The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4 by American Anti-Slavery Society

Produced by Stan Goodman, Amy Overmyer and PG Distributed Proofreaders THE ANTI-SLAVERY EXAMINER PART 1 OF 4 BY The American Anti-Slavery Society 1836 No. 1. To the People of the United States; or, To Such Americans As Value Their Rights, and Dare to Maintain Them. No. 2. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South.
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Produced by Stan Goodman, Amy Overmyer and PG Distributed Proofreaders


BY The American Anti-Slavery Society


No. 1. To the People of the United States; or, To Such Americans As Value Their Rights, and Dare to Maintain Them.

No. 2. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South.

No. 2. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South. Revised and Corrected.

No. 3. Letter of Gerrit Smith to Rev. James Smylie, of the State of Mississippi.

No. 4. The Bible Against Slavery. An Inquiry Into the Patriarchal and Mosaic Systems on the Subject of Human Rights.

No. 4. The Bible Against Slavery. An Inquiry Into the Patriarchal and Mosaic Systems on the Subject of Human Rights. Third Edition–Revised.

No. 4. The Bible Against Slavery. An Inquiry Into the Patriarchal and Mosaic Systems on the Subject of Human Rights. Fourth Edition–Enlarged.

No. 5. Power of Congress Over the District of Columbia.

No. 5. Power of Congress Over the District of Columbia. With Additions by the Author.


VOL. I. AUGUST, 1836. NO. 1.






A crisis has arrived, in which rights the most important which civil society can acknowledge, and which have been acknowledged by our Constitution and laws, in terms the most explicit which language can afford, are set at nought by men, whom your favor has invested with a brief authority. By what standard is your liberty of conscience, of speech, and of the press, now measured? Is it by those glorious charters you have inherited from your fathers, and which your present rulers have called Heaven to witness, they would preserve inviolate? Alas! another standard has been devised, and if we would know what rights are conceded to us by our own servants, we must consult the COMPACT by which the South engages on certain conditions to give its trade and votes to Northern men. All rights not allowed by this compact, we now hold by sufferance, and our Governors and Legislatures avow their readiness to deprive us of them, whenever in their opinion, legislation on the subject shall be “necessary[A].” This compact is not indeed published to the world, under the hands and seals of the contracting parties, but it is set forth in official messages,–in resolutions of the State and National Legislatures–in the proceedings of popular meetings, and in acts of lawless violence. The temples of the Almighty have been sacked, because the worshipers did not conform their consciences to the compact[B]. Ministers of the gospel have been dragged as criminals from the altar to the bar, because they taught the people from the Bible, doctrines proscribed by the compact[C]. Hundreds of free citizens, peaceably assembled to express their sentiments, have, because such an expression was forbidden by the compact, been forcibly dispersed, and the chief actor in this invasion on the freedom of speech, instead of being punished for a breach of the peace, was rewarded for his fidelity to the compact with an office of high trust and honor[D].

[Footnote A: See the Messages of the Governors of New-York and Connecticut, the resolutions of the New-York Legislature, and the bill introduced into the Legislature of Rhode Island.]

[Footnote B: Churches in New-York attacked by the mob in 1834.]

[Footnote C: See two cases within the last twelve months in New Hampshire.]

[Footnote D: Samuel Beardsley, Esq. the leader of the Utica riot, was shortly afterwards appointed Attorney General of the state of New-York.]

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“The freedom of the press–the palladium of liberty,” was once a household proverb. Now, a printing office[A] is entered by ruffians, and its types scattered in the highway, because disobedient to the compact. A Grand Jury, sworn to “present all things truly as they come to their knowledge,” refuse to indict the offenders; and a senator in Congress rises in his place, and appeals to the outrage in the printing office, and the conduct of the Grand Jury as evidence of the good faith with which the people of the state of New York were resolved to observe the compact[B].

[Footnote A: Office of the Utica Standard and Democrat newspaper.]

[Footnote B: See speech of the Hon. Silas Wright in the U.S. Senate of Feb. 1836.]

The Executive Magistrate of the American Union, unmindful of his obligation to execute the laws for the equal benefit of his fellow citizens, has sanctioned a censorship of the press, by which papers incompatible with the compact are excluded from the southern mails, and he has officially advised Congress to do by law, although in violation of the Constitution, what he had himself virtually done already in despite of both. The invitation has indeed been rejected, but by the Senate of the United States only, after a portentous struggle–a struggle which distinctly exhibited the _political_ conditions of the compact, as well as the fidelity with which those conditions are observed by a northern candidate for the Presidency. While in compliance with these conditions, a powerful minority in the Senate were forging fetters for the PRESS, the House of Representatives were employed in breaking down the right of PETITION. On the 26th May last, the following resolution, reported by a committee was adopted by the House, viz.

“Resolved, that all Petitions, Memorials, Resolutions and Propositions relating in any way, or to any extent whatever, to the subject of Slavery, shall without being either printed or referred, be laid on the table, and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon.” Yeas, 117. Nays, 68.

Bear with us, fellow countrymen, while we call your attention to the outrage on your rights, the contempt of personal obligations and the hardened cruelty involved in this detestable resolution. Condemn us not for the harshness of our language, before you hear our justification. We shall speak only the truth, but we shall speak it as freemen.

The right of petition is founded in the very institution of civil government, and has from time immemorial been acknowledged as among the unquestionable privileges of our English ancestors. This right springs from the great truth that government is established for the benefit of the governed; and it forms the medium by which the people acquaint their rulers with their wants and their grievances. So accustomed were the Americans to the exercise of this right, even during their subjection to the British crown, that, on the formation of the Federal Constitution, the Convention not conceiving that it could be endangered, made no provision for its security. But in the very first Congress that assembled under the new Government, the omission was repaired. It was thought some case might possibly occur, in which this right might prove troublesome to a dominant faction, who would endeavor to stifle it. An amendment was therefore proposed and adopted, by which Congress is restrained from making any law abridging “the right of the People, peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Had it not been for this prudent jealousy of our Fathers, instead of the resolution I have transcribed, we should have had a LAW, visiting with pains and penalties, all who dared to petition the Federal Government, in behalf of the victims of oppression, held in bondage by its authority. The present resolution cannot indeed consign such petitioners to the prison or the scaffold, but it makes the right to petition a congressional boon, to be granted or withheld at pleasure, and in the present case effectually withholds it, by tendering it nugatory.

Petitions are to inform the Government of the wishes of the people, and by calling forth the action of the Legislature, to inform the constituents how far their wishes are respected by their representatives. The information thus mutually given and received is essential to a faithful and enlightened exercise of the right of legislation on the one hand, and of suffrage on the other. But the resolution we are considering, provides that no petition in relation to slavery, shall be printed for the information of the members, nor referred to a committee to ascertain the truth of its statements; nor shall any vote be taken, in regard to it, by which the People may learn the sentiments of their representatives.

If Congress may thus dispose of petitions on one subject, they may make the same disposition of petitions on any and every other subject. Our representatives are bound by oath, not to pass any law abridging the right of petition, but if this resolution is constitutional, they may order every petition to be delivered to their door-keeper, and by him to be committed to the flames; for why preserve petitions on which _no action can be had_? Had the resolution been directed to petitions for an object palpably unconstitutional, it would still have been without excuse. The construction of the Constitution is a matter of opinion, and every citizen has a right to express that opinion in a petition, or otherwise.

But this usurpation is aggravated by the almost universal admission that Congress does possess the constitutional power to legislate on the subject of slavery in the District of Columbia and the Territories. No wonder that a distinguished statesman refused to sanction the right of the House to pass such a resolution by even voting against it[A]. The men who perpetrated this outrage had sworn to support the Constitution, and will they hereafter plead at the bar of their Maker, that they had kept their oath, because they had abridged the right of petition _by a resolution_, and not by law!

[Footnote A: Mr. J.Q. Adams, on his name being called, refused to vote, saying, “the resolution is in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States, and the privileges of the members of this House.”]

This resolution not only violates the rights of the people, but it nullifies the privileges and obligations of their representatives. It is an undoubted right and duty of every member of Congress to propose any measure within the limits of the Constitution, which he believes is required by the interests of his constituents and the welfare of his country. Now mark the base surrender of this right–the wicked dereliction of this duty. All “resolutions and propositions” relating “in _any way_ or to _any extent_ whatever to the subject of slavery,” shall be laid on the table, and “no further action _whatever_ shall be had thereon.” What a spectacle has been presented to the American people!–one hundred and seventeen members of Congress relinquishing their own rights, cancelling their own solemn obligations, forcibly depriving the other members of their legislative privileges, abolishing the freedom of debate, condemning the right of petition, and prohibiting present and future legislation on a most important and constitutional subject, by a rule of order!

In 1820, the New-York Legislature instructed the representatives from that state in Congress, to insist on making “the prohibition of slavery an indispensable condition of admission” of certain territories into the union. In 1828, the Legislature of Pennsylvania instructed the Pennsylvania members of Congress, to vote for the abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia. In vain hereafter shall a representative present the instructions of his constituents, or the injunctions of a sovereign state. No question shall be taken, or any motion he may offer, in _any way_, or to _any extent_, relating to slavery!

Search the annals of legislation, and you will find no precedent for such a profligate act of tyranny, exercised by a majority over their fellow legislators, nor for such an impudent contempt of the rights of the people.

But this resolution is no less barbarous than it is profligate and impudent. Remember, fellow countrymen! that the decree has gone forth, that there shall be no legislation by Congress, _in any way_, or to _any extent whatever_, on the subject of slavery. Now call to mind, that Congress is the local and only legislature of the District of Columbia, which is placed by the Constitution under its “exclusive jurisdiction _in all cases whatsoever_.” In this District, there are thousands of human beings divested of the rights of humanity, and subjected to a negotiable despotism; and Congress is the only power that can extend the shield of law to protect them from cruelty and abuse; and that shield, it is now resolved, shall not be extended in any way, or to any extent! But this is not all. The District has become the great slave-market of North America, and the port of Alexandria is the Guinea of our proud republic, whence “cargoes of despair” are continually departing[A].

[Footnote A: One dealer, John Armfield, advertises in the National Intelligencer of the 10th of February last, that he has three vessels in the trade, and they will leave the port of Alexandria on the first and fifteenth of each month.]

In the city which bears the name of the Father of his country, dealers in human flesh receive licenses for the vile traffic, at four hundred dollars each per annum; and the gazettes of the Capital have their columns polluted with the advertisements of these men, offering cash for children and youth, who, torn from their parents and families, are to wear out their existence on the plantations of the south.[A] For the safe keeping of these children and youth, till they are shipped for the Mississippi, private pens and prisons are provided, and the UNITED STATES’ JAIL used when required. The laws of the District in relation to slaves and free negroes are of the most abominable and iniquitous character. Any free citizen with a dark skin, may be arrested on pretence of being a fugitive slave, and committed to the UNITED STATES’ PRISON, and unless within a certain number of days he proves his freedom, while immured within its walls, he is, under authority of Congress, sold as a slave for life. Do you ask why? Let the blood mantle in your cheeks, while we give you the answer of the LAW–“to pay his jail fees!!”

