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

Part 2 out of 4

authority and with great boldness.[38] _The very nature_ of the
request made it obligatory on Philemon. He was sacredly bound, out
of regard to the fitness of things, to admit Onesimus to full
equality with himself--to treat him as a brother both in the Lord
and as having flesh--as a fellow man. Thus were the inalienable
rights and birthright privileges of Onesimus, as a member of the
human family, defined and protected by apostolic authority.

10. The apostle preferred a request instead of imposing a command,
on the ground of CHARITY.[39] He would give Philemon an opportunity
of discharging his obligations under the impulse of love. To this
impulse, he was confident Philemon would promptly and fully yield.
How could he do otherwise? The thing itself was right. The request
respecting it came from a benefactor, to whom, under God, he was
under the highest obligations.[40] That benefactor, now an old man,
and in the hands of persecutors, manifested a deep and tender
interest in the matter and had the strongest persuasion that
Philemon was more ready to grant than himself to entreat. The result,
as he was soon to visit Collosse, and had commissioned Philemon to
prepare a lodging for him, must come under the eye of the apostle.
The request was so manifestly reasonable and obligatory, that the
apostle, after all, described a compliance with it, by the strong
word "_obedience_."[41]

[Footnote 37: Verse 8. To [Greek: anaekon]. See Robinson's New
Testament Lexicon; "_it is fit, proper, becoming, it ought_." In
what sense King James' translators used the word "convenient" any
one may see who will read Rom. i. 28 and Eph. v. 3, 4.]

[Footnote 38: Verse 8.]

[Footnote 39: Verse 9--[Greek: dia taen agapaen]]

[Footnote 40: Verse 19.]

[Footnote 41: Verse 21.]

Now, how must all this have been understood by the church at Colosse?
--a church, doubtless, made up of such materials as the church at
Corinth, that is, of members chiefly from the humblest walks of life.
Many of them had probably felt the degradation and tasted the
bitterness of the servile condition. Would they have been likely to
interpret the apostle's letter under the bias of feelings friendly to
slavery!--And put the slaveholder's construction on its contents!
Would their past experience or present sufferings--for doubtless
some of them were still "under the yoke"--have suggested to their
thoughts such glosses as some of our theological professors venture
to put upon the words of the apostle! Far otherwise. The Spirit of
the Lord was there, and the epistle was read in the light of
"_liberty_." It contained the principles of holy freedom, faithfully
and affectionately applied. This must have made it precious in the
eyes of such men "of low degree" as were most of the believers, and
welcome to a place in the sacred canon. There let it remain as a
luminous and powerful defence of the cause of emancipation!

But what saith Professor Stuart? "If any one doubts, let him take
the case of Paul's sending Onesimus back to Philemon, with an apology
for his running away, and sending him back to be his servant for

[Footnote 42: See his letter to Dr. Fisk, supra pp. 7, 8]

"Paul sent back Onesimus to Philemon." By what process? Did the
apostle, a prisoner at Rome, seize upon the fugitive, and drag him
before some heartless and perfidious "Judge," for authority to send
him back to Colosse? Did he hurry his victim away from the presence
of the fat and supple magistrate, to be driven under chains and the
lash to the field of unrequited toil, whence he had escaped? Had the
apostle been like some teachers in the American churches, he might,
as a professor of sacred literature in one of our seminaries, or a
preacher of the gospel to the rich in some of our cities, have consented
thus to subserve the "peculiar" interests of a dear slaveholding brother.
But the venerable champion of truth and freedom was himself under
bonds in the imperial city, waiting for the crown of martyrdom. He
wrote a letter to the church a Colosse, which was accustomed to meet
at the house of Philemon, and another letter to that magnanimous
disciple, and sent them by the hand of Onesimus. So much for _the way_
in which Onesimus was sent back to his master.

A slave escapes from a patriarch in Georgia, and seeks a refuge in
the parish of the Connecticut doctor of Divinity, who once gave
public notice that he saw no reason for caring for the servitude of
his fellow men.[43] Under his influence, Caesar becomes a Christian
convert. Burning with love for the son whom he hath begotten in the
gospel, our doctor resolves to send him back to his master.
Accordingly, he writes a letter, gives it to Caesar, and bids him
return, staff in hand, to the "corner-stone of our republican
institutions." Now, what would my Caesar do, who had ever felt a
link of slavery's chain? As he left his _spiritual father_, should
we be surprised to hear him say to himself, What, return of my own
accord to the man who, with the hand of a robber, plucked me from my
mother's bosom!--for whom I have been so often drenched in the sweat
of unrequited toil!--whose violence so often cut my flesh and
scarred my limbs!--who shut out every ray of light from my mind!--who
laid claim to those honors to which my Creator and Redeemer only
are entitled! And for what am I to return? To be cursed, and
smitten, and sold! To be tempted, and torn, and destroyed! I cannot
thus throw myself away--thus rush upon my own destruction.

[Footnote 43: "Why should I care?"]

Who ever heard of the voluntary return of a fugitive from American
oppression? Do you think that the doctor and his friends could
persuade one to carry a letter to the patriarch from whom he had
escaped? And must we believe this of Onesimus?

"Paul sent back Onesimus to Philemon." On what occasion?--"If,"
writes the apostle, "he hath wronged thee, or oweth the aught, put
that on my account." Alive to the claims of duty, Onesimus would
"restore" whatever he "had taken away." He would honestly pay his
debts. This resolution the apostle warmly approved. He was ready, at
whatever expense, to help his young disciple in carrying it into
full effect. Of this he assured Philemon, in language the most
explicit and emphatic. Here we find one reason for the conduct of
Paul in sending Onesimus to Philemon.

If a fugitive slave of the Rev. Dr. Smylie, of Mississippi, should
return to him with a letter from a doctor of divinity in New York,
containing such an assurance, how would the reverend slaveholder
dispose of it? What, he exclaims, have we here? "If Cato has not
been upright in his pecuniary intercourse with you--if he owes you
any thing--put that on my account." What ignorance of southern
institutions! What mockery, to talk of pecuniary intercourse between
a slave and his master! _The slave himself, with all he is and has,
is an article of merchandise_. What can _he_ owe his master? A
rustic may lay a wager with his mule, and give the creature the peck
of oats which he has permitted it to win. But who, in sober earnest,
would call this a pecuniary transaction?

"TO BE HIS SERVANT FOR LIFE!" From what part of the epistle could
the expositor have evolved a thought so soothing to tyrants--so
revolting to every man who loves his own nature? From this?
"For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldst
receive him for ever." Receive him how? _As a servant_, exclaims our
commentator. But what wrote the apostle? "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." Who authorized
the professor to bereave the word "_not_" of its negative influence?
According to Paul, Philemon was to receive Onesimus "_not_ as a
servant;"--according to Stuart, he was to receive him "_as a
servant_!" If the professor will apply the same rules of exposition
to the writings of the abolitionists, all difference between him and
them must in his view presently vanish away. The harmonizing process
would be equally simple and effectual. He has only to understand
them as affirming what they deny, and as denying what they affirm.

Suppose that Professor Stuart had a son residing, at the South. His
slave, having stolen money of his master, effected his escape. He
fled to Andover, to find a refuge among the "sons of the prophets."
There he finds his way to Professor Stuart's house, and offers to
render any service which the professor, dangerously ill "of a typhus
fever," might require. He is soon found to be a most active, skilful,
faithful nurse. He spares no pains, night and day, to make himself
useful to the venerable sufferer. He anticipates every want. In the
most delicate and tender manner, he tries to sooth every pain. He
fastens himself strongly on the heart of the reverend object of his
care. Touched with the heavenly spirit, the meek demeanor, the
submissive frame, which the sick bed exhibits, Archy becomes a
Christian. A new bond now ties him and his convalescent teacher
together. As soon as he is able to write, the professor sends Archy
with the following letter to the South, to Isaac Stuart, Esq.:--

"MY DEAR SON,--With a hand enfeebled by a distressing and dangerous
illness, from which I am slowly recovering, I address you on a
subject which lies very near my heart. I have a request to urge,
which our mutual relation to each other, and your strong obligations
to me, will, I cannot doubt, make you eager fully to grant. I say a
request, though the thing I ask is, in its very nature and on the
principles of the gospel, obligatory upon you. I might, therefore,
boldly demand, what I earnestly entreat. But I know how generous,
magnanimous, and Christ-like you are, and how readily you will 'do
even more than I say'--I, your own father, an old man, almost
exhausted with multiplied exertions for the benefit of my family and
my country and now just rising, emaciated and broken, from the brink
of the grave. I write in behalf of Archy, whom I regard with the
affection of a father, and whom, indeed, 'I have forgotten in my
sickness.' Gladly would I have retained him, to be _an Isaac_ to me;
for how often did not his soothing voice, and skilful hand, and
unwearied attention to my wants remind me of you! But I chose to
give you an opportunity of manifesting, voluntarily, the goodness of
your heart; as, if I had retained him with me, you might seem to
have been forced to grant what you will gratefully bestow. His
temporary absence from you may have opened the way for his permanent
continuance with you. Not now as a slave. Heaven forbid! But
superior to a slave. Superior, did I say? Take him to your bosom, as
a beloved brother; for I own him as a son, and regard him as such,
in all the relations of life, both as a man and a Christian.
'Receive him as myself.' And that nothing may hinder you from
complying with my request at once, I hereby promise, without
adverting to your many and great obligations to me, to pay you every
cent which he took from your drawer. Any preparation which my
comfort with you may require, you will make without much delay, when
you learn, that I intend, as soon as I shall be able 'to perform the
journey,' to make you a visit."

And what if Dr. Baxter, in giving an account of this letter should
publicly declare that Professor Stuart, of Andover regarded
slaveholding as lawful; for that "he had sent Archy back to his son
Isaac, with an apology for his running away" to be held in perpetual
slavery? With what propriety might not the professor exclaim: False,
every syllable false. I sent him back, NOT TO BE HELD AS A SLAVE,
_but recognized as a dear brother, in all respects, under every
relation, civil and ecclesiastical_. I bade my son receive _Archy as
myself_. If this was not equivalent to a requisition to set him
fully and most honorably free, and that, too, on the ground of
natural obligation and Christian principle, then I know not how to
frame such a requisition.

I am well aware that my supposition is by no means strong enough
fully to illustrate the case to which it is applied. Professor Stuart
lacks apostolical authority. Isaac Stuart is not a leading member of
a church consisting, as the early churches chiefly consisted, of
what the world regard as the dregs of society--"the offscouring of
all things." Nor was slavery at Colosse, it seems, supported by such
barbarous usages, such horrid laws as disgrace the South.

