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Full text of "Correspondence, between the Hon. F. H. Elmore, one of the South Carolina delegation in Congress, and James G. Birney, one of the secretaries of the American Anti-Slavery Society"

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Hon. F. H. ELMORE, 




N E W - Y O R K : 




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Anti-Slavery Office, New York, May 24, 1838. 

In January, a tract entitled "Why work for the slave?" was issued 
from this office by the agent for the Cent-a-week Societies. A copy of 
it was transmitted to the Hon. John C. Calhoun ; — to him, because he has 
seemed, from the first, more solicitous than the generality of Southern 
politicians, to possess himself of accurate information about the Anti- 
Slavery movement. A note written by me accompanied the tract, in- 
forming Mr. Calhoun, why it was sent to him. 

Not long afterward, the following letter was received from the Hon. 
F. H. Elmore, of the House of Representatives in Congress. From this 
and another of his letters just now received, it seems, that the Slave- 
holding Representatives in Congress, after conferring together, appointed 
a committee, of their own number, to obtain authentic information of the 
intentions and progress of the Anti-Slavery associations, — and that Mr. 
Elmore was selected, as the South Carolina member of the Committee. 

Several other communications have passed between Mr. Elmore and 
me. They relate, chiefly, however, to the transmission and reception 
of Anti-slavery publications, which he requested to be sent to him, — 
and to other matters not having any connection with the merits of the 
main subject. It is, therefore, thought unnecessary to publish them. 
It may be sufficient to remark of all the communications received from 
Mr. Elmore — that they are characterized by exemplary courtesy and 
good temper, and that they bear the impress of an educated, refined, 
and liberal mind. 

( 4 ) 

It is iniciidcd to circulate this correspondence throughout the whole 
lountry. If the information it communicates be in)portanl for southern 
Keprcscntativos in Congress, it is not less so for their Constituents. 
The Anii-slavery movement has become so important in a National 
point of view, that no can innocently remain ignorant of its 
progress and tendencies. The facts stated in my answer may be relied 
on, in proportion to the degree of accuracy to which they lay claim ; 
— the arguments will, of course, be estimated according to their worth 

James G. Bir.ney. 


Washington- City, Feb. 16, 1838 

To Jas. G. Birney, Esq., Cor. Sec. A. A. S. Soc. 

Sir: — A letter from you to the Hon. John C. Calhoun, dated 29th 
January last, has been given to me, by him, in which you say, (in refer- 
ence to the abolitionists or Anti- Slavery Societies,) " we have nothing 
to conceal — and should you desire any information as to our procedure, 
it will be cheerfully communicated on [my] being apprised of your 
wishes." The frankness of this unsolicited offer indicates a fairness 
and honesty of purpose, which has caused the present communication, 
and which demands the same full and frank disclosure of the views with 
which the subjoined inquiries are proposed. 

Your letter was handed to me, in consequence of a duty assigned me 
by my delegation, and which requires me to procure all the authentic 
information I can, as to the nature and intentions of yours and similar 
associations, in order that we may, if we deem it advisable, lay the in 
formation before our people, so that they may be prepared to decide 
understandingly, as to the course it becomes them to pursue on this all 
important question. If you " have nothing to conceal," and it i« not 
imposing too much on, what may have been, an unguarded proffer, I 
will esteem your compliance as a courtesy to an opponent, and be plea- 
sed to have an opportunity to make a suitable return. And if, on the 
other hand, you have the least difficulty or objection, I trust you will not 
hesitate to withhold the information sought for, as I would not have it, 
unless as freely given, as it will, if deemed expedient, be freely used. 

I am, Sir, 

Your ob'd't serv't, 

F. H. Elmore, of S. C. 

{ <• ) 

Questions for J. G. Birney, Esq., Cor. Sec. A. A. S. Society. 

1. How many societies, aftiliated with that of which you are the 
Corresponding' Secretary, are there in the United States ? And how 
many members belong to them in the aggregate ? 

2. Are tiiero any other societies similar to yours, and not affiliated 
with it, in the United States ? and how many, and what is the aggregate 
of their members 1 

3. Have vou afliliation, intercourse or connection with any similar 
societies out of the United States, and in what countries 1 

4. Do your or similar societies exist in the Colleges and other Lite- 
rary institutions of the non-slaveliolding States, and to what extent ? 

5. What do you estimate the numbers of those who co-operate in 
this matter at ? What proportion do they bear in the population of the 
Northern states, and what in the Middle non-slaveholding states ? Are 
ihey increasing, and at what rate ? 

6. What is the object your associations aim at ? does it extend to 
the abolition of slavery only in the District of Columbia, or in the whole 
slave country ? 

7. By what means, and under what power, do you propose to carry 
your views into eiTect ? 

8. \Vhat has been for three years past, the annual income of your 
societies ? and how is it raised ? 

9. In what way, and to what purposes, do you apply these funds ? 

10. How many printing presses and periodical publications have you? 

11. To what classes of persons do you address your publications, 
and are they addressed to the judgment, the imagination, or the feelings ? 

12. Do you propagate your doctrines by any other means than oral 
and written discussions, — for instance, by prints and pictures in manu- 
factures—say pocket handkerchiefs, &c. Pray, state the various 
modes ? 

13. Are your hopes and expectations increased or lessened by the 
events of the last year, and, especially, by the action of this Congress ? 
And will your exertions be relaxed or increased ? 

14. Have you any permanent fund, and how much? 

( 7 ) 

Anti-Slavery Office, New York, March 8, 1838 
Hon. F. H. Elmore, 

Member of Congress from S. Carolina: 
Sir, — I take pleasure in furnishing the information you have so po- 
litely asked for, in your letter of the 16th ult., in relation to the Amer 
ican Anti-Slavery Society; — and trust, that this correspondence, by 
presenting in a sober light, the objects and measures of the society, may 
contribute to dispel, not only from your own mind, bv.t — if it be diffused 
throughout the South — from the minds of our fellov -citizens there gen- 
erally, a great deal of undeserved prejudice and groundless alarm. 1 
cannot hesitate to believe, that such as enter on the examination of its 
claims to public favour, without bias, will fmd that it aims intelligently, 
not only at the promotion of the interests of the slave, but of the master, 
—not only at the re-animation of the Republican principles of our Con- 
stitution, but at the establishment of the Union on an enduring basis. 

I shall proceed to state the several questions submitted in your letter, 
and answer them, in the order in which they are proposed. You ask, — 

"1. How many societies, affi.liated ivith that of which you are corres- 
ponding secretary; are there in the United States ? And how many mem- 
bers belong to them in the aggregate ?" 

Answer. — Our anniversary is held on the Tuesday immediately pre- 
ceding the second Thursday in May. Returns of societies are made 
only a short time before. In May, 1835, there were 225 auxiliaries 
reported. In May, 1836, 527. In May, 1837, 1006. Returns for the 
anniversary in May next have not come in yet. It may, however, be 
safely said, that the increase, since last May, is not less than 400.* 
Of late, the multiplication of societies has not kept pace with the pro- 
gress of our principles. Where these are well received, our agents are 
not so careful to organize societies as in former times, when our num- 
bers were few ; societies, now, being not deemed so necessary for the 
advancement of our cause. The auxiliaries average not less than 80 
members each ; making an aggregate of 1 12,480. Others estimate the 
auxiliaries at 1500, and the average of members at 100. I give you, 
what I believe to be the lowest numbers. 

" 2. Are there any other societies similar to yours, and not affiliated 
with it in the United States ? And how many, and what is the aggregate 
of their members V 

* The number reported for May was three hundred and forty, making, in the aggregate, 1346.— 
KepoHfw May, 1838. 

( 8) 

Answer. — Several societies have been formed in the Methodist con- 
nection within the hist two years, — ahhuugh most of the Methodists wlio 
are abohtionists, are members of societies auxiliary to the American. 
These societies have been originated by Ministers, and others of 
weight and intluence, who think that their brethren can be more 
easily persuaded, as a religious body, to aid in the anti-slavery move- 
ment by this twofold action. None of the large religious denomina- 
tions bid fairer soon to be on the side of emancipation than the Method- 
ist. Of the number of the Methodist societies that are not auxiliary, I 
am not informed. — The Illinois Society comes under the same class. 
The Rev. Elijah P. Lovejov, the corresponding secretarj', was slain 
by a mob, a few days after its organization. It has not held a meeting 
since ; and I have no data for stating the number of its members. 
It is supposed not to be large. — Neither is the Delaware Society, 
organized, a few weeks ago, at Wilmington, auxiliary to the Ameri- 
can. I have no information as to its nimibers. — The Manumission 
Society in this city, formed in 1785, with John Jay its first, and 
Alexander Hamilton its second president, might, from its name, be 
supposed to be affiliated with the American. Originally, its object, so 
far as regarded the slaves, and those illegally held in bondage in this 
state, was, in a great measure, similar. Slavery being extinguished in 
New-York in 1827, as a state system, the efforts of the Manumission 
Society are limited now to the rescue, from kidnappers and others, 
of such persons as are really free by the laws, but who have been 
reduced to slavery. Of the old Abolition societies, organized in 
the time, and under the influence of Franklin and Rush and Jay, and 
the most active of their coadjutors, but few remain. Their declension 
may be ascribed to this defect, — they did not inflexibly ask for imme- 
diate emancipation. — The Pennsylvania Abolition Society, formed 
in 1789, with Dr. Franklin, president, and Dr. Rush, secretary, is 
still in existence — but unconnected with the American Society. Some 
of the most active and benevolent members of both the associations last 
named, are members of the American Society. Besides the societies 
already mentioned, there may be in the country a few others of anti- 
slavery name ; but they are of small note and efhciency, and are 
unconnected with this. 

" 3. Have you affiliation, intercourse, or connection with any similar 
societies out of the United States, and in ichat countries .'" 

Answer. — A few societies have spontaneously sprung up in Can- 
ada. Two have declared themselves auxiliary to the American. We 

{ 9 ) 

nave an agent — a native of the United States — in Upper Canada ; 
not with a view to the organization of societies, but to the moral 
and intellectual elevation of the Ten thousand colored people there ; 
most of wlioin have escaped from slavery in this Republic, to enjoy 
freedom under the protection of a Monarchy. In Great Britain there 
are numerous Anti-slavery Societies, whose particular object, of late, 
has been, to bring about the abolition of the Apprentice-system, as 
established by the emancipation act in her slaveholding colonies. In 
England, there is a society whose professed object is, to abolish slavery 
throughout the world. Of the existence of the British societies, you 
are, doubtless, fully aware ; as also of the fact, that, in Britain, the great 
mass of the people are opposed to slavery as it existed, a little while 
ago, in their own colonies, and as it exists now in the United States. — 
in France, the " French Society for the Abolition of Slavery" 
was founded in 1834. I shall have the pleasure of transmitting to you 
two pamphlets, containing an account of some of its proceedings ; from 
which you will learn, that, the Due de Broglie is its presiding officer, 
and many of the most distinguished and influential of the public men of 
jhat country are members. — In Hayti, also, " The Haytian Abolition 
Society" was formed in May, 1836. 

These are all the foreign societies of which I have knowledge, 
rhey are connected with the American by no formal affiliation. The 
only intercourse between them and it, is, that which springs up spon- 
taneously among those of every land who sympathize with Humanity 
'in her conflicts with Slavery. 

" 4. Do your or similar societies exist in the Colleges and other Literary 
institutions of the non-slaveholding states, and to what extent V 

Answer. — Strenuous efforts have been made, and they are still being 
made, by those who have the direction of most of the literary and theo- 
logical institutions in the free states, to bar out our principles and doc- 
trines, and prevent the formation of societies among the students. To 
this course they have been prompted by various, and possibly, in their 
view, good motives. One of them, I think it not uncharitable to say, 
is, to conciliate the wealthy of the south, that they may send their sons 
to the north, to swell the college catalogues. Neither do I think it 
uncharitable to say, that in this we have a manifestation of that Aristo- 
cratic pride, which, feeling itself honored by having entrusted to its 
charge the sons of distant, opulent, and distinguished planters, fails not 
to dull everything like sympathy for those whose unpaid toil supplies 
the means so lavishly expended in educating southern youth at north- 


( 10 ) 

ern colleges. These eflbrts at suppression or restraint, on the part of 
Facullifs anil IJoards of Trustees, have heretofore succeeded to a con- 
siderable extent. Anti-Slavery Societies, notwithstanding, have been 
formed in a few of our most distinguished colleges and theological 
seminaries. Public opinion is beginning to call for a relaxation of 
restraints and impositions ; they are yielding to its demands ; and /low, 
for the most part, sympathy for the slave may be manifested by our 
generous college youth, in the institution of Anti-Slavery Societies, 
without any downright prohibition by their more politic teacliers. ('ol- 
lege societies will probably increase more rapidly hereafter; a.s, in 
addition to tlie removal or relaxation of former restraints, just referred 
to, the nuirder of Mr. Lovejoy, the assaults on the Freedom of speech 
and of the press, the prostration of the Right of petition in Congress, 
<kc, &c, all believed to have been perpetrated to secure slavery from 
the scrutiny that the intelligent world is demanding, have greatly aug- 
mented the number of college abolitionists. They are, for the most 
part, the diligent, the intellectual, the religious of the students. United 
in societies, their influence is generally extensively felt in the sur- 
rounding region ; dispersed, it seems scarcely less effective. An 
instance of the latter deserves particular notice. 

The Trustees and Faculty of one of our theological and literary 
institutions united for the suppression of anti-slavery action among the 
students. The latter refused to cease pleading for the slave, as he 
could not plead for himself. They left the institution ; were providen 
tially dispersed over various parts of the country, and made useful, in a 
remarkable manner, in advancing the cause of humanity and liberty 
One of these dismissed students, the son of a slaveholder, brought vp 
in the midst of slavery, and well acquainted with its peculiarities, suc- 
ceeded in persuading a pious father to emancipate his fourteen slaves. 
After lecturing a long time with signal success — having contracted a 
disease of the throat, which prevented him from further prosecuting his 
labors in this way — he visited the West Indies, eighteen months ago, in 
company with another gentleman of the most ample qualifications, to 
note the operation of the British emancipation act. Together, they 
collected a muss of facts — now in a course of publication — that will 
astonish, as it ought to dehght, the whole south ; for it shows, conclu- 
sively, that i.M.MKDiATE emancipation is the best, the safest, the most 
profitable, as it is the most just and honorable, of all emancipations.* 

Another of these dismissed students is one of the secretaries of this 
society. He has, for a long time, discharged its arduous and responsi- 

* See Append)!, A. 

( 11 ) 

ble duties with singular ability. To his qualifications as secretary, he 
adds those of an able and successiiil lecturer. He was heard, several 
times, before the joint committee of the Legislature of Massachusetts, a 
year ago, prior to the report of that committee, and to the adoption, by 
the Senate and House of Representatives, of their memorable resolu- 
tions in favor of the Power of Congress to abolish slavery in the District 
of Columbia, and of the Right of petition. 

" 5. What do you estimate the number of those who co-operate in the 
matter at 1 What proportion do they hear in the population of the north- 
ern states, and what in the middle non-slaveholding states ? Are they 
increasing, and at what rate ?" 

Answer. — Those who stand ready to join our societies on the first 
suitable occasion, may be set down as equal in number to those who 
are now actually members. Those who are ready fully to co-operate 
with us in supporting the freedom of speech and the press, the right of 
petition, &c, may be estimated at double, if not treble, the joint num- 
bers of those who already are members, and those who are ready to 
become members. The Recording secretary of the Massachusetts 
Society stated, a few weeks ago, that the abolitionists in the various 
minor societies in that state were one in thirty of the whole population. 
The proportion of abolitionists to the whole population is greater in 
Massachusetts than in any other of the free states, except Vermont, — 
where the spirit of liberty has almost entirely escaped the corruptions 
which slavery has infused into it in most of her sister states, by means 
of commercial and other intercourse with them. 

In Maine, not much of systematic eflbrt has, as yet, been put forth to 
enlighten her population as to our principles and proceedings. I attend- 
ed the anniversary of the State Society on the 31st of January, at Au- 
gusta, the seat of government. The Ministers of the large religious 
denominations were beginning, as I was told, to unite with us — and 
Politicians, to descry the ultimate prevalence of our principles. The 
impression I received was, that much could, and that much would, 
speedily be done. 

In New Hampshire, more labor has been expended, and a greatei 
effect produced. Public functionaries, who have been pleased to speak 
in contemptuous terms of the progress of abolitionism, both in Maine 
and New Hampshire, will, it is thought, soon be made to see, through 
a medium not at all deceptive, the grossness of their error. 

In Rhode Island, our principles are fast pervading the great body 
of the people. This, it is thought, is the only one of the free states, in 

( 12 ) 

which the subject of abolition has been fully introduced, whicli has noi 
been disjjfrined by a mob, triumphant, for the time being, over the righ', 
of the peojile to discuss any, and every, matter in which they feel inter 
Cbted. A short time previous to the last election of members of Con 
gress, questions, embodying our views as to certain political measures. 
were propounded to the several candidates. Respectful answers, 
and, in the main, conformable with our views, were returned. I shall 
transmit you a newspaper containing both the questions and the 

In Connecticut, there has not been, as yet, a great expenditure of 
abolition ellbrt. Although the moral tone of this state, so far as slavery 
i.s concerned, has been a good deal weakened by the influence of her 
nuiltiform connexions with the south, yet the energies that have beer 
put forth to reanimate her ancient and lofty feelings, so far from proving 
fruitless, have been followed by the most cncourajring results. Evi 
dence of this is found in the faithful administration of the laws by judges- 
and juries. In May last, a slave, who had been biought from Georgia to 
Hartford, successfully asserted her freedom under the laws of Con- 
necticut. 'J'hc cause was elaborately argued before the Supremo 
court. The most eminent counsel were employed on both sides 
And it is but a few days, since two anti-abolition rioters (the only 
ones on trial) were convicted before the Superior court in New 
Haven, and sentenced to pay a fine of twenty dollars each, and 
to be imprisoned six months, the longest term authorized by the law 
A convention, for the organization of a State Society, was held in the 
city of Hartford on the last day of February. It was continued three 
days. The call for it (which I send you) was signed by nearly eightee> 
HONORED cf the citizens of that state. Seventeen hundred, as I waj- 
informed, are legal voters. The proceedings of the convention wert- 
of the most harmonious and animating character.! 

In New Yokk, our cause is evidently advancing. The state is rap 
idly coming up to the high ground of principle, so far as universal 
liberty is concerned, on which the abolitionists would place her. Seve- 
ral large Anti-Slavery conventions have lately been held in the west- 
ern counties. Their reports are of the most encouraging charactei 
Nor is the change more remarkable in the state than in this city. Les5> 
than five years ago, a few of the citizens advertised a meeting, to be 

* Sinco the above was written, at the last election in this state for govemor and lieutenant 
governor, the abolitionists interrogated the gentlemen who stood candidates for these offices. 
Two of them answered respectfully, -and conformably to the views of the abolitionists. Therr 
opponents neglected to answer at all. The first were elected. — See Appendix, B. 

♦ See Appendix, C. 

( 13 ) 

held in Clinton Hall, to form a City Anti-Slavery Society. A mob 
prevented their assembhng at the place appointed. They repaired, pri- 
vately, to one of the churches. To this they were pursued by the mob, 
and routed from it, though not before they had completed, in a hasty 
manner, the form of organization. In the summer of 1834, some of the 
leading political and commercial journals of the city were enabled to 
stir up the mob against the persons and property of the abolitionists, 
and several of the most prominent were compelled to leave the city 
foi" safety ; their houses were attacked, broken into, and, in one 
instance, the furniture publicly burnt in the street. Now, things are 
much changed. Many of the merchants, and mechanics are favorable 
to our ca'oze ; gentlemen of the bar, especially the younger and more 
growing ones, are directing their attention to it ; twenty-one of our city 
ministers are professed abolitionists ; the churches are beginning to be 
more accessible to us ; our meetings are held in them openly, attract 
large numbers, are unmolested ; and the abolitionists sometimes hear 
themselves commended in other assemblies, not only for their honest 
intentions, but for their respectability and intelligence. 

