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Full text of "American slavery. A protest against American slavery, by one hundred and seventy-three Unitarian ministers"

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AIMERZCAN SI.AVSRY 



3. protest 



AGAINST 



AMERICAN SLAVERY, 



BV 



ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THREE 
UNITARIAN MINISTERS. 



BOSTON: 

B . H . GREENE. 

1845. 




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«« 
c} PROTEST 

-hi- 

^ AGAINST 

^^ ^ in c r i r a u 1 a t) c r 11 , 

BY 

ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THREE 
UNITARIAN MINISTERS. 

We, the undersigned, disciples of Christ and 
Ministers of his Gospel, in bearing our solemn 
testimony against the system of American 
Slavery, deem it proper in the first place to de- 
clare the grounds of our action. 

We owe it to tiu'ee millions of Slaves, our 
fellow men and brethren, to do what we right- 
fully can to undo their bunlens. The wrongs 
of the Slave, however distant he may be, arc 
our wrongs; for Jesus has taught us that every 
sufferer whom we can relieve is our neighbor, 
thougl) a stranger, of another race and in a 
distant land. 



We owe it to Slavelioltlers, our fellow-men 
and brethren, vvlioni we believe to be in a posi- 
tion hostile to the influences of Christianity, to 
speak a word of warning concerning the moral 
evil and inhumanity of the system with which 
they are connected. 

We are the more obliged to bear this testi- 
mony because the Gospel of Christ cannot now 
be fully preached in the Slaveholding States. 
If it could, it might be less necessary to ex- 
press our views in the present form. But vio- 
lent and lawless men, as is well known, and as 
recent instances in our own experience show, 
have made it impossible for the Southern min- 
ister to declare the whole counsel of God by 
speaking freely of that particular sin with 
which the community he addresses is specially 
concerned. Consequently Southern men of 
better character, who would not> perhaps, them- 
selves sanction such constraint, are neverthe- 
less left without instruction as to their duty in 
relation to slavery. And if neither religion 
nor the instincts of humanity, nor the first 
principles of American liberty have taught 
them that the system is wrong, their ignorance 
may not be wholly their fault, but it would be 



our's were we to suffer it to remain. That they 
have been educated to believe that Slavehold- 
ing- is right, may be a reason why we should 
not severely blame them, but it is also a reason 
why we should show them the truth ; since the 
truth on this sui)ject must cojiie to them, it" at 
all, from the free States, through books, writ- 
ings, and public opinion. 

These reasons would induce us to speak 
even if the North were doing notliing to uphold 
Slavery. But by our political, commercial and 
social relations with the South, by the long si- 
lence of Northern Christians and Churches, by 
the fact that Northern men, going to the South, 
often become Slaveholders and apologists for 
Slavery, we have given the Slaveholders rea- 
son to believe that it is only the accident of 
our position which prevents us from engaging 
in this system as fully as themselves. Our 
silence therefore is upholding Slavery, and 
we must speak against it in order not to speak 
in its support. 

Es|)ecially do we feel that the denomination 
which takes for its motto "Liberty, Holiness 
and Love," should be foremost in opposing this 
system. More than others we have contended 



6 



for three great ])rinci|)les, — individual liberty, 
perfect righteousness, and Ininian brotherhood. 
All of these are grossly violated by the system 
of Slavery.' We contend for mental freedom ; 
shall we not denounce the system which fetters 
both mind and body? We have declared right- 
eousness to be the essence of Christianity; 
shall we not op])ose that system which is the 
sum of al! wrong ? We claim for all men the 
right of brotherhood before a universal Father; 
ought we not to testify against that which tram- 
ples so many of our brethren under foot? 

These reasons vvould lead us to speak indi- 
vidually and separately. But our combined 
voices may be heard more widely and be more 
regarded; and we therefore speak in company. 
As we do not, as a denomination, combine in 
subscribing creeds and fixing systems of the- 
ology, the more should we be ready to unite in 
jiractical endeavor to remove moral evils. As 
oui' princif)les of religious liberty do not permit 
us to exclude our brethren who are Slavehold- 
ers from our Christian fellowship, the more 
slioidd we testify against the Slave System it- 
self. Some individuals may think they hold 
Slaves for the good of their bondmen, in order 



to give llicni their liberty under more favorable 
circumstances. We cannot regard such Slave- 
lioiders as we do those who hold their fellow 
beings as property for the sake of gain or 
personal convenience. Leaving to God to de- 
cide on the comparative guilt or innocence of 
individual Slaveholders, we pronounce the sys- 
tem unchristian and inhuman. 