But it is time to turn to another passage which, in its bearing on
the subject in hand, is, in our view, as well as in the view of
Dr. Fisk. and Prof. Stuart, in the highest degree authoritative and
instructive. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their
own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his
doctrines be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters,
let them not despise them because they are brethren; but rather do
them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of
the benefit." [44]

[Footnote 44: 1 Tim. vi. 1. 2. The following exposition of this
passage is from the pen of ELIZUR WRIGHT, JR.:--

"This word [Greek: antilambanesthai] in our humble opinion, has been
so unfairly used by the commentators, that we feel constrained to
take its part. Our excellent translators, in rendering the clause
'partakers of the benefit,' evidently lost sight of the component
preposition, which expresses the _opposition of reciprocity_, rather
than the _connection of participation_. They have given it exactly
the sense of [Greek: metalambanein], (2 Tim. ii. 6.) Had the apostle
intended such a sense, he would have used the latter verb, or one of
the more common words, [Greek: metochoi, koinonomtes, &c.] (See Heb.
iii. 1, and 1 Tim. v. 22, where the latter word is used in the clause,
'neither be partaker of other men's sins.' Had the verb in our text
been used, it might have been rendered, 'neither be the _part-taker_
of other men's sins.') The primary sense of [Greek: antilambans] is
_to take in return_--_to take instead of, &c._ Hence, in the middle
with the genitive, it signifies _assist_, or _do one's part towards_
the person or thing expressed by that genitive. In this sense only
is the word used in the New Testament,--(See Luke i. 54, and Acts, xx.
35.) If this be true, the word [Greek: emsgesai] cannot signify the
benefit conferred by the gospel, as our common version would make it,
but the _well doing_ of the servants, who should continue to serve
their believing masters, while they were no longer under the _yoke_
of compulsion. This word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but
once (Acts. iv. 3.) in relation to the '_good deed_' done to the
impotent man. The plain import of the clause, unmystified by the
commentators, is, that believing masters would not fail to do
their part towards, or encourage by suitable returns, the free
service of those who had once been under the yoke."]

1. The apostle addresses himself here to two classes of servants,
with instructions to each respectively appropriate. Both the one
class and the other, in Professor Stuart's eye, were slaves. This
he assumes, and thus begs the very question in dispute. The term
servant is generic, as used by the sacred writers. It comprehends
all the various offices which men discharge for the benefit of each
other, however honorable, or however menial; from that of an
apostle[45] opening the path to heaven, to that of washing "one
another's feet."[46] A general term it is, comprehending every
office which belongs to human relations and Christian character.[47]

[Footnote 45: Cor. iv. 5.]

[Footnote 46: John, xiii, 14.]

[Footnote 47: Mat, xx, 26-28.]

A leading signification gives us the manual laborer, to whom, in
the division of labor, muscular exertion was allotted. As in his
exertions the bodily powers are especially employed--such powers as
belong to man in common with mere animals--his sphere has generally
been considered low and humble. And as intellectual power is
superior to bodily, the manual laborer has always been exposed in
very numerous ways and in various degrees to oppression. Cunning,
intrigue, the oily tongue, have, through extended and powerful
conspiracies, brought the resources of society under the control of
the few, who stood aloof from his homely toil. Hence his dependence
upon them. Hence the multiplied injuries which have fallen so
heavily upon him. Hence the reduction of his wages from one degree
to another, till at length, in the case of millions, fraud and
violence strip him of his all, blot his name from the record of
_mankind_, and, putting a yoke upon his neck, drive him away
to toil among the cattle. _Here you find the slave_. To reduce
the servant to his condition, requires abuses altogether
monstrous--injuries reaching the very vitals of man--stabs upon the
very heart of humanity. Now, what right has Professor Stuart to make
the word "_servants_," comprehending, even as manual laborers, so
many and such various meanings, signify "_slaves_," especially where
different classes are concerned? Such a right he could never have
derived from humanity, or philosophy, or hermeneutics. It is his by
sympathy with the oppressor?

Yes, different classes. This is implied in the term "as many,"[48]
which sets apart the class now to be addressed. From these he
proceeds to others, who are introduced by a particle,[49] whose
natural meaning indicates the presence of another and a different

[Footnote 48: [Greek: Ochli] See Passow's Schneider.]

[Footnote 49: [Greek: Dd.] See Passow.]

2. The first class are described as "_under the yoke_"--a yoke from
which they were, according to the apostle, to make their escape if
possible.[50] If not, they must in every way regard the master with
respect--bowing to his authority, working his will, subserving his
interests so far as might be consistent with Christian
character.[51] And this, to prevent blasphemy--to prevent the pagan
master from heaping profane reproaches upon the name of God and the
doctrines of the gospel. They should beware of rousing his passions,
which, as his helpless victims, they might be unable to allay or

[Footnote 50: See 1 Cor. vii, 21--[Greek: All' ei kai dunasai
eleuphoros genesthai].]

[Footnote 51: See 1 Cor. vii, 23--[Greek: Mae ginesthe doulos

But all the servants whom the apostle addressed were not "_under the
yoke_"[52]--an instrument appropriate to cattle and to slaves. These
he distinguishes from another class, who instead of a "yoke"--the
badge of a slave--had "_believing masters_." _To have a "believing
master," then, was equivalent to freedom from "the yoke_." These
servants were exhorted not _to despise_ their masters. What need of
such an exhortation, if their masters had been slaveholders, holding
them as property, wielding them as mere instruments, disposing of
them as "articles of merchandise." But this was not consistent with
believing. Faith, "breaking every yoke," united master and servants
in the bonds of brotherhood. Brethren they were, joined in a
relation which, excluding the yoke,[53] placed them side by side on
the ground of equality, where, each in his appropriate sphere, they
might exert themselves freely and usefully, to the mutual benefit of
each other. Here, servants might need to be cautioned against getting
above their appropriate business, putting on airs, despising their
masters, and thus declining or neglecting their service. [54]
Instead of this, they should be, as emancipated slaves often
have been, [55] models of enterprise, fidelity, activity, and
usefulness--especially as their masters were "worthy of their
confidence and love," their helpers in this well-doing.

[Footnote 52: See Lev. xxvi. 13; Isa lviii. 6, 9.]

[Footnote 53: Supra p. 44.]

[Footnote 54: See Mat. vi. 24.]

[Footnote 55: Those, for instance, set free by that "believing master"
James G. Birney.]

Such, then, is the relation between those who, in the view of
Professor Stuart, were Christian masters and Christian slaves
[56]--the relation of "brethren," which, excluding "the yoke," and of
course conferring freedom, placed them side by side on the common
ground of mutual service, both retaining, for convenience sake, the
one while giving and the other while receiving employment, the
correlative name, _as is usual in such cases_, under which they had
been known. Such was the instruction which Timothy was required, as
a Christian minister, to give. Was it friendly to slaveholding?

[Footnote 56: Letter to Dr. Fisk, supra, p. 7.]

And on what ground, according to the Princeton professor, did these
masters and these servants stand in their relation to each other? On
that _of a "perfect religious equality."_[57] In all the relations,
duties, and privileges--in all the objects, interests, and prospects,
which belong to the province of Christianity, servants were as free
as their master. The powers of the one, were allowed as wide a range
and as free an exercise, with as warm encouragements, as active aids,
and as high results, as the other. Here, the relation of a servant
to his master imposed no restrictions, involved no embarrassments,
occasioned no injury. All this, clearly and certainly, is implied in
"_perfect religious equality_," which the Princeton professor
accords to servants in relation to their master. Might the _master_,
then, in order more fully to attain the great ends for which he was
created and redeemed, freely exert himself to increase his
acquaintance with his own powers, and relations, and resources--with
his prospects, opportunities, and advantages? So might his _servants_.
Was _he_ at liberty to "study to approve himself to God," to submit
to his will and bow to his authority, as the sole standard of
affection and exertion? So were _they_. Was _he_ at liberty to
sanctify the Sabbath, and frequent the "solemn assembly?" So were
_they_. Was _he_ at liberty so to honor the filial, conjugal, and
paternal relations, as to find in them that spring of activity and
that source of enjoyment, which they are capable of yielding? So
were _they_. In every department of interest and exertion, they
might use their capacities, and wield their powers, and improve
their opportunities, and employ their resources, as freely as he, in
glorifying God, in blessing mankind, and in laying up imperishable
treasures for themselves! Give perfect religious equality to the
American slave, and the most eager abolitionist must be satisfied.
Such equality would, like the breath of the Almighty, dissolve the
last link of the chain of servitude. Dare those who, for the benefit
of slavery, have given so wide and active a circulation to the
Pittsburg pamphlet, make the experiment?

[Footnote 57: Pittsburg Pamphlet, p. 9.]

In the epistle to the Colossians, the following passage deserves
earnest attention:--"Servants, obey in all things your masters
according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but
in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it
heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing, that of the
Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve
the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong
which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.--Masters,
give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that
ye have a Master in heaven."[58]

[Footnote 58: Col. iii. 22 to iv. 1.]

Here it is natural to remark--

1. That in maintaining the relation, which mutually united them,
both masters and servants were to act in conformity with the
principles of the divine government. Whatever _they_ did, servants
were to do in hearty obedience to the Lord, by whose authority they
were to be controlled and by whose hand they were to be rewarded. To
the same Lord, and according to the same law, was the _master_ to
hold himself responsible. _Both the one and the other were of course
equally at liberty and alike required to study and apply the standard,
by which they were to be governed and judged_.

2. The basis of the government under which they thus were placed,
was _righteousness_--strict, stern, impartial. Nothing here of bias
or antipathy. Birth, wealth, station,--the dust of the balance not
so light! Both master and servants were hastening to a tribunal,
where nothing of "respect of persons" could be feared or hoped for.
There the wrong-doer, whoever he might be, and whether from the top
or bottom of society, must be dealt with according to his deservings.

3. Under this government, servants were to be universally and
heartily obedient; and both in the presence and absence of the master,
faithfully to discharge their obligations. The master on his part,
in his relations to the servants, was to make JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
the _standard of his conduct_. Under the authority of such
instructions, slavery falls discountenanced, condemned, abhorred. It
is flagrantly at war with the government of God, consists in
"respect of persons" the most shameless and outrageous, treads
justice and equality under foot, and in its natural tendency and
practical effects is nothing else than a system of wrong-doing. What
have _they_ to do with the just and the equal who in their "respect
of persons" proceed to such a pitch as to treat one brother as a
thing because he is a servant, and place him, without the least
regard to his welfare here, or his prospects hereafter, absolutely
at the disposal of another brother, under the name of master, in
the relation of owner to property? Justice and equality on the one
hand, and the chattel principle on the other, are naturally
subversive of each other--proof clear and decisive that the
correlates, masters and servants, cannot here be rendered slaves
and owners, without the grossest absurdity and the greatest

"Servants, be obedient to them that are _your_ masters according
to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart,
as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the
servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good
will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that
whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the
Lord, whether _he be_ bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same
things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master
also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with

[Footnote 59: Ephesians, vi. 5-9.]

