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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

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was the founder of a religious sect which repudiated _all_ war, and
_all_ violence, yet _even he_ was accused of "endeavoring to excite the
slaves to insurrection and of teaching the negroes to cut their master's
throats." And these two men who had their feet shod with the preparation
of the Gospel of Peace, were actually compelled to draw up a formal
declaration that _they were not_ trying to raise a rebellion in
Barbadoes. It is also worthy of remark that these Reformers did not at
this time see the necessity of emancipation under seven years, and their
principal efforts were exerted to persuade the planters of the necessity
of instructing their slaves; but the slaveholder saw then, just what the
slaveholder sees now, that an _enlightened_ population _never_ can be a
_slave_ population, and therefore they passed a law that negroes should
not even attend the meetings of Friends. Abolitionists know that the
life of Clarkson was sought by slavetraders, and that even Wilberforce
was denounced on the floor of Parliament as a fanatic and a hypocrite by
the present King of England, the very man who, in 1834 set his seal to
that instrument which burst the fetters of eight hundred thousand slaves
in his West India colonies. They know that the first Quaker who bore a
_faithful_ testimony against the sin of slavery was cut off from
religious fellowship with that society. That Quaker was a _woman_. On
her deathbed she sent for the committee who dealt with her--she told
them, the near approach of death had not altered her sentiments on the
subject of slavery and waving her hand towards a very fertile and
beautiful portion of country which lay stretched before her window, she
said with great solemnity, "Friends, the time will come when there will
not be friends enough in all this district to hold one meeting for
worship, and this garden will be turned into a wilderness."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And why not try it in the Southern States, if it _never_ has occasioned
rebellion; if _not a drop of blood_ has ever been shed in consequence of
it, though it has been so often tried, why should we suppose it would
produce such disastrous consequences now? "Be not deceived then, God is
not mocked," by such false excuses for not doing justly and loving
mercy. There is nothing to fear from immediate Emancipation, but _every
thing_ from the continuance of slavery.

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

Your sympathizing Friend,


Shrewsbury, N.J., 1836.

* * * * *


Price 6 1-4 cents single, 62 1-2 cents per dozen, $4 per hundred.

No. 3.


* * * * *








PETERBORO', October 28, 1836.


_Late Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Mississippi:_

SIR,--Accept my thanks for your politeness in sending me a copy of your
book on slavery. This book proves, that the often repeated assertion,
that the whole South is opposed to the discussion of the question of
slavery, is not true:--and so far, I rejoice in its appearance. I
presume--I know, indeed, that you are not the only man in the South, who
is in favor of this discussion. There are, doubtless, many persons in
the South, who believe, that all attempts to suppress it, are vain, as
well as wicked. Besides, you virtually admit, that the South is
compelled to discuss the question of slavery; or, at least, to give her
own views of it, in order to prevent the conscience of Southern
Christians--that conscience, "which does make cowards of us all"--from
turning traitor to the cause of slavery. I rejoice, too, that you
accompanied the copy sent to me, with the request, that I should review
it, and make "candid remarks" upon it; and, that you have thus put it in
my power to send to the South some of my views on slavery, without
laying myself open to the charge of being discourteous and obtrusive.

You undertake to show that slavery existed, and, with the Divine
approbation, amongst the Old Testament Jews; and that it also existed,
whilst our Saviour and his Apostles were on the earth, and was approved
by them. You thence argue, that it is not only an innocent institution,
but one which it is a religious duty to maintain.

I admit, for the sake of argument, that there was a servitude in the
patriarchal families which was approved by God. But what does this avail
in your defence of slavery, unless you show, that that servitude and
slavery are essentially alike? The literal terms of the relation of
master and servant, under that servitude, are not made known to us; but
we can, nevertheless, confidently infer their spirit from facts, which
illustrate their practical character; and, if this character be found to
be opposite to that of slavery, then it is manifest, that what you say
of patriarchal servitude is impertinent, and tends to mislead, rather
than enlighten your readers. To a few of these facts and a few of the
considerations arising from them, I now call your attention.

1st. Read the first eight verses of the eighteenth chapter of Genesis,
and tell me, if you ever saw Gov. McDuffie or any other Southern
patriarch (for the governor desires to have all slaveholders looked upon
in the character of patriarchs) putting himself on a level with his
servants, and "working with his hands," after the manner of Abraham and

2d. There was such a community of interest--so much of mutual
confidence--between Abraham and his servants, that they fought his
battles. Indeed, the terms of this patriarchal servitude were such, that
in the event of the master's dying without issue, one of his servants
inherited his property (Gen. 15: 3). But, according to the code of
Southern slavery, the slave can no more own property, than he can own
himself. "All that a slave possesses belongs to his master"--"Slaves are
incapable of inheriting or transmitting property." These, and many
similar phrases, are found in that code. Severe as was the system of
Roman slavery, yet in this respect, it was far milder than yours; for
its subjects could acquire property (their peculium); and frequently did
they purchase their liberty with it. So far from Southern slaves being,
as Abraham's servants were, a dependence in war, it is historically
true, that they are accustomed to improve this occasion to effect their
escape, and strengthen the hands of the enemy. As a further proof that
Southern slavery begets none of that confidence between master and
slave, which characterized the mutual intercourse of Abraham and his
servants--the slave is prohibited, under severe penalties, from having
any weapons in his possession, even in time of peace; and the nightly
patrol, which the terror-stricken whites of Southern towns keep up, in
peace, as well as in war, argues any thing, rather than the existence of
such confidence. "For keeping or carrying a gun, or powder or shot, or a
club, or other weapon whatsoever, offensive or defensive, a slave
incurs, says Southern statute book, for each offence, thirty-nine

3d. When I read your quotation from the twenty-fourth chapter of
Genesis, made for the purpose of showing that God allowed Abraham to
have slaves, I could not but wonder at your imprudence, in meddling with
this chapter, which is of itself, enough to convince any unbiased mind,
that Abraham's servants held a relation to their master and to society,
totally different from that held by Southern slaves. Have you ever known
a great man in your state send his slave into another to choose a wife
for his son?--And if so, did the lily white damsel he selected call the
sable servant "my lord?"--And did her family spare no pains to manifest
respect for their distinguished guest, and promote his comfort? But this
chapter, which you call to your aid, informs us, that Abraham's servant
was honored with such tokens of confidence and esteem. If a Southern
slave shall ever be employed in such a mission, he may count himself
highly favored, if he be not taken up by the way, imprisoned, and "sold
for his jail fees."

4th. Did you ever know Southern slaves contend for their rights with
their masters? When a Southern master reads the thirteenth verse of the
thirty-first chapter of Job, he must think that Job was in the habit of
letting down his dignity very low.

5th. Do Southern masters accord religious privileges and impart
religious instruction equally to their slaves and their children? Your
laws, which visit with stripes, imprisonment, and death, the attempt to
teach slaves to read the Bible, show but too certainly, that the
Southern master, who should undertake to place "his children and his
household" on the same level, in respect to their religious advantages,
as it is probable that Abraham did (Gen. 18:19), would soon find himself
in the midst of enemies, not to his reputation only, but to his life

And now, sir, admitting that the phrase, on which you lay so much
stress--"bought with his money"--was used in connexion with a form of
servitude which God approved--I put it to your candor, whether this
phrase should be allowed to weigh at all against the facts I have
adduced and the reasonings I have employed to show the true nature of
that servitude, and how totally unlike it is to slavery? Are you not
bound by the principles of sound reasoning, to attach to it a meaning
far short of what, I grant, is its natural import in this age, and,
especially, amongst a people who, like ourselves, are accustomed to
associate such an expression with slavery? Can you deny, that you are
bound to adopt such a meaning of it, as shall harmonize with the facts,
which illustrate the nature of the servitude in question, and with the
laws and character of Him, whose sanction you claim for that servitude?
An opposite course would give a preference to words over things, which
common sense could not tolerate. Many instances might be cited to show
the absurdity of the assumption that whatever is spoken of in the
Scriptures as being "bought," is property. Boaz "purchased" his wife.
Hosea "bought her (his wife) for fifteen pieces of silver." Jacob, to
use a common expression, "took his wages" in wives. Joseph "bought" the
Egyptians, after they had said to him "buy us." But, so far from their
having become the property of Joseph or of his king, it was a part of
the bargain, that they were to have as much land as they wanted--seed to
sow it--and four-fifths of the crops. The possessors of such
independence and such means of wealth are not the property of their

I need say no more, to prove that slavery is entirely unlike the
servitude in the patriarchal families. I pass on, now, to the period
between the promulgation of the Divine law by Moses, and the birth of

You argue from the fifth and sixth verses of the twenty-first chapter of
Exodus, that God authorized the enslavement of the Jews: but, on the
same page, on which you do so, you also show the contrary. It may,
nevertheless, be well for me to request you to read and read again
Leviticus 25:39-42, until your remaining doubts, on this point, shall
all be put to flight. I am free to admit the probability, that under
some of the forms of servitude, in which Jews were held, the servant was
subjected to a control so extensive as to expose him to suffer great
cruelties. These forms corresponded with the spirit and usages of the
age, in which they existed; entirely unsuited, as they are, to a period
and portion of the world, blessed with the refining and softening
influences of civilization and the gospel. Numerous as were the
statutory regulations for the treatment of the servant, they could not
preclude the large discretion of the master. The apprentice, in our
country, is subjected to an authority, equaling a parent's authority,
but not always tempered in its exercise, with a parent's love. His
condition is, therefore, not unfrequently marked with severity and
suffering. Now, imagine what this condition would be, under the harsh
features of a more barbarous age, and you will have in it, as I
conjecture, no distant resemblance to that of some of the Jewish
servants. But how different is this condition from that of the slave!

I am reminded in this connexion, of the polished, but pernicious,
article on slavery in a late number of the Biblical Repertory. In that
article Professor Hodge says, that the claim of the slaveholder "is
found to be nothing more than a transferable claim of service either for
life, or for a term of years." Will he allow me to ask him, where he
discovered that the pretensions of the slaveholder are all resolvable
into this modest claim? He certainly did not discover it in any slave
code; nor in any practical slavery. Where then? No where, but in that
undisclosed system of servitude, which is the creation of his own fancy.
To this system I raise no objection whatever. On the contrary, I am
willing to admit its beauty and its worthiness of the mint in which it
was coined. But I protest against his right to bestow upon it the name
of another and totally different thing. He must not call it slavery.

Suppose a poor German to be so desirous of emigrating with his family to
America, as to agree to give his services for ten years, as a
compensation for the passage. Suppose further, that the services are to
be rendered to the captain of the ship in which they sail, or to any
other person, to whom he may assign his claim. Such a bargain is not
uncommon. Now, according to Professor Hodge, this German may as rightly
as any of your Southern servants, be called a slave. He may as rightly
be called _property_, as they may be, who, in the language of the South
Carolina laws, "shall be deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in
law, to be chattels personal, in the hands of their owners and
possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, _to all
intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever_."

