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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania. 




Introduction «^ 6 


The Nature op Civil Liberty 9 

Sect. I. — The commonly-received definition of Civil Li- 
berty..., 12 

Sect. II. — Examination of the commonly-received defini- 
tion of Civil Liberty 13 

Sect. III. — No good law ever limits or abridges the Na- 
tural Liberty of Mankind 22 

Sect. IV. — The Distinction betvreen Rights and Liberty. . 28 

Sect. V. — The Relation between the State of Nature and 

Civil Society 30 

Sect. VI. — Inherent and Inalienable Rights 34 

Sect. VII. — Conclusion of the First Chapter 39 


The Arguments and Positions of Abolitionists..... 43 

Sect. I. — The first fallacy of the Abolitionist 45 

Sect. II. — The second fallacy of the AboUtionist 50 

Sect. III.— The third fallacy of the Abolitionist 52 

Sect. IV. — The fourth fallacy of the Abolitionist 55 

Sect. V.— The fifth fallacy of the Abolitionist 58 

Sect. VI.— The sixth fallacy of the Abolitionist 62 

Sect. VII. — The seventh fallacy of the Abolitionist 65 

Sect. VIIL— The eighth fallacy of the Abolitionist 79 

Sect. IX. — The ninth fallacy of the Abolitionist 82 




Sect. X. — The tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, four- 
teenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth fallacies of the Aboli- 
tionist ; or his seven arguments against the right of a 
man to hold property in his fellow-man 86 

Sect. XI. — The seventeenth fallacy of the Abolitionist; 
or, the Argument from the Declaration of Independence 102 


The Argument from the Scriptures 138 

Sect. I. — The Argument from the Old Testament 138 

Sect. II. — The Argument from the New Testament 157 


The Argument from the Public Good 226 

Sect. I.— The Question 227 

Sect. II. — Emancipation in the British Colonies 229 

Sect. III. — The manner in which Emancipation has 

ruined the British Colonies 257 

Sect. IV. — The great benefit supposed, by American 
Abolitionists, to result to the freed Negroes from the 

British Act of Emancipation 268 

Sect. V. — The Consequences of Abolition to the South. . 284 
Sect. VI. — Elevation of the Blacks by Southern Slavery. 292 


The Fugitive Slave Law 301 

Sect. I. — Mr. Seward's Attack on the Constitution of his 
Country 302 

Sect. II. — The Attack of Mr. Sumner on the Constitu- 
tion of his Country 311 

Sect. III. — The Right of Trial by Jury not impaired by 
the Fugitive Slave Law 353 

Sect. IV. — The Duty of the Citizen in regard to the 
Constitution of the United States 374 


This work has, for the most part, been thought 
out for several years, and various portions of it re- 
duced to writing. Though we have long cherished the 
design of preparing it for the press, yet other engage- 
ments, conspiring with a spirit of procrastination, have 
hitherto induced us to defer the execution of this de- 
sign. Nor should we have prosecuted it, as we have 
done, during a large portion of our last summer vaca- 
tion, and the leisure moments of the first two months of 
the present session of the University, but for the solici- 
tation of two intelligent and highly-esteemed friends. 
In submitting the work, as it now is, to the judg- 
ment of the truth-loving and impartial reader, we 
beg leave to offer one or two preliminary re- 

We have deemed it wise and proper to notice 
only the more decent, respectable, and celebrated 
among the Abolitionists of the North. Those scur- 

1* 6 


rilous writers, who deal in wholesale abuse of South- 
ern character, we have deemed unworthy of notice. 
Their writings are, no doubt, adapted to the taste of 
their readers; but as it is certain that no educated 
gentleman will tolerate them, so we would not raise a 
finger to promote their downfall, nor to arrest their 
course toward the oblivion which so inevitably awaits 

In replying to the others, we are conscious that 
we have often used strong language; for which, how- 
ever, we have no apology to offer. We haVe dealt 
with their arguments and positions rather than with 
their motives and characters. If, in pursuing this 
course, we have often spoken strongly, we merely beg 
the reader to consider whether we have not also 
spoken justly. We have certainly not spoken without 
provocation. For even these men — the very lights 
and ornaments of abolitionism — have seldom conde- 
scended to argue the great question of Liberty and 
Slavery with us as with equals. On the contrary, 
they habitually address us as if nothing but a pur- 
blind ignorance of the very first elements of moral 
science could shield our minds against the force of 
their irresistible arguments. In the overflowing ex- 
uberance of their philanthropy, they take pity of our 
most lamentable moral darkness, and graciously con- 
descend to teach us the very A B C of ethical 
philosophy ! Hence, if we hwve deemed it a duty to 


lay bare their pompous inanities, stowing them to be 
no oracles, and to strip their pitiful sophisms of the 
guise of a profound philosophy, we trust that no 
impartial reader will take offence at such vindication 
of the South against her accusers and despisers. 

In this vindication, we have been careful throughout 
to distinguish between the abolitionists, our accusers, 
and the great body of the people of the North. 
Against these we have said nothing, and we could 
say nothing; since for these we entertain the most 
profound respect. We have only assailed those by 
whom we have been assailed; and we have held each 
and every man responsible only for what he himself 
has said and done. We should, indeed, despise our- 
selves if we could be guilty of the monstrous injus- 
tice of denouncing a whole people on account of 
the sayings and doings of a portion of them. We 
had infinitely rather suffer such injustice — as we 
have so long done — than practise it toward others. 

We cannot flatter ourselves, of course, that the fol- 
lowing work is without errors. But these, whatever 
else may be thought of them, are not the errors of 
haste and inconsideration. For if we have felt deeply 
on the subject here discussed, we have also thought 
long, and patiently endeavored to guard our minds 
against fallacy. How far this effort has proved suc- 
cessful, it is the province of the candid and impartial 
reader alone to decide. If our arguments- and views 


are unsound, we hope he will reject them. On the 
contrary, if they are correct and well-grounded, we 
hope he will concur with us in the conclusion, that 
the institution of slavery, as it exists among us at 
the South, is founded in political justice, is in accord- 
ance with the will of God and the designs of his 
providence, and is conducive to the highest, purest, best 
interests of mankind. 




Few subjects, if any, more forcibly demand 
our attention, by tbeir intrinsic grandeur and 
importance, tban the great doctrine of human 
liberty. Correct views concerning this are, in- 
deed, so intimately connected with the most 
profound interests, as well as with the most 
exalted aspirations, of the human race, that any 
material departure therefrom must be fraught 
with evil to the living, as well as to millions yet 
unborn. They are so inseparably interwoven 
with all that is great and good and glorious in 
the destiny of man, that whosoever aims to form 
or to propagate such views should proceed with 
the utmost care, and, laying aside all prejudice 
and passion, be guided by the voice of reason 


Hence it is to be regretted — deeply regretted — 
that the doctrine of liberty has so often been 
discussed with so little apparent care, with so 
little moral earnestness, with so little real ener- 
getic searching and longing after truth. Though 
its transcendent importance demands the best 
exertion of all our powers, yet has it been, for 
the most part, a theme for passionate declamation, 
rather than of severe analysis or of protracted 
and patient investigation. In the warm praises 
of the philosopher, no less than in the glowing 
inspirations of the poet, it often stands before us 
as a vague and ill-defined something which all 
men are required to worship, but which no man 
is bound to understand. It would seem, indeed, 
as if it were a mighty something not to be clearly 
seen, but only to be deeply felt. And felt it has 
been, too, by the ignorant as well as by the 
learned, by the simple as well as by the wise : 
felt as a fire in the blood, as a fever in the brain, 
and as a phantom in the imagination, rather, 
than as a form of light and beauty in the intelli- 
gence. How often have the powers of darkness 
surrounded its throne, and desolation marked 
its path ! How often from the altars of this 
unknown idol has the blood of human victims 
streamed! Even here, in this glorious land of 


ours, liow often do the too-religious Americans 
seem to become deaf to the most appalling les- 
sons of the past, while engaged in the frantic 
worship of this their tutelary deity! At this 
very moment, the highly-favored land in which 
we live is convulsed from its centre to its cir- 
cumference by the agitations of these pious 
devotees of freedom ; and how long ere scenes 
like those which called forth the celebrated 
exclamation of Madame Roland — " Liberty, 
what crimes are perpetrated in thy name !" 
may be enacted among us, it is not possible for 
human sagacity or foresight to determine. 

K no one would talk about liberty except 
those who had taken the pains to understand 
it, then would a perfect calm be restored, and 
peace once more bless a happy people. But 
there are so many who imagine they understand 
liberty as Falstafl" knew the true prince, namely, 
by instinct, that all hope of such a consummation 
must be deferred until it may be shown that 
their instinct is a blind guide, and its oracles are 
false. Hence the necessity of a close study and 
of a clear analysis of the nature and conditions 
of civil liberty, in order to a distinct delineation 
of the great idol, which all men are so ready to 
worship, but which so few are willing to take 


the pains to understand. In the prosecution of 
such an inquiry, we intend to consult neither the 
pecuniary interests of the South nor the preju- 
dices of the ITorth ; but calmly and immovably 
proceed to discuss, upon purely scientific princi- 
ples, this great problem of our social existence 
and national prosperity, upon the solution of 
which the hopes and destinies of mankind in no 
inconsiderable measure depend. We intend no 
appeal to passion or to sordid interest, but only 
to the reason of the wise and good. And if 
justice, or mercy, or truth, be found at war with 
the institution of slavery, then, in the name of 
God, let slavery perish. But however guilty, 
still let it be tried, condemned, and executed 
according to law, and not extinguished by a 
despotic and lawless power more terrific than 

§ I. The commonly-received definition of civil 

"Civil liberty," says Blackstone, "is no other 
than natural liberty so far restrained as is neces- 
sary and expedient for the general advantage." 
This definition seems to have been borrowed 
from Locke, who says that, when a man enters 
into civil society, " he is to pai-t with so much 


of his natural liberty^ in providing for himself, as 
the good, prosperity, and safety of the society 
shall require." So, likewise, say Paley, Berla- 
maqui, Rutherforth, and a host of others. In- 
deed, among jurists and philosophers, such 
seems to be the commonly-received definition 
of civil liberty. It seems to have become a 
political maxim that civil liberty is no other 
than a certain portion of our natural liberty, 
which has been carved therefrom, and secured 
to us by the protection of the laws. 

But is this a sound maxim? Has it been 
deduced from the nature of things, or is it 
merely a plausible show of words ? Is it truth— 
sohd and imperishable truth — or merely one of 
those fair semblances of truth, which, through 
the too hasty sanction of great names, have ob- 
tained a currency among men? The question 
is not what Blackstone, or Locke, or Paley may 
have thought, but what is truth? Let us ex- 
amine this point, then, in order that our decision 
may be founded, not upon the authority of man, 
but, if possible, in the wisdom of God. 

§ n. Examination of the commonly-received 
definition of civil liberty. 

Before we can determine whether such be the 


origin of civil liberty, we must first ascertain 
the character of that natural liberty out of which 
it is supposed to be reserved. "What, then, is 
natural liberty? What is the nature of the 
material out of which our civil liberty is sup- 
posed to be fashioned by the art of the political 
sculptor ? It is thus defined by Locke : " To 
understand political power right, and derive it 
from its original, we must consider what state 
all men are naturally in ; and that is a state of 
perfect freedom to order their actions and dis- 
pose of their possessions and persons as they 
think fit, within the hounds of the law of nature, 
without asking leave or depending upon the 
will of any other man."** In perfect accordance 
with this definition, Blackstone says : *' This 
natural liberty consists in a power of acting as 
one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, 
unless by the laws of nature, being a right in- 
herent in us by birth, and one of the gifts of God 
to man at his creation, when he endowed him 
with the faculty of free-will." Such, according 
to Locke and Blackstone, is that natural liberty, 
which is limited and abridged, as they suppose, 
when we enter into the bonds of civil society. 

* Locke on Civil Government, chap. ii. 


ISTow mark its features : it is the gift of God to 
man at his creation ; the very top and flower 
of his existence ; that by which he is distin- 
guished from the lower animals and raised to 
the rank of moral and accountable beings. Shall 
we sacrifice this divine gift, then, in order to 
secure the blessings of civil society ? Shall we 
abridge or mutilate the image of God, stamped 
upon the soul at its creation, by which we are 
capable of knowing and obeying his law, in 
order to secure the aid and protection of man ? 
Shall we barter away any portion of this our 
glorious birthright for any poor boon of man's 
devising? Yes, we are told — and why? Be- 
cause, says Blackstone, " Legal obedience and 
conformity is infinitely more valuable than the 
wild and savage liberty which is sacrificed to 
obtain it.'' 