Without repeating here what has already been offered in exposition
of kindred passages, it may be sufficient to say:--

1. That the relation of the servants here addressed, to their master,
was adapted to make him the object of their heart-felt attachment.
Otherwise they could not have been required to render him an
affectionate service.

2. This relation demanded a perfect reciprocity of benefits. It had
its soul in _good-will_, mutually cherished and properly expressed.
Hence "THE SAME THINGS," the same in principle, the same in
substance, the same in their mutual bearing upon the welfare of
the master and the servants, was to be rendered back and forth
by the one and the other. It was clearly the relation of mutual
service. Do we here find the chattel principle?

3. Of course, the servants might not be slack, time-serving,
unfaithful. Of course, the master must "FORBEAR THREATENING."
Slavery without threatening! Impossible. Wherever maintained, it is
of necessity a _system of threatening_, injecting into the bosom of
the slave such terrors, as never cease for a moment to haunt and
torment him. Take from the chattel principle the support, which it
derives from "threatening," and you annihilate it at once and

4. This relation was to be maintained in accordance with the
principles of the divine government, where "RESPECT OF PERSONS"
could not be admitted. It was, therefore, totally inconsistent with,
and submissive of, the chattel principle, which in American slavery
is developed in a system of "respect of persons," equally gross and
hurtful. No Abolitionist, however eager and determined in his
opposition to slavery, could ask for more than these precepts, once
obeyed, would be sure to confer.

"The relation of slavery," according to Professor Stuart, is
recognized in "the precepts of the New Testament," as one which "may
still exist without violating the Christian faith or the church."[60]
Slavery and the chattel principle! So our professor thinks;
otherwise his reference has nothing to do with the subject--with the
slavery which the abolitionist, whom he derides, stands opposed to.
How gross and hurtful is the mistake into which he allows himself to
fall. The relation recognized in the precepts of the New Testament
had its basis and support in "justice and equality;" the very
opposite of the chattel principle; a relation which may exist as
long as justice and equality remain, and thus escape the destruction
to which, in the view of Professor Stuart, slavery is doomed. The
description of Paul obliterates every feature of American slavery,
raising the servant to equality with his master, and placing his
rights under the protection of justice; yet the eye of Professor
Stuart can see nothing in his master and servant but a slave and his
owner. With this relation he is so thoroughly possessed, that, like
an evil angel, it haunts him even when he enters the temple of

[Footnote 60: Letter to Dr. Fisk, supra p. 7.]

"It is remarkable," saith the Princeton professor, "that there is
not even an exhortation" in the writings of the apostles "to masters
to liberate their slaves, much less is it urged as an imperative and
immediate duty."[61] It would be remarkable, indeed, if they were
chargeable with a defect so great and glaring. And so they have
nothing to say upon the subject? _That_ not even the Princeton
professor has the assurance to affirm. He admits that KINDNESS, MERCY,
AND JUSTICE, were enjoined with a _distinct reference to the
government of God_.[62] "Without respect of persons," they were to be
God-like in doing justice. They were to act the part of kind and
merciful "brethren." And whither would this lead them? Could they
stop short of restoring to every man his natural, inalienable
rights?--of doing what they could to redress the wrongs, sooth the
sorrows, improve the character, and raise the condition of the
degraded and oppressed? Especially, if oppressed and degraded by any
agency of theirs. Could it be kind, merciful, or just to keep the
chains of slavery on their helpless, unoffending brother? Would this
be to honor the Golden Rule, or obey the second great command of
"their Master in Heaven?" Could the apostles have subserved the cause
of freedom more directly, intelligibly, and effectually, than _to
enjoin the principles, and sentiments, and habits, in which
freedom consists--constituting its living root and fruitful germ_!

[Footnote 61: Pittsburg pamphlet, p. 9.]

[Footnote 62: The same, p. 10.]

The Princeton professor himself, in the very paper which the South
has so warmly welcomed and so loudly applauded as a scriptural
defence of "the peculiar institution," maintains, that the "GENERAL
greater part of Christendom_"[63]--"THAT CHRISTIANITY HAS ABOLISHED
SCOPE--_that it_ ENJOINS _a fair compensation for labor; insists on
the mental and intellectual improvement of_ ALL _classes of men;
condemns_ ALL _infractions of marital or parental rights; requires, in
short, not only that_ FREE SCOPE _should be allowed to human
improvement, but that_ ALL SUITABLE MEANS _should be employed for the
attainment of that end_."[64] It is indeed "remarkable," that while
neither Christ nor his apostles ever gave "an exhortation to masters
to liberate their slaves," they enjoined such "general principles as
have destroyed domestic slavery throughout the greater part of
Christendom;" that while Christianity forbears "to urge"
emancipation "as an imperative and immediate duty," it throws a
barrier, heaven high, around every domestic circle; protects all the
rights of the husband and the father; gives every laborer a fair
compensation; and makes the moral and intellectual improvement of
all classes, with free scope and all suitable means, the object
of its tender solicitude and high authority. This is not only
"remarkable," but inexplicable. Yes and no--hot and cold, in one and
the same breath! And yet these things stand prominent in what is
reckoned an acute, ingenious, effective defence of slavery!

[Footnote 63: Pittsburg pamphlet, p. 18, 19.]

[Footnote 64: The same, p. 31.]

In his letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul furnishes
another lesson of instruction, expressive of his views and feelings
on the subject of slavery. "Let every man abide in the same calling
wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for
it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is
called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise
also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are
bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." [65]

[Footnote 65: 1 Cor. vii. 20-23.]

In explaining and applying this passage, it is proper to suggest:

1. That it _could_ not have been the object of the apostle to bind
the Corinthian converts to the stations and employments in which the
gospel found them. For he exhorts some of them to escape, if possible,
from their present condition. In the servile state, "under the yoke,"
they ought not to remain unless impelled by stern necessity.
"If thou canst be free, use it rather." If they ought to prefer
freedom to bondage and to exert themselves to escape from the latter
for the sake of the former, could their master consistently with the
claims and spirit of the gospel have hindered or discouraged them in
so doing? Their "brother" could _he_ be, who kept "the yoke" upon
their neck, which the apostle would have them shake off if possible?
And had such masters been members of the Corinthian church, what
inferences must they have drawn from this exhortation to their
servants? That the apostle regarded slavery as a Christian
institution?--or could look complacently on any efforts to introduce
or maintain it in the church? Could they have expected less from him
than a stern rebuke, if they refused to exert themselves in the
cause of freedom?

2. But while they were to use their freedom, if they could obtain it,
they should not, even on such a subject, give themselves up to
ceaseless anxiety. "The Lord was no respecter of persons." They need
not fear, that the "low estate," to which they had been wickedly
reduced, would prevent them from enjoying the gifts of his hand or
the light of his countenance. _He_ would respect their rights, sooth
their sorrows, and pour upon their hearts, and cherish there, the
spirit of liberty. "For he that is called in the Lord, being a
servant, is the Lord's freeman." In _him_, therefore, should they
cheerfully confide.

3. The apostle, however, forbids them so to acquiesce in the servile
relation, as to act inconsistently with their Christian obligations.
To their Savior they belonged. By his blood they had been purchased.
It should be their great object, therefore, to render _Him_ a hearty
and effective service. They should permit no man, whoever he might be,
to thrust in himself between them and their Redeemer. "_Ye are
bought with a price_; BE NOT YE THE SERVANTS OF MEN."

With his eye upon the passage just quoted and explained, the
Princeton professor asserts that "Paul represents this relation"--the
relation of slavery--"as of comparatively little account."[66]
And this he applies--otherwise it is nothing to his purpose--to
_American_ slavery. Does he then regard it as a small matter, a
mere trifle, to be thrown under the slave-laws of this republic,
grimly and fiercely excluding their victim from almost every means
of improvement, and field of usefulness, and source of comfort; and
making him, body and substance, with his wife and babes, "the
servant of men?" Could such a relation be acquiesced in consistently
with the instructions of the apostle?

[Footnote 66: Pittsburg pamphlet, p.10.]

To the Princeton professor we commend a practical trial of the
bearing of the passage in hand upon American slavery. His regard for
the unity and prosperity of the ecclesiastical organizations, which
in various forms and under different names, unite the southern with
the northern churches, will make the experiment grateful to his
feelings. Let him, then, as soon as his convenience will permit,
proceed to Georgia. No religious teacher [67] from any free State, can
be likely to receive so general and so warm a welcome there. To
allay the heat, which the doctrines and movements of the
abolitionists have occasioned in the southern mind, let him with as
much despatch as possible, collect, as he goes from place to place,
masters and their slaves. Now let all men, whom it may concern, see
and own that slavery is a Christian institution! With his Bible in his
hand and his eye upon the passage in question, he addresses himself
to the task of instructing the slaves around him. Let not your hearts,
my brethren, be overcharged with sorrow, or eaten up with anxiety. Your
servile condition cannot deprive you of the fatherly regards of Him
"who is no respecter of persons." Freedom you ought, indeed, to
prefer. If you can escape from "the yoke," throw it off. In the mean
time rejoice that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;"
that the gospel places slaves "on a perfect religious equality" with
their master; so that every Christian is "the Lord's freeman." And,
for your encouragement, remember that "Christianity has abolished
both political and domestic servitude wherever it has had free scope.
It enjoins a fair compensation for labor; it insists on the moral and
intellectual improvement of all classes of men; it condemns all
infractions of marital or parental rights; in short it requires not
only that free scope be allowed to human improvement, but that all
suitable means should be employed for the attainment of that end."
[68] Let your lives, then, be honorable to your relations to your
Savior. He bought you with his own blood; and is entitled to your
warmest love and most effective service. "Be not ye the servants of
men." Let no human arrangements prevent you, as citizens of the
kingdom of heaven, from making the most of your powers and
opportunities. Would such an effort, generally and heartily made,
allay excitement at the South, and quench the flames of discord,
every day rising higher and waxing hotter, in almost every part of
the republic, and cement "the Union?"

[Footnote 67: Rev. Mr. Savage, of Utica, New York, had, not very
long ago, a free conversation with a gentleman of high standing in
the literary and religious world from a slaveholding State, where
the "peculiar institution" is cherished with great warmth and
maintained with iron rigor. By him, Mr. Savage was assured, that the
Princeton professor had, through the Pittsburg pamphlet, contributed
most powerfully and effectually to bring the "whole South" under the
persuasion, _that slaveholding is in itself right_--a system _to
which the Bible gives countenance and support_.

