transient view of Lake Ontario before entering the city. Here we parted
company, they proceeding to Toronto, by steam packet, and I to Syracuse
by coach. The American vehicle of this name, carries nine inside
passengers on three cross seats. It is hung on leather springs, so as to
be fitted to maintain the shocks of a _corduroy_ road. Wishing to see
the country, I mounted the box, by the side of the coachman, but at
times had some difficulty in retaining my seat. The value of land in
this part of the country, when cleared and in cultivation, I understood
to be from thirty to fifty dollars per acre. A large breadth of wheat is
grown, of which the yield is generally good; but this year there will
be, in many cases, a short crop, from the extreme drought in the two
preceding months. I went forward from Syracuse to Rochester by railway,
and thence, with the exception of twelve miles by coach, by the same
conveyance to Auburn, where we arrived at two o'clock in the morning.
One of my fellow-passengers had been a soldier in the so-called
"patriot" army, which enlisted against Santa Anna, in the revolt of
Texas. He stated, that some planters were emigrating from Mississippi,
with as many as two hundred "hands," (slaves,) and plainly said, it was
intended to plant the Anglo-Saxon flag on the walls of Mexico. If half
what he asserted was true, the worst apprehensions of the abolitionists
are too likely to be realized by the Texian revolution, and the
establishment of a new slave-holding power on the vast territory claimed
by that piratical band of robbers, and forming the South-western
frontier of the United States.

At Auburn I paid a visit to the celebrated State Prison, and though,
from want of time to call upon a gentleman in the city for whom I had a
letter, I was unprovided with an introduction, I was politely admitted
by the superintendent, who refused to receive the fee customarily paid
by visitors, when he found, from the entry of my name and address, I was
an Englishman. I passed through the different workshops, in which nearly
all handicraft trades are carried on, and very superior work is
frequently executed by the prisoners. Besides other less complicated
machines, one complete locomotive engine has been constructed within
these walls. As the system of discipline adopted here is the same as at
Sing Sing, also in this State, I defer for the present, any remarks upon
its character and success.

I left Auburn, in a hired carriage, for Skaneateles, to pay a visit to
my friend, James Cannings Fuller. He has a rich farm of 156 acres, with
a good house upon it, about a quarter of a mile west of the large and
flourishing village of Skaneateles, which overlooks a beautiful lake of
the same name, sixteen miles in length, and in some places two miles
wide. James C. Fuller left England about seven years ago, and has
carried his abolition principles with him to his adopted country. He
told me that there had been a great change for the better in the public
mind since his residence in this neighborhood. Abolitionism was once so
unpopular, that he has been mobbed four times in his own otherwise quiet
village. On one occasion he was engaged in a public discussion on
slavery, and a mob so much disturbed the meeting, by the throwing of
shot, and yells the most discordant the human voice could make, that his
opponent moved an adjournment, and afterwards accompanied him on his way
to his own house, with many other persons, as a body-guard. They were
followed by a large number of other persons, who attempted to throw him
down, and were very free in the use of missiles and mud; the mob were so
vociferous, that their shoutings were heard two and a half miles
distant, many persons leaving their houses to endeavor to ascertain the
cause of such an uproar. On James C. Fuller's entering his house, the
mob surrounded his parlor windows, and these would, most probably, have
been smashed in pieces, and the building defaced, had not one of the
assailants been seized with a fit, and in that state conveyed into James
C. Fuller's parlor, where he lay insensible for three quarters of an
hour. This sudden seizure diverted the attention of the mob from my
friend and his property to their own companion.

James C. Fuller informed me that mobs in America are generally, if not
always, instigated by "persons of property and standing;" and the most
blameable, in his case, were not those who yelled, et cet., et cet., but
others who prompted the outrage. Happily this state of things is now
altered: as much order and decorum, with fixed attention, is now
witnessed at an abolition lecture as at any other lecture; and a colored
man can now collect a larger meeting in Skaneateles than a white man,
and the behavior of the audience is attentive, kind, and respectful. My
friend, John Candler, who was here a fortnight before me, collected a
large assembly to hear his account of the effects of emancipation in our
West India Islands, and many expressed themselves much gratified with
his narrative.

Being anxious to proceed to Peterboro', to visit Gerrit Smith, I
accepted James C. Fuller's kind offer to take me in his carriage. The
distance is nearly fifty miles, and the roads were, in some parts, very
rough; but they intersect a fine country. Much wheat is grown in many
places, and here the crop appeared generally good.

Having started rather late in the afternoon, we were benighted before we
reached Manlius Square, where we lodged. Though my kind friend would not
permit me to pay my share of the bill, yet, to gratify my curiosity, he
communicated the particulars of the charge, as follows: Half a bushel of
oats for the horses, 25 cents; supper for two persons, 25 cents; two
beds, 25 cents; hay and stable-room for the two horses, 25 cents; total,
one dollar, or about 4s. 2d. sterling.

We arrived at Peterboro' early the following morning, where I remained
till the sixteenth, at the house of Gerrit Smith. He was once a zealous
supporter of the Colonization Society, but when convinced of the evil
character and tendency of that scheme, he withdrew from it, and became a
warm and able advocate of the immediate abolition of slavery. He is one
of the few Americans who have inherited large property from their
parents, and he has contributed to this cause with princely munificence.
Gerrit Smith and Arthur Tappan have, each on one or more occasions given
single donations of ten thousand dollars (upwards of two thousand pounds
sterling) to promote anti-slavery objects. His wife, Ann Carroll Smith,
who is a native of Maryland, and his daughter, an only child, share in
my valued friend's ardent sympathy for the sufferings of the slave.
During my stay, he received a letter from Samuel Worthington, of
Mississippi, who held in slavery Harriet Russell. Harriet was formerly
the slave of Ann Carroll Smith, having been given to her when they were
both children. Ann C. Smith was but twelve years old when, with her
father's family, she removed from Maryland to New York. Harriet was left
in Maryland. Shortly after Ann C. Smith's marriage, and when she was
about eighteen years of age, her brother, James Fitzhugh, of Maryland,
wrote to ask her to give Harriet to him, stating that she was, or was
about to be, married to his slave, Samuel Russell. She consented: and
her brother soon after emigrated to Kentucky, taking Samuel and Harriet
with him. After this Samuel and Harriet were repeatedly sold.

Some years ago, Gerrit and Ann C. Smith having become deeply impressed
with the great sin of slavery, were anxious to learn what had become of
Harriet. But they did not succeed in ascertaining her residence, until
the letter received during my visit informed them of it, and which also
stated that Harriet and her husband were living, and that they had
several children. The price put upon the family was four thousand
dollars.

James C. Fuller having kindly offered to go into Kentucky, where Samuel
Worthington then resided, to negotiate with him for the purchase of the
family, G. Smith gladly accepted the offer of one so well qualified for
this undertaking. James C. Fuller succeeded in purchasing the family for
three thousand five hundred dollars, exclusive of his travelling
expenses, and those of the slave family, which amounted to about two
hundred and eighty dollars. He has published a very interesting account
of his journey, in a letter addressed to myself, from which some
extracts are given in the Appendix.[A] Eighteen months ago, G. and A.C.
Smith united with other children of her father, the late Col. Fitzhugh,
in purchasing, at the cost of four thousand dollars, the liberty of ten
slaves, who, or their parents, were among the slaves of Colonel Fitzhugh
when he left Maryland. I have recently learned that they are negotiating
the purchase of the liberty of other slaves, who formerly belonged to
Colonel Fitzhugh. It is nearly seven years since Gerrit Smith and his
family adopted the practice of total abstinence from all slave produce,
thus additionally manifesting the sincerity of those convictions which
have induced him to contribute so largely of his wealth both to the
anti-slavery funds, and for the liberation of all slaves with which his
family property had the most remote connection.

[Footnote A: See Appendix I.]

Here, I had some expectation of again meeting my friend, James G.
Birney, who was gone on a journey to Ohio, and is well known to English
abolitionists, by his able assistance at the great Anti-Slavery
Convention, as one of its vice-presidents, and by his subsequent labors,
which are thus acknowledged, on his return to America, by the Committee
of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society:--

"That this committee are deeply sensible of the services
rendered to the anti-slavery cause by their esteemed friend and
coadjutor, James Gillespie Birney, Esq., whilst in this country,
in a course of laborious efforts, in which his accurate and
extensive information, his wise and judicious counsels, and his
power of calm and convincing statement, have become eminently
conspicuous.

"The committee also take the present occasion to record their
sense of his zealous and disinterested labors in defence of the
rights of outraged humanity in his own country, during a period
of great excitement and opposition: and of the proof he has
given of his sincerity, in having twice manumitted the slaves
that had come into his possession; a noble example, which they
trust others will not be slow to follow."

Whilst J.G. Birney was in this country, in addition to his arduous
labors, in addressing large assemblies in many of the cities of the
United Kingdom, he prepared and published his excellent work, "The
American Churches the Bulwark of American Slavery," which is eminently
deserving of the attentive perusal of all Christian readers. The
estimation in which James G. Birney is held by American abolitionists,
is marked by his having been twice unanimously selected by the "Liberty
Party," as a candidate for the Presidential chair.

I found G. Smith as much interested in the subject of temperance, as in
that of slavery. No person in the whole of the township in which he
lives is licensed to sell drams. For an innkeeper to sell a glass of
spirits, or even of strong beer, is illegal, and exposes him to a heavy
fine.

The next morning I left early for Utica, where I had the pleasure of
again meeting the friends I had parted from at Buffalo, with whom I paid
a visit to the Oneida Institute, about two miles from Utica. This
college was the first in the United States to throw open its doors to
students, irrespective of color. It was also one of the earliest
institutions to combine manual labor with instruction. The principle is
adopted partly from a motive of economy, but principally because
intellectual vigor is believed to depend on bodily health, and that
these can be best secured and preserved by exercise and labor,
especially out of door and agricultural employments. The labor of the
students defrays a considerable part of the expense of their support,
but as the severe pressure of the times has limited the means of many
liberal benefactors of Oneida, the establishment, which usually
comprises one hundred young men, is now limited to about one-third of
the number. Several of these are colored. The Oberlin Institute in Ohio
is on a much larger scale than this, and is on an equally liberal
footing with regard to color. I much regretted being unable, from want
of time, to comply with the urgent request of my friend, Wm. Dawes and
others, to visit this important and interesting establishment. The
number of students at Oberlin last year was five hundred and sixty,
including those in the department for females.