But how is this ? Now this natural liberty is 
a thing of light, and now it is a power of dark- 
ness, ^ow it is the gift of God, that moves 
within a sphere of light, and breathes an atmo- 
sphere of love ; and anon, it is a wild and savage 
thing that carries terror in its train. It would 
be an angel of light, if it were not a power of 
darkness ; and it would be a power of darkness, 
if it were not an angel of light. But as it is, it 


is both by turns, and neither long, but runs 
through its Protean changes, according to the 
exigencies of the floT\dng discourse of the learned 
author. Surely such inconsistency, so glaring 
and so portentous, and all exhibited on one 
and the same page, is no evidence that the 
genius of the great commentator was as steady 
and profound as it was elegant and classical. 

The source of this vacillation is obvious. 
With Locke, he defines natural liberty to be a 
power of acting as one thinks fit, within the limits 
jprescrihed hy the law of nature ; but he soon loses 
sight of this all-important limitation, from which 
natural liberty derives its form and beauty. 
Hence it becomes in his mind a power to act as 
one pleases, without the restraint or control of 
any law whatever, either human or divine. The 
sovereign will and pleasure of the individual be- 
comes the only rule of conduct, and lawless 
anarchy the condition which it legitimates. 
Thus, having loosed the bonds and marred the 
beauty of natural liberty, he was prepared to see 
it, now become so '^wild and savage," offered 
up as a sacrifice on the altar of civil liberty. 

This, too, was the great fundamental error of 
Hobbes. What Blackstone thus did through 
inadvertency, was knowingly and designedly 


done by tlie pWlosoplier of Malmesbury. In a 
state of nature, says he, all men liave a right to 
do as they please. Each individual may set up 
a right to all things, and consequently to the 
same things. In other v^ords, in such a state 
there is no law, except that of force. The 
strong arm of power is the supreme arbiter of 
all things. Robbery and outrage and murder 
are as lawful as their opposites. That is to say, 
there is no such thing as a law of nature ; and 
consequently all things are, in a state of nature, 
equally allowable. Thus it was that Hobbes 
delighted to legitimate the horrors of a state of 
nature, as it is called, in order that mankind 
might, without a feeling of indignation or regret, 
see the wild and ferocious liberty of such a state 
sacrificed to despotic power. Thus it was that 
he endeavoured to recommend the " Leviathan," 
by contrasting it with the huger monster called 
ITatural Liberty. 

This view of the state of nature, by which all 
law and the great Fountain of all law are shut 
out of the world, was perfectly agreeable to 
the atheistical philosophy of Hobbes. From one 
who had extinguished the light of nature, and 
given dominion to the powers of darkness, no 
better could have been expected; but is it not 

B 2* 


deplorable that a Christian jurist should, 6veii 
for a moment, have forgotten the great central 
light of his own system, and drawn his argu- 
ments from such an abyss of darkness ? 

Blackstone has thus lost sight of truth, not 
only in regard to his general propositions, but 
also in regard to particular instances. " The 
law," says he, "which restrains a man from 
doing mischief to Ins fellow-citizens diminishes 
the natural liberty of mankind." I^ow, is this 
true ? The doing of mischief is contrary to the 
law of nature, and hence, according to the 
definition of Blackstone himself, the perpetration 
of it is not an exercise of any natural right. 
As no man possesses a natural right to do mis- 
chief, so the law which forbids it does not 
diminish the natural liberty of mankind. The 
law which forbids mischief is a restraint not 
upon the natural liberty^ but upon the natural 
tyranny^ of man. 

Blackstone is by no means alone in the error 
to which we have alluded. By one of the clear- 
est thinkers and most beautiful writers of the 
present age,* it is argued, "that as government 
implies restraint, it is evident we give up a cer- 

* Robert Hall. 


tain portion of our liberty by entering into it." 
This argument would be valid, no doubt, if 
there were nothing in the world beside liberty 
to be restrained; but the evil passions of men, 
from which proceed so many frightful tyrannies 
and wrongs, are not to be identified with their 
rights or liberties. As government implies 
restraint, it is evident that something is re- 
strained when we enter into it ; but it does not 
follow that this something must be our natural 
liberty. The argument in question proceeds 
on the notion that government caii restrain 
nothing, unless it restrain the natural liberty of 
mankind ; whereas, we have seen, the law which 
forbids the perpetration of mischief, or any other 
wrong, is a restriction, not upon the liberty, but 
upon the tyranny, of the human will. It sets a 
bound and limit, not to any right conferred on 
us by the Author of nature, but upon the evil 
thoughts and deeds of which we are the sole 
and exclusive originators. Such a law, indeed, 
so far from restraining the natural liberty of 
man, recognises his natural rights, and secures 
his freedom, by protecting the weak against the 
injustice and oppression of the strong. 

The way in which these authors show that 
natural liberty is, and of right ought to be, 


abridged by the laws of society, is, by identify- 
ing this natural freedom, not with a power to act 
as God wills, but with a power in conformity 
with our own sovereign will and pleasure. The 
same thing is expressly done by Paley.* "To 
do what we will," says he, "is natural liberty." 
Starting from this definition, it is no wonder 
that he should have supposed that natural liberty 
is restrained by civil government. In like man- 
ner, Burke first says, " That the effect of liberty 
to individuals is, that they may do what they 
please;'' and then concludes, that in order to 
"secure some liberty," we make "a surrender 
in trust of the whole of it."t Thus the natural 
rights of mankind are first caricatured, and then 

If there be no God, if there be no difference 
between right and wrong, if there be no moral 
law in the universe, then indeed would men 
possess a natural right to do mischief or to act 
as they please. Then indeed should we be fet- 
tered by no law in a state of nature, and liberty 
therein would be coextensive with power. 
Right would give place to might, and the least 

* Political Phil., chap, v. 

f Reflections on the Revolution in France. 


restraint, even from ttie best laws, would im- 
pair our natural freedom. But we subscribe to 
no such philosopbj. That learned authors, that 
distinguished jurists, that celebrated philosophers, 
that pious divines, should thus deliberately in- 
clude the enjoyment of our natural rights and 
the indulgence of our evil passions in one and 
the same definition of liberty, is, it seems to us, 
matter of the most profound astonishment and 
regret. It is to confound the source of all ty- 
ranny with the fountain of all freedom. It is to 
put darkness for light, and light for darkness. 
And it is to inflame the minds of men with the 
idea that they are struggling and contending 
for liberty, when, in reality, they may be only 
struggling and contending for the gratification 
of their malignant passions. Such an offence 
against all clear thinking, such an outrage 
against all sound political ethics, becomes the 
more amazing when we reflect on the greatness 
of the authors by whom it is committed, -and 
the stupendous magnitude of the interests in- 
volved in their discussions. 

Should we, then, exhibit the fundamental law 
of society, and the natural liberty of mankind, 
as antagonistic principles ? Is not this the way 
to prepare the human mind, at all times so pas- 


sionately, not to say so madly, fond of freedom, 
for a repetition- of those tremendous conflicts 
and struggles beneath which, the foundations of 
society have so often trembled, and some of its 
best institutions been laid in the dust? In one 
word, is it not high time to raise the inquiry, 
Wliether there be, in reality, any such opposition 
as is usually supposed to exist between the law 
of the land and the natural rights of mankind ? 
Whether such opposition be real or imaginary ? 
Whether it exists in the nature of things, or 
only in the imagination of political theorists ? 

§ m. No good law ever limits or abridges the 
natural liberty of manhind. 

By the two great leaders of opposite schools, 
Locke and Burke, it is contended that when we 
enter into society the natural right of self-de- 
fence is surrendered to the government. If any 
natural right, then, be limited or abridged by 
the laws of society, we may suppose the right 
of self-defence to be so ; for this is the instance 
which is always selected to illustrate and confirm 
the reality of such a surrender of our natural 
liberty. It has, indeed, become a sort of maxim, 
that when we put on the bonds of civil society, 
we give up the natural right of self-defence. 


But what does this maxim mean? Does it 
iwean that we transfer the right to repel force by 
force? If so, the proposition is not true; for 
this right is as fully possessed by every indivi- 
dual after he has entered into society as it could 
have been in a state of nature. If he is assailed, 
or threatened with immediate personal danger, 
the law of the land does not require him to wait 
upon the strong but slow arm of government for 
protection. On the contrary, it permits him to 
protect himself, to repel force by force, in so far 
as this may be necessary to guard against injury 
to himself; and the law of nature allows no 
more. Indeed, if there be any difference, the 
law of the land allows a man to go farther m 
the defence of self than he is permitted to go 
by the law of God. Hence, in this sense, the 
maxim under consideration is not true ; and no 
man's natural liberty is abridged by the State. 

Does this maxim mean, then, that in a state 
of nature every man has a right to redress his 
own wrongs by the subsequent punishment of the 
offender, which right the citizen has transferred 
to the government? It is clear that this must 
be the meaning, if it have any correct meaning 
at all. But neither in this sense is the maxim 
or proposition true. The right to punish an 


offender must rest upon tlie one or the other 
of two grounds: either upon the ground that 
the offender deserves punishment, or that his 
punishment is necessary to prevent similar of- 
fences. N"ow, upon neither of these grounds 
has any man, even in a state of nature, the 
right to punish an offence committed against 

First, he has no right to punish such an 
offence on the ground that it deserves punish- 
ment. 'No man has, or ever had, the right to 
wield the awful attribute of retributive justice; 
that is, to inflict so much pain for so much guilt 
or moral turpitude. This is the prerogative of 
God alone. To his eye, all secrets are known, 
and all degrees of guilt perfectly apparent ; and 
to him alone belongs the vengeance which is 
due for moral ill-desert. His law extends over 
the state of nature as well as over the state of 
civil society, and calls all men to account for 
their evil deeds. It is evident that, in so far as 
the intrinsic demerit of actions is concerned, it 
makes no difference whether they be punished 
here or hereafter. And besides, if the indi- 
vidual had possessed such a right in a state 
of nature, he has not transferred it to so- 
ciety; for society neither has nor claims any 


such right. Blackstone but utters the voice of 
the law when he says : *' The end or final cause 
of human punishment is not by way of atone- 
ment or expiation, for that must be left to the 
just determination of the supreme Being, but 
as a precaution against future offences of the 
same kind." The exercise of retributive justice 
belongs exclusively to the infallible Ruler of the 
world, and not to frail, erring man, who himself 
so greatly stands in need of mercy. Hence, the 
right to punish a transgressor on the ground 
that such punishment is deserved, has not been 
transferred from the individual to civil society: 
first, because he had no such natural right to 
transfer ; and, secondly, because society possesses 
no such right. 

In the second place, if we consider the other 
ground of punishment, it will likewise appear 
that the right to punish never belonged to the 
individual, and consequently could not have 
been transferred by him to society. For, by the 
law of nature, the individual has no right to 
punish an offence against himself in order to 
prevent future offences of the same hind. If the 
object of human punishment be, as indeed it is, 
to prevent the commission of crime, by holding 
up examples of terror to evil-doers, then it U 


evidently no more the natural right of the party 
injured to redress the wrong, than it is the 
risrht of others. All men are interested in the 
prevention of wrongs, and hence all men should 
unite to redress them. All men are endowed 
by their Creator with a sense of justice, in 
order to impel them to secure its claims, and 
throw the shield of its protection around the 
weak and oppressed. 

The prevention of wrong, then, is clearly the 
natural duty, and consequently the natural 
right, of all men. 

This duty should be discharged by others, 
rather than by the party aggrieved. For it is 
contrary to the law of nature itself, as both 
Locke and Burke agree, that any man should 
be "judge in his own case ;" that any man 
should, by an ex post facto decision, determine 
the amount of punishment due to his enemy, 
and proceed to inflict it upon him. Such a 
course, indeed, so far from preventing offences, 
would inevitably promote them; instead of re- 
dressing injuries, would only add wrong to 
vn'ong ; and instead of introducing order, would 
only make confusion worse confounded, and 
turn the moral world quite upside down. 

On no ground, then, upon which the right to 


puiiish may be conceived to rest, does it appear 
that it was ever possessed, or could ever have 
been possessed, by the individual. And if the 
individual never possessed such a right, it is 
clear that he has never transferred it to society. 
Hence, this view of the origin of government, 
however plausible at first sight, or however 
generally received, has no real foundation in 
the nature of things. It is purely a creature 
of the imagination of theorists; one of the 
phantoms of that manifold, monstrous, phantom 
deity called Liberty, which has been so often 
invoked by the pseudo philanthropists and reck- 
less reformers of the present day to subvert not 
only the law of capital punishment, but also 
other institutions and laws which have received 
the sanction of both God and man. 