[Footnote A: Twelve hundred negroes are thus advertised for in the National Intelligencer of the 28th of March last. The negroes wanted are generally from the age of ten or twelve years to twenty-five, and of both sexes.]

On the 11th of January, 1827, the Committee for the District of Columbia, (themselves slaveholders) introduced a bill providing that the jail fees should hereafter be a county charge. The bill did not pass; and by the late resolution, a statute unparalleled for injustice and atrocity by any mandate of European despotism, is to be like the law of the Medes and Persians, that altereth not, since no proposition for its repeal or modification can be entertained.

The Grand Jury of Alexandria presented the slave trade of that place, as “disgraceful to our character as citizens of a free government,” and as “a grievance demanding legislative redress;” that is, the interposition of Congress–but one hundred and seventeen men have decided that there shall be “no action whatever” by Congress in relation to slavery.

In March, 1816, John Randolph submitted the following resolution to the House of Representatives: “_Resolved_, That a Committee be appointed to inquire into the existence of an _inhuman_ and illegal traffic of slaves, carried on in and through the District of Columbia, and to report whether any, and what measures are necessary for putting a stop to the same.” The COMPACT had not then been formed and the resolution _was adopted_. Such a resolution would _now_ “be laid on the table,” and treated with silent contempt.

In 1828, eleven hundred inhabitants of the District presented a petition to Congress, complaining of the “DOMESTIC SLAVE-TRADE” as a grievance disgraceful in its character, and “even more demoralizing its influence” than the foreign traffic. The petition concluded as follows: “The people of this District have within themselves no means of legislative redress, and we therefore appeal to your Honorable body as the _only one_ vested by the American Constitution with power to relieve us.” No more shall such appeals be made to the national council. What matters it, that the people of the District are annoyed by the human shambles opened among them? What matters it, that Congress is “the only body vested by the American Constitution with power to relieve” them? The compact requires that no action shall be had on _any_ petition relating to slavery.

The horse or the ox may be protected in the District, by act of Congress, from the cruelty of its owner; but MAN, created in the image of God, shall, if his complexion be dark, be abandoned to every outrage. The negro may be bound alive to the stake in front of the Capitol, as well as in the streets of St. Louis–his shrieks may resound through the representative hall–and the stench of his burning body may enter the nostrils of the law-givers–but no vote may rebuke the abomination–no law forbid its repetition.

The representatives of the nation may regulate the traffic in sheep and swine, within the ten miles square; but the SLAVERS of the District may be laden to suffocation with human cattle–the horrors of the middle passage may be transcended at the wharves of Alexandria; but Congress may not limit the size of the cargoes, or provide for the due feeding and watering the animals composing them!–The District of Columbia is henceforth to be the only spot on the face of the globe, subjected to a civilized and Christian police, in which avarice and malice may with legal impunity inflict on humanity whatever sufferings ingenuity can devise, or depravity desire.

And this accumulation of wickedness, cruelty and baseness, is to render the seat of the federal government the scoff of tyrants and the reproach of freemen FOREVER! On the 9th of January 1829, the House of Representatives passed the following vote. “_Resolved_, that the committee of the District of Columbia be instructed to inquire into the expediency of providing by law, for the gradual abolition of Slavery in the District, in such manner that no individual shall be injured thereby.” Never again while the present rule of order is in force, can similar instructions be given to a committee–never again shall even an inquiry be made into the expediency of abolishing slavery and the slave-trade in the District. What stronger evidence can we have, of the growing and spreading corruption caused by slavery, than that one hundred and seventeen republican legislators professed believers in Christianity–many of them from the North, aye even from the land of the Pilgrims, should strive to render such curses PERPETUAL!

The flagitiousness of this resolution is aggravated if possible by the arbitrary means by which its adoption was secured. No representative of the People was permitted to lift up his voice against it–to plead the commands of the Constitution which is violated–his own privileges and duties which it contemned–the rights of his constituents on which it trampled–the chains of justice and humanity which it impiously outraged. Its advocates were afraid and ashamed to discuss it, and forbidding debate, they perpetrated in silence the most atrocious act that has ever disgraced an American Legislature[A]. And was no reason whatever, it may be asked, assigned for this bold invasion of our rights, this insult to the sympathies of our common nature? Yes–connected with the resolution was a preamble explaining its OBJECT. Read it, fellow countrymen, and be equally astonished at the impudence of your rulers in avowing such an object, and at their folly in adopting such an expedient to effect it. The lips of a free people are to be sealed by insult and injury!

[Footnote A: A debate was allowed on a motion to re-commit the report, for the purpose of preparing a resolution that Congress has no constitutional power to interfere with slavery in the District of Columbia; but when the sense of the House was to be taken on the resolution reported by the committees, all debate was prevented by the previous question.]

“Whereas, it is extremely important and desirable that the AGITATION on this subject should be finally ARRESTED, for the purpose of restoring _tranquillity_ to the public mind, your committee respectfully recommend the following resolution.”

ORDER REIGNS IN WARSAW, were the terms in which the triumph of Russia over the liberties of Poland was announced to the world. When the right of petition shall be broken down–when no whisper shalt be heard in Congress in behalf of human rights–when the press shall be muzzled, and the freedom of speech destroyed by gag-laws, then will the slaveholders announce, that TRANQUILLITY IS RESTORED TO THE PUBLIC MIND!

Fellow countrymen! is such the tranquillity you desire–is such the heritage you would leave to your children? Suffer not the present outrage, by effecting its avowed object, to invite farther aggressions on your rights. The chairman of the committee boasted that the number of petitioners the present session, for the abolition of slavery in the District, was _only_ thirty-four thousand! Let us resolve, we beseech you, that at the next session the number shall be A MILLION. Perhaps our one hundred and seventeen representatives will then abandon in despair their present dangerous and unconstitutional expedient for tranquilizing the public mind.

The purpose of this address, is not to urge upon you our own views of the sinfulness of slavery, and the safety of its immediate abolition; but to call your attention to the conduct of your rulers. Let no one think for a moment, that because he is not an abolitionist, his liberties are not and will not be invaded. _We_ have no rights, distinct from the rights of the whole people. Calumny, falsehood, and popular violence, have been employed in vain, to tranquilize abolitionists. It is now proposed to soothe them, by despoiling them of their Constitutional rights; but they cannot be despoiled _alone_. The right of petition and the freedom of debate are as sacred and valuable to those who dissent from our opinions, as they are to ourselves. Can the Constitution at the same time secure liberty to you, and expose us to oppression–give you freedom of speech, and lock our lips–respect your right of petition, and treat ours with contempt? No, fellow countrymen!–we must be all free, or all slaves together. We implore you, then, by all the obligations of interest, of patriotism, and of religion–by the remembrance of your Fathers–by your love for your children, to unite with us in maintaining our common, and till lately, our unquestioned political rights.

We ask you as men to insist that your servants acting as the local legislators of the District of Columbia, shall respect the common rights and decencies of humanity.–We ask you as freemen, not to permit your constitutional privileges to be trifled with, by those who have sworn to maintain them.–We ask you as Christian men, to remember that by sanctioning the sinful acts of your agents, you yourselves assume their guilt.

We have no candidates to recommend to your favor–we ask not your support for any political party; but we do ask you to give your suffrages hereafter only to such men as you have reason to believe will not sacrifice your rights, and their own obligations, and the claims of mercy and the commands of God, to an iniquitous and mercenary COMPACT. If we cannot have northern Presidents and other officers of the general government except in exchange for freedom of conscience, of speech, of the press and of legislation, then let all the appointments at Washington be given to the South. If slaveholders will not trade with us, unless we consent to be slaves ourselves, then let us leave their money, and their sugar, and their cotton, to perish with them.

Fellow countrymen! we wish, we recommend no action whatever, inconsistent with the laws and constitutions of our country, or the precepts of our common religion, but we beseech you to join with us in resolving, that while we will respect the rights of others, we will at every hazard maintain our own.

_In behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society._


WM. JAY, \




S.E. CORNISH, | _Executive Committee_.







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Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, corner of Spruce and Nassau Streets.


VOL. I. SEPTEMBER 1836. No. 2.





“Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. And Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:–and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to law, and _if I perish, I perish._” Esther IV. 13-16.


It is because I feel a deep and tender interest in your present and eternal welfare that I am willing thus publicly to address you. Some of you have loved me as a relative, and some have felt bound to me in Christian sympathy, and Gospel fellowship; and even when compelled by a strong sense of duty, to break those outward bonds of union which bound us together as members of the same community, and members of the same religious denomination, you were generous enough to give me credit, for sincerity as a Christian, though you believed I had been most strangely deceived. I thanked you then for your kindness, and I ask you _now_, for the sake of former confidence, and former friendship, to read the following pages in the spirit of calm investigation and fervent prayer. It is because you have known me, that I write thus unto you.

But there are other Christian women scattered over the Southern States, and of these, a very large number have never seen me, and never heard my name, and feel _no_ personal interest whatever in _me_. But I feel an interest in _you_, as branches of the same vine from whose root I daily draw the principle of spiritual vitality–Yes! Sisters in Christ I feel an interest in _you_, and often has the secret prayer arisen on your behalf, Lord “open thou their eyes that they may see wondrous things out of thy Law”–It is then, because I _do feel_ and _do pray_ for you, that I thus address you upon a subject about which of all others, perhaps you would rather not hear any thing; but, “would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly, and indeed bear with me, for I am jealous over you with godly jealousy.” Be not afraid then to read my appeal; it is _not_ written in the heat of passion or prejudice, but in that solemn calmness which is the result of conviction and duty. It is true, I am going to tell you unwelcome truths, but I mean to speak those _truths in love_, and remember Solomon says, “faithful are the _wounds_ of a friend.” I do not believe the time has yet come when _Christian women_ “will not endure sound doctrine,” even on the subject of Slavery, if it is spoken to them in tenderness and love, therefore I now address _you_.

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To all of you then, known or unknown, relatives or strangers, (for you are all _one_ to Christ,) I would speak. I have felt for you at this time, when unwelcome light is pouring in upon the world on the subject of slavery; light which even Christians would exclude, if they could, from our country, or at any rate from the southern portion of it, saying, as its rays strike the rock bound coasts of New England and scatter their warmth and radiance over her hills and valleys, and from thence travel onward over the Palisades of the Hudson, and down the soft flowing waters of the Delaware and gild the waves of the Potomac, “hitherto shalt thou come and no further;” I know that even professors of His name who has been emphatically called the “Light of the world” would, if they could, build a wall of adamant around the Southern States whose top might reach unto heaven, in order to shut out the light which is bounding from mountain to mountain and from the hills to the plains and valleys beneath, through the vast extent of our Northern States. But believe me, when I tell you, their attempts will be as utterly fruitless as were the efforts of the builders of Babel; and why? Because moral, like natural light, is so extremely subtle in its nature as to overleap all human barriers, and laugh at the puny efforts of man to control it. All the excuses and palliations of this system must inevitably be swept away, just as other “refuges of lies” have been, by the irresistible torrent of a rectified public opinion. “The _supporters_ of the slave system,” says Jonathan Dymond in his admirable work on the Principles of Morality, “will _hereafter_ be regarded with the _same_ public feeling, as he who was an advocate for the slave trade _now is_.” It will be, and that very soon, clearly perceived and fully acknowledged by all the virtuous and the candid, that in _principle_ it is as sinful to hold a human being in bondage who has been born in Carolina, as one who has been born in Africa. All that sophistry of argument which has been employed to prove, that although it is sinful to send to Africa to procure men and women as slaves, who have never been in slavery, that still, it is not sinful to keep those in bondage who have come down by inheritance, will be utterly overthrown. We must come back to the good old doctrine of our forefathers who declared to the world, “this self evident truth that _all_ men are created equal, and that they have certain _inalienable_ rights among which are life, _liberty_, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is even a greater absurdity to suppose a man can be legally born a slave under _our free Republican_ Government, than under the petty despotisms of barbarian Africa. If then, we have no right to enslave an African, surely we can have none to enslave an American; if it is a self evident truth that _all_ men, every where and of every color are born equal, and have an _inalienable right to liberty_, then it is equally true that _no_ man can be born a slave, and no man can ever _rightfully_ be reduced to _involuntary_ bondage and held as a slave, however fair may be the claim of his master or mistress through wills and title-deeds.