We will glance at a few points of difference in their condition. 1st.
The German is capable of making a contract, and in the case supposed,
does make a contract; but your slave is incapable of making any
contract. 2d. The German receives wages; the price of carrying himself
and family being the stipulated price for his services, during the ten
years; but your slave receives no wages. 3d. The German, like any other
hireling, and, like any apprentice in our country, is under the
protection of law. But, there is no law to shield the slave from wrongs.
Being a mere chattel or thing, he has no rights; and, therefore, he can
have no wrongs to be redressed. Does Professor Hodge say, that there are
statutes limiting and regulating the power of the slaveholder? I grant
there are; though it must be remembered, that there is one way of even
murdering a slave, which some of the slave States do not only not
forbid, but impliedly and practically admit[A]. The Professor should
know, however, that all these statutes are, practically, a mere nullity.
Nevertheless, they show the absoluteness of the power which they
nominally qualify. This absoluteness is as distinctly implied by them,
as the like was by the law of the Emperor Claudius, which imposed
limitations upon the "jus vitae et necis" (the right of life and death)
which Roman slavery put into the hand of the master. But if the
Professor should be so imprudent as to cite us to the slave code for
evidence of its merciful provisions, he will, in so doing, authorize us
to cite him to that code for evidence of the _nature_ of slavery. This
authority, however, he would not like to give us; for he is unwilling to
have slavery judged of by its own code. He insists, that it shall be
judged of by that ideal system of slavery, which is lodged in his own
brain, and which he can bring forth by parcels, to suit present
occasions, as Mahomet produced the leaves of the Koran.

[Footnote A: The licensed murder referred to, is that where the slave
dies under "moderate correction." But is not the murder of a slave by a
white man, _in any way_, practically licensed in all the slave States?
Who ever heard of a white man's being put to death, under Southern laws,
for the murder of a slave? American slavery provides impunity for the
white murderer of the slave, by its allowing none but whites--none but
those who construct and uphold the system of abominations--to testify
against the murderer. But why particularize causes of this impunity? The
whole policy of the Southern slave system goes to provide it. How
unreasonable is it to suppose, that they, who have conspired against a
portion of their fellow-beings, and mutually pledged themselves to treat
them as _mere things_--how unreasonable, I say, is it to suppose, that
they would consent to put a _man_ to death, on account of his treatment,
in whatever way, of a _mere thing_? Not long ago, I was informed by a
highly respectable lawyer of the State of Georgia, that he had known a
number of attempts (attempts most probably but in form and name) to
effect the conviction of whites for their undoubted murder of slaves.
But in every instance, the jurors perjured themselves, rather than
consent that a _man_ should be put to death, for the liberty he had
taken in disposing of a _thing_. They had rather perjure themselves,
than by avenging the blood of a _slave_ with that of a _man_, make a
breach upon the policy of keeping the slave ignorant, that he has the
_nature_, and consequently the _rights_, of a man.]

Professor Hodge tells his readers, in substance, that the selling of
men, as they are sold under the system of slavery, is to be classed with
the cessions of territory, occasionally made by one sovereign to
another; and he would have the slave, who is sold from hand to hand, and
from State to State, at the expense to his bleeding heart, of the
disruption of its dearest ties, think his lot no harder than that of the
inhabitant of Louisiana, who was passed without his will, from the
jurisdiction of the French government to that of the United States.

When a good man lends himself to the advocacy of slavery, he must, at
least for a time, feel himself to be anywhere but at home, amongst his
new thoughts, doctrines, and modes of reasoning. This is very evident in
the case before us--especially, when now and then, old habits of thought
and feeling break out, in spite of every effort to repress them, and the
Professor is himself again, and discourses as manfully, as fearlessly,
and as eloquently, as he ever had done before the slaveholders got their
hands upon him. It is not a little amusing to notice, that, although the
burden of his article is to show that slavery is one of God's
institutions, (what an undertaking for a Professor of Theology in the
year 1836!) he so far forgets the interests of his new friends and their
expectations from him, as to admit on one page, that "the general
principles of the gospel have destroyed domestic slavery throughout the
greater part of Christendom;" and on another, that "the South has to
choose between emancipation, by the silent and holy influence of the
gospel, or to abide the issue of a long continued conflict against the
laws of God." Whoever heard, until these strange times on which we have
fallen, of any thing, which, to use the Professor's language about
slavery, "it is in vain, to contend is sin, and yet profess reverence
for the Scriptures," being at war with and destroyed by the principles
of the gospel. What sad confusion of thought the pro-slavery influences,
to which some great divines have yielded, have wrought in them!

I will proceed to argue, that the institution in the Southern States
called "slavery," is radically unlike any form of servitude under which
Jews were held, agreeably to the Divine will; and also radically unlike
any form of servitude approved of God in the patriarchal families.

1st. God does not contradict Himself. He is "without variableness or
shadow of turning." He loves his word and has "magnified it above all
his name." He commands his rational creatures to "search the
Scriptures." He cannot, therefore, approve of a system which forbids the
searching of them, and shuts out their light from the soul; and which,
by the confession of your own selves, turns men in this gospel land into
heathen. He has written his commandment against adultery, and He cannot,
therefore, approve of a system, which induces this crime, by forbidding
marriage. The following extract from an opinion of the Attorney General
of Maryland, shows some of the consequences of this "forbidding to
marry." "A slave has never maintained an action against the violator of
his bed. A slave is not admonished for incontinence, or punished for
fornication or adultery; never prosecuted for bigamy." Again, God has
written his commandment, that children should honor their parents. How,
then, can He approve of a system, which pours contempt on the relation
of parent and child? Which subjects them to be forcibly separated from
each other, and that too, beyond the hope of reunion?--under which
parents are exposed and sold in the market-place along with horses and
cattle?--under which they are stripped and lashed, and made to suffer
those innumerable, and some of them, nameless indignities, that tend to
generate in their children, who witness them, any feelings, rather than
those of respect and honor, for parents thus degraded? Some of these
nameless indignities are alluded to in a letter written to me from a
slave state, in March, 1833. "In this place," says the writer, "I find a
regular and a much frequented slave market, where thousands are yearly
sold like cattle to the highest bidder. It is the opinion of gentlemen
here, that not far from five hundred thousand dollars are yearly paid in
this place for negroes; and at this moment, I can look from the window
of my room and count six droves of from twenty to forty each, sitting in
the market place for sale. This morning I witnessed the sale of twelve
slaves, and I could but shudder at the language used and the liberties
taken with the females!"

2d. As a proof, that in the kinds of servitude referred to, God did not
invest Abraham, or any other person with that absolute ownership of his
fellow-men, which is claimed by Southern slaveholders--I would remark,
that He has made man accountable to Himself; but slavery makes him
accountable to, and a mere appendage to his fellow-man. Slavery
substitutes the will of a fallible fellow-man for that infallible rule
of action--the will of God. The slave, instead of being allowed to make
it the great end of his existence to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever,
is degraded from his exalted nature, which borders upon angelic dignity,
to be, to do, and to suffer what a mere man bids him be, do, and suffer.

The Southern slave would obey God in respect to marriage, and also to
the reading and studying of His word. But this, as we have seen, is
forbidden him. He may not marry; nor may he read the Bible. Again, he
would obey God in the duties of secret and social prayer. But he may not
attend the prayer-meeting--certainly not that of his choice; and
instances are known, where the master has intruded upon the slave's
secret audience with heaven, to teach him by the lash, or some other
instrument of torture, that he would allow "no other God before"

Said Joseph Mason, an intelligent colored man, who was born and bred
near Richmond, in Virginia, in reply to my question whether he and his
fellow-slaves cared about their souls--"We did not trouble ourselves
about our souls; we were our masters' property and not our own; under
their and not our own control; and we believed that our masters were
responsible for our souls." This unconcern for their spiritual interests
grew very naturally out of their relation to their masters; and were the
relation ordained of God, the unconcern would, surely, be both
philosophical and sinless.

God cannot approve of a system of servitude, in which the master is
guilty of assuming absolute power--of assuming God's place and relation
towards his fellow-men. Were the master, in every case, a wise and good
man--as wise and good as is consistent with this wicked and
heaven-daring assumption on his part--the condition of the slave would
it is true, be far more tolerable, than it now is. But even then, we
should protest as strongly as ever against slavery; for it would still
be guilty of its essential wickedness of robbing a man of his right to
himself, and of robbing God of His right to him, and of putting these
stolen rights into the hand of an erring mortal. Nay, if angels were
constituted slaveholders, our objection to the relation would remain
undiminished; since there would still be the same robbery of which we
now complain.

But you will say, that I have overlooked the servitude in which the Jews
held strangers and foreigners; and that it is on this, more than any
other, that you rely for your justification of slavery. I will say
nothing now of this servitude; but before I close this communication, I
will give my reasons for believing, that whatever was its nature, even
if it were compulsory, it cannot be fairly pleaded in justification of

After you shall have allowed, as you will allow, that slavery, as it
exists, is at war with God, you will be likely to say, that the fault is
not in the theory of it; but in the practical departure from that
theory; that it is not the system, but the practice under it, which is
at war with God. Our concern, however, is with slavery as it is, and not
with any theory of it. But to indulge you, we will look at the system of
slavery, as it is presented to us, in the laws of the slave States; and
what do we find here? Why, that the system is as bad as the practice
under it. Here we find the most diabolical devices to keep millions of
human beings in a state of heathenism--in the deepest ignorance and most
loathsome pollution. But you will tell me, that I do not look far enough
to find the true theory of slavery; and that the cruelties and
abominations, which the laws of the slave States have ingrafted on this
theory, are not acknowledged by the good men in those States to be a
part of the theory. Well, you shall have the benefit of this plea; and I
admit, for the sake of argument, that this theory of slavery, which lies
far back, and out of sight of every thing visible and known about
slavery, is right. And what does this admission avail you? It is slavery
as it is--as it is seen and known, that the abolitionists are contending
against. But, say you, to induce our forbearance, "We good men at the
South are restoring slavery, as fast as we can, to what it should be;
and we will soon make its erring practice quadrate with its perfect and
sinless theory." Success to your endeavors! But let me ask these good
men, whether similar representations would avail to make them forbearing
towards any other class of offenders; and whether they would allow these
offenders to justify the wickedness of their hands, by pleading the
purity of their hearts. Suppose that I stand in court confessedly guilty
of the crime of passing counterfeit money; and that I ask for my
acquittal on the ground, that, notwithstanding I am practically wrong, I
am, nevertheless, theoretically right. "Believe me," I say, in tones of
deep and unfeigned pathos, and with a corresponding pressure of my hand
upon my heart, "that the principles within are those of the purest
morality; and that it is my faithful endeavor to bring my deportment,
which, as you this day witness, is occasionally devious, into perfect
conformity with my inward rectitude. My theory of honest and holy living
is all that you could wish it to be. Be but patient, and you shall
witness its beautiful exhibitions in my whole conduct." Now, you
certainly would not have this plea turn to my advantage;--why then
expect that your similar plea should be allowed?