New Jersey has, as yet, no State Society, and the number of avow 
ed abolitionists is small. In some of the most populous and influen- 
tial parts of the state, great solicitude exists on the subject ; and the 
call for lecturers is beginning to be earnest, if not importunate. 

Pennsylvania has advanced to our principles just in proportion to 
the labor that has been bestowed, by means of lectures and publications 
in enlightening her population as to our objects, and the evils and dan 
gers impending over the whole country, from southern slavery. The 
act of her late Convention, in depriving a large number of their own 
constituents (the colored people) of the* elective franchise, heretofore 
possessed by them without any allegation of its abuse on their part, 
would seem to prove an unpropitious state of public sentiment. We 
would neither deny, nor elude, the force of such evidence. But when 
this measure of the convention is brought out and unfolded in its true 
light — shown to be a party measure to bring succor from the south — 
a mere following in the wake of North Carolina and Tennessee, who 
led the way, in their neio constitutions, to this violation of the rights of 
their colored citizens, that they might the more firmly compact the 
wrongs of the enslaved — a pernicious, a profitless violation of great 
principles — a vulgar defiance of the advancing spirit of humanity and 
justice — a relapse into the by-gone darkness of a barbarous age — we 
apprehend from it no serious detriment to our cause. 

Ohio has been well advanced. In a short time, she will be found 

( 14 ) 

among the must prominent of the states on the rrj^ht side in the contest 
now i^oim,' on between the spirit of liberty embodied in the free insti- 
tutions of the north, and the spirit of slavery pervading the south. Her 
Constitution publislies the most honorable reprobation of slavery of 
any otlier in the Union. In providing for its own revision or amend- 
ment, it declares, that »o alteration of it shall ever take place, so as to 
introduce slavery or invuluntury servitude into the state. Her Supreme 
court is intelligent and firm. It lia> lately decided, virtually, against 
the constitutionality cf an act of the Legislature, made, in cllect, to 
favor southern slavery by the persecution of the colored people within 
her bounds. She has, already, abolitionists enough to turn the scale in 
her elections, and an abundance of excellent material for augmenting the 

In Indiana but little has been done, except by the diffusion of our 
publications. But even with these appliances, several auxiliary socie- 
ties have been organized.* 

In Michigan, the leaven of abolitionism pervades the whole popula- 
tion. The cause is well sustained by a high order of talent ; and we 
trust soon to sec the influence of it in all her public acts. 

In Illinois, the murder of Mr. Lovejoy has multiplied and confirmed 
abolitionists, aid led to the formation of many societies, which, in all 
probability, would not have been formed so soon, had not that event 
taken place. 

I am not possessed of sufficient data for stating, with precision, what 
proportion the abolitionists bear in the population of the Northern and 
Middle non-slaveholding states respectively. Within the last ten 
months, I have travelled extensively in both these geographical divi- 
sions I have had whatever' advantage this, assisted by a strong inter- 
est in the general cause, and abundant conversations with the best 
informed abolitionists, could give, for making a fair estimate of their 
numbers. In the Northern states I should say, they are one in ten — 
in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, one in twenty — of the 
whole adult population. That the abolitionists have multiplied, and 
that they are still multiplying rapidly, no one acquainted with the small- 
ness of their numbers at their first organization a few years ago, and 
who has kept his eyes about him since, need ask. That they have not, 
thus far, been more successful, is owing to the vastness of the under- 
taking, and the difficulties with which they have had to contend, from 

* The first Legislative movement against the annexation of Texas to the Union, was made, 
it IS believed, ill Indiana. So early as December, 1836, a joint resulutlon passed its second re&d- 
iDg in one or both branches of the Legislature. Uow it was ultimately disposed of, is no( known. 

( 15 ) 

comparatively limited means, for presenting their measures and objects, 
with the proper developments and explanations, to the great mass of 
the popular mind. The progress of their principles, under the same 
amount of intelligence in presenting them, and where no peculiar causes 
of prejudice exist in the minds of the hearers, is generally proportioned 
to the degree of religious and intellectual worth prevailing in the differ- 
ent sections of the country where the subject is introduced. I know 
no instance, in which any one notoriously profane or intemperate, or 
licentious, or of openly irreligious practice, has professed, cordially to 
have received our principles. 

" 6. What is the object your associations aim at ? Does it extend to 
abolition of slavery only in the District of Columbia, or in the whole slave 
country .'"* 

Answer. — This question is fully answered in the second Article of 
the Constitution of the American Anti-Slavery Society, which is in 
these words : — 

" The object of this society is the entire abolition of slavery in the 
United States. While it admits that each state, in which slavery exists, 
has, by the Constitution of the United States, the exclusive right to 
legislate in regard to its abolition in said state, it shall aim to convince 
all our felloAv-citizens, by arguments addressed to their understandings 
and consciences, that slaveholding is a heinous crime in the sight of 
God, and that the duty, safety, and best interests of all concerned 
require its immediate abandonment, without expatriation. The society 
will also endeavor, in a constitutional way, to influence Congress to put 
an end to the domestic slave-trade, and to abolish slavery in all those 
portions of our common country which come under its control, espe- 
cially in the District of Columbia ; and likewise to prevent the exten- 
sion of it to any state that may hereafter be admitted to the Union." 

Other objects, accompanied by a pledge of peace, are stated in the 
third article of the Constitution, — 

" This Society shall aim to elevate the character and condition of the 
people of color, by encouraging their intellectual, moral, and religious 
improvement, and by removing public prejudice, — that thus they may, 
according to their intellectual and moral worth, share an equality with 
the whites of civil and religious privileges ; but this Society will never 
in any way, countenance the oppressed in vindicating their rights by 
resorting to physical force." 

" "^^ ^y what means and by what power do you propose to carry your 
views into effect ?" 

( 16 ) 

Answer. — Our ••means" are the Truth, — llie " Power" under whose 
guidance we propose to carry our views into effect, is, the Ahnighty. 
Confiding in these means, when directed by the spirit and wisdom of 
Hiui, who has so made them as to act on the hearts of men, and so con- 
stituted the hearts of men as to be affected by them, we expect, 1 . To 
bring the Chdrch of this country to repentance for the sin of Oppres- 
sion. Not only the Southern portion of it that has been the oppressor 
— but the Northern, that has stood by, consenting, for half a century, to 
the wrong. 2. To bring our countrymen to see, that for a nation to 
persist in injustice is, but to rush on its own ruin ; that to do justice is 
the highest expediency — to love mercy its noblest ornament. In other 
countries, slavery has sometimes yielded to fortuitous circumstances, 
or been extinguished by physical force. We strive to win for truth the 
victor)' ovtr error, and on the broken fragments of slavery to rear for 
her a temple, that shall reach to the heavens, and toward which all na- 
tions shall worship. It has been said, that the slaveholders of the South 
will not yield, nor hearken to the influence of the truth on this subject. 
We believe it not — nor give we entertainment to the slander that such 
an unworthy defence of them implies. We believe them men, — that 
they have understandings that arguments will convince — consciences to 
which the appeals of justice and mercy will not be made in vain. If 
our principles he true — our arguments right — if slaveholders be men — 
and God have not delivered over our guilty country to the retributions 
of the oppressor, not only of the stranger but of the native — our 
success is certain. .^^ 

" 8. What has been for three years past, the annual income of your so- 
cieties ? And how has it been raised ? 

Answer. — The annual income of the societies at large, it would be 
impossible to ascertain. The total receipts of this society, for the year 
ending 9th of May, 1835 — leaving out odd numbers — was $10,000; 
for the year ending 9lh of May, 1837, $25,000; and for tlie year en- 
ding 11th of May, 1836, $38,000. From the last dale, up to this — not 
quite ten months — there has been paid into the treasury the sum of 
$3G,000.* These sums are independent of what is raised by state and 
auxiliary societies, for expenditure within their own particular bounds, 
and for their own particular exigencies. Also, of the sums paid in sub- 
scriptions for the support of newspapers, and for the printing (by auxil- 
iaries,) of periodicals, pamphlets, and essays, either for sale at low 

/ The repoi; for May states the sum received, during the previous year, at f 44,000. 

( 17 ) 

prices, or for gratuitous distribution. The moneys contributed in these 
various modes would make an aggregate greater, perhaps, than is paid 
into the treasury of any one of the Benevolent societies of the country. 
Most of the wealthy contributors of former years suffered so severely in 
the money-pressure of this, that they have been unable to contribute much 
to our funds. This has made it necessary to call for aid on the gre&U 
body of aboUtiosiists— persons, generally, in moderate circumstances. 
Tliey have well responded to the call, considering the hardness of the 
limes. To show you the extremes that meet at our treasury, — General 
Sewall,of Maine, a revolutionary officer, eighty-five years old — William 
Philbrick, a little boy near Boston, not four years old— and a colored 
womatj, who makes her subsistence by selling apples in the streets in 
this city, lately sent in their respective sums to assist in promoting the 
emancipation of the " poor slave." 

All contributions of whatever kind are voluntary. 

" 9. In what loay, and to what purposes do you apply these funds .'" 

Answer. — They are used in sustaining the society's office in this 

city in paying lecturers 2nd agents of various kinds — in upholding the 

press in printing books, pamphlets, tracts, &c, containing expositions 

of our principles — accounts of our progress — refutations of objections 

and disquisition^ on points, scriptural, constitutional, political, legal, 

economical, as they chance to arise and become important. In this 
office three secretaries are employed in different departments of duty ; 
one editor; >-ae publishing agent, with an assistant, and two or three 
youno- Bien and boys, for folding, directing, and despatching papers, exe- 
cutin*^ errands, &c. The business of the society has increased so much 
of late, as to make it necessary, in order to ensure the proper despatch 
of it, to employ additional clerks for the particular exigency. Last 
year, the society had in its service about sixty " permanent agents." 
This year, the number is considerably diminished. The deficiency 
has been more than made up by creating a large number of " Local" 
agents — so called, from the fact, that being generally Professional men, 
lawyers or physicians in good practice, or Ministers with congregations, 
they are confined, for the most part, la their respective neighborhoods. 
Some of the best minds in our country are thus engaged. Their labors 
have not only been eminently successful, but have been rendered at but 
small charge to the society ; they receiving only their travelling expen- 
ses, whilst employed in lecturing and forming societies. In the case of 
a minister, there is the additional expense of supplying his pulpit while 
absent on the business of his agency, However, in many instances, 

3 » 

( 18 ) 

these agents, being in easy circuinstani rs, make no charge, even for 
tlieir expenses. 

In making appointments, the executive committee have no regard to 
party discrimination. This will be lully understood, when it is stated, 
tliat on a late occasion, two of our local agents were the candidates of 
their respective political parties for the office of Secretary of Stale for 
the state of Vermont. 

It ought to be stated here, that two of the most effective advocates 
of the anti-.slavery cause are females — the Misses Grimke — natives of 
South Carolina — brought up in the midst of the usages of slavery — most 
intelligently acquainted wiih the merits of the system, and qualified, in 
an eminent degree, to communicate their views to others in public ad- 
dresses. They are not only the advocates of the slave at their own 
charge, but they actually contribute to the funds of the societies, So 
successfully have they recommended the cause of emancipation to the 
crowds that attended their lectures during the last year, that they were 
permitted on three several occasions publicly to address the joint com- 
mittee (on slavery) of the Massachusetts Legislature, now in session, on 
the interesting matters that occupy their atteiiiion. 

''10 II uw many printins^-prcsscs and periodical publications have you ? 

Answer. — We own no press. Our publications all printed by 
contract. The E.mancipator and Human Rights art the organs of 
the Executive Committee. The first (which you have seer.) is a large 
sheet, is published weekly, and employs almost exclusively th<? time of 
the gentleman who edits it. Human Rights is a monthly sheet of smal- 
ler size, and is edited by one of the secretaries. The increasing loter- 
est that is fast manifesting itself in the cause of emancipation and its 
kindred subjects will, in all probability, before long, call for the more 
frequent publication of one or both of these papers. — The Axti-Slave- 
Rv Magazine, a quarterly, was commenced in October, 1835, and con- 
tinued through two years. It has been intermitted, only to make the 
necessary arrangements for issuing it on a more extended scale. — It is 
f)roposed to give it size enough to admit the amplest discussions thai 
v,e or our opponents may desire, and to give tlmn a full share ot its 
room — in fine, to make it, in form and merit, what the importance of 
the subject calls for. I send you a copy of the Prospectus for the new 
j^enes. — The Anti-Si.averv Record, published for three years a» 
a monthly, has been discontinued as such, and it will be issued here- 
after, only as occasion may require. — Tiiic Slave's Friend, a smaU 
monthly tract, of neat appearance, intended principally for children and 

( 19 ) 

young persons, has been issued for several years. It is replete with 
lact^i relating to slavery, and with accounts of the hair-breadth escapes 
oi' slaves from their masters and pursuers that rarely fail to impart the 
most thrilling interest to its little readers. — Besides these, there is tht 
Anti-Slavery Exajhnkr, in which are published, as the times cah 
for them, our larger essays partaking of a controversial character, 
.such as Smith's reply to the Rev. Mr. Smylie — Grimke's letter anc 
"• Wythe." By turning to page 32 of our Fourth Report (included ir 
your order for books, &c,) you will find, that in the year ending llll 
May, the issues from the press were — bound volumes, 7,877 — Tract.s 
and Pamphlets, 47,250— Circulars, &c, 4,100— Prints, 10,400- x\nti- 
Slavery Magazine, 9000 — Slave's Friend, 131,050 — Human Rights, 
189,400 — Emancipator, 217,000. Tiiese are the issues of the Ameri- 
can Anti-Slavery Society, from their office in this city. Other publi- 
cations of similar character are issued by State Societies or individuals 
— the Liberator, in Boston ; Herald of Freedom, in Concord, N. H. ; 
Zion's Watchman and the Colored American in this city. The 
latter is conducted in the editorial, and other departments, by colored 
citizens. You can judge of its character, by a few numbers that I 
send to you. Then, there is the Friend of Max, in Ulica, in this 
state. The National Enquirer, in Philadelphia;* the Christian 
Witness, in Pittsburgh ; the Philanthropist, in Cincinnati. — All 
these are sustained by the friends, and devoted almost exclusively to 
the cause, of emancipation. Many of the Religious journals that do not 
make emancipation their main object have adopted the sentiments of 
abolitionists, and aid in promoting them. The Alton Observer, edited 
by the late Mr. Lovejoy, was one of these. 

From the data I have, I set down the newspapers, as classed above, 
at upwards of one hundred. Here it may also be stated, that the presses 
which print the abolition journals above named, throw off besides, a 
great variety of other anti-slavery matter, in the form of books, pamph- 
lets, single sheets, &c, &c, and that, at many of the principal com- 
mercial points throughout the free states. Depositories are established, 
at which our publications of every sort are kept for sale. A large and 
fast increasing number of the Political journals of the country have 
become, within the last two years, if not the avowed supporters of 
our cause, well inclined to it. Formerly, it was a common thing for 
most of the leading pwr/y-papers, especially in the large cities, to 

•The National Enquirer, cditod by Benjamin Lundy, lias been converted into tlie Pennsyl- 
vania Freeman, edited by .lolm (i. Wliittier. Mr. Lundy proposes to issue the Genius oi* Uni- 
VERS4.L Emancipation, in Illinois. 

( 20 ) 

speak of ihe aboliiionists in terms signally disrespecll'ul and ofl'ensive. 
Except in rare instances, and these, it is thought, only where they are 
largely subsidized by southern patronage, it is not so now. The deser- 
tions that are taking place from their ranks will, in a short time, render 
their j)osition undesirable for any, who aspire to gain, or inlluenoe, or 
reputaiiou in ilie -\i)rlli. 

"11. To what class of persons do you address j/our publications — and 
are they addressed to the judgment, the imagination, or the feelings ?" 

A.NswKR. — They are intended for the great mass of intelligent mind, 
both in the free and in the slave stales. They partake, of course, of 
:he intellectual peculiarities of the different authors. Jay's " iNytiRv" 
and Mrs. Child's •• Appeal" abound in facts — are dispassionate, inge- 
nious, argumentative. The " Bible ag.\inst ISlaveky," by the most 
carelul and laborious research, has struck from slavery the prop, which 
careless Annotators, (writing, unconscious of the influence, the prevailing 
system of slavery throughout the Christian world exercised on their own 
minds,) have admitted was furnished for it in the Scriptures. " Wythe" 
by a pains-taking and lucid adjustment of facts in the histor\' of the Gov- 
ernment, both before and after the adoption of the Constitution, and with 
a rigor of logic, that cannot, it is tliought, be successfully encountered, 
has put to llight forever with unbiased minds, every doubt as to the 
'* Power of Congress over the District of Columbia." 

There are among the abolitionists. Poets, and by the acknowledg- 
ment of their opponetits, poets of no mean name too — wlio, as the use 
of poets is, do address themselves often — as John 0. Whittier does 
always — powerfully to the imagination and feelings of their readers. 

Our publications cannot be classed according to any particular etyle 
or quality of composition. They may characterized generally, as well 
suited to affect the public mind — to rouse into healthful activity the 
conscience of this nation, stupified, torpid, almost dead, in relation to 
Human Rights, the high theme of which they treat ! 

It has often been alleged, that our writings appeal to the worst pas- 
sions of the slaves, and that they are placed in their hands with a view 
to stir them to revolt. Neither charge has any foundation in truth to 
rest upon. The first finds no support in the ii nor of the writings them- 
selves ; the last ought forever to be abandoned, in the absence ol any 
single well authenticated instance of their having been conveyed by 
abolitionists to slaves, or of their having been even found in their pos- 
session. To instigate the slaves to revolt, as the means of obtaimng 
their liberty, woidd prove a lack of wisdom and honesty that none would 

( 21 ) 

impute to abolitionists, except such as are unacquainted with their cha- 
racter. Revolt would be followed by the sure destruction, not only of 
all the slaves who might be concerned in it, but of multitudes of the 
innocent. Moreover, the abolitionists, as a class, are religious — they 
favor peace, and stand pledged in their constitution, before the countiy 
and heaven, to abide in peace, so far as a forcible vindication of the right 
of the slaves to their freedom is concerned. Further still, no small 
number of them deny the right of defence, either to individuals or nations, 
even when forcibly and wrongfully attacked. This disagreement among 
ourselves on this single point — of which our adversaries are by m, 
means ignorant, as they often throw it reproachfully in our teeth — would 
forever prevent concert in any scheme that looked to instigating servile 
revolt. If there be, in all our ranks, one, who — personal danger out of 
the question — would excite the slaves to insurrection and massacre, 
or who would not be swift to reveal the earliest attempt to concoct 
such an iniquity — I say, on my obligations as a man, he is unknown 
to me. 

Yet it ought not to be matter of surprise to abolitionists, that the South 
should consider them " fanatics," " incendiaries," " cut-throats," and 
call them so too. The South has had their character reported to thena 
by the North, by those who are their neighbors, who, it was supposed, 
knew, and would speak the truth, and the truth only, concerning them 
It would, I apprehend, be unavailing for abolitionists now to enter on 
any formal vindication of their character from charges that can be so 
easily repeated after every refutation. False and fraudulent as they 
know thjm to be, they must be content to live under them till the con- 
summation of the work of Freedom shall prove to the master that they 
have been his friends, as well as the friends of the slave. The mis- 
chief of these charges has fallen on the South — the malice is to be 
placed to the credit of the North. 