I was much pleased to have the opportunity of becoming further
acquainted with the President of Oneida, Beriah Green, and with his
friend, Wm. Goodell, who resides in the neighborhood. Their names will
be reverenced by the abolitionists of America as long as the memory of
anti-slavery efforts shall survive. Before we left, we had an
opportunity of meeting the students together, who appeared much
interested with my friend John Candler's details of the results of
emancipation in Jamaica. I was disappointed in not finding at home Alvan
Stewart, one of the ablest and most zealous friends of the Anti-Slavery
cause; but Beriah Green kindly accompanied me to call upon several of
their abolition friends in the city.

My limited time prevented my paying a visit to Henry B. Stanton, who was
residing not far from Utica, and whose acquaintance I had the pleasure
of making in England. He also will be remembered for his able assistance
at the Convention, and by his eloquent addresses at public meetings in
this country. The following record of his services is made by the
Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society:--

"That this Committee, in taking leave of their friend and
fellow-laborer in the cause of universal emancipation, Henry
Brewster Stanton, Esq., record their high estimate of the
valuable services rendered by him to that cause, whilst in Great
Britain, by his eloquent and powerful advocacy; and, in
tendering him their thanks, they express their sincere desire
for his success in the great work to which he has devoted
himself."

The name of Henry B. Stanton previously occurs in conjunction with that
of Theodore D. Weld, as having left Lane Seminary with many other
students, rather than be silent on the abolition question: becoming from
that time a strenuous and powerful anti-slavery advocate.

I proceeded in the evening to Albany, and thence to New York the next
morning; where I remained from the 17th to the 26th instant, and, during
this time, I put in circulation the following address:--

"_To the Members of the Religious Society of Friends in the
United States of America_.

"Dear Friends,--Having for many years believed it my duty to
devote a considerable portion of my time and attention to the
promotion of the abolition of slavery and the slave-trade, I
have acted in cordial co-operation with the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society since its formation. The principles of that
Society may be briefly explained by the following extract from
its constitution: 'That so long as slavery exists, there is no
reasonable prospect of the annihilation of the slave-trade, and
of extinguishing the sale and barter of human beings: that the
extinction of slavery and the slave-trade will be attained most
effectually by the employment of those means which are of a
moral, religious, and pacific character: and that no measures be
resorted to by this society in the prosecution of their objects,
but such as are in entire accordance with these principles.'

"My visit to this country had reference, in a great measure, to
the objects for which this society was established; but,
although I left my native land with the general approbation and
full unity of my friends, they concurred with me in opinion,
that any _official_ document, beyond a certificate from 'my
monthly meeting,' expressive of sympathy with my engagement,
might rather obstruct than promote the end I had in view. I was
desirous of a personal interchange of sentiment with many of the
abolitionists in this land, upon matters having an important
bearing upon our future exertions. The warm attachment which I
have ever felt to the religious society with which I am
connected, and the ready co-operation of its members with their
Christian neighbors in promoting this cause in Great Britain,
inclined me to embrace every suitable opportunity to communicate
with Friends in this country. And I have been encouraged, not
only by the great personal kindness I have received from them
generally, but also by the lively interest expressed by most, on
the subject of emancipation, wherever I have introduced it.

"A further acquaintance with Friends in the compass of the three
or four 'Yearly Meetings,' in which my lot has been cast, and my
inquiries respecting the state of the other Yearly Meetings, has
convinced me that a large number of their most consistent
members, including many aged and universally respected Friends,
are desirous of embracing every right opening, both individually
and collectively, for the promotion of the abolition cause. And
while they are fully aware that there are reasons growing out of
the existing state of things, which render great circumspection
necessary, they can see no good ground for believing that the
manner in which Friends of this country, of a former generation,
labored for the liberation of the slave, was not under the
guidance of the Spirit of truth.

"This is now the course pursued by Friends generally in England.
That there may be no misapprehension as to the conduct of
Friends, with regard to this subject, in Great Britain, I may
mention, that I am the bearer of a document expressive of unity
with my visit, signed by William Allen, Josiah Forster, William
Forster, George Stacey, Samuel Fox, George W. Alexander, and
Robert Forster, who declare themselves fellow members with
myself of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Committee. This
committee is composed of persons of various religious
denominations, amongst whom it will be seen are many of the
prominent members of our meeting for sufferings. Upon the list
of delegates to the late Anti-Slavery Convention, in London, are
the names of nearly one hundred well known Friends, including
those of four who are, or have been clerks of the yearly
meeting; and the present clerk of that meeting, my esteemed
friend, George Stacey, took an active part, and rendered
essential service in the Convention. The meeting house in
Gracechurch Street was freely granted by Friends in London, who
have charge of it, for the use of the Convention, and the
concluding sittings of that body were held in it.

"In fact, Friends generally in England think it their duty to
render every aid in their power to the anti-slavery cause,
whether in their collective capacity, or individually uniting
with their fellow-citizens, when they can do so without any
compromise of our religious principles and testimonies. I speak
more explicitly on this point, because I have ascertained with
much concern, that there is an influential portion of the
Society, including, I have no doubt, some sincere abolitionists,
who have been so fearful that the testimonies of the Society
might suffer by any union with others, that they have not only
avoided such a co-operation themselves, but have dissuaded those
of their brethren, who have believed it incumbent upon them to
act otherwise; and in one 'Yearly Meeting,' at least, I have too
much reason to fear they have tacitly, if not actively
sanctioned the omission of the names of Friends on meeting
appointments,--however consistent in their conduct, and
concerned for the welfare of the society--simply because they
have felt it their duty to act with persons of other
denominations in promoting the abolition of slavery; thus, in
appearance at least, throwing the whole weight and influence of
the society, in its collective capacity, against a movement,
which, although doubtless partaking of the imperfections
attendant upon all human instrumentality, has already aroused
the whole country to a sense of the wrongs of the slave, and
secured to the nominally free colored citizens, in many of the
States, rights of which they have been so long and so unjustly
deprived.

"Though I can hardly expect that any thing from one entertaining
my view of the subject, can have much weight with those Friends,
who, with a full understanding of the heavy responsibility they
were assuming, have discountenanced anti-slavery exertions, and
the use of our meeting houses, even by consistent members, for
the purpose of giving information on the subject:[A] yet, as it
has occasioned me no small degree of anxiety, both in reference
to the anti-slavery cause, and the Society of Friends itself, I
believe I cannot return to my native land with peace of mind,
without earnestly and affectionately pressing upon such Friends,
the great importance of a careful examination of the ground
which they have taken. Our unwearied adversary is sometimes
permitted to lead us into the most fearful errors, when he
assumes the appearance of an angel of light. And is there not
great danger, in encouraging the young and inexperienced to
suppose that the maintenance of any of our testimonies may be
neglected, except when we feel a Divine intimation to uphold
them, and may it not open the door to great laxity in our
practice? While I fully believe that the true disciple of Christ
will be favored with the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit
whenever it is needful to direct his steps; it appears to me
especially important, that, in matters of self-sacrifice and
conflicting with our worldly interest or reputation, we should
guard against being deluded into a neglect of duty, by waiting
for this direct Divine intimation, where the path of duty is
obvious and clearly understood, and when testimonies are
concerned, which we have long considered it our duty, on all
occasions, to support. If, under such a view of the subject, we
do believe it our duty to cease to act ourselves, and discourage
our brethren from laboring in the cause of the slave; a close
self-examination surely is needful, in order to ascertain if we
are consistently carrying out the same principle in our daily
walk in life--in our mercantile transactions--our investments of
property--in our connection with public institutions,--and with
political parties.

[Footnote A: "It is right to state, that I was much encouraged
by the lively expression of sympathy in the anti-slavery cause
in the Yearly Meetings of Philadelphia and New York: that at the
former place Friends opened a room at the meeting house for my
friend John Candler to give some information on the subject, and
at New York the large meeting house was not only readily granted
to him and me for the same purpose, but the clerks of the Yearly
Meeting kindly gave notice and invited Friends to attend."]

"It should be borne in perpetual recollection, that we are in no
small danger of shrinking from a faithful maintenance of those
testimonies which are unpopular with the world, as well as of
not seeing our own neglect of duty, while censuring the zeal or
supposed indiscretion of others. Besides, if this good cause be
really endangered by popular excitement, and the indiscretion of
its imprudent advocates, the obligation of consistent Friends to
be found at their posts, faithfully maintaining the testimony of
truth on its behalf, is greatly increased; and it is under such
circumstances that I think I have seen the peculiar advantage
and protection to our young friends in England, of having their
elder brethren with them, aiding them by their sympathy, as well
as by their advice and counsel. I am persuaded that those who
are called to occupy the foremost ranks in society cannot be too
careful not to impose a burden upon tender consciences, by
discouraging, either directly or indirectly, a course of conduct
which is sanctioned by the precepts and examples of our Divine
Master, lest they alienate from us some of His disciples, and
thereby greatly injure the society they are so laudably anxious
to 'keep unspotted from the world.'

"We are told, on the highest authority, that 'by their fruits'
we are to judge of the laborers in the Christian vineyard; and,
while I am fully aware of the greater difficulties in the way of
emancipation _here_, as compared with Great Britain, I have been
almost irresistibly led to contrast the difference in the
results of the course pursued by Friends in the two countries.
In America, during the last twenty-five years, it is evident
that slavery and the slave-trade have greatly increased; and
even where the members of our society are the most numerous and
influential, the prejudice against color is as strong as in any
part of the world,[A] and Friends themselves, in many places,
are by no means free from this prejudice. In Great Britain,
Friends, by society action, and by uniting with their
fellow-countrymen, not only contributed, under Providence, in no
small degree, to the passage of the act of 1834, for the
abolition of slavery in the British West Indies; but, when it
was found that the system of apprenticeship which this act
introduced, was made an instrument of cruel oppression to the
slaves, a renewal of similar labors for about twelve months,
resulted in the _complete_ emancipation of our colored brethren
in those colonies.

[Footnote A: "I should, I believe, do wrong to conceal the
sorrow which I have felt that the scheme of African
colonization, the great support of which, at the present time,
appears to be hostility to anti-slavery efforts and an
unchristian prejudice against color, still has the sympathy and
the active aid of some members of our society."]

