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make the foreign slave trade piracy. If unjustly, there is no alternative but to disobey God, or to let them immediately go free.
• But would it be safe to comply strictly with the requisitions of justice, now? If they were not made to be obeyed, for what purpose were they made ? Is it safe for a band of robbers to cease from their robberies, at once? Is it safe for the fraudulent to be honest, at once ? Is it safe to abandon the practice of trading in the bodies and souls of men, at once ? Is it safe 10 obey the Most High, by breaking every yoke, and letting the oppressed go free, at once? Strange questions from the mouths of a christian people !
A very singular kind of logic prevails at the present day. 1 concede,' says one, that slavery in the abstract is very wicked ; but I am opposed to immediate abolition.' Slavery in the abstract? what does the objector mean? Abstract slavery never did, and never can exist. He means, perhaps-his language implies nothing else—that it is most atrocious to think of enslaving human beings ; but, in fact, to buy, or sell, or hold them in fetters, is by no means sinful !—that is to say, if a man should merely meditate the destruction of the houses of his fellow citizens by fire, without any doubt he ought to be hung ; but if he should actually set them on fire, and run from street to street with the burning brand in his hand, to destroy others, why then he would not be guilty. It would only be necessary for him to cry aloud to the firemen-- I am as much opposed to arson, in the abstract, as you are ; but, see! the houses are on fire ! My abstract theory has assumed a practical shape, and therefore I am exonerated from blame. I am opposed to an immediate extinguishment of the fire! Put it out very gradually—a few drops of water may now be thrown upon it--some buckets full next week—and at some future time, I cannot tell when, you may give your engines full play!'
They who are crying, Peace ! Peace !' at this momentous crisis—who are denouncing the active friends of bleeding humanity—who urge a far-off' emancipation of the slaves—who would stifle all inquiries into the abominations of slavery—who deny the rights of the slaves to immediate freedom--who attempt to palliate the guilt and cover up the crimes of the plant
ers—who pursue half-way measures of reform-are the real authors of mischief, the real enemies of their country, although they mean no harm. Their moral vision is imperfect-they have not carefully and candidly examined the subject. They seem to have forgotten that, in this case, as in all others, strict obedience to the law of God is the only ground of safety : they overlook the nature of mind and the constitution of man. Even on the detestable ground of expediency, of carnal policy, what facts can they show to warrant a prolongation of oppression ? The law of God may be thrown aside, and the controversy staked on this single point :-It can be shown that, in all ages and climes, oppression has resulted in carnage and death ; but the deluded advocates of gradual emancipation are challenged to produce any instances in which immediate emancipation from personal thraldom has been disastrous or unwise.
The cause of slave insurrections at the south is the loss of liberty. If the cause be removed, can the effect follow ? The slaves fight to obtain their personal freedom. If they were liberated, it is pretended, they would destroy their masters !-in other words, they fight to achieve their liberty, and when it is given to them, they fight because they receive it! This is singular logic. They are so attached to their drivers, it would seem-so pleased with being bought and sold—so contented with their peck of corn per week—so fond of having their wives polluted, and their children driven away to be sold-so hostile to independence—so undesirous of knowledge—that if they were set free, they would be so angry in being employed as hired laborers, in possessing their own wives and children, in losing their fetters, in being placed beyond the reach of slave speculators, in being protected in their persons and earnings, in having an opportunity to get religious and secular instruction, that they would cut the throats of their former masters, burn their dwellings, and desolate the land !
The Board of Managers are satisfied that the doctrine of immediate abolition is opposed by many, not because they really mean to justify crime, but siinply through ignorance or a misapprehension of its nature. It is associated in their minds with something undefinable, yet dreadful—they see, in imagination,
cities and villages in flames, and blood flowing in torrents, and hear the roll of drums, the shouts of blood-thirsty savages, and the shrieks of the dying--and thus, bringing upon themselves a strong delusion, they naturally stand aghast at the proposition. All this rufiling of mind is indeed ridiculous ; but as it originates unwittingly in error, it merits a charitable allowance rather than satire.
What, then, is meant by immediate abolition ?
It means, in the first place, that all title of property in the slaves shall instantly cease, because their Creator has never relinquished his claim of ownership, and because none have a right to sell their own bodies or buy those of their own species as cattle. Is there any thing terrific in this arrangement ?
It means, secondly, that every husband shall have his own wife, and every wife her own husband, both being united in wedlock according to its proper forms, and placed under the protection of law? Is this unreasonable ?