The simple truth is, that we are all bound by 
the law of nature and the law of God to love 
our neighbor as ourselves. Hence it is the 
duty of every man, in a state of nature, to do 
all in his power to protect the rights and pro- 
mote the interests of his fellow-men. It is the 
duty of all men to consult together, and con- 
cert measures for the general good. Right 
here it is, then, that the law of man, the con- 
stitution of civil society, comes into contact 


with the law of God and rests upon it. Thus, 
civil society arises, not from a surrender of 
individual rights, but from a right originally- 
possessed by all; nay, from a solemn duty 
originally imposed upon all by God himself — a 
duty which must be performed, whether the 
individual gives his consent or not. The very 
law of nature itself requires, as we have seen, 
not only the punishment of the offender, but 
also that he be punished according to a pre- 
established law, and by the decision of an im- 
partial tribunal. And in the enactment of such 
law, as well as in the administration, the col- 
lective wisdom of society, or its agents, moves 
in obedience to the law of God, and not in 
pursuance of rights derived from the individual. 

§ TV. The distinction between rights and liberty. 
In the foregoing discussion we have, in con- 
formity to the custom of others, used the terms 
rights and liberty as words of precisely the same 
import. But, instead of being convertible terms, 
there seems to be a very clear difference in their 
signification. If a man be taken, for example, 
and without cause thrown into prison, this de- 
prives him of his liberty, but not of his right, 
to go where he pleases. The right still exists; 


and liis not being allowed to enjoy this right, is 
precisely what constitutes the oppression in the 
case supposed. If there were no right still sub- 
sisting, then there would be no oppression. 
Hence, as the right exists, while the liberty is 
extinguished, it is evident they are distinct from 
each other. The liberty of a man in such a 
case, as in all others, would consist in an 
opportunity to enjoy his right, or in a state in 
which it might be enjoyed if he so pleased. 

This distinction between rights and liberty 
is all-important to a clear and satisfactory dis- 
cussion of the doctrine of human freedom. 
The great champions of that freedom, from a 
Locke down to a Hall, firmly and passionately 
grasping the natural rights of man, and con- 
founding these with his liberty, have looked 
upon society as the restrainer, and not as the 
author, of that liberty. On the other hand, the 
great advocates of despotic power, from a Hobbes 
down to a Whewell, seeing that there can be 
no genuine liberty — that is, no secure enjoyment 
of one's rights — in a state of nature, have 
ascribed, not only our liberty, but all our ex- 
isting rights also, to the State. 

But the error of Locke is a noble and gene- 
rous sentiment when compared "svith the odious 



dogma of Hobbes and Whewell. These learned 
authors contend that we derive all our existing 
rights from society. Do we, then, live and 
move and breathe and think and worship God 
only by rights derived from the State? !N"o, 
certainly. We have these rights from a higher 
source. God gave them, and all the powers of 
earth combined cannot take them away. But 
as for our liberty, this we freely own is, for the 
most part, due to the sacred bonds of civil 
society. Let us render unto Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that 
are God's. 

§ V. The relation between the state of nature 
and of civil society. 

Herein, then, consists the true relation be- 
tween the natural and the social states. Civil 
society does not abridge our natural rights, but 
secures and protects them. She does not as- 
sume our right of self-defence, — she simply dis- 
charges the duty imposed by God to defend us. 
The original right is in those who compose the 
body politic, and not in any individual. Hence, 
civil society does not impair our natural liberty, 
as actually existing in a state of nature, or as 
it mio'ht therein exist; for, in such a stata. 


there would be no real liberty, no real enjoy- 
ment of natural rights. 

Mr. Locke, as we have seen, defines the state 
of nature to be one of "perfect freedom." Wliy 
then should we leave it? "If man, in the state 
of nature, be so free," says he, "why will he 
part with his freedom ? To which it is obvious 
to answer," he continues, " that though, in the 
state of nature, he hath such a right, yet the 
enjoyment of it is very uncertain^ and constantly 
exposed to the invasion of others ; for all being 
kings as much as he, every man his equal, and 
the greater part not strict observers of equity 
and justice, the enjoyment of the property he 
has in this state is very unsafe, very insecure. 
This makes him willing to quit a condition 
which, however free, is full of fears and continual 
dangers; and it is not without reason that he 
seeks out, and is willing to join in society with, 
others who are already united, or have a mind 
to unite, /or the mutual preservation of their lives, 
liberties, and estates, which I call by the general 
name property,''^ What! can that be a state 
of perfect freedom which is subject to fears 
and perpetual dangers? In one word, can a 

* Locke on Ciyil Goverument, chap, ix. 


reign of terror be the reign of liberty ? It is 
evident, we think, that Locke has been betrayed 
into no little inaccuracy and confusion of 
thought from not having distinguished between 
rights and liberty. 

The truth seems to be that, in a state of 
nature, we would possess rights, but we could 
not enjoy them. That is to say, notwithstanding 
all our rights, we should be destitute of free- 
dom or liberty. Society interposes the strong 
arm of the law to protect our rights, to secure 
us in the enjoyment of them. She delivers us 
from the alarms, the dangers, and the violence 
of the natural state. Hence, under God, she 
is the mother of our peace and joy, by whose 
sovereign rule anarchy is abolished and liberty 
established. Liberty and social law can never 
be dissevered. Liberty, robed in law, and 
radiant with love, is one of the best gifts of 
God to man. But liberty, despoiled of law, is 
a wild, dark, fierce spirit of licentiousness, 
which tends "to uproar the universal peace." 

Hence it is a frightful error to regard the 
civil state or government as antagonistic to the 
natural liberty of mankind ; for this is, indeed, 
the author of the very liberty we enjoy. Good 
government it is that restrains the elements of 


tyranny and oppression, and introduces liberty 
into tlie world. Good government it is that 
shuts out the reign of anarchy, and secures 
the dominion of equity and goodness. He who 
would spurn the restraints of law, then, by 
which pride, and envy, and hatred, and malice, 
ambition, and revenge, are kept within the 
sacred bounds of eternal justice — he, we say, 
is not the friend of human liberty. He would 
open the flood-gates of tyranny and oppression ; 
he would mar the harmony and extinguish 
the light of the world. Let no such man be 

If the foregoing remarks be just, it would 
follow that the state of nature, as it is called, 
would be one of the most unnatural states in 
the world. "We may conceive it to exist, for 
the sake of illustration or argument; but if it 
should actually exist, it would be at war with 
the law of nature itself. For this requires, as 
we have seen, that men should unite together, 
and frame such laws as the general good de- 

Not only the law, but the very necessities of 
nature, enjoin the institution of civil govern- 
ment. God himself has thus laid the founda- 
tions of civil society deep in the nature of man. 



It is an ordinance of heaven, which no human 
decree can reverse or annul. It is not a thing 
of compacts, bound together by promises and 
paper, but is itself a law of nature as irreversible 
as any other. Compacts may give it one form 
or another, but in one form or another it must 
exist. It is no accidental or artificial thing, 
which may be made or unmade, which may be 
set up or pulled down, at the mere will and 
pleasure of man. It is a decree of God; the 
spontaneous and irresistible working of that 
nature, which, in all climates, through all ages, 
and under all circumstances, manifests itself in 
social organizations. 

§ YI. Inherent and inalienable rights. 

Much has been said about inherent and in- 
alienable rights, which is either unintelligible or 
rests upon no solid foundation. "The inalien- 
able rights of men" is a phrase often brandished 
by certain reformers, who aim to bring about 
"the immediate abolition of slavery." Yet, in 
the light of the foregoing discussion, it may be 
clearly shown that the doctrine of inalienable 
rights, if properly handled, will not touch the 
institution of slavery. 

An inalienable right is either one which the 


possessor of it himself cannot alienate or trans- 
fer, or it is one which society has not the power 
to take from him. According to the import 
of the terms, the first would' seem to be what 
is meant by an inalienable right; but in this 
sense it is not pretended that the right to either 
life or liberty has been transferred to society 
or alienated by the individual. And if, as we 
have endeavored to show, the right, or power, 
or authority of society is not derived from a 
transfer of individual rights, then it is clear 
that neither the right to life nor liberty is trans- 
ferred to society. That is, if no rights are trans- 
ferred, than these particular rights are still un- 
transferred, and, if you please, untransferable. 
Be it conceded, then, that the individual has 
never transferred his right to life or liberty to 

But it is not in the above sense that the 
abolitionist uses the expression, inalienable rights. 
According to his view, an inalienable right is 
one of which society itself cannot, without do- 
ing wrong, deprive the individual, or deny the 
enjoyment of it to him. This is evidently his 
meaning; for he complains of the injustice of 
society, or civil government, in depriving a cer- 
tain portion of its subjects of civil freedom, and 

;"# "m 


consigning them to a state of servitude. " Such 
an act," says he, "is wrong, because it is a vio- 
lation of the inalienable rights of all men." But 
let us see if his complaint be just or well 

It is pretended by no one that society has the 
right to deprive any subject of either life or 
liberty, without good and sufficient cause or reason. 
On the contrary, it is on all hands agreed that 
it is only for good and sufficient reasons that 
society can deprive any portion of its subjects 
of either life or liberty. !N"or can it be denied, 
on the other side, that a man may be deprived 
of either, or both, by a preordained law, in case 
there be a good and sufficient reason for the 
enactment of such law. For the crime of mur- 
der, the law of the land deprives the criminal 
of life : a fortiori^ might it deprive him of liberty. 
In the infliction of such a penalty, the law seeks, 
as we have seen, not to deal out so much pain 
for so much guilt, nor even to deal out pain for 
guilt at all, but simply to protect the members 
of society, and secure the general good. The 
general good is the sole and sufficient considera- 
tion which justifies the state in taking either 
the life or the liberty of its subjects. 

Hence, if we would determine in any case 


whether society is justified in depriving any of 
its members of civil freedom by law, we must 
first ascertain whether the general good de- 
mands the enactment of such a law. If it does, 
then such a law is just and good— as perfectly 
just and good as any other law which, for the 
same reason or on the same ground, takes away 
the life or liberty of its subjects. .All this talk 
about the inalienable rights of men may have a 
very admirable meaning, if one will only be at 
the pains to search it out ; but is it not evident 
that, when searched to the bottom, it has just 
nothing at all to do with the great question of 
slavery? But more of this hereafter.* 

This great problem, as we have seen, is to be 
decided, not by an appeal to the inalienable 
rights of men, but simply and solely by a re- 
ference to the general good. It is to be decided, 
not by the aid of abstractions alone; a little 
good sense and practical sagacity should be al- 
lowed to assist in its determination. There are 
inalienable rights, we admit — inalienable both 
because the individual cannot transfer them, 
and because society can never rightfully deprive 
any man of their enjoyment. But life and" 

* Chap. ii. I X. 


liberty are not "among these." There are in- 
alienable rights, we admit, but then such abstrac- 
tions are the edge-tools of political science, with 
which it is dangerous for either men or children 
to play. They may inflict deep wounds on the 
cause of humanity ; they can throw no light on 
the great problem of slavery. 

One thing seems to be clear and fixed; and 
that is, that the rights of the individual are sub- 
ordinate to those of the community. An inalien- 
able right is a right coupled with a duty ; a duty 
with which no other obligation can interfere. But, 
as we have seen, it is the duty, and consequently, 
the right, of society to make such laws as the 
general good demands. This inalienable right 
is conferred, and its exercise enjoined, by the 
Creator and Governor of the universe. All 
individual rights are subordinate to this inhe- 
rent, universal, and inalienable right. It should 
be observed, however, that in the exercise of 
this paramount right, this supreme authority, 
no society possesses the power to contravene the 
principles of justice. In other words, it should 
be observed that no unjust law can ever pro- 
mote the public good. Every law, then, which 
is not unjust, and which the public good de- 
mandrf, should be enacted by society. 


But we have already seen and shall still more 
fully see, that the law which ordains slavery is 
not unjust in itself, or, in other words, that it 
interferes with none of the inalienable rights 
of man. Hence, if it be shown that the public 
good, and especially the good of the slave, de- 
mands such a law, then the question of slavery 
will be settled. "We purpose to show this before 
we have done with the present discussion. And 
if, in the prosecution of this inquiry, we should 
be so fortunate as to throw only one steady ray 
of light on the great question of slavery, by 
which the very depths of society have been so 
fearfully convulsed, we shall be more than re- 
warded for all the labour which, with no little 
solicitude, we have felt constrained to bestow 
upon an attempt at its solution. 