"In closing this letter, I wish to address a few words to that
numerous and valuable class of Friends, previously alluded to,
with whom I deeply sympathize, who are only deterred from more
active exertion by their reluctance to give dissatisfaction to
those whom they respect. The sorrow which I feel, under the
consideration that, in parting with many of you, we never
probably shall meet again in mutability, is softened by the
persuasion, that the difficulties by which you are surrounded
are lessening, and that some who are now opposing you, will, ere
long, join you in efforts, which shall remove from the minds,
both of abolitionists and slave-holders, the belief so generally
entertained, that the Society of Friends in this country are not
earnestly engaged for the _total and immediate_ abolition of
slavery. No one regrets more than myself that any friends to the
cause of abolition should connect other topics with it, which,
however suitable to be discussed on their own merits, must
necessarily interfere with this simple and momentous object. You
are aware of some of the circumstances which may have led to the
state of feeling, with many in our society, which we so much
deplore. And it is my fervent desire that none of you, in any
steps you may consider it your duty to take, may afford just
cause of uneasiness, by any compromise of Christian principle,
any improper harshness of language, or by the introduction of
any subject not strictly belonging to the anti-slavery cause.
Your situation is one of peculiar difficulty and delicacy. Both
from a regard to your own religious society and the suffering
slave, you have need to exercise great watchfulness, and to
cultivate feelings of brotherly love and that 'charity which
suffereth long, and is kind.' The beautiful example of John
Woolman, in this respect, is worthy of your imitation. His
labors were, for years, far less encouraged by the leading
influences of society than your own at the present time; yet we
find, in reading his invaluable journal, no traces of bitterness
or uncharitable feeling.

"Finally, dear friends of all classes,--In thus freely
addressing you, I have written, not only with a strong
attachment to our religious society, but, I trust, under a
feeling of a degree of that love, which is not confined to
geographical boundaries, or affected by color or by clime. The
prayer of my heart is, that each of you may be willing to be
made instrumental, in the Divine Hand, in faithfully maintaining
our Christian testimony against slavery; bearing in mind, that
the labors of your ancestors have greatly increased your
responsibility, by separating you from those influences which so
deaden the feelings and harden the heart against the claims of
our brethren in bonds. May these considerations, viewed in
connection with the difficulties which obstruct the progress of
emancipation in this land, stimulate you to increased exertion;
and when you are summoned to the bar of that final tribunal,
towards which we are all hastening, may you have the
inexpressible consolation of reflecting, that you have performed
all you could towards 'undoing the heavy burden and letting the
oppressed go free.'

"I am, very sincerely,

"Your friend,

"JOSEPH STURGE."

"New York, Seventh Month 17th, 1841."

The above letter so fully embodies my view of the state of the Society
in reference to the anti-slavery cause, that I shall think it needless,
after a few general observations, again recur to this subject. I feel
bound to acknowledge that this public mode of making my sentiments known
was disapproved by some Friends; yet of all the objections that were
made to the proceeding, none tended to impugn the accuracy of my
representation of the existing state of things. This is approved by
some, and deplored by others, but my statement has not been denied by
any. In consequence of a remonstrance made to me on special grounds in
the kindest and most Christian manner by two beloved friends, I felt
called upon to subject my motives and conduct, in issuing such an
address, to deliberate reconsideration; and the result was, that I not
only felt myself clear of just censure, but that in no other way could I
have discharged my duty according to my own interpretation of its
dictates. Of other objectors, I may add, that simply to enumerate their
reasons, stated to me in private conference, would be the severest
public animadversion that could be made, either on the individuals
themselves, or on the Society whose views they professed to represent.

In the present state of this great controversy, the abolitionists may
justly say, "he that is not with us, is against us," while the
pro-slavery party can witness, "he that is not against us, is on our
side." Hence the praise bestowed on the neutrality of the Society of
Friends by the great slave-holding senator, Henry Clay. Hence also the
suspicious compliments of the late President Van Buren, the first act of
whose administration was a pledge to refuse his signature to any bill
for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. I fear it is
undeniable that in the last eight years the collective influence of the
Society has been thrown into the pro-slavery scale, and this
notwithstanding the existence of much diffused and passive sympathy and
right feeling on behalf of the slave, in the breasts of probably a large
majority of individual members. The abolitionists of the United States
have been treated by too many influential Friends, as well as by the
leading professors of other denominations, as a party whose contact is
contamination; yet to a bystander it is plainly obvious that the true
grounds of offence are not always those ostensibly alleged, but the
activity, zeal, and success with which they have cleared themselves of
participation in other men's sins, and by which they have condemned the
passive acquiescence of a society making a high profession of
anti-slavery principles. I do not intend to defend all the proceedings
of the anti-slavery societies. That they have sometimes erred in
judgment and action,--that they have had unworthy men among their
members, I have little doubt. But, the same objections might have been
raised to the old anti-slavery societies, in which the leading Friends
of the United States took an active part with their neighbors of other
denominations, and, with far greater force against the Colonization
Society, which is patronized, even to this day, both by individual
members and by at least one Meeting of Sufferings.[A] The causes that
have produced the state of things I have attempted to describe, derive
their origin, I believe, from one source--inaction. After the Society of
Friends had purified itself from slave-holding, it gradually subsided
into a state of rest, and finally lapsed into lethargy and indifference
on this question. In the world we live in, evil is the quick and
spontaneous growth, while good is the forced and difficult culture. Good
principles can only be preserved bright, pure, and efficient, by
watchful care and constant use; if laid aside, they rust and perish.
These are the necessary effects of the fall of man by disobedience from
that state of happiness and holiness in which he was formed by a
beneficent Creator. In a state of inaction, Friends have been exposed to
the influences of a corrupt public sentiment; they have, to a
considerable extent, imbibed the prejudice against color, while some of
them have been caught by the gilded bait of southern commerce.

[Footnote A: See Appendix K.]

In a former part of this work I have briefly alluded to that memorable
reformation, which, in the latter part of the preceding century, purged
the Society of Friends from the heinous sins of slave trading and
holding slaves. This reformation in Great Britain, with perhaps a few
individual exceptions, consisted merely in the adoption of new
convictions, and the abandonment of lax opinions; but, on the American
continent, it was sealed by the willing sacrifice of an immense amount
of property. One can scarcely avoid looking back with regret to times
when convictions of duty had such power, when Christian principle was
carried out, whatever the cost. Then, indeed, was exhibited, by the
American Friends, the fruit of a world-overcoming faith. It must be
confessed that the present position of their descendants presents an
unpleasing contrast; yet I trust, that from all I have written, the
conclusion will be drawn, that I look forward to the future with hope;
though it is a hope chastened with fear. Next to a fervent desire that
slavery may be speedily abolished, it is one of the warmest wishes of my
heart, that the "Society of Friends" in America, may be among the
chiefly honored agents in accomplishing, in the wisdom and power of
Jesus Christ, so great a work, thereby contributing to the fulfilment of
the angelic prophecy of "Glory to God, and good will to man."

I subsequently visited, in company with a colored gentleman, one of the
principal colored schools in New York, in which there were upwards of
three hundred children present. All the departments appeared to be
conducted, under colored teachers, with great order and efficiency, and
the attainments of the higher classes were very considerable. On the
whole, this school would bear comparison with any similar school for
white children which I ever visited.

Having received from Great Britain the minutes of a special meeting of
the Anti-Slavery Society, called to consider the time of holding a
second General Convention, I met some of the friends of the cause in New
York, together with John G. Whittier and Elizur Wright, of Boston, to
obtain an interchange of their sentiments on the same subject. After
considerable discussion, they unanimously concluded to leave the
decision as to the time of holding a future Convention to the London
Committee--the question of time being the summer of 1842 or 1843.

The numerous persons on whom I called, before leaving New York,
concurred uniformly in the belief that public opinion was steadily, and
somewhat rapidly advancing, in favor of emancipation, and that the
prejudice against color was lessening.

The unanimity I found in the opinion that public feeling in favor of
peace was continually strengthening, was very encouraging. All whom I
consulted, approved of the suggestion of Judge Jay, already mentioned,
though I had no suitable opportunity of obtaining the collective
sentiments of the friends of peace in New York upon it.

The Secretary of the Vigilance Committee, an association existing in
several of the Northern cities, formed to aid runaway slaves in escaping
to a place of safety, as well as to protect the free colored people from
kidnappers, informed me that the number of slaves who applied for
assistance was constantly on the increase. He said that, only a few days
before, a man, who was a preacher of the gospel, who was escaping to
Canada, called upon him; and on being asked why he was fleeing from
slavery, he exposed his naked back, lacerated with a recent flogging,
and said that he had received that punishment for going to his place of
worship.

On the evening of the 24th I went up the river Hudson to Sing Sing, in
company with Lewis Tappan. Our object was to spend the next day, which
was the first day of the week, in this celebrated state prison. We
lodged at a quiet hotel, on an eminence above the village; and next
morning, about eight o'clock, we went to the prison, where we were very
kindly received by the superintendent, J.G. Seymour, and by the
chaplain. Soon afterwards, we had the opportunity of seeing all the male
prisoners, about seven hundred and fifty, in the chapel, when they were
addressed by a minister of the Presbyterian persuasion, whom we had met
on board the steamer, and whom Lewis Tappan had invited to be there. We
were informed that about one-third of the prisoners were colored: these
did not sit separate, but were intermixed with the rest. In general,
however, the striking language of De Beaumont, a late French traveller
in the United States, will be found true. "The prejudice against color
haunts its victim wherever he goes,--in the hospitals where humanity
suffers,--in the churches where it kneels to God,--_in the prisons where
it expiates its offences_,--in the grave-yards where it sleeps the last
sleep."

From hence we proceeded to the female department, where about eighty
were assembled, some of whom seemed much affected by an address from my
friend, Lewis Tappan. He told them he saw at least one present who had
been a scholar in his colored Sabbath School at New York. The white
women were placed in the front seats, and the colored behind them. We
next went to the Sabbath School for the male prisoners, held in the
chapel, where the attendance is general, though perfectly voluntary.
Twenty-five of the best educated and most orderly prisoners are allowed
to teach classes: the other teachers were officers of the prison, and
other persons attracted hither by benevolent motives; and I was told the
teachers selected among the convicts had not once been detected in the
abuse of this privilege, by entering into conversation on other topics.
On the breaking up of the school, Lewis Tappan addressed them, and I
added a few words. We were kindly invited to dine with the matron. She
mentioned one instance of complete reformation in a female, which was to
be attributed she believed, under the Divine blessing, to the ministry
of Joseph J. Gurney, who visited Sing Sing, in the course of his
religious labors in the United States.

After dinner we were permitted to visit the male prisoners at their
cells, list shoes being provided for us that we might walk along the
galleries without noise. Those who wished to do so, were suffered to
speak to us through their grated doors, in a low voice. A number
embraced this opportunity; of the sincere repentance and reformation of
some of whom, I could scarcely doubt. One prisoner, a man of color,
appeared to enjoy a state of perfect happiness, under a sense of being
at peace with his Maker. Another manifested such a feeling of his
spiritual blessings, and especially of that change of heart he had been
favored to experience, as scarcely to have a desire for his liberation,
though his health was visibly sinking under the confinement, and there
appeared little other prospect but that of his dying in the prison, as
he had been condemned for ten years, of which three yet remained.
Several were Englishmen, who were mostly under feigned names, keeping
their real names secret, from a natural unwillingness to disgrace their
families. Some of these were men of education, and communicated to me in
confidence their family names. One referred to gentlemen standing
deservedly high in the estimation of the British public, as well knowing
him. Two or three of this class wept much, when speaking of their
situation, and of the offences that had brought them there.