In an extract from an article in the Southern Christian Sentinel, a
new Presbyterian paper established in Charleston, South Carolina,
and inserted in the Christian Journal for March 21, 1839, we find
the following paragraphs from the pen of Rev. C.W. Howard, and,
according to Mr. Chester, ably and freely endorsed by the editor.
"There is scarcely any diversity of sentiment at the North upon this
subject. The great mass of the people, believing slavery to be sinful,
are clearly of the opinion that, as a system, it should be abolished
throughout this land and throughout the world. They differ as to the
time and mode of abolition. The abolitionists consistently argue,
that whatever is sinful should be instantly abandoned. The others,
_by a strange sort of reasoning for Christian men_, contend that
though slavery is sinful, _yet it may be allowed to exist until it
shall he expedient to abolish it_; or, if, in many cases, this
reasoning might be translated into plain English, the sense would be,
both in Church and State, _slavery, though sinful, may be allowed to
exist until our interest will suffer us to say that it must be
abolished_. This is not slander; it is simply a plain way of stating
a plain truth. It does seem the evident duty of every man to become
an abolitionist, who believes slavery to be sinful, for the Bible
allows no tampering with sin.

"To these remarks, there are some noble exceptions, to be found in
both parties in the church. _The South owes a debt of gratitude to
the Biblical Repertory, for the fearless argument in behalf of the
position, that slavery is not forbidden by the Bible_. The writer of
that article is said, without contradiction, to be _Professor Hodge,
_my brethren, for in a land of anti-slavery men, he is the_ ONLY
ONE _who has dared to vindicate your character from the serious
charge of living in the habitual transgression of God's holy law_."]

[Footnote 68: Pittsburg pamphlet, p. 31.]

"It is," affirms the Princeton professor, "on all hands acknowledged,
that, at the time of the advent of Jesus Christ, slavery in its
worst forms prevailed over the whole world. _The Savior found it
around him_ IN JUDEA."[69] To say that he found it _in Judea_, is to
speak ambiguously. Many things were to be found "_in_ Judea," which
neither belonged to, nor were characteristic of _the Jews_. It is
not denied that _the Gentiles_, who resided among them, might have
had slaves; _but of the Jews this is denied_. How could the
professor take that as granted, the proof of which entered vitally
into the argument and was essential to the soundness of the
conclusions to which he would conduct us? How could he take
advantage of an ambiguous expression to conduct his confiding
readers on to a position which, if his own eyes were open, he must
have known they could not hold in the light of open day!

[Footnote 69: The same, p. 9]

We do not charge the Savior with any want of wisdom, goodness, or
courage,[70] for refusing to "break down the wall of partition between
Jews and Gentiles" "before the time appointed." While this barrier
stood, he could not, consistently with the plan of redemption,
impart instruction freely to the Gentiles. To some extent, and on
extraordinary occasions, he might have done so. But his business
then was with "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." [71] The
propriety of this arrangement is not the matter of dispute between
the Princeton professor and ourselves.

[Footnote 70: Pittsburg pamphlet, p. 10.]

[Footnote 71: Matt. xv. 24.]

In disposing of the question whether the Jews held slaves during our
Savior's incarnation among them, the following points deserve earnest

1. Slaveholding is inconsistent with the Mosaic economy. For the
proof of this, we would refer our readers, among other arguments more
or less appropriate and powerful, to the tract already alluded
to.[72] In all the external relations and visible arrangements of
life, the Jews, during our Savior's ministry among them, seem to
have been scrupulously observant of the institutions and usages of
the "Old Dispensation." They stood far aloof from whatever was
characteristic of Samaritans and Gentiles. From idolatry and
slaveholding--those twin-vices which had always so greatly prevailed
among the heathen--they seem at length, as the result of a most
painful discipline, to have been effectually divorced.

[Footnote 72: "The Bible against Slavery."]

2. While, therefore, John the Baptist; with marked fidelity and
great power, acted among the Jews the part of a _reprover_, he found
no occasion to repeat and apply the language of his
predecessors,[73] in exposing and rebuking idolatry and
slaveholding. Could he, the greatest of the prophets, have been
less effectually aroused by the presence of "the yoke," than was
Isaiah?--or less intrepid and decisive in exposing and denouncing
the sin of oppression under its most hateful and injurious forms?

[Footnote 73: Psalm lxxxii; Isa. lviii. 1-12 Jer. xxii. 13-16.]

3. The Savior was not backward in applying his own principles plainly
and pointedly to such forms of oppression as appeared among the Jews.
These principles, whenever they have been freely acted on, the
Princeton professor admits, have abolished domestic bondage. Had
this prevailed within the sphere of our Savior's ministry, he could
not, consistently with his general character, have failed to expose
and condemn it. The oppression of the people by lordly ecclesiastics,
of parents by their selfish children, of widows by their ghostly
counsellors, drew from his lips scorching rebukes and terrible
denunciations.[74] How, then, must he have felt and spoke in the
presence of such tyranny, if _such tyranny had been within his
official sphere_, as should _have made widows_, by driving their
husbands to some flesh-market, and their children not orphans,
_but cattle_?

[Footnote 74: Matt. xxiii; Mark, vii. 1-13.]

4. Domestic slavery was manifestly inconsistent with the _industry_,
which, _in the form of manual labor_, so generally prevailed among
the Jews. In one connection, in the Acts of the Apostles, we are
informed, that, coming from Athens to Corinth, Paul "found a certain
Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his
wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to
depart from Rome;) and came unto them. And because he was of the
same craft, he abode with them and wrought: (for by their occupation
they were tent-makers.")[75] This passage has opened the way for
different commentators to refer us to the public sentiment and
general practice of the Jews respecting useful industry and manual
labor. According to _Lightfoot_, "it was their custom to bring up
their children to some trade, yea, though they gave them learning or
estates." According to Rabbi Judah, "He that teaches not his son a
trade, is as if he taught him to be a thief."[76] It was, _Kuinoel_
affirms, customary even for Jewish teachers to unite labor
(opificium) with the study of the law. This he confirms by the
highest Rabbinical authority.[77] _Heinrichs_ quotes a Rabbi as
teaching, that no man should by any means neglect to train his son
to honest industry.[78] Accordingly, the apostle Paul, though
brought up at the "feet of Gamaliel," the distinguished disciple of
a most illustrious teacher, practised the art of tent-making. His
own hands ministered to his necessities; and his example is so
doing, he commends to his Gentile brethren for their imitation.[79]
That Zebedee, the father of John the Evangelist, had wealth, various
hints in the New Testament render probable.[80] Yet how do we find
him and his sons, while prosecuting their appropriate business? In
the midst of the hired servants, "in the ship mending their

[Footnote 75: Acts, xviii. 1-3.]

[Footnote 76: Henry on Acts, xviii. 1-3.]

[Footnote 77: Kuinoel on Acts.]

[Footnote 78: Heinrichs on Acts.]

[Footnote 79: Acts, xx. 34, 35; 1 Thess. iv. 11.]

[Footnote 80: See Kuinoel's Prolegom. to the Gospel of John.]

[Footnote 81: Mark, i. 19, 20.]

Slavery among a people who, from the highest to the lowest, were
used to manual labor! What occasion for slavery there? And how could
it be maintained? No place can be found for slavery among a people
generally inured to useful industry. With such, especially if
men of learning, wealth, and station, "labor, working with their
hands," such labor must be honorable. On this subject, let Jewish
maxims and Jewish habits be adopted at the South, and the "peculiar
institution" would vanish like a ghost at daybreak.

5. Another hint, here deserving particular attention, is furnished
in the allusions of the New Testament to the lowest casts and most
servile employments among the Jews. With profligates, _publicans_
were joined as depraved and contemptible. The outcasts of society
were described, not as fit to herd with slaves, but as deserving a
place among Samaritans and publicans. They were "_hired servants_,"
whom Zebedee employed. In the parable of the prodigal son we have a
wealthy Jewish family. Here servants seem to have abounded. The
prodigal, bitterly bewailing his wretchedness and folly, described
their condition as greatly superior to his own. How happy the change
which should place him by their side? His remorse, and shame, and
penitence made him willing to embrace the lot of the lowest of them
all. But these--what was their condition? They were HIRED SERVANTS.
"Make me as one of thy hired servants." Such he refers to as the
lowest menials known in Jewish life.

Lay such hints as have now been suggested together; let it be
remembered, that slavery was inconsistent with the Mosaic economy;
that John the Baptist in preparing the way for the Messiah makes no
reference "to the yoke" which, had it been before him, he would, like
Isaiah, have condemned; that the Savior, while he took the part of
the poor and sympathized with the oppressed, was evidently spared the
pain of witnessing within the sphere of his ministry, the presence,
of the chattel principle, that it was the habit of the Jews, whoever
they might be, high or low, rich or poor, learned or rude, "to labor,
working with their hands;" and that where reference was had to the
most menial employments, in families, they were described as carried
on by hired servants; and the question of slavery "in Judea," so far
as the seed of Abraham were concerned, is very easily disposed of.
With every phase and form of society among them slavery was

The position which, in the article so often referred to in this paper,
the Princeton professor takes, is sufficiently remarkable. Northern
abolitionists he saw in an earnest struggle with southern
slaveholders. The present welfare and future happiness of myriads of
the human family were at stake in this contest. In the heat of the
battle, he throws himself between the belligerent powers. He gives
the abolitionists to understand, that they are quite mistaken in the
character of the objections they have set themselves so openly and
sternly against. Slaveholding is not, as they suppose, contrary to
the law of God. It was witnessed by the Savior "in its worst
forms"[82] without extorting from his laps a syllable of rebuke. "The
sacred writers did not condemn it." [83] And why should they? By a
definition[84] sufficiently ambiguous and slippery, he undertakes to
set forth a form of slavery which he looks upon as consistent with the
law of Righteousness. From this definition he infers that the
abolitionists are greatly to blame for maintaining that American
slavery is inherently and essentially sinful, and for insisting that
it ought at once to be abolished. For this labor of love the
slaveholding South is warmly grateful and applauds its reverend ally,
as if a very Daniel had come as their advocate to judgment.[85]

[Footnote 82: Pittsburg pamphlet, p. 9.]

[Footnote 83: The same, p. 13.]

[Footnote 84: The same, p. 12.]

[Footnote 85: Supra, p. 58.]

A few questions, briefly put, may not here be inappropriate.

1. Was the form of slavery which our professor pronounces innocent
_the form_ witnessed by our Savior "in Judea?" That, _he_ will by
no means admit. The slavery there was, he affirms, of the "worst"
kind. _How then does he account for the alleged silence of the
Savior?--a silence covering the essence and the form--the
institution and its "worst" abuses_?