§ VH. Conclusion of the first chapter. 
In conclusion, we shall merely add that if the 
foregoing remarks be just, it follows that the 
great problem of political philosophy is not 
precisely such as it is often taken to be by 
statesmen and historians. This problem, accord- 
ing to Mackintosh and Macaulay, consists in 
finding such an adjustment of the antagonistic 
principles of public order and private liberty, 


that neither shall overthrow or subvert the other, 
but each be confined within its own appropriate 
limits. "Whereas, if we are not mistaken, these 
are not antagonistic, but co-ordinate, principles. 
The very law which institutes public order is 
that which introduces private liberty, since no 
secure enjoyment of one's rights can exist where 
public order is not maintained. And, on the 
other hand, unless private liberty be introduced, 
public order cannot be maintained, or at least 
such public order as should be established ; for, 
if there be not private hberty, if there be no 
secure enjoyment of one's rights, then the high- 
est and purest elements of our nature would 
have to be extinguished, or else exist in per- 
petual conflict with the surrounding despotism. 
As license is not liberty, so despotism is not 
order, nor even friendly to that enlightened, 
wholesome order, by which the good of the 
public and the individual are at the same time- 
introduced and secured. In other words, what 
is taken from the one of these principles is not 
given to the other ; on the contrary, every addi- 
tional element of strength and beauty which is 
imparted to the one is an accession of strength 
and beauty to the other. Private liberty, in- 
deed, lives and moves and has its very being in 


the bosom of public order. On the other hand, 
that public order alone which cherishes the true 
liberty of the individual is strong in the ap- 
probation of God and in the moral sentiments 
of mankind. All else is weakness, and death, 
and decay. 

The true problem, then, is, not how the con- 
flicting claims of these two principles may be 
adjusted, (for there is no conflict between them,) 
but how a real public order, whose claims are 
identical with those of private liberty, may be 
introduced and maintained. The practical so- 
lution of this problem, for the heterogeneous 
population of the South imperatively demands, 
as we shall endeavor to show, the institution of 
slavery; and that without such an institution it 
would be impossible to maintain either a sound 
public order or a decent private liberty. We 
shall endeavor to show, that the very laws or 
institution which is supposed by fanatical de- 
claimers to shut out liberty from the Negro race 
among us, really shuts out the most frightful 
license and disorder from society. In one word, 
we shall endeavor to show that in preaching 
up liberty to and for the slaves of the South, 
the abolitionist is "casting pearls before swine," 
that can neither comprehend the nature, nor 



enjoy the blessings, of tlie freedom which is so 
officiously thrust upon them. And if the !N'egro 
race should be moved by their fiery appeals, it 
would only be to rend and tear in pieces the 
fair fabric of American liberty, which, with all 
its shortcomings and defects, is by far the most 
beautiful ever yet conceived or constructed by 
the genius of man. 




Having in tlie precediDg chapter discussed 
and defined the nature of civil liberty, as well 
as laid down some of the political conditions on 
which its existence depends, we shall now pro- 
ceed to examine the question of slavery. In 
the prosecution of this inquiry, we shall, in the 
first place, consider the arguments and posi- 
tions of the advocates of immediate abolition; 
and, in the second, point out the reasons and 
grounds on which the institution of slavery is 
based and its justice vindicated. The first branch 
of the investigation, or that relating to the ar- 
guments and positions of the abolitionist, will 
occupy the remainder of the present chapter. 

It is insisted by abolitionists that the insti- 
tution of slavery is, in all cases and under all 
circumstances, morally wrong, or a violation of 
the law of God. Such is precisely the ground 
assumed by the one side and denied by the 


Thus says Dr. Wayland : " I have wished to 
make it clear that slavery, or the holding of 
men in bondage, and ^obliging them to labor 
for our benefit, without their contract or con- 
sent,' is always and everywhere, or, as you well 
express it, semper et uhique, a moral wrong, a 
violation of the obligations under which we are 
created to our fellow-men, and a transgression 
of the law of our Creator." 

Dr. Fuller likewise: "The simple question 
is, Whether it is neeessarilyy and amid all cir- 
cumstances, a crime to hold men in a condition 
where they labor for another without their consent 
or contract ? and in settling this m.atter all im- 
pertinences must be retrenched." 

In one word. Dr. "Wayland insists that slavery 
is condemned by the law of God, hj the moral 
law of the universe. We pui-pose to examine 
the arguments which he has advanced in favor 
of this position. We select his arguments for 
examination, because, as a writer on moral and 
political science, he stands so high in the 
northern portion of the Union. His work on 
these subjects has indeed long since passed the 
fiftieth thousand; a degree of success which, 
in his own estimation, autliorizes him to issue 
his letters on slavery over the signature of " The 

Jt^r ^JiilL. a 


fact that his popularity is so great, and that he 
is the author of the Moral Science, is a reason 
why his arguments on a question of such 
magnitude should be subjected to a severe 
analysis and searching scrutiny, in order that, 
under the sanction of so imposing a name, no 
error may be propagated and no mischief done. 

Hence we shall hold Dr. "Wayland amenable to 
all the laws of logic. Especially shall we require 
him to adhere to the point he has undertaken 
to discuss, and to retrench all irrelevancies. 
If, after having subjected his arguments to 
such a process, it shall be found that every 
position which is assumed on the subject is 
directly contradicted by himself, we shall not 
make haste to introduce anarchy into the 
Southern States, in order to make it answer 
to the anarchy in his views of civil and political 
freedom. But whether this be the case or not, 
it is not for us to determine ; we shall simply 
proceed to examine, and permit the impartial 
reader to decide for himself. 

§ I. The first fallacy of the abolitionist , 
The abolitionists do not hold their passions 
in subjection to reason. This is not merely 


the judgment of a Southern man : it is the 
opinion of the more decent and respectahle 
abolitionists themselves. Thus says Dr. Chan- 
ning, censuring the conduct of the abolitionists : 
"They have done wrong, I believe; nor is 
their wrong to be winked at because done 
fanatically or with good intentions ; for how 
much mischief may be wrought with good designs ! 
They have fallen into the common error of 
enthusiasts— that of exaggerating their object, of 
feeling as if no evil existed but that which they 
opposed, and as if no guilt could be compared 
with that of countenancing or upholding it."* 
In like manner, Dr. "Way land says : "I unite 
with you and the late lamented Dr. Channing 
in the opinion that the tone of the abolitionists 
at the I^orth has been frequently, I fear I must 
say generally, ' fierce, bitter, and abusive.' The 
abolitionist press has, I believe, from the be- 
ginning, too commonly indulged in exaggerated 
statement, in violent denunciation, and in coarse 
and lacerating invective. At our late Missionary 
Convention in Philadelphia, I heard many things 
from men who claim to be the exclusive friends 
of the slave, which pained me more than I can 

*Channing's Works, vol. ii., p. 126. 


express. It seemed to me that the f?pmt which 
many of them manifested was veiy different 
from the spirit of Christ. I also cheerfully bear 
testimony to the general courtesy, the Christian 
urbanity, and the calmness under provocation 
which, in a remarkable degree, characterized 
the conduct of the members from the South." 

In the flood of sophisms which the abolition- 
ists usually pour out in their explosions of pas- 
sion, none is more common than what is tech- 
nically termed by logicians the ignoratio elencM, 
or a mistaking of the point in dispute. ITor is 
this fallacy peculiar to the more vulgar sort of 
abolitionists. It glares from the pages of Dr. 
Wayland, no less than from the writings of the 
most fierce, bitter, and vindictive of his associ- 
ates in the cause of abohtionism. Thus, in one 
of his letters to Dr. Fuller, he says : ^- To pre- 
sent this subject in a simple light. Let us sup- 
pose that your family and mine were neighbors. 
We, our wives and children, are all human 
beings in the sense that I have described, and, 
in consequence of that common nature, and by 
the will of our common Creator, are subject to 
the law, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 
Suppose that I should set fire to your house, 
shoot you as you came out of it, and seizing 


your wife and children, ^oblige them to labor 
for my benefit without their contract or consent.' 
Suppose, moreover, aware that I could not thus 
oblige them, unless they were inferior in in- 
tellect to myself, I should forbid them to read, 
and thus consign them to intellectual and moral 
imbecility. Suppose I should measure out to 
them the knowledge of God on the same prin- 
ciple. Suppose I should exercise this dominion 
over them and their children as long as I lived, 
and then do all in my power to render it certain 
that my children should exercise it after me. 
The question before us I suppose to he simply this : 
Would J, in so doing, act at variance with the re- 
lations existing between us as creatures of G-odf 
Would I, in other words, violate the supreme 
law of my Creator, Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself? or that other, Whatsoever ye would 
that men should do unto you, do ye even so 
unto them? I do not see how any intelligent 
creature can give more than one answer to this 
question. Then I think that every intelligent 
creature must affirm that to do this is wrong, or, 
in the other form of expression, that it is a great 
moral evil. Can we conceive of any greater?" 

It was surely very kind in Dr. Way land to 
undertake, with so much pains, to instruct us 


poor, benighted sons of the South in regard to 
the difference between right and wrong. "We 
would fain give him full credit for all the kindly 
feeling he so freely professes for his " Southern 
brethren;" but if he really thinks that the 
question, whether arson, and murder, and 
cruelty are offences against the "supreme law 
of the Creator," is still open for discussion 
among us, then we beg leave to inform him 
that he labors under a slight hallucination. 
If he had never written a word, we should 
have known, perhaps, that it is wrong for a man 
to set fire to his neighbor's house, and shoot 
him as he came out, and reduce his wife and 
children to a state of ignorance, degradation, 
and slaveiy. iN'ay, if we should find his house 
already burnt, and himself ali^ady shot, we 
should hardly feel justified in treating his wife 
and children in so cruel a manner. !N'ot even 
if they were "guilty of a skin," or ever so de- 
graded, should we deem ourselves justified in 
reducing them to a state of servitude. This is 
NOT "the question before us." We are quite 
satisfied on all such points. The precept, too, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, was not 
altogether unknown in the Southern States be- 
fore his letters were written. A committee of 

D 5 


very amiable philanthropists came all the way 
from England, as the agents of some abolition 
society there, and told us all that the law of God 
requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves. 
In this benevolent work of enlightenment they 
were, if we mistake not, several months in ad- 
vance of Dr. Wayland. We no longer need to 
be enlightened on such points. Being suffi- 
ciently instructed, we admit that we should 
love our neighbor as ourselves, and also that 
arson, murder, and so forth are violations of 
this law. But we want to know whether, semper 
et uhique, the institution of slavery is morally 
wrong. This is the question, and to this we 
intend to hold the author. 

§ n. The sedhnd fallacy of the abolitionist. 

Lest we should be suspected of misrepresen- 
tation, we shall state the position of Dr. Way- 
land in his own words. In regard to the 
institution of slavery, he says: "I do not see 
that it does not sanction the whole system 
of the slave-trade. If I have a right to a 
thing after I have gotten it, I have a natural right 
to the means necessary for getting it. If this 
be so, I should be as much justified in sending 
a vessel to Africa, murdering a part of the 


inhabitants of a village, and making slaves of 
the rest, as I should be in hunting a herd of 
wild animals, and either slaying them or sub- 
jecting them to the yoke." 

'Now mark the principle on which this most 
wonderful argument is based : " If I have a 
right to a thing after I have gotten it, I have 
a natural right to the means for getting it." 
That is to say. If I have the right to a slave, 
now that I have got him, then I may rightfully 
use all necessary means to reduce other men 
to slavery! I may shoot, burn, or murder, if 
by this means I can only get slaves ! "Was any 
consequence ever more wildly drawn? "Was 
any non sequitur ever more glaring? 

Let us see how this argument would apply 
to other things. If I have a right to a watch 
after I have gotten it, no matter how, then I 
have a right to use the means necessary to get 
watches ; I may steal them from my neighbors ! 
Or, if I have a right to a wife, provided I can 
get one, then may I shoot my friend and marry 
his widow ! Such is the argument of one who 
seeks to enlighten the South and reform its 
institutions ! 


. § m. The third fallacy of the abolitionist, 

ISTearlj allied to the foregoing argument is 
that of the same author, in which he deduces 
from the right of slavery, supposing it to exist, 
another retinue of monstrous rights. "This 
right also," says Dr. Way land, referring to the 
right to hold slaves, " as I have shown, involves 
the right to use all the means necessary to 
its establishment and perpetuity, and of course 
the right to crush his intellectual and social 
nature^ and to stupefy his conscience, in so far 
as may be necessary to enable me to enjoy this 
right with the least possible peril." This is 
a compound fallacy, a many-sided error. But 
we will consider only two phases of its ab 

In the first place, if the slaveholder should 
reason in this way, no one would be more ready 
than the author himself to condemn his logic. 
ip any slaveholder should say, That because I 
have a right to my slaves, therefore I have the 
right to crush the intellectual and moral nature 
of men, in order to establish and perpetuate 
their bondage, — ^he would be among the first 
to cry out against such reasoning. This is 
evident from the fact that he everywhere com- 


mends those slaveholders who deem it their 
duty, as a return for the service of their slaves, 
to promote both their temporal and eternal 
good. He everywhere insists that such is the 
duty of slaveholders ; and if such be their duty, 
they surely have no right to violate it, by crush- 
ing the intellectual and moral nature, of those 
whom they are bound to elevate in the scale 
of being. If the slaveholder, then, should 
adopt such an argument, his logic would be 
very justly chargeable by Dr. Wayland with evi- 
dencing not so much the existence of a clear 
head as of a bad heart. 