"12. Do you propagate your doctrines by any other means than oral and 
written discussions — -for instance, by prints and pictures in manufactures — 
say of pocket-handkerchiefs, calicoes, dfc 1 Pray, state the various modes V 

Answer. — Two or three years ago, an abolitionist of this city pro- 
cured to be manufactured, at his own charge, a small lot of children's 
pocket-handkerchiefs, impressed with anti-slavery pictures and mot- 
toes. I have no recollection of having seen any of them but once. 
None such, I believe, are now to be found, or I would send you a sam- 
ple. If any manufactures of the kinds mentioned, or others similar to 
them, are in existence, they have been produced independently of the 

( 22 ) 

agency of this society. It is thouL;lit tliat none such exist, unless the 
loliowing should be supposed to fall within the terms of the inquiry. 
Female abolitionists often unhe in sewing societies. They meet 
together, usually once a week or fortnight, and labor throush the after- 
noon, with their own hands, to furnish means for advancing the cause 
of the slave. One of the company reads passages from the Bible, or 
some religious book, whilst the others are engaged at their work. The 
articles they prepare, especially if they be of the " fancy" kind, are 
often ornamented with handsomely executed emblems, underwritten 
with appropriate mottoes. The picture of a slave kneeling (such as you 
will see impressed on one of the sheets of this letter) and supplicating 
ui the words, '^ AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER," is an 
example. The mottoes or sentences are, however, most generally 
selected from the Scriptures ; either appealing to human sympathy in 
behalf of human suffering, or breathing forth God's tender compassion 
for the oppressed, or proclaiming, in thunder tones, his avenging justice 
on the oppressor. A few quotations will show their general character : —■ 

•'Blessed is he that coiisidcreth the poor." 

*' Defend the poor and fatherless ; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the 
poor and the needy ; rid him out of the hand of the wicked." 

" Open thy nio ith for the diiriib, plead the cause of the poor and needy." 

" Blessed arc the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." 

" First, be reconciled tr thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." 

"Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." 

" All thin<Ts wliat.«oever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." 

Again : — 

" For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth ; the poor also, and liim that hath no 

" Tlie Lord looscth the prisoners ; the Lord raiscth them that are bowed down ; the 
l.iord preser\cth the strangers." 

" He hath sent me to heal the broken-licarted, to preach deliverance to the cajitives, 
to set at liberty them that are bruised." 

" For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith 
the Lord , I will set him in safety from him that pufTeth at him." 

Again : — 

" The Lord executcth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." 

'• Rob not the poor because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate ; for 
the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them." 

" And I will come near to yo'i lo judgment, and I will be a swift witness against 
those oppress the hireling in iiis wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn 
aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts." 

" Wo unto hiia ihat buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by 
wrong ; that uscth liis neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for hia 
work " 

( 23 ) 

Fairs, for the sale of articles fabricated by the hands of female 
abolitionists, and recommended by such pictures and sentences as 
those quoted above, are held in many of our cities and large towns. 
Crowds frequent them to purchase ; hundreds of dollars are thus real- 
ized, to be appropriated to the anti-slavery cause ; and, from the cheap 
rate at which the articles are sold, vas*. numbers of them are scattered 
far and wide over the country. Besides these, if we except various 
drawings or pictures on paper, (samples of which were put up in the 
packages you ordered a few days ago,) such as the Slave-market in the 
District of Columbia, with Members of congress attending it — views of 
slavery in the South — a Lynch court in the slave-states — the scourg- 
ing of Mr. Dresser by a vigilance committee in the public square of 
Nashville — the plundering of the post-office in Charleston, S. C, and 
the conflagration of part of its contents, &c, &c, I am apprised of no 
other means of propagating our doctrines than by oral and written 

" 13. Are your hopes and expectaHons of success increased or lessened 
by the events of the last year, and especially by the action of this Con- 
gress 1 And will your exertions be relaxed or increased ? 

Answer. — The events of the last year, including the action of the 
present Congress, are of the same character with the events of the 
eighteen months which immediately preceded it. In the question 
before us, they may be regarded as one series. I would say, answer- 
ing your interrogatory generally, that none of them, however nnpropi- 
lious to the cause of the abolitionists they may appear, to those who 
look at the subject from an opposite point to the one they occupy, seem, 
thus far, in any degree to have lessened their hopes and expectations. 
The events alluded to have not come altogether unexpected. Thej'' 
are regarded as the legitimate manifestations of slavery — necessary, 
perhaps, in the present dull and unapprehensive state of the public 
mind as to human rights, to be brought out and spread before the people, 
before they will sufficiently revolt against slavery itself. 

1. They are seen in the church, and in the practice of its individual 
members. The southern portion of the American church may now be 
regarded as having admitted the dogma, that slavery is a Divine institu- 
tion. She has been forced by the anti-slaverv discussion into this posi- 
tion — either to cease from slaveholding, or formally to adopt the only 
alternative, that slaveholding is right. She has chosen the alternative — 
reluctantly, to be sure, but substantially, and, within the last year, almost 
unequivocally. In defending what was dear to her, she has been forced 

( 24 ) 

to cast away her garments, and thus to reveal a deformity, of which 
ishe herself, before, was scarcely aware, and the existence of which 
others did not credit. So much for the action of the southern church 
as a body. — On the part of her me.mbeks, the revelation of a time-serv- 
ing spirit, that not only yielded to the ferocity of the multitude, but fell 
in with it, may be reckoned among the events of the last three years, 
inslui.ces of this may be I'ound in the att«iulance of the " clergj* of all 
denominations," at a tumultuous meeting of the citizens of Charleston, 
S. C, hold in August, 1835, for the purpose of reducing to systr-m their 
tmlawl'ul surveillance and control of the post-office and mail ; and in the 
alacrity with which they obeyed the popular call to dissolve the Sun- 
day-schools for the instruction of the colored people. Also in the fact, 
that, throughout the whole South, churcli members are not only found on 
the Vigilance Committees, (tribunals organized in opposition to the laws 
of the states where they exist,) but uniting with the merciless and thtt 
protligate in passing sentence consigning to infamous and excruciating, 
i\l not extreme punishment, persons, by their own acknowledgment, 
innocent of any unlawful act. Out of sixty persons that composed the 
A'igilance committee which condemned Mr. Dresser to be scourged in 
the public square of Nashville, twe.ntv-seven were members of 
churches, and one of them a prolessed Teachers of Christianity. A 
member of the conunittee stated afterward, in a newspaper of which 
he was the editor, that Mr. D. hud not laid himself liable to any punish- 
ment known to the laws. Another instance is to be found in the conduct 
of the Hev. Wm. S. Plumer, of Virginia. Having been absent from 
Richmond, when the ministers of the gospel assembled together formally 
to testify their abhorrence of the abolitionists, he addressed the chair- 
man of the committee of correspondence a note, in which he uses this 
language : — " If abolitionists will set the country in a blaze, it is but 
fair that they should have the first warming at the fire." — " Let them 
understand, that they will be caught, if they come among us. and they 
will take good heed to keep out of our way." JMr. P. has no doubtful 
standing in the Presbyterian church witli which he is connected. He 
has been regarded as one of its brightest ornaments.* To drive the 
slaveholdiug church and its numbers from the equivocal, the neutral 
position, from which they had so long successfully defended slaverj' — 
to compel them to elevate their practice to an even height with their 
avowed principles, or to degrade their principles to the level of their 
known practice, was a preliminary, necessary in the view of abo- 

•lii Ihe division of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church, that has t.iken place, 
Mr. Fluinei has been elected Moderator of the '■ Old School" portion. 

( 25 ) 

litionists, either for bringing that part of the church into the couimon 
action against slavery, or as a ground for treating it as confederate with 
oppressors. So far, then, as the action of the church, or of its indi- 
vidual members, is to be reckoned among the events of the last two or 
three years, the abolitionists find in it nothing to lessen their hopes or 

2. The abolitionists believed, from the beginning, that the slaves of 
the South Avere (as slaves are everywhere) unhappy, because of their 
condition. Their adversaries denied it, averring that, as a class, they 
were " contented and happy." The abolitionists thought that the argu- 
ment against slavery could be made good, so far as this point was 
concerned, by either admitting or denying the assertion. 

Adfnitting it, they insisted, that, nothing could demonstrate the tur- 
pitude of any system more surely than the fact, that man — made in the 
image of God — but a little lower than the angels — crowned with glory 
and honor, and set over the works of God's hands — his mind sweeping 
in an instant from f)lanet to planet, from the sun of one system to the 
sun of another, even to the great centre sun of them all — contemplating 
the machinery of the universe " wheeling unshaken" in the awful and 
mysterious grandeur of its movements " through the void immense" — 

with a spirit delighting in upward aspiration bounding from earth to 

heaven — that seats itself fast by the throne of God, to drink in the 
instructions of Infinite Wisdom, or flies to execute the commands of 
Infinite Goodness ; — that such a being could be made " contented and 
happy" with " enough to eat, and drink, and wear," and shelter from 
the weather — with the base provision that satisfies the brutes, is (say 
the abolitionists) enough to render superfluous all other arguments for 
the instant abandonment of a system whose appropriate work is such 
infinite wrong. 

Denying that " the slaves are contented and happy," the abolitionists 
have argued, that, from the structure of his moral nature — the laws of 
his mind — man cannot be happy in the fact, that he is enslaved. True, 
he may be happy in slavery, but it is not slavery that makes him so — 
it is virtue and faith, elevating him above the aflHictions of his lot. The 
slave has a will, leading him to seek those things which the Author of 
his nature has made conducive to its happiness. In these things, the 
will of the master comes in collision with his will. The slave desires 
to receive the rewards of his own labor ; the power of the master wrests 
them from him. The slave desires to possess his wife, to whom God 
has joined him, in afl^ection , to have the superintendence, and enjoy 
the services, of the children whom God has confided to him as a parent 


( 26 ) 

to train them, by the habits of the filial relation, for the vet higher rela- 
tion that they may sustain to him as their heavenly Father. But here 
he is met by the opposing will of the master, pressing hix claims with 
irresistible power. Tin- ties that hoavoa has sanctioned and blessed — 
of husband and wife, of parent and child — are all sundered in a moment 
by the master, at the proinptii.g of avarice or luxury or lust ; and there 
is none that can slay his ruthless hand, or say unto him, " What doesl 
thou ?" The slave thirsts for the pleasures of refined and elevated 
intellect — the master denies to him the humblest literary acquisition. 
The slave pants to know something of that still higher nature that he 
feels burning within him — of his present state, his future destiny, of 
the Being who made him, to whose judgment-seat he is going. The 
master's interests cry, " No !" " !Such knowledge is too wonderful for 
yo'i ; it is high, you cannot attain unto it." To predicate happiness of a 
class of beings, placed in circumstances where their will is everlastingly 
defeated by an irresistible power — the abolitionists say, is to prove them 
destitute of the sympathies of our nature — not human. It is to declare 
with the Atheist, that man is independent of the goodness of his Crea- 
tor lor his enjoyments — that human happiness calls not for any of the 
appliances of his bounty — that God's throne is a nullity, himself a 

But, independently of any abstract reasoning drawn from the nature 
of moral and intelligent beings, facts have been elicited in the discus- 
sion of the point before us, proving slavery everywhere (especially 
Southern slavery, maintained by enlightened Protestants of the nine- 
teenth century) replete with torments and horrors — the direst form of 
oppression that upheaves itself before the sun. These facts have been 
so successfully impressed on a large portion of the intelligent mind of 
the country, that the slaves of the South are beginning to be considered 
as those whom God emphatically regards as the " poor," the " needy," 
the " afflicted," the " oppressed," the " bowed down ;" and for whose 
consolation he has said, " Now will I arise — I will set him in safety 
from him tliat puffeth at him." 

Tliis state of the public mind has been brought about within the last 
two or three years ; and it is an event which, so lar from lessening, 
greatly animates, the hopes and expectations of abolitionists. 

3. The abolitionists believed from the first, that the tendency of 
slavery is to produce, on the part of the whiles, looseness of morals, dis- 
dain of the wholesome restraints of law. and a ferocity of temper, found, 
only in solitary instances, in those countries where slavery is unknown. 
They were not ignorant of the fact, that this was disputed ; nor that 

( 27 ) 

the " Chivalry of the South" had become a cant phrase, including 
all that is high-minded and honorable among men ; nor, that it had been 
formally asserted in our National legislature, that slavery, as it exists 
in the South, " produces the highest toned, the purest, best organization 
of society that has ever existed on the face of the earth." Nor were 
the abolitionists unaware, that these pretensions, proving anything else 
but their own solidity, had been echoed and re-echoed so long by the 
unthinking and the interested of the North, that the character of the 
South had been injuriously affected by them — till she began boldly to 
attribute her peculiar superiority to her peculiar institution, and tlius to 
strengthen it. All this the abolitionists saw and knew. But few others 
saw and understood it as they did. The re\elations of the last three 
years are fast dissipating the old notion, and bringing multitudes in the 
North to see the subject as the abolitionists see it. When " Southern 
Chivalry" and the purity of southern society are spoken of now, it is at 
once replied, that a large number of the slaves show, by their color, their 
indisputable claim to white paternity ; and that, notwithstanding their 
near consanguineous relation to the whites, ihey are still held and treat- 
ed, in all respects, as slaves. Nor is it forgotten now, when the claims 
of the South to "hospitality" are pressed, to object, because they are 
grounded on the unpaid wages of the laborer — on the robbery of the 
poor. When " Southern generosity" is mentioned, the old adage, " be 
just before you are generous," furnishes the reply. It is no proof of 
generosity (say the objectors) to take the bread of the laborer, to lavish 
it in banquetings on the rich. When " Southern Chivalry" is the theme 
of its admirers, the hard-handed, but intelligent, working man of the 
North asks, if the espionage of southern hotels, and of ships and steam- 
boats on their arrival at southern ports ; if the prowl, by day and by 
night, for the solitary stranger suspected of sympathizing with the 
enslaved, that he may be delivered over to the mercies of a vigilance 
committee, furnishes the proof of its existence , if the unlawful import- 
ation of slaves from Africa* furnishes the proof; if the abuse, the 
scourging, the hanging on suspicion, without law, of friendless stran- 

* Mr. Mercer, of Virginia, some years ago, asserted in Congress, that " cargoes" of African 
slaves were smuggled into the southern states to a deplorable extent. Mr. Mlddleton, of South 
Carolina, declared it to be his belief, that thirteen thousand Africans were annually smuggled 
into the southern states. Mr. Wright, of Maryland, estimated tlie number at fifteex thousand. 
Miss Martineau was told in 1835, by a wealthy slaveholJcr of Louisiana, (who probably spoke of 
that state alone,) that the annual importation of native Africans was from thirteen thousa.nd 
to fifteen -thousand. The President of the United States, in his last Annual Message, speak- 
ing of the Navy, says, " The large force under Commodore Dallas [on the West India station] has 
been most actively and efficiently employed in protecting our commerce, in ruEVENTiNO the 


( 28 ) 

gers, furnish tlie proof; if the suiiunury exfculioii of slaves and of col- 
ored frocnuMi, by the score, without legal trial, furnishes the 
proof; if the cruelties and tortures to which citizens have been exposed, 
and the burning to death of si ives by slow lires,* furnish the proof. All 
these things, says he, furnish any thing but proof of ^ruf hospitality, or 
generosity, or gallantry, or purity, or chivalry. 

Certain it is, that the time when southern slavery derived countenance 
at the North, from its supposed connection witli " chivalry," is rapidly 
passing away. " Southern Chivalry" will soon be regarded as one of 
the by-gone fooleries of a less intelligent and less virtuous age. It will 
soon be cast out — giving place to the more reasonable idea, that the 
denial of wages to the laborer, the selling of men and women, the 
whij)ping of husbands and wives in each others presence, to compel 
them to unicquiu'd toil, the delihcrato alteinj)l to extinguish mind, and, 
consetjuently, to destroy the soul — is among the highest oflences against 
Cod and man — nnspeakably mean and ungentlemanly. 

The impression made on the minds of the people as to this matter, 
is one of the events of the last two or three years that does not contribute 
to lessen the hopes or expectations of abolitionists. 

4. The ascendency that Slavery has acquired, and exercises, in the 
administration of the government, and the apprehension now prevailing 
among the sober and intelligent, irrespective of party, that it will soon 
overmaster the Constitution itself, may be ranked among the events of 
the last two or three years that affect the course of abolitionists. The 
abolitionists regard the Constitution with unabated affection. They 
hold in no common veneration the memory of those who made it. They 
would be the last to brand Franklin and Kir g and Morris and Wilson 
and Sherman and Hamilton with the ineffaceable infamy of attempting 
to ingraft on the Constitution, and therefore lo perpetuate, a system of 
oppression in absolute antagonism to its high and professed objects, one 
■which their own practice condemned, — an J this, too, when they had 
scarcely wiped away the dust and sweat of the Revolution from their 
brows ! Whilst abolitionists feel and speak thus of our Constitutional 
fathers, they do not justify the dereliction of p/ineiple into which they 
were betrayed, when they imparted to the wor'^ of their hands any power 
to contribute to the continuance of such a system. They can only palliate 
it, by supposing, that they thouglit, slavery was already a waning insti- 
tution, destined soon to pass away. In tl.eir ti nu>, (1787) slaves were 

• Within the last few years, four slaves, and one citizen of color, have been put to death in this 
manner, in Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas. 

( 29 ) , 

comparatively of litllc value — there being then no great slave-labor staple 
(as cotton is now) to make them profitable to their holders.* Had the 
circumstances of the country remained as they then were, slave-labor, 
always and every where the most expensive — would have disappeared 
before the competition of free labour. They had seen, too, the principle 
of universal liberty, on whicji the Revolution was justified, recognised 
and embodied in most of the State Constitutions ; they had seen slavery 
utterly forbidden in that of Vermont — instantaneously abolished in that 
of Massachusetts — and laws enacted in the New-England States and 
in Pennsylvania, for its gradual abolition. Well might they have anti- 
cipated, that Justice and Humanity, now starting forth with fresh vigor, 
would, in their march, sweep away the whole system ; more especially, 
as freedom of speech and of the press — the legitimate abolisher not only 
of the acknowledged vice of slavery, but of every other that time should 
reveal in our institutions or practices — had been fully secured to the 
people. Again ; power was conferred on Congress to put a stop to the 
African slave-trade, without which it was thought, at that time, to be 
impossible to maintain slavery, as a system, on this continent, — so great 
was the havoc it committed on human life. Authority was also granted 
to Congress to prevent the transfer of slaves, as articles of commerce, 
from one State to another ; and the introduction of slavery into the terri- 
tories. All this was crowned by the power of refusing admission into 
the Union, to any new state, whose form of government was repugnant 
to the principles of liberty set forth in that of the United States. 
The faithful execution, by Congress, of these powers, it was reason- 
ably enough supposed, would, at least, prevent the growth of slavery, 
if it did not entirely remove it. Congress did, at the set time, execute 
one of them — deemed, then, the most effectual of the whole ; but, as it 
has turned out, the least so. 

The effect of the interdiction of the African slave-trade was, not to 
diminish the trade itself, or greatly to mitigate its horrors ; it only 
:;hanged its name from African to American — transferred the seat of 
commerce from Africa to America — its profits from African princes to 
American farmers. Indeed, it is almost certain, if the African slave- 
trade had been left unrestrained, that slavery would not have covered 
so large a portion of our country as it does now. The cheap rate at 
which slaves might have been imported by the planters of the south, 
would have prevetitcd the rearing of them for sale, by the farmers of 

■* The cultivation of cotton was almost unknown in the United States before 1787. It was not 
till two years afterward that it began to be raised or exported. (See Report of the Secretary of 
the Treasury, Feb. 29, lb36.)— See Appendix, D. 

( 30 ) 

Maryland, Virginia, and the other sluve-srlhng stales. If these states 
could be rt'straiiifd from the cvinmtrcc in slaves, slavery could not 
be supported by them for any length of lime, or to any considerable 
extent. They could not maintain it, as an economical system, under 
tlie com;)elition of free labor. It is owing to the non-user by Congress, 
or rather to their unfahhful application of their power to the other points, 
on which it was expected to act for the limitation or extermination of 
slavery, thai the hopes of our fathers have not been realized ; and that 
slavery has, at length, become so audacious, as openly to challenge the 
principles of 177G — to trample on the most precious rights secured to 
the citizen — to menace the integrity of the Union and the very exis- 
tence of the government itself. 

Slavery has advanced to its present position by steps that were, at 
first, gradual, and, for a long time, almost unnoticed ; afterward, it 
made its way by nitimidating or corrupting those who ought to liave 
been forward to resist its pretensions. Up to the time of the " Missouri 
Compromise," by which tlie nation was wheedled out of its honor, 
slavery was looked on as an evil that was finally to yield to the expanding 
and ripening inlhiences of our Constitutional principles and regulations. 
Why it has not yielded, we may easily see, by even a slight glance at 
some of the incidents in our history. 