But after all, it may be said, our fathers were certainly mistaken, for the Bible sanctions Slavery, and that is the highest authority. Now the Bible is my ultimate appeal in all matters of faith and practice, and it is to _this test_ I am anxious to bring the subject at issue between us. Let us then begin with Adam and examine the charter of privileges which was given to him. “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” In the eighth Psalm we have a still fuller description of this charter which through Adam was given to all mankind. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” And after the flood when this charter of human rights was renewed, we find _no additional_ power vested in man. “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea, into your hand are they delivered.” In this charter, although the different kinds of _irrational_ beings are so particularly enumerated, and supreme dominion over _all of them_ is granted, yet _man_ is _never_ vested with this dominion _over his fellow man;_ he was never told that any of the human species were put _under his feet;_ it was only _all things_, and man, who was created in the image of his Maker, _never_ can properly be termed a _thing_, though the laws of Slave States do call him “a chattel personal;” _Man_ then, I assert _never_ was put _under the feet of man_, by that first charter of human rights which was given by God, to the Fathers of the Antediluvian and Postdiluvian worlds, therefore this doctrine of equality is based on the Bible.

But it may be argued, that in the very chapter of Genesis from which I have last quoted, will be found the curse pronounced upon Canaan, by which his posterity was consigned to servitude under his brothers Shem and Japheth. I know this prophecy was uttered, and was most fearfully and wonderfully fulfilled, through the immediate descendants of Canaan, _i.e._ the Canaanites, and I do not know but it has been through all the children of Ham, but I do know that prophecy does _not_ tell us what _ought to be_, but what actually does take place, ages after it has been delivered, and that if we justify America for enslaving the children of Africa, we must also justify Egypt for reducing the children of Israel to bondage, for the latter was foretold as explicitly as the former. I am well aware that prophecy has often been urged as an excuse for Slavery, but be not deceived, the fulfillment of prophecy will _not cover one sin_ in the awful day of account. Hear what our Saviour says on this subject; “it must needs be that offences come, but _woe unto that man through whom they come_”–Witness some fulfillment of this declaration in the tremendous destruction of Jerusalem, occasioned by that most nefarious of all crimes the crucifixion of the Son of God. Did the fact of that event having been foretold, exculpate the Jews from sin in perpetrating it; No–for hear what the Apostle Peter says to them on this subject, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, _ye_ have taken, and by _wicked_ hands have crucified and slain.” Other striking instances might be adduced, but these will suffice.

But it has been urged that the patriarchs held slaves, and therefore, slavery is right. Do you really believe that patriarchal servitude was like American slavery? Can you believe it? If so, read the history of these primitive fathers of the church and be undeceived. Look at Abraham, though so great a man, going to the herd himself and fetching a calf from thence and serving it up with his own hands, for the entertainment of his guests. Look at Sarah, that princess as her name signifies, baking cakes upon the hearth. If the servants they had were like Southern slaves, would they have performed such comparatively menial offices for themselves? Hear too the plaintive lamentation of Abraham when he feared he should have no son to bear his name down to posterity. “Behold thou hast given me no seed, &c., one born in my house _is mine_ heir.” From this it appears that one of his _servants_ was to inherit his immense estate. Is this like Southern slavery? I leave it to your own good sense and candor to decide. Besides, such was the footing upon which Abraham was with _his_ servants, that he trusted them with arms. Are slaveholders willing to put swords and pistols into the hands of their slaves? He was as a father among his servants; what are planters and masters generally among theirs? When the institution of circumcision was established, Abraham was commanded thus; “He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, _every_ man-child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger which is not of thy seed.” And to render this command with regard to his _servants_ still more impressive it is repeated in the very next verse; and herein we may perceive the great care which was taken by God to guard the _rights of servants_ even under this “dark dispensation.” What too was the testimony given to the faithfulness of this eminent patriarch. “For I know him that he will command his children and his _household_ after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment.” Now my dear friends many of you believe that circumcision has been superseded by baptism in the Church; _Are you_ careful to have _all_ that are born in your house or bought with money of any stranger, baptized? Are _you_ as faithful as Abraham to command _your household to keep the way of the Lord?_ I leave it to your own consciences to decide. Was patriarchal servitude then like American Slavery?

But I shall be told, God sanctioned Slavery, yea commanded Slavery under the Jewish Dispensation. Let us examine this subject calmly and prayerfully. I admit that a species of _servitude_ was permitted to the Jews, but in studying the subject I have been struck with wonder and admiration at perceiving how carefully the servant was guarded from violence, injustice and wrong. I will first inform you how these servants became servants, for I think this a very important part of our subject. From consulting Horne, Calmet and the Bible, I find there were six different ways by which the Hebrews became servants legally.

1. If reduced to extreme poverty, a Hebrew might sell himself, i.e. his services, for six years, in which case _he_ received the purchase money _himself_. Lev. xxv, 39.

2. A father might sell his children as servants, i.e. his _daughters_, in which circumstance it was understood the daughter was to be the wife or daughter-in-law of the man who bought her, and the _father_ received the price. In other words, Jewish women were sold as _white women_ were in the first settlement of Virginia–as _wives_, _not_ as slaves. Ex. xxi, 7.

3. Insolvent debtors might be delivered to their creditors as servants. 2 Kings iv, 1.

4. Thieves not able to make restitution for their thefts, were sold for the benefit of the injured person. Ex. xxii, 3.

5. They might be born in servitude. Ex. xxi, 4.

6. If a Hebrew had sold himself to a rich Gentile, he might be redeemed by one of his brethren at any time the money was offered; and he who redeemed him, was _not_ to take advantage of the favor thus conferred, and rule over him with rigor. Lev. xxv, 47-55.

Before going into an examination of the laws by which these servants were protected, I would just ask whether American slaves have become slaves in any of the ways in which the Hebrews became servants. Did they sell themselves into slavery and receive the purchase money into their own hands? No! Did they become insolvent, and by their own imprudence subject themselves to be sold as slaves? No! Did they steal the property of another, and were they sold to make restitution for their crimes? No! Did their present masters, as an act of kindness, redeem them from some heathen tyrant to whom _they had sold themselves_ in the dark hour of adversity? No! Were they born in slavery? No! No! not according to _Jewish Law_, for the servants who were born in servitude among them, were born of parents who had _sold themselves_ for six years: Ex. xxi, 4. Were the female slaves of the South sold by their fathers? How shall I answer this question? Thousands and tens of thousands never were, _their_ fathers _never_ have received the poor compensation of silver or gold for the tears and toils, the suffering, and anguish, and hopeless bondage of _their_ daughters. They labor day by day, and year by year, side by side, in the same field, if haply their daughters are permitted to remain on the same plantation with them, instead of being as they often are, separated from their parents and sold into distant states, never again to meet on earth. But do the _fathers of the South ever sell their daughters?_ My heart beats, and my hand trembles, as I write the awful affirmative, Yes! The fathers of this Christian land often sell their daughters, _not_ as Jewish parents did, to be the wives and daughters-in-law of the man who buys them, but to be the abject slaves of petty tyrants and irresponsible masters. Is it not so, my friends? I leave it to your own candor to corroborate my assertion. Southern slaves then have _not_ become slaves in any of the six different ways in which Hebrews became servants, and I hesitate not to say that American masters _cannot_ according to _Jewish law_ substantiate their claim to the men, women, or children they now hold in bondage.

But there was one way in which a Jew might illegally be reduced to servitude; it was this, he might he _stolen_ and afterwards sold as a slave, as was Joseph. To guard most effectually against this dreadful crime of manstealing, God enacted this severe law. “He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death[A].” As I have tried American Slavery by _legal_ Hebrew servitude, and found, (to your surprise, perhaps,) that Jewish law cannot justify the slaveholder’s claim, let us now try it by _illegal_ Hebrew bondage. Have the Southern slaves then been stolen? If they did not sell themselves into bondage; if they were not sold as insolvent debtors or as thieves; if they were not redeemed from a heathen master to whom they had sold themselves; if they were not born in servitude according to Hebrew law; and if the females were not sold by their fathers as wives and daughters-in-law to those who purchased them; then what shall we say of them? what can we say of them? but that according _to Hebrew Law they have been stolen_.

[Footnote A: And again, “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then _that thief shall die_, and thou shalt put away evil from among you.” Deut. xxiv, 7.]

But I shall be told that the Jews had other servants who were absolute slaves. Let us look a little into this also. They had other servants who were procured in two different ways.

1. Captives taken in war were reduced to bondage instead of being killed; but we are not told that their children were enslaved. Deut. xx, 14.

2. Bondmen and bondmaids might be bought from the heathen round about them; these were left by fathers to their children after them, but it does not appear that the _children_ of these servants ever were reduced to servitude. Lev. xxv, 44.

I will now try the right of the southern planter by the claims of Hebrew masters over their _heathen_ slaves. Were the southern slaves taken captive in war? No! Were they bought from the heathen? No! for surely, no one will _now_ vindicate the slave-trade so far as to assert that slaves were bought from the heathen who were obtained by that system of piracy. The only excuse for holding southern slaves is that they were born in slavery, but we have seen that they were _not_ born in servitude as Jewish servants were, and that the children of heathen slaves were not legally subjected to bondage even under the Mosaic Law. How then have the slaves of the South been obtained?

I will next proceed to an examination of those laws which were enacted in order to protect the Hebrew and the Heathen servant; for I wish you to understand that _both_ are protected by Him, of whom it is said “his mercies are over all his works.” I will first speak of those which secured the rights of Hebrew servants. This code was headed thus:

1. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God.

2. If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve, and in the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing. Ex. xx, 2[A].

[Footnote A: And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him _liberally_ out of thy flock and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine-press: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee, shalt thou give unto him. Deut. xv, 13, 14.]

3. If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

4. If his master have given him a wife and she have borne him sons and daughters, the wife and her children shall be his master’s, and he shall go out by himself.