In the second place, the above argument 
overlooks the fact that the Southern statesman 
vindicates the institution of slavery on the 
ground that it finds the I^egro race already so 
degraded as to unfit it for a state of freedom. 
He does not argue that it is right to seize those 
who, by the possession of cultivated intellects 
and pure morals, are fit for freedom, and debase 
them in order to prepare them for social bond- 
age. He does not imagine that it is ever right 
to shoot, burn, or corrupt, in order to reduce 
any portion of the enlightened universe to a 
state of servitude. He merely insists that those 
only who are already unfit for a higher and 


nobler state than one of slavery, should be 
held by society in such a state. This position, 
although it is so prominently set forth by every 
advocate of slavery at the South, is almost in- 
variably overlooked by the !N"orthern abolition- 
ists. They talk, and reason, and declaim, in- 
deed, just as if we had caught a bevy of black 
angels as they were winging their way to some 
island of purity and bliss here upon earth, and 
reduced them from their heavenly state, by the 
most diabolical cruelties and oppressions, to one 
of degradation, misery, and servitude. They 
forget that Africa is not yet a paradise, and 
that Southern servitude is not quite a hell. 
They forget — in the heat and haste of their 
argument they forget — that the institution of 
slavery is designed by the South not for the 
enlightened and the free, but only for the igno- 
rant and the debased. They need to be con- 
stantly reminded that the institution of slavery 
is not the mother, but the daughter, of igno- 
rance and degradation. It is, indeed, the legi- 
timate offspring of that intellectual and moral 
debasement which, for so many thousand years, 
has been accumulating and growing upon the 
African race. And if the abolitionists at the 
Korth will only invent some method by which 



all this frightful mass of degradation may be 
blotted out at once, then will we most cheer- 
fiiUy consent to ^Hhe immediate abolition of 
slavery." On this point, however, we need not 
dwell, as we shall have occasion to recur to it 
again when we come to consider the grounds 
and reasons on which the institution of slavery 
is vindicated. 

Having argued that the right of slavery, if it 
exist, implies the right to shoot and murder an 
enlightened neighbor, with a view to reduce his 
wife and children to a state of servitude, as well 
as to crush their intellectual and moral nature 
in order to keep them in such a state, the 
author adds, "If I err in making these infer- 
ences, I err innocently.'' We have no doubt 
of the most perfect and entire innocence of the 
author. But we would remind him that inno- 
cence, however perfect or childlike, is not the 
only quality which a great reformer should 

§ rV. The fourth fallacy of the abolitionist. 

He is often guilty of a petitio principii, in 
taking it for granted that the institution of 
slavery is an injury to the slave, which is the 
very point in dispute. Thus says Dr. Wayland: 


" If it be asked when, [slavery must be aban- 
doned,] I ask again, when shall a man begin 
to cease doing wrong ? Is not the answer im- 
mediately f If a man is injuring us, do we doubt 
as to the time when he ought to cease ? There 
is, then, no doubt in respect to the time when 
we ought to cease inflicting injury upon others."* 
Here it is assumed that slavery is an injury 
to the slave: but this is the very point which 
is denied, and which he should have discussed. 
If a state of slavery be a greater injury to the 
slave than a state of freedom would be, then 
are we willing to admit that it should be 
abolished. But even in that case, not im- 
mediately, unless it could be shown that the 
remedy would not be worse than the evil. K, on 
the whole, the institution of slavery be a curse 
to the slave, we say let it be abolished ; not 
suddenly, however, as if by a whirlwind, but 
by the counsels of wise, cautious, and far-seeing 
statesmen, who, capable of looking both before 
and after, can comprehend in their plans of re- 
form all the diversified and highly-complicated 
interests of society. 

"But it may be said," continues the author, 

* Elements of Moral Science, Part ii, chap. i. sec. 11. 


"immediate abolition would be the greatest 
possible injury to the slaves themselves. They 
are not competent to self-government." True: 
this is the very thing which may be, and which 
is, said by every Southern statesman in his ad- 
vocacy of the institution of slavery. Let us see 
the author's reply. *' This is a question of fact," 
says he, " which is not in the provirice of moral 
philosophy to decide. It very likely may be so. 
So far as I know,- the facts are not sufficiently 
known to warrant a full opinion on the subject. 
We will, therefore, suppose it to be the case, 
and ask, "Wliat is the duty of masters under these 
circumstances?" In the discussion of this ques- 
tion, the author comes to the conclusion that a 
master may hold his slaves in bondage, provided 
, his intentions be good, and with a view to set 
them at liberty as soon as they shall be quali- 
fied for such a state. 

Moral philosophy, then, it seems, when it 
closes its eyes upon facts, pronounces that 
slavery should be immediately abolished; but 
if it consider facts, which, instead of being de- 
nied, are admitted to be "very likely" true, it 
decides against its immediate abolition ! Or, 
rather, moral philosophy looks at the fact that 
slavery is an injury, in order to see that it should 


be forthwith abolished ; but closes its eyes upon 
the fact that its abolition may be a still greater 
injury, lest this foregone conclusion should be 
called in question ! Has moral philosophy, then, 
a,n eye only for the facts which lie one side of 
the question it proposes to decide ? 

Slavery is an injury^ says Dr. Wayland, and 
therefore it should be immediately abolished. 
But its abolition would be a still greater injury^ 
replies the objector. This may be true, says 
Dr. Wayland : it is highly probable ; but then 
this question of injury is one of fact, which it 
is not in the province of moral philosophy to 
decide ! So much for the consistency and even- 
handed justice of the author. 

The position assumed by him, that questions 
of fact are not within the province of moral 
philosophy, is one of so great importance that 
it deserves a separate and distinct notice. 
Though seldom openly avowed, yet is it so 
often tacitly assumed in the arguments and 
declamations of abolitionists, that it shall be 
more fully considered in the following section. 

§ Y. The fifth fallacy of the aholitionist. 
" Suppose that A has a right to use the body 
of B according to his — that is, A's — will. Now 


if this be true, it is true universally ; and hence, 
A has the control over the body of B, and B 
has control over the body of C, C of D, &c., and 
Z again over the body of A: that is, every 
separate will has the right of control over some 
other body besides its own, and has no right 
of control over its own body or intellect."* 
Now, if men were cut out of pasteboard, all 
exactly alike, and distinguished from each other 
only by the letters of the alphabet, then the 
reasoning of the author would be excellent. 
But it happens that men are not cut out of 
pasteboard. They are distinguished by differ- 
ences of character, by diverse habits and pro- 
pensities, which render the reasonings of the 
political philosopher rather more difficult than 
if he had merely to deal with or arrange the 
letters of the alphabet. In one, for example, 
the intellectual and moral part is almost wholly- 
eclipsed by the brute ; while, in another, reason 
and religion have gained the ascendancy, so as 
to maintain a steady empire over the whole 
man. The first, as the author himself admits, 
is incompetent to self-government, and should 
therefore be held by the law of society in a state 

* Moral Science, Part ii. chap, i. sec. 2. 


of seiTitude. But does it follow that "" if this be 
true, it is true universalis/ f' Because one 
man who cannot govern himself may be go- 
verned by another, does it follow that every 
man should be governed by others? Does it 
follow that the one who has acquired and main- 
tained the most perfect self-government, should 
be subjected to th^ control of him who is wholly 
incompetent to control himself ? Yes, certainly, 
if the reasoning of Dr. Wayland be true; but, 
according to every sound principle of political 
ethics, the answer is, emphatically, No ! 

There is a difference between a Hottentot and 
a It^ewton. The first should no more be con- 
demned to astronomical calculations and dis- 
coveries, than the last should be required to 
follow a plough. Such differences, however, 
are overlooked by much of the reasoning of 
the abolitionist. In regard to the question 
of fact, whether a man is really a man and not 
a mere thing, he is profoundly versed. He can 
discourse most eloquently upon this subject: he 
can prove, by most irrefragable arguments, that 
a Hottentot is a man as well as a !N'ewton. 
But as to the .differences among men, such nice 
distinctions are beneath his philosophy ! It is 
true that one may be sunk so low in the scale 


of being that civil freedom would be a curse to 
him ; yet, whether this be so or not, is a ques- 
tion of fact which his philosophy does not stoop 
to decide. He merely wishes to know what 
rights A can possibly have, either by the law of 
God or man, which do not equally belong to 
B? And if A would feel it an injury to be 
placed under the control of B, then " there is no 
doubt" that it is equally wrong to place B under 
the control of A ? In plain English, if it would 
be injurious and wrong to subject a llTewton to 
the will of a Hottentot, then it would be equally 
injurious and wrong to subject a Hottentot to 
the will of a I^ewton ! Such is the inevitable 
consequence of his very profound political prin- 
ciples ! !N"ay, such is the identical consequence 
which he draws from his own principles ! 

If questions of fact are not within the pro- 
vince of the moral philosopher, then the moral 
philosopher has no business vdth the science 
of political ethics. This is not a pure, it is a 
mixed science. Facts can no more be over- 
looked by the political architect, than magni- 
tude can be disregarded by the mathematician. 
The man, the political dreamer, who pays no 
attention to them, may be fit, for aught we 
know, to frame a government out of moonshine 


for the inhabitants of Utopia; but, if we might 
choose our own teachers in political wisdom, 
we should decidedly prefer those who have an 
eye for facts as well as abstractions. If we may 
borrow a figure from Mr. Macaulay, the legis- 
lator who sees no difference among men, but 
proposes the same kind of government for all, 
acts about as wisely as a tailor who should 
measure the Apollo Belvidere to cut clothes 
for all his customers — for the pigmies as well 
as for the giants. 

§ VI. The sixth fallacy of the aholitionist. 

It is asserted by Dr. Wayland that the insti- 
tution of slavery is condemned as "a violation 
of the plainest dictates of natural justice," by 
"the natural conscience of man, from at least 
as far back as the time of Aristotle." If any 
one should infer that Aristotle himself con- 
demned the institution of slavery, he would be 
grossly deceived; for it is known to every one 
who has read the Politics of Aristotle that he 
is, under certain circumstances, a strenuous ad- 
vocate of the natural justice, as well as of the 
political wisdom, of slavery. Hence we shall 
suppose that Dr. Wayland does not mean to 
include Aristotle in his broad assertion, but 


only those who came after him. Even in this 
sense, or to this extent, his positive assertion 
is so diametrically opposed to the plainest facts 
of history, that it is difficult to conceive how 
he could have persuaded himself of its truth. 
It is certain that, on other occasions, he was 
perfectly aware of the fact that the natural con- 
science of man, from the time of Aristotle down 
to that of the Christian era, was in favor of the 
institution of slavery; for as often as it has 
served his purpose to assert this fact, he has not 
hesitated to do so. Thus, "the universal ex- 
istence of slavery at the time of Christ," says 
he, "took its origin from the moral darkness 
of the age. The immortality of the soul was 
unknown. Out of the Hebrew nation not a 
man on earth had any true conception of the 
character of the Deity or of our relations and 
obligations to him. The law of universal love 
to man had never been heard of."* l^o wonder 
he here argues that slavery received the universal 
sanction of the heathen world, since so great was 
the moral darkness in which they were involved. 
This darkness was so great, if we may believe ^ 
the author, that the men of one nation esteemed 

* Letters on Slavery, p. 89. 


those of another "as hy nature foes, whom they 
had a right" not only "to subdue or enslave, 
but also to murder "whenever and in what 
manner soever they were able."* The sweep- 
ing assertion, that such was the moral darkness 
of the heathen world, is wide of the truth; 
for, at the time of Christ, no ci^dlized nation 
"esteemed it right to murder or enslave, when- 
ever and in what manner soever they were able," 
the people of other nations. There were some 
ideas of natural justice, even then, among men ; 
and if there were not, why does Dr. Wayland 
appeal to their ideas of natural justice as one 
argument against slavery? If the heathen 
world " esteemed it right"= to make slaves, how 
can it be said that its conscience condemned 
slavery? Is it not evident that Dr. "Wayland 
is capable of asserting either the one thing or 
its opposite, just as it may happen to serve the 
purpose of his anti-slavery argument ? Whether 
facts lie within the province of moral philosophy 
or not, it is certain, we think, that the moral 
philosopher who may be pleased to set facts at 
naught has no right to substitute fictions in 
their stead. 