I gathered from the prisoners themselves that a great change had been
introduced, both in the affairs and in the management of the prison,
within the last eighteen months, by the present excellent superintendent
and chaplain and their coadjutors, and with the happiest effects. The
former system was one of brutal severity; now, without any relaxation of
discipline, needless severity is discarded, and the floggings have been
reduced nine-tenths, the great object being the reformation of the
prisoners. One of these, speaking of the superintendent and chaplain,
said: "there was not a prisoner in the jail, but rejoiced to hear the
sound of their feet."

J.G. Seymour mentioned one of the English prisoners to me, whose heart
had been softened, and his reformation commenced, through the kindness
of his prosecutor, who had spent both time and money in endeavoring to
procure his release. This statement was fully confirmed in an
interesting conversation I had with the individual himself, who was
subsequently permitted, as well as another Englishman, to send letters
by me to their relations in this country.

An extract from the correspondence of one of my unfortunate
fellow-countrymen, which I am permitted to make, will afford an
interesting view of the internal administration of the Sing Sing prison,
by one of its inmates. After alluding to the absolute monotony of prison
life, he gives one day as a specimen of every day. "Monday morning, the
large prison bell rings at five o'clock, when we all rise; half an hour
after, we all go out to work, to our respective shops, till breakfast,
the keepers all the time seated upon a high seat, overlooking--seeing
that everything is ordered and going on in a proper manner: no talking
allowed upon any occasion, or under any pretence whatever. When the
breakfast-bell rings, we all go in to breakfast, each one to a separate
room, (which are all numbered, one thousand in all;) every man's
breakfast is ready for him in his room,--one pint of coffee, with plenty
of meat, potatoes, and rye bread. After one hour, the prison opens
again, and we work in a similar manner till twelve--dinner hour--when we
go in again. Dinner is set ready as before,--an ample quantity of meat,
potatoes, and bread, with a cup of water, (the best beverage in the
world--would to God I had never drank any thing else, and I should not
have been here;) one hour allowed for dinner, when we go out and work
again till six o'clock, when we come in and are locked up for the night,
with a large bowl of mush, (hasty pudding with molasses,) the finest
food in the world, made from Indian meal. Thus passes each day of the
week. Sundays we rise at the same hour; each man has a clean shirt given
him in his room, then goes to the kitchen, brings his breakfast in with
him, the same as before, and is locked up till eight, when Divine
service is performed by a most worthy and able chaplain. After service,
through the pious and benevolent efforts of Mr. Seymour, we have an
excellent Sabbath School. Bible classes, where from three to four
hundred attend, about half to learn to read, and the others to receive
instruction in the way to attain everlasting life, under the immediate
inspection of Mr. Seymour; and I am happy to say, that the greatest
attention is paid by scholars of both classes: many, very many, know how
to appreciate the value of these privileges, and benefit by them
accordingly. Mr. Seymour has obtained a large library for us, and one of
the prisoners is librarian. At eleven o'clock we are locked up for the
day, with an extra allowance of food and water sufficient. The librarian
and an assistant are left open, to distribute the books; that is to go
to each man's cell, get the book he had the previous Sunday, and give
him another in exchange, generally supplying them with a small tract, of
which we mostly have a great plenty."

A large proportion of the prisoners work in a stone quarry without the
walls; and the most painful sight I saw at Sing Sing were the sentinels
placed on prominent points commanding the prison, with loaded muskets
and fixed bayonets, who have orders at once to shoot a convict who may
attempt to escape, if he does not obey the order to return. I was told,
however, an occurrence of the kind had not happened for years.

A number of the female domestics in different families in the village of
Sing Sing, have been prisoners, and are now reformed and generally
conducting themselves to the entire satisfaction of their employers.

There are few subjects more interesting to a civilized and Christian
community, than that of prison discipline. It will scarcely, at the
present day, be denied that the only motives on which, in such a
government, criminal law can be administered, are the public safety, and
the reformation of the criminal himself. Vengeance has not been
delegated to man under the Christian dispensation. It is too evident,
nevertheless, that the principle of retaliatory punishment, irrespective
of any considerations of public safety, or the benefit of the offender,
pervades our criminal jurisprudence, both in theory and practice, and
just so far as this is the case, is the last great object defeated, for
his feelings are deadened, and his heart hardened by it. The most
depraved wretch has that within him which testifies that his fellow worm
has no right to inflict pain upon him solely as a _punishment_, and his
heart rebels against what he feels to be oppression. On the more
enlightened, the effect is equally unfavorable, for he contrasts the
practice of his persecutors with their profession, and is perhaps
conducted thereby to infidelity and despair. One of the prisoners at
Sing Sing, while contrasting the former with the present management,
said, "We used to hear the gospel preached to us on the Sabbath, but see
its doctrines trampled upon in all the conduct pursued towards us the
whole week besides." How different the result where the law of love
reigns! At Sing Sing there are numerous recent instances where
conviction on the minds of the prisoners that the authorities of the
prison have no other object than their temporal and spiritual benefit,
has softened their hearts, and thereby disposed them to the reception of
that consoling faith in a crucified Saviour, which is the only
foundation of true amendment of life. How important is it that all the
offices in a prison should be filled by persons of true piety; and where
can such be more usefully employed?

In a former part of this work, I have expressed a somewhat unfavorable
opinion on "the separate system," adopted in the Philadelphia
Penitentiary. One of my objections to this system is this, that to
deprive man so entirely of human society, is to do violence to the
strongest instinct of his nature, and thereby to inflict suffering far
more severe than corporeal pain or privation. If the severity of this
system does not obviously tend to carry out the legitimate objects of
prison discipline, it cannot be defended. The small number of
recommittals is no proof of the efficacy of this system; since, in a
country like the United States, a liberated felon may very easily choose
another locality for his sphere of action. In favor of the "separate
system," it is occasionally pleaded that the prisoner is under a veil of
secresy; and that when he goes forth, neither the censorious public, nor
his fellow-prisoners, can point him out; and thus, his character being
comparatively unblemished, he can, with less difficulty, procure
employment. It is obvious that this would induce, in many cases, a
degree of dishonest concealment from an employer, and encourage
dissimulation. It would be much better that the prisoner should depend
for a situation on the good character which the superintendent would
give him if reformed; and I was glad to find at Sing Sing guarded
situations had been procured, in numerous instances, for the liberated
prisoners, and that their employers, with very little exception,
represented them to be most valuable servants. I could hear of no case,
in either of the prisons I visited, of any permanent injury to the
health of a prisoner from the entire disuse of intoxicating drinks,
however intemperate their previous habits might have been. The same
remark is true with regard to tobacco. I will only add, that it is
notorious that the prison discipline of Great Britain, notwithstanding
all its recent improvements, is yet lamentably deficient; and that
though the United States justly claim precedence of us in this respect,
they have, by no means reached perfection. The greatest deficiency of
all, however, in each nation, is that of institutions like the
Philadelphia Refuge, co-extensive with the wants of the community, for
the reformation of juvenile delinquency; thus suppressing crime in its
small beginnings. So long as this want is unsupplied, and the juvenile
offender is contaminated by contact with the hardened criminal, the
statesmen and those who control the legislatures of both countries,
dishonor their profession of Christianity.

On the 26th, I accompanied my friends, J. and M. Candler, to the steamer
which was to convey them on board the "Roscius" packet, to sail for
Liverpool this afternoon. I afterwards called upon Charles Collins, who,
for many years past, has dealt exclusively in articles of free labor
produce, and for which he said he had found the demand to increase of
late. I am more and more convinced that this branch of the abolition
question has not received the attention it deserves from the friends of
the cause. Before leaving New York, I ought not to omit to record a
visit that was on a previous occasion paid us at our hotel, by William
Cullen Bryant, whose name on this side of the water is associated with
some of the most beautiful productions of American literature. He is the
editor of the _New York Evening Post_, a leading democratic paper, and,
to his credit be it said, he has always advocated the rights of the
abolitionists. He has a thin, pale, thought-worn countenance, and his
manner is quiet and unassuming. I also formed an agreeable acquaintance
with Lydia Maria Child, known in both hemispheres as one of the most
pleasing of American writers. She is editor of the _National
Anti-Slavery Standard_. Her services in the cause of the slave have
been of great value, and have been given at the risk of destroying her
interests and popularity as an author.

I finally quitted this city, in the steamer, for Boston, on the 24th,
accompanied by John G. Whittier.

I remained in Boston till the first of the Eighth Month, (August) when I
embarked on board the "Caledonia" steamer for England.--During the
interval, I made a number of calls upon the abolitionists in Boston;
and, among others, saw Henry and Maria Chapman and Wendell Phillips; the
former of whom had just returned from a visit to Hayti, and the latter
from Europe. I had several interviews with Martha V. and Lucy M. Ball,
secretaries of the Boston Female Emancipation Society, who have long
been faithful and laborious abolitionists. I also met, as at New York, a
number of the friends of the cause, again to consider the best time for
calling a second general Convention, to whom I read the London minutes
on that subject. A resolution was unanimously passed, of the same tenor
as those of New York, lately noticed. While in this city, I had not only
the pleasure of renewing my intimacy with my friend, Nathaniel Colver,
who is known to many of the English abolitionists as their valuable and
cordial coadjutor at the great Convention in London, but of becoming
acquainted with many zealous and able friends of the slave. One of these
was Amos A. Phelps, one of those who signed the original declaration
issued by the American Anti-Slavery Society, on its foundation at
Philadelphia, in 1833.

We also went to Salem, and met a number of "Friends" who were
abolitionists, and who appeared desirous to embrace every suitable
opportunity of promoting the cause.

Salem is a city of about fourteen thousand inhabitants, and I was told
that the number of its population who went and returned to and from
Boston, a distance of fourteen miles, weekly, was about five hundred--a
striking proof of the locomotive energy of the Americans. Their
gratification, in this respect, has been much facilitated of late by the
rapid extension of railways. These, with few exceptions, are by no means
so completely constructed as in England; but, owing to the cheapness of
land, timber, et cet., and by making the lines generally single, and, on
the average, the speed of travelling being about one-fourth less than is
common in England, they answer the purpose of rapid transit, while the
outlay is about as many dollars per mile as it is sovereigns with us. On
this railway, and some others in New England, the lines are double, and
the construction and speed are nearly equal to ours.