2. Is the slaveholding, which, according to the Princeton professor,
Christianity justifies, the same as that which the abolitionists so
earnestly wish to see abolished? Let us see.

_Christianity in supporting Slavery, _The American system for
according to Professor Hodge_, supporting Slavery_,

"Enjoins a fair compensation for Makes compensation
labor" impossible by reducing the
laborer to a chattel.

"It insists on the moral and It sternly forbids its
intellectual improvement of all victim to learn to read
classes of men" even the name of his
Creator and Redeemer.

"It condemns all infractions of It outlaws the conjugal
marital or parental rights." and parental relations.

"It requires that free scope It forbids any effort, on
should be allowed to human the part of myriads of the
improvement." human family, to improve
their character,
condition, and prospects.

"It requires that all suitable It inflicts heavy
means should be employed to improve penalties for teaching
mankind" letters to the poorest of
the poor.

"Wherever it has had free scope, Wherever it has free
it has abolished domestic bondage." scope, it perpetuates
domestic bondage.

_Now it is slavery according to the American system_ that the
abolitionists are set against. _Of the existence of any_ such form
of slavery as is consistent with Professor Hodge's account of the
requisitions of Christianity, they know nothing. It has never met
their notice, and of course, has never roused their feelings or
called forth their exertions. What, then, have _they_ to do with the
censures and reproaches which the Princeton professor deals around?
Let those who have leisure and good nature protect the man of
_straw_ he is so hot against. The abolitionists have other business.
It is not the figment of some sickly brain; but that system of
oppression which in theory is corrupting, and in practice destroying
both Church and State;--it is this that they feel pledged to do
battle upon, till by the just judgment of Almighty God it is thrown,
dead and damned, into the bottomless abyss.

3. _How can the South feel itself protected by any shield which may
be thrown over_ SUCH SLAVERY, _as may be consistent with what the
Princeton professor describes as the requisitions of Christianity_?
Is _this_ THE _slavery_ which their laws describe, and their hands
maintain? "Fair compensation for labor"--"marital and parental
rights"--"free scope" and "all suitable means" for the "improvement,
moral and intellectual, of all classes of men;"--are these,
according to the statutes of the South, among the objects of
slaveholding legislation? Every body knows that any such
requisitions and American slavery are flatly opposed to and directly
subversive of each other. What service, then, has the Princeton
professor, with all his ingenuity and all his zeal, rendered the
"peculiar institution?" Their gratitude must be of a stamp and
complexion quite peculiar, if they can thank him for throwing their
"domestic system" under the weight of such Christian requisitions as
must at once crush its snaky head "and grind it to powder."

And what, moreover, is the bearing of the Christian requisitions,
which Professor Hodge quotes, upon the definition of slavery which
he has elaborated? "All the ideas which necessarily enter into the
definition of slavery are, deprivation of personal liberty,
obligation of service at the discretion of another, and the
transferable character of the authority and claim of service of the

[Footnote 86: Pittsburg pamphlet p. 12.]

_According to Professor Hodge's _According to Professor Hodge's
account of the definition of Slavery_,
requisitions of Christianity_,

The spring of effort in the The laborer must serve at the
laborer is a fair compensation. discretion of another.

Free scope must be given for He is deprived of personal
his moral and intellectual liberty--the necessary condition,
improvement. and living soul of improvement,
without which he has no control
of either intellect or morals.

His rights as a husband and The authority and claims of the
a father are to be protected. master may throw an ocean between
him and his family, and separate
them from each other's presence
at any moment and forever.

Christianity, then, requires such slavery as Professor Hodge so
cunningly defines, to be abolished. It was well provided for the
peace of the respective parties, that he placed _his definition_ so
far from _the requisitions of Christianity_. Had he brought them
into each other's presence, their natural and invincible antipathy
to each other would have broken out into open and exterminating
warfare. But why should we delay longer upon an argument which is
based on gross and monstrous sophistry? It can mislead only such as
_wish_ to be misled. The lovers of sunlight are in little danger
of rushing into the professor's dungeon. Those who, having something
to conceal, covet darkness, can find it there, to their heart's
content. The hour cannot be far away, when upright and reflective
minds at the South will be astonished at the blindness which could
welcome such protection as the Princeton argument offers to the

But _Professor Stuart_ must not be forgotten. In his celebrated
letter to Dr. Fisk, he affirms that "_Paul did not expect slavery to
be ousted in a day_."[87] _Did not_ EXPECT! What then! Are the
_requisitions_ of Christianity adapted to any EXPECTATIONS which
in any quarter and on any ground might have risen to human
consciousness? And are we to interpret the _precepts_ of the gospel
by the expectations of Paul? The Savior commanded all men every
where to repent, and this, though "Paul did not expect" that human
wickedness, in its ten thousand forms would in any community
"be ousted in a day." Expectations are one thing; requisitions quite

[Footnote 87: Supra, p. 7.]

In the mean time, while expectation waited, Paul, the professor adds,
"gave precepts to Christians respecting their demeanor." _That_ he
did. Of what character were these precepts? Must they not have been
in harmony with the Golden Rule? But this, according to Professor
Stuart, "decides against the righteousness of slavery" even as a
"theory." Accordingly, Christians were required, _without respect of
persons_, to do each other justice--to maintain equality as common
ground for all to stand upon--to cherish and express in all their
intercourse that tender love and disinterested charity which one
_brother_ naturally feels for another. These were the "ad interim
precepts."[88] which cannot fail, if obeyed, to cut up slavery,
"root and branch," at once and forever.

[Footnote 88: Letter to Dr. Fisk, p. 7.]

Professor Stuart comforts us with the assurance that "_Christianity
will ultimately certainly destroy slavery_." Of this _we_ have not
the feeblest doubt. But how could _he_ admit a persuasion and utter
a prediction so much at war with the doctrine he maintains, that
"_slavery may exist without_ VIOLATING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH OR THE
CHURCH?"[89] What, Christianity bent on the destruction of an ancient
and cherished institution which hurts neither her character nor
condition?[90] Why not correct its abuses and purify its spirit; and
shedding upon it her own beauty, preserve it, as a living trophy of
her reformatory power? Whence the discovery that, in her onward
progress, she would trample down and destroy what was no way hurtful
to her? This is to be _aggressive_ with a witness. Far be it from
the Judge of all the earth to whelm the innocent and guilty in the
same destruction! In aid of Professor Stuart, in the rude and
scarcely covert attack which he makes upon himself, we maintain that
Christianity will certainly destroy slavery on account of its
inherent wickedness--its malignant temper--its deadly effects--its
constitutional, insolent, and unmitigable opposition to the
authority of God and the welfare of man.

[Footnote 89: Letter to Dr. Fisk, p. 7.]

[Footnote 90: Professor Stuart applies here the words, _salva fide et
salva ecclesia_.]

"Christianity will _ultimately_ destroy slavery." "ULTIMATELY!" What
meaneth that portentous word? To what limit of remotest time,
concealed in the darkness of futurity, may it look? Tell us, O
watchman, on the hill of Andover. Almost nineteen centuries have
rolled over this world of wrong and outrage--and yet we tremble in
the presence of a form of slavery whose breath is poison, whose fang
is death! If any one of the incidents of slavery should fall, but
for a single day, upon the head of the prophet, who dipped his pen
in such cold blood, to write that word "ultimately," how, under the
sufferings of the first tedious hour, would he break out in the
lamentable cry, "How _long_, O Lord, HOW LONG!" In the agony of
beholding a wife or daughter upon the table of the auctioneer, while
every bid fell upon his heart like the groan of despair, small
comfort would he find in the dull assurance of some heartless prophet,
quite at "ease in Zion," that "ULTIMATELY _Christianity would
destroy slavery_." As the hammer falls, and the beloved of his soul,
all helpless and most wretched, is borne away to the haunts of
_legalized_ debauchery, his hearts turns to stone, while the cry
dies upon his lips, "_How_ LONG, _O Lord_, HOW LONG!"

"_Ultimately_!" In _what circumstances_ does Professor Stuart
assure himself that Christianity will destroy slavery? Are we, as
American citizens, under the sceptre of a Nero? When, as integral parts
of this republic--as living members of this community, did we forfeit
the prerogatives of _freemen_? Have we not the right to speak and
act as wielding the powers which the privileges of self-government
has put in our possession? And without asking leave of priest or
statesman of the North or the South, may we not make the most of the
freedom which we enjoy under the guaranty of the ordinances of Heaven
and the Constitution of our country! Can we expect to see Christianity
on higher vantage-ground than in this country she stands upon? In
the midst of a republic based on the principle of the equality of
mankind, where every Christian, as vitally connected with the state,
freely wields the highest political rights and enjoys the richest
political privileges; where the unanimous demand of one-half of the
members of the churches would be promptly met in the abolition of
slavery, what "_ultimately_" must Christianity here wait for before
she crushes the chattel principle beneath her heel? Her triumph over
slavery is retarded by nothing but the corruption and defection so
widely spread through the "sacramental host" beneath her banners!
Let her voice be heard and her energies exerted, and the _ultimately_
of the "dark spirit of slavery" would at once give place to the
_immediately_ of the Avenger of the Poor.

No. 12.



* * * * *










TO Friends of Freedom and Emancipation in the U. States.

At the Tenth Anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, held
in the city of New-York, May 7th, 1844,--after grave deliberation,
and a long and earnest discussion,--it was decided, by a vote of
nearly three to one of the members present, that fidelity to the
cause of human freedom, hatred of oppression, sympathy for those who
are held in chains and slavery in this republic, and allegiance to
God, require that the existing national compact should be instantly
dissolved; that secession from the government is a religious and
political duty; that the motto inscribed on the banner of Freedom
should be, NO UNION WITH SLAVEHOLDERS; that it is impracticable for
tyrants and the enemies of tyranny to coalesce and legislate together
for the preservation of human rights, or the promotion of the
interests of Liberty; and that revolutionary ground should be
occupied by all those who abhor the thought of doing evil that good
may come, and who do not mean to compromise the principles of
Justice and Humanity.

A decision involving such momentous consequences, so well calculated
to startle the public mind, so hostile to the established order of
things, demands of us, as the official representatives of the
American Society, a statement of the reasons which led to it. This
is due not only to the Society, but also to the country and the world.

It is declared by the American people to be a self-evident truth,
"that all men are created equal; that they are endowed BY THEIR
CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are
life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness." It is further
maintained by them, that "all governments derive their just powers
from the consent of the governed;" that "whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of human rights, it is the right of
the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute a new government,
laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers
in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
safety and happiness." These doctrines the patriots of 1776 sealed
with their blood. They would not brook even the menace of oppression.
They held that there should be no delay in resisting, at whatever
cost or peril, the first encroachments of power on their liberties.
Appealing to the great Ruler of the universe for the rectitude of
their course, they pledged to each other "their lives, their
fortunes and their sacred honor," to conquer or perish in their
struggle to be free.