5. If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free; then his master shall bring him unto the Judges, and he shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him _forever_. Ex. xxi, 3-6.

6. If a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish, he shall let him go _free_ for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his man servant’s tooth or his maid servant’s tooth, he shall let him go _free_ for his tooth’s sake. Ex. xxi, 26, 27.

7. On the Sabbath rest was secured to servants by the fourth commandment. Ex. xx, 10.

8. Servants were permitted to unite with their masters three times in every year in celebrating the Passover, the feast of Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles; every male throughout the land was to appear before the Lord at Jerusalem with a gift; here the bond and the free stood on common ground. Deut. xvi.

9. If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money. Ex. xxi, 20, 21.

From these laws we learn that Hebrew men servants were bound to serve their masters _only six_ years, unless their attachment to their employers, their wives and children, should induce them to wish to remain in servitude, in which case, in order to prevent the possibility of deception on the part of the master, the servant was first taken before the magistrate, where he openly declared his intention of continuing in his master’s service, (probably a public register was kept of such) he was then conducted to the door of the house, (in warm climates doors are thrown open,) and _there_ his ear was _publicly_ bored, and by submitting to this operation he testified his willingness to serve him _forever_, i.e. during his life, for Jewish Rabbins who must have understood Jewish _slavery_, (as it is called,) “affirm that servants were set free at the death of their masters and did _not_ descend to their heirs:” or that he was to serve him until the year of Jubilee, when _all_ servants were set at liberty. To protect servants from violence, it was ordained that if a master struck out the tooth or destroyed the eye of a servant, that servant immediately became _free_, for such an act of violence evidently showed he was unfit to possess the power of a master, and therefore that power was taken from him. All servants enjoyed the rest of the Sabbath and partook of the privileges and festivities of the three great Jewish Feasts; and if a servant died under the infliction of chastisement, his master was surely to be punished. As a tooth for a tooth and life for life was the Jewish law, of course he was punished with death. I know that great stress has been laid upon the following verse: “Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money.”

Slaveholders, and the apologists of slavery, have eagerly seized upon this little passage of scripture, and held it up as the masters’ Magna Charta, by which they were licensed by God himself to commit the greatest outrages upon the defenceless victims of their oppression. But, my friends, was it designed to be so? If our Heavenly Father would protect by law the eye and the tooth of a Hebrew servant, can we for a moment believe that he would abandon that same servant to the brutal rape of a master who would destroy even life itself. Do we not rather see in this, the _only_ law which protected masters, and was it not right that in case of the death of a servant, one or two days after chastisement was inflicted, to which other circumstances might have contributed, that the master should be protected when, in all probability, he never intended to produce so fatal a result? But the phrase “he is his money” has been adduced to show that Hebrew servants were regarded as mere _things_, “chattels personal;” if so, why were so many laws made to _secure their rights as men_, and to ensure their rising into equality and freedom? If they were mere _things_, why were they regarded as responsible beings, and one law made for them as well as for their masters? But I pass on now to the consideration of how the _female_ Jewish servants were protected by _law_.

1. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto another nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

2. If he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

3. If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

4. If he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out _free_ without money.

On these laws I will give you Calmet’s remarks; “A father could not sell his daughter as a slave, according to the Rabbins, until she was at the age of puberty, and unless he were reduced to the utmost indigence. Besides, when a master bought an Israelitish girl, it was _always_ with the presumption that he would take her to wife.” Hence Moses adds, “if she please not her master, and he does not think fit to marry her, he shall set her at liberty,” or according to the Hebrew, “he shall let her be redeemed.” “To sell her to another nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her;” as to the engagement implied, at least of taking her to wife. “If he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters, i.e. he shall take care that his son uses her as his wife, that he does not despise or maltreat her. If he make his son marry another wife, he shall give her her dowry, her clothes and compensation for her virginity; if he does none of these three, she shall _go out free_ without money.” Thus were the _rights of female servants carefully secured by law_ under the Jewish Dispensation; and now I would ask, are the rights of female slaves at the South thus secured? Are _they_ sold only as wives and daughters-in-law, and when not treated as such, are they allowed to _go out free_? No! They have _all_ not only been illegally obtained as servants according to Hebrew law, but they are also illegally _held_ in bondage. Masters at the South and West have all forfeited their claims, (_if they ever had any_,) to their female slaves.

We come now to examine the case of those servants who were “of the heathen round about;” Were _they_ left entirely unprotected by law? Horne in speaking of the law, “Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God,” remarks, “this law Lev. xxv, 43; it is true speaks expressly of slaves who were of Hebrew descent; but as _alien born_ slaves were ingrafted into the Hebrew Church by circumcision, _there is no doubt_ but that it applied to _all_ slaves;” if so, then we may reasonably suppose that the other protective laws extended to them also; and that the only difference between Hebrew and Heathen servants lay in this, that the former served but six years unless they chose to remain longer; and were always freed at the death of their masters; whereas the latter served until the year of Jubilee, though that might include a period of forty-nine years,–and were left from father to son.

There are however two other laws which I have not yet noticed. The one effectually prevented _all involuntary_ servitude, and the other completely abolished Jewish servitude every fifty years. They were equally operative upon the Heathen and the Hebrew.

1. “Thou shall _not_ deliver unto his master the servant that is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best: thou shall _not_ oppress him.” Deut. xxxiii; 15, 16.

2. “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim _Liberty_ throughout _all_ the land, unto _all_ the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you.” Deut. xxv, 10.

Here, then, we see that by this first law, the _door of Freedom was opened wide to every servant who_ had any cause whatever for complaint; if he was unhappy with his master, all he had to do was to leave him, and _no man_ had a right to deliver him back to him again, and not only so, but the absconded servant was to _choose_ where he should live, and no Jew was permitted to oppress him. He left his master just as our Northern servants leave us; we have no power to compel them to remain with us, and no man has any right to oppress them; they go and dwell in that place where it chooseth them, and live just where they like. Is it so at the South? Is the poor runaway slave protected _by law_ from the violence of that master whose oppression and cruelty has driven him from his plantation or his house? No! no! Even the free states of the North are compelled to deliver unto his master the servant that is escaped from his master into them. By _human_ law, under the _Christian Dispensation_, in the _nineteenth century_ we are commanded to do, what _God_ more than _three thousand_ years ago, under the _Mosaic Dispensation_, _positively commanded_ the Jews _not_ to do. In the wide domain even of our free states, there is not _one_ city of refuge for the poor runaway fugitive; not one spot upon which he can stand and say, I am a free man–I am protected in my rights as a _man_, by the strong arm of the law; no! _not one_. How long the North will thus shake hands with the South in sin, I know not. How long she will stand by like the persecutor Saul, _consenting_ unto the death of Stephen, and keeping the raiment of them that slew him, I know not; but one thing I do know, the _guilt of the North_ is increasing in a tremendous ratio as light is pouring in upon her on the subject and the sin of slavery. As the sun of righteousness climbs higher and higher in the moral heavens, she will stand still more and more abashed as the query is thundered down into her ear, “_Who_ hath required _this_ at thy hand?” It will be found _no_ excuse then that the Constitution of our country required that _persons bound to service_ escaping from their masters should be delivered up; no more excuse than was the reason which Adam assigned for eating the forbidden fruit. _He was condemned and punished because_ he hearkened to the voice of _his wife_, rather than to the command of his Maker; and _we_ will assuredly be condemned and punished for obeying _Man_ rather than _God_, if we do not speedily repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Yea, are we not receiving chastisement even _now_?

But by the second of these laws a still more astonishing fact is disclosed. If the first effectually prevented _all involuntary servitude_, the last absolutely forbade even _voluntary servitude being perpetual_. On the great day of atonement every fiftieth year the Jubilee trumpet was sounded throughout the land of Judea, and _Liberty_ was proclaimed to _all_ the inhabitants thereof. I will not say that the servants’ _chains_ fell off and their _manacles_ were burst, for there is no evidence that Jewish servants _ever_ felt the weight of iron chains, and collars, and handcuffs; but I do say that even the man who had voluntarily sold himself and the _heathen_ who had been sold to a Hebrew master, were set free, the one as well as the other. This law was evidently designed to prevent the oppression of the poor, and the possibility of such a thing as _perpetual servitude_ existing among them.

Where, then, I would ask, is the warrant, the justification, or the palliation of American Slavery from Hebrew servitude? How many of the southern slaves would now be in bondage according to the laws of Moses; Not one. You may observe that I have carefully avoided using the term _slavery_ when speaking of Jewish servitude; and simply for this reason, that _no such thing_ existed among that people; the word translated servant does _not_ mean _slave_, it is the same that is applied to Abraham, to Moses, to Elisha and the prophets generally. _Slavery_ then _never_ existed under the Jewish Dispensation at all, and I cannot but regard it as an aspersion on the character of Him who is “glorious in Holiness” for any one to assert that “_God sanctioned, yea commanded slavery_ under the old dispensation.” I would fain lift my feeble voice to vindicate Jehovah’s character from so foul a slander. If slaveholders are determined to hold slaves as long as they can, let them not dare to say that the God of mercy and of truth _ever_ sanctioned such a system of cruelty and wrong. It is blasphemy against Him.

We have seen that the code of laws framed by Moses with regard to servants was designed to _protect them_ as _men and women_, to secure to them their _rights_ as _human beings_, to guard them from oppression and defend them from violence of every kind. Let us now turn to the Slave laws of the South and West and examine them too. I will give you the substance only, because I fear I shall trespass too much on your time, were I to quote them at length.

1. _Slavery_ is hereditary and perpetual, to the last moment of the slave’s earthly existence, and to all his descendants to the latest posterity.

2. The labor of the slave is compulsory and uncompensated; while the kind of labor, the amount of toil, the time allowed for rest, are dictated solely by the master. No bargain is made, no wages given. A pure despotism governs the human brute; and even his covering and provender, both as to quantity and quality, depend entirely on the master’s discretion[A].

[Footnote A: There are laws in some of the slave states, limiting the labor which the master may require of the slave to fourteen hours daily. In some of the states there are laws requiring the masters to furnish a certain amount of food and clothing, as for instance, _one quart_ of corn per day, or _one peck_ per week, or _one bushel_ per month, and “one linen shirt and pantaloons for the summer, and a linen shirt and woolen great coat and pantaloons for the winter,” &c. But “still,” to use the language of Judge Stroud “the slave is entirely under the control of his master,–is unprovided with a protector,–and, especially as he cannot be a witness or make complaint in any known mode against his master, the apparent object of these laws may _always_ be defeated.” ED.]

3. The slave being considered a personal chattel may be sold or pledged, or leased at the will of his master. He may be exchanged for marketable commodities, or taken in execution for the debts or taxes either of a living or dead master. Sold at auction, either individually, or in lots to suit the purchaser, he may remain with his family, or be separated from them for ever.

4. Slaves can make no contracts and have no _legal_ right to any property, real or personal. Their own honest earnings and the legacies of friends belong in point of law to their masters.

5. Neither a slave nor a free colored person can be a witness against any _white_, or free person, in a court of justice, however atrocious may have been the crimes they have seen him commit, if such testimony would be for the benefit of a _slave_; but they may give testimony _against a fellow slave_, or free colored man, even in cases affecting life, if the _master_ is to reap the advantage of it.

