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ple and government of the United States ; others know so little of the physical sufferings and spiritual deprivations of the slaves, as to receive with incredulity, if not positive unbelief, the most well-authenticated facts ; others possess merely a general statistical knowledge, but have never traced the pernicious effects of slavery upon the prosperity and happiness of slave states, or imagined that it is, and must inevitably be, the source of national division.
Hence, to this general ignorance may be attributed the success of the colonization scheme, which, having been received upon trust, is still viewed by many benevolent individuals as providing a remedy for slavery. Hence, too, the facility with which false and wicked accusations against the cause of abolition, and its advocates, have been circulated throughout the country; and hence the necessity of the present defence.
The motives which actuated the founders of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society were not those of hostility to the interests or persons of slave-owners. From the statements and complaints of the planters themselves from the visible curse which rested upon the slave-tilled soil-from the natural unproductiveness of slave labor, the slaves being robbed of all motives for long-continued, well-directed exertions-from the debasing and barbarous tendency of the system-from the fears of insurrection, which always harass the repose and embitter the cup of oppressors—from the solemn lessons which all history teaches, that tyranny cannot always be exercised with impunity—and from the many revolts, which, since the introduction of slaves into this country, had taken place, growing more and more formidable, and ending with terrible massacre at Southampton, in Virginia--they were convinced that the abolition of slavery was the only mode of preserving the lives and increasing the wealth of their southern fellow-citizens. They saw that custom and education, as well as a mistaken policy, bad blinded the eyes
of the planters to their best interests ; and while they felt and expressed, as christians and philanthropists, the strongest moral indignation, in view of the conduct of the transgressors, they likewise cherished the utmost benevolence of feeling towards them. To deduct aught from the sum of their happiness, in
order to increase that of their victims-or to depress them in proportion to the elevation of the slaves—was not the design of the founders of the Anti-Slavery Society. It was because their good-will and philanthropy were as broad as the earth, embracing all men as members of one family, and estimating the happiness and worth of all by the same standard, that they were impelled, in defiance of persecution and reproach, to put forth every exertion for the overthrow of slavery.
Nor were their motives those of a sectional character. They associated together to maintain, not to destroy the Union, by endeavoring to remove the cause of division. They believed, inasmuch as it is impracticable satisfactorily to legislate for a portion of the people as men, and another portion as cattle, that there could be no end to collisions, until the root of bitterness was taken away ; and that nearly all the troubles and excitements in the land sprang from slavery. There were no difficulties or heart-burnings between the free States : they did not threaten each other, or talk of a separation one from another. The longer slavery was tolerated, the more probable, in their conviction, was a dismemberment of the Union. To seek its utter annihilation, then, became them as wise men, as patriots, as christians, as lovers of their country. They were not so thoughtless, or vain, as to suppose that the formation of an antislavery society, such as they contemplated, would excite no opposition ; or that they could go into a free discussion of the question of slavery, without subjecting themselves to great reproach as disorganizers, madmen, and favatics. All the angry ebullitions which their exertions have elicited, both at the north and the south, they were prepared to meet. They had no alternative but to act the part of the Levite, and steel their hearts and close their ears to the cries of two millions of their fellowcreatures, or, like the good Samaritan, to compasssionate the bleeding victims, and seek their deliverance. However high the tempest of passion might rise, on the avowal of their sentiments and designs, they were consoled to believe that it would serve to purify a foul atmosphere which was generating moral death. However unkindly their expostulations, warnings, rebukes and efforts might at first be received by the possessors of
slaves, they could not doubt their efficacy to produce, ultimately, a radical reform. However cruelly the slaves might be treated by the excited masters, in consequence of their benevolent interposition, they knew that that aggravated cruelty would only serve to make slavery more odious in the sight of the people, and hasten its downfall. The expostulation of Moses with Pharaoh only hardened the heart of the tyrant, and induced him to increase the burdens of the Israelites ; for he commanded the same day, the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick as heretofore : let them go and gather straw for themselves. "* Such a result was peculiarly distressing to Moses : even his afAlicted brethren upbraided him sharply for his interference. “And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh : and they said unto them, The Lord look upon you and judge ; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.'t History is full of instruction on this point : there is scarcely an instance on record where the exertions of reformers to break the fetters of tyranny were not immediately succeeded by new and grievous disabilities, imposed by the angry oppressor upon their vassals. The guilty Jews were cut to the heart by the faithful preaching of Stephen : “they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their cars, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him.'I All such outrages, however, promote the cause of truth, and defeat the object for which they were perpetrated.