It has already been said, that we have been brought into our present 
condition by the unfaithfulness of Congress, in not exerting the power 
vested in it, to stop the domestic slave-trade, and in the abuse of the 
power of admitting " new states'" into the Union. Kentucky made ap 
plication in 1792, with a slave-holding Constitution in her hand. — With 
what a mere LechuicalUy Congress suffered itself to be drugged into 
torpor : — She was part of one of the " Original States'' — and therefore 
entitled to all their privileges. 

One precedent established, it was easy to make another. Tennessee 
was admitted in 1796, without scruple, on the same ground. 

The next triumph of slavery was in 1803, in the purchase of Louisi- 
ana, acknowledged afterward, even by Mr. Jeflerson who made it, to be 
unauthorized by the Constitution — and in the establishment of slavery 
throughout its vast limits, actually and substantially under the auspices 
of that instrument which declares its only objects to be — " to form a 
more perfect union, establish jistice, insure domestic tra.nui', 
provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and 
secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity"* 

• It may be replied, The colored people were held as property by the laws of Loui.'^iana previously 
toHhe cession, and that Congrwi* had no right to divest the newly acquired citizens of their pro 

( 31 ) 

In this case, the violation of the Constitution was suflered to pass 
with but Uttle opposition, except from Massachusetts, because we were 
content to receive in exchange, multiplied commercial benefits and en- 
larged territorial limiis. 

The next stride that slavery made over the Constitution was in the 
admission of the State of Louisiana into the Union. She could claim 
no favor as part of an " Original State." At this point, it might have 
been supposed, the friends of Freedom and of the Constitution according 
to its original intent, would have made a stand. But no : with the 
exception of Massachusetts, they hesitated and were persuaded to ac- 
quiesce, because the country was just about entering into a war with 
England, and the crisis was unpropitious for discussing questions that 
would create divisions between different sections of the Union. We 
must wait till the country was at peace. Thus it was that Louisiana 
was admitted without a controversy. 

Next followed, in 1817 and 1820, Mississippi and Alabama — admit- 
ted after the example of Kentucky and Tennessee, without any contest. 

Meantime, Florida had given some uneasiness to the slaveholders of 
the neighboring states ; and for their accommodation chiefly, a negocia- 
tion was set on foot by the government to purchase it. 

Missouri was next in order in 1821. She could plead no privilege, 
on the score of being part of one of the original states ; the country 
too, was relieved from the pressure of her late conflict with England ; 
It was prosperous and quiet ; every thing seemed propitious to a calm 
and dispassionate consideration of the claims of slaveholders to add 
props to their system, by admitting indefinitely, new slave states to the 
Union. Up to this time, the " evil" of slavery had been almost uni- 
versally acknowledged and deplored by the South, and its termination 
(apparently) sincerely hoped for.* By this management its friends 

parly. This statement is evasive. It does not include, nor touch the question, which is this : — 
Had Congress, or the treaty-making povi'er, a right to recognise, and, by recognising, to establish, 
in a territory that had no claim of privilege, on the ground of being part of one of the "Original 
States," a condition of things that it could not establish directly, because there was no grant in the 
constitution of power, direct or incidental, to do so— and because, to do so, was in downright oppug- 
nancy to the principles of the Constitution itself The question maybe easily answered by 
stating the following case : — Suppose a law had existed in Louisiana, previous to the cession, by 
which the children— nsale and female— of all such parents as were not owners of real estate of the 
yearly value of $500, Iiad been— no matter how long— held in slavery by their more wealthy land- 
holding neighbors ;— would Congress, underthe Constitution, havearight (by recognising) to estab- 
lish, for ever, such a relalion as one white person, under such a law, might hold to another? 
Surely not. And yet no substantial difference between the two cases can be pomted out. 

* Mr. Clay, m conducting the Missouri compromise, found it necessary to argue, that the admis- 
sion of Missouri, as a slaveholding state, would aid in bringing about the termination of slaver)-. 
His argument is thus stated by Mr. Sergeant, who replied to him :— " In this long view of remote 
and distant consequences, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Clay) thinks he sees how slavery, 

( 32 ) 

succeeded in blinding die conlldin;f people of the North. They thought 
for the most purt, that the slaveholders were acting in good faith. It is 
not intended by this remark, to make the impression, that the South had 
all along pressed the admission of new slave states, simply with a view 
to the increase of its own relative power. By no means : slavery had 
insinuated itself into favor because of its being mixed up with (other) 
supposed benefits — and because its ultimate influence on the govern- 
ment was neither suspected nor dreaded. But, ou the Missouri question, 
there was a fair trial of strength between the friends of Slavery and the 
friends of the Constitution. The former triumphed, and by the jirime 
agency of one raiment, the remainder of his days, ought to be sack- 
cloth and ashes, — because of the disgrace he has continued on the name 
of liis country, and the consequent injury that he has inilicted on the cause 
of Freedom throughout the world. Although all the different Adminis- 
trations, from the first organization of the government, had, in the indi- 
rect manner already mentioned, favored slavery, — thire had not been on 
any previous occasion, a direct struggle between its pretensions and the 
principles of liberty ingrafted on the Constitution. The friends of the 
latter were induced to believe, whenever they should be arrayed against 
each other, that t/irirs would be the triumph. Tremendous error ' 
Mistake almost fatal I The battle was fought. Slaven.' emerged from 
it imhnrt — her hands made gory — her bloody plume still lloating in the 
air — exultingly brandishing her dripping sword over her prostrate and 
vanquished enemv. She had won all for which she fought. Her vic- 
tory was complete — the Sanction of the N.\rioN was given to 
Slavery !* 

Immediately after this achievement, the slaveholding interest was 
still more strongly fortified by the acquisition of Florida, and the estab- 
lishment of slavery there, as it had already been in the territory of 
Louisiana. The Missouri triumph, however, seems to have extin- 
guished every thing like a systematic or spirited opposition, on the 
part of the free states, to the pretensions of the slaveholding South. 

Arkansas was admitted but the other day, with nothing that deserves 
lo be called an effort to prevent it — although her Constitution attempts 

when tlius spread, is at last to find its end. It is to be brouglit about by the combined operation 
of tlie laws which regulate the price of labor, and the laws which govern population. When the 
country shall be lilled with inhabitants, and the price of labor shall have reached a mininuim, (a 
comparative ininimuni I suppose is meant,) free labor will be found cheaper than slave labor. 
Slaves will then be without employment, and, of course, withou' the means of comfortable subsis- 
tence, which will reduce their numbers, and finally extirpate them. This is the argument as I 
understand it," says Mr. Sergeant ; and, certainly, one more chimerical or more inhuman could not 
have been urged. 
• See Appendix, E. 

( 33 ) 

lo perpetuate slavery, by forbidding the master to emancipate his bondmen 
without the consent of the Legishiture, and the Legislature without the 
consent of the master. Emboldened, but not satisfied, with their success 
in every political contest with the people of the free states, the slavehold- 
ers are begining now to throw olT their disguise — to brand their former 
notions about the " evil, political and moral" of slavery, as " folly and 
delusion,"* — and as if to " make assurance double sure," and defend 
themselves forever, by territoral power, against the progress of Free 

* Mr. Calhoun is reported, in tlie National Intelligencer, as having used these words in a speech 
delivered in the Senate, the 10th day of January :— 

" Many in the South once beheved that it [slavery] was a moral and political evil ; that folly and 
delusion are gone. We see it now in its true light, and regard it as the most safe and stable basis 
for free institutions in the world." 

Air. TIammond, formerly a Representative in Congress from South Carolina, delivered a speech 
(Feb. 1, 1836) on the question of receiving petitions for the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia. In answering those who objected to a slaveholding country, that it was " assimilated 
to an aristocracy," he &ays — " In this they are right. I accept the terms. It is a govtrnment of the 
best. Comoining all the advantages, and possessing but few of the disadvantages, of the aristo- 
cracy of the old world — without fostering, to an unwarrantable extent, the pride, the exclusive- 
ncss, the selfishness, the thirst for sway, the contempt for the rights of others, which distinguish 
the nobility of Europe — it gives us their education, their polish, their munificence, their high hon- 
or, their undaunted spirit. Slavery does indeed create an aristocracy — an aristocracy of talents, 
of virtue, of generosity, of courage. In a slave country, every freeman is an aristocrat. Be he 
rich or poor, if he does not possess a single slave, he has been born to all the natural advantages 
of the society in which he is placed ; and all its honors lie open before him, inviting his genius 
and industry. Sir, I do firmly believe, that domestic slavery, regulated as ours is, produces the 
highest toned, the purest, best organization of society, that has ever existed on the face of the 

That tliis retraxit of former follies and delusions is not confined to the mere politician, we have 
the following proofs : — 

The Charleston (S. C.) Union Presbyteky— " Resolved, That in the opinion of this Presby- 
tery, the holding of slaves, so far from being a sin in the sight of God, is nowhere condemned in 
his holy word ; that it is in accordance with the example, or consistent with the precepts, of patri- 
archs, prophets, and apostles ; and that it is compatible with the most fraternal regard to the good 
of the servants whom God has committed to our charge." — Within the last few months, as we 
learn from a late No. of the Charleston Courier, the late Svnod of the Presbyterian Churcii, in 
Augusta, (Ga.) passed resolutions declaring "That slavery is a civil institution, with which 
the General Assembly [the highest ecclesiastical tribunal] ha:^ nothing to do." 

Again :— The Charleston Baptist Association, in a memorial to the LegiSb'ure of South 
Carohna, say—" The undersigned would further represent, that the said Associaiion does not con- 
sider that the Holy Scriptures have made the fact of slavery a question of .-norals at all." And 
further, — " The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves, hd^ been distinctly recog- 
nised by the Creator of all things." 

Again :— The Edgefield (S. C.) Association— " Resolved, Th=t the practical question of 
slavery, in a country where the system has obtained as a part of -i-s stated policy, is ,<;ettlcd in tho 
Scriptures by Jesus Christ and his apostles." " Resolved, Tbat these uniformly recognised the 
relation of master and slave, and enjoined on both their resiJCCtive duties, under a system of ser- 
vitude more degrading and absolute than that which obtims in our country." 

Again we find, in a late No. of the Charleston Cour^r, the following :— 

"The Southern Church.— The Georgia Confer.;nce of the Methodist EpLscopai Church, at a 
recent meeting in Athens, passed resolutions, declaring that slavery, as it exists in the United 
States, is not a moral evil, and is a civil and domestic institution, with which Christian muiisters 
have nothing to do, further than to mehoratJ the condition of the slave, by endeavoring to impart 
to him and his master the benign influence of the religion of Christ, and aiding both on their way 
to heaven." 

( 31 ) 

principles and the renovation of the Constitution, they now demanc' 
openlv — scorning to conceal that their object is, to advance and estab- 
lish their political power in the country, — that Texas, a foreign state, five 
or six times as large as all New England, with a Constitution dyed as 
Jeep in slavery as that of Arkansas, shall be added to the Union. 

The abolitiuiiists feel a deep regard for the integrity and union of 
the governnuiit, on the principles of the Constitution. Therefore it is, 
that they look with earnest concern on the attempt now making by 
the South, to do, what, in the view of multitudes of our citizens, would 
amount to good cause for the separation of the free from the slave states. 
Their concern is not mingled with any feelings of despair. The alarm 
they sounded on the " annexation" question has penetrated the free 
states ; it will, in all probability, be favorably responded to by every 
one of them ; thus giving encouragement to our faith, that the admis- 
sion of Texas will be successfully resisted, — that this additional stain 
will not be impressed on our national escutcheon, nor this additional 
peril brought upon the South.* 

This, the present condition of the country, induced by a long train 
of usurpations on the part of the South, and by im worthy concessions to 
it by the North, may justly be regarded as one of the» events of the last 
few years atlecting in some way, the measures of the abolitionists. 
It has certainly done so. And whilst it is not to be denied, that many 
abolitionists feel painful apprehensions for the result, it has only roused 
them up to make more strenuous efforts for the preservation of the 

It may be replied — if the abolitionists are such firm friends of the 
Union, why do they persist in what must end in its rupture and disso- 
kuion ? The abolitionists, let it be repeated are friends of the Union 
that \vas intended by the Constitution ; but not of a Union from which 
is evisceiated, to be trodden under foot, the right to Speak, — to Print 
— to Petition. — the rights of Coxsciexce ; not of a Union whose lig 
aments are whij^s, where the interest of the oppressor is the great in- 
terest, the right to oppress the paramount right. It is against the 
distortion of the gloriwis Union our fathers left us into one bound with 
de,spotic bands that the iibolitionists are contending. In the political 
aspect of the question, they Vave nothing to ask, except what the Con- 
stitution authorizes — no change to desire, but that the Constitution may 
be restored to its pristine republic-.u purity. 

But they have well considered \he " dissolution of the Union.' 

• See Appendix, F. 

( 35 ) 

There is no just ground for apprehending that such a measure will 
ever be resorted to by the South. It is by no means intended by this, 
to anirni, that the South, like a spoiled child, for the first time denied 
some favourite object, may not fall into sudden frenzy and do herself 
some great harm. But knowing as I do, the intelligence and forecast of 
the leading men of the South — and believing that they will, if ever such 
a -crisis should come, be judiciously influenced by the existing state of 
the case, and by the consequences that would inevitably flow from an 
act of dissolution — they would not, I am sure, deem it desirable or 
politic. They would be brought, in their calmer moments, to coincide 
with one who has facetiously, but not the less truly remarked, that it 
would be as indiscreet in the slave South to separate from the free 
North, as for the poor, to separate from the parish that supported them. 
In support of this opinion, I would say : 

First — A dissolution of the Union by the South would, in no man- 
ner, secure to her the object she has in view. — The leaders at the 
vSouth, both in the church and in the state, must, by this time, be too 
well informed as to the nature of the anti-slavery movement, and the 
character of those engaged in it, to entertain fears that, violence of any 
kind will be resorted to, directly or indirectly.* The whole complaint 
of the South is neither more nor less than this — the north talks 
ABOUT SLAVERY. Now, of all the means or appliances that could be 
devised, to give greater life and publicity to the discussion of slavery, 
none could be half so eff'ectual as the dissolution of the Union because 
of the discussion. It would astonish the civilized world — they would 
inquire into the cause of such a remarkable event in its history ; — the 
result would be not only enlarged discussion of the whole subject, 
but it would bring such a measure of contempt on the guilty movers of 
the deed, that even Avith all the advantages of " their education, their 
polish, their munificence, their hi^-h honor, their undaunted spirit," so 
eloquently set forth by the Hop- Mr. Hammond, they would find it hard 
to withstand its influence. It is difiicult for men in a good cause, to 
maintain their steadfastness in opposition to an extensively corrupt 
public sentiment ; in a bad one, against public sentiment purified and 
enlightened, next to impossible, if not quite so. 

Another result would follow the dissolution : — Now, the abolitionists 

* " It is not," says Mr. Calhoun, " that we expect the abohtionists will resort to arms — will 
commence a crusade to deliver our slaves by force." — " Let me tell our friends of the South, who 
differ from us, that the war which the abolitionists wage against us is of a very difl'erent charac- 
ter, and/ar more effective. It <s waged, not against our lives, but our character." More correctly, 
Mr. C. might have said against a system, with which the slaveholders have choson to involve their 
characters, and, which they have determined to defend, at the hazard of losing them 

( 36 ) 

lincl It diflicult, by reason of the odium which the principal shiveholJers 
ami their I'rieiids have succeeded in attaching lo their naim , to introduce a 
knowledge ol iheir principles and measures into the great mass of south- 
ern mind. There are multitudes at the South who would co-operate with 
us, if they coidd be informed of our aim.* Now, we cannot reach tliem — 
then, It would be otherwise. The united power of the large slaveholders 
would not be able longer to keep them in ignorance. If the Union wer« 
dissolved, they would know the cause, and discuss it, and condemn it. 

A second reaspn why the .South will not dissolve the Union is, that 
die would be exposed to tlie visitation of real incendiaries, exciting her 
?laves to revolt. Now, it wouKl cover any one with infamy, who would 
jtir lliein up to vindicate their rights by the massacre of their masters. 
iJissolve the Union, and the candidates for " glory" would find in the 
plains of Carolina and Louisiana as inviting a theatre for their enter- 
prise, as their prototypes, the Houstons, the Van Rennsselaers, and 
the Sutherlands did, in the prairies of Texas or ihe forests of Canada. 

A third reason why the South will not dissolve is, that the slaves 
would leave their masters and take refuge in the free states. The 
Soiitiv would not be able to (stablish a cordon along her wide frontier 
sunicicntly strong to prevent it. Then, the slaves could not be reclaim- 
ed, as they now are, under the Constitution. Some may say, the free 
states would not permit them to come in and dwell among them. — Be- 
lieve it not. The fact of separation on the ground siij)posed, would 
ubolitionize the whole North. Beside this, in an economical point of 
view, the demand fur labor in the Western States would make their 
presence wekome. A; all events, a passage through the Northern 
States to Canada would noi be denied them. 

A fourth reason why the So-oih will not dissolve is, that a large num- 
ber of her most steady and effective population would emigrate to the 
free states. In the )i\,i\-Q-selling states especially, there has always 
been a class who have consented to re-.nain there with their fiimilies, 
only in the hope that slavery would, in some way or other, be termina- 

* There is abundant evidence of tliis. Ou' limits confine us lo the following, from the first No. 
of the Soulhem Liter<iry Journal, (Charleston, S. C.) : — "Thaxe &te many good men even among us, 
who have begun to ?ro\v timid. They think, tliat what the virtuous and hijh-minded mon of the 
North look upon as a crime and a plague-spot, cannot be perfectly innocent or quite harmless in 
a slaveholding coirinmnily." 

This, also, from the Nurtli Carolina AVatchinan : — 

" It (the abolition party) is the growing party at the North. We are inclined to believe that there 
is even more of it at the South than prudence will permit to be openly avowed." 

" It is wi'll known, Mr. Speaker, that tliert is a large, respectable and intelligent partT 
in Kentucky, who will e.xert every nerve and sviare no efforts to dislodge the subsisting rights to 
our slave population, or alter in some manner, and to some e.'ctent, at least, the tenure by which 
that species of property is held."— Sp«fcA of the Hon. James T. Morehtad in the Kentxxhj Legisla- 
ture, lait fcinter. 

( 37 ) 

ted. I do not say they arc abolitionists, for many of them are slave- 
holders. It may be, too, that such would expect compensation for their 
slaves, should they he emancipated, and also that they should be sent 
out of the country. The particular mode of emancipation, however 
crude it may be, that has occupied their minds, has nothing to do with 
the point before us. They look for emancipation — in this hope they have 
remained, and now remain, tvhere they are. Take away this hope, by 
making slavery the distinctive bond of union of a new government, and 
you drive them to the North. These persons are not among the rich, 
the voluptuous, the efleminate ; nor are they the despised, the indigent, 
the thriftless — they are men of moderate property, of intelligence, of 
conscience — in every way the " bone and sinew" of the South. 

A fifth reason why the South will not dissolve, is her weakness. It is 
a remarkable fact, that in modern times, and in the Christian world, all 
slaveholding countries have been united with countries that are free. 
Thus, the West Indian and Mexican and South American slaveholding 
colonies were united to England, France, Spain, Portugal, and other 
states of Europe. If England (before her Emancipation Act) and the 
others had at any time withdrawn the protection of their power from 
their colonies, slavery would have been extinguished almost simultane 
ously with the knowledge of the fact. In the West Indies there could 
have been no doubt of this, from the disparity in numbers between the 
whites and the slaves, from the multiplied attempts made from time to 
time by the latter to vindicate their rights by insurrection, and from 
the fact, that all their insurrections had to be suppressed by the force 
of the mother country. As soon as Mexico and the South American 
colonies dissolved their connexion with Spain, slavery was abolished 
in every one of them. This may, I know, be attributed to the neces- 
sity imposed on these states, by the wars in which they engaged to 
establish their independence. However this may be — the fact still 
remains. The free states of this Union are to the slave, so far as the 
maintenance of slavery is concerned, substantially, in the relation of 
the European states to their slaveholding colonies. Slavery, in all pro- 
bability, could not be maintained by the South disjoined from the North, 
a single year. So far from there existing any reason for making the 
South an exception, in this particular, to other slave countries, there 
are circumstances in her condition that seem to make her depen- 
dence more complete. Two of them are, the superior intelligence of 
her slaves on the subject of human rights, and the geographi<"al con- 
nexion of the slave region in the United States. In the West Indies, 
in Mexico and South America the great body of the slaves were far 

( 38 ) 

below the slaves of this country in their iiiterlectual and moral condi- 
tion — and, in the Ibrnier, their power to act in concert was weakened 
by the insular fragments into which they were divided. 