6. The slave may be punished at his master’s discretion–without trial–without any means of legal redress; whether his offence be real or imaginary; and the master can transfer the same despotic power to any person or persons, he may choose to appoint.

7. The slave is not allowed to resist any free man under _any_ circumstances, _his_ only safety consists in the fact that his _owner_ may bring suit and recover the price of his body, in case his life is taken, or his limbs rendered unfit for labor.

8. Slaves cannot redeem themselves, or obtain a change of masters, though cruel treatment may have rendered such a change necessary for their personal safety.

9. The slave is entirely unprotected in his domestic relations.

10. The laws greatly obstruct the manumission of slaves, even where the master is willing to enfranchise them.

11. The operation of the laws tends to deprive slaves of religious instruction and consolation.

12. The whole power of the laws is exerted to keep slaves in a state of the lowest ignorance.

13. There is in this country a monstrous inequality of law and right. What is a trifling fault in the _white_ man, is considered highly criminal in the _slave_; the same offences which cost a white man a few dollars only, are punished in the negro with death.

14. The laws operate most oppressively upon free people of color[A].

[Footnote A: See Mrs. Child’s Appeal, Chap. II.]

Shall I ask you now my friends, to draw the _parallel_ between Jewish _servitude_ and American _slavery_? No! For there is _no likeness_ in the two systems; I ask you rather to mark the contrast. The laws of Moses _protected servants_ in their _rights as men and women_, guarded them from oppression and defended them from wrong. The Code Noir of the South _robs the slave of all his rights_ as a _man_, reduces him to a chattel personal, and defends the _master_ in the exercise of the most unnatural and unwarrantable power over his slave. They each bear the impress of the hand which formed them. The attributes of justice and mercy are shadowed out in the Hebrew code; those of injustice and cruelty, in the Code Noir of America. Truly it was wise in the slaveholders of the South to declare their slaves to be “chattels personal;” for before they could be robbed of wages, wives, children, and friends, it was absolutely necessary to deny they were human beings. It is wise in them, to keep them in abject ignorance, for the strong man armed must be bound before we can spoil his house–the powerful intellect of man must be bound down with the iron chains of nescience before we can rob him of his rights as a man; we must reduce him to a _thing_; before we can claim the right to set our feet upon his neck, because it was only _all things_ which were originally _put under the feet of man_ by the Almighty and Beneficent Father of all, who has declared himself to be _no respecter_ of persons, whether red, white, or black.

But some have even said that Jesus Christ did not condemn slavery. To this I reply, that our Holy Redeemer lived and preached among the Jews only. The laws which Moses had enacted fifteen hundred years previous to his appearance among them, had never been annulled, and these laws _protected_ every servant in Palestine. That he saw nothing of _perpetual_ servitude is certain from the simple declaration made by himself in John, viii, 35. “The servant abideth _not_ in the house for ever, the son abideth ever.” If then He did not condemn Jewish _temporary_ servitude, this does not prove that he would not have condemned such a monstrous system as that of AMERICAN _slavery_, if that had existed among them. But did not Jesus condemn slavery? Let us examine some of his precepts. “_Whatsoever_ ye would that men should do to you, do _ye even so to them_.” Let every slaveholder apply these queries to his own heart; Am _I_ willing to be a slave–Am _I_ willing to see _my_ husband the slave of another–Am _I_ willing to see my mother a slave, or my father, my _white_ sister, or my _white_ brother? If _not_, then in holding others as slaves, I am doing what I would _not_ wish to be done to me or any relative I have; and thus have I broken this golden rule which was given _me_ to walk by.

But some slaveholders have said, “we were never in bondage to any man,” and therefore the yoke of bondage would be insufferable to us, but slaves are accustomed to it, their backs are fitted to the burden. Well, I am willing to admit that you who have lived in freedom would find slavery even more oppressive than the poor slave does, but then you may try this question in another form–Am I willing to reduce _my little child_ to slavery? You know that _if it is brought up a slave_, it will never know any contrast between freedom and bondage; its back will become fitted to the burden just as the negro child’s does–_not by nature_–but by daily, violent pressure, in the same way that the head of the Indian child becomes flattened by the boards in which it is bound. It has been justly remarked that “_God never made a slave_,” he made man upright; his back was _not_ made to carry burdens as the slave of another, nor his neck to wear a yoke, and the _man_ must be crushed within him, before _his_ back can be _fitted_ to the burden of perpetual slavery; and that his back is _not_ fitted to it, is manifest by the insurrections that so often disturb the peace and security of slave-holding countries. Who ever heard of a rebellion of the beasts of the field; and why not? simply because _they_ were all placed _under the feet of man_, into whose hand they were delivered; it was originally designed that they should serve him, therefore their necks have been formed for the yoke, and their backs for the burden; but _not so with man_, intellectual, immortal man! I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers; Are you willing to enslave _your_ children? You start back with horror and indignation at such a question. But why, if slavery is _no wrong_ to those upon whom it is imposed? why, if, as has often been said, slaves are happier than their masters, freer from the cares and perplexities of providing for themselves and their families? why not place _your children_ in the way of being supported without your having the trouble to provide for them, or they for themselves? Do you not perceive that as soon as this golden rule of action is applied to _yourselves_, that you involuntarily shrink from the test; as soon as _your_ actions are weighed in _this_ balance of the sanctuary, that _you are found wanting?_ Try yourselves by another of the Divine precepts, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Can we love a man _as_ we love _ourselves_ if we do, and continue to do unto him, what we would not wish any one to do to us? Look too, at Christ’s example, what does he say of himself, “I came _not_ to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Can you for a moment imagine the meek, and lowly, and compassionate Saviour, a _slaveholder_? do you not shudder at this thought as much as at that of his being a _warrior_? But why, if slavery is not sinful?

Again, it has been said, the Apostle Paul did not condemn Slavery, for he sent Onesimus back to Philemon. I do not think it can be said he sent him back, for no coercion was made use of. Onesimus was not thrown into prison and then sent back in chains to his master, as your runaway slaves often are–this could not possibly have been the case, because you know Paul as a Jew, was _bound to protect_ the runaway, _he had no right_ to send any fugitive back to his master. The state of the case then seems to have been this. Onesimus had been an unprofitable servant to Philemon and left him–he afterwards became converted under the Apostle’s preaching, and seeing that he had been to blame in his conduct, and desiring by future fidelity to atone for past error, he wished to return, and the Apostle gave him the letter we now have as a recommendation to Philemon, informing him of the conversion of Onesimus, and entreating him as “Paul the aged to receive him, _not_ now as a _servant_, but _above_ a servant, a brother beloved, especially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If thou count _me_ therefore as a partner, _receive him as myself._” This then surely cannot be forced into a justification of the practice of returning runaway slaves back to their masters, to be punished with cruel beatings and scourgings as they often are. Besides the word [Greek: doulos] here translated servant, is the same that is made use of in Matt. xviii, 27. Now it appears that this servant owed his lord ten thousand talents; he possessed property to a vast amount. Onesimus could not then have been a _slave_, for slaves do not own their wives, or children; no, not even their own bodies, much less property. But again, the servitude which the apostle was accustomed to, must have been very different from American slavery, for he says, “the heir (or son), as long as he is a child, differeth _nothing from a servant_, though he be lord of all. But is under _tutors_ and governors until the time appointed of the father.” From this it appears, that the means of _instruction_ were provided for _servants_ as well as children; and indeed we know it must have been so among the Jews, because their servants were not permitted to remain in perpetual bondage, and therefore it was absolutely necessary they should be prepared to occupy higher stations in society than those of servants. Is it so at the South, my friends? Is the daily bread of instruction provided for _your slaves_? are their minds enlightened, and they gradually prepared to rise from the grade of menials into that of _free_, independent members of the state? Let your own statute book, and your own daily experience, answer these questions.

If this apostle sanctioned _slavery_, why did he exhort masters thus in his epistle to the Ephesians, “and ye, masters, do the same things unto them (i.e. perform your duties to your servants as unto Christ, not unto me) _forbearing threatening_; knowing that your master also is in heaven, neither is _there respect of persons with him_.” And in Colossians, “Masters give unto your servants that which is _just and equal_, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.” Let slaveholders only _obey_ these injunctions of Paul, and I am satisfied slavery would soon be abolished. If he thought it sinful even to _threaten_ servants, surely he must have thought it sinful to flog and to beat them with sticks and paddles; indeed, when delineating the character of a bishop, he expressly names this as one feature of it, “_no striker_.” Let masters give unto their servants that which is _just_ and _equal_, and all that vast system of unrequited labor would crumble into ruin. Yes, and if they once felt they had no right to the _labor_ of their servants without pay, surely they could not think they had a right to their wives, their children, and their own bodies. Again, how can it be said Paul sanctioned slavery, when, as though to put this matter beyond all doubt, in that black catalogue of sins enumerated in his first epistle to Timothy, he mentions “_menstealers_,” which word may be translated “_slavedealers_.” But you may say, we all despise slavedealers as much as any one can; they are never admitted into genteel or respectable society. And why not? Is it not because even you shrink back from the idea of associating with those who make their fortunes by trading in the bodies and souls of men, women, and children? whose daily work it is to break human hearts, by tearing wives from their husbands, and children from their parents? But why hold slavedealers as despicable, if their trade is lawful and virtuous? and why despise them more than the _gentlemen of fortune and standing_ who employ them as _their_ agents? Why more than the _professors of religion_ who barter their fellow-professors to them for gold and silver? We do not despise the land agent, or the physician, or the merchant, and why? Simply because their professions are virtuous and honorable; and if the trade of men-jobbers was honorable, you would not despise them either. There is no difference in _principle_, in _Christian ethics_, between the despised slavedealer and the _Christian_ who buys slaves from, or sells slaves to him; indeed, if slaves were not wanted by the respectable, the wealthy, and the religious in a community, there would be no slaves in that community, and of course no _slavedealers_. It is then the _Christians_ and the _honorable men_ and _women_ of the South, who are the _main pillars_ of this grand temple built to Mammon and to Moloch. It is the _most enlightened_ in every country who are _most_ to blame when any public sin is supported by public opinion, hence Isaiah says, “_When_ the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount _Zion_ and on _Jerusalem_, (then) I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.” And was it not so? Open the historical records of that age, was not Israel carried into captivity B.C. 606, Judah B.C. 588, and the stout heart of the heathen monarchy not punished until B.C. 536, fifty-two years _after_ Judah’s, and seventy years _after_ Israel’s captivity, when it was overthrown by Cyrus, king of Persia? Hence, too, the apostle Peter says, “judgment must _begin at the house of God_.” Surely this would not be the case, if the _professors of religion_ were not _most worthy_ of blame.

But it may be asked, why are _they_ most culpable? I will tell you, my friends. It is because sin is imputed to us just in proportion to the spiritual light we receive. Thus the prophet Amos says, in the name of Jehovah, “_You only_ have I known of all the families of the earth: _therefore_ I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Hear too the doctrine of our Lord on this important subject; “The servant who _knew_ his Lord’s will and _prepared not_ himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with _many_ stripes”: and why? “For unto whomsoever _much_ is given, _of him_ shall _much_ be required; and to whom men have committed _much_, of _him_ they will ask the _more_.” Oh! then that the _Christians_ of the south would ponder these things in their hearts, and awake to the vast responsibilities which rest _upon them_ at this important crisis.