We must continue to judge of slavery by what it is, and not by what you
tell us it will, or may be. Until its character be righteous, we shall
continue to condemn it; but when you shall have brought it back to your
sinless and beautiful theory of it, it will have nothing to fear from
the abolitionists. There are two prominent reasons, however, for
believing that you will never present Southern slavery to us in this
lovely character, the mere imagination of which is so dear to you. The
first is, that you are doing nothing to this end. It is an indisputable
fact that Southern slavery is continually getting wider and wider from
God, and from an innocent theory of servitude; and the "good men at the
South," of whom we have spoken, are not only doing nothing to arrest
this increasing divergency, but they are actually favoring it. The
writings of your Dews, and Baxters, and Plummers, and Postells, and
Andersons, and the proceedings of your ecclesiastical bodies, abundantly
show this. Never, and the assertion is borne out by your statute books,
as well as other evidences, has Southern slavery multiplied its
abominations so rapidly, as within the last ten years; and never before
had the Southern Church been so much engaged to defend and perpetuate
these abominations. The other of these reasons for believing that
Southern slavery will never be conformed to your _beau ideal_ of
slavery, in which it is presupposed there are none but principles of
righteousness, is, that on its first contact with these principles, it
would "vanish into thin air," leaving "not a wreck behind." In proof of
this, and I need not cite any other case, it would be immediate death to
Southern slavery to concede to its subjects, God's institution of
marriage; and hence it is, that its code forbids marriage. The rights of
the husband in the wife, and of the wife in the husband, and of parents
in their children, would stand directly in the way of that traffic in
human flesh, which is the very life-blood of slavery; and the
assumptions of the master would, at every turn and corner, be met and
nullified by these rights; since all his commands to the children of
those servants (for now they should no longer be called slaves) would be
in submission to the paramount authority of the parents[A]. And here,
sir, you and I might bring our discussion to a close, by my putting the
following questions to you, both of which your conscience would compel
you to answer in the affirmative.

[Footnote A: I am aware that Professor Hodge asserts, that "slavery may
exist without those laws which interfere with their (the slaves) marital
or parental right" Now, this is a point of immense importance in the
discussion of the question, whether slavery is sinful; and I, therefore,
respectfully ask him either to retract the assertion, or to prove its
correctness. Ten thousands of his fellow-citizens, to whom the assertion
is utterly incredible, unite with me in this request. If he can show,
that slavery does not "interfere with marital or parental rights," they
will cease to oppose it. Their confident belief is, that slavery and
marriage, whether considered in the light of a civil contract, or a
scriptural institution, are entirely incompatible with each other.]

1st. Is not Southern slavery guilty of a most heaven-daring crime, in
substituting concubinage for God's institution of marriage?

2d. Would not that slavery, and also every theory and modification of
slavery, for which you may contend, come speedily to nought, if their
subjects were allowed to marry? Slavery, being an abuse, is incapable of
reformation. It dies, not only when you aim a fatal blow at its life
principle--its foundation doctrine of man's right to property in
man[B]--but it dies as surely, when you prune it of its manifold
incidents of pollution and irreligion.

[Footnote B: I mean by this phrase, "right to property in man," a right
to hold man as property; and I do not see with what propriety certain
writers construe it to mean, a property in the mere services of a man.]

But it would be treating you indecorously to stop you at this stage of
the discussion, before we are a third of the way through your book, and
thus deny a hearing to the remainder of it. We will proceed to what you
say of the slavery which existed in the time of the New Testament
writers. Before we do so, however, let me call your attention to a few
of the specimens of very careless reasoning in that part of your book,
which we have now gone over. They may serve to inspire you with a modest
distrust of the soundness of other parts of your argument.

After concluding that Abraham was a slaveholder, you quote the following
language from the Bible; "Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my
commandments, my statutes, and my laws." You then inquire, "How could
this be true of Abraham, holding as he did, until he was an old man,
more slaves than any man in Mississippi or Louisiana?" To be consistent
with your design in quoting this passage, you must argue from it, that
Abraham was perfect. But this he was not; and, therefore, your quotation
is vain. Again, if the slaveholder would quiet his conscience with the
supposition, that "Abraham held more slaves than any man in Mississippi
or Louisiana," let him remember, that he had also more concubines (Gen.
25: 6), "than any man in Mississippi or Louisiana;" and, if Abraham's
authority be in the one case conclusive for slaveholding, equally so
must it be in the other, for concubinage.

Perhaps, in saying that "Abraham had more concubines than any man in
Mississippi or Louisiana," I have done injustice to the spirit of
propagation prevailing amongst the gentlemen of those States. It may be,
that some of your planters quite distance the old patriarch in obedience
to the command to "multiply and replenish the earth." I am correctly
informed, that a planter in Virginia, who counted, I know not how many
slaves upon his plantation, confessed on his death-bed, that his
licentiousness had extended to every adult female amongst them. This
planter was a near relative of the celebrated Patrick Henry. It may be,
that you have planters in Mississippi and Louisiana, who avail
themselves to the extent that he did, of the power which slaveholding
gives to pollute and destroy. The hundreds of thousands of mulattoes,
who constitute the Southern commentary on the charge, that the
abolitionists design amalgamation, bear witness that this planter was
not singular in his propensities. I do not know what you can do with
this species of your population. Besides, that it is a standing and deep
reproach on Southern chastity, it is not a little embarrassing and
puzzling to those who have received the doctrine, that the descendants
of Africa amongst us must be returned to the land of their ancestors.
How the poor mulatto shall be disposed of, under this doctrine, between
the call which Africa makes for him, on the one hand, and that which
some state of Europe sends out for him on the other, is a problem more
difficult of solution than that which the contending mothers brought
before the matchless wisdom of Solomon.

In the paragraph, which relates to the fourth and tenth commandments,
there is another specimen of your loose reasoning. You say, that the
language, "In it (the Sabbath) thou shalt do no work, thou, nor thy son,
nor thy daughter, nor thy man servant, nor thy maid servant,"
"recognises the authority of the master over the servant." I grant, that
it does: but does it at all show, that these servants were slaves? Does
it recognise any more authority than the master should exercise over his
voluntary servants? Should not the head of a family restrain all his
servants, as well the voluntary as the involuntary, from unnecessary
labor on the Sabbath? You also say, that the tenth commandment
"recognizes servants as the _property_ of their masters." But how does
it appear from the language of this commandment, that the man servant
and maid servant are property any more than the wife is? We will
proceed, however, to the third section of your book.

Your acquaintance with history has enabled you to show some of the
characteristics and fruits of Greek and Roman slavery. You state the
facts, that the subjects of this slavery were "absolutely the property
of their masters"--that they "were used like dogs"--that "they were
forbidden to learn any liberal art or perform any act worthy of their
masters"--that "once a day they received a certain number of stripes for
fear they should forget they were slaves"--that, at one time, "sixty
thousand of them in Sicily and Italy were chained and confined to work
in dungeons"--that "in Rome there was a continual market for slaves,"
and that "the slaves were commonly exposed for sale naked"--that, when
old, they were turned away," and that too by a master, highly esteemed
for his superior virtues, to starve to death"--that they were thrown
into ponds to be food for fish--that they were in the city of Athens
near twenty times as numerous as free persons--that there were in the
Roman Empire sixty millions of slaves to twenty millions of freemen mind
that many of the Romans had five thousand, some ten thousand, and others
twenty thousand.

And now, for what purpose is your recital of these facts?--not, for its
natural effect of awakening, in your readers, the utmost abhorrence of
slavery:--no--but for the strange purpose (the more strange for being in
the breast of a minister of the gospel) of showing your readers, that
even Greek and Roman slavery was innocent, and agreeable to God's will;
and that, horrid as are the fruits you describe, the tree, which bore
them, needed but to be dug about and pruned--not to be cut down. This
slavery is innocent, you insist, because the New Testament does not
show, that it was specifically condemned by the Apostles. By the same
logic, the races, the games, the dramatic entertainments, and the shows
of gladiators, which abounded in Greece and Rome, were, likewise,
innocent, because the New Testament does not show a specific
condemnation of them by the apostles[A]. But, although the New Testament
does not show such condemnation, does it necessarily follow, that they
were silent, in relation to these sins? Or, because the New Testament
does not specifically condemn Greek and Roman slavery, may we,
therefore, infer, that the Apostles did not specifically condemn it?
Look through the published writings of many of the eminent divines, who
have lived in modern times, and have written and published much for the
instruction of the churches, and you will not find a line in them
against gambling or theatres or the slave-trade;--in some of them, not a
line against the very common sin of drunkenness. Think you, therefore,
that they never spoke or wrote against these things? It would be
unreasonable to expect to find, in print, their sentiments against all,
even of the crying sins of their times. But how much more unreasonable
is it to expect to find in the few pages of the Apostles' published
letters, the whole of which can be read in a few hours, their sentiments
in relation to all the prominent sins of the age in which they lived!
And far greater still is the unreasonableness of setting them down, as
favorable to all practices which these letters do not specifically

[Footnote A: Prof. Hodge says, if the apostles did abstain from
declaring slavery to be sinful, "it must have been, because they did not
consider it as, in itself, a crime. No other solution of their conduct
is consistent with their truth or fidelity." But he believes that they
did abstain from so doing; and he believes this, on the same evidence,
on which he believes, that they abstained from declaring the races,
games, &c., above enumerated, to be sinful. His own mode of reasoning,
therefore, brings him unavoidably to the conclusion, that these races,
games, &c., were not sinful.]

It may be, that the Saviour and the Apostles, in the course of their
teachings, both oral and written, did specify sins to a far greater
extent, than they are supposed to have done. It may be, that their
followers had much instruction, in respect to the great sin of slavery.
We must bear in mind, that but a very small part of that Divine
instruction, which, on the testimony of an Apostle, "the world itself
could not contain if written," has come down to us. Of the writings of
our Saviour we have nothing. Of those of his Apostles a very small part.
It is probable, that, during his protracted ministry, the learned
apostle to the Gentiles wrote many letters on religious subjects to
individuals and to churches. So also of the immense amount of
instruction, which fell from the lips of the Apostles, but very little
is preserved. It was Infinite Wisdom, however, which determined the size
of the New, as well as of the Old Testament, and of what kinds and
portions of the Saviour's and the Apostles' instructions it should
consist. For obvious considerations, it is made up, in a great measure,
of general truths and propositions. Its limited size, if no other
reason, accounts for this. But, these general truths and propositions
are as comprehensive as the necessity of the case requires; and, carried
out into all their suitable applications they leave no sin unforbidden.
Small as is the New Testament, it is as large as we need. It instructs
us in relation to all our duties. It is as full on the subject of
slavery, as is necessary; and, if we will but obey its directions, that
bear on this subject, and "love one another," and love our neighbors as
ourselves, and, as we would that men should do to us, do "also to them
likewise," and "remember them, that are in bonds as bound with them,"
and "give unto servants, that which is just and equal"--not a vestige of
this abomination will remain.