I was informed, the proportion of severe accidents is not larger than in
Great Britain. The carriages are generally built to hold sixty or
seventy persons, who are seated two by two, one behind another, on
double rows of seats, ranged across the carriage, with room to walk
between, along the centre. The carriage in which we returned from Salem
had twenty-two seats on each side, to contain two each, or, in the
whole, eighty-eight passengers. Yet the weight of this machine would be
little more than that of an English first-class carriage, to hold
eighteen persons, and it cost probably less. Their carriages are well
ventilated in summer, and warmed by a stove in winter. Locomotive
engines approach Boston near enough to prevent the use of horses; but,
on arriving at the distance of a mile or two from New York,
Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the carriages and passengers are drawn in
by horses. One carriage is often specially reserved for the ladies on
the principal lines, into which gentlemen do not usually intrude, unless
they have ladies under their care. It is common, however, for the latter
to take their seats in any of the carriages. There is no distinction of
price, and none of accommodation, except that an inferior and more
exposed carriage, at the same fare, is purposely provided for persons of
color; but this disgraceful relic of past times cannot survive long. The
principal disadvantage that I observed on the American, as compared with
the English railways, was the delay on meeting other trains, and on
stopping for them at places where they could pass, and also the sparks
from the wood, used for fuel instead of coke. On one occasion, my coat
was set on fire in this way, though I was seated in a covered carriage.
Very efficient locomotive engines are made in the United States. I
visited a celebrated manufactory at Philadelphia, which has sent ten to
England, for the use of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway. At the
time of my visit, they had many orders unexecuted from several European
governments. As far as my inquiries went, the cost of making them is,
upon the whole, about the same as in England.

Having been, for several years, a director on the Birmingham and London
Railway, I felt some interest in these inquiries, and came to the
conclusion, that there are several arrangements of economy, and some of
convenience, in the construction and working of railways, which the
English might borrow with advantage from the United States.

On the 29th instant, the secretary of the Peace Society convened a
meeting of the members of that society, and of other influential
gentlemen, including Alden Bradford, late secretary of the State of
Massachusetts; Robert Rantoul, an eloquent and prominent member of the
legislature, and S.E. Coues, of New Hampshire,[A] to take into
consideration the best means of securing permanent international peace.
A very harmonious and satisfactory discussion took place, and the
following statement of the proceedings was subsequently handed to me by
the gentleman who officiated as secretary to the meeting:

[Footnote A: Since elected President of the American Peace Society.]

"A meeting of the friends of peace was held in the city of
Boston, on the evening of the 29th day of July, 1841.

"The meeting was called for the purpose of meeting Mr. Joseph
Sturge, from England, and there were present most of the active
members of the American Peace Society.

"Amasa Walker, Esq., was chosen chairman; and J.P. Blanchard,
secretary.

"Mr. Sturge addressed the meeting, and suggested the expediency
of calling, at some future time, a Convention of the friends of
peace, of different nations, to deliberate upon the best method
of adjusting international disputes; and, offered, for the
consideration of the meeting, a plan proposed by Judge Jay, in
which all the friends of peace could unite.

"The meeting was then addressed by several gentlemen, who
cordially approved the plan proposed, and, subsequently, the
following resolutions were unanimously adopted.

"Resolved,--That this meeting receives with great pleasure the
suggestion of our friend Joseph Sturge, of England, of a general
conference of the friends of peace, at the earliest practical
opportunity, at London, to consult on the measures which are
best adapted to promote universal peace among the nations of the
earth; and they respectfully refer the subject to the executive
committee of the American Peace Society, for their decision, on
correspondence and consultation with the friends of the cause in
this and other countries.

"Resolved,--That the suggestion by Judge Jay, of the insertion
of a clause in all conventional treaties between nations,
mutually binding the parties to submit all international
disputes, during the continuance of such treaties, to the
arbitration of some one or more friendly powers, presents a
definite and practicable object of effort, worthy of the serious
attention of the friends of peace. And this meeting recommends
to the friends of the cause, in different countries, to petition
their respective Governments in favor of the measure."

On the 30th, in company with John G. Whittier and C. Stewart Renshaw, I
went over to Lowell, the chief seat of the woollen and cotton
manufacture in America. Less than twenty years ago, there were not more
than forty or fifty houses on the site of this flourishing city, which
now contains upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants. Its numerous mills
are all worked by water power, and belong to incorporated joint-stock
companies. We were obligingly shown over two of the largest woollen and
cotton factories, where every stage of the manufacture was in process,
from the cotton, or sheep's wool, to the finished fabric. We also
visited works, where the printing of cottons is executed in a superior
style, besides a new process for dyeing cotton in the thread, invented
by an Englishman, now in the establishment. The following abstract of
the manufacturing statistics of Lowell, on the first of January, 1841,
will show the great importance to which this new branch of industry has
attained with such unprecedented rapidity.

Ten joint-stock companies, with a capital of ten millions of dollars,
having thirty-two woollen and cotton factories, besides print works, et
cet., with one hundred and seventy-eight thousand eight hundred and
sixty-eight spindles, and five thousand five hundred and eighty-eight
looms, employing two thousand one hundred and seventy-two males, and six
thousand nine hundred and twenty females, who made, in 1840, sixty-five
millions eight hundred and two thousand four hundred yards of cotton and
woollen cloths, in which were consumed twenty-one millions four hundred
and twenty-four thousand pounds of cotton alone.

The average amount earned by the male hands employed, exclusive of their
board, is four dollars and eighty cents, or about twenty shillings
sterling per week, and of the females two dollars, or about eight
shillings and sixpence per week.

But the most striking and gratifying feature of Lowell, is the high
moral and intellectual condition of its working population. In looking
over the books of the mills we visited, where the operatives entered
their names, I observed very few that were not written by themselves;
certainly not five per cent. of the whole number were signed with a
mark, and many of these were evidently Irish. It was impossible to go
through the mills, and notice the respectable appearance and becoming
and modest deportment of the "factory girls," without forming a very
favorable estimate of their character and position in society. But it
would be difficult indeed for a passing observer to rate them so high as
they are proved to be by the statistics of the place. The female
operatives are generally boarded in houses built and owned by the
"corporation" for whom they work, and which are placed under the
superintendence of matrons of exemplary character, and skilled in
housewifery, who pay a low rent for the houses, and provide all
necessaries for their inmates, over whom they exercise a general
oversight, receiving about one dollar and one-third from each per week.
Each of these houses accommodates from thirty to fifty young women, and
there is a wholesome rivalry among the mistresses which shall make their
inmates most comfortable. We visited one of the hoarding houses, and
were highly pleased with its arrangement. A considerable number of the
factory girls are farmers' daughters, and come hither from Vermont, New
Hampshire, and other distant States, to work for two, three, or four
years, when they return to their native hills, dowered with a little
capital of their own earnings. The factory operatives at Lowell form a
community that commands the respect of the neighborhood, and of all
under whose observation they come. No female of an immoral character
could remain a week in any of the mills. The superintendent of the Boott
Corporation informed me, that, during the five and a half years of his
superintendence of that factory, employing about nine hundred and fifty
young women, he had known of but one case of an illegitimate birth--and
the mother was an Irish "immigrant." Any male or female employed, who
was known to be in a state of inebriety, would be at once dismissed.

At the suggestion of the benevolent and intelligent superintendent of
the Boott Company, we waited to see the people turn out to dinner, at
half-past twelve o'clock. We stood in a position where many hundreds
passed under our review, whose dress, and quiet and orderly demeanor
would have done credit to any congregation breaking up from their place
of worship. One of the gentlemen with me, who is from a slave State,
where all labor is considered degrading, remarked, with emotion, "What
would I give if, (naming a near relative in the slave States,) could
witness this only for a quarter of an hour!" We dined with one of our
abolition friends at Lowell, who informed us that many hundreds of the
factory girls were members of the Anti-Slavery Society; and that,
although activity in this cause has been pretty much suspended by the
division in the ranks of its friends, yet there is no diminution of good
feeling on the subject. The following extracts, from a pamphlet
published by a respectable citizen of Lowell, will further illustrate
the moral statistics of the place, which, I believe, can be paralleled
by no other manufacturing town in the world. The work is dated July,
1839:--

"There are now in the city fourteen regularly organized
religious societies, besides one or two others quite recently
established. Ten of these societies constitute a Sabbath School
Union. Their third annual report was made on the fourth of the
present month, and it has been published within a few days. I
derive from it the following facts. The number of scholars
connected with the ten schools at the time of making the report,
was four thousand nine hundred and thirty-six, and the number of
teachers was four hundred and thirty-three, making an aggregate
of five thousand three hundred and sixty-nine. The number who
joined the schools during the year, was three thousand seven
hundred and seventy, the number who left was three thousand one
hundred and twenty-nine. About three-fourths of the scholars are
females. A large proportion of the latter are over fifteen years
of age, and consist of girls employed in the mills. More than
five hundred of these scholars have, during the last year,
become personally interested in practical piety, and more than
six hundred have joined themselves to the several churches. Now
let it be borne in mind, that there are four or five Sunday
Schools in the city, some of which are large and flourishing,
not included in this statement. Let it be borne in mind, too,
that a great proportion of these scholars are the factory girls,
and furthermore, that these most gratifying results just given,
have nothing in them extraordinary--they are only the common,
ordinary results of several of the past years. There has been no
unusual excitement; no noise, no commotion. Silently, quietly,
unobtrusively, from Sabbath to Sabbath, in these little
nurseries of truth, duty and religion, has the good seed been
sowing and springing up--watered by the dews, and warmed by the
smiles of heaven--to everlasting life....

"I shall now proceed to enumerate some of the influences which
have been most powerful in bringing about these results. Among
these are the example and watchful care and oversight of the
boarding house keepers, the superintendents, and the
overseers.... But a power vastly more active, all pervading and
efficient, than any and all of these, is to be found in the
jealous and sleepless watchfulness, over each other, of the
girls themselves.... The strongest guardianship of their own
character, as a class, is in their own hands, and they will not
suffer either overseer or superintendent to be indifferent to
this character with impunity.

"The relationship which is here established between the Sunday
school scholar and her teacher--between the member of the church
and her pastor--the attachments which spring up between them,
are rendered close and strong by the very circumstances in which
these girls are placed. These relationships and these
attachments take the place of the domestic ties and the home
affections, and they have something of the strength and fervency
of these."

The next extract shows their prosperity in a pecuniary point.