And more especially do we feel bound to lift 
up our voices at the present time, when the 
South has succeeded in compromising the na- 
tion to the support of Slavery; when it has 
been made a great national interest, defended 
in our national diplomacy, and to be upheld by 
our national arms ; when the nation has, by a 
new measure, solemnly assumed the guilt and 
responsibility of its continuance; when free 
Northern citizens, without any alleged crime, 
are thro^vn into Southern prisons and sold to 
perpetual bondajre ; when our attempts to ap- 
peal respectfully to the Federal Courts are 
treated with contumely, so that the question is 
no longer whether Slavery shall continue in 
the Soutliern States, but whether Freedom 
shall continue in any of the States. Now, 
therefore, when our reliance on political meas- 



8 



nres lias faded, it is the time to trust more fully 
in the power of Truth. To the schemes of 
party leaders, to political majorities, to the 
united treasures, arms, domains and interests 
of the nation, j)]edged to the extension and 
perpetuation of the system, let us now oppose 
the simple majesty and omnipotence of Truth. 
"For who knows not that Truth is strong, — 
next the Almighty?" 

We, therefore, ministers of the Gospel of 
Truth and Love, in the name of God the uni- 
versal Father, in the name of Christ the Re- 
deemer, in the name of Humanity and Human 
Brotherhood, do solemnly protest against the 
system of Slavery as unchristian and inhu- 
man, — 

Because it is a violation of the law of Right, 
being the sum of all unrighteousness which 
man can do to man, depriving him not only of 
]iis possessions but of himself. And, as in the 
possession of one's self are included all other 
possessions, and in the right to one's self are 
included all other ri^-hts, he who makes a man 
a slave commits the greatest possible robbery 
and the greatest possible wrong. 



Because it violates the law of Love, which 
says, " Whatsoever ye would that men should 
do unto you, do ye even so unto them." 

Because it degrades man, the image of God, 
into a thing; changes persons into })roperly; 
and, by violating the dignity of the human soul, 
is a constant sacrilege against that soul which 
the Scriptures declare to be the "Temple of 
the Holy Ghost." 

Because it necessarily tends to pollute the 
soul of the Slave, — prodiicing all vices, and 
fostering habits of indolence, sensuality, false- 
hood, treachery, theft, moral stupor and peipet- 
ual childhood, — by taking away ii/o;?e, which 
God has ap[)ointed as the lightener of toil, the 
spur to exertion, and the seed of progress, and 
by destroying the sense of responsibility, 
which is the bond that connects the soul with 
God. 

Because it tends to defile the soul of the 
master, as unlimited power must generally pro- 
duce self-indulgence, licentiousness, cruelty, 
arrogance and a domineering spirit, — qualities 
utterly opposed to the humility, meekness and 
self-denial of Christ. We cheerfully admit 
that some, both of the Slaveholders and Slaves, 



10 



have nobly resisted these influences and shown 
ys virtues which we shoidd be proud to imitate. 
But we know that the ])revuiling tendency of 
the system is nevertheless evil, and that it must 
always offer manifold temptations and inevita- 
ble occasions to sin. 

Because this system, as the indispensable 
condition of its continuance, must restrict edu- 
cation, keep the Bible from the Slave, make 
life insecure in the hands of irresponsible 
power, deprive female innocence of protection, 
sanction adultery, tear children from parents 
and husbands from wives, violate the divine in- 
stitution of families, and by hard and hopeless 
toil make existence a burden. 

Because Slavery, as all history testifies, eats 
out the heart of nations, and tends every year 
more and more to sear the popular conscience 
and impair the virtue of the people. It neu- 
tralizes the influence which we ought to exert 
on the world as a nation whose mission it is to 
extend the principles of political freedom. It 
degrades our national character, making us ap- 
pear before mankind as solemn hypocrites who 
declare " that all men are equal," and yet per- 
sist in holding a portion of them as Slaves, — who 



n 



tieclare that "a// are endowed vvilh certain in- 
alienable rights, among which are life, liberty, 
and the {jursjiiit of ha])piness," and yet take 
these rights from a sixth part of their own com- 
inunity. Constantly to profess one thing and 
constantly to practice another must destroy the 
sinews of national virtue. 

In pure obedience to these principles which 
no circumstances can obscure and no time can 
change, we protest against any attempt to de- 
fend this system on the ground that the Slaves 
are often treated kindly. It is not a question 
of treatment, but of right; and the greatest 
kindness would be no compensaiion for the 
rights which are withheld. 