For the sake of the argument, I will admit, that the Apostles made no
specific attack on slavery[A]; and that they left it to be reached and
overthrown, provided it be sinful, by the general principles and
instructions which they had inculcated. But you will say, that it was
their practice, in addition to inculcating such principles and
instructions, to point out sins and reprove them:--and you will ask,
with great pertinence and force, why they did not also point out and
reprove slavery, which, in the judgment of abolitionists, is to be
classed with the most heinous sins. I admit, that there is no question
addressed to abolitionists, which, after the admission I have made for
them, it is less easy to answer; and I admit further, that they are
bound to answer it. I will proceed to assign what to me appear to be
some of the probable reasons, why the Apostles specified the sins of
lying, covetousness, stealing, &c., and, agreeably to the admission,
which lays me under great disadvantage, did not specify slavery.

[Footnote A: This is no small admission in the face of the passage, in
the first chapter of Timothy, which particularizes manstealing, as a
violation of the law of God. I believe all scholars will admit, that one
of the crimes referred to by the Apostle, is kidnapping. But is not
kidnapping an integral and most vital part of the system of slavery? And
is not the slaveholder guilty of this crime? Does he not, indeed, belong
to a class of kidnappers stamped with peculiar meanness? The pirate, on
the coast of Africa, has to cope with the strength and adroitness of
mature years. To get his victim into his clutches is a deed of daring
and of peril demanding no little praise, upon the principles of the
world's "code of honor." But the proud chivalry of the South is securely
employed in kidnapping newborn infants. The pirate, in the one case,
soothes his conscience with the thought, that the bloody savages merit
no better treatment, than they are receiving at his hands:--but the
pirate, in the other, can have no such plea--for they, whom he kidnaps,
are untainted with crime.

And what better does it make the case for you, if we adopt the
translation of "men stealers?" Far better, you will say, for, on the
authority of Othello himself,

"He that is robb'd------
Let him not know it, and he's not robbed at all."

But, your authority is not conclusive. The crime of the depredation is
none the less, because the subject is ignorant or unconscious of it. It
is true, the slave, who never possessed liberty--who was kidnapped at
his birth--may not grieve, under the absence of it, as he does, from
whose actual and conscious possession it had been violently taken: but
the robbery is alike plain, and is coupled with a meanness, in the one
case, which does not disgrace it in the other. ]

1st. The book of Acts sets forth the fundamental doctrines and
requirements of Christianity. It is to the letters of the Apostles we
are to look for extended specifications of right and wrong affections,
and right and wrong practices. Why do these letters omit to specify the
sin of slaveholding? Because they were addressed to professing
Christians exclusively; who, far more emphatically then than now, were
"the base things of the world," and were in circumstances to be slaves,
rather than slaveholders. Doubtless, there were many slaves amongst
them--but I cannot admit, that there were slaveholders. There is not the
least probability, that slaveholding was a prevalent sin amongst
primitive Christians[B]. Instructions to them on that sin might have
been almost as superfluous, as would be lectures on the sin of luxury,
addressed to the poor Greenland disciples, whose poverty compels them to
subsist on filthy oil. No one, acquainted with the history of their
lives, believes that the Apostles were slave-holders. They labored,
"working with (their) own hands." The supposition, that they were
slaveholders, is inconsistent with their practice, and with the tenor of
their instructions to others on the duty of manual labor. But if the
Apostles were not slaveholders, why may we suppose, that their disciples
were? At the South, it is, "like people, like priest," in this matter.
There, the minister of the gospel thinks, that he has as good right to
hold slaves, as has his parishioner: and your Methodists go so far, as
to say, that even a bishop has as good right, as any other person, to
have slaves

[Footnote B: How strongly does the following extract from the writings
of the great and good Augustine, who lived in the fourth century, argue,
that slaveholding was not a prevalent sin amongst primitive Christians!
"Non opurtet Christianum possidere servum quomodo equum aut argentum.
Quis dicere audeat ut vestimentum cum debere contemni? Hominem namque
homo tamquam seipsum diligere debet cui ab omnium Domino, ut inimicos
diligat, imperatur." _A Christian ought not to hold his servant as he
does his horse or his money. Who dares say that he should be thought as
lightly of as a garment? For man, whom the Lord of all has commanded to
love his enemies, should love his fellow-man as himself._]

"------to fan him while he sleeps,
And tremble when he wakes."

Indeed, they already threaten to separate from their Northern brethren,
unless this right be conceded. But have we not other and conclusive
evidence, that primitive Christians were not slaveholders? We will cite
a few passages from the Bible to show, that it was not the will of the
Apostles to have their disciples hold manual labor in disrepute, as it
is held, in all slaveholding communities. "Do your own business, and
work with your own hands, as we commanded you." "For this we commanded
you, that, if any would not work, neither should he eat." "Let him that
stole, steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands
the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
In bringing the whole verse into this last quotation, I may have
displeased you. I am aware, that you slaveholders proudly and
indignantly reject the applicableness to yourselves of the first phrase
in this verse, and also of the maxim, that "the partaker of stolen goods
is as bad as the thief." I am aware, that you insist, that the
kidnapping of a man, or getting possession of him, after he has been
kidnapped, is not to be compared, if indeed it can be properly called
theft at all, with the crime of stealing a _thing_. It occurs to me,
that if a shrewd lawyer had you on trial for theft, he would say, that
you were _estopped_ from going into this distinction between a _man_ and
a _thing_, inasmuch as, by your own laws, the slave is expressly
declared to be a _chattel_--is expressly _elevated_ into a _thing_. He
would say, however competent it may be for others to justify themselves
on the ground, that it was but a _man_, and not a _thing_, they had
stolen; your own statutes, which, with magic celerity, convert stolen
men into things, make such a plea, on your part, utterly inadmissible.
He would have you as fast, as though the stolen goods, in your hands,
were a bushel of wheat, or some other important _thing_, instead of _a
mere man_.

But, if you are not yet convinced that primitive Christians were not
slaveholders, let me cite another passage to show you, how very
improbable it is, that they stood in this capacity:--"all, that
believed, had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods,
and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Now I do not say,
that all the primitive believers did so. But if a portion of them did,
and met with the Apostles' approbation in it, is it at all probable,
that a course, so diverse from it, as that of slaveholding in the
Church, met likewise with their approbation?

2d. I go on to account for the Apostles' omission to specify slavery.

Criminality is not always obvious, in proportion to its extent. The sin
of the traffic in intoxicating liquors, was, until the last few years,
almost universally unfelt and unperceived. But now, we meet with men,
who, though it was "in all good conscience," that they were once engaged
in it, would not resume it for worlds; and who see more criminality, in
taking money from a fellow man, in exchange for the liquor which
intoxicates him, than in simple theft. However it may be with others, in
this employment, they now see, that, for them to traffic in intoxicating
liquors, would be to stain themselves with the twofold crime of robbery
and murder. How is it, that good men ever get into this
employment?--and, under what influences and by what process of thought,
do they come to the determination to abandon it? The former is accounted
for, by the fact, that they grow up--have their education--their moral
and intellectual training--in the midst of a public opinion, and even of
laws also, which favor and sanction the employment. The latter is
accounted for, by the fact, that they are brought, in the merciful
providence of God, to observe and study and understand the consequences
of their employment--especially on those who drink their liquor--the
liquor which they sell or make, or, with no less criminality, furnish
the materials for making. These consequences they find to be "evil, only
evil, and that continually." They find, that this liquor imparts no
benefit to them who drink it, but tends to destroy, and, oftentimes,
does destroy, their healths and lives. To continue, therefore, in an
employment in which they receive their neighbor's money, without
returning him an equivalent, or any portion of an equivalent, and, in
which they expose both his body and soul to destruction, is to make
themselves, in their own judgments, virtually guilty of theft and

Thus it is in the case of a national war, waged for conquest. Christians
have taken part in it; and, because they were blinded by a wrong
education, and were acting in the name of their country and under the
impulses of patriotism, they never suspected that they were doing the
devil, instead of "God, service." But when, in the kind providence of
God, one of these butchers of their fellow beings is brought to pause
and consider his ways, and to resolve his enormous and compound sin into
its elements of wickedness,--into the lies, theft, covetousness,
adultery, murder, and what not of crime, which enter into it,--he is
amazed that he has been so "slow of heart to believe," and abandon the
iniquity of his deeds.

What I have said to show that Christians, even in enlightened and
gospelized lands, may be blind to the great wickedness of certain
customs and institutions, serves to introduce the remark; that there
were probably some customs and institutions, in the time of the
Apostles, on which it would have been even worse than lost labor for
them to make direct attacks. Take, for example, the kind of war of which
we have been speaking. If there are reasons why the modern Christian can
be insensible to the sin of it, there are far stronger reasons why the
primitive Christian could be. If the light and instruction which have
been accumulating for eighteen centuries, are scarcely sufficient to
convince Christians of its wickedness, is it reasonable to suppose that,
at the commencement of this long period, they could have been
successfully taught it? Consider, that at that time the literature and
sentiment of the world were wholly on the side of war; and especially,
consider how emphatically the authority of civil government and of human
law was in favor of its rightfulness. Now, to how great an extent such
authority covers over and sanctifies sin, may be inferred from the fact,
that there are many, who, notwithstanding they believe slavery to be a
most Heaven-daring sin, yet, because it is legalized and under the wing
of civil government, would not have it spoken against. Even Rev. Dr.
Miller, in certain resolutions which he submitted to the last General
Assembly, indicated his similar reverence for human laws; and the
lamented Dr. Rice distinctly recognises, in his letter to Mr. Maxwell,
the doctrine that the Church is bound to be quiet about every sin which
the civil government adopts and whitewashes. That the Christian
Spectator should indorse the Doctor's sentiments on this point is still
more worthy of remark than that he should utter them. Indeed, I judge
from what you say on the 68th and 69th pages of your book, that you are
yourself opposed to calling in question the morality of that which civil
government approves. But, to doubt the infallibility of civil
government,--to speak against Caesar,--was manifestly held to be quite
as presumptuous in the time of the Apostles as it is now.