I have thus, I think, clearly proved to you seven propositions, viz.: First, that slavery is contrary to the declaration of our independence. Second, that it is contrary to the first charter of human rights given to Adam, and renewed to Noah. Third, that the fact of slavery having been the subject of prophecy, furnishes _no_ excuse whatever to slavedealers. Fourth, that no such system existed under the patriarchal dispensation. Fifth, that _slavery never_ existed under the Jewish dispensation; but so far otherwise, that every servant was placed under the _protection of law_, and care taken not only to prevent all _involuntary_ servitude, but all _voluntary perpetual_ bondage. Sixth, that slavery in America reduces a _man_ to a _thing_, a “chattel personal,” _robs him_ of _all_ his rights as a _human being_, fetters both his mind and body, and protects the _master_ in the most unnatural and unreasonable power, whilst it _throws him out_ of the protection of law. Seventh, that slavery is contrary to the example and precepts of our holy and merciful Redeemer, and of his apostles.

But perhaps you will be ready to query, why appeal to _women_ on this subject? _We_ do not make the laws which perpetuate slavery. _No_ legislative power is vested in _us_; _we_ can do nothing to overthrow the system, even if we wished to do so. To this I reply, I know you do not make the laws, but I also know that _you are the wives and mothers, the sisters and daughters of those who do_; and if you really suppose _you_ can do nothing to overthrow slavery, you are greatly mistaken. You can do much in every way: four things I will name. 1st. You can read on this subject. 2d. You can pray over this subject. 3d. You can speak on this subject. 4th. You can _act_ on this subject. I have not placed reading before praying because I regard it more important, but because, in order to pray aright, we must understand what we are praying for; it is only then we can “pray with the understanding and the spirit also.”

1. Read then on the subject of slavery. Search the Scriptures daily, whether the things I have told you are true. Other books and papers might be a great help to you to this investigation, but they are not necessary, and it is hardly probable that your Committees of Vigilance will allow you to have any other. The _Bible_ then is the book I want you to read in the spirit of inquiry, and the spirit of prayer. Even the enemies of Abolitionists, acknowledge that their doctrines are drawn from it. In the great mob in Boston, last autumn, when the books and papers of the Anti-Slavery Society, were thrown out of the windows of their office, one individual laid hold of the Bible and was about tossing it out to the ground, when another reminded him that it was the Bible he had in his hand. “O! _’tis all one_,” he replied, and out went the sacred volume, along with the rest. We thank him for the acknowledgment. Yes, “_it is all one_,” for our books and papers are mostly commentaries on the Bible, and the Declaration. Read the _Bible _then, it contains the words of Jesus, and they are spirit and life. Judge for yourselves whether _he sanctioned_ such a system of oppression and crime.

2. Pray over this subject. When you have entered into your closets, and shut to the doors, then pray to your father, who seeth in secret, that he would open your eyes to see whether slavery is _sinful_, and if it is, that he would enable you to bear a faithful, open and un-shrinking testimony against it, and to do whatsoever your hands find to do, leaving the consequences entirely to him, who still says to us whenever we try to reason away duty from the fear of consequences, “_What is that to thee, follow thou me_.” Pray also for that poor slave, that he may be kept patient and submissive under his hard lot, until God is pleased to open the door of freedom to him without violence or bloodshed. Pray too for the master that his heart may be softened, and he made willing to acknowledge, as Joseph’s brethren did, “Verily we are guilty concerning our brother,” before he will be compelled to add in consequence of Divine judgment, “therefore is all this evil come upon us.” Pray also for all your brethren and sisters who are laboring in the righteous cause of Emancipation in the Northern States, England and the world. There is great encouragement for prayer in these words of our Lord. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you”–Pray then without ceasing, in the closet and the social circle.

3. Speak on this subject. It is through the tongue, the pen, and the press, that truth is principally propagated. Speak then to your relatives, your friends, your acquaintances on the subject of slavery; be not afraid if you are conscientiously convinced it is _sinful_, to say so openly, but calmly, and to let your sentiments be known. If you are served by the slaves of others, try to ameliorate their condition as much as possible; never aggravate their faults, and thus add fuel to the fire of anger already kindled, in a master and mistress’s bosom; remember their extreme ignorance, and consider them as your Heavenly Father does the _less_ culpable on this account, even when they do wrong things. Discountenance _all_ cruelty to them, all starvation, all corporal chastisement; these may brutalize and _break_ their spirits, but will never bend them to willing, cheerful obedience. If possible, see that they are comfortably and _seasonably_ fed, whether in the house or the field; it is unreasonable and cruel to expect slaves to wait for their breakfast until eleven o’clock, when they rise at five or six. Do all you can, to induce their owners to clothe them well, and to allow them many little indulgences which would contribute to their comfort. Above all, try to persuade your husband, father, brothers and sons, that _slavery is a crime against God and man_, and that it is a great sin to keep _human beings_ in such abject ignorance; to deny them the privilege of learning to read and write. The Catholics are universally condemned, for denying the Bible to the common people, but, _slaveholders must not_ blame them, for _they_ are doing the _very same thing_, and for the very same reason, neither of these systems can bear the light which bursts from the pages of that Holy Book. And lastly, endeavour to inculcate submission on the part of the slaves, but whilst doing this be faithful in pleading the cause of the oppressed.

“Will _you_ behold unheeding,
Life’s holiest feelings crushed,
Where _woman’s_ heart is bleeding, Shall _woman’s_ voice be hushed?”

4. Act on this subject. Some of you _own_ slaves yourselves. If you believe slavery is _sinful_, set them at liberty, “undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free.” If they wish to remain with you, pay them wages, if not let them leave you. Should they remain teach them, and have them taught the common branches of an English education; they have minds and those minds, _ought to be improved_. So precious a talent as intellect, never was given to be wrapt in a napkin and buried in the earth. It is the _duty_ of all, as far as they can, to improve their own mental faculties, because we are commanded to love God with _all our minds_, as well as with all our hearts, and we commit a great sin, if we _forbid or prevent_ that cultivation of the mind in others, which would enable them to perform this duty. Teach your servants then to read &c., and encourage them to believe it is their _duty_ to learn, if it were only that they might read the Bible.

But some of you will say, we can neither free our slaves nor teach them to read, for the laws of our state forbid it. Be not surprised when I say such wicked laws _ought to be no barrier_ in the way of your duty, and I appeal to the Bible to prove this position. What was the conduct of Shiphrah and Puah, when the king of Egypt issued his cruel mandate, with regard to the Hebrew children? “_They_ feared _God_, and did _not_ as the King of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.” Did these _women_ do right in disobeying that monarch? “_Therefore_ (says the sacred text,) _God dealt well_ with them, and made them houses” Ex. i. What was the conduct of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image in the plain of Dura, and commanded all people, nations, and languages, to fall down and worship it? “Be it known, unto thee, (said these faithful _Jews_) O king, that _we will not_ serve thy gods, nor worship the image which thou hast set up.” Did these men _do right in disobeying the law_ of their sovereign? Let their miraculous deliverance from the burning fiery furnace, answer; Dan. iii. What was the conduct of Daniel, when Darius made a firm decree that no one should ask a petition of any man or God for thirty days? Did the prophet cease to pray? No! “When Daniel _knew that the writing was signed_, he went into his house, and his windows being _open_ towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Did Daniel do right thus to _break_ the law of his king? Let his wonderful deliverance out of the mouths of the lions answer; Dan. vii. Look, too, at the Apostles Peter and John. When the rulers of the Jews, “_commanded them not_ to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus,” what did they say? “Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” And what did they do? “They spake the word of God with boldness, and with great power gave the Apostles witness of the _resurrection_ of the Lord Jesus;” although _this_ was the very doctrine, for the preaching of which, they had just been cast into prison, and further threatened. Did these men do right? I leave _you_ to answer, who now enjoy the benefits of their labors and sufferings, in that Gospel they dared to preach when positively commanded _not to teach any more_ in the name of Jesus; Acts iv.

But some of you may say, if we do free our slaves, they will be taken up and sold, therefore there will be no use in doing it. Peter and John might just as well have said, we will not preach the gospel, for if we do, we shall be taken up and put in prison, therefore there will be no use in our preaching. _Consequences_, my friends, belong no more to _you_, than they did to these apostles. Duty is ours and events are God’s. If you think slavery is sinful, all _you_ have to do is to set your slaves at liberty, do all you can to protect them, and in humble faith and fervent prayer, commend them to your common Father. He can take care of them; but if for wise purposes he sees fit to allow them to be sold, this will afford you an opportunity of testifying openly, wherever you go, against the crime of _manstealing_. Such an act will be _clear robbery_, and if exposed, might, under the Divine direction, do the cause of Emancipation more good, than any thing that could happen, for, “He makes even the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain.”

I know that this doctrine of obeying _God_, rather than man, will be considered as dangerous, and heretical by many, but I am not afraid openly to avow it, because it is the doctrine of the Bible; but I would not be understood to advocate resistance to any law however oppressive, if, in obeying it, I was not obliged to commit _sin_. If for instance, there was a law, which imposed imprisonment or a fine upon me if I manumitted a slave, I would on no account resist that law, I would set the slave free, and then go to prison or pay the fine. If a law commands me to _sin I will break it_; if it calls me to _suffer_, I will let it take its course _unresistingly_. The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to _any human_ power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.