Let abolitionists derive consolation and hope from these reflections. Let them meekly bear the taunts and reproaches of half-way reformers and temporising gradualists, who accuse them of provoking slaveholders to treat their slaves more rigorously than ever. The sin lies not at their doors. Upon the perpetrators of these fresh grievances must punishment be executed by Heaven. Abolitionists deeply regret to perceive no disposition, on the part of the slaveholding States, to cease from their oppression. Within the last two years, the Legislatures
* Exodus v, 6, 7.
+ Idem, v. 20, 21.
# Acts vii. 57, 58.
of Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee, have passed laws respecting the free colored and slave population of those States, which are in the highest degree atrocious.* The spirit of persecution is abroad, with unexampled malignity ; but its violence will prove its destruction.
The New-England Anti-Slavery Society tolerates no comipromise of principle. Its demands upon the holders of slaves are as imperative as those of the book inspiration-- to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free.' To all the palliatives and excuses which they and their apologists present for their oppressive conduct, it replies in the language of Jehovah—- Thou shalt not steal '— · Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's '
Behold the hire of the laborers, which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth ; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.' It regards with dismay and horror the doctrine which is becoming popular in this land, especially in regard to slavery, that the end sanctifies the means '—that expediency is duty, but duty is not expediency—that the guilt of oppression belongs to past generations, and repentance to posterity—that the circumstances of the times, the laws of the States, the preservation of life and property, justify robbery and oppression, and a violation of all the commandments—and that immediate and universal obedience to the requirements of the gospel, on the part of the transgressors, will produce worse results than continuance in sin, or a gradual reformation.
The purposes of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, as declared in the second article of its Constitution, are to endeavor, by all means sanctioned by law, humanity and religion, to effect the abolition of slavery, to improve the character and condition of the free people of color, inform and correct public opinion in relation to their situation and rights, and obtain for them equal civil and political rights and privileges with the whites.
The magnitude, benevolence and importance of these objects may be more readily perceived by a few illustrations.
Since the Declaration of Independence was put forth, nearly two millions of slaves have perished in this country,
who were driven all their days under the lash of callous-hearted overseers; whose bodies were liable to mutilation from the brand and the whip-half supplied with the same coarse, unpalatable foodhalf clad in summer and in winter ; but above all, whose minds were watchfully kept from all knowedge of their rights, of their relations to society and to God, of their destiny beyond the grave-heathens in a christian land, forbidden under horrid penalties to peruse the sacred Scriptures, or learn the alphabet of their language !
Would to Heaven that this embodied our wickedness! that our avarice and cruelty had been glutted in the destruction of this great multitude of hapless, inoffensive beings! But we are preying, at this bour, upon a larger number than those already slain. And yet this is called the land of freedom, of republicanism, of christianity! Every year, one hundred thousand infants—a large proportion the offspring of pollution and shameare born, and doomed to the horrors of bondage—kidnapped from the hour of their birth by patriots and christians !
The New-England Anti-Slavery Society maintains that the slaves ought instantly to be emancipated from their fetters. It acknowledges no claims upon their persons by their masters. It regards the holders of slaves as guilty of a heinous sin. It reprobates the language of those who say, 'we hold their slaves, as we hold their other property, sacred.' It says to every individual —- Let the principle be clearly and firmly established in your mind that there is, and can be, no such thing as property in man, and you cannot, as a patriot, a philanthropist, or a disciple of Christ, oppose the immediate liberation of the slaves you cannot but demand that liberation--you cannot be satisfied with any thing short of an immediate liberation. It is not for men of christian integrity to calculate how far it is expedient to do wrong.
The slaves are either justly or unjustly held in bondage. If justly, let the traffic in their bodies be pursued with fresh activity, and all those laws be repealed which now