"The average wages, clear of board, amount to about two dollars
a week. Many an aged father or mother, in the country, is made
happy and comfortable, by the self-sacrificing contributions
from the affectionate and dutiful daughter here. Many an old
homestead has been cleared of its incumbrances, and thus saved
to the family by these liberal and honest earnings. To the many
and most gratifying and cheering facts, which, in the course of
this examination I have had occasion to state, I here add a few
others relating to the matter now under discussion, furnished me
by Mr. Carney, the treasurer of the Lowell Institution for
Savings. The whole number of depositors in this institution, on
the 23d July, was nineteen hundred and seventy-six; the whole
number of deposits was three hundred and five thousand seven
hundred and ninety-six dollars and seventy cents, (about
L60,000.) Of these depositors, nine hundred and seventy-eight
are factory girls, and the amount of their funds now in the
bank, is estimated by Mr. Carney, in round numbers, at one
hundred thousand dollars, (about L20,000.) It is a common thing
for one of these girls to have five hundred dollars (about L100
sterling) in deposit, and the only reason why she does not
exceed this sum is the fact, that the institution pays no
interest on any larger sum than this. After reaching this
amount, she invests her remaining funds elsewhere."

In confirmation of this description of the state of the Lowell
population, I have obtained, through the kindness of a friend in
Massachusetts, the following parallel statistics to a recent date:--

"PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--By the report of the school committee for the
year ending on the 5th of Fourth Month (April) 1841, it appears
that the whole number of pupils in the schools, who attended
during the whole or part of the year, was 5,830. The whole
amount expended by the city for these schools, during the year,
was 18,106 dollars, 51 cents.

"SABBATH SCHOOLS.--The number of scholars and teachers in the
Sabbath Schools, connected with the various religious societies
in Lowell, during the year ending on the 5th of Seventh Month
(July) 1841, was 5,493.

"SAVINGS BANK.--The Lowell Institution for Savings, in its
report of Fifth Month (May), 1840, acknowledges 328,395 dollars,
55 cents, deposits, from 2,137 persons; together with 16,093
dollars, 29 cents, nett amount received for interest on loans
and dividends in stocks, less expense and dividends paid--making
in all, 344,488 dollars, 84 cents; nett amount of interest,
24,714 dollars, 61 cents. Within the year, 120,175 dollars, 69
cents, had been deposited, and 70,384 dollars, 24 cents, drawn
out.

"PAUPERS.--The whole expense of the city for the support of the
poor, during the year ending on the 31st of Twelfth Month
(December) 1840, was 2,698 dollars, 61 cents."

As a proof, slight yet significant, of the spread of intellectual
cultivation, I ought not to omit a notice of the "Lowell Offering," a
little monthly magazine, of original articles, written exclusively by
the factory girls. The editor of the _Boston Christian Examiner_
commends this little periodical to those who consider the factory system
to be degrading and demoralizing; and expresses a doubt "whether a
committee of young ladies, selected from the most refined and best
educated families in any of our towns and cities, could make a fairer
appearance in type than these hard-working factory girls."

The city of Lowell has been distinguished by British tourists as the
Manchester of the United States; but, in view of the facts above
related, an American has declared it to be "_not_ the Manchester of the
United States."

Besides the general prosperity of the operatives, the shareholders in
the different corporations divide from eight to fifteen per cent, per
annum on their capital.

The inquiry naturally suggests itself, why the state of things in the
manufacturing districts of Great Britain should be so widely different
from this? Some may satisfy themselves by recollecting that England is
an old and America a young country; though, to my mind, this affords no
reasonable explanation of the contrast--since, from the possession of
surplus capital, complete machinery, and facility of communication, et
cet., the advantages for _commerce and manufactures_, under a system of
perfectly unrestricted exchange, must preponderate greatly in favor of
the former. But whatever the solution of the difficulty, it is quite
evident that the statesman who would elevate the moral standard of our
working population, must begin by removing the physical depression and
destitution in which a large proportion of them, without any fault of
their own, are compelled to drag out a weary and almost hopeless
existence. To some peculiarly constituted minds, "over-production" is
the explanation of the present appalling distresses of this country; and
what they are pleased to consider a healthy state of things, is to be
restored by a diminution of production;--yet nothing is more certain,
than that the largest amount of production which has ever been reached,
is not more than adequate to supply our increasing population with the
necessaries of life, on even a very limited scale of comfort. A
diminished production implies the starving down of the population to
such a diminished number as may obtain leave to toil, and leave to
subsist, from legislators, who, either in ignorance or selfishness, set
aside nature's laws, and disregard the plainly legible ordinances of
Divine Providence. If we reflect on the part which commerce is made to
perform in the moral government of the world, on the one hand as the
bond of peace between powerful nations, by creating a perpetual
interchange of temporal benefits; and, on the other, as the channel for
the diffusion of blessings of an intellectual and spiritual kind; we are
conducted irresistibly to the conclusion, that any arbitrary
interruption of its free course must draw down its own punishment.

Though the laws of nature may not permit the limited soil of this
country to grow food enough for its teeming population, yet while Great
Britain possesses mineral wealth, abundant capital, and the largest
amount of skilled industry of any nation in the world, the tributary
supplies of other countries would not only satisfy our present wants,
but would, I firmly believe, with an unfettered commerce, raise our
working population, the most numerous, and by far the most important
part of the community, to the same level of prosperity as the same class
in the United States. Then would there be more hope for the success of
efforts to elevate the standard of moral and intellectual cultivation
among them, for as an improvable material they are no way inferior to
any population upon earth. John Curtis of Ohio, a free trade missionary
to this country, has published a pamphlet full of important statistical
facts, illustrating the suicidal policy of Great Britain, from which I
venture to take the following extracts:

"England already obtains luxuries in superabundance; but these
can never supply the wants of her artizans--they demand
substantial bread and meat, and a market where their labor can
procure these necessaries. Tropical climates are not adapted to
supply their wants. For this reason trade either with the East
or West Indies cannot give effectual relief: it may furnish
luxuries, but England is overstocked with them already. The food
of tropical climates, with the exception of rice, is not
calculated for export. The people of England, if they are to
import food, need the production of a climate similar to their
own. In this respect America is well adapted to supply them.

"All parts of the United States between thirty-seven and
forty-four degrees of north latitude will produce wheat. But
that part of the country best adapted to furnish an abundant
supply is, beyond all question, the northern part of the
Mississippi valley, and the contiguous country south of the
great lakes. It has been styled _par excellence_ the
wheat-growing region of America. Within its limits lie the six
north-western States of the American Union, Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Wiskonsan (including as States the
two territories of Iowa and Wiskonsan, about to be admitted into
the Union.) These States, exclusive of two hundred thousand
square miles, the title to which is yet mostly in the Indian
tribes, cover an area of two hundred and thirty-six thousand and
eleven square miles. The country is, generally, an undulating
prairie, interspersed with groves of trees, and unbroken by hill
or mountain. The soil commonly rests upon a strata of limestone,
is fertile beyond description, and abundantly watered by the
finest springs and streams. Its climate is clear and salubrious,
and the country as well calculated as any other on the globe to
minister to the support and happiness of civilized man. As
already explained, for an inland country, it possesses
unequalled facilities for foreign intercourse and commerce, by
means of its great lakes and rivers. The most distant parts of
it are now reached in twenty days from Liverpool. The energies
of the American people have been chiefly expended, during the
last few years, in opening and taking possession of this region,
which they consider destined to become the future seat of
American wealth and greatness.

"Wheat once formed a leading article in the exports of the
United States. The trade of that country with Great Britain was
then double the present amount in proportion to the number of
the population. Had the trade of the two countries continued
free, it would have increased with the increase of population
and capital. The legitimate exchange trade has decreased between
England and America for thirty years. What part has the
restrictive system had in producing this result? A few facts may
enable us not only to answer this question, but to anticipate
the consequences of a continuance of the same policy. From the
time of the revolutionary war in America until 1812, the trade
between the two countries regularly increased with the increase
of the population. The average annual consumption of foreign
merchandise in the United States for each inhabitant was,

From 1790 to 1800, 39s. 4d.
" 1800 to 1810, 41s. 8d.

"In 1812 came the second American war, and in 1815 the British
corn law, which was promptly followed by the high American
tariff of 1816. For ten years prior to 1830, the annual average
consumption of merchandize had fallen to 22s. 6d., while the
population of the States was nearly double, and their capital
treble that of the ten years preceding 1810. Soon after 1830
followed the modification of the American tariff, and the
importations based on the great transatlantic loans of that
period. But, notwithstanding the stimulation and extravagance of
the time, the average annual consumption amounted to only 31s.
per head of foreign produce during the ten years prior to 1840.
Abating the importation based on the loans of the last few
years, and the trade of England with the United States has not
increased in amount for the last thirty years, while the
population of England has increased from eighteen to
twenty-seven millions, and that of the States from seven to
seventeen millions.

"Let the reader observe this, that in the Eastern States, in
that of Massachusetts, for instance, in which State Boston is
situated, the people bring a large part of their food from the
Western States, where they obtain it in exchange for their
manufactures. If free trade were allowed, is it possible for any
man to give a reason why the manufacturer and laborer of
Manchester would not be able to do as well as the manufacturer
and laborer of Boston now does, abating the difference of
transporting goods and grain across the Atlantic? At least, the
consequence would be an extension of trade, and employment equal
to the amount of food which would, in such case, be brought from
America; and the limit to this quantity will be found only when
the wants of Englishmen are supplied, and their ability to pay
exhausted. The ability of America to supply any required
quantity of food has already been shown. There lie the broad
lands, ready for cultivation as soon as there shall be a demand
for the produce. And if seventeen millions of people, sent
chiefly from England, or descended from those who have been
sent, are not sufficient to raise the requisite quantity of
provisions demanded of them by those who remain in the parent
country, then let more be sent, for the land lies equally open
to the people of all nations.

"Then, as to the ability of Englishmen to pay for all they want,
let us ask, what those who produce the food, or those who bring
it, can want in exchange that England cannot furnish? Gold, it
is said.[A] But for what do they want gold but to purchase other
supplies than food? and as they would then have the means to
pay, England would be the very country which, of all others,
could supply them to advantage. Whatever was wanted which her
own artizans do not produce themselves, they could still supply.
Englishmen would not at all be confined to a direct sale or
exchange of their goods with the wheat grower, but can give him
the merchandize of India and China, and the fruits of the
tropics, for which English manufactures would pay. If the idle
mills and idle laborers of England could at once be set at work
to produce food for the people, new activity would be imparted
to trade in every part of the world--from India to the frozen
regions of Greenland and Labrador. But, on the other hand, how
is it possible for England to extend her foreign trade while the
present restrictions continue? Even with such a country as
India, reduced under British sway, it cannot be done except by
diminishing the commerce with other countries to the same
extent. England cannot, in her present condition, greatly
increase her consumption of such merchandize as India can
furnish, or dispose of such merchandize abroad, to any great
extent, for the reasons already given.