But you will perhaps say, such a course of conduct would inevitably expose us to great suffering. Yes! my christian friends, I believe it would, but this will _not_ excuse you or any one else for the neglect of _duty_. If Prophets and Apostles, Martyrs, and Reformers had not been willing to suffer for the truth’s sake, where would the world have been now? If they had said, we cannot speak the truth, we cannot do what we believe is right, because the _laws of our country or public opinion are against us_, where would our holy religion have been now? The Prophets were stoned, imprisoned, and killed by the Jews. And why? Because they exposed and openly rebuked public sins; they opposed public opinion; had they held their peace, they all might have lived in ease and died in favor with a wicked generation. Why were the Apostles persecuted from city to city, stoned, incarcerated, beaten, and crucified? Because they dared to _speak the truth_; to tell the Jews, boldly and fearlessly, that _they_ were the _murderers_ of the Lord of Glory, and that, however great a stumbling-block the Cross might be to them, there was no other name given under heaven by which men could be saved, but the name of Jesus. Because they declared, even at Athens, the seat of learning and refinement, the self-evident truth, that “they be no gods that are made with men’s hands,” and exposed to the Grecians the foolishness of worldly wisdom, and the impossibility of salvation but through Christ, whom they despised on account of the ignominious death he died. Because at Rome, the proud mistress of the world, they thundered out the terrors of the law upon that idolatrous, war-making, and slave-holding community. Why were the martyrs stretched upon the rack, gibbetted and burnt, the scorn and diversion of a Nero, whilst their tarred and burning bodies sent up a light which illuminated the Roman capital? Why were the Waldenses hunted like wild beasts upon the mountains of Piedmont, and slain with the sword of the Duke of Savoy and the proud monarch of France? Why were the Presbyterians chased like the partridge over the highlands of Scotland–the Methodists pumped, and stoned, and pelted with rotten eggs–the Quakers incarcerated in filthy prisons, beaten, whipped at the cart’s tail, banished and hung? Because they dared to _speak_ the _truth_, to _break_ the unrighteous _laws_ of their country, and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, “not accepting deliverance,” even under the gallows. Why were Luther and Calvin persecuted and excommunicated, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer burnt? Because they fearlessly proclaimed the truth, though that truth was contrary to public opinion, and the authority of Ecclesiastical councils and conventions. Now all this vast amount of human suffering might have been saved. All these Prophets and Apostles, Martyrs, and Reformers, might have lived and died in peace with all men, but following the example of their great pattern, “they despised the shame, endured the cross, and are now set down on the right hand of the throne of God,” having received the glorious welcome of “well _done_ good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”

But you may say we are _women_, how can _our_ hearts endure persecution? And why not? Have not _women_ stood up in all the dignity and strength of moral courage to be the leaders of the people, and to bear a faithful testimony for the truth whenever the providence of God has called them to do so? Are there no _women_ in that noble army of martyrs who are now singing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Who led out the women of Israel from the house of bondage, striking the timbrel, and singing the song of deliverance on the banks of that sea whose waters stood up like walls of crystal to open a passage for their escape? It was a _woman_; Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Moses and Aaron. Who went up with Barak to Kadesh to fight against Jabin, King of Canaan, into whose hand Israel had been sold because of their iniquities? It was a _woman!_ Deborah the wife of Lapidoth, the judge, as well as the prophetess of that backsliding people; Judges iv, 9. Into whose hands was Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s host delivered? Into the hand of a _woman_. Jael the wife of Heber! Judges vi, 21. Who dared to _speak the truth_ concerning those judgments which were coming upon Judea, when Josiah, alarmed at finding that his people “had not kept the word of the Lord to do after all that was written in the book of the Law,” sent to enquire of the Lord concerning these things? It was a _woman_. Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum; 2, Chron. xxxiv, 22. Who was chosen to deliver the whole Jewish nation from that murderous decree of Persia’s King, which wicked Haman had obtained by calumny and fraud? It was a _woman_; Esther the Queen; yes, weak and trembling _woman_ was the instrument appointed by God, to reverse the bloody mandate of the eastern monarch, and save the _whole visible church_ from destruction. What human voice first proclaimed to Mary that she should be the mother of our Lord? It was a _woman!_ Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias; Luke i, 42, 43. Who united with the good old Simeon in giving thanks publicly in the temple, when the child, Jesus, was presented there by his parents, “and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem?” It was a _woman!_ Anna the prophetess. Who first proclaimed Christ as the true Messiah in the streets of Samaria, once the capital of the ten tribes? It was a _woman!_ Who ministered to the Son of God whilst on earth, a despised and persecuted Reformer, in the humble garb of a carpenter? They were _women!_ Who followed the rejected King of Israel, as his fainting footsteps trod the road to Calvary? “A great company of people and of _women_;” and it is remarkable that to _them alone_, he turned and addressed the pathetic language, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children.” Ah! who sent unto the Roman Governor when he was set down on the judgment seat, saying unto him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him?” It was a _woman_! the wife of Pilate. Although “_he knew_ that for envy the Jews had delivered Christ,” yet _he_ consented to surrender the Son of God into the hands of a brutal soldiery, after having himself scourged his naked body. Had the _wife_ of Pilate sat upon that judgment seat, what would have been the result of the trial of this “just person?”

And who last hung round the cross of Jesus on the mountain of Golgotha? Who first visited the sepulchre early in the morning on the first day of the week, carrying sweet spices to embalm his precious body, not knowing that it was incorruptible and could not be holden by the bands of death? These were _women_! To whom did he _first_ appear after his resurrection? It was to a _woman_! Mary Magdalene; Mark xvi, 9. Who gathered with the apostles to wait at Jerusalem, in prayer and supplication, for “the promise of the Father;” the spiritual blessing of the Great High Priest of his Church, who had entered, _not_ into the splendid temple of Solomon, there to offer the blood of bulls, and of goats, and the smoking censer upon the golden altar, but into Heaven itself, there to present his intercessions, after having “given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor?” _Women_ were among that holy company; Acts i, 14. And did _women_ wait in vain? Did those who had ministered to his necessities, followed in his train, and wept at his crucifixion, wait in vain? No! No! Did the cloven tongues of fire descend upon the heads of _women_ as well as men? Yes, my friends, “it sat upon _each one of them_;” Acts ii, 3. _women_ as well as men were to be living stones in the temple of grace, and therefore _their_ heads were consecrated by the descent of the Holy Ghost as well as those of men. Were _women_ recognized as fellow laborers in the gospel field? They were! Paul says in his epistle to the Philippians, “help those _women_ who labored with me, in the gospel;” Phil. iv, 3.

But this is not all. Roman _women_ were burnt at the stake, _their_ delicate limbs were torn joint from joint by the ferocious beasts of the Amphitheatre, and tossed by the wild bull in his fury, for the diversion of that idolatrous, warlike, and slaveholding people. Yes, _women_ suffered under the ten persecutions of heathen Rome, with the most unshrinking constancy and fortitude; not all the entreaties of friends, nor the claims of new born infancy, nor the cruel threats of enemies could make _them_ sprinkle one grain of incense upon the altars of Roman idols. Come now with me to the beautiful valleys of Piedmont. Whose blood stains the green sward, and decks the wild flowers with colors not their own, and smokes on the sword of persecuting France? It is _woman’s_, as well as man’s? Yes, _women_ were accounted as sheep for the slaughter, and were cut down as the tender saplings of the wood.

But time would fail me, to tell of all those hundreds and thousands of _women_, who perished in the Low countries of Holland, when Alva’s sword of vengeance was unsheathed against the Protestants, when the Catholic Inquisitions of Europe became the merciless executioners of vindictive wrath, upon those who dared to worship God, instead of bowing down in unholy adoration before “my Lord God the _Pope_,” and when England, too, burnt her Ann Ascoes at the stake of martyrdom. Suffice it to say, that the Church, after having been driven from Judea to Rome, and from Rome to Piedmont, and from Piedmont to England, and from England to Holland, at last stretched her fainting wings over the dark bosom of the Atlantic, and found on the shores of a great wilderness, a refuge from tyranny and oppression–as she thought, but _even here_, (the warm blush of shame mantles my cheek as I write it,) _even here, woman_ was beaten and banished, imprisoned, and hung upon the gallows, a trophy to the Cross.

And what, I would ask in conclusion, have _women_ done for the great and glorious cause of Emancipation? Who wrote that pamphlet which moved the heart of Wilberforce to pray over the wrongs, and his tongue to plead the cause of the oppressed African? It was a _woman_, Elizabeth Heyrick. Who labored assiduously to keep the sufferings of the slave continually before the British public? They were _women_. And how did they do it? By their needles, paint brushes and pens, by speaking the truth, and petitioning Parliament for the abolition of slavery. And what was the effect of their labors? Read it in the Emancipation bill of Great Britain. Read it, in the present state of her West India Colonies. Read it, in the impulse which has been given to the cause of freedom, in the United States of America. Have English women then done so much for the negro, and shall American women do nothing? Oh no! Already are there sixty female Anti-Slavery Societies in operation. These are doing just what the English women did, telling the story of the colored man’s wrongs, praying for his deliverance, and presenting his kneeling image constantly before the public eye on bags and needle-books, card-racks, pen-wipers, pin-cushions, &c. Even the children of the north are inscribing on their handy work, “May the points of our needles prick the slaveholder’s conscience.” Some of the reports of these Societies exhibit not only considerable talent, but a deep sense of religious duty, and a determination to persevere through evil as well as good report, until every scourge, and every shackle, is buried under the feet of the manumitted slave.

The Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society of Boston was called last fall, to a severe trial of their faith and constancy. They were mobbed by “the gentlemen of property and standing,” in that city at their anniversary meeting, and their lives were jeoparded by an infuriated crowd; but their conduct on that occasion did credit to our sex, and affords a full assurance that they will _never_ abandon the cause of the slave. The pamphlet, Right and Wrong in Boston, issued by them in which a particular account is given of that “mob of broad cloth in broad day,” does equal credit to the head and the heart of her who wrote it. I wish my Southern sisters could read it; they would then understand that the women of the North have engaged in this work from a sense of _religious duty_, and that nothing will ever induce them to take their hands from it until it is fully accomplished. They feel no hostility to you, no bitterness or wrath; they rather sympathize in your trials and difficulties; but they well know that the first thing to be done to help you, is to pour in the light of truth on your minds, to urge you to reflect on, and pray over the subject. This is all _they_ can do for you, _you_ must work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling, and with the direction and blessing of God, _you can do it_. Northern women may labor to produce a correct public opinion at the North, but if Southern women sit down in listless indifference and criminal idleness, public opinion cannot be rectified and purified at the South. It is manifest to every reflecting mind, that slavery must be abolished; the era in which we live, and the light which is overspreading the whole world on this subject, clearly show that the time cannot be distant when it will be done. Now there are only two ways in which it can be effected, by moral power or physical force, and it is for _you_ to choose which of these you prefer. Slavery always has, and always will produce insurrections wherever it exists, because it is a violation of the natural order of things, and no human power can much longer perpetuate it. The opposers of abolitionists fully believe this; one of them remarked to me not long since, there is no doubt there will be a most terrible overturning at the South in a few years, such cruelty and wrong, must be visited with Divine vengeance soon. Abolitionists believe, too, that this must inevitably be the case, if you do not repent, and they are not willing to leave you to perish without entreating you, to save yourselves from destruction; well may they say with the apostle, “am I then your enemy because I tell you the truth,” and warn you to flee from impending judgments.

But why, my dear friends, have I thus been endeavoring to lead you through the history of more than three thousand years, and to point you to that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before, “from works to rewards?” Have I been seeking to magnify the sufferings, and exalt the character of woman, that she “might have praise of men?” No! no! my object has been to arouse _you_, as the wives and mothers, the daughters and sisters, of the South, to a sense of your duty as _women_, and as Christian women, on that great subject, which has already shaken our country, from the St. Lawrence and the lakes, to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Mississippi to the shores of the Atlantic; _and will continue mightily to shake it_, until the polluted temple of slavery fall and crumble into ruin. I would say unto each one of you, “what meanest thou, O sleeper! arise and call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us that we perish not.” Perceive you not that dark cloud of vengeance which hangs over our boasting Republic? Saw you not the lightnings of Heaven’s wrath, in the flame which leaped from the Indian’s torch to the roof of yonder dwelling, and lighted with its horrid glare the darkness of midnight? Heard you not the thunders of Divine anger, as the distant roar of the cannon came rolling onward, from the Texian country, where Protestant American Rebels are fighting with Mexican Republicans–for what? For the re-establishment of _slavery_; yes! of American slavery in the bosom of a Catholic Republic, where that system of robbery, violence, and wrong, had been legally abolished for twelve years. Yes! citizens of the United States, after plundering Mexico of her land, are now engaged in deadly conflict, for the privilege of fastening chains, and collars, and manacles–upon whom? upon the subjects of some foreign prince? No! upon native born American Republican citizens, although the fathers of these very men declared to the whole world, while struggling to free themselves from the three penny taxes of an English king, that they believed it to be a _self-evident_ truth that _all men_ were created equal, and had an _unalienable right to liberty_.