* Letters on Slavery, p. 92. 


§ VII. The seventh fallacy of the dbolitionisL 
"Thou slialt love thy neighbor as thyself," 
is the rule of action which, in the estimation 
of abolitionists, should at once and forever de- 
cide every good man against the institution of 
slavery. But when we consider the stupendous 
interests involved in the question, and especially 
those of an intellectual and moral nature, we 
dare not permit ourselves to be carried away 
by any form of mere words. We must pause 
and investigate. The fact that the dexterous 
brandishing of the beautiful precept in question 
has made, and will no doubt continue to make, 
its thousands of converts or victims, is a reason 
why its real import should be the more closely 
examined and the more clearly defined. The 
havoc it makes among those whose philan- 
thropy is stronger than their judgment — or, if 
you please, whose judgment is weaker than 
their philanthropy — flows not from the divine 
precept itself, but only from human interpre- 
tations thereof. And it should ever be borne 
in mind that he is the real enemy of the great 
cause of philanthropy who, by absurd or over- 
strained applications of this sublime precept, 
lessens that profound respect to which it is so 

E C* 


j Qstly entitled from every portion of the ra- 
tional universe. 

It is repeatedly affirmed by Dr. "Wayland 
that every slaveholder lives in the habitual and 
open violation of the precept which requires us 
to love our neighbor as ourselves. " The moral 
precepts of the Bible," says he, "are diametri- 
cally opposed to slavery. These are, ' Thou shalt 
love thy neighbor as thyself,' and 'All things 
whatsoever ye would that men should do unto 
you, do ye even so unto them.' Now, were this 
precept obeyed," he continues, "it is manifest 
that slavery could not in fact exist for a single 
instant. The principle of the precept is abso- 
lutely subversive of the principle of slavery." 
If strong assertion were argument, we should 
no doubt be overwhelmed by the irresistible 
logic of Dr. Wayland. But the assertion of no 
man can be accepted as sound argument. We 
want to know the very meaning of the words 
of the great Teacher, and to be guided by that, 
rather than by the fallible authority of an earthly 
oracle. "What, then, is the meaning, the real 
meaning, of his inspired words ? 

Do they mean that whatsoever we might, in 
any relation of life, desire for ourselves, we 
should be willing to grant to others in the like 


relation or condition? This interpretation, we 
are aware, has been put upon the words by a 
very celebrated divine. If we may believe that 
divine, we cannot do as we would be done by, 
unless, when we desire the estate of another, we 
forthwith transfer our estate to him ! If a poor 
man, for example, should happen to covet the 
estate of his rich neighbor, then he is bound by 
this golden rule of benevolence to give his little 
all to him, without regard to the necessities or 
wants of his own family ! But this interpreta- 
tion, though seriously propounded by a man of 
undoubted genius and piety, has not, so far as 
we know, made the slightest possible impression 
on the plain good sense of mankind. Even 
among his most enthusiastic admirers, it has 
merely excited a good-natured smile at what 
they could not but regard as the strange hal- 
lucination of a benevolent heart. 

A wrong desire in one relation of life is not a 
reason for a wrong act in another relation thereof. 
A man may desire the estate, he may desire the 
man-servant, or the maid-servant, or the wife 
of his neighbor, but this is no reason why he 
should abandon his own man-servant, or his 
maid-servant, or his wife to the will of another. 
The criminal who trembles at the bar of justice 


may desire both judge and jury to acquit him, 
but this is no reason why, if acting in the 
capacity of either judge or juror, he should 
bring in a verdict of acquittal in favor of one 
justly accused of crime. If we would apply the 
rule in question aright, we should consider, not 
what we might wish or desire if placed in the 
situation of another, but what we ought to wish 
or desire. 

If a man were a child, he might wish to be 
exempt from the wholesome restraint of his 
parents; but this, as every one will admit, is 
no reason why he should abandon his own chil- 
dren to themselves. In like manner, if he were 
a slave, he might most vehemently desire free- 
dom ; but this is no reason why he should set 
his slaves at liberty. The whole question of 
right turns upon what he ought to wish or de- 
sire if placed in such a condition. If he were an 
intelligent, cultivated, civilized man, — in one 
word, if he were fit for freedom, — then his de- 
sire for liberty would be a rational desire, would 
be such a feeling as he ought to cherish ; and 
hence, he should be willing to extend the same 
blessing to all other intelligent, cultivated, civil- 
ized men, to all such as are prepared for its 
enjoyment. Such is the sentiment which he 


should entertain, and such is precisely the senti- 
ment entertained at the South. 'No one here 
proposes to reduce any one to slavery, much 
less those who are qualified for freedom; and 
hence the inquiry so often propounded by Dr. 
"Wayland and other abolitionists, how we would 
like to be subjected to bondage, is a grand 
impertinence. "We should like it as little as 
themselves ; and in this respect we shall do as 
we would be done by. 

But suppose we were veritable slaves — slaves 
in character and in disposition as well as in fact 
— and as unfit for freedom as the Africans of 
the South — what ought we then to wish or de- 
sire ? Ought we to desire freedom ? We an- 
swer, no ; because on that supposition freedom 
would be a curse and not a blessing. Dr. "Way- 
land himself admits that " it is very likely" fi:'ee- 
dom would be "the greatest possible injury" to 
the slaves of the South. Hence, we cannot 
perceive that if we were such as they, we ought 
to desire so great an evil to ourselves. It would 
indeed be to desire "the greatest possible 
injury" to ourselves; and though, as ignorant 
and blind slaves, we might cherish so foolish a 
desire, especially if instigated by abolitionists, 
yet this is no reason why, as enlightened citi- 


zens, we should be willing to inflict the same 
great, evil upon others. A foolish desire^ we re- 
peat, in one relation of life, is not a good reason for 
a foolish or injurious act in another relation thereof. 

The precept which requires us to do as we 
would be done by, was intended to enlighten 
the conscience. It is used by abolitionists to 
hoodwink and deceive the conscience. This 
precept directs us to conceive ourselves placed 
in the condition of others, in order that we may 
the more clearly perceive what is due to them. 
The abolitionist employs it to convince us that, 
because we desire liberty for ourselves, we 
should extend it to all men, eve^ to those who 
are not qualified for its enjoyment, and to whom 
it would prove "the greatest possible injuiy." 
He employs it not to show us what is due to 
others, but to persuade us to injure them ! He 
may deceive himself; but so long as we believe 
what even he admits as highly probable — namely, 
that the "abolition of slavery would be the 
greatest possible injury to the slaves them- 
selves"— we shall never use the divine precept 
as an instrument of delusion and of wrong. 
What ! inflict the greatest injury on our neigh- 
bor, and that, too, out of pure Christian charity? 

But we need not argue with the abolitionist 


upon his own admissions. We have infinitely 
stronger ground to stand on. The precept, 
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," is to 
be found in the Old Testament as well as in 
the "New. Thus, in the nineteenth chapter of 
Leviticus, it is said, "Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself;" and no greater love than 
this is anywhere inculcated in the 'New Testa- 
ment. Yet in the twenty-fifth chapter of the 
same book, it is written, " Of the children of 
the strangers that do sojourn among you, of 
them shall ye buy, and of their families that 
are with you, which they begat in your land : 
and they shall be your possession. And ye 
shall take them as an inheritance for your 
children after you, to inherit them for a pos- 
session; they shall be your bondsmen forever." 
This language is too plain for controversy. In 
regard to this very passage, in which the He- 
brews are commanded to enter upon and take 
possession of the land of the Canaanites, Dr. 
Wayland himself is constrained to admit — "The 
authority to take them as slaves seems to be 
a part of this original, peculiar, and I may per- 
haps say, anomalous grant."* ITow, if the prin- 

* Letters, p. 50. 


ciple of slavery, and the principle of the precept, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, be as 
Dr. "Wayland boldly asserts, always and every- 
where at war with each other, how has it hap- 
pened that both principles are so clearly and 
so unequivocally embodied in one and the same 
code by the Supreme Ruler of the world ? Has 
this discrepancy escaped the eye of Omniscience, 
and remained in the code of laws from heaven, 
to be detected and exposed by " the author of 
the Moral Science" ? 

We do not mean that Dr. Wayland sees any 
discrepancy among the principles of the divine 
legislation. It is true he sees there the pre- 
cept, " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," 
and also this injunction, "Thou shalt buy them 
for a possession," and "They shall be your 
bondmen forever;" but although this looks 
very "anomalous" to him, he dare not pro- 
nounce it absurd or self-contradictoiy. It is 
true, he declares, that slavery is condemned 
always and everywhere by " the plainest dictates 
of natural justice ;" but yet, although, according 
to his own admission,* it was instituted by 
Heaven, he has found out a method to save 

* Letters, p. 50. 


the character of the Almighty from the disgrace 
of such a law. He says, "I know the word 
'shaW is used when speaking of this subject, 
but it is clearly used as prophetic, and not as 
mandatory.'' Ay, the words "thou shalt" are 
used in regard to the buying and holding of 
slaves, just as they are used in the commands 
which precede and follow this injunction. 
There is no change in the form of the expres- 
sion. There is not, in any way, the slightest 
intimation that the Lawgiver is about to pro- 
phesy; all seems to be a series of commands, 
and is clothed in the same language of au- 
thority — '^tJiou shalt.'' Yet in one particular 
instance, and in one instance only, this language 
seems " clearly" prophetic to Dr. Wayland, and 
not mandatory. iN'ow, I submit to the candid 
and impartial reader, if this be not egregious 
trifling with the word of God. 

Dr. Wayland forgets that he had himself ad- 
mitted that the very passage in question clothed 
the Hebrews with "the authority to take slaves."* 
He now, in the face of his own admission, de- 
clares that this language "is clearly prophetic," 
and tells what would or what might be, and not 

* Letters, p. 50. 



what should or what must be." The poor He- 
brews, however, when they took slaves by the 
authority of a 'Hhou sliaW from the Lord, never 
imagined that they were merely fulfilling a pro- 
phecy, and committing an abominable sin. 

This is clear to Dr. Wayland, if we may trust 
the last expression of his opinion. But it is 
to be regretted, that either the clearness of his 
perceptions, or the confidence of his assertions, 
is so often disproportioned to the evidence be- 
fore him. Thus, he says with the most admi- 
rable niodesty, " It seems to me that the soul is 
the most important part of a human being;"* 
and yet he peremptorily and positively declares 
that the very strongest language of authority 
ever found in Scripture " is clearly used as pro- 
phetic and not mandatory !" He may, however, 
well reserve the tone of dogmatic authority for 
such propositions, since, if they may not be car- 
ried by assertion, they must be left wholly with- 
out the least shadow of support. But one would 
suppose that strength of assertion in such cases 
required for its unembarrassed utterance no 
little strength of countenance. 

"If any one doubts," says Dr. Wayland, "re- 

* Letters, p. 113. 


Bpecting the bearing of tlie Scripture precept 
upon this case, a few plain questions may throw 
additional light upon the subject."* !Now, if 
we mistake not, the few plain questions which 
he deems so unanswerable may be answered 
with the most perfect ease. "Would the master 
be willing," he asks, " that another person should 
subject him to slavery, for the same reasons and 
on the same grounds that he holds his slave 
in bondage?" We answer, 'No, If any man 
should undertake to subject Southern masters 
to slavery, on the ground that they are intellec- 
tually and morally sunk so low as to be unfit 
for freedom or self-control, we should certainly 
not like the compliment. It may argue a very 
great degree of self-complacency in us, but yet 
the plain fact is, that we really do believe our- 
selves competent to govern ourselves, and to 
manage our affairs, without the aid of masters. 
And as we are not willing to be made slaves 
of, especially on any such humiliating grounds, 
so we are not willing to see any other nation 
or race of men, whom we may deem qualified 
for the glorious condition of freedom, sub- 
jected to servitude. 

* Moral Science, Part ii. chap. i. § 2. 