[Footnote A: "Englishmen, reasoning from a restricted course of
trade, are constantly prone to the belief that the purchase of
foreign corn, from some unexplained necessity, must take away
their gold. Americans, from the same cause, reason in the same
manner respecting the purchase of foreign goods. Under the
action of the restrictive system, there may be some truth in the
reasonings of each party, but they certainly form a beautiful
running commentary upon each other."]

"As to any proposed gain by the Colonial trade, it is the very
thing rejected by the restrictions on the trade with the United
States. What are these States but the greatest colonies ever
planted by Great Britain? and their independence does not at all
prevent England from deriving all the advantage from them ever
to be derived from colonies. The only good which England can
derive from her extensive colonization is not to be gained by
swaying a barren sceptre over distant colonies, but by spreading
abroad her race, her language, her civilization, and thus
enlarging the sphere of her commerce. Under a free system of
intercourse England would not derive less benefit, at present,
from the United States than if they had remained a part of the
British dominions, for if trade were free, they would not trade
the less because of their independence, or furnish less food, or
at higher prices. England, however, seems determined to
sacrifice all the advantages which naturally accrue to her from
having colonized the finest part of the New World, and to refuse
the abundance and relief thus providentially prepared by her own
offspring."

The great importance of these extracts is the best apology for
their length--but there is yet another branch of the subject. A
country whose population is beyond its means of supply from its
own soil, has no resources but that of her manufactures and
foreign trade; if these be dried up, her people must emigrate or
starve. But the United States has an alternative;--her first and
best resource,--and the most profitable application of her
industry is in her broad and fertile lands, the superabundant
produce of which would not only feed, but, by exchange, clothe
her population, and supply them with all the comforts of
civilized life. She cannot avail herself of this to its full
extent without our aid. But, if we refuse to trade on equal
terms, her wants will not, therefore, go unsupplied. She can
manufacture for herself--her resources for manufactures and
commerce are, at least, equal to our own, with the exception of
capital and population, which the lapse of a few more years will
supply.

"The present may justly be considered a crisis in the commercial
policy of America. If it be decided that foreign markets are to
continue closed against American corn--if England, which is the
principal corn market of the world, refuse to exchange the
produce of her mills and workshops for that of the fields of the
Americans, they have no other alternative than to erect mills
and workshops from which to supply themselves. The effect of
such a course would prove decisive on the trade with England,
and go far to complete the ruin so effectually begun by the
British corn law and corresponding restrictions. If forced from
employment on the land, which an abundant and fertile soil has
naturally made their most profitable one, it will be found that
the Americans lack neither the talent, the energy, nor the
means, at once to extend their present manufactures to the full
supply of their own wants. They have water-power, coal, and
iron, in greater natural abundance and perfection than any other
part of the world."[A]

[Footnote A: "The United States are computed to contain not less
than eighty thousand square miles of coal, or sixteen times as
much as Europe. One of these coal fields extends nine hundred
miles in length. The State of Pennsylvania has ten thousand
square miles of coal and iron. Great Britain and Ireland have
two thousand. All the north-western States of America contain
large quantities of coal. The coal strata of the States
generally lie above the level of the streams, and the coal is
taken from the hill sides. The beds of coal and iron are to a
great extent contiguous."]

This is not mere theory. The developement is actually begun:

"A few years since, the country smiths, and the matrons with
their daughters at the household wheel and loom, were the
principal manufacturers of America. Now the cotton mills alone
are computed at one thousand, and the capital invested in
manufacturing machinery at L23,500,000. The estimated value of
some of the principal articles of manufacture is as follows:

Woollens, L15,750,000
Cotton, 11,250,000
Leather, 9,000,000
Hats and Caps, 3,575,000
Linen, 1,350,000
Paper, 1,350,000
Glass, 1,125,000
Iron and Steel, 11,250,000

"Some idea of the rapidity with which the American manufactures
are now capable of being extended, may be formed from the past
progress of the cotton manufacture. The consumption of raw
cotton was,

In 1833, 196,000 bales.
1835, 236,700 "
1837, 246,000 "
1839, 276,000 "

"The United States already supply two-thirds of their own
consumption of cottons. At the above rate of increase--of nearly
fifty per cent, in five years--America will much more than
supply its own market in five years to come. Never has the
manufacturing interest of the United States been in as
prosperous and sound a condition as at present. They need no
high tariff to protect them against British competition. _The
English corn law is their best protection_."

It is the restrictive policy of Great Britain that has called into
existence Lowell and the manufacturing cities of the United States,
producing an immense amount of articles which were once the sole
products of British industry and skill. If the same policy is continued,
the prosperity of the United States will be impeded, but that of England
will be destroyed.

The following is an extract from the memorial of Joshua Leavitt to
Congress, on the wheat interests of the North Western States:

"Should it, indeed, come to be settled that there is to be no
foreign market for these products, the fine country under
contemplation is not, therefore, to be despaired of. Let the
necessity once become apparent, and there will be but one mind
among the people of the North-west. The same patriotism which
carried our fathers through the self-denying non-importation
agreements of the revolution, will produce a fixed determination
to build up a home market, at every sacrifice. And it can be
done. What has been done already in the way of manufactures,
shows that it can be done. The recent application of the
hot-blast with anthracite coal to the making of iron, and the
discovery of a mine of natural steel, would be auxiliaries of
immense value. We could draw to our factories the best workmen
of Europe, attracted less by the temptation of wages, than by
the desire to leave liberty and land as the inheritance of their
children. But it would take a long time to build up a
manufacturing interest adequate to supply the wants of the
Northwest, or to consume the produce of these wide fields; and
the burden of taxation for internal improvements, uncompleted
and unproductive, would be very heavy and hard to bear: and all
the population that is concentrated upon manufactures, is so
much kept back from the occupation of that noble domain; and the
national treasury would feel the effects of the curtailment of
imports and the cessation of land sales; and the amount of
misery which the loss of the American market would occasion to
the starving operatives and factory children on the other side
of the Atlantic, is worthy to be taken into the account, by
every statesman who has not forgotten that he is a man."

If we refuse the Americans as customers, we compel them to become our
rivals; and, after supplying their own wants, they will compete with us
for the trade of the world, on more than equal terms. Our statesmen may
yet employ America to build up the prosperity of our country whilst
increasing her own, or they may suffer its rapidly developing and
gigantic resources to work out our ruin: the alternative is before them
and before the country--but decision must be prompt, for there is no
pause in the march of events. However unwise the policy, we cannot be
surprised that the American and Continental manufacturer are each
applying to his government to follow our example, and protect home trade
by fiscal regulations.

This question of trade with America has also most important anti-slavery
bearings--and here, again, I find my own views anticipated by the able
writer already quoted:

"The present policy of restricting the traffic with America so
closely to cotton, gives a deceitful appearance to the stated
imports and exports. From these statements there should, in
fairness, be deducted the value of all the raw cotton which is
returned to America; and, in fact, if the true exchange trade
would be seen, all should be deducted that is exported from
England. That portion of cotton goods which is of English
origin, that is, their value above the raw material out of which
they were made, is, in fact, the only real part of English
export. Before exclusive importance was bestowed on cotton, the
exchange with America was in a large proportion of articles not
to be returned. It would be so again if trade were free."

Again:

"To one effect which would be produced in America by the repeal
of the corn and provision laws, no party or class in England can
profess indifference, and that is, _its effect on slavery in the
United States_. At the present time, England gives a premium to
American slavery by admitting, at low duties, the cotton of the
slave-holder, which is his staple production, and refusing corn,
which is mostly the produce of free labor. The slave-holding
States, to the productions of which Great Britain confines her
American trade, are less populous and less wealthy than the
free; yet of their produce England received in 1839, according
to the American estimates, L11,600,000, while of that of the
free States she received less than L500,000."

"It should be remembered that the labor of the slave States, is
almost wholly expended in agriculture, under the stimulus of a
good market, while a large part of that of the free States is
otherwise employed, for the want of such market. The effective
laborers of the free States are double the number of those in
the slave States; and were an opportunity given them, they would
export in as great a proportion. Thus England, by her laws,
fosters an odious institution abroad, which, in words, she
loudly condemns, and spends millions to rid the world of; whilst
she rejects more honorable, profitable, and wealthy customers,
the fruits of whose free and active industry are in effect made
contraband in England by law.

"Not only would England escape this inconsistency and reproach,
by repealing the corn law, but she would strike a most effectual
blow at the existence of slavery in the United States. Cotton,
at present, from being made by the corn law the principal
exchangeable article in the American trade, assumes an undue and
unnatural importance in American commerce, legislation, and home
industry. The slave-owner drives his slaves in its production,
and purchases supplies of the northern freeman, whose interests
are thus identified with those of the cotton grower, and the
slave-holding interest becomes predominant in the country. From
their habits, the people of the slave-holding States are
constantly contracting more debts in the free States than they
have the means of paying; so that, under the present system of
intercourse, the slaveholders exercise over the free population
of the north, the same control which an insolvent debtor
frequently has over his creditor, by threatening to break and
ruin him, if not allowed his own way. A repeal of the corn laws
would release the free States from their present commercial and
consequent political vassalage to the southern slave-holders,
and thereby take from American slavery, the great citadel of its
strength, and insure its overthrow by the influences which would
arise to assail it from all quarters.

"But as free trade, in destroying the odious monopoly of the
haughty slave-holder, would benefit and not injure him, so would
its effects be found universally. It would give peace and plenty
to England and the world,--it would enlarge and secure trade,
bind the spreading branches of the Anglo-saxon race by natural
affinity to England as their acknowledged head, and promote the
liberty and civilization of the human family at large."

In view of the whole spirit of this discussion of one of the most
important questions bearing upon human interests, I would simply add,
that a wise Providence has bound the duty and the interest, both of
individual and social man, firmly together, but for the trial of his
virtue the bands are concealed.

On the 31st, I took my luggage on board the steam packet "Caledonia,"
for Liverpool, via Halifax, which was to sail the day following,
although it was the first day of the week. The proprietors of the
packets are bound in a heavy fine to sail on the appointed days, whether
those fall on the first day of the week or not. By this arrangement the
religious feelings of the people of Boston are offended, which is the
more inexcusable, on the part of the British Government, as it does not
suffer its own mails to depart, either from London or Halifax, on that
day. Some gentlemen, who were interested in the subject, placed in my
hands a memorial addressed to the Lords of the Admiralty in Great
Britain, praying for such an alteration of the arrangements as would
prevent this periodical violation of the first day of the week. A
gentleman, who was active in getting it signed, assured me it was
received with universal favor. The signatures, obtained on very short
notice, are those of the most influential men in their respective
stations in the city of Boston, and include the names of the mayor of
the city, an ex-lieutenant governor of the State of Massachusetts, one
bishop, upwards of forty ministers of religion, of different
denominations, nine gentleman, upwards of one hundred and twenty
merchants, seventeen presidents of insurance companies, the post-master
of Boston, five physicians, seven members of the legal profession, and
two editors of newspapers. After my arrival in this country, I presented
this document, through the Secretary of the Admiralty, to the
authorities to whom it is addressed, but regret to state that the
request was not complied with. The memorial, and the reply of the Lords
of the Admiralty are given in the Appendix[A]

[Footnote A: .See Appendix L.]