Again, the depopulation of the South of large numbers of its white 
inhabitants, Irum the cause mentioned under the fourth head, would, it 
IS apprehended, bring the two classes to something like a numerical 
equality. Now, consider the present state of the moral sentiment of 
the Christianized and connnorcial world in relation to slavery ; add to 
it the impulse that this sentiment, acknowledged by the South already 
to be wholly opposed to her, would naturally ac(piire by an act of sepa- 
ration on her part, with a single view to the ])erpetuation of slavery ; 
bring this sentiment in all its accumulation and intensity to act upon 
a nation where one half are enslavers, the other the enslaved — and 
what must be the effect ? From the nature of mind ; from the laws 
of mend influence, (which are as sure in their operation, if not so well 
understood, as the laws of physical influence,) the party " whose con- 
science with injustice is oppressed," must become dispirited, weakened 
in courage, and in the end unnerved and contemptible. On the other 
hand, the sympathy that would be felt for the oppressed — the comfort 
ihey would receive — the encouragement that would be given them to 
assert their riglits, would make it an impossibility, to keep them in 
slavish peace and submission. 

This state of things would be greatly aggravated by the peculiarly 
morbid sensitiveness of the South to every thing that is supposed to 
touch her character. Her highest distinction would then become her 
most troublesome one. How, for instance, could her chivalrous sons 
bear to be taunted, wherever they went, on business or for pleasure, 
out of their own limits, with the cry " the knights of the lash !" " Go 
home and pay your laborers !" " Cease from the scourging of husbands 
and wives in each others presence — from attending the shambles, to 
sell or buy as slaves those whom God has made of the same blood with 
yourselves — your brethren — your sisters ! Cease, high minded sons of 
the ' A.NciKNT DOiMiMo.v,' from estimating your revenue by the number 
of children you rear, to sell in tlie flesh market I" " Go home and pay 
your laborers I" " Go home and pay your laborers !" This wou'd be 
a trial to which " southern cliivalry" could not patiently submit. 
Their " high honor," their " inidaunted spirit" would impel them to 
the field — only to prove that the " last resort" requires something 
more substantial than mere " honor" and " spirit" to maintain it. 
Suppose there should be a disagreement — as in all likelihood there 
ioon wouM, leadinsf to war between the North and the South? The 

( 39 ) 

North would scarcely have occasion to march a squadron to the field. 
She would have an army that could be raised up by the million, at the 
fireside of her enemy. It has been said, that during the late war with 
England, it was proposed to her cabinet, by son.e enterprising officers, 
to land five thousand men on the coast of South Carolina and proclaim 
liberty to the slaves. The success of the scheme was well thought of. 
But then the example ! England herself held nearly a million of 
slaves at no greater distance from the scene of action than the West 
Indies. Now, a restraint of this kind on such a scheme does not exist. 

It seems plain beyond the power of argument to make it plainer, that a 
slaveholding nation — one under the circumstances in which the South se- 
parated from the North would be placed — must be at the mercy of every 
free people having neither power to vindicate a right nor avenge a wrong.* 

A sixth reason why the South will not dissolve the Union, is found 
m the difficulty of bringing about an actual separation. Preparatory to 
such a movement, it would seem indispensable, that Union among the 
seceding states themselves should be secured. A General Convention 
would be necessary to adjust its terms. This would, of course, be 
preceded by particular conventions in the several states. To this pro- 
cedure the same objection applies, that has been made, for the last two 
or three years, to holding an anti-abolition convention in the South : — 
It would give to the question such notoriety, that the object of holding 
the convention could not be concealed from the slaves. The more 
sagacious in the South have been opposed to a convention ; nor have 
they been influenced solely by the consideration just mentioned — 
which, in my view, is but of little moment — but by the apprehension, 
that the diversity of sentiment which exists among the slave states, 
themselves, in relation to the system, would be disclosed to the 
country ; and that the slaveholding interest would be found deficient 
in that harmony which, from its perfectness heretofore, has made the 
slaveholders so successful ixi their action on the North. 

The slaveholding region may be divided into the farming and the 
plajiting — or the slsLve-selling and the s\ districts. Maryland, 
Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and East Tennessee constitute the first. 

* Governor Hayne, of South Carolina, spoke in high terms, a few years ago, of the abiUty that 
the South would posspss, in a military point of view, because her great wealth would enable her, 
■it all times, to command the services of mercenary troops. Without stopping to dispute with 
him. as to her comparative wealth. I would remark, that he seemed entirely to have overlooked 
this truth— that whenever a government is under the necessity of calling in foreign tioops, to keep 
in subjection one half of the people, the power of the government has already passed into the hands 
of the Protectors. They can and will, of course, act with wliichever party will best subserve their 

( '10 ) 

West Tennessee is somewlmt ei'invocal. All ihc states south of Ten- 
nessee belong to the slave-iuj/z/jo- district. The lirst, with but few ex- 
ceptions, have from the earliest times, felt slavery a reproach to their 
good name — an encuirbrance on their advancement — at some period, to 
be cast ofF. This sentiment, had it been at all encouraged by the action 
of the General Government, in accordance with the views of the con- 
vention that formed the Constitution, would, in all probability, by this 
lime, have brought slavery in Maryland and Virginia to an end. Not- 
withstanding the easy admission of slave states into the Union, and the 
yielding of the free states whenever they were brouglit in collision with 
the South, have had a strong tendency to persuade the farming slave 
states to continue their system, yet the sentiment in favor of emancipa- 
tion in some form, still exists among them. Proof, encouraging proof 
of this, is found in the present attitude of Kentucky. Her legislature 
has just passed a law, proposing to the people, to hold a convention to 
alter the constitution. In the discussion of the bilL slaverj' as connect- 
ed with some form of emancipation, seems to have constituted the most 
important clement. The public journals too, that are opposed to touch- 
ing the subject at all, declare that the main object for recommending a 
a convention was, to act on slavery in some way. 

Now, it would be in vain for the planting South to expect, that Kcn- 
tuckv or any other of the farming slave states would unite with her, in 
making slavery the perpetual bond of a new political organization. If 
they feel the inconveniences of slavery in their present condition, they 
could not be expected to enter on another, where these inconveniences 
would be inconceivably multiplied and aggravated, and, by the very 
terms of their new contract, perpetuated. 

This letter is already so protracted, that I cannot stop here to develop 
more at large this part of the subject. To one acquainted with the state 
of public sentiment, in what I have called, the farming district, it 
needs no further development. There is not one of these states cm- 
braced in it, that would not, when brought to the test, prefer the privi- 
leges of the Union to the privilege of perpetual slaveholding. And if 
there should turn out to be a single desertion in this matter, the whole 
project of secession must come to nought. 

But laj-ing aside all the obstacles to union among the seceding states, 
how is it possible to take the first step to actual separation ! The sepa- 
ration, at the worst, can only be politiced. There will be no chasm — no 
rent made in the earth between the two sections. The natural and ideal 
boundaries will remain unaltered. Mason and Dixon's line will not 
become a wall of adamant that can neither be undermined nor 'sur- 

( 41 ) 

mounted. The Ohio river will not be converted into flame, or into 
another Styx, dcjiying a passage to every living thing. 

Besides this stability of natural things, the multilbrm interests of the 
two sections would, in the main, continue as they are. The compli- 
cate ties of commerce could not be suddenly unloosed. The bread- 
stull's, the beef, the pork, the turkies, the chickens, the woollen and 
cotton fabrics, the hats, the shoes, the socks, the " horn flints and hark 
7iut.megs,''* the machinery, the sugar-kettles, the cotton-gins, the axes, 
the hoes, the drawing-chains of the North, would be as much needed 
by the South, the day after the separation as the day before. The 
newspapers of the North — its Magazines, its Quarterlies, its Monthlies, 
would be more sought after by the readers of the South than they now 
are ; and the Southern journals would become doubly interesting to us. 
There would be the same lust for our northern summers and your 
southern winters, with all their liealth-giving influences ; and last, 
though not least, the same desire of marrying and of being given in 
marriage that now exists between the North and South. Really 
it is difficult to say where tliis long threatened separation is to begin ; 
and if the place of beginning could be found, it would seem like a poor 
exchange for the South, to give up all these pleasant and profitable re- 
lations and connections for the privilege of enslaving an equal number 
of their fellow-creatures. 

Thus much for the menace, that the " union will be dissolved" 
unless the discussion of the slavery question be stopped. 

But you may reply, " Do you think the South is not in earnest in 
her threat of dissolving the Union ?" I rejoin, by no means ; — yet she 
pursues a perfectly reasonable course (leaving out of view the justice or 
morality of it) — just such a course as I should expect she would pur- 
sue, emboldened as she must be by her multiplied triumphs over the 
North by the use of the same weapon. " We'll dissolve the Union !" 
was the cry, " unless Missouri be admitted ! !" The North were fright- 
ened, and Missouri was admitted with slavery engraved on her fore- 
head. " We'll dissolve the Union !" unless the Indians be driven out 
of the South ! ! The North forgot her treaties, parted with humanity, 
and it is done — the defenceless Indians are forced to " consent" to be 
driven out, or they are left, undefended, to the mercies of southern 
land-jobbers and gold-hunters. " We'll dissolve the Union ! If the 
Tarifl'" [established at her own suggestion] " be not repealed or 
modified so that our slave-labor may compete Avith your free-labor." 

* Senator Preston's Raihoad Speech, delivered at Columbia, S. C, in 1836. 


( 42 ) 

The Tariff is accordingly modified to suit the South. " We'll dissolve 
the Union I" unless the iVecdoin of speech and the press be put down 
in the North!! — With the promptness of commission-merchants, the 
alternative is adopted. Public assemblies met for deliberation are as- 
sailed and broken up at the North ; her citizens are stoned and beaten 
and dragged through the streets of her cities ; her presses are attacked 
by mobs, instigated and led on by men of influence and character ; 
whilst those concerned in conducting them are compelled to fly from 
their homes, pursued as if they were noxious wild beasts ; or, if they 
remain to defend, they arc sacrificed to appease the southern divinity. 
" We'll dissolve the Union" if slavery be abolished in the District of 
of Columbia ! The North, frightened from her propriety, declares that 
slavery ought not to be abolished there now. — " We'll dissolve the 
Union !" if you read petitions from your constituents for its abolition, 
or for stopping the slave-trade at the Capital, or between the states. 
Fifty northern representatives respond to the cry, "down, then. 
with the RIGHT OF petition ! !" All these assaults have succeeded 
because the North has been frightened by the war-cry, " We'll dis- 
solve THE Union !" 

After achieving so much by a process so simple, why should not the 
South persist in it when striving l>r further conquests? No other 
course ought to be expected from iiur, till this has failed. And it is 
not at all improbable, that she will persist, till she almost persuades 
herself that she is serious in her menace to dissolve the Union. She 
may in her eagerness, even approach so near the verge of dissolution, 
that the earth may give way under her feet and she be dashed in ruins 
in the gulf below. 

Nothing will more surely arrest her fur)% than the firm array of the 
North, setting up anew the almost forgotten principles of our fathers, 
and saying to the " dark spirit of slavery," — " thus far shalt tliou go, 
and no farther." This is the best — the only — means of saving the 
South from the fruits of her own folly — folly that has been so long, and 
so strangely encouraged by the North, that it has grown into intolerable 
arrogance — down right presumption. 

There are many other " events" of the last two or three years which 
have, doubtless, had their influence on the course of the abolitionists — 
and which niiglit properly be dwelt upon at considerable length, were 
it not that this communication is already greatly protracted beyond its 
intended limits. I shall, therefore, in mentioning the remaining topics, 
do little more than enumerate them. 

The Legislature of Vermont has taken a decided stand in favor of 

( 43 ) 

anti-slavery principles and action. In the Autumn of 1836, the following 
resolutions were passed by an almost unanimous vote in both houses ; — 

" Resolved, By the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, Tliat neither Con- 
gress nor the State Governments have any constitutional right to abridge the free expres- 
sions of opinions, or the transmission of them tlirough the medimn of the public mails." 

"Resolved, That Congress do possess the power to abolish slavery m the District 
of Columbia." 

" Resolved, Tiiat His Excellency, the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of 
the foregoing resolutions to the Executive of each of the States, and to each of our 
Senators and Representatives in Congress." 

At the session held in November last, the following joint resolutions, 
preceded by a decisive memorial against the admission of Texas, were 
passed by both branches — with the exception of the fifth, which was 
passed only by the House of Representatives : — 

1. Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives, That our Senators in 
Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their influence in 
that body to prevent the annexation of Texas to the Union. 

2. Resolved, That, representing, as we do, the people of Vermont, we do hereby, in 
their name, solemnly protest against such annexation in any form. 

3. Resolved, That, as the Representatives of the people of Vermont, we do solemnly 
protest against the admission, into this Union, of any state whose constitution tolerates 
domestic slavery. 

4. Resolved, That Congress have full power, by the Constitution, to abolish slavery 
and the slave-trade in the District of Columbia and in the territories of the United 

[5. Resolved, That Congress has the constitutional power to prohibit the slave-trade 
between the several states of this Union, and to make such laws as shall effectually 
prohibit such trade.] 

6. Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives 
requested, to present the foregoing Report and Resolutions to their respective Houses 
in Congress, and use their influence to carry the same speedily into effect. 

7. Resolved, That the Governor of tlus State be requested to transmit a copy of the 
foregoing Report and Resolutions to the President of the United States, and to each 
of our Senators and Representatives in Congress. 

The influence of anti-slavery principles in Massachusetts has become 
decisive, if we are to judge from the change of sentiment in the legisla- 
tive body. The governor of that commonwealth saw fit to introduce 
into his inaugural speech, dfelivered in January, 1836, a severe censure 
of the abolitionists, and to intimate that they were guilty of an offence 
punishable at common law. This part of the speech was referred to a 
joint committee of five, of which a member of the senate was chairman. 
To the same committee were also referred communications which had 

( 44 ) 

been received by the governor from several of the legislatures of the 
slaveholiling states, requesting the Legislature of Massachusetts to enatct 
laws, making it penal for citizens of that state to form societies for the 
abolition of slavery, or to speak or publish sentiments such as had been 
uttered in anti-slavery meetings and published in anti-slavery tracts and 
papers. The managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, in 
a note addressed to the chairman of the committee, requested permission, 
as a party whose rights were drawn in question, to appear before it., 
This was granted. The gentlemen selected by them to appear on their 
behalf were of unimpeachable character, and distinguished fur profes- 
sional merit and general literary and scientific intelligence. Such was 
then the unpopularity of abolitionism, that notwithstanding the personal 
influence of these gentlemen, they were ill — not to say rudely — treated, 
especially by the chairman of the committee ; so much so, that respect 
for themselves, and the cause they were deputed to defend, persuaded 
them to desist before they had completed their remarks. A Report, 
including Resolutions unfavorable to the abolitionists was made, ol 
which the following is a copy : — 

The Joint Special Committee, to whom was referred so much of the governor's mes- 
sage as related to the abolition of siaverv, together with certain documents upon the 
same subject, communicated to the E.xecutive by the several Legislatures of Virginia, 
North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, transmitted by his Excellency 
to the Legislature, and hereunto annexed, have considered the same, and ask leave, 
respectfully, to submit the following : — 

Resolved, That this Legislature distinctly disavow any right whatever in itself, or in 
the citizens of this commonwealth, to interfere in the institution of domestic slavery in 
the southern states : it having existed therein before the establishment of the Constitu- 
tion ; it having been recognised by that instrument ; and it being strictly within their 
own keeping. 

Resolved, That this Legislature, regarding the agitation of the question of domestic 
slavery as having already interrupted the friendly relations which o\ight to exist between 
the several states of this Union, and as tending pennanently to injure, if not altogether 
to subvert, the principles of the Union itself; and believing that the good eflected by 
those who excite its discussion in the non-slaveholding states is, under the circimi- 
stances of the case, altogether visionary, while the immediate and future evil is great 
and certain ; does hereby express its entire disapprobation of the doctrine upon this 
subject avowed, and the general measures pursued by such as agitate the question ; and 
does earnestly recommend to them carefully to abstain from all such discussion, and all 
such measures, as may tend to disturb and irritate th^ public mind. 

The report was laid on the table, whence it was not taken up during 

the session — its friends being afraid of a lean majority on it.s passage ; 

./I the alarm had already been taken by many of the members who 

otherwise would have favored it. From this time till the election in the 

( 45 ) 

succeeding autumn, the subject was much agitated in Massachusetts. 
The abolitionists again petitioned the Legislature at its session begun 
in January, 1837; especiall)'-, that it should remonstrate against the 
resolution of Mr. Hawes, adopted by the House of Representatives in 
Congress, by which all memorials, &c, in relation to slavery -were laid, 
and to be laid, on the table, Avithout further action on them. The abo- 
litionists were again heard, in behalf of their petitions, before the proper 
committee.* The result was, the passage of the following resolutions 
with only 16 dissenting voices to 378, in the House of Representatives, 
and in the Senate with not move than one or two dissentients on any 
one of them : — ' 

" Wliereas, The House of Representatives of the United States,' in the month of 
Januar)-, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, did adopt 
a resolution, whereby it was ordered that all petitions, memorials, resolutions, proposi- 
tions, or papers, relating in any way, or to any extent whatever, to the subject of sla- 
very, or the abolition of slaver}', without being either printed or referred, should be laid 
upon the table, and that no further action whatever should be had thereon ; and where- 
as such a disposition of petitions, then or thereafter to be received, is a virtual denial 
of the right itself; and whereas, by the resolution aforesaid, which is adopted as a 
standing rale in the present House of Representatives, the petitions of a large number 
of the people of this commonwealth, praying for the removal of a great social, moral, 
and political evil, have been slighted and contemned : therefore, — 

"Resolved, That the resolution above named is an assumption of power and author- 
ity at variance with the spirit and intent of the Constitution of the United States, and 
injurious to the cause of freedom and free institutions ; that it does violence to the 
inherent, absolute, and inalienable rights of man ; and that it tends, essentially, to 
impair those fundamental principles of natural justice and natural law wiiich are ante- 
cedent to any written constitutions of government, independent of them all, and essen- 
tial to the security of freedom in a state. 

" Resolved, That our Senators and Representatives in Congress, in maintaining and 
advocating the right of petition, have entitled themselves to the cordial approbation of 
the people of this commonwealth. 

" Resolved, That Congress, having exclusive legislation in the District of Columbia, 
possess the right to abolish slavery in said district, and that its exercise sho ^',1 only be 
restrained by a regard to the public good." 

That you may yourself, judge what influence the abolition ques- 
tion exercised in the elections in Massachusetts last autumn, I send 
you three numbers of the Liberator containing copies of letters address- 
ed to many of the candidates, and their respective answers. 

The Legislature have passed, unanimously, at its present session, 
resolutions (preceded by a report of great ability) protesting '• earnestly 

» The gentleman who had been chairman of the conninittee the preceding^ year, was .supposed, ' 
in consequence of the change in pubhc opinion in relation to abolitionists, to have injured Ills 
political standing too much, even to be nominated as a candidate for re-election. 

( 46 ) 

and solemnly against the annexation of Texas to this Union ;" and declar- 
ing that, "no act done, or compact made, for such purpose, by the govern- 
ment of the United States, will be binding on the states or the people." 

Two years ago, Governor Many, of this state, showed hin.self will- 
ing, at the diciatioa of the South, to aid in passing laws for restraining 
and punishing the abolitionists, whenever the extremity of the case 
might call for it. Two weeks ago, at the request of the Young Men's 
Anti-SlaviTV Society of Albany, the Assembly-chamber, by a vote of the 
House (only two dissentient) was granted to Alvan Stewart, Esq., a 
distinguished lawyer, to lecture on the subject of abolition. 