"Would the gospel allow us," he also asks, 
" if it were in our power, to reduce our fellow- 
citizens of our own color to slayeiy?" Cer- 
tainly not. ISTor do we propose to reduce any 
one, either white or black, to a state of slavery. 
It is amazing to see with what an air of con- 
fidence such questions are propounded. Dr. 
Channing, no less than Dr. Wayland, seems to 
think they must carry home irresistible con- 
viction to the heart and conscience of every 
man who is not irremediably blinded by the 
detestable institution of slavery. "I'fow, let 
every reader," says he, "ask himself this plain 
question: Could I, can I, be rightfally seized 
and made an article of property?" And we, 
too, say, Let every reader ask himself this plain 
question, and then, if he please, answer it in 
the negative. But what, then, should follow? 
Why, if you please, he should refuse to seize 
any other man or to make him an article of 
property. He should be opposed to the crime 
of kidnapping. But if, from such an answer, 
he should conclude that the institution of slavery 
is " everywhere and always wrong," then surely, 
after what has been said, not another word is 
needed to expose the ineifable weakness and 
futilitv of the conclusion. 


This golden rule, this divine precept, requires 
us to conceive ourselves placed in the condition 
of our slaves, and then to ask ourselves. How 
should we be treated by the master ? in order to 
obtain a clear and impartial view of our duty to 
them. This it requires of us ; and this we can 
most cheerfully perform. We can conceive that 
we are poor, helpless, dependent beings, pos- 
sessing the passions of men and the intellects of 
children. We can conceive that we are by 
nature idle, improvident, and, without a pro- 
tector and friend to guide and control us, utterly 
unable to take care of ourselves. And, having 
conceived all this, if we ask ourselves. How 
should we be treated by the masters whom the 
law has placed over us, what is the response? 
Is it that they should turn us loose to shift for 
ourselves? Is it that they should abandon us 
to ourselves, only to fall a prey to indolence, and 
to the legion of vices and crimes which ever fol- 
low in its train ? Is it that they should set us 
free, and expose us, without protection, to the 
merciless impositions of the worst portions of 
a stronger and more sagacious race ? Is it, in 
one word, that we should be free from the do- 
minion of men who, as a general thing, are 
humane and wise in their management of us, 


only to become the victims — the most debased 
and hopeless \ictims — of every evil way? We 
answer, 'No ! Even the spirit of abolitionism 
itself has, in the person of Dr. Wayland, de- 
clared that such treatment would, in all proba- 
bility, be the greatest of calamities. We feel 
sure it would be an infinite and remediless curse. 
And as we believe that, if we were in the condi- 
tion of slaves, such treatment would be so great 
and so withering a curse, so we cannot, out of a 
feeling of love, proceed to inflict this curse upon 
our slaves. On the contrary, tve would do as we 
so clearly see ive ought to be done by, if our con- 
ditions were changed. 

Is it not amazing, as well as melancholy, that 
learned divines, who undertake to instruct the 
benighted South in the great principles of duty, 
should entertain such superficial and erroneous 
views of the first, great, and all-comprehending 
precept of the gospel? If their interpretation 
of this precept were correct, then the child might 
be set free from the authority of the father, and 
the criminal from the sentence of the judge. 
All justice would be extinguished, all order 
overthrown, and boundless confusion introduced 
into the afiah's of men. Yet, mth unspeakable 
self-complacency, they come with such miserable 


interpretations of the plainest truths to instruct 
those whom they conceive to be blinded by cus- 
tom and the institution of slavery to the clearest 
light of heaven. They tell us, " Thou shouldst 
love thy neighbor as thyself;" and they reiterate 
these words in our ears, just as if we had never 
heard them before. K this is all they have to 
say, why then we would remind them that the 
meaning of the precept is the precept. It is not 
a mere sound, it is sense, which these glorious 
words are intended to convey. And if they can 
only repeat the words for us, why then they 
might just as well send a host of free negroes 
with good, strong lungs to be our instructors in 
moral science. 

§ Vm. The eighth fallacy of the abolitionist. 

An argument is drawn from the divine attri- 
butes against the institution of slavery. One 
would suppose that a declaration from God 
himself is some little evidence as to what is 
agreeable to his attributes; but it seems that 
moral philosophers have, now-a-days, found 
out a better method of arriving at what is im- 
plied by his perfections. Dr. Wayland is one 
of those who, setting aside the word of God, 
appeal to his attributes in favor of the imme- 


diate and universal abolition of slavery. K 
slavery were abolished, says he, "the laborer 
would then work in conformity with the con- 
ditions which God has appointed, whereas he 
now works at variance with them ; in the one 
case, we should be attempting to accumulate pro- 
perty under the blessing of God, whereas now 
we are attempting to do it under Ms special and 
peculiar malediction. How can we expect to 
prosper, when there is not, as Mr. Jefferson re- 
marks, ' an attribute of the Almighty that can 
be appealed to in our favor' ? "* If we may rely 
upon his own words, rather than upon the con- 
fident assertions of Dr. "Wayland, we need not 
fear the curse of God upon the slaveholder. 
The readiness with which Dr. "Wayland points 
the thunders of the divine wrath at our heads, 
is better evidence of the passions of his own 
heart than of the perfections of the Almighty. 

Again he says : " If Jefferson trembled for his 
country when he remembered that God is just, 
and declared that, ' in case of insurrection, the 
Almighty has no attribute that can take part with 
us in the contest,' surely it becomes a disciple 
of Jesus Christ to pause and reflect." Now let it 

* Letters, p. 110, 120. 


be borne in mind that all this proceeds from a 
man, from a professed disciple of Jesus Christ, 
who, in various places, has truly, as well as 
emphatically, said, " The duty of slaves is also 
explicitly made known in the Bible. They are 
bound to obedience, fidelity, submission, and re- 
spect to their masters,"* ka. &c. 

Such, then, according to Dr. Way land him- 
self, is the clear and unequivocal teaching of 
revelation. And such being the case, shall the 
real "disciple of Jesus Christ" be made to be- 
lieve, on the authority of Mr. Jefferson or of 
any other man, that the Almighty has no attri- 
bute *which could induce him to take sides with 
his own law ? If, instead of submission to that 
law, there should be rebellion,^and not only 
rebellion, but bloodshed and murder, — shall we 
believe that the Almighty, the supreme Ruler of 
heaven and earth, would look on well pleased ? 
Since such is the express declaration of God 
himself respecting the duty of slaves, it surely 
becomes a disciple of Christ to pause and reflect 
whether he will follow his voice or the voice 
of man. 

"We owe at least one benefit to the Northern 

* Moral Science, Part ii. chap. i. sec. 2. 


abolitionists. Ere the subject of slavery was 
agitated by them, there were many loose, float- 
ing notions among us, as well as among them- 
selves, respecting the nature of liberty, which 
were at variance with the institution of slavery. 
But since this agitation began, we have looked 
more narrowly into the grounds of slavery, as 
^^ell as into the character of the arguments by 
i^hich it is assailed, and we have found the first 
^s solid as adamant, the last as unsubstantial 
as moonshine. If Mr. Jefferson had lived till 
the present day, there can be no doubt, we 
think, that he would have been on the same side 
of this great question with the Calhouns, the 
Clays, and the Websters of the country. "We 
have known many who, at one time, fully con- 
curred with Mr. Jefferson on this subject, but 
are now firm believers in the perfect justice and 
humanity of negro slavery. 

§ IX. The ninth fallacy of the aholitionist. 
We have already seen that the abolitionist 
argues the question of slavery as if South- 
erners were proposing to catch freemen and 
reduce them to bondage. He habitually over- 
looks the fact, that slavei-y results, not from 
the action of the individual, but from an 


ordinance of the State. He forgets that it is 
a civil institution, and proceeds to argue as 
if it were founded in individual wrong. And 
even when he rises — as he sometimes does — 
to a contemplation of the real question in 
dispute, he generally takes a most narrow 
and one-sided view of the subject. For he 
generally takes it for granted that the legis- 
lation which ordains the institution of slavery 
is intended solely and exclusively for the bene- 
fit of the master, without the least regard to 
the interests of the slave 

Thus says Dr. Wayland : " Domestic slavery 
proceeds upon the principle that the master 
has a right to control the actions — physical 
and intellectual — of the slave for his own 
(that is, the master's) individual benefit,"* &c. 
And again : "It supposes that the Creator 
intended one human being to govern the 
physical, intellectual, and moral actions of as 
many other human beings as, by purchase, he 
can bring within his physical power; and that 
one human being may thus acquire a right to 
sacrifice the happiness of any number of other 
human beings, for the purpose of promoting his 

* Moral Science, Part ii. chap. i. sec. 2. 


owny^ !N"ow, surely, if this representation be 
just, then the institution of slavery should be 
^held in infinite abhorrence by every man in 

But we can assure Dr. "Wayland that, how- 
ever ignorant or heathenish he may be pleased 
to consider the people of the Southern States, 
we are not so utterly lost to all reverence for 
the Creator as to suppose, even for a mo- 
ment, that he intended any one human being 
to possess the right of sacrificing the happiness 
of his fellow-men to his own, We can assure 
him that we are not quite so dead to every 
sentiment of political justice, as to imagine 
that any legislation which intends to benefit 
the one at the expense of the many is other- 
wise than unequal and iniquitous in the ex- 
treme. There is some little sense of justice 
left among us yet; and hence we approve of 
no institution or law which proceeds on the 
monstrous principle that any one man has, or 
can have, the '''right to sacrifice the happiness 
of any number of other human beings for the 
purpose of promoting his ownJ" We recognise 
no such right. It is as vehemently abhorred 

* Moral Science, Part ii. chap. i. sec. 2. 


and condemned by us as it can be abhorred 
and condemned by the author himself. 

In thus taking it for granted, as Dr. Way- 
land so coolly does, that the institution in 
question is "intended" to sacrifice the happi- 
ness of the slaves to the selfish interests of the 
master, he incontinently begs the whole ques- 
tion. Let him establish this point, and the 
whole controversy will be at an end. But let 
him not hope to establish any thing, or to 
satisfy any one, by assuming the very point in 
dispute, and then proceed to demolish what 
every man at the South condemns no less 
than himself. Surely, no one who has looked 
at both sides of this great question can be 
ignorant that the legislation of the South pro- 
ceeds on the principle that slavery is bene- 
ficial, not to the master only, but also and espe- 
cially to the slave. 'Surely, no one who has 
either an eye or an ear for facts can be igno- 
rant that the institution of slavery is based 
on the ground, or principle, that it is bene- 
ficial, not only to the parts, but also to the 
whole, of the society in which it exists. This 
ground, or principle, is set forth in every de- 
fence of slavery by the writers and speakers 
of the South; it is so clearly arid so un- 


equivocally set forth, that he who runs may 
read. Why, then, is it overlooked by Dr. 
Wayland? Why is he pleased to imagine that 
he is combatting Southern principles, when, in 
reality, he is merely combatting the monstrous 
figment, the distorted conception of his own 
brain, — namely, the right of one man to sacri- 
fice the happiness of multitudes to his own 
will and pleasure ? Is it because facts do not lie 
vdthin the province of the moral philosopher? 
Is it because fiction alone is worthy of his 
attention? Or is it because a blind, partisan 
zeal has so far taken possession of his very 
understanding, that he finds it impossible to 
speak of the institution of slavery, except in 
the language of the grossest misrepresenta- 

§ X. The tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, 
fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth fallacies of the 
abolitionist; or his seven arguments against the 
right of a man to hold property in his fellow-man. 

" This claim of property in a human be- 
ing," says Dr. Channing, "is altogether false, 
groundless. Ko such right of- man in man 
can exist. A human being cannot be justly 
owned." The only difficulty in maintaining 


this position is, according to Dr. Channing, 
" on account of its exceeding obviousness. It 
is too plain for proof. To defend it is like 
trying to confirm a self-evident truth," &c. &c. 
Yet he advances no less than seven "argu- 
ments," as he calls them, in order to establish 
this self-evident position. We shall examine 
these seven' arguments, and see if his great 
confidence be not built on a mere abuse of 

" The consciousness of our humanity," says 
he, "involves the persuasion that we cannot 
be owned as a tree or a brute." This, as 
everybody knows, is one of the hackneyed 
commonplaces of the abolitionist. He never 
ceases to declaim about the injustice of slavery, 
because it regards, as he is pleased to assert, a 
man as a mere thing or a brute. ITow, once for 
all, we freely admit that it were monstrously 
unjust to regard or treat a man otherwise than 
as a man. We freely admit that a human be- 
ing "cannot be owned as a tree or a brute." 

A tree may be absolutely owned. That is 
to say, the owner of a tree may do what he 
pleases with his own, provided he do no harm 
or injury with it. He may cut it down; and, 
if he please, he may beat it as long as he has 


the power to raise an arm. He may work it 
into a house or into a piece of furniture, or 
he may lay it on the fire, and reduce it to 
ashes. He may, we repeat, do just exactly 
what he pleases with his own, if his own be 
such a thing as a tree, for a tree has no rights. 