For the example which they set to all people subjected to a despotic
sway, and the sacrifices which they made, their descendants cherish
their memories with gratitude, reverence their virtues, honor their
deeds, and glory in their triumphs.

It is not necessary, therefore, for us to prove that a state of
slavery is incompatible with the dictates of reason and humanity; or
that it is lawful to throw off a government which is at war with the
sacred rights of mankind.

We regard this as indeed a solemn crisis, which requires of every
man sobriety of thought, prophetic forecast, independent judgment,
invincible determination, and a sound heart. A revolutionary step is
one that should not be taken hastily, nor followed under the
influence of impulsive imitation. To know what spirit they are
of--whether they have counted the cost of the warfare--what are the
principles they advocate--and how they are to achieve their object--is
the first duty of revolutionists.

But, while circumspection and prudence are excellent qualities in
every great emergency, they become the allies of tyranny whenever
they restrain prompt, bold and decisive action against it.

We charge upon the present national compact, that it was formed at
the expense of human liberty, by a profligate surrender of principle,
and to this hour is cemented with human blood.

We charge upon the American Constitution, that it contains provisions,
and enjoins duties, which make it unlawful for freemen to take the
oath of allegiance to it, because they are expressly designed to
favor a slaveholding oligarchy, and, consequently, to make one
portion of the people a prey to another.

We charge upon the existing national government, that it is an
insupportable despotism, wielded by a power which is superior to all
legal and constitutional restraints--equally indisposed and unable to
protect the lives or liberties of the people--the prop and safeguard
of American slavery.

These charges we proceed briefly to establish:

I. It is admitted by all men of intelligence,--or if it be denied in
any quarter, the records of our national history settle the question
beyond doubt,--that the American Union was effected by a guilty
compromise between the free and slaveholding States; in other words,
by immolating the colored population on the altar of slavery, by
depriving the North of equal rights and privileges, and by
incorporating the slave system into the government. In the expressive
and pertinent language of scripture, it was "a covenant with death,
and an agreement with hell"--null and void before God, from the first
hour of its inception--the framers of which were recreant to duty,
and the supporters of which are equally guilty.

It was pleaded at the time of the adoption, it is pleaded now, that,
without such a compromise there could have been no union; that,
without union, the colonies would have become an easy prey to the
mother country; and, hence, that it was an act of necessity,
deplorable indeed when viewed alone, but absolutely indispensable to
the safety of the republic.

To this we reply: The plea is as profligate as the act was tyrannical.
It is the jesuitical doctrine, that the end sanctifies the means. It
is a confession of sin, but the denial of any guilt in its
perpetration. It is at war with the government of God, and
subversive of the foundations of morality. It is to make lies our
refuge, and under falsehood to hide ourselves, so that we may escape
the overflowing scourge. "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God,
Judgment will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet;
and the bail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters
shall overflow the hiding place." Moreover, "because ye trust in
oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon; therefore this
iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in
a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he
shall break it as the breaking of the potter's vessel that is broken
in pieces; he shall not spare."

This plea is sufficiently broad to cover all the oppression and
villany that the sun has witnessed in his circuit, since God said,
"Let there by light." It assumes that to be practicable, which is
impossible, namely, that there can be freedom with slavery, union
with injustice, and safety with blood guiltiness. A union of virtue
with pollution is the triumph of licentiousness. A partnership
between right and wrong, is wholly wrong. A compromise of the
principles of Justice, is the deification of crime.

Better that the American Union had never been formed, than that it
should have been obtained at such a frightful cost! If they were
guilty who fashioned it, but who could not foresee all its frightful
consequences, how much more guilty are they, who, in full view of
all that has resulted from it, clamor for its perpetuity! If it was
sinful at the commencement, to adopt it on the ground of escaping a
greater evil, is it not equally sinful to swear to support it for the
same reason, or until, in process of time, it be purged from its

The fact is, the compromise alluded to, instead of effecting a union,
rendered it impracticable; unless by the term union we are to
understand the absolute reign of the slaveholding power over the
whole country, to the prostration of Northern rights. In the just
use of words, the American Union is and always has been a sham--an
imposture. It is an instrument of oppression unsurpassed in the
criminal history of the world. How then can it be innocently
sustained? It is not certain, it is not even probable, that if it had
not been adopted, the mother country would have reconquered the
colonies. The spirit that would have chosen danger in preference to
crime,--to perish with justice rather than live with dishonor,--to
dare and suffer whatever might betide, rather than sacrifice the
rights of one human being,--could never have been subjugated by any
mortal power. Surely it is paying a poor tribute to the valor and
devotion of our revolutionary fathers in the cause of liberty, to say
that, if they had sternly refused to sacrifice their principles, they
would have fallen an easy prey to the despotic power of England.

II. The American Constitution is the exponent of the national compact.
We affirm that it is an instrument which no man can innocently bind
himself to support, because its anti-republican and anti-Christian
requirements are explicit and peremptory; at least, so explicit that,
in regard to all the clauses pertaining to slavery, they have been
uniformly understood and enforced in the same way, by all the courts
and by all the people; and so peremptory, that no individual
interpretation or authority can set them aside with impunity. It is
not a ball of clay, to be moulded into any shape that party
contrivance or caprice may choose it to assume. It is not a form of
words, to be interpreted in any manner, or to any extent, or for the
accomplishment of any purpose, that individuals in office under it
may determine. _It means precisely what those who framed and adopted
it meant_--NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS, _as a matter of bargain and
compromise_. Even if it can be construed to mean something else,
without violence to its language, such construction is not to be
tolerated _against the wishes of either party_. No just or honest
use of it can be made, in opposition to the plain intention of its
framers, _except to declare the contract at an end, and to refuse to
serve under it_.

To the argument, that the words "slaves" and "slavery" are not to be
found in the Constitution, and therefore that it was never intended
to give any protection or countenance to the slave system, it is
sufficient to reply, that though no such words are contained in that
instrument, other words were used, intelligently and specifically,
TO MEET THE NECESSITIES OF SLAVERY; and that these were adopted _in
good faith, to be observed until a constitutional change could be
effected_. On this point, as to the design of certain provisions, no
intelligent man can honestly entertain a doubt. If it be objected,
that though these provisions were meant to cover slavery, yet, as
they can fairly be interpreted to mean something exactly the reverse,
it is allowable to give to them such an interpretation, _especially
as the cause of freedom will thereby be promoted_--we reply, that
this is to advocate fraud and violence toward one of the contracting
parties, _whose co-operation was secured only by an express
agreement and understanding between them both, in regard to the
clauses alluded to_; and that such a construction, if enforced by
pains and penalties, would unquestionably lead to a civil war, in
which the aggrieved party would justly claim to have been betrayed,
and robbed of their constitutional rights.

Again, if it be said, that those clauses, being immoral, are null and
void--we reply, it is true they are not to be observed; but it is
also true that they are portions of an instrument, the support of
which, AS A WHOLE, is required by oath or affirmation; and, therefore,
_because they are immoral_, and BECAUSE OF THIS OBLIGATION
TO ENFORCE IMMORALITY, no one can innocently swear to support the

Again, if it be objected, that the Constitution was formed by the
people of the United States, in order to establish justice, to
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
themselves and their posterity: and therefore, it is to be so
construed as to harmonize with these objects; we reply, again, that
its language is _not to be interpreted in a sense which neither of
the contracting parties understood_, and which would frustrate every
design of their alliance--to wit, _union at the expense of the
colored population of the country_. Moreover, nothing is more
certain than that the preamble alluded to never included, in the
minds of those who framed it, _those who were then pining in
bondage_--for, in that case, a general emancipation of the slaves
would have instantly been proclaimed throughout the United States. The
words, "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity," assuredly meant only the white population. "To promote the
general welfare," referred to their own welfare exclusively. "To
establish justice," was understood to be for their sole benefit as
slaveholders, and the guilty abettors of slavery. This is
demonstrated by other parts of the same instrument, and by their own
practice under it.

We would not detract aught from what is justly their due; but it is
as reprehensible to give them credit for _what they did not possess_,
as it is to rob them of what is theirs. It is absurd, it is false,
it is an insult to the common sense of mankind, to pretend that the
Constitution was intended to embrace the entire population of the
country under its sheltering wings; or that the parties to it were
actuated by a sense of justice and the spirit of impartial liberty;
or that it needs no alteration, but only a new interpretation, to
make it harmonize with the object aimed at by its adoption. As truly
might it be argued, that because it is asserted in the Declaration
of Independence, that all men are created equal, and endowed with an
inalienable right to liberty, therefore none of its signers were
slaveholders, and since its adoption, slavery has been banished from
the American soil! The truth is, our fathers were intent on securing
liberty _to themselves_, without being very scrupulous as to the
means they used to accomplish their purpose. They were not actuated
by the spirit of universal philanthropy; and though _in words_ they
recognized occasionally the brotherhood of the human race, _in
practice_ they continually denied it. They did not blush to enslave
a portion of their fellow-men, and to buy and sell them as cattle in
the market, while they were fighting against the oppression of the
mother country, and boasting of their regard for the rights of man.
Why, then, concede to them virtues which they did not posses.
_Why cling to the falsehood, that they were not respecters of
persons in the formation of the government_?

Alas! that they had no more fear of God, no more regard for man, in
their hearts! "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [the
North and South] is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood,
and the city full of perverseness; for they say, the Lord hath
forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not."

We proceed to a critical examination of the American Constitution,
in its relations to slavery.

In ARTICLE 1, Section 9, it is declared--"the migration or
importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall
think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress, prior
to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax or duty
may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for
each person."

In this Section, it will be perceived, the phraseology is so guarded
as not to imply, _ex necessitate_, any criminal intent or inhuman
arrangement; and yet no one has ever had the hardihood or folly to
deny, that it was clearly understood by the contracting parties, to
mean that there should be no interference with the African slave
trade, on the part of the general government, until the year 1808.
For twenty years after the adoption of the Constitution, the
citizens of the United States were to be encouraged and protected in
the prosecution of that infernal traffic--in sacking and burning the
hamlets of Africa--in slaughtering multitudes of the inoffensive
natives on the soil, kidnapping and enslaving a still greater
proportion, crowding them to suffocation in the holds of the slave
ships, populating the Atlantic with their dead bodies, and
subjecting the wretched survivors to all the horrors of unmitigated
bondage! This awful covenant was strictly fulfilled; and though,
since its termination, Congress has declared the foreign slave
traffic to be piracy, yet all Christendom knows that the American
flag, instead of being the terror of the African slavers, has given
them the most ample protection.