Kentucky is assuming an attitude of great interest to the friends of 
Liberty and the Constitution. The blessings of " them that are ready 
to perish" throughout the land, the applause of the good throughout the 
world will be hers, if she should show moral energy enough to break 
every yoke that she has hitherto imposed on the " poor," and by which 
her own prosperity and true power have been hindered. 

In view of the late action in the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives in Congress — adverse as they may seem, to those who think more 
highly of the branches of the Legislature than of the source of their 
power — the abolitionists see nothing that is cause for discouragement. 
They find the people sound ; they know that they still cherish, as 
their fathers did, the right of petition — the freedom of the press — the 
freedom of speech — the rights of conscience ; that they love the liberty 
of the North more than they love the slavery of the South. What care 
they for Resolutions in the House, or Resolutions in the Senate, when 
the House and the Senate are but their ministers, their servants, and 
they know that they can discharge them at their pleasure ? It may be, 
that Congress has yet to learn, that the people have but slight regard 
for their restraining resolutions. They ought to have known this from 
the history of such resolutions for the las: two years. Thirty-seve.n- 
THOUSAND petitioners for the abolition of slavery in the District of Co- 
lumbia had their petitions laid on the table by the resolution of the 
House of Representatives in May, 1836. At the succeeding session, 
they had increased to one hundred and ten thousand. — The reso- 
lution of Jan. 18, 1837, laid all their petitions in the same way on the 
table. At the called, and at the present session, these 110,000 had 
multiplied to five hundred thousand.* Soon, Senators and Repre 
sentatives will be sent from the free states who v/ill need no petitioni 

iliey will know the prayer of their constituents before they leave theit 


• See Appendix, G. 

( 47 ) 

In concluding this, my answer to your 13th interrogatory, I will say 
that I know of no event, that has transpired, either in or out of Con- 
gress, for '/ne last two or three years, that has had any other influenco 
on the efforts of abolitionists than to increase and stimulate them. 
Indeed, every thing that has taken place within that period, ought to 
excite to their utmost efforts all who are not despairing dastards. The 
Demon of oppression in this land is tenfold more fierce and rampant 
and relentless than he was supposed to be before roused from the quiet 
of his lair. To every thing that is precious the abolitionists have seen 
him lay claim. The religion of the Bible must be adulterated — the 
claims of Humanity must be smothered — the demands of justice must 
be nullified— a part of our Race must be shut out from the comm.on sym- 
pathy of a common nature. Nor is this all : they see their oion rights 
and those of the people ; the right to speak — to write — to print — to 


VANTS — all brought in peril. They feel that the final conflict between 
Popular liberty and Aristocratic slavery has come ; that one or the other 
must fall ; and they have made up their minds, with the blessing of 
God on their efl^brts, that their adversary shall die. 

" 14. Have you any permanent fund, and hpio much? 

Answer. — We have none. The contributions are anticipated. We 
are always in debt, and always getting out of debt. 

I have now. Sir, completed my answers to the questions proposed in 
your letter of the 16th ult. It gives me pleasure to have had such an 
auspicious opportunity of doing so. I cannot but hope for good to both 
the parties concerned, where candor and civility have characterized 
their representatives. 

Part of the answer to your 13th question may seem to wander from 
th^-strict terms of the question proposed. Let it be set down to a 
desire, on my part, to give you all the information I can, at all germain 
to the inquiry. The " proffer," made in my note to Mr. Calhoun, was 
not " unguarded ;" — nor was it singular. The information I have fur- 
nished has been always accessible to our adversaries — even though the 
application for it might not have been clothed in the polite and gentle- 
manly terms which have so strongly recommended yours to the most 
respectful consideration of 

Your very obedient servant, 

James G. Birney. 

{ 4b ) 

[In the Explanatory Remarks placed at the begir.ning of this Corres- 
pondence, reasons were given, that were deenned sufticient, for not pub- 
lisliing more of the letters that passed between Mr, Elmore and myself 
than the two above. Since they were in type, I have received from 
Mr. Elmore a communication, in reply to one from me, informing him 
that I proposed limiting the j)ublieation to the two letters just mentioned. 
It is dated May 19. The following extract shows that he entertains a 
different opinion from mine, and thinks that justice to him rccjuires that 
another of his letters should be included in tlie C'orrespondencc : — 

" The order you propose iii the publication is proper enough ; the omission of busi- 
ness and iininateriul letters being perfectly proper, as they can interest nobody. I 
had supposed my last letter would have forrajd an exception to the rule, which exclu- 
ded immaterial papers. It explained, more fully than my first, my reasons for this cor- 
respondence, defined the limits to ichich I had jtrcscnhed myself, and was a proper 
acco:npaniment to a publication of what /had not written for publication. Allow me. 
Sir, to say, that it will be but bare justice to me that it should be printed with the other 
papers. I only suggest this for your own consideration, for — adhering to my former 
opinions and decision — I ask notliir»g and complain of nothing." 

It is still thought tliat the publication of the letter alluded to is unne- 
cessary to the jnirj)ose of enlightening the public, as to the state, pros- 
pects, &c, of the anti-slave»y cause. It contains no denial of the facts, 
nor impeachment of the statements, nor answer to the arguments, 
presented in my comraunicatiop.. But as Mr. Elmore is personally inte- 
rested in this matter, and as it is intended to maintain the consistent 
liberality which has characterized the Executive Committee in all their 
intercourse with their opponents, the suggestion made by Mr. Elmore 
is cheerfully complied with. The following ii a copy of the letter 
alluded to.— J. G. B.] 

"Washington, May 5, 1838. 
"To James G. Birney, Esq., Cur. Sec. A. A. S. S. 

" Sir, — I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st 
instant, in which you again refer to the publication of the Correspon- 
dence between us, in relation to the measures and designs of the aboli- 
tionists. I would have certainly answered yours of the 2d ult., on the 
same subject, more fully before this, had it not escaped my recollection, 
in consequence [of] having been more engaged than usual in the busi- 
ness before the House. I hope the delay has been productive o[ no 

" If I correctly understand your letters above referred to, the control 
of these papers, and the decision as to their publication, have passed 
into the ' Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society ;' 

( 49 ) 

and, from their tenor, I infer that their determination is so fur made, 
that nothing I coidd object wouhl prevent it, if I desired to do so. 1 
was certainly not apprised, when I entered into this Correspondence, 
that its disposition was to depend on any other will than yours c^nd 
mine, — but that matters nothing now, — you had the power, and I am 
not disposed to question the right or propriety oj its exercise. I heard 
of you as a man of intelligence, sincerity, and truth, — who, although 
laboring in a bad cause, did it with ability, and from a mistaken convic- 
tion of its -justice, As one of the Representatives of a slave-holding 
constituency, and one of a committee raised by the Representatives of 
the slave-holding States, to ascertain the intentions and progress of your 
associations, I availed myself of the opportunity ofl'ered by j'our char- 
acter and situation, to propose to you inquiries as to facts, which woidd 
make those developments so important to be known hi/ our people. My 
inquiries were framed to draw out full and authentic details of the organ- 
ization, numbers, resources, and designs of the abolitionists, of the 
means they resorted to for the accomplishment of their ends, and the 
progress made, and making, in their dangerous work, that all s'uch in- 
formation might be laid before the four 7nillions and a haf of white in- 
habitants in the slave States, whose lives and property are menaced and 
endangered by this ill-considered, misnamed, and disorganizing philan- 
thropy. They should be informed of the full length and breadth and 
depth of this storm which is gathering over their heads, before it breaks 
in its desolating fury. Christians and civilized, they are noio indus- 
trious, prosperous, and happy ; bi.t should your schemes of abolition 
prevail, it will bring upon them overwhelming ruin, and misery unut- 
terable. The two races cannot exist together upon terms of equality 
— the extirpation of one and the ruin of the other ivould be inevitable. 
This humanity, conceived in wrong and born in civil strife, would be 
baptized in a people's blood. It was, that our people might know, in 
time to guard against the mad onset, the full extent of this gigantic 
conspiracy and crusade against their institutions ; and of necessity 
upon their lives with which they must sustain them ; and their fortunes 
and prosperity, which exist only ichile these institutions exist, that I was 
induced to enter into a correspondence with you, who by your official 
station and intelligence were known to be well informed on these 
points, and from your well established character for candor and fair- 
ness, would make no statements of facts which were not known or bo 
lieved by you to be true. To a great extent, my end has been accom- 
plished by your replies to my inquiries. How far, or wlsether at all, 
your answers have run, beyond the facts inquired for, into theories, ar- 


( 50 ) 

gumer.ts, and disstTtations, as erroneous as mischievous, is not a matter 
of present consideration. We differed no wider than 1 expected, but 
that ditrerence has been exhibited courteously, and has nothing to do 
with the ([uestion of publication. Your object, or rather the object of 
your ("onuniltee, is to i)uhlish ; and 1, having no reason to desire it, as 
you have put nic in possession of the facts I wished, and no reason not 
to desire it, as there is nothing to conceal, will leave yourself and the 
Committee to take your own course, neither assenting nor dissenting, 
in what you may tinally decide to do. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

" F. H. Elmore." 

[This letter of Mr. Elmore contains but little more than a reiteration 
of alarming cries on the part of tlic slaveholder ; — cries that are as old 
as the earliest attempts of philanthropy to break the fetters of the en- 
slaved, and that have been repeated up to the present day, with a bold- 
ness that seems to increase, as instances of emancipation multiply to 
prove them groundless. Those who utter them seem, in their panic, 
not only to overlook the most obvious laws of the Imman inind, and the 
lights of experience, but to be almost unconscious of the great events 
connected with slavery, that are now passing around them in the world, 
and conspiring to bring about its early abrogation among all civilized 
and commercial nations. 

However Christian and civilized, industrious, prosperous and happy, 
the SL.wHOLDERS of the South may be, this cannot be said of the slaves. 
A large religious denomination of the state in which Mr. Elmore re- 
sides, has deliberately pronounced them to bo "heathen." Their 
" industry" is seen at the end of the lash — of " prosperity" they have 
none, for they cannot possess any thing that is an element of prosperity 
— their '■ happiness" tliey prove, by running away from their masters, 
whenever they think they can effect their escape. This is the condi- 
tion of a large majority of tlie people in South Carolina, Mississippi 
and Louisiana. 

The " two races" exist in peace in Mexico, — in all the former South 
American dependencies of Spain, in Antigua, in the Bermudas, in Can- 
ada, in Massachusetts, in Vermont, in fine, in every country where they 
enjoy legal equality. It is the denial of this that produces discontent. 
Men will never be satisfied without it. Let the slaveholders consult 
the irreversible laws of the liuman mind — make a full concession oi 
right to those from w hom they have withheld it, and they will be bless- 

( 51 ) 

ed with a peace, political, social, moral, beyond their present concep- 
tions ; without such concessions they never can possess it. 

A system that cannot withstand the assaults of truth— that replies to 
arffumenls with threats — that cannot be " talked about" — that flourishes 
in secrecy and darkness, and dies when brought forth into the light ?.:.a 
examined, must in this time of inexorable scruthiy and relentless agi- 
tation, be a dangerous one. If justice be done, all necessity for the 
extirpation of any part of the people will at once be removed. Bap- 
tisms t)f hlood are seen oidy when humanity has failed in her offices, 
and the suffering discern hope only in the brute efforts of despair. 

Mr. Elmore is doubtless well versed in general history. To his 
vigorous declamation, I reply by asking, if he can produce from 
the hislorv of our race a single instance, where emancipation, full 
and immediate, has been followed, as a legitimate consequence, by 
insurrection or bloodshed. I may go further, and ask him for a well 
authenticated instance, where an emancipated slave, singly has imbrued 
his hands in his masters blood. The first record of such an act in 
modern times, is yet to be made. 

Mr. Elmore says " the white inhabitants in the slave states should 
be informed of the full length and breadth and deptli of this storm 
which is gathering over their heads, before it breaks in its desolating 
fury." In this sentiment there is not a reasonable man in the country, 
be he abolitionist or not, who will not coincide with him. We rejoict; 
at the evidence Ave here have, in a gentleman of the influence and in- 
telligence of Mr. Elmore, of the returning sanity of the South. How 
wildly and mischievously has she been heretofore misled ! Whilst 
the Governors of Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, have 
been repelling offers, made in respectful terms, of the fullest and most 
authentic accounts of our movements ; and whilst Governor B\:tler of 
South Carolina, has not only followed the example of his guber- 
natorial brethren just named, but is found corresponding with an 
obscure culprit in Massachusetts — bribing him with a few dollars, the 
sum he demanded for his fraudulent promise to aid in thwarting the 
abolitionists* ; whilst too, Mr. Calhoun has been willing to pass laws 
to shut out from his constituents and the South generally information 
that concerned them more nearly than all others — we now have it from 
the highest source, from one selected by a state delegation as its rep- 
resentatke in a general committee of the whole slaveholding delega- 
tions, that the South ought to be " informed of the full length and breadth 

♦Appendix, H. 

( r>2 ) 

and depth" of the measiiros, inteiiiions, &c, of the abolitionists. At 
tliis tli'.re is nut an abolitionist who will not rejoice. We ask for 
no''.ing but ucctss to the popular mind of the South. We feel full con- 
fulencf in the elernal rectitude of our principles, and of their reception 
at %he South, wlien once they are understood. Let the conflict come, 
let the truth of liberty fairly enter the lists with the error of slavery, 
and we have not a doubt of a glorious triumph. 

May we not, after this, expect the aid of Mr. Elmore and others of 
equal distinction in the South, in giving to their fellow-citizens the in- 
formation that we have always believed, and that they now acknowl- 
edge, to be so important to them ? 

May 24, 1838. James G. Birnev.] 



Extract from an ailicle addressed to the editor of the Christian Register and Ob- 
server, sioned W. E. C. — attributed to the Rev. Dr. Chaoining. 

" Spealdng of slavery, I wish to recommend to your readers a book just from the 
press, entitled ' Emancipation in the West Indies,' and written by J. A. Thome and 
J. H. Kimball, vkrho had visited those islands to inquire into the great experiment now 
going on there. I regard it as the most important work wliich has appeared among us 
for years. No man, without reading it, should undertake to pass judgment on Eman- 
cipation. It is something more than a report of the observation and opinions of the 
writers. It consists, chiefly, of the opinions, conversations, letters, and other docu- 
ments of the very inhabitants of the islands whose judgments are most trust-worthy ; 
of the governors, special magistrates, police officers, managers, attorneys, physicians, 
&c ; and, in most cases, the names of these individuals are given, so that wc have the 
strongest evidence of the correctness of the work. 

" The results of this great experiment siU3)ass what the most sanguine could have 
hoped. It is hardly possible that the trial could have been made under more unfavor- 
able circumstances. The planters on all the islands were opposed to the Act of Eman- 
cipation, and, in most, exceedingly and fiercely hostile to it, and utterly indisposed to 
give it the best chance of success. The disproportion of the colored race to the whites 
was fearfully great, being that of seven or eight to one ; wliilst, in our slaveholding 
states, the whites outnumber the colored people. The slaves of the West Indies were 
less civilized than ours, and less fit to be trusted with their own support. Another 
great evil was, that the proprietors, to a considerable extent, were absentees ; residing 
in England, and leaving the care of their estates and slaves to managers and owners ; 
the last people for such a trust, and utterly imfit to carry the wretched victims of their 
tyraimy through the solemn transition from slavery to freedom. To complete the 
unhappy circumstances under which the experiment began, the Act of Emancipation 
was passed by a distant government, having no intimate knowledge of the subject ; and 
the consequence was, that a system of ' Apprenticesliip,' as it was called, was adopted, 
so absurd, and betraying such ignorance of the principles of human nature, that, did we 
not know otherwise, we might suspect its author of intending to produce a failure. It 
was to witness the results of an experiment promising so little good, that our authors 
visited three islands, particularly worthy of examination — Antigua, Barbadoes, and 

( ^4 ) 

" Our authors went first to Antigua, an island which had been wise enough to fore- 
see the mischiefs of the proposed apprenticeship, and had substituted for it immediate 
and unquahlietl emancipation. The report given of lliis island is most cheering. It is, 
indeed, cue of the brightest records in histor)'. The account, beginning page 143, of 
the transition from slavery to freedom, can hurdly be read by a man of ordinary sensi- 
bility without a thrill of tender and holy joy. W'iiy is it not published in all our news 
papers as among the most interesting events of our age ? From llie accounts of Anti- 
jjua, it api'cars tliat immediate emancipation has produced oaly good. Its fruits are, 
greater security, the removal of the fears which accompany slavery, better and cheaper 
cultivation of the soil, increased value of real estate, improved morals, more fiequcnt 
marriages, and fewer crimes. The people proclaim, with one voice, that cjiiancipution 
ti- a liltming, a:id that nothing would tempt them to revert to slavery. 

" Our authors proceeded next to Barbadoes, where the apprenticeship system is in 
operation ; and if any proof were needed of the docility and good dispositions of the 
negroes, it would be found in their acquiescence to so wonderful a degree in this unhap- 
py arrangement. The planters on this island have been more disposed, than could have 
been anticipated, to make the best of this system, and here, accordingly, the same 
fruits of the Act of Emancipation are found as in Antigua, though less abundant ; and 
a very general and strong conviction prevails of the happiness of the change. 

" In Jamaica, apprenticeship manifests its worst tendencies. The planters of this 
island were, from first to last, furious in their hostiUty to the act of emancipation ; and 
the effort seems to liave been, to make the apprenticeciup bear as heavily as possible 
on the colored people ; so that, instead of preparing them for complete emancipation, it 
lias rather unhtted them for this boon. Still, under all these disadvantages, there is 
strong reason for c.tpecling, that emancipation, when it shall come, will prove a great 
good. At any rate, it is hardly possible for the slaves to fall into a more deplorable 
condition, than that in which this interposition of parliament found them. 

" The degree of success wliich has attended this experiment in the West Indies, 
under such unfavorable auspices, makes us sure, that emancipation in this country, 
accorded by the good will of the masters, would be attended with the happiest effects. 
One thing is plain, that it would be perfectly safe. Never were the West Indies so 
peaceful and secure as since emancipation. So far from general massacre and insur- 
rection, not an instance is recorded or intimated of violence of any kind being offered 
to a white man. Our authors were continually met by assurances of security on the 
part of the planters, so that, in this respect at least, emancipation has been unspeak- 
able gain. The only obstacle to emancipation is, therefore, removed ; for nothing but 
well grounded fears of violence and crime can authorize a man to encroach or.e moment 
or another's freedom. 

"The subject of this book is of great interest at the present moment. Slavery, in 
the abstract, has been thoroughly discussed among us. We all agree that it is a great 
wrong. Not a voice is here lifted up in defence of the system, when viewed in a 
general light. \\'e only differ when we come to apply our principles to a particular 
case. Tl.e only question is, whether the Southern slates can abolish slavery consis- 
tently with the public safety, order, and peace 1 Many, very many well disposed peo- 
ple, both at the North and South, are possessed with vague fears of massacre and 
universal mismle, as the consequences of emancipation. Such ought to inquire into 
the ground of their alarm. They are bound to listen to the voice of facts, and such are 
given in this book. None of us have a right to make up our minds without inquiry, or 

( 55 ) 

to rest in opinions adopted indolently and witliout thought. It id a great crime to doom 
millions of oiu- race to brutal degradation, on the ground of unreasonable fears. The 
power of public opinion is here irresistible, and to this power every man contributes 
something ; so that every man, by his spirit and language, l.elps to loosen or rivet the 
chains of the slave." 

The following sentiments are expressed by Governor Everett, of Massachusetts, 
in a letter to Edmund Quincy, Esq., dated 

"Boston, April 2!), 1838. 