Another reason why an Apostle would probably have deemed it hopeless to
attempt to persuade his disciples, immediately and directly, of the sin
of war, is to be found in the fact of their feeble and distorted
perception of truth and duty. We, whose advantage it is to have lived
all our days in the light of the gospel, and whose ancestors, from time
immemorial, had the like precious advantage, can hardly conceive how
very feeble and distorted was that perception. But, consider for a
moment who those disciples were. They had, most of them, but just been
taken out of the gross darkness and filth of heathenism. In reading
accounts which missionaries give of converted heathen--of such, even, as
have for ten, fifteen, or twenty years, been reputed to be pious--you
are, doubtless, often surprised to find how grossly erroneous are their
moral perceptions. Their false education still cleaves to them. They are
yet, to a great extent, in the mould of a corrupted public opinion; and,
as far from having a clear discernment of moral truth, as were the
partially unsealed eyes which saw "men, as trees, walking." The first
letter to the Church at Corinth, proves that the new principles
implanted in its members had not yet purged out the leaven of their old
wickedness; and that their conceptions of Christian purity and conduct
were sadly defective. As it was with the Corinthian Christians, so was
it to a great extent with the other Christians of that age. Now, if the
Apostles did not directly teach the primitive believers that wars, and
theatres, and games, and slavery, are sinful, it is because they thought
it more fit to exercise their ignorant pupils chiefly in the mere
alphabet and syllables of Christianity. (Acts xv, 28, 29.) The
construction of words and sentences would naturally follow. The
rudiments of the gospel, if once possessed by them, would be apt to lead
them on to greater attainments. Indeed, the love, peace, truth, and
other elements of holy living inculcated by the Apostles, would, if
turned to all proper account, be fatal to every, even the most gigantic,
system of wickedness. Having these elements in their minds and hearts,
they would not fail of condemning the great and compound sin of war
whenever they should be led to take it up, examine it, resolve it into
its constituent parts, and lay these parts for comparison, by the side
of those elements. But, such an advance was hardly to be expected from
many of these heathen converts during the brief period in which they
enjoyed Apostolic instruction; and it is but too probable, that most of
them died in great ignorance of the sin of national wars. Converts from
the heathen, in the present age, when conviction of the sinfulness of
war is spreading in different parts of Christendom, would be more likely
to imbibe correct views of it.

The Apostles "fed with milk" before they fed with meat, as did our
Saviour, who declared, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye
cannot bear them now." In every community, the foundation principles of
righteousness must be laid, before there can be fulcrums for the levers
to be employed in overthrowing the sins which prevail in it. You will
doubtless, then, agree with me, that it is not probable that the
Apostles taught their heathen converts, directly and specifically, the
sinfulness of war. But slaves, in that age, with the exception of the
comparative few who were reduced to slavery on account of the crimes of
which they had been judicially convicted, were the spoils of war. How
often in that age, as was most awfully the fact, on the final
destruction of Jerusalem, were the slave-markets of the world glutted by
the captives of war! Until, therefore, they should be brought to see the
sinfulness of war, how could they see the sinfulness of so direct and
legitimate a fruit of it as slavery?--and, if the Apostles thought their
heathen converts too weak to be instructed in the sinfulness of war, how
much more would they abstain from instructing them, directly and
specifically, in the sin of slavery!

3d. In proceeding with my reasons why the Apostles did not extend their
specification of sins to slavery, I remark, that it is apparent from the
views we have taken, and from others which might have been taken, that
nothing would have been gained by their making direct and specific
attacks on the institutions of the civil governments under which they
lived. Indeed, much might have been lost by their doing so. Weak
converts, with still many remains of heathenism about them, might in
this wise have been incurably prejudiced against truths, which, by other
modes of teaching,--by general and indirect instructions,--would
probably have been lodged in their minds. And there is another point of
view in which vastly more, even their lives, might have been lost, by
the Apostles making the direct and specific attacks referred to. I know
that you ridicule the idea of their consulting their personal safety.
But what right have you to do so? They did, on many occasions, consult
the security of their lives. They never perilled them needlessly, and
through a presumptuous reliance on God. It is the devil, who, in a
garbled quotation from the Scriptures, lays down, in unlimited terms,
the proposition, that God will keep his children. But, God promises them
protection only when they are in their own proper ways. The Saviour
himself consulted the safety of his life, until his "time" had "full
come;" and his command to his Apostles was, "when they persecute you in
this city, flee ye into another." If you suppose me to admit for a
moment, that regard for the safety of their lives ever kept them from
the way of their duty, you are entirely mistaken; and, if you continue
to assert, in the face of my reasoning to the contrary, that on the
supposition of the sinfulness of slavery, their omission to make direct
and specific attacks on it would have been a failure of their duty, then
I can only regret that this reasoning has had no more influence upon

I observe that Professor Hodge agrees with you, that if slavery is sin,
it would have been specifically attacked by the Apostles at any hazard
to their lives. This is his conclusion, because they did not hesitate to
specify and rebuke idolatry. Here is another of the Professor's
sophisms. The fact, that the Apostles preached against idolatry, is no
reason at all why, if slavery is sin, they would have preached against
that also. On the one hand, it is not conceivable that the gospel can be
preached where there is idolatry, without attacking it: for, in setting
forth the true God to idolaters, the preacher must denounce their false
gods. On the other hand, gospel sermons can be preached without number,
and the true God presented, not only in a nation of idolaters, but
elsewhere, without one allusion being made to such crying sins as
slavery, lewdness, and intemperance.

In the same connexion, Professor Hodge makes the remark "We do not
expect them (our missionaries) to refrain from denouncing the
institutions of the heathen as sinful, because they are popular, or
intimately interwoven with society." If he means by this language, that
it is the duty of missionaries on going into a heathen nation, to array
themselves against the civil government, and to make direct and specific
attacks on its wicked nature and wicked administration, then is he at
issue, on this point, with the whole Christian public; and, if he does
not mean this, or what amounts to this, I do not see how his remark will
avail any thing, in his attempt to show that the Apostles made such
attacks on whatever sinful institutions came under their observation.

What I have said on a former page shows sufficiently how fit it is for
missionaries to the heathen, more especially in the first years of their
efforts among them, to labor to instruct their ignorant pupils in the
elementary principles of Christianity, rather than to call their
attention to the institutions of civil government, the sinfulness of
which they would not be able to perceive until they had been grounded in
those elementary principles; and the sinfulness of which, more than of
any thing else, their prejudices would forbid them to suspect. Another
reason why the missionary to the heathen should not directly, and
certainly not immediately, assail their civil governments, is that he
would thereby arouse their jealousies to a pitch fatal to his influence,
his usefulness, and most probably his life; and another reason is, that
this imprudence would effectually close the door, for a long time,
against all efforts, even the most judicious, to spread the gospel
amongst a people so needlessly and greatly prejudiced against it by an
unwise and abrupt application of its principles. For instance, what
folly and madness it would be for our missionaries to Burmah, to make a
direct assault on the political institutions of that country! How fatal
would it be to their lives, and how incalculably injurious to the cause
entrusted to their hands! And, if this can be said of them, after they
have spent ten, fifteen, and twenty years, in efforts to bring that
portion of the heathen world to a knowledge and love of the truth, how
much more emphatically could it be said if they had been in the field of
their labors but three or four years! And yet, even this short space of
time exceeds the average period of the Apostles' labor among those
different portions of the heathen world which they visited;--labor, too,
it must be remembered, not of the whole, nor even of half of "the

That the Apostles could not have made direct attacks on the institutions
of the Roman government, but at the expense of their lives, is not to be
doubted. Our Saviour well knew how fatal was the jealousy of that
government to the man who was so unhappy as to have excited it; and he
accordingly avoided the excitement of it, as far as practicable and
consistent. His ingenious and beautiful disposition of the question, "Is
it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not," is among the instances, in
which He studied to shun the displeasure of the civil government. Pilate
gave striking evidence of his unwillingness to excite the jealousy of
his government, when, every other expedient to induce him to consent to
the Saviour's death having failed, the bare charge, utterly unproven and
groundless, that, the Divine prisoner had put forth pretensions,
interfering with Caesar's rights, availed to procure His death-warrant
from the hands of that truth-convicted, but man-fearing governor. Had it
not availed, Pilate would have been exposed to the suspicion of
disloyalty to his government; and so perilous was this suspicion, that
he was ready, at any expense to his conscience and sense of justice, to
avoid incurring it.

A direct attack on Roman slavery, as it would have called in question
the rightfulness of war--the leading policy of the Roman
government--would, of course, have been peculiarly perilous to its
presumptuous author. No person could have made this attack, and lived;
or, if possibly he might have escaped the vengeance of the government,
do we not know too much of the deadly wrath of slaveholders, to believe
that he could have also escaped the summary process of Lynch law? If it
be at the peril of his life that a Northern man travels in the Southern
States,--and that, too, whether he do or do not say a word about
slavery, or even whether he be or be not an abolitionist;--if your
leading men publicly declare, that it is your religious duty to put to
an immediate death, whenever they come within your power, those who
presume to say that slavery is sin (and such a declaration did a South
Carolina gentleman make on the floor of congress, respecting the
inconsiderable person who is addressing you);--and, if your professing
Christians, not excepting ministers of the gospel, thirst for the blood
of abolitionists[A], as I will abundantly show, if you require
proof;--if, in a gospel land, all this be so, then I put it to your
candor, whether it can reasonably be supposed that the Apostles would
have been allowed to attack slavery in the midst of heathen
slaveholders. Why it is that slaveholders will not allow a word to be
breathed against slavery, I cannot, perhaps, correctly judge.
Abolitionists think that this unwillingness denotes that man is unfit
for absolute power over his fellow men. They think as unfavorably of the
influence of this power on the slaveholder, as your own Jefferson did.
They think that it tends to make him impatient of contradiction,
self-willed, supercilious, cruel, murderous, devilish; and they think
that they can establish this opinion, not by the soundest philosophy
only, but by the pages of many of your own writers, and by those daily
scenes of horrid brutality which make the Southern States, in the sight
both of God and man, one of the most frightful and loathsome portions of
the world--of the whole world--barbarous as well as civilized.

[Footnote A: I will relate an incident, to show what a fiend even woman,
gentle, lovely woman, may become, after she has fallen under the sway of
the demon of slavery. Said a lady of Savannah, on a visit in the city of
New York, "I wish he (Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Cox) would come to Savannah. I
should love to see him tarred and feathered, and his head cut off and
carried on a pole around Savannah." This lady is a professing Christian.
Her language stirs me up to retaliate upon her, and to express the wish
that she would come to the town, and even to the dwelling, in which Dr.
Cox resides. She would find that man of God--that man of sanctified
genius--as glad to get his enemies into his hands, as she would be to
get him into the hands of his enemies:--not, however, for the purpose of
disgracing and decapitating them, but, that he might pour out upon them
the forgiveness and love of his generous and _abolitionized_ heart. In
the city of New York there are thousands of whole-souled abolitionists.
What a striking testimony is it, in behalf of their meekness and
forbearance, when a southern fury is perfectly secure, in belching out
such words of wrath in the midst of them! We abolitionists never love
our principles better, than when we see the slaveholder feeling safe
amongst us. No man has been more abusive of us than Governor McDuffie;
and yet, were he to travel in the Northern States, he would meet with no
unkindness at the hands of any abolitionist. On the other hand, let it
be known to the governor, that he has within his jurisdiction a
prominent abolitionist--one, whose heart of burning love has made him
specially anxious to persuade the unfortunate slaveholder to be just to
himself, to his fellow men, and to his God,--and the governor, true to
the horrid sentiments of his famous message, would advise that he be
"put to death without benefit of clergy." Let slaveholders say what they
will about our blood-thirstiness, there is not one of them who fears to
put himself in our power. The many of them, who have been beneath my
roof, and the roofs of other abolitionists, have manifested their
confidence in our kindness. Were a stranger to the institution of
slavery to learn, in answer to his inquiries, that "an abolitionist" is
"an outlaw amongst slaveholders," and that "a slaveholder" is "the
kindly entertained guest of abolitionists,"--here would be a puzzle
indeed. But the solution of it would not fail to be as honorable to the
persecuted man of peace, as it would be disgraceful to the bloody
advocate and executioner of Lynch law.]