We protest against any attempt to defend 
the system from the letter of the Scriptures or 
d'oni practices recorded in the Old Testament, 
as a libel on God and Christ, which would tend, 
so far as the attemt)t succeeded, to destroy our 
confidence in the Bible. If this system was 
not [}rohibited among ancient nations by posi- 
tive law, it was not for the reason that it was 
riglit, but that, like ])olygamy and other evil 
practices, "it was suffered for a time because 
of the hardness of their hearts." And if, Cvom 



12 



tlie imperfect knowledge under the old dispen- 
sation, " the time of this ignorance God winked 
at," yet now in the light of the Gospel, "he 
commands all men everywhere to repent." 

Final)}', while we prescribe no man's course 
of action, we earnestly implore all to put forth 
their full energy, and in the most efficient 
modes, to show decidedly their sympathy with 
the Slave, and their abhorrence of the system 
of oppression of which he is made the victim. 

We implore our brethren at the South, es- 
pecially those who hold the same faith as our- 
selves, to show their faith by their works; to 
come out from all participation in this sin, and, 
in the way they deem best, "to undo the heavy 
biM'dcn and let the opjnessed go free." 

We implore our brethren at the North, who 
may go to reside in Slaveholding regions, to go 
determined to make every sacrifice of profit or 
convenience rather than become abettors of 
this inhuman institution. 

We implore all Christians and Christian 
preachers to unite in unceasing prayer to God 
for aid against this system, to lose no opportu- 
iiit)' of speaking the truth and spreading light 



13 



on tills subject, in faith that the trutli is 
strong cnoiiglj to break every yoke. We pray 
them to remember those wliose hearts were in 
tills cause, who have ascended on high. l( 
Channlng, Follen, Worcester and Ware are 
still mindful of what is passing below, they 
must be looking to us to take their places and 
do their work. Wherefore seeing we are com- 
passed by such witnesses, let us lay aside every 
weight, and do the work of him who sent us 
while it is day. 

And we, on our part, do hereby pledge our- 
selves before God and our brethren, never to 
be weary of laboring in the cause of human 
rights and freedom till Slavery be abolished 
and every Slave made free. 



JOSEPH ALLEN. 

J. H. ALLEN. 

WM. ADAM. 

S. ALDEN. 

H. ALGER. 

S. G. BULFINCH. 

L. BAILEY. 

C. F. BARNARD. 

S. A. BARNARD. 



Massachusetts. 

?» 

Canada. 

Massachusetts. 



14 



JOHN BARTLETT. Mass. 
CHARLES BRIGGS, 
G. W. BRiGe;s. 

W. G. BABCOCK. Rhode Island. 

A. BROWN. Vcnnoiit. 

J. S. BROWN. N. H. 

C. BROOKS. Mass. 

C. T. BROOKS, Rhode Ishind. 

C. BRADFORD. Mass. 
W. BURTON. 

C. H. BRIGHAM. " 

A. M. BRIDGE. " 

E. BUCKINGHAM. New York. 

N. BUTLER. Kentucky. 

W. H. CHANNING. New York. 

JAMES F. CLARKE. Mass. 
S. CLARKE. 

AMOS CLARKE. » 

S. B. CRUFT. » 

W. GUSHING. " 

J. L T. COOLIDGE. " 

J. COLE. Maine. 

WM. COE. Mass. 

E. P. CRAFTS. « 

A. H. CONANT. Jllinois. 

S. CHANDLER. Mass. 



15 



EDWARD CAPEN. Massa 


chusetts. 


C. CUTLER. 


N. H. 


J. CALDWELL. 


»> 


C. IL A. DALL. 


Mass. 


THOMAS DAWES. 




THEODORE DORR. 




JOHN Q. DAY. 




O. C. EVERETT. 




H. F. EDES. 




R. S. EDES. 




RUFUS ELLIS. 


n 


J. ELLIS. 


5) 


H. EMMONS. New York. 


CONVERS FRANCIS. 


Mass. 


JAMES FLINT. 


n 


WM. H. FURNESS. Pennsylvania. 


B. FROST. 


Mass. 


N. S. FOLSOM. 


N. H. 


J. FIELD, (Charlemont.) 


Mass. 


FREDERICK A. FARLEY, 


New York. 


CHARLES A. FARLEY. 


JMass. 


S. FARLEY. 


11 


WM. FARMER. 


Vermont. 


FREDERICK T. GRAY. 


Mass. 


WASHINGTON GILBERT 


11 


N. GAGE. 


11 



16 



ti. GILES. 


Mass. 


E. J. GERRY. 


rt 


AMORY GALE. 


n 


AAROX GREEX. 


n 


F. D. HI^XrsGTOX. 


n 


E. B. HALL- 


Rhode JsIaDd, 


X. HALL. 


3Ia5s. 


F. H. HEDGE. 


3JaiDe. 


F. mXCKLEY. 


Mass. 