" Dear Sir, — I have your favor of the 21st, accompanied with the volume containing 
the account of the tour of Messrs. Thome and Kimball in the West Indies, for which 
you will be pleased to accept my thanks. I have perused this highly interesting narra- 
tive with the greatest satisfaction. From the moment of the passage of the law, mak- 
ing provision for the immediate or prospective abolition of slavery in the British colonial 
possessions, I have looked with the deepest solicitude for tidings of its operation. The 
success of the measure, as it seemed to me, would afford a better hope than had before 
existed, that a like blessing might be enjoyed by those portions of the United States 
where slavery prevails. The only ground on which I had been accustomed to hear the 
continuance of slavery defended at the South, was that of necessity, and the impossi- 
bility of abolishing it without producing consequences of the must disastroTS character 
to both parties. The passage of a law providing for the emancipation of nearly a mil- 
lion of slaves in the British colonies, seemed to afford full opportunity of bringing this 
momentous question to the decisive test of experience. If the result proved satisfac- 
tory, J have never doubted that it would seal the fate of slavery throughout the civilized 
•world. As far as the obsei-vations of Messrs, Thome and Kimball extended, the result 
is of the most gratifying character. It appears to place beyond a doubt, that the expe- 
riment of immediate emancipation, adopted by the colonial Legislature of Antigua, has 
fully succeeded in that island ; and the plan of apprenticeship in other portions of the 
West Indies, as well as could have been expected from the obvious inherent vices of 
that measure. It has given me new views of the practieahility of cmayicipation. It has 
been effected in Antigua, as appears from unquestionable authorities contained in the 
work of Messrs. Thome and Kimball, not merely without danger to the master, but 
without any sacrifice of his interest. I cannot but think that the information collected 
in the volume will have a powerful effect on public opinion, not only in the northeni 
states, but in the slaveholding states." 

Governor Ellsworth, of Connecticut, writes thus to A. F. Williams, Esq., of 
this city : — 

"New Haven, May 19, 1838. 

" My Dear Sir, — Just before I left home, I received from you the Journal of Thome 
and Kimball, for which token of friendship I intended to have made you my acknow- 
ledgments before this ; but I wished first to read the book. As far as time would per- 
mit, I have gone over most of its pages ; and let me assure you, it is justly calculated 
to produce great effects, provided you can once get it into the hands of the planters. 
Convince them that their interests, as well as their security, will be advanced by 
employing free blacks, and emancipation will be accomplished without difficulty or 

( 56 ) 

*' I have looked with great interest at tiic startling measure of emancipation in Anti- 
gua ; but if this hook is correct, the question is settled as to that island beyond a 
doubt, since there is such accumulated testimony from all classes, that the business and 
real estate of tiie island have advanced, by reason of the emancipation, one fourth, at 
least, in value ; while personal security, without military force, is felt by the former 
masters, and contentment, industry, and gratitude, are seen in tho!?e who were slaves. 

" The great moral example of England, in abolishing slavery in the West Indies, will 
produce a revolution on this subject throughout t! c world, and put down slavery in 
every Cluristian country. 

" With sentiments of high esteem, &.c, 

" W. W. Ellsworth." 


A snort iiine previous to the late election in Rhode Island for governor and lien 
cenant-governor, a letter was addressed to each of the candidates for those oflices by 
Mr. Jolmson, Corresponding Secretary of the Rhode Island Anti-Slavery Society, 
embodying the views of the abolitionists on the several subjects it embraced, in a series 
of queries. Their purport will appear from the answer of Mr. Sprague, (who was 
elected go\emor,) given below. The answer of Mr. Childs (elected Ueutenant-gover- 
nor) is fully as direct as that of governor Sprague. 

" W.1RWICK, March 28, 1838. 

" Sir, — Your favor of the lOtii inst. requesting of me, in conformity to a reso- 
lution of the E.xecutive Committee of the Rhode Island Anti-Slavery Society, an 
expression of my opinions on certain topics, was duly received. I have no motive 
whatever for witliholding my opinions on any subject which is interesting to any por- 
tion of my fellow-citizens. I will, therefore, cheerfully proceed to reply to the inter- 
rogatories proposed, and in the order in which they are submitted. 

" 1. Among the powers vested by the Constitution in Congress, is the power to 
exercise exclusive legislation, ' in all cases whatsoever,' over the District of Columbia 1 
' All cases' must, of course, include the case of slavery and the slave-trade. I am. 
therefore, clearly of opinion, that the Constitution does confer upon Congress the power 
to abolish slavery and the slave-trade in that District ; and, as they are great moral and 
poUtical evils, the principles of justice and humanity demand the exercise of that 

" 2. The traffic in slaves, whether foreign or domestic, is equally obnoxious to every 
principle of justice and humanity ; and, as Congress has exercised its powers to sup- 
press the slave-trade between this country and foreign nations, it ought, as a matter of 
consistency and justice, to exercise the same powers to suppress the slave-trade between 
the states of this Union. The slave-trade within the states is. undoubtedly, beyond the 
control of Congress ; as the ' sovereignty of each state, to legislate exclusively on the 
subject of slavery, which is tolerated within its limits,' is, I believe, universally con- 
ceded. The Constitution unquestionably recognises the sovereign power of each state 
to legislate on the subject within its limits ; but it imposes on us no obligation to add 
to the evils of the system by countenancing the traflic between the states. That which 
our laws have solemnly pronounced to be piracy in our oreign intercourse, no sojJiisiry 
can make honorable or justifiable in a domestic form. For a proof of the feelings wluch 

( 57 ) 

this traffic naturally inspires, we need but refer to the universal execration in which the 
slave-dealer is held in those portions of the country where the institution of slavery is 
guarded with the most jealous vigilance. 

" 3. Congress has no power to abridge the right of petition. The riglit of the people 
of the non-skiveholding states to petition Congress for the abolition of slavery and the 
slave-trade in ihe District of Columbia, and the traffic of human beings among the slates, 
is as undoubted as any right guarantied by the Constitution ; and I regard the Resolu- 
tion which was adopted by the House of Representatives on the 21st of December last 
as a virtual denial of that right, inasmuch as it disposed of all such petitions, as might 
be presented thereafter, in advance of presentation and reception. If it was right thus 
to dispose of petitions on one subject, it would be equally right to dispose of them iu 
the same manner on cdl subjects, and thus cut of all communication, by petition, between 
the people and their representatives. Nothing can be more clearly a violation of the 
spirit of the Constitution, as it rendered utterly nugatory a right which was considered 
of such vast importance as to be specially guarantied in that sacred instrument. A 
similar Resolution passed the Hou^e of Representatives at the first session of the last 
Congress, and as I then entertained the same views which I have now expressed, I 
recorded my vote against it. 

"4. I fully concur in the sentiment, tiiat 'every principle of justice and humanity 
requhes, that every human being, when personal freedom is at stake, should have the 
benefit of a jury trial ;' and I have no hesitation in saying, that the laws of this state 
ought to secure that benefit, so far as they can, to persons claimed as fugitives from 
' sers-ice or labor,' without interfering with the laws of the United States. The course 
pursued in relation to this subject by the Legislature of Massachusetts meets my 

" 5. I am opposed to all attempts to abridge or restrain the freedom of speech and 
the press, or to forbid any portion of the people peaceably to assemble to discuss any 
subject — moral, political, or rehgious. 

" 6. I am opposed to the annexation of Te.xas to the United States 
" 7. It is undoubtedly inconsistent with the principles of a free state, professing to be 
governed in its legislation by the principles of freedom, to sanction slaver}', in any form, 
within its jurisdiction. If we have laws in this state wliich bear tliis construction, they 
ought to be repealed. We should extend to our southern brethren, whenever they may 
have occasion to come among us, all the privileges and immunities enjoyed by our own 
citizens, and all the rights and privileges guarantied to them by the Constitution of the 
United States ; but they cannot expect of ns to depart from the fundamental principles 
of civil hberty for the purpose of obviating any temporal inconvenience which they may 

" These are my views upon the topics proposed for my consideration. They are the 
views which I have always entertained, (at least ever since I have been awakened tc 
then- vast importance,) and which I have always supported, so far as I could, by my 
vote in Congress ; and if, in any respect, my answers have not been sufficiently expli- 
cit, it will afford me pleasure to reply to any other <juestions which you may tliink 
proper to propose. 

"I am, Sir, very respectfully, 

"Your friend and fellow citizen, 

"William SpRAoas." 
OuvEE JoHNso.v, Esq., Cor. Sec. R. I. A. S. Society. 


( 58 ) 


The abolitionists in Connecticut petitioned the Legislatxire of that state at its late 
session on several subjects deemed by them proper for legislative action. In answer to 
tliese petitions — 

1. The law known a.s the '' Black Act" or the " Canterbury law" — under which 
Miss Crandall was indicted and tried — was repealed, except a single provision, wliich 
is not considered objectionable. 

2. The right to triul by junj was secured to persons who are claimed as slaves. 

3. Resolutions were passed asserting the power of Congress to abolish slavery in 
the District of Columbia, and recommending that it be done as soon as it can be, 
"consistently with the hest guod of the lohole country." C!) 

4. Resolutions were passed protesting against the annexation of Texas to the Utuon. 

5. Resolutions were passed asserting the right of petition as inalienable — condemn- 
ing Mr. Patton's resolution of Dec. 21, 1837 as an invasion of the rights of the people, 
and calling on the Connecticut delegation in Congress to use their efforts to have the 
same rescinded. 


In the yeaJT 1793 there were but 5,000,000 pounds of cotton produced in the United 
States, and but 500,000 exported. Cotton never could have become an article of 
much commercial importance under the old method of preparing it for market. By 
hand-picking, or by a process strictly manual, a cultivator could not prepare for mar- 
ket, during the year, more than from 200 to 'VdO pounds ; being only about one-tenth 
of what he could cultivate to maturity in t!; ; field. In '93 Mr. Whitney invented the 
Cotton-gin now in use, by which the labor oi at least one thousand hands under the old 
system, is perfonned by one, in preparing the crop for market. Seven years after the 
invention (1800) 35,000,000 pounds were raised, and 17,800,000 exported. In 1834, 
460,000,000 were raised — 384,750,000 exported. Such was the effect of Mr. Whitney's 
invention. It gave, at once, extraordinary value to the land in that part of the coun- 
try where alone cotton could be raised ; and to slaves, because it was the general, the 
almost universal, impression that the cultivation of the South could be carried on only 
by slaves. There being no free state in the South, competition between free and slave 
labor never could exist on a scale sufficiently extensive to prove the superiority of the 
former in the production of cotton, and in the preparation of it for market. 

Thus, it has happened that Mr. Whitney has been the innocent occasion of giving to 
slavery in this country its present importance — of magnifying it into the great interest 
to which all others must yield. How he was rewarded by the Soutli — especially by the 
planters of Georgia — the reader may see by consulting Silliman's Journal for January, 
1832, and the Encyclopaedia Americana, article, Whitney. 


It is impossible, of course, to pronounce with precision, how great would have beer, 
the effect in favor of emancipation, if the effort to resist the admission of .Missouri as a 
slaveholdmg sUte had been successful. We can only conjecture what it would have 
been, by liie effect its admission has had in fostering slavery up to its prestnt huge 

( 59 ) 

growtli and pretensions. If the American people had shown, through their National 
legislature, a sincere opposition to slaveiy by the rejection of Missouri, it is probable at 
least — late as it was — that the eai'ly expiration of the ' system' would, by this time, have 
been discerned by all men. 

A\Tieii the Constitution was formed, the state of public sentiment even in the South — 
with the exception of South Carolma and Georgia, was favorable to emancipation. 
Under the influence of this public sentiment was the Constitution formed. No person 
at all versed in constitutional or legal interpretation — with his judgment unaffected by 
interest or any of the prejudices to which the existing controversy has given birth — 
could, it is thought, construe the Constitution, in its letter, as intending to perpetuate 
slavery. To come to such a conclusion with .a full knowledge of what was the mind 
of this nation in regard to slavery, when that instrument was made, demonstrates a 
moral or intellectual flaw that makes all reasoning useless. 

Although it is a fact beyond controversy in our history, that the power conferred by 
the Constitution on Congress to " regulate commerce with foreign nations" was known 
to include the power of abolisliing the African slave-trade — and that it was expected 
that Congress, at the end of the period for which the exercise of that power on this 
particular subject was restrained, would use it (as it did) with a vieio to the iyijiuence 
that the cutting off of that traffic would have on the " system" in this country — yet, 
such has been the influence of the action of Congress on all matters with which slavery 
has been mingled — more especially on the Missouri question, in which slavery was the 
sole interest — that an impression has been produced on the popular mind, that the Con 
stitution of the United States guaranties, and consequently perpetuates, slavery to the 
South. Most artfully, incessantly, and powerfully, has tliis lamentable error been 
harped on by the slaveholders, and by their advocates in the free states. The impres 
sion of constitutional favor to the slaveholders would, of itself, naturally create for them 
an undue aiid disproportionate influence in the control of the govenmrent ; but when to 
this is added the arrogance that the possession of irresponsible power almost invariably 
engenders in its possessors — their overreacliing assumptions — the contempt that the 
slaveholders entertain for the great body of the people of the North, it has almost delivered 
over the govermnent, bound neck and heels, into the hands of slaveholding politicians — 
to be bound still more rigorously, or unloosed, as may seem well in their discretion. 

Who can doubt that, as a nation, we should have been more honorable and influen 
tial abroad — more prosperous and united at home — if Kentucky, at the very outset of 
this matter, had been refused admission to the Union until she had expujiged from her 
Constitution the covenant with oppression ■? She would not have remaiued out of the 
Union a single year on that account. If the worship of Liberty had not been exchanged 
for that of Power — if her principles had been successfully maintained in this first assault, 
their triumph in every other would have been easy. We should not have had a state 
less in the confederacy, and slavery would have been seen, at this time, shrunk up to 
the most contemptible dimensions, if it had not vanished entirely away. But we have 
furnished another instance to be added to the long and melancholy list already existing, 
to prove that, — 

— "facilis descensus Avemi, 

Sed revocare gradum • 

Hoc opus hie labor est," 

if poetry is not fiction. 

Success in the Missouri struggle— late as it was— would have placed the cause of 
freedom in our country out of the reach of danger from its inexorable foe. The prin- 

( 60 ) 

ciplos of liberty would have struck deeper root in the free states, and have derived 
fresh vigor from such a triumph. If tlicsc principles had been honored by tlie govern- 
ment from that period to the present, (as they would have been, had the free states, 
even then, assumed their just preponderance in its administration,) we should now 
have, in Missouri herself, a iiealthful and vigorous ally in the cause of freedom ; and, 
in Arkansas, a free people — twice her present numbers — pressing on the confines of 
slaver)', and summoning the keepers of the southern charncl-houso to open its doors, 
that its inmates might walk forth, in a glorious resurrection to liberty and life. Al- 
though younj;, as a people, we should be, among the nations, venerable for our virtue ; 
and we should exercise an influence on the civilized and commercial world that wo 
must despair of possessing, as long as we remain vulnerable to every shaft that malice, 
or satire, or plalanthropy may find it convenient to hurl against us.* 

Instead of being thus seated on a " heaven-kissing hill," and seen of all in its pure 
radiance ; instead of enjoying its delightful airs, and imparting to them the healthful 
favor of justice, truth, mercy, magnanimity, see what a picture we present ; — our can- 
nibal burnings of human beings — our Lynch courts — our lawless scourgings and capi- 
tal executions, not only of slaves, but of freemen — our demoniac mobs raging through 
the streets of our cities and large towns at midday as well as at midnight, shedding 
innocent blood, devastating property, and applying the incendiaries' torch to edifices 
erected and dedicated to free discussion — the known friends of order, of law, of liber- 
ty, of the Constitution — citizens, distinguished for their worth at home, and reflecting 
honor on their country abroad, shut out from more than half our territory, or visiting it 
at the hazard of their lives, or of the most degrading and painful personal inflictions — 
freedom of speech and of the press overthrown and hooted at — the right of petition 
struck down in Congress, where, above all places, it ought to have been maintained to 
the last — the people mocked at, and attempted to be gagged by their own scrvant-s — 
the time the office-honored veteran, who fearlessly contended for the right, publicly 
menaced for words spoken in his place as a representative of the people, with an indict- 
ment by a slaveholding grand jury — in fine, the great principles of govemmei<i 
asserted by our fathers in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in our Con- 
stitution, with which they won for us the sympathy, the admiration of the world — ali 
forgotten, dishonoured, despised, trodden under foot ! And this for slavery ! ! 

Horrible catalogue ! — yet by no means a complete one — for so young a nation , 
boasting itself, too, to be the freest on earth ! It is the ripe fruit of that chef d'wuvre 
of pohtical skill and patriotic achievement — the Missouri Compromise. 

Another sucL compromise — or aiuj compromise now with slaver>' — and the nation 
is undone. 

• A comic piece— the production of ono of the most popular of the French writers in his way- 
had possession of the Paris stage last winter. When one of the personayes sepxeates husband 
LtiD WIFE, he cries out, '• Bbavo ! This is the Declaratios of I.vdependence of the Uni 
TED States I" [Bravo ! C'est la Declaration d'Independence des Etats Unis.] 

Ono of our distinguished College-professors, lately on a tour in Europe, had his attention called, 
while passing along the street of a German city, to tho pictorial representation of a white mak 
scouBoiNO A suiPLicATiNo COLORED FEMALE, with thls alluslon underwritten :—" A speci- 
men OF Equality— FROM Republican .\merica." 

Truly might our countryman have exclaimed in the language, if not with the generous emo- 
tions of the Trojan hero, when he beheld the noble deeds of liis countrymen pencilled in a strange 


" Quis jam locus— 

Qu» regio in terris nostri non plena laboris t" 

( 61 ) 


The following is believed to be a correct exhibit of the legislative resolutions against 
the annexation of Texas — of the times at which thoy were passed, and of the votes by 
which they were passed : — 

1. Vermont. 

" 1. Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives, That our Senators in 
Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their influence in 
that body to prevent the annexation of Texas to the Union. 

" 2. Resolved, That representing, as we do, the people of Vermont, we do hereby, in 
their name, solemnly protest against such annexation in any form." 

[Passed unanimously, Nov. 1, 1837.] 

2. Rhode Island. 

(In General Assembly, October Session, A. D. 1837.) 

•' Whereas the compact of the Union between these states was entered into by the 
people thereof in their respective states, ' in order to form a more perfect Union, esta- 
bhsh justice, ensure domestic tranquiUity, provide for the common defence, promote 
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their poste- 
rity;' and, therefore, a Representative Government was instituted by them, with cer- 
tain limited powers, clearly specified and defined in the Constitution — all other powers, 
not therein expressly relinquished, being ' reserved to the states respectively, or to the 

" And whereas this limited govermnent possesses no power to extend its jurisdiction 
over any foreign nation, and no foreign nation, country, or people, con be admitted into 
this Union but by the sovereign will and act of the free people of all and each of these 
United States, nor without the formation of a new compact of Union — and another 
frame of government radically different, in objects, principles, and powers, from that 
which was framed for our own self-goverrmient, and deemed to be adequate to all the 
exigencies of our own free repubhc : — 

" Therefore, Resolved, That we have witnessed, with deep concern, the indications 
of a disposition to bring into this Union, as a constituent member thereof, the foreign 
province or territory of Texas. 

" Resolved, That, although we are fully aware of the consequences which must fol- 
low the accomplishment of such a project, could it be accomplished — aware that it 
would lead speedily to the conquest and annexation of Mexico itself, and its fourteen 
remaining provinces or intendencies — which, together with the revolted province of 
Texas, would furnish foreign territories and foreign people for at least twenty members of 
the new Union ; that the government of a nation so extended and so constructed would 
soon become radically [changed] in character, if not in form — would unavoidably become 
a military government ; and, under the plea of necessity, would free itself from the re- 
straints of the Constitution and from its accountability to the people. That the ties of 
kindred, common origin and common interests, which have so long bound this people to- 
gether, and would still continue to bind them ; these ties, which ought to be held sacred 

( 62 ) 

by all true Americans, would be angrily dissolved, and sectional political combinations 
would be formed with the newly admitted foreign states, unnatural and adverse to the 
pence and prosperity of the country. The civd government, with all the arbitrary pow- 
ers it might assume, would he unable to control the storm. The usurper would find 
himself in his ])roper element ; and, after acting the [uitriot and the hero for a due sea- 
sou, as the only means of rescuing the country from the ruin which he had chiefly con- 
tributed to bring upon it, would reluctantly and modestly allow himself to be declared 
' Protector of the Commonwealth.' 