The manner in which the 9th Section was agreed to, by the national
convention that formed the constitution, is thus frankly avowed by
the Hon. Luther Martin,[91] who was a prominent member of that body:

"The Eastern States, notwithstanding their aversion of slavery, (!)
_were very willing to indulge the Southern States_ at least with
a temporary liberty to prosecute the slave trade, provided the
Southern States would, in the return, _gratify_ them by laying no
restriction on navigation acts; and, after a very little time, the
committee, by a great majority, agreed on a report, _by which the
general government was to be prohibited from preventing the
importation of slaves_ for a limited time; and the restrictive
clause relative to navigation acts was to be omitted."

Behold the iniquity of this agreement! How sordid were the motives
which led to it! what a profligate disregard of justice and humanity,
on the part of those who had solemnly declared the inalienable right
of all men to be free and equal, to be a self-evident truth!

It is due to the national convention to say, that this section was
not adopted "without considerable opposition." Alluding to it,
Mr. Martin observes--

[Footnote 91: Speech before the Legislature of Maryland in 1787.]

"It was said we had just assumed a place among the independent
nations in consequence of our opposition to the attempts of Great
Britain to _enslave us_; that this opposition was grounded upon the
preservation of those rights to which God and nature has entitled us,
not in _particular_, but in _common with all the rest of mankind_;
that we had appealed to the Supreme Being for his assistance, as the
God of freedom, who could not but approve our efforts to preserve
the rights which he had thus imparted to his creatures; that now,
when we had scarcely risen from our knees, from supplicating his
mercy and protection in forming our government over a free people, a
government formed pretendedly on the principles of liberty, and for
its preservation,--in that government to have a provision, not only
of putting out of its power to restrain and prevent the slave trade,
even encouraging that most infamous traffic, by giving the States
the power and influence in the Union in proportion as they cruelly
and wantonly sported with the rights of their fellow-creatures,
ought to be considered as a solemn mockery of, and insult to, that
God whose protection we had thus implored, and could not fail to
hold us up in detestation, and render us contemptible to every true
friend of liberty in the world. It was said that national crimes can
only be, and frequently are, punished in this world by _national
punishments_, and that the continuance of the slave trade, and thus
giving it a national character, sanction, and encouragement, ought
to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and
vengeance of him who is equally the Lord of all, and who views
with equal eye the poor _African slave_ and his _American master_![92]

[Footnote 92: How terribly and justly has this guilty nation been
scourged, since these words were spoken, on account of slavery and
the slave trade! Secret Proceedings, p. 64.]

"It was urged that, by this system, we were giving the general
government full and absolute power to regulate commerce, under which
general power it would have a right to restrain, or totally prohibit,
the slave trade: it must, therefore, appear to the world absurd and
disgraceful to the last degree that we should except from the
exercise of that power the only branch of commerce which is
unjustifiable in its nature, and contrary to the rights of mankind.
That, on the contrary, we ought to prohibit expressly, in our
Constitution, the further importation of slaves, and to authorize
the general government, from time to time, to make such regulations
as should be thought most advantageous for the gradual abolition of
slavery, and the emancipation of the slaves already in the States.
That slavery is inconsistent with the genius of republicanism, and
has a tendency to destroy those principles on which it is supported,
as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind, and
habituates to tyranny and oppression. It was further urged that, by
this system of government, every State is to be protected both from
foreign invasion and from domestic insurrections; and, from this
consideration, it was of the utmost importance it should have the
power to restrain the importation of slaves, since in proportion as
the number of slaves increased in any State, in the same proportion
is the State weakened and exposed to foreign invasion and domestic
insurrection: and by so much less will it be able to protect itself
against either, and therefore by so much, want aid from, and be a
burden to, the Union.

"It was further said, that, in this system, as we were giving the
general government power, under the idea of national character, or
national interest, to regulate even our weights and measures, and
have prohibited all possibility of emitting paper money, and passing
insolvent laws, &c., it must appear still more extraordinary that we
prohibited the government from interfering with the slave trade,
than which nothing could more effect our national honor and interest.

"These reasons influenced me, both in the committee and in the
convention, most decidedly to oppose and vote against the clause, as
it now makes part of the system."[93]

[Footnote 93: Secret Proceedings, p. 64.]

Happy had it been for this nation, had these solemn considerations
been heeded by the framers of the Constitution! But for the sake of
securing some local advantages, they choose to do evil that good may
come, and to make the end sanctify the means. They were willing to
enslave others, that they might secure their own freedom. They did
this deed deliberately, with their eyes open, with all the facts and
consequences arising therefrom before them, in violation of all
their heaven-attested declarations, and in atheistical distrust of
the overruling power of God. "The Eastern States were very willing
to _indulge_ the Southern States" in the unrestricted prosecution of
their piratical traffic, provided in return they could be _gratified_
by no restriction being laid on navigation acts!!--Had there been no
other provision of the Constitution justly liable to objection, this
one alone rendered the support of that instrument incompatible with
the duties which men owe to their Creator, and to each other. It was
the poisonous infusion in the cup, which, though constituting but a
very slight portion of its contents, perilled the life of every one
who partook of it.

If it be asked to what purpose are these animadversions, since the
clause alluded to has long since expired by its own limitation--we
answer, that, if at any time the foreign slave trade could be
_constitutionally_ prosecuted, it may yet be renewed, under the
Constitution, at the pleasure of Congress, whose prohibitory statute
is liable to be reversed at any moment, in the frenzy of Southern
opposition to emancipation. It is ignorantly supposed that the
bargain was, that the traffic _should cease_ in 1808; but the only
thing secured by it was, the _right_ of Congress (not any obligation)
to prohibit it at that period. If, therefore, Congress had not
chosen to exercise that right, _the traffic might have been
prolonged indefinitely, under the Constitution_. The right to
destroy any particular branch of commerce, implies the right to
re-establish it. True, there is no probability that the African slave
trade will ever again be legalized by the national government; but
no credit is due the framers of the Constitution on this ground; for,
while they threw around it all the sanction and protection of the
national character and power for twenty years, _they set no bounds to
its continuance by any positive constitutional prohibition_.

Again, the adoption of such a clause, and the faithful execution of
it, prove what was meant by the words of the preamble--"to form a
more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity,
provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and
secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity"--namely, that the parties to the Constitution regarded
only their own rights and interests, and never intended that its
language should be so interpreted as to interfere with slavery, or to
make it unlawful for one portion of the people to enslave another,
_without an express alteration in that instrument, in the manner
therein set forth_. While, therefore, the Constitution remains as it
was originally adopted, they who swear to support it are bound to
comply with all its provisions, as a matter of allegiance. For it
avails nothing to say, that some of those provisions are at war with
the law of God and the rights of man, and therefore are not
obligatory. Whatever may be their character, they are
_constitutionally_ obligatory; and whoever feels that he cannot
execute them, or swear to execute them, without committing sin, has no
other choice left than to withdraw from the government, or to violate
his conscience by taking on his lips an impious promise. The object of
the Constitution is not to define _what is the law of God_, but WHAT IS
THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE--which will is not to be frustrated by an
ingenious moral interpretation, by those whom they have elected to
serve them.

ARTICLE 1, Sect. 2, provides--"Representatives and direct taxes
shall be apportioned among the several States, which may be included
within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which
shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons,
including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding
Indians not taxed, _three-fifths of all other persons_."

Here, as in the clause we have already examined, veiled beneath a
form of words as deceitful as it is unmeaning in a truly democratic
government, is a provision for the safety, perpetuity and
augmentation of the slaveholding power--a provision scarcely less
atrocious than that which related to the African slave trade, and
almost as afflictive in its operation--a provision still in force,
with no possibility of its alteration, so long as a majority of the
slave States choose to maintain their slave system--a provision which,
at the present time, enables the South to have twenty-five additional
representatives in Congress on the score of _property_, while the
North is not allowed to have one--a provision which concedes to the
oppressed three-fifths of the political power which is granted to
all others, aid then puts this power into the hands of their
oppressors, to be wielded by them for the more perfect security of
their tyrannous authority, and the complete subjugation of the
non-slaveholding States.

Referring to this atrocious bargain, ALEXANDER HAMILTON remarked in
the New York Convention--

"The first thing objected to, is that clause which allows a
representation for three-fifths of the negroes. Much has been said
of the impropriety of representing men who have no will of their own:
whether this is _reasoning_ or _declamation_, (!!) I will not
presume to say. It is the _unfortunate_ situation of the Southern
States to have a great part of their population, as well as _property_,
in blacks. The regulation complained of was one result of _the
spirit of accommodation_ which governed the Convention; and
without this _indulgence_, NO UNION COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN FORMED.
But, sir, considering some _peculiar advantages_ which we derive
from them it is entirely JUST that they should be _gratified_--The
Southern States possess certain staples,--tobacco, rice, indigo,
&c.--which must be _capital_ objects in treaties of commerce with
foreign nations; and the advantage which they necessarily procure in
these treaties will be felt throughout the United States."

If such was the patriotism, such the love of liberty, such the
morality of ALEXANDER HAMILTON, what can be said of the character of
those who were far less conspicuous than himself in securing
American independence, and in framing the American Constitution?