A. HARDIXG. 


» 


H. HERSEY'. 


i» 


G. W. HOSMEE. 


New York- 


F. W. HOT.T.AXD. 


r? 


THO>L\S HILL. 


Penn. 


GEORGE G. LXGEJLS 


OLE. Mass. 


A. D. JOXES. 


r 


SY'L\'ESTER JUDD. 


Maine. 


JA\]ES KEXDALL. 


Mass. 


J. KEXDALL, Ja. 


?•? 


D. KLMBAT.L 


n 


WM. H. KXAPP. 


rt 


J.\-MES KAY. 


Peno. 


W. H. KJXSLEY. 


Mass. 


L. W. LEOXARD. 


N. H. 


G. LEOXAPvD. 


Mass. 


A. A. LIVER.MORE. 


N. IL 



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H. LA 

\V. iL ^ .._ 

s. J. M_\r. 

S. MAY. 

L- M-\Y:> ARP. 

3*L L MOTTE. 

A B. vr zzF v 

J. F. MC • iRS. 

J- MCmjFJ:! 

GEORGE MOORE. 

W. C. M«>SELEY. 

J. M. MERRICK. 

HENTIY A. MILES. 

WM. XEWELI- 

JACOB XORTOX. 

C. XIGHTESGALE. 

J. <?SGOC»r». 

S. OSGOOD. Rh*>fe fc:.iaL 

ANDREW P. PE.\EODY. X. H. 

O. W. a PE-\BODY. Y'riiiMT 

JOHX PARKMAS. X^w ll^av>sUreL 

JOHX PIERPOXT. Xew York. 

J. PIERPi3XT. Jl 

A R. PC^PE. 

T. H. PC»XS. 

THEODORE PAKKEJL ' 



18 



C. PIERCE. Massachusetts. 

ISAAC B. PIERCE. New York. 

J. H. PERKINS. Ohio. 

CAZENEAU PALFREY. Mass. 

R. PIKE. " 

SAMUEL RIPLEY. " 

CHANDLER ROBBINS. 

S. D. ROBBINS. 

JOHN LEWIS RUSSELL. " 

G. M. RICE. 

CHARLES ROBINSON. 

C. STETSON. 

OLIVER STEARNS. " 

WM. STEARNS. " 

RALPH SANGER. " 

PRESERVED SMITH. 

AMOS SMITH. " 

L S. SiVIITH.* " 

J. C. SMITH. " 

RUFUS P. STEBBINS. Pennsylvania. 

L. H. SHAW. Mass. 

EDMUND Q. SEWALL. 

CHARLES SEWALL. " 



* Mr. I, S. Smith, and a few others whose signatures 
are atBxed to this paper, are occasional preachers, and 
candidates for the ministry, liaving at present no pas- 
toral charge. 



19 



R. C. STONE. Mass. 

EDWARD STONE. " 

J. L. STONE. " 

JOHN T. SARGENT. " 

GEO. F. SIMMONS. " 

J. D. SWEET. " 

WM. SILSBEE. " 

HERMAN SNOW. Connecticut. 

DANIEL M. STEARNS. 

WM. P. TILDEN. New Hampshire. 

JAMES THOMPSON. Mass. 

J. W. THOMPSON. " 

J. THURSTON. " 

M. G. THOMAS. " 

EDWARD TURNER. " 

ZEPHANIAH WILLIS. " 

M. W. WILLIS. N. IL 

JOHN WEISS. Mass. 

R. C. WATERSTON. " 

WitLIAM WARE. " 

J. F. W. WARE. " 

L. WISWALL. 

R. F. WALLCUT. " 

J. K. WAITE. " 

WM. H. WHITE. 

JOHN WHITE. " 



20 



O. W. WOODWARD. Mass. 

E. B. WILLSON. " 

L. WILSON. " 

O. H. WELLINGTON. 

SAMUEL WJLLARD. 

WM. A. WHITWELL. N. H. 

H. WITHINGTON. Mass. 

FREDERICK A. WHITNEY. " 

JASON WHITMAN. " 

JOHN B. WIGHT. " 

H. WOOD. 

At a session of the Rhode Island and Massa- 
chusets Christian Conference in New Bedford, 
the 9th, 10th and 11th inst,, the " Protest of 
Unitarian Ministers against American Slavery" 
was referred to the Business Committee, and 
by them reported entire to the meeting. On 
the question of its adoption, the members of 
the Conference all rose and voted undliiniously 
as follows: — 

Resolved, That tliis body cordially approve of the 
sentiments of the above Protest, and wish that this 
■aetion of the Conference should be forwarded forpub- 
lication by brother William Coc. 

Signed, HExXRY SELLINGS, Pres't. 

Joseph Blackhian, Clerk. 



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