" W^e are now fully aware of the deep degradation into which the republic would sink 
itself in the eyes of the whole world, should it annex to its own vast territorii s other 
and foreign territories of immense though unknown extent, for the purpose of encou- 
raging the propagation of slavery, and giving aid to the raising of slaves within its own 
bosom, the very bosom of freedom, to be exported and sold in those unhallowed re»ious. 
Although we arc fully aware of these fearful evils, and numberless others which would 
come in their train, yet we do not here dwell upon them ; because we are here firmly 
convinced that the free people of most, and we trust of all these states, will never suf- 
fer the admission of the foreign territory of Texas into this Union as a constituent 
memher thereof — will never sufl'cr the integrity of this Republic to be violated, either 
by the mtroduction and addition to it of foreign nations or territories, one or many, or 
by dismemberment of it by the transfer of any one or more of its members to a foreign 
nation. The people will be aware, that should one foreign state or country be intro- 
duced, another and another may be, without end, whether situated in South America, 
in the West India islands, or in any other part of the world ; and that a single foreign 
state, thus admitted, might have in its power, by holding the balance between contcnd- 
m<r parlies, to \vrest their owm government from the hands and control of the people, 
by wliom it was established for their own benefit and self-government. We are fimaly 
convinced, that the free people of these states will look upon any attempt to introduce 
the foreign territory of Texas, or any other foreign territory or nation into this Union, 
as a constituent member or members thereof, as manifesting a wilUngness to prostrate 
the Constitution and dissolve the Union. 

" Resolved, That His Excellency, the Governor, be requested to for^vard a copy of 
the foregoing resolutions to each of oiu: Senators and Representatives in Congress, 
and to each of the Executives of the several states, with a request that the same may 
be laid before the respective Legislatures of said states." 

[The Preamble and Resolutions were unanimously adopted, Nov. 3, 1837.] 

3. Ohio. 

" Resolved, Inj the General AnsemUy uf the State of Ohio, That in the name, and 
on behalf of the people of the State of Ohio, we do hereby solemnly protest against 
the annexation of Texas to the Union of tiicse United States. 

"^Ani be it further resolved, That the Governor be requested to transmit to each of 
our Senators and Representatives in Congress, and to the Governors of cacli of the 
States, a copy of the foregoing resolution, with a statement of tlie votes by which it 
was passed in each branch of the Legislature. 

(Passed by 61 out of 72, the whole number in the House of Representatives — unaiv^ 
imou^ly in the Senate. Feb. 24, 1838.J 

( 63 ) 

4. Massachusettj. 

"Resolves against the annexation of Texas to the United States. 

"Whereas a proposition to admit into the United States as a constituent member 
thereof, the foreign nation of Texas, has been recommended by the legislative resolu- 
tions of several Sutcs, and brought before Congress for its approval and sanction ; and 
whereas such a measure would involve gi-cat wrong to Mexico, and otherwise be of evil 
precedent, injurious to the interests and dishonorable to the character of this country ; 
and whereas its avowed objects aie doubly fraught with peril to the prosperity and per- 
manence of this Union, as tending lo disturb and destroy the conditions of those com- 
promises and concessions, entered into at the formation of the Constitution, by which 
the relative weights of different sections and interests were adjusted, and to strengthen 
and extend the ''evils of a system which is unjust in itself, in striking contrast with the 
theory of our institutions, and condemned by the moral sentiment of mankind ; and 
whereas the people of these United States have not granted to any or all of the depart- 
ments of their Government, but have retained in themselves, the only power adequate 
to the admission of a foreign nation into this confederacy ; therefore, 

" Resolved, That we, the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court 
assembled, do in the name of the people of Massachusetts, earnestly and solemnly 
protest against the incorporation of Texas into this Union, and declare, that no act 
done or compact made, for such purpose by the government of the United States, will 
be binding on the States or the People. 

" Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to forward a copy ot 
these resolutions and the accompanying report to the Executive of the United States, 
and the Executive of each State and also to each of our Senators and Representatives in 
Congress, with a request that they present the resolves to both Houses of Congress." 

[Passed March 16, 1838, unanimously, in both Houses.] 

5. Michigan. 

Whereas, propositions have been made for the annexation of Texas to the United 
States, with a view to its ultimate incorporation into the Union : 

" And whereas, the extension of this General Government over so large a country 
on the south-west, between which and that of the original states, there is little affinity, 
and less identity of interest, would tend, in the opinion of this Legislature, greatly to 
disturb the safe and harmonious operations of the Government of the United States, and 
put in iimninent danger the continuance of this happy Union : Therefore, 

" Be it resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, 
That in behalf, and in the name of the State of Michigan, this Legislature doth hereby 
dissent from, and solemnly protest against the annexation, for any purpose, to this Union, 
of Texas, or of any oiher territory or district of country, heretofore constituting a 
part of the dominions of Spain in America, lying west or south-west of Louisiana." 

" And be it further Resolved, by the Authority aforesaid, Tiiat the Governor of this 
State be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolve, under the 
great seal of this state, to the President of the United States ; also, that he transmit 
one copy thereof, authenticated in manner aforesaid, to the President of the Senate of 
the United States, with the respectful request of this Legislature, that the same may 
be laid before the Senate ; also, that he transmit one copy thereof to the Speaker of 
the House of Representatives of the United States, authenticated in like manner, with 
the respectful request of this Legislature, that the same may be laid before the House 

( 04 ) 

of Representatives ; and also, that he transmit to each of our Senators and Repre- 
sentatives in Congress, one copy thereof, together with the Report adopted by this 
Legislature, and which accompanies said preamble and resolves. 
[Passed nearly if not quite unanimously, April 2, 1838]. 

6. Connecticut. 

" Resolced, That we, the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assem- 
bly convened, do, in the name of the people of this Slate, solemnly protest against the 
annexation of Texas to this Union. 

(Passed, it is believed, unanimously in both houses.] 

[Those which follow were passed by but one branch of the respective Legislatures in 
which they were introduced.] 

7. PE.NXSyi.V.\MA. 

liesolutions rclalive to the admission of Texas into the Union. 

" Whereas the annexation of Texas to the United States has been advocated and 
strongly urged by many of our fellow-citizens, particularly in the southern part of our 
countr)', and the president of Texas has received authority to open a correspondence 
with, and appoint, a commissioner to our govenanent to accomplish the objcc': ; — And 
ichereas such a measure would bring to us a dangerous extension of territor)', with a 
population generally not desirable, and would probably involve us in war ; — And where- 
as the subject is now pressed upon and agitated in Congress ; therefore, 

" Resolved, &c, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representa- 
tives requested, to use their influence and vote against the annexation of Te.vas to the 
territory of the United States. 

" Resolved, That the Governor transmit to each of our Senators and Representatives 
a cop)' of the foregoing preamble and resolutions." 

[Passed the Senate Alarch 9, 1838, by 22 to 6. Postponed indefinitely in the House 
of Representatives, April 13, by 41 to 39] 

8. Maine. 

" Resolved, That the Legislature of the State of Maine, on behalf of the people o 
said state, do earnestly and solemnly protest against the annexation of the Republic of 
Texas to these United States ; and that our Senators and Representatives in Congress 
be, and they hereby are, requested to exert their utmost influence to prevent the adoption 
of a measure at once so clearly unconstitutional, and so directly calculated to disturb 
our foreign relations, to destroy our domestic peace, and to dismember our blessed Union." 

[Passed in the House of Representatives, March 22, 1838, by 85 to 30. Senate 
(same day) refused to concur by 11 to 10 ] 

9. New-York. 

''Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That the admission of the Republic of Texa 
mto this Union would be entirely repugnant to the will of the people of this state, and 
would endanger the union of these United States. 

" Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That this Legislature do, in the name of the peo- 
ple of the State of New York, solemnly protest against the admission of the Republic 
o( Texas mto this Union. 

( 65 ) 

"Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That his Excellency the Governor be requested 
to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to each of our Senators and Representa- 
tives in Congress, and also to the governors of each of the United States, with a request 
that the same be laid before their respective Legislatures." 

[These resolutions passed the House of Representatives in April, by a large majo- 
rity the newspapers say, 83 to 13. They were indefinitely postponed in the Senate, 

by a vote of 21 to 9.] 


The number of petitioners for aboUtion in the District of Columbia, and on other 
subjects allied to it, have been ascertained (in the House of Representatives) to be as 

follows : — 

Men. Women. Total. 

For abolition in the District, 51,366 T8,882 130,248 

Against tlie annexation of Texas, " 104,973 77,419 182,392 

Rescinding tlie ga? resolution, 21,015 10,821 31,836 

Against admitting any new slave state, .... 11,770 10,391 22,101 

For abolition of the slave-trade between the states, . 11,864 11,541 23,405 

For abolition of slavery in tne territories, .... 9,129 12,083 21,212 
At the extra session for rescinding the gag resolution of 

Jan. 21, 1837, 3,377 3,377 

Total, 213,494 201,137 414,631 

The number in the Senate, where some difficulty was interposed that prevented its 
being taken, is estimated to have been about two-thirds as great as that in the House. 


[On the 1st of December, one of the secretaries of the American Anti-Slavery Society 
addressed a note to each of the Governors of the slave states, in which he informed 
them, in courteous and respectful terms, that he had directed the Publishing Agent of 
this •ociety, thereafter regularly to transmit to them, free of charge, the periodical pub- 
lications issued from the office of the society. To this offer the following replies were 

received : — ] 

Governor Campbell's Letter. 

James G. Birney, Esq., New York 

"Richmond, Dec. 4, 1837. 

" Sir, — I received, by yesterday's mail, your letter of the 1st instant, in which you 
state that you had directed the publishing agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, 
hereafter, regularly to transmit, free of cliarge, by mail, to all the governors of tlic slave 
states, the periodical publications issued from that office. 

" Regarding your society as highly mischievous, I decline receiving any communica- 
tions from it, and must request that no publications from your office be transmitted to me. 

" I am, &c, 

" David Ca.mpbell." 

Governor Bagby's Letter. 

"Tuscaloosa, Jan. 6, 1838 
*' Sir. — I received, by due course of mail, your fiivor of the 1st of Dccombcr, inform- 
ing me that you had directed the publishing agent of the American Anti-SlavciT Society 
to forward to the governors of the slaveholding states the periodicals issued from that 
office. Taking it for granted, that the only object which the society or yourself could 

( 60 ) 

have in view, in adopting this course, 13, ilic dissemination of the opinioas and principles 
of the socuty — iiaving nmde up my own opinion, unalterably, in relation to the whole 
question of slavery, as it exists in a portion of the United States, and feeling confident 
that, in the correctness of this opinion, I I'.m sustained by the entire free wliite popula- 
tion of Alabama, as well as the great body of the people of this Union, I must, with the 
greatest respect for yourself, personally — but not for tlie opinions or principles advo- 
cated by tije society — positively decline receiving said publications, or anv others of a 
similar character, cither personally or oflicially. Indeed, it is presuming a little too 
much, to expect that the chief magistrate of a free people, elected by themselves, would 
hold correspondence or give currency to the publications of an organized society, openly 
engaged in a sclu^me fraught with more mischievous consequences to their interest and 
repose, than anv that the wit or folly of mankind has heretofore devised. 
" I am, very respectfully, 

" Your ob't servant, 

"A. P. Bagby" 
Jambs G. Bibney, Esq., Neio York. 

Governor C.\nnon's Letter. 

[This letter required so many alterations to bring it up to the ordinary standard of 
epistolary, grammatical, anJ orthographical accuracy, that it is thought best to give it, 
in word and letter, precisely as it was received at the office.] 

" Executive Dept. 

"N.^sHviLLE, Dec. I2th, 1837. 

" I have rec'd yours of the 1st Inst notifying me, that you had directed, your periodi- 
cal publications, on the subject of Slavery to be sent to me free of charge &c — and you 
are correct, if sincere, in your views, in supposing that we widely differ, on this sub- 
ject, we do indeed widely differ, on it, if the publications said to have emanated from 
you, are honest and sincere, which, I admit, is possible. 

" My opinions are fix'd and sctlcd, and I seldom Look into or examine, the different 
vague notions of others who write and theorise on that subject. Hence I trust you will 
not expect me to examine, what you have printed on this subject, or cause to have 
printed, If you or any other man are influenced by feelings of humanity, and are labor- 
ing to relieve the sufferings, of the human race, vou may find objects enough imme- 
diately around you, where you are, in anv nonslaveholding State, to engage your, 
attention, and all your exertions, in that good cause. 

" But if your aim is to make a flourish on the subject, before the world, and to gain 
yourself some notoriety, or distinction, without, doing good to any, and evil to many, 
of the human race, you are, pursuing the course calculated to effect, Sucli an object, in 
wliich no honest man need envy. Your honoiurs, thus gaind, I know there are many 
such in our country, but would fain hope, you are not one of them. If you have Livd. 
as you state forty years in a Slave holding State, you know that, that class of its pop"- 
lation, are not tlie most, miserable, degraded, or unhappy, either in their fccliqgs or 

( 67 ) 

habits, You know they arc generally govemd, and provided for by men of information 
»nd understanding sufficient to guard them against the most, odious vicea, and hibets 
of the country, from which, you know the slaves are in a far greater degree, exempt 
^han, arc other portions of the population. That the slaves arc the most happy, moral 
»nd contented generally, and free from suffering of any kind, having each full confi- 
dence, in liis masters, skill means and disposition to provide well for him, knowing also 
at the same time that it is his interest to do it, Hence in this State of Society more 
\han any other, Superior intelligence has the ascendency, in governing and pro\ ideuig, 
for the wants of those inferior, also in giveing direction to their Labour, and industr)-, 
«s should be the case, superior intelligence Should govern, when united with Virtue, 
and interest, that great predominating principle in all human affau's it is my rale of 
Life, when I see any man labouring to produce effects, at a distance from him, while 
neglecting the objects immediately around him, (in doing good) to suspect his since- 
rity, to suspect him for some selfish, or sinister motive, all is not gold that glitters, and 
every man is not what he, endeavours to appear to be, is too well knovra It is the 
duty of masters to take care of there slaves and provide for them, and tliis duty I believe 
'is as generally and as fully complyd with as any other duty enjoind on the human fami- 
ly, for next to their childi-en thcii- own offspring, their slaves stand next foremost in 
their care and attention, there are indeed very few instances of a contrary character. 

" You can find around you, I doubt not a large number of persons intermix'd, in your 
society, who are entirely destitute of that care, and attention, towards them, that is 
enjoyed by om- slaves, and who are destitute of that deep feeling of interest, in guard- 
ing their morals and habits, and directing them tlirough Life m ail tilings, which is here 
enjoyd by our slaves, to those let your efforts be directed immediately around you, 
and do not trouble with your vague speculations those who are contented and happy, 
at a distance from you. 

" Very, respectfully yours, 

Mr. Jas. G. Birnev, Cor. Sec. &c. " N. Cannon." 

[The letter of the Secretary to the governor of South Carolina was not answered, but 
as so inverted and folded as to present the suhscribcd name of the secretary, as the 
iperscription of the same letter to be returned. The addition of New York to the 
Idress brought it back to this office. 

\^1iilst governor Butler was thus refusing the information that was proffered to him 
a the most respectful terms from this office, he was engaged in another affair, having 
'jonnection with the anti-slavery movement, as indiscreet, as it was unbecoming the 
dignity of the office he holds. The following account of it is from one of the Boston 
papers : — ] 

'•Hoaxing a Governor. — The National .lEgis say?, tiiat HoUis Parker, who was 
sentenced to the state prison at the late term of the criminal court for Worcester coun- 
ty, for endeavoring to extort money from governor Everett, had opened an extensive 
ccrrespondence, previous to liis arrest, with similar intent, v,'ith other distinguished 
men of the country. Besides several individuals in New York, governor Butler, of 
South Carolina, was honored with his notice. A letter from that gentleman, directed 
'o Parker, was lately received at the office in a town near Worc(:ster, enclosing a 
check for fifty dollars. So far as the character of Parker's letter can be inferred from 
the reply of governor Butler, it would appear, that Parker informed the governor, thai 

( 68 ) 

the design wa* entertained by some of our citizens, of franMiiitting to South Carohna a 
quantity of ' incendiary publications,' and that, with llie aid of a little monev, he (Parker) 
would be able to unravel the plot, and furnish full information concerning it to his excel- 
lency. The bait took, and the money was forwarded, with earnest a]jpeals to Parker 
to bo vi;,'dant and aitive in thoroughJy investigating the tiupposed conspiracy atrainst the 
peace and happiness of the South. ' 

" The -Egis has the following very just remarks touching this case , — ' Governor 
Buller belongs to a state loud in its professions of regard for state rights and state 
lovereignty. Wc. also, are sincere advocates of that good old ropubhcan doctrine. It 
einkes us, that it would have comported better with the spirit ol that doctrine, the di"- 
nity of his own Jtation and character, the respect and courtesy due to a sovereign and 
independent state, if governor Butler had made the proper representation, if the subieci 
was deserving of such notice, to the acknowledged head and constituted authorities of 
that state, instead of holding official correspondence with a citizen of a foreign jurisdic- 
tion, and employing a secret agent and informer, whose very ofl'er of such service wan 
proof of the base and irresponsible character of him who made it.' " 

Governor Conway's Letter. 

"ExECL'TivE Department, Little Rock, Arkansas, March 1, 1838. 
'• Sir, — A newspaper, headed ' The Emancipator,^ in which you arc announced tbe 
' publishing agent,' has, for some weeks past, arrived at the post otFicc in this city, to 
my address. Not having subscribed, or authorized any individual to ffive my name us 
a subscriber, for that or any such paper, it is entirely •Gratuitous on the part of its pi.:b- 
lishers to send me a copy ; and not having a favorable opinion of the intentions of the 
authors and founders of the ' American Anti- Slave ri/ Society,'' I have to request a 
discontinuance of ' Tht Emancipator.'' 

" Your ob'l servant, 

"J. S. Conway.' 
R. G. Williams, Esq., New York. 

[Note. — The following extract of a letter, from the late Cliief Justice Jay to the late venerarit 
Elias fioudinot, dated Nov. 17, 1819, might well have formed part of Appendix F. Its existf nic, 
however, was not known till it was too late to insert it in its most al.propriale place. Jt sho-.s tt.e 
view taken of some of the constitutional questio^jn^^ji, disttrtguislied jurist,— one of the purest 
patriots too, by whom our early liistory was illustr.uod.] 

'' Little can be added to what has been said and written on the subject of slavery. I concur in 
the opinion, that it ousht not to be introduced, nor permitted in any of the new states ; and that it, 
ought to be gradually diminished, and tinally, abolished, in all. of thein. 

" To 1110, the comiitu'ional authority of the C'on^jToss to prohibit tl.e migratiori and importaticn <>{ 
slaves into any of the states, does not appear questionable. 

•• The article of the Constitution specilies the legislative powers committed to Congress. 
The ninth section of that article ha.s those words : — ' Ttie migration or importation of such persons 
as any of the nuui existing states shall iliink proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the (.'on- 
gress prior to the year lijOS— but a lax or duty may be imposed on such importation not exceeding 
trn dollars for each person.' 

" I understand the sense and of this clause to be, That the power of the Congress, 
although compi'int tu prohibit suck mij-'ration and importation, was not to bo exercised with respect 
to the THEN e.tisling states, and tlu:m only, until the year 1808 ; but that Congress were at iiborty 
to make such prolnbiliin as to any mi/i state which might in the meantime be established. And 
'urtlier, that from and after that period, Ihey were authorized to niiike such prohibition as to all 
the states, whether new or old. w' 

" Slaves were the persons intended. The word slaves vas avoided, on account of the existint; 
toleration of slavery, and its discordancy with the principles of the Revolution ; and iVoin a coi.- 
Rcioiisness of its being repugnant to those propositions in the Declaration of Independence;— 
' We hold these truths to be self-evident— that all men are created equal— that they are endowed 
by their Creator with certain inalienable nghts- ajid that, among these, are life, liberty, and t-''-'- 
pursuit of happiness ' '"