Well may the poet exclaim in bitter sarcasm,

“The fustian flag that proudly waves In solemn mockery _o’er a land of slaves_.”

Can you not, my friends, understand the signs of the times; do you not see the sword of retributive justice hanging over the South, or are you still slumbering at your posts?–Are there no Shiphrahs, no Puahs among you, who will dare in Christian firmness and Christian meekness, to refuse to obey the _wicked laws_ which require _woman to enslave, to degrade and to brutalize woman?_ Are there no Miriams, who would rejoice to lead out the captive daughters of the Southern States to liberty and light? Are there no Huldahs there who will dare to _speak the truth_ concerning the sins of the people and those judgments, which it requires no prophet’s eye to see, must follow if repentance is not speedily sought? Is there no Esther among you who will plead for the poor devoted slave? Read the history of this Persian queen, it is full of instruction; she at first refused to plead for the Jews; but, hear the words of Mordecai, “Think not within thyself, that _thou_ shalt escape in the king’s house more than all the Jews, for _if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time_, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but _thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed._” Listen, too, to her magnanimous reply to this powerful appeal; “_I will go_ in unto the king, which is not according to law, and if I perish. I perish.” Yes! if there were but _one_ Esther at the South, she _might_ save her country from ruin; but let the Christian women there arise, as the Christian women of Great Britain did, in the majesty of moral power, and that salvation is certain. Let them embody themselves in societies, and send petitions up to their different legislatures, entreating their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons, to abolish the institution of slavery; no longer to subject _woman_ to the scourge and the chain, to mental darkness and moral degradation; no longer to tear husbands from their wives, and children from their parents; no longer to make men, women, and children, work _without wages;_ no longer to make their lives bitter in hard bondage; no longer to reduce _American citizens_ to the abject condition of _slaves_, of “chattels personal;” no longer to barter the _image of God_ in human shambles for corruptible things such as silver and gold.

The _women of the South can overthrow_ this horrible system of oppression and cruelty, licentiousness and wrong. Such appeals to your legislatures would be irresistible, for there is something in the heart of man which _will bend under moral suasion_. There is a swift witness for truth in his bosom, which _will respond to truth_ when it is uttered with calmness and dignity. If you could obtain but six signatures to such a petition in only one state, I would say, send up that petition, and be not in the least discouraged by the scoffs and jeers of the heartless, or the resolution of the house to lay it on the table. It will be a great thing if the subject can be introduced into your legislatures in any way, even by _women_, and _they_ will be the most likely to introduce it there in the best possible manner, as a matter of _morals_ and _religion_, not of expediency or politics. You may petition, too, the different, ecclesiastical bodies of the slave states. Slavery must be attacked with the whole power of truth and the sword of the spirit. You must take it up on _Christian_ ground, and fight against it with Christian weapons, whilst your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. And _you are now_ loudly called upon by the cries of the widow and the orphan, to arise and gird yourselves for this great moral conflict, with the whole armour of righteousness upon the right hand and on the left.

There is every encouragement for you to labor and pray, my friends, because the abolition of slavery as well as its existence, has been the theme of prophecy. “Ethiopia (says the Psalmist) shall stretch forth her hands unto God.” And is she not now doing so? Are not the Christian negroes of the south lifting their hands in prayer for deliverance, just as the Israelites did when their redemption was drawing nigh? Are they not sighing and crying by reason of the hard bondage? And think you, that He, of whom it was said, “and God heard their groaning, and their cry came up unto him by reason of the hard bondage,” think you that his ear is heavy that he cannot _now_ hear the cries of his suffering children? Or that He who raised up a Moses, an Aaron, and a Miriam, to bring them up out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, cannot now, with a high hand and a stretched out arm, rid the poor negroes out of the hands of their masters? Surely you believe that his arm is _not_ shortened that he cannot save. And would not such a work of mercy redound to his glory? But another string of the harp of prophecy vibrates to the song of deliverance: “But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and _none shall make them afraid_; for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it.” The _slave_ never can do this as long as he is a _slave_; whilst he is a “chattel personal” he can own _no_ property; but the time _is to come_ when _every_ man is to sit under _his own_ vine and _his own_ fig-tree, and no domineering driver, or irresponsible master, or irascible mistress, shall make him afraid of the chain or the whip. Hear, too, the sweet tones of another string: “Many shall run to and fro, and _knowledge_ shall be increased.” Slavery is an insurmountable barrier to the increase of knowledge in every community where it exists; _slavery, then, must be abolished before_ this prediction can be fulfiled. The last chord I shall touch, will be this, “They shall _not_ hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.”

_Slavery, then, must be overthrown before_ the prophecies can be accomplished, but how are they to be fulfiled? Will the wheels of the millennial car be rolled onward by miraculous power? No! God designs to confer this holy privilege upon _man_; it is through _his_ instrumentality that the great and glorious work of reforming the world is to be done. And see you not how the mighty engine of _moral power_ is dragging in its rear the Bible and peace societies, anti-slavery and temperance, sabbath schools, moral reform, and missions? or to adopt another figure, do not these seven philanthropic associations compose the beautiful tints in that bow of promise which spans the arch of our moral heaven? Who does not believe, that if these societies were broken up, their constitutions burnt, and the vast machinery with which they are laboring to regenerate mankind was stopped, that the black clouds of vengeance would soon burst over our world, and every city would witness the fate of the devoted cities of the plain? Each one of these societies is walking abroad through the earth scattering the seeds of truth over the wide field of our world, not with the hundred hands of a Briareus, but with a hundred thousand.

Another encouragement for you to labor, my friends, is, that you will have the prayers and co-operation of English and Northern philanthropists. You will never bend your knees in supplication at the throne of grace for the overthrow of slavery, without meeting there the spirits of other Christians, who will mingle their voices with yours, as the morning or evening sacrifice ascends to God. Yes, the spirit of prayer and of supplication has been poured out upon many, many hearts; there are wrestling Jacobs who will not let go of the prophetic promises of deliverance for the captive, and the opening of prison doors to them that are bound. There are Pauls who are saying, in reference to this subject, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” There are Marys sitting in the house now, who are ready to arise and go forth is this work as soon as the message is brought, “the master is come and calleth for thee.” And there are Marthas, too, who have already gone out to meet Jesus, as he bends his footsteps to their brother’s grave, and weeps, _not_ over the lifeless body of Lazarus bound hand and foot in grave-clothes, but over the politically and intellectually lifeless slave, bound hand and foot in the iron chains of oppression and ignorance. Some may be ready to say, as Martha did, who seemed to expect nothing but sympathy from Jesus, “Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.” She thought it useless to remove the stone and expose the loathsome body of her brother; she could not believe that so great a miracle could be wrought, as to raise _that putrefied body_ into life; but “Jesus said, take _ye_ away the stone;” and when _they_ had taken away the stone where the dead was laid, and uncovered the body of Lazarus, then it was that “Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me,” &c. “And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” Yes, some may be ready to say of the colored race, how can _they_ ever be raised politically and intellectually, they have been dead four hundred years? But _we_ have _nothing_ to do with _how_ this is to be done; _our business_ is to take away the stone which has covered up the dead body of our brother, to expose the putrid carcass, to show _how_ that body has been bound with the grave-clothes of heathen ignorance, and his face with the napkin of prejudice, and having done all it was our duty to do, to stand by the negro’s grave, in humble faith and holy hope, waiting to hear the life-giving command of “Lazarus, come forth.” This is just what Anti-Slavery Societies are doing; they are taking away the stone from the mouth of the tomb of slavery, where lies the putrid carcass of our brother. They want the pure light of heaven to shine into that dark and gloomy cave; they want all men to see _how_ that dead body has been bound, _how_ that face has been wrapped in the _napkin of prejudice_; and shall they wait beside that grave in vain? Is not Jesus still the resurrection and the life? Did He come to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of prison doors to them that are bound, in vain? Did He promise to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness unto them that mourn in Zion, and will He refuse to beautify the mind, anoint the head, and throw around the captive negro the mantle of praise for that spirit of heaviness which has so long bound him down to the ground? Or shall we not rather say with the prophet, “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts _will_ perform this?” Yes, his promises are sure, and amen in Christ Jesus, that he will assemble her that halteth, and gather her that is driven out, and her that is afflicted.

But I will now say a few words on the subject of Abolitionism. Doubtless you have all heard Anti-Slavery Societies denounced as insurrectionary and mischievous, fanatical and dangerous. It has been said they publish the most abominable untruths, and that they are endeavoring to excite rebellions at the South. Have you believed these reports, my friends? have _you_ also been deceived by these false assertions? Listen to me, then, whilst I endeavor to wipe from the fair character of Abolitionism such unfounded accusations. You know that _I_ am a Southerner; you know that my dearest relatives are now in a slave State. Can you for a moment believe I would prove so recreant to the feelings of a daughter and a sister, as to join a society which was seeking to overthrow slavery by falsehood, bloodshed, and murder? I appeal to you who have known and loved me in days that are passed, can _you_ believe it? No! my friends. As a Carolinian, I was peculiarly jealous of any movements on this subject; and before I would join an Anti-Slavery Society, I took the precaution of becoming acquainted with some of the leading Abolitionists, of reading their publications and attending their meetings, at which I heard addresses both from colored and white men; and it was not until I was fully convinced that their principles were _entirely pacific_, and their efforts _only moral_, that I gave my name as a member to the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Philadelphia. Since that time, I have regularly taken the Liberator, and read many Anti-Slavery pamphlets and papers and books, and can assure you I _never_ have seen a single insurrectionary paragraph, and never read any account of cruelty which I could not believe. Southerners may deny the truth of these accounts, but why do they not _prove_ them to be false. Their violent expressions of horror at such accounts being believed, _may_ deceive some, but they cannot deceive _me_, for I lived too long in the midst of slavery, not to know what slavery is. When _I_ speak of this system, “I speak that I do know,” and I am not at all afraid to assert, that Anti-Slavery publications have _not_ overdrawn the monstrous features of slavery at all. And many a Southerner _knows_ this as well as I do. A lady in North Carolina remarked to a friend of mine, about eighteen months since, “Northerners know nothing at all about slavery; they think it is perpetual bondage only; but of the _depth of degradation_ that word involves, they have no conception; if they had, _they would never cease_ their efforts until so _horrible_ a system was overthrown.” She did not know how faithfully some Northern men and Northern women had studied this subject; how diligently they had searched out the cause of “him who had none to help him,” and how fearlessly they had told the story of the negro’s wrongs. Yes, Northerners know _every_ thing about slavery now. This monster of iniquity has been unveiled to the world, her frightful features