I need not render any more reasons why the Apostles did not specifically
attack slavery; but I will reply to a question, which I am sure will be
upon your lips all the time you are reading those I have rendered. This
question is, "If the Apostles did not make such an attack on slavery,
why may the American abolitionists?" I answer, that the difference
between the course of the abolitionists and of the Apostles, in this
matter, is justified by the difference in their circumstances. Professor
Hodge properly says, that our course should be like theirs, "unless it
can be shown that their circumstances were so different from ours, as to
make the rule of duty different in the two cases." And he as properly
adds, "the obligation to point out and establish this difference rests
upon the abolitionists."

The reasons I have given, why the Apostles did not directly attack
slavery, do not apply to the abolitionists. The arm of civil power does
not restrain us from attacking it. To open our lips against the policy
and institutions of civil government is not certain death. A despotic
government restricted the efforts of the Apostles to do good. But we
live under governments which afford the widest scope for exertions to
bless our fellow men and honor God. Now, if we may not avail ourselves
of this advantage, simply because the Apostles did not have it to avail
themselves of, then whatever other interests may prosper under a
republican government, certain it is, that the cause of truth and
righteousness is not to be benefited by it. Far better never to have had
our boasted form of government, if, whilst it extends the freedom and
multiplies the facilities of the wicked, it relieves the righteous of
none of the restrictions of a despotic government. Again, there is a
religious conscience all over this land, and an enlightened and gospel
sense of right and wrong; on which we can and do (as in your
Introduction you concede is the fact) bring our arguments against
slavery to bear with mighty power. But, on the other hand, the creating
of such a conscience and such a sense, in the heathen and semi-heathen
amongst whom they lived and labored, was the first, and appropriate, and
principal work of the Apostles. To employ, therefore, no other methods
for the moral and religious improvement of the people of the United
States, than were employed by the Apostles for that of the people of the
Roman empire, is as absurd as it would be to put the highest and lowest
classes in a school to the same lessons; or a raw apprentice to those
higher branches of his trade which demand the skill of an experienced

I am here reminded of what Professor Hodge says were the means relied on
by the Saviour and Apostles for abolishing slavery. "It was," says he,
"by teaching the true nature, dignity, equality, and destiny of men; by
inculcating the principles of justice and love; and by leaving these
principles to produce their legitimate effects in ameliorating the
condition of all classes of society." I would not speak disparagingly of
such a course of instruction; so far from it, I am ready to admit that
it is indispensable for the removal of evils, in every age and among
every people. When general instructions of this character shall have
ceased to be given, then will all wholesome reforms have ceased also.
But, I cannot approve of the Professor's object in this remark. This
object is to induce his readers to believe, that these abstract and
general instructions are all that is needed to effect the termination of
slavery. Now, I maintain that one thing more is wanting; and that is,
the application of these instructions--of the principles contained in
them--to the evil in hand. As well may it be supposed, that the mechanic
can accomplish his work without the application, and by the mere
possession, of his tools, as that a given reformation can be effected by
unapplied general principles. Of these principles, American
philanthropists have been possessed from time immemorial; and yet all
the while American slavery has been flourishing and growing strong. Of
late, however, these principles have been brought to bear upon the
system, and it manifestly is already giving way. The groans of the
monster prove that those rays of truth, which did not disturb him whilst
they continued to move in the parallel lines of abstractions and
generalities, make it quite too hot for him since they are converged to
a burning focus upon his devoted head. Why is it, for example, that the
influence of the Boston Recorder and New-York Observer--why is it, that
the influence of most of our titled divines--is decidedly hostile to the
abolition of slavery? It is not because they are deficient in just
general sentiments and principles respecting man's duties to God and his
fellow man. It is simply because they stand opposed to the application
of these sentiments and principles to the evil in question; or, in other
words, stand opposed to the Anti-Slavery Society, which is the chosen
lens of Divine Providence for turning these sentiments and principles,
with all the burning, irresistible power of their concentration, against
a giant wickedness. What is the work of the Temperance Societies, but to
make a specific application of general truths and principles to the vice
of intemperance? And the fact, that from the time of Noah's
intoxication, until the organization of the American Temperance Society,
the desolating tide of intemperance had been continually swelling,
proves that this reliance on unapplied principles, however sound--this
"faith without works"--is utterly vain. Nathan found that nothing, short
of a specific application of the principles of righteousness, would
answer in the case of the sin of adultery. He had to abandon all
generalities and circuitousness, and come plump upon the royal sinner
with his "Thou art the man." Those divines, whose policy it is to handle
slaveholders "with gloves," if they must handle them at all, doubtless
regard Nathan as an exceedingly impolite preacher.

But, not only is it far less difficult to instruct the people of the
United States than it was the people of the Roman Empire, in the sin of
slavery; it is also--for the reason that the sin is ours, to a far
greater extent, than it was theirs--much more important for us than for
them to be instructed in it. They had no share in the government which
upheld it. They could not abolish it by law. But, on the other hand, the
people of the United States are themselves the government of their
country. They are the co-sovereigns of their nation. They uphold slavery
by law, and they can put it down by law. In this point of view,
therefore, slavery is an incomparably greater sin in us, than it was in

Only one other reason will be given why it is more needful to overthrow
American, than it was to overthrow Roman slavery. The Church was then
but a handful of "strangers scattered throughout" the heathen world. It
was made up of those who had little influence, and who were esteemed
"the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things." It had,
probably, little, if any thing, to do with slavery, except to suffer its
rigors in the persons of many of its members. But here, the Church,
comprising no very small proportion of the whole population, and
exerting a mighty influence for good or ill on the residue, is tainted,
yes, rotten with slavery. In this contrast, we not only see another
reason why the destruction of American slavery is more important than
was that of Roman slavery; but we also see, that the Apostles could have
been little, if at all, actuated by that motive, which is more urgent
than any other in the breasts of the American abolitionists--the motive
of purging the Church of slavery.

To return to what you say of the abominations and horrors of Greek and
Roman slavery:--I should be doing you great injustice, were I to convey
the idea that you approve of them. It is admitted that you disapprove of
them; and, it is also admitted, that no responsibility for them rests on
the relation of slaveholder and slave, if that relation have, as you
labor to show, the stamp of Divine approbation. You say, that slavery,
like marriage, is an institution sanctioned by the New Testament; and
that, therefore, neither for the evils which attend it, nor for any
other cause, is it to be argued against. This is sound reasoning, on
your part; and, if your premises are correct, there is no resisting your
deduction. We are, in that case, not only not to complain of the
institution of slavery, but we are to be thankful for it. Considering,
however, that the whole fabric of your argument, in the principal or New
Testament division of your book, is based on the alleged fact that the
New Testament approves of slavery, it seems to me that you have
contented yourself, and sought to make your readers contented, with very
slender evidences of the truth of this proposition. These evidences are,
mainly--that the New Testament does not declare slavery to be a sin:
and, that the Apostles enjoin upon masters and servants their respective
duties; and this, too, in the same connexion in which they make similar
injunctions upon those who stand in the confessedly proper relations of
life--the husband and wife, the parent and child. Your other evidences,
that the New Testament approves of slavery, unimportant as they are,
will not be left unnoticed.

I have attempted to show, that the omission of the New Testament to
declare slavery to be a sin, is not proof that it is not a sin. I pass
on to show, that the Apostolic injunction of duties upon masters and
servants does not prove that slavery is sinless.

I have now reached another grand fallacy in your book. It is also found
in Professor Hodge's article. You, gentlemen, take the liberty to depart
from our standard English translation of the Bible, and to substitute
"slaveholder" for "master"--"slave" for "servant"--and, in substance,
"emperor" for "ruler"--and "subject of an imperial government" for
"subject of civil government generally." I know that this substitution
well suits your purposes: but, I know not by what right you make it.
Professor Hodge tells the abolitionists, certainly without much respect
for either their intelligence or piety, that "it will do no good (for
them) to attempt to tear the Bible to pieces." There is but too much
evidence, that he himself has not entirely refrained from the folly and
crime, which he is so ready to impute to others.

I will proceed to offer some reasons for the belief, that when the
Apostles enjoined on masters and servants their respective duties, they
had reference to servitude in general, and not to any modification of

1st. You find passages in the New Testament, where you think _despotes_
refers to a person who is a slaveholder, and _doulos_ to a person who is
a slave. Admit that you are right: but this (which seems to be your only
ground for it) does not justify you in translating these words
"slaveholder" and "slave," whenever it may be advantageous to your side
of the question to have them thus translated. These words, have a great
variety of meanings. For instance, there are passages in the New
Testament where _despotes_ means "God"--Jesus Christ"--Head of a
family:" and where _doulos_ means "a minister or agent"--a subject of a
king"--a disciple or follower of Christ." _Despotes_ and _doulos_ are
the words used in the original of the expression: "Lord, now lettest
thou thy servant depart in peace:" _doulos_ in that of the expressions,
"servant of Christ," and "let him be servant of all." Profane writers
also use these words in various senses. My full belief is, that these
words were used in both a generic and special sense, as is the word
corn, which denotes bread-stuffs in general, and also a particular kind
of them; as is the word meat, the meaning of which is, sometimes,
confined to flesh that is eaten, and, at other times, as is frequently
the case in the Scriptures, extends to food in general; and, as is the
word servant, which is suitable, either in reference to a particular
form of servitude, or to servitude in general. There is a passage in the
second chapter of Acts, which is, of itself, perhaps, sufficient to
convince an unbiased mind, that the Apostles used the word _doulos_ in
a, generic, as well as in a special sense. _Doulos_ and _doule_ are the
words in the phrase: "And on my servants and on my handmaidens." A
reference to the prophecy as it stands; in Joel 2: 28, 29, makes it more
obvious, that persons in servitude are referred to under the words
_doulos_ and _doule_; and, that the predicted blessing was to be shed
upon persons of all ages, classes, and conditions--upon old men and
young men--upon sons and daughters--and upon man-servants and
maid-servants. But, under the interpretation of those, who, like
Professor Hodge and yourself, confine the meaning of _doulos_ and
_doule_ to a species of servants, the prophecy would have reference to
persons of all ages, classes, and conditions--_excepting certain
descriptions of servants_. Under this interpretation, we are brought to
the absurd conclusion, that the spirit is to be poured out upon the
master and his slaves--_but not upon his hired servants_.

I trust that enough has been said, under this my first head, to show
that the various senses in which the words _despotes_ and _doulos_ are
employed, justify me in taking the position, that whenever we meet with
them, we are to determine, from the nature of the case, and from the
connexion in which they are used, whether they refer to servitude in
general, or to a species of it.