Listen, now, to the opinions of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, respecting the
constitutional clause now under consideration:--

"'In outward show, it is a representation of persons in bondage; in
fact, it is a representation of their masters,--the oppressor
representing the oppressed.'--'Is it in the compass of human
imagination to devise a more perfect exemplification of the art of
committing the lamb to the tender custody of the wolf?'--'The
representative is thus constituted, not the friend, agent and
trustee of the person whom he represents, but the most inveterate of
his foes.'--'It was _one_ of the curses from that Pandora's box,
adjusted at the time, as usual, by a _compromise_, the whole
advantage of which inured to the benefit of the South, and to
aggravate the burdens of the North.'--'If there be a parallel to it
in human history, it can only be that of the Roman Emperors, who,
from the days when Julius Caesar substituted a military despotism in
the place of a republic, among the offices which they always
concentrated upon themselves, was that of tribune of the people. A
Roman Emperor tribune of the people, is an exact parallel to that
feature in the Constitution of the United States which makes the
master the representative of his slave.'--'The Constitution of the
United States expressly prescribes that no title of nobility shall
be granted by the United States. The spirit of this interdict is not
a rooted antipathy to the grant of mere powerless empty _titles_,
but to titles of _nobility_; to the institution of privileged orders
of men. But what order of men under the most absolute of monarchies,
or the most aristocratic of republics, was ever invested with such
an odious and unjust privilege as that of the separate and exclusive
representation of less than half a million owners of slaves, in the
Hall of this House, in the Chair of the Senate, and in the
Presidential mansion?'--'This investment of power in the owners of
one species of property concentrated in the highest authorities of
the nation, and disseminated through thirteen of the twenty-six
States of the Union, constitutes a privileged order of men in the
community, more adverse to the rights of all, and more pernicious to
the interests of the whole, than any order of nobility ever known.
To call government thus constituted a democracy, is to insult the
understanding of mankind. To call it an aristocracy, is to do
injustice to that form of government. Aristocracy is the government
of _the best_. Its standard qualification for accession to power
_is merit_, ascertained by popular election recurring at short
intervals of time. If even that government is prone to degenerate
into tyranny, what must be the character of that form of polity in
which the standard qualification for access to power is wealth in
the possession of slaves? It is doubly tainted with the infection of
riches and of slavery. _There is no name in the language of national
jurisprudence that can define it_--no model in the records of
ancient history, or in the political theories of Aristotle, with
which it can be likened. It was introduced into the Constitution of
the United States by an equivocation--a representation of property
under the name of persons. Little did the members of the Convention
from the free States foresee what a sacrifice to Moloch was hidden
under the mask of this concession.'--'The House of Representatives
of the United States consists of 223 members--all, by the _letter_ of
the Constitution, representatives only of _persons_, as 135 of them
really are; but the other 88, equally representing the _persons_ of
their constituents, by whom they are elected, also represent, under
the name of _other persons_, upwards of two and a half millions of
_slaves_, held as the _property_ of less than half a million of
the white constituents, and valued at twelve hundred millions of
dollars. Each of these 88 members represents in fact the whole of
that mass of associated wealth, and the persons and exclusive
interests of its owners; all thus knit together, like the members of
a moneyed corporation, with a capital not of thirty-five or forty or
fifty, but of twelve hundred millions of dollars, exhibiting the
most extraordinary exemplification of the anti-republican tendencies
of associated wealth that the world ever saw,'--'Here is one class
of men, consisting of not more than one fortieth part of the whole
people, not more than one-thirtieth part of the free population,
exclusively devoted to their personal interests identified with
their own as slaveholders of the same associated wealth, and
wielding by their votes, upon every question of government or of
public policy, two-fifths of the whole power of the House. In the
Senate of the Union, the proportion of the slaveholding power is yet
greater. By the influence of slavery, in the States where the
institution is tolerated, over their elections, no other than a
slaveholder can rise to the distinction of obtaining a seat in the
Senate; and thus, of the 52 members of the federal Senate, 26 are
owners of slaves, and as effectively representatives of that
interest as the 88 members elected by them to the House.'--'By this
process it is that all political power in the States is absorbed and
engrossed by the owners of _slaves_, and the overruling policy of
the States is shaped to strengthen and consolidate their domination.
The legislative, executive, and judicial authorities are all in
their hands--the preservation, propagation, and perpetuation of the
black code of slavery--every law of the legislature becomes a link
in the chain of the slave; every executive act a rivet to his
hapless fate; every judicial decision a perversion of the human
intellect to the justification of _wrong_.--Its reciprocal
operation upon the government of the nation is, to establish an
artificial majority in the slave representation over that of the
free people, in the American Congress, and thereby to make the
in the fact that, at this day, the President of the United States,
the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and five out of nine of the Judges of the Supreme
Judicial Courts of the United States, are not only citizens of
slaveholding States, but individual slaveholders themselves. So are,
and constantly have been, with scarcely an exception, all the
members of both Houses of Congress from the slaveholding States; and
so are, in immensely disproportionate numbers, the commanding
officers of the army and navy; the officers of the customs; the
registers and receivers of the land offices, and the post-masters
throughout the slaveholding States.--The Biennial Register indicates
the birth-place of all the officers employed in the government of
the Union. If it were required to designate the owners of this
species of property among them, it would be little more than a
catalogue of slaveholders.'"

It is confessed by Mr. Adams, alluding to the national convention
that framed the Constitution, that "the delegation from the free
States, in their extreme anxiety to conciliate the ascendency of the
Southern slaveholder, did listen to a _compromise between right and
wrong_--_between freedom and slavery_; of the ultimate fruits of which
they had no conception, but which already even now is urging the
Union to its inevitable ruin and dissolution, by a civil, servile,
foreign, and Indian war, all combined in one; a war, the essential
issue of which will be between freedom and slavery, and in which the
unhallowed standard of slavery will be the desecrated banner of the
North American Union--that banner, first unfurled to the breeze,
inscribed with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of

Hence, to swear to support the Constitution of the United States, _as
it is_, is to make "a compromise between right and wrong," and to
wage war against human liberty. It is to recognize and honor as
republican legislators, _incorrigible men-stealers_, MERCILESS
TYRANTS, BLOOD THIRSTY ASSASSINS, who legislate with deadly weapons
about their persons, such as pistols, daggers, and bowie-knives,
with which they threaten to murder any Northern senator or
representative who shall dare to stain their _honor_, or interfere
with their _rights_! They constitute a banditti more fierce and cruel
than any whose atrocities are recorded on the pages of history or
romance. To mix with them on terms of social or religious fellowship,
is to indicate a low state of virtue; but to think of administering
a free government by their co-operation, is nothing short of insanity.

Article IV., Section 2, declares,--"No person held to service or
labor in one State, _under the laws thereof_, escaping into another,
shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be
discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on
claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

Here is a third clause, which, like the other two, makes no mention
of slavery or slaves, in express terms; and yet, like them, was
intelligently framed and mutually understood by the parties to the
ratification, and intended both to protect the slave system and to
restore runaway slaves. It alone makes slavery a national institution,
a national crime, and all the people who are not enslaved, the
body-guard over those whose liberties have been cloven down. This
agreement, too, has been fulfilled to the letter by the North.

Under the Mosaic dispensation it was imperatively commanded,--"Thou
shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which 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 shalt not oppress him." The warning which the
prophet Isaiah gave to oppressing Moab was of a similar kind:
"Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the
midst of the noon-day; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that
wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert
to them from the face of the spoiler." The prophet Obadiah brings
the following charge against treacherous Edom, which is precisely
applicable to this guilty nation:--"For thy violence against thy
brother Jacob, shame shall come over thee, and thou shalt be cut off
for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the
day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and
foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem,
_even thou wast as one of them_. But thou shouldst not have looked
on the day of thy brother, in the day that he became a stranger;
neither shouldst thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah, in
the day of their destruction; neither shouldst thou have spoken
proudly in the day of distress; neither shouldst thou have _stood in
the cross-way, to cut off those of his that did escape_; neither
shouldst thou have _delivered up those of his that did remain_, in
the day of distress."

How exactly descriptive of this boasted republic is the impeachment
of Edom by the same prophet! "The pride of thy heart hath deceived
thee, thou whose habitation is high; that sayeth in thy heart, Who
shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the
eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I
bring thee down, saith the Lord." The emblem of American pride and
power is the _eagle_, and on her banner she has mingled _stars_ with
its _stripes_. Her vanity, her treachery, her oppression, her
self-exaltation, and her defiance of the Almighty, far surpass the
madness and wickedness of Edom. What shall be her punishment? Truly,
it may be affirmed of the American people, (who live not under the
Levitical but Christian code, and whose guilt, therefore, is the
more awful, and their condemnation the greater,) in the language of
another prophet--"They all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every
man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands
earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and
the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: _so they wrap it
up_." Likewise of the colored inhabitants of this land it may be said,
--"This is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared
in holes, and they are hid in prison-houses; they are for a prey,
and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore."

By this stipulation, the Northern States are made the hunting ground
of slave-catchers, who may pursue their victims with blood-hounds,
and capture them with impunity wherever they can lay their robber
hands upon them. At least twelve or fifteen thousand runaway slaves
are now in Canada, exiled from their native land, because they could
not find, throughout its vast extent, a single road on which they
could dwell in safety, _in consequence of this provision of the
Constitution_? How is it possible, then, for the advocates of
liberty to support a government which gives over to destruction
one-sixth part of the whole population?

It is denied by some at the present day, that the clause which has
been cited, was intended to apply to runaway slaves. This indicates
either ignorance, or folly, or something worse. JAMES MADISON as one
of the framers of the Constitution, is of some authority on this
point. Alluding to that instrument, in the Virginia convention, he

"Another clause _secures us that property which we now possess_. At
present, if any slave elopes to those States where slaves are free,
_he becomes emancipated by their laws_; for the laws of the States
are _uncharitable_(!) to one another in this respect; but in this
constitution, 'No person held to service or labor in one State,
under the laws thereof, shall, in consequence of any law or
regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but
shall be delivered upon claim of the party to whom such service or
OWNERS OF SLAVES TO RECLAIM THEM. _This is a better security than
any that now exists_. No power is given to the general government to
interfere with respect to the property in slaves now held by the

In the same convention, alluding to the same clause, GOV. RANDOLPH

"Every one knows that slaves are held to service or labor. And, when
authority is given to owners of slaves to _vindicate their
property_, can it be supposed they can be deprived of it? If a
citizen of this State, in consequence of this clause, can take his
runaway slave in Maryland, can it be seriously thought that, after
taking him and bringing him home, he could be made free?"

It is objected, that slaves are held as property, and therefore, as
the clause refers to persons, it cannot mean slaves. But this is
criticism against fact. Slaves are recognized not merely as property,
but also as persons--as having a mixed character--as combining the
human with the brutal. This is paradoxical, we admit; but slavery is
a paradox--the American Constitution is a paradox--the American
Union is a paradox--the American Government is a paradox; and if any
one of these is to be repudiated on that ground, they all are. That
it is the duty of the friends of freedom to deny the binding
authority of them all, and to secede from them all, we distinctly
affirm. After the independence of this country had been achieved,
the voice of God exhorted the people, saying, "Execute true judgment,
and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: and oppress
not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and
let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But
they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped
their ears, that they should not hear; yea, they made their hearts
as an adamant stone." "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the
Lord. Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"

Whatever doubt may have rested on any honest mind, respecting the
meaning of the clause in relation to persons held to service or labor,
must have been removed by the unanimous decision of the Supreme
Court of the United States, in the case of Prigg versus The State of
Pennsylvania. By that decision, any Southern slave-catcher is
empowered to seize and convey to the South, without hindrance or
molestation on the part of the State, and without any legal process
duly obtained and served, any person or persons, irrespective of
caste or complexion, whom he may choose to claim as runaway slaves;
and if, when thus surprised and attacked, or on their arrival South,
they cannot prove by legal witnesses, that they are freemen, their
doom is sealed! Hence the free colored population of the North are
specially liable to become the victims of this terrible power, and


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