On leaving the shores of the United States, I left the following letter
for publication:--

"_To the Friends of Immediate Emancipation in the United
States_.

"Having visited your country as an humble fellow-laborer in the
great cause in which you are engaged, and which, through trials
and difficulties a stranger can scarcely appreciate, you have so
zealously maintained, I have had a pleasing and satisfactory
interview with many of you, with reference to future exertions,
in cooperation with those of other lands, who unite with you in
regarding slave-holding and slave-trading as a heinous sin in
the sight of God, which should be immediately abolished. It is
the especial privilege of those who are laboring in such a
cause, to feel that 'every country is their country, and every
man their brother,' and to live above the atmosphere of
sectional jealousy and national hostility; and hence I feel an
assurance, that you will receive with kindness a few lines from
me on the eve of my departure to my native land.

"You concur generally in opinion, that in endeavoring to obtain
the great object we have in view, it is very important that the
friends of the cause should be united, not only in principle,
but, as far as may be, in the character of the measures which
they pursue; and I have been much encouraged in finding that you
have generally adopted the sentiment so rapidly spreading on the
other side of the Atlantic,--'That there is no reasonable hope
of abolishing the slave-trade, but, by the abolition of slavery,
and that no measures should be pursued for its attainment, but
those which are of a moral, religious, and pacific character.'
The progress of emancipation in Europe has been, beyond a doubt,
greatly retarded by leaving slavery and the slave-holder
unmarked by public reprobation, and concentrating all the
energies of philanthropy upon a fruitless effort to abolish the
slave-trade. And in this country the Colonization scheme, with
its delusive promise of good to Africa, and its vague
anticipations of putting an end to the slave-trade by armed
colonies on the coast of that ill-fated continent, has been the
means of obstructing emancipation at home, of unprofitably
absorbing the energies and blinding the judgment of many sincere
friends of the slave, and of strengthening the unchristian
prejudice against color. The abolitionists of Europe, with few
exceptions, have seen the error of their former course of
action, and are now striking directly at the root, instead of
lopping the branches of slavery; and if further evidence of the
evil tendency and character of colonization is needed in the
United States, the recent proceeding of a meeting of the
Maryland Society at Baltimore, must convince all who are
friendly to the true interests of the people of color, that it
is a scheme deserving only the support of the enemies of
freedom.[A]

[Footnote A: "The following resolution was passed at the meeting
of the Maryland Society above alluded to:--'That while it is
most earnestly hoped that the free colored people of Maryland
may see that their best and most permanent interests will be
consulted by their emigration from this State; and while this
Convention would deprecate any departure from the principle
which makes colonization dependent upon the voluntary action of
the free colored people themselves--yet, if, regardless of what
has been done to provide them with an asylum, they continue to
persist in remaining in Maryland, in the hope of enjoying here
an equality of social and political rights, they ought to be
solemnly warned, that, in the opinion of this Convention, a day
must arrive when circumstances that cannot be controlled, and
which are now maturing, will deprive them of choice, and leave
them no alternative but removal,'"]

"The rapid progress of public opinion, as to the iniquity of
slavery, and the entire safety, as well as advantage, of its
immediate abolition--the attention which has been awakened to it
in all parts of the civilized world--the movements in France,
Spain, Brazil, and Denmark, and other countries with
slave-holding dependencies, all indicating that the days of
slavery are numbered, should serve to encourage and stimulate us
to increased exertions; and while it is a cause of profound
regret, that any thing should have disturbed the harmony and
unity of the real friends of emancipation in this country--the
hardest battle field of our moral warfare--I am not without
hope, that, in future, those who,--from a conscientious
difference of opinion, not as to the object, but the precise
mode of obtaining it,--cannot act in one united band, will
laudably emulate each other in the promotion of our common
cause, and in Christian forbearance upon points of disagreement;
and that, where they cannot praise, they will be careful not to
censure those, who, by a different road, are earnestly pursuing
the same end. Without entering into the controversies which have
divided our friends on this side the water, I believe it would
be nothing more than a simple act of justice for me to state, on
my return to Europe, my conviction that a large portion of the
abolitionists of the United States, who approve of the
proceedings of the late General Anti-Slavery Convention, and are
desirous of acting in unity with the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society, from the general identity of their
practice, as well as principles, with those of the British and
Foreign Society, are entitled to the sympathies, and deserving
of the confidence and co-operation of the abolitionists of Great
Britain. It has been my pleasure to meet, in a kindly
interchange of opinion, many valuable and devoted friends of
emancipation; who, while dissenting from the class
above-mentioned in some respects, are nevertheless disposed to
cultivate feelings of charity and good will towards all who are
sincerely laboring for the slaves. And in this connection I may
state, that neither on behalf of myself, or of my esteemed
coadjutors in Great Britain, am I disposed to recriminate upon
another class of abolitionists, who, on some points, have so far
differed from the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Committee,
and the great majority of the Convention above mentioned, as to
sustain their representatives in refusing to act with that
Convention, and in protesting against its proceedings; and who
have seen fit to censure the committee in their public meetings
and newspapers in this country, as 'arbitrary and despotic,' and
their conduct as 'unworthy of men claiming the character of
abolitionists.'

"As a corresponding member of the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Committee, and intimately acquainted with its
proceedings, I am persuaded that its members have acted wisely,
and consulted the best interest of the cause in which they were
engaged, in generally leaving unnoticed any censures that have
been cast upon them while in the prosecution of their labors.
Yet, before leaving this country, I deem it right to bear my
testimony to the great anxiety of that committee faithfully to
discharge the duties committed to their trust; and to state that
it has never been my privilege to be united to any body more
desirous of keeping simply to the one great object of their
association--the total and immediate abolition of slavery and
the slave-trade. I am persuaded that all candid minds, making
due allowance for the imperfection pertaining to human
associations, will feel their confidence in the future integrity
of that committee increased in proportion as they closely
investigate their past acts; and that, even when the wisdom of
their course may have been questioned, they will accord to them
a scrupulous honesty of purpose.

"The first public suggestion of a General Anti-Slavery
Convention, like the one held last year in London, originated, I
believe, on this side of the Atlantic, although the Committee of
the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society took upon
themselves the heavy responsibility of convening it. At its
close, they invited an expression of the opinion of the
delegates, as to the desirableness of again summoning such an
assembly. The expression was generally in the affirmative; and,
after discussion, a resolution was passed, leaving it to the
Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, after
consulting with the friends of the cause in other parts of the
world, to decide this important question, as well as the time
and place of its meeting, should another Convention be resolved
upon.

"Since I have been in the United States, I have found those
abolitionists who approved the principles and proceedings of the
late Convention so generally in favor of another, and of London
as its place of meeting, that the only question seemed to be
whether it should be held in 1842 or 1843. This expression of
opinion is, I know, so generally in accordance with the views of
the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Committee, and of many
other prominent abolitionists in Europe, that I have little
doubt they will feel encouraged to act upon it, probably at the
latter period. There is abundant and increasing evidence of the
powerfully beneficial influence of the late Convention upon
almost every part of the world where slavery is still tolerated;
and we are encouraged to hope that the one in anticipation will
be still more efficient for the promotion of universal liberty.

"Painful as has been to me the spectacle of many of the leading
influences of the ecclesiastical bodies in this country, either
placed in direct hostility to, or acting as a drag upon, the
wheel of the anti-slavery enterprise--and of the manifest
preponderance of a slave-holding influence in the councils of
the State--I am not one of those who despair of a healthful
renovation of public sentiment which shall purify Church as well
as State from this abomination. There are decided indications
that all efforts of councils and synods to unite 'pure religion
and undefiled,' with a slave-trading and slave-holding
counterfeit of Christianity, must ere long utterly fail. And it
is to me a matter of joy, as it must be to every friend of
impartial liberty and free institutions, that the citizens of
this republic are more and more feeling that the plague-spot of
slavery, as with the increased facilities of communication its
horrors and deformity become more apparent in the eyes of the
world, is fixing a deep disgrace upon the character of their
country, and paralyzing the beneficial influence which might
otherwise flow from it as an example of a well-regulated free
government. May each American citizen who is desirous of washing
away this disgrace, to whatever division of the anti-slavery
host he may attach himself, ever bear in mind that the cause is
of too tremendous and pressing a nature to admit of his wasting
his time in censuring and impeding the progress of those who may
array themselves under a somewhat different standard from his
own; and that any energies thus wasted, which belong to the one
great object, so far as human instrumentality is concerned, is
not only deferring the day of freedom to two and a half millions
of his countrymen, but inasmuch as the fall of American slavery
must be the death-blow to the horrid system, wherever it exists,
the result of the struggle here involves the slavery or freedom
of millions in other parts of the world, as well as the
continuance or suppression of that slave-trade, to the foreign
branch of which alone more than _one thousand victims are daily
sacrificed_; and in reference to which it has justly been said,
'that all that has been borne to Africa of the boasted
improvements of civilized life, is a masterly skill in the
contrivance, and an unhesitating daring in the commission of
crimes, which the mind of the savage was too simple to devise,
and his heart too gentle to execute.' There are no doubtful
indications that it is the will of Him, who has the hearts of
all at His disposal, that, either in judgment or in mercy, this
dreadful system shall ere long cease. It is not for us to say
why, in His inscrutable wisdom, He has thus far permitted one
portion of His creatures so cruelly to oppress another; or by
what instrumentality He will at length redress the wrongs of the
poor, and the oppression of the needy; but should the worst
fears of one of your most distinguished citizens, who in view of
this subject, acknowledged that he 'trembled for his country,
when he remembered that God was just,' be finally realized, may
each one of you feel that no exertions on his part have been
wanting to avert the Divine displeasure, and preserve your land
from those calamities which, in all ages, have rebuked the
crimes of nations.

"Your sincere friend,

"JOSEPH STURGE.

"Boston, Seventh Month 31st, 1841."

My dear friend John G. Whittier, whose pleasant company and invaluable
aid I had enjoyed, as much as his health would permit, during my stay in
the United States, kindly accompanied me on board. Had he been less
closely identified with the transactions of which the present volume is
a record, I should have felt it due to his station among the earliest

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