2d. The confinement of the meaning of the words in question supposes,
what neither religion nor common sense allows us to suppose, that
slaveholders and slaves, despots and those in subjection to them, were
such especial favorites of the Apostles, as to obtain from them specific
instructions in respect to their relative duties, whilst all other
masters and servants, and all other rulers and subjects, throughout all
future time, were left unprovided with such instructions. According to
this supposition, when slavery and despotism shall, agreeably to
Professor Hodge's expectations, have entirely ceased, there will be not
one master nor servant, not one ruler nor subject in the whole earth, to
fall, as such, under the Apostolic injunctions.

3d. You admit that there were hirelings, in a community of primitive
believers; and I admit, for the moment, that there were slaves in it.
Now, under my interpretation of the Apostolic injunction, all husbands,
all wives, all parents, all children, and all servants, in this
community, are told their respective duties: but, under yours, these
duties are enjoined on all husbands, all wives, all parents, all
children, and a _part of the servants_. May we not reasonably complain
of your interpretation, that it violates analogy?

Imagine the scene, in which a father, in the Apostolic age, assembles
his family to listen to a letter from the glowing Peter, or "such an one
as Paul the aged." The letter contains instructions respecting the
relative duties of life. The venerable pair, who stand in the conjugal
and parental relations, receive, with calm thankfulness, what is
addressed to themselves;--the bright-eyed little ones are eager to know
what the Apostle says to children--a poor slave blesses God for his
portion of the Apostolic counsel;--and the scene would be one of
unmingled joy, if the writer had but addressed hired servants, as well
as slaves. One of the group goes away to weep, because the Apostle had
remembered the necessities of all other classes of men, and forgotten
those of the hireling. Sir, do you believe that the Apostle was guilty
of such an omission? I rejoice that my side of the question between us,
does not call for the belief of what is so improbable and
unnatural--and, withal, so dishonoring to the memory of the Apostle.

4th. Another reason for believing, that the Apostles intended no such
limitation as that which you impose upon their words, is, that their
injunctions are as applicable to the other classes of persons occupying
these relations, as they are to the particular class to which you
confine them. The hired servant, as well as the slave, needs to be
admonished of the sins of "eye service" and "purloining;" and the master
of voluntary, as well as involuntary servants, needs to be admonished to
"give that which is just and equal." The ruler in a republic, or, in a
limited monarchy, as well as the despot, requires to be reminded, that
he is to be "a minister of God for good." So the subject of one kind of
civil government, as well as that of another, needs to be told to be
"subject unto the higher powers."

I need not extend my remarks to prove, that _despotes_ and _doulos_ are,
in the case before us, to be taken in their comprehensive sense of
master and servant: and, clearly, therefore, the abolitionist is not
guilty of violating your rule, "not to interfere with a civil relation
(in another place, you say, 'any of the existing relations of life') for
which, and to regulate which, either Christ or his Apostles have
prescribed regulations." He believes, as fully as yourself, that the
relation of master and servant is approved of God. It is the slavery
modification of it--the slaveholder's abuse and perversion of the
relation, in reducing the servant to a chattel--which, he believes, is
not approved of God.

For the sake of the argument, I will admit, that the slave alone, of all
classes of servants, was favored with specific instructions from the
Apostles: and then, how should we account for the selection? In no other
way, can I conceive, than, on the ground, that his lot is so peculiarly
hard--so much harder than that of persons under other forms of
servitude--that he needs, whilst they do not, Apostolic counsel and
advice to keep him just, and patient, and submissive. Let me be spared
from the sin of reducing a brother man to such a lot. Your doctrine,
therefore, that the Apostles addressed slaves only, and not servants in
general, would not, were its correctness admitted, lift you out of all
the difficulties in your argument.

Again, does it necessarily follow from this admission, that the relation
of slaveholder and slave is sinless? Was the despotism of the Roman
government sinless? I do not ask whether the _abuses_ of civil
government, in that instance, were sinless. But, I ask, was a
government, despotic in its constitution, depriving all its subjects of
political power, and extending absolute control over their property and
persons--was such a government, independently of the consideration of
its _abuses_, (if indeed we may speak of the abuses of what is in itself
an _abuse_,) sinless? I am aware, that Prof. Hodge says, that it was so:
and, when he classes despotism and slavery with _adiaphora_, "things
indifferent;" and allows no more moral character to them than to a table
or a broomstick, I trust no good man envies his optics. May I not hope
that you, Mr. Smylie, perceive a difference between despotism and an
"indifferent thing." May I not hope, that you will, both as a Republican
and a Christian, take the ground, that despotism has a moral character,
and a bad one? When our fathers prayed, and toiled, and bled, to obtain
for themselves and their children the right of self-government, and to
effect their liberation from a power, which, in the extent and rigor of
its despotism, is no more to be compared to the Roman government, than
the "little finger" to the "loins," I doubt not, that they felt that
despotism had a moral, and a very bad moral character. And so would
Prof. Hodge have felt, had he stood by their side, instead of being one
of their ungrateful sons. I say ungrateful--for, who more so, than he
who publishes doctrines that disparage the holy cause in which they were
embarked, and exhibits them, as contending for straws, rather than for
principles? Tell me, how long will this Republic endure after our people
shall have imbibed the doctrine, that the _nature_ of civil government
is an indifferent thing: and that the poet was right when he said,

"For forms of government let _fools_ contest?"

This, however, is but one of many doctrines of ruinous tendency to the
cause of civil liberty, advanced by pro-slavery writers to sustain their
system of oppression.

It would surely be superfluous to go into proofs, that the Roman
government was vicious and wicked in its constitution and nature.
Nevertheless, the Apostle enjoined submission to it, and taught its
subjects how to demean themselves under it. Here, then, we have an
instance, in which we cannot argue the sinlessness of a relation, from
the fact of Apostolic injunctions on those standing in it. Take another
instance. The Chaldeans went to a foreign land, and enslaved its
people--as members of your guilty partnership have done for some of the
slaves you now own, and for the ancestors of others. And God destroyed
the Chaldeans expressly "for all their evil that they had done in Zion."
But, wicked as they were, for having instituted this relation between
themselves and the Jews, God, nevertheless, tells the Jews to submit to
it. He tells them, "Serve the King of Babylon." He even says, "seek the
peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away
captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for, in the peace thereof,
shall ye have peace." Here then, we have another instance, in addition
to that of the Roman despot and his subjects, in which the Holy Spirit
prescribed regulations for wicked relations. You will, at least, allow,
that the relation established by the Chaldeans between themselves and
the captive Jews, was wicked. But, you will perhaps say, that this is
not a relation coming within the contemplation of your rule. Your rule
speaks of a civil relation, and also of the existing relations of life.
But, the relation in question, being substantially that of slaveholder
and slave, is, according to your own showing, a civil relation. Perhaps
you will say, it is not an "existing relation of life." But what do you
mean by "an existing relation of life?" Do you mean, that it is a
relation approved of God? If you do, and insist that the relation of
slaveholder and slave is "an existing relation of life," then you are
guilty of begging the great question between us. Your rule, therefore,
can mean nothing more than this--that any relation is rightful, for
which the Bible prescribes regulations. But the relation referred to
between the Chaldeans and Jews, proves the falsity of the rule. Again,
when a man compels me to go with him, is not the compelled relation
between him and me a sinful one? And the relation of robber and robbed,
which a man institutes between himself and me, is not this also sinful?
But, the Bible has prescribed regulations for the relations in both
these cases. In the one, it requires me to "go with him twain;" and, in
the other, to endure patiently even farther spoliation and, "let him
have (my) cloak also." In these cases, also, do we see the falsity of
your rule--and none the less clearly, because the relations in question
are of brief duration.

Before concluding my remarks on this topic, let me say, that your
doctrine, that God has prescribed no rules for the behaviour of persons
in any other than the just relations of life, reflects no honor on His
compassion. Why, even we "cut-throat" abolitionists are not so
hard-hearted as to overlook the subjects of a relation, because it is
wicked. Pitying, as we do, our poor colored brethren, who are forced
into a wicked relation, which, by its very nature and terms, and not by
its _abuses_, as you would say, has robbed them of their all--even we
would, nevertheless, tell them to "resist not evil"--to be obedient unto
their own masters"--not purloining, but showing all good fidelity." We
would tell them, as God told the captive Jews, to "seek the peace of
those, whither they are carried away captives, and to pray unto the
Lord" for them: and our hope of their emancipation is not, as it is most
slanderously and wickedly reported to be, in their deluging the South
with blood: but, it is, to use again those sweet words of inspiration,
that "in the peace thereof they shall have peace." We do not communicate
with the slave; but, if we did, we would teach him, that our hope of his
liberation is grounded largely in his patience, and that, if he would
have us drop his cause from our hands, he has but to take it into his
own, and attempt to accomplish by violence, that which we seek to effect
through the power of truth and love on the understanding and heart of
his master.

Having disposed of your reasons in favor of the rightfulness of the
relation of slaveholder and slave, I will offer a few reasons for
believing that it is not rightful.

1st. My strongest reason is, that the great and comprehensive
principles, and the whole genius and spirit of Christianity, are opposed
to slavery.

2d. In the case of Pharoah and his Jewish slaves, God manifested his
abhorrence of the relation of slavery. The fact that the slavery in this
case was political, instead of domestic, and, therefore, of a milder
type than that of Southern slavery, does not forbid my reasoning from
the one form to the other. Indeed, if I may receive your declaration on
this point, for the truth, I need not admit that the type of the slavery
in question is milder than that of Southern slavery;--for you say, that
"their (the Jews) condition was that of the most abject bondage or
slavery." But the supposition that it is milder, being allowed to be
correct, would only prove, that God's abhorrence of Southern bondage as
much exceeds that which he expressed of Egyptian bondage, as the one
system is more full than the other of oppression and cruelty.

We learn from the Bible, that it was not because of the _abuses_ of the
Egyptian system of bondage, but, because of its sinful nature, that God
required its abolition. He did not command Pharaoh to cease from the
_abuses_ of the system, and to correct his administration of it, but to
cease from the system itself. "I have heard," says God, "the groaning of
the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage;"--not whom
the Egyptians, availing themselves of their absolute power, compel to
make brick without straw, and seek to waste and exterminate by the
murder of their infant children;--but simply "whom the Egyptians keep in
bondage." These hardships and outrages were but the leaves and branches.
The root of the abomination was the bondage itself, the assertion of
absolute and slaveholding power by "a new king over Egypt, which knew
not Joseph." In the next verse God says: "I will rid you"--not only from
the burdens and abuses, as you would say, of bondage,--but "out of their
(the Egyptians) bondage" itself--out of the relation in which the
Egyptians oppressively and wickedly hold you.