It means, thirdly, that parents shall have the control and government of their own children, and that the children shall belong to their parents. What is there sanguinary in this concession ?
It means, fourthly, that all trade in human beings shall be regarded as felony, and entitled to the highest punishment. Can this be productive of evil ?
It means, fifthly, that the tremendous power which is now vested in every slaveholder to punish his slaves without trial, and to a savage extent, shall be at once taken away. Is this undesirable ?
It means, sixthly, that all those laws which now prohibit the instruction of the slaves, shall instantly be repealed, and others enacted, providing schools and instruction for their intellectual illumination. Would this prove.a calamity ?
It means, seventhly, that the planters shall employ their slaves as free laborers, and pay them just wages.
Would this recompense infuriate them?
It means, eigthly, that the slaves, instead of being forced to labor for the exclusive benefit of others by cruel drivers, and the application of the lash upon their bodies, shall be encouraged to toil for the mutual profit of themselves and their employ
ers, by the infasion of new motives into their hearts, growing out of their recognition and reward as men. Is this diabolical?
It means, finally, that right shall take the supremacy over wrong, principle over brute force, humanity over cruelty, honesty over theft, purity over lust, honor over baseness, love over hatred, and religion over heathenism. Is this wrong?
This is our meaning of Immediate Abolition.
Where is the individual in New-England, who is base enough to avow that, on these terms, he is hostile to the liberation of the slaves ? who dares to say, in a public and responsible manner,— I am still for giving to the planters unlimited dominion over their slaves, that they may treat them like cattle, deprive them of instruction, mangle, starve and pollute their bodies, rob them of their earnings, and buy and sell them on speculation, as they do at present ?' O! surely there is not that wretch in New-England-if there be, he is a monster, . retaining nothing of man but the shape. Where is the individual animated with a soul, having parents, or relations, or children, or friends, who will not exclaim, 'I am for the rescue of two millions of enslaved countrymen !. To talk of the danger or injustice of giving them the protection of wise and equitable laws, and relieving them of their heavy burdens, is an insult to my understanding. I contend for the sacredness of the marriage relations, which are now violated by oppression-for the restoration of stolen property to its rightful owners--for the enforcement of that clause in the Declaration of Independence which asserts " that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"--and for the instant recognition of every American born citizen, as a countryman and brother !'
Having thus briefly defined the extent of immediate abolition, it may be useful to state some of its probable, nay, positive benefits.
It will remove the cause of bloodshed and insurrection. No patrols at night, no standing army, will be longer needed to keep the slaves in awe. The planters may dismiss their present fears, and sleep soundly ; for, by one act, they will have transformed their enemies into grateful friends and servants.
it will give protection to millions who are now at the mercy of a few irresponsible masters and drivers : every man and every woman may then find redress at law.
It will annihilate a system of licentiousness, incest, blood and cruelty.
It will open an immense market to our mechanics and manufacturers ; for these two millions of free persons will need, and will make every exertion to obtain hats, bonnets, shoes, clothes, houses, lands, &c. &c., of which they are now to a great extent, and while they remain in bondage, must be destitute.
It will afford facilities for educating them in morals, science and literature, which can never be granted to them as slaves.
It will permit us to supply every one of them with a Bible, and bring them into the house of God.
It will extinguish the fires of division between the North and South, and make the bonds of our Union (which is now held by a hair, if that be not separated at this moment) stronger than chains of iron.
It will enable us to take the one hundred thousand infants, who are annually born of slave parents, and doomed to a life of ignorance and servitude--place them in infant schools, and trarisfer them into primary and sabbath schools ; from these into high schools and Bible classes ; and, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, from Bible classes into the christian church. Thus they will become ornaments to society-capable men, good citizens, devoted christians-instead of mere animals.
It will banish the poverty of the South, reclaim her barren soil, and pour new blood into all her veins and arteries. The transformation of two millions of slaves into free laborers, animated in view of a just recompense for their voluntary toil, will renovate the whole frame of society. There is not a slave State but will exhibit the Mush of returning health, and feel a stronger pulse, and draw a freer breath. It is, indeed, often urged that the slaves, if freed, would not work. But they, who cherish this belief, disregard the nature of mind. The slaves, in their present condition, liare surely no jaotives for exertion ; and men without motives are mere machines, mere aninials, to be watched and driven by physical force: the natural consequence is, they are as indolent as possible : knowing that, whether they