God sends many messages to Pharaoh. In no one of them does He reprove
him for the abuses of the relation into which he had forced the Jews. In
no one of them is he called on to correct the evils which had grown out
of that relation. But, in every one, does God go to the root of the
evil, and command Pharaoh, "let my people go"--"let my people go, that
they may serve me." The abolitionist is reproachfully called an
"ultraist" and "an immediatist." It seems that God was both, when
dealing with this royal slaveholder:--for He commanded Pharaoh, not to
mitigate the bondage of the Israelites, but to deliver them from it--and
that, too, immediately. The system of slavery is wicked in God's sight,
and, therefore, did He require of Pharaoh its immediate abandonment. The
phrase, "let my people go, that they may serve me," shows most
strikingly one feature of resemblance between Egyptian and American
slavery. Egyptian slavery did not allow its subjects to serve God,
neither does American. The Egyptian master stood between his slave and
their God: and how strikingly and awfully true is it, that the American
master occupies the like position! Not only is the theory of slavery,
the world over, in the face of God's declaration; "all souls are mine:"
but American slaveholders have brought its practical character to
respond so fully to its theory--they have succeeded, so well, in
excluding the light and knowledge of God from the minds of their
slaves--that they laugh at His claim to "all souls."

3d. Paul, in one of his letters to the Corinthian Church, tells
servants--say slaves, to suit your views--if they may be free, to prefer
freedom to bondage. But if it be the duty of slaves to prefer freedom to
bondage, how clearly is it the correlative duty of the master to grant
it to him! You interpret the Apostle's language, in this case, as I do;
and it is not a little surprising, that, with your interpretation of it,
you can still advocate slavery. You admit, that Paul says--I use your
own words--"a state of freedom, on the whole, is the best." Now, it
seems to me, that this admission leaves you without excuse, for
defending slavery. You have virtually yielded the ground. And this
admission is especially fatal to your strenuous endeavors to class the
relation of master and slave with the confessedly proper relations of
life, and to show that, like these, it is approved of God. Would Paul
say to the child, "a state of freedom" from parental government "on the
whole is the best?" Would he say to the wife, "a state of freedom from
your conjugal bonds" on the whole is the best? Would he say to the child
and wife, in respect to this freedom, "use it rather?" Would he be thus
guilty of attempting to annihilate the family relation?

Does any one wonder, that the Apostle did not use stronger language, in
advising to a choice and enjoyment of freedom? It is similar to that
which a pious, intelligent, and prudent abolitionist would now use under
the like circumstances. Paul was endeavoring to make the slave contented
with his hard lot, and to show him how unimportant is personal liberty,
compared with liberation from spiritual bondage: and this explains why
it is, that he spoke so briefly and moderately of the advantages of
liberty. His advice to the slave to accept the boon of freedom, was a
purely incidental remark: and we cannot infer from it, how great stress
he would have laid on the evils of slavery, and on the blessings of
liberty, in a discourse treating directly and mainly of those subjects.
What I have previously said, however, shows that it would, probably,
have been in vain, and worse than in vain, for him to have come out, on
any occasion whatever, with an exposition of the evils of slavery.

On the thirty-second page of your book, you say, "Masters cannot,
according to the command of Christ, render to their slaves that which is
just and equal, if you abolish the relation; for, then they will cease
to be masters." Abolish any of the relations for which regulations are
provided "in the New Testament, and, in effect, you abolish some of the
laws of Christ." But, we have just seen that Paul was in favor of
abolishing the relation of master and slave; which, as you insist, is a
relation for which regulations are provided in the New Testament. It is,
therefore, irresistibly deduced from your own premises, that he was in
favor of abolishing "the laws of Christ." It would require but little,
if any, extension of your doctrine, to make it wrong to remove all the
graven images out of a nation. For, in that event, the law of God
against bowing down to them would have nothing left to act upon. It
would thenceforth be inoperative.

4th. Another reason for believing, that the Apostles did not approve of
the slavery modification of servitude, is found in Paul's injunction;
"Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them." I admit, that it
is probable that others as well as slaves, are referred to in this
injunction: but it certainly is not probable, that others, to the
exclusion of slaves, are referred to. But, even on the supposition that
slaves are not referred to, but those only who are tenants of prisons,
let me ask you which you would rather be--a slave or a prisoner, as Paul
probably was when he wrote this injunction?--and whether your own
description of the wretched condition of the Roman slave, does not
prepare you to agree with me, that if the Apostle could ask sympathy for
the prisoner, who, with all his deprivations, has still the protection
of law, it is not much more due to the poor slave, who has no protection
whatever against lawless tyranny and caprice!

But to proceed, if slaves are the only, or even a part of the persons
referred to in the injunction, then you will observe, that the Apostle
does not call for the exercise of sympathy towards those who are said to
be suffering what you call the _abuses_ of slavery; but towards those
who are so unhappy as to be but the subjects of it--towards those who
are "in bonds." The bare relation of a slave is itself so grievous, as
to call for compassion towards those who bear it. Now, if this relation
were to be classed with the approved relations of life, why should the
Apostle have undertaken to awaken compassion for persons, simply because
they were the subject, of it? He never asked for sympathy for persons,
simply because they were parties to the relations of husband and wife,
parent and child. It may be worthy of notice, that the injunction under
consideration is found in Paul's letter to the Jewish Christians. This
attempt to awaken pity in behalf of the slave, and to produce abhorrence
of slavery, was made upon these, and not upon the Gentile Christians;
because, perhaps, that they, who had always possessed the Oracles of
God, could bear it; and they who had just come up out of the mire of
heathenism, could not. If this explanation be just, it enforces my
argument for ascribing to causes, other than the alleged sinfulness of
the institution, the Apostle's omission to utter specific rebukes of

5th. Another reason for believing that the slavery modification of
servitude should not be classed with the confessedly proper relations
with which you class it, is the conclusive one, that it interferes with,
and tends to subvert, and does actually subvert, these relations. The
Apostles prescribe duties, which are necessary to sustain these
relations, and make them fruitful sources of happiness to the parties to
them. Among these duties are the following: "Wives, submit yourselves to
your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord"--"Children, obey your
parents"--"Husbands, dwell with them" (your wives). But slavery, where
it does not make obedience to these commands utterly impossible,
conditions it on the permission of usurpers, who have presumed to step
between the laws of God and those on whom they are intended to bear.
Slavery, not the law of God, practically determines whether husbands
shall dwell with their wives: and an amount of anguish, which God alone
can compute, testifies that slavery has thus determined, times without
number, that husbands shall not dwell with their wives. A distinguished
gentleman, who has been much at the South, is spending a little time in
my family. He told me but this day, that he had frequently known the air
filled with shrieks of anguish for a whole mile around the spot, where,
under the hammer of the auctioneer, the members of a family were
undergoing an endless separation from each other. It was but last week,
that a poor fugitive reached a family, in which God's commands, "Hide
the outcasts, betray not him that wandereth"--"Hide not thyself from thy
own flesh"--are not a dead letter. The heaviest burden of his heart is,
that he has not seen his wife for five years, and does not expect to see
her again: his master, in Virginia, having sold him to a Georgian, and
his wife to an inhabitant of the District of Columbia. Whilst the law of
God requires wives to "submit themselves to their husbands, as it is fit
in the Lord;" the law of slavery commands them, under the most terrific
penalties, to submit to every conceivable form of violence, and the most
loathsome pollution, "as it is fit" in the eyes of slaveholders--no
small proportion of whom are, as a most natural fruit of slavery,
abandoned to brutality and lust. The laws of South Carolina and Georgia
make it an offence punishable with death, "if any slave shall presume to
strike a white person." By the laws of Maryland and Kentucky, it is
enacted "if any negro, mulatto, or Indian, bond or free, shall, at any
time, lift his or her hand in opposition to any person, not being a
negro or Indian, he or she shall, in the first-mentioned State, suffer
the penalty of cropped ears; and, in the other, thirty-nine lashes on
his or her bare back, well laid on, by order of the justice." In
Louisiana there is a law--for the enactment of which, slavery is, of
course, responsible--in these words: "Free people of color ought never
to insult or strike white people, nor presume to conceive themselves
equal to the whites: but, on the contrary, they ought _to yield to them
on every occasion_, and never speak or answer them but with respect,
under the penalty of imprisonment, according to the nature of the
offence." The following extract of a letter, written to me from the
South, by a gentleman who still resides there, serves to show how true
it is, that "on every occasion," the colored person must yield to the
white, and, especially, if the white be clothed with the authority of an
ambassador of Christ. "A negro was executed in Autauga Co., not long
since, for the murder of his master. The latter, it seems, attempted to
violate the wife of his slave in his presence, when the negro enraged,
smote the wretch to the ground. And this master--this brute--this
fiend--was a preacher of the gospel, in regular standing!" In a former
part of this communication, I said enough to show, that slavery prevents
children from complying with the command to obey their parents. But, in
reply to what I have said of these outrages on the rights of husbands
and wives, parents and children, you maintain, that they are no part of
the system of slavery. Slaveholders, however, being themselves judges,
they are a part of it, or, at least, are necessary to uphold it; else
they would not by deliberate, solemn legislation, authorize them. But,
be this as it may, it is abundantly proven, that slavery is, essentially
and inevitably, at war with the sacred rights of the family state. Let
me say, then, in conclusion under this head, that in whatever other
company you put slavery, place it not in that of the just relations of
husband and wife, parent and child. They can no more company with each
other, than can fire with water. Their natures are not only totally
opposite to, but destructive of, each other.

6th. The laws, to which you refer on the sixty-eighth page of your book,
tend to prove, and, so far as your admission of the necessity of them
goes, do prove, that the relation of slaveholder and slave does not
deserve a place, in the class of innocent and proper relations. You
there say, that the writings of "such great and good men as Wesley,
Edwards, Porteus, Paley, Horsley, Scott, Clark, Wilberforce, Sharp,
Clarkson, Fox, Johnson, and a host of as good if not equally great, men
of later date," have made it necessary for the safety of the institution
of slavery, to pass laws, forbidding millions of our countrymen to read.
You should have, also, mentioned the horrid sanctions of these
laws--stripes, imprisonment, and death. Now, these laws disable the
persons on whom they bear, from fulfilling God's commandments, and,
especially, His commandment to "search the Scriptures." They are,
therefore, wicked. What then, in its moral character, must be a
relation, which, to sustain it, requires the aid of wicked laws?--and,
how entirely out of place must it be, when you class it with those just
relations of life, that, certainly, require none of the support, which,
you admit, is indispensable to the preservation of the relation of
slaveholder and slave! It is true, that you attempt to justify the
enactment of the laws in question, by the occasions which you say led to
it. But, every law forbidding what God requires, is a wicked law--under
whatever pretexts, or for whatever purposes, it may have been enacted.
Let the occasions which lead to a wicked measure be what they may, the
wickedness of the measure is still sufficient to condemn it.

In the case before us, we see how differently different persons are
affected by the same fact. Whilst the stand taken against slavery by
Wesley, Edwards, and the other choice spirits you enumerate, serves but
to inspire you with concern for its safety, it would, of itself, and
without knowing their reasons for it, be well nigh enough to destroy my

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