It is far otherwise with a brute. The owner 
of a horse, for example, may not do what he 
pleases with his own. Here his property is not 
absolute; it is limited. He may not beat his 
horse without mercy, " for a good man is mer- 
ciful to his beast." He may not cut his horse to 
pieces, or burn him on the fire. For the horse 
has rights, which the owner himself is bound to 
respect. The horse has a right to food and 
kind treatment, and the owner who refuses 
these is a tyrant, l^ay, the very worm that 
crawls beneath our feet has his rights as well 
as the monarch on his throne; and just in so 
far as these rights are disregarded by a man is 
that man a tyrant. 

Hence even the brute may not be regarded 
or treated as a mere thing or a tree. He can be 
owned and treated no otherwise than as a 
brute. The horse, for example, may not be 
left, like a tree, without food and care; but he 
may be saddled and rode as a horse ; or he may 


be liitched to the plough, and compelled to do 
his master's work. 

In like manner, a man cannot be owned or 
treated as a horse. He cannot be saddled or 
rode, nor hitched to the plough and be made to 
do the work of a horse. On the contrary, he 
should be treated as a man, and required to 
perform only the work of a man. The right to 
such work is all the ownership which any one 
man can rightfully have in another ; and this is 
all which any slaveholder of the South needs to 

The real question is, Can one man have a right 
to the personal service or obedience of another 
without his consent P We dcf not intend to let 
the abolitionist throw dust in our eyes, and 
shout victory amid a clamor of words. We 
intend to hold him to the point. Whether he be 
a learned divine, or a distinguished senator, we 
intend he shall speak to the point, or else his 
argument shall be judged, not according to the 
eloquent noise it makes or the excitement it 
produces, but according to the sense it contains. 

Can a man, then, have a right to the labor or 
obedience of another without his consents Grive 
us this right, and it is all we ask. We lay 
no claim to the soul of the slave. We grant 



to the abolitionist, even more freely than he 
can assert, that the "soul of the slave is his 
own." Or, rather, we grant that his soul 
belongs exclusively to the God who gave it. 
The master may use him not as a tree or a 
brute, but only as a rational, accountable, and 
immortal being may be used. He may not 
command him to do any thing which is wrong ; 
and if he should so far forget himself as to re- 
quire such service of his slave, he would himself 
be guilty of the act. If he should require his 
slave to violate any law of the land, he would 
be held not as a particeps criminis merely, but as 
a criminal in the first degree. In like manner, 
if he should require him to violate the law of 
God, he would be guilty — far more guilty than 
the slave himself — in the sight of heaven. 
These are truths w^hich are just as well under- 
stood at the South as they are at the I^orth. 

The master, we repeat, lays no claim to the 
soul of the slave. He demands no spiritual 
service of him, he exacts no divine honors. 
With his own soul he is fully permitted to 
serve his own God. With this soul he may 
follow the solemn injunction of the Most High, 
"Servants, obey your masters;" or he may 
listen to the voice of the tempter, " Servants, 


fly from your masters." Those only who in- 
stigate him to violate the law of God, whether 
at the Forth or at the South, are the men who 
seek to deprive him of his rights and to exercise 
an infamous dominion over his soul. 

Since, then, the master claims only a right to 
the labor and lawful obedience of the slave, and 
no right whatever to his soul, it follows that the 
argument, which Dr. Channing regards as the 
strongest of his seven, has no real foundation. 
Since the master claims to have no property in 
the " rational, moral, and immortal" part of his 
being, so all the arguments, or rather all the 
empty declamation, based on the false supposi- 
tion of such claim, falls to the ground. So the 
passionate appeals, proceeding qn the supposi- 
tion of such a monstrous claim, and addressed 
to the religious sensibilities of the multitude, 
are only calculated to deceive and mislead their 
judgment. It is a mere thing of words ; and, 
though "full of sound and fury," it signifies 
nothing. "The traffic in human souls," which 
figures so largely in the speeches of the divines 
and demagogues, and which so fiercely stirs up 
the most unhallowed passions of their hearers, 
is merely the transfer of a right to labor. 

Does any one doubt whether such a right may 


exist ? The master certainly has a right to the 
labor of his apprentice for a specified period of 
time, though he has no right to his soul even 
for a moment. The father, too, has a right to 
the personal service and obedience of his child 
until he reach the age of twenty-one ; but no 
one ever supposed that he owned the soul of his 
child, or might sell it, if he pleased, to another. 
Though he may not sell the soul of his child, it 
is universally admitted that he may, for good 
and sufficient reasons, transfer his right to the 
labor and obedience of his child. Why, then, 
should it be thought impossible that such a 
right to service may exist for life? If it may 
exist for one period, why not for a longer, and 
even for life ? If the good of both parties and 
the good of the whole community require such a 
relation and such a right to exist, why should it 
be deemed so unjust, so iniquitous, so mon- 
strous? This whole controversy turns, we re- 
peat, not upon any consideration of abstract 
rights, but solely upon the highest good of all — 
upon the highest good of the slave as well as 
upon that of the community. 

"It is plain," says Dr. Channing, in his first 
argument, "that if any one man may be held 
as propei-ty, then any other man may be so held." 


This sophism has been already sufficiently re- 
futed. It proceeds on the supposition that if 
one man, however incapable of self-government, 
may be placed under the control of another, 
then all men may be placed under the control 
of others ! It proceeds on the idea that all men 
should be placed in precisely the same condition, 
subjected to precisely the same authority, and 
required to perform precisely the same kind of 
labor. In one word, it sees no difference and 
makes no distinction between a ^N'egro and a 
jN'ewton. But as an overstrained and false idea 
of equality lies at the foundation of this argu- 
ment, so it will pass under review again, when 
we come to consider the great demonstration 
which the abolitionist is accustomed to deduce 
from the axiom that "all men are created equal." 

The third argument of Dr. Chauning is, like 
the first, " founded on the essential equality of 
men." Hence, like the first, it may be post- 
poned until we come to consider the true mean- 
ing and the real political significancy of the 
natural equality of all men. We shall barely 
remark, in passing, that two arguments cannot 
be made out of one by merely changing the 
mode of expression. 

The second argument of the author is as fol 


lows: "A man cannot be seized and held as 
property, because he has rights. ... A being 
having rights cannot justly be made property, 
for this claim over him virtually annuls all Ms 
rights.'' This argument, it is obvious, is based 
on the arbitrary idea which the author has been 
pleased to attach to the term property. If it 
proves any thing, it would prove that a horse 
could not be held as property, for a horse cer- 
tainly has rights. But, as we have seen, a 
limited property, or a right to the labor of a 
man, does not deny or annul all his rights, nor 
necessarily any one of them. This argument 
needs no fm'ther refutation. For we acknow- 
ledge that the slave has rights ; and the limited 
or qualified property which the master claims in 
him, extending merely to his personal human 
labor and his lawful obedience, touches not one 
of these rights. 

The fourth argument of Dr. Channing is iden- 
tical with the second. " That a human being," 
says he, " cannot be justly held as property, is 
apparent from the very nature of property. Pro- 
perty is an exclusive right. It shuts out all 
claim but that of the possessor. What one 
man owns cannot belong to another." The 
only difference between the two arguments is 


this: in one the ''nature 0/ property" is said "to 
annul all rights;" and in the other it is said 
"to exclude all rights!" Both are based on the 
same idea of property, and both arrive at the 
same conclusion, with only a very slight difier- 
ence in the mode of expression ! 

And both are equally unsound. True; "what 
one man owns cannot belong to another." Bu^ 
may not one man have a right to the labor of 
another, as a father to the labor of his son, 
or a master to the labor of his apprentice ; and 
yet that other a right to food and raiment, as 
well as to other things ? May not one man 
have a right to the service of another, without 
annulling or excluding all the rights of that 
other? This argument proceeds, it is evident, 
on the false supposition that if any being be 
held as property, then he has no rights; a 
supposition which, if true, would exclude and 
annul the right of property in every living 

Dr. Channing's fifth argument is deduced from 
" the universal indignation excited toward a man 
who makes another his slave." "Our laws," 
says he, "know no higher crime than that of 
reducing a man to slavery. To steal or to buy 
an African on his own shores is piracy." "To 


steal a man," we reply, is one thing; and, by 
the authority of the law of the land, to require 
him to do certain labor, is, one would think, 
quite another. The first may be as high a crime 
as any known to our laws ; the last is recognised 
by our laws themselves. Is it not wonderful 
that Dr. Channing could not see so plain a dis- 
tinction, so broad and so glaring a difference? 
The father of his country held slaves; he did 
not commit the crim^ of man-stealing. 

The sixth argument of Dr. Channing, "against 
the right of property in man," is "drawn from 
a very obvious principle of moral science. It 
is a plain truth, universally received, that every 
right supposes or involves a corresponding obli- 
gation. K, then, a man has a right to another's 
person or powers, the latter is under obligation 
to give himself up as a chattel to the former." 
Most assuredly, if one man has a right to the 
service or obedience of another, then that other 
is under obligation to render that service or 
obedience to him. But is such an obligation 
absurd? Is it inconsistent with the inherent, 
the inalienable, the universal rights of man 
that the "servant should obey his master?" If 
so, then we fear the rights of man were far 
better understood by Dr. Channing than by the 


Creator of the world and the Author of reve- 

Such are the seven arguments adduced bj Dr. 
Channing to show that no man can rightfully 
hold property in his fellow-man. But before 
we quit this branch of the subject, we shall 
advert to a passage in the address of the Hon. 
Charles Sumner, before the people of J^ew York, 
at the Metropolitan Theatre, May 9, 1855. 
"I desire to present this argument," says he, 
*'on grounds above all controversy, impeach- 
ment, or suspicion, even from slave-masters 
themselves. Not on triumphant story, not even 
on indisputable facts, do I now accuse slavery, 
but on its character, as revealed in its own 
simple definition of itself. Out of its own 
mouth do I condemn it." Well, and why does 
he condemn it ? Because, "by the law of slavery, 
man, created in the image of God, is divested of 
Ms human character and declared to be a mere 
chattel. That the statement may not seem to 
be put forward without precise authority, I quote 
the law of two different slave States." That is 
the accusation. It is to be proved by the law 
(6f slavery itself. It is to be proved beyond 
r^all controversy," by an appeal to "indisputable 
tfacts." K'ow let us have the facts: here they 

G 9 


are. "The law of another polished slave State," 
says Mr. Sumner, '^ gives this definition : ' Slaves 
shall be delivered, sold, taken, reputed, and ad- 
judged in law to be chattels personal, in the 
hands of their owners and possessors, and their 
executors, administrators, and assignees, to all 
intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever.' " 

^N'ow, mark; the learned Senator undertook 
to prove, beyond all doubt and controversy, that 
slavery divests the slave of Ms human character^ 
and declares him to be a mere chattel. But he 
m.erely proves that it declares him to be a 
"chattel personal." He merely proves that the 
law of a Southern State regards the slave, not as 
real estate or landed property, but as a " chattel 
personal." Does this divest him of his human 
character ? does this make him a mere chattel ? 
May the slave, in consequence of such law, be 
treated as a brute or a tree ? May he be cut 
in pieces or worked to death at the will and 
pleasure of the master ? 

"We think that a learned Senator, especially 
when he undertakes to demonstrate, should 
distinguish between declaring a man to be 
"a chattel personal," and a mere chattel, l^o 
one doubts that a man is a thing; but is he 
therefore a mere thins:, or nothing more than 


a tiling? Ill like manner, no one doubts that 
a man is an animal; does it follow, therefore, 
that he is a mere animal, or nothing but an 
animal? It is clear, that to declare a man 
may be held as a '' chattel personal," is a very 
different thing from declaring that he is a mere 
chattel. So much for his honor's "precise 

In what part of the law, then, is the slave 
"divested of his human character?" In no 
part whatever. If it had declared him to be 
a mere thing, or a mere chattel, or a mere ani- 
mal, it would have denied his human character, 
we admit; but the law in question has done 
no such thing. ]N'or is any such declaration 
contained in the other law quoted by the learned 
Senator from the code of Louisiana. It is 
merely by the interpolation of this little word 
mere, that * the Senator of Massachusetts has 
made the law of South Carolina divest an im- 
mortal being of his "human character." He 
is welcome to all the applause which this may 
have gained for him in the "Metropolitan 

The learned Senator adduces another au- 
thority. "A careful writer," says he, "Judge 
Stroud, in a work of juridical as well as phi- 


lanthropic merit, thus sums up the law: ^The 
cardinal principle of slavery — that the slave is 
not to be ranked among sentient^ beings, but 
among things — as an article of property — a 
chattel personal — obtains as undoubted law in 
all these (the slave) States.' '* We thus learn 
from this very "careful writer" that slaves 
among us are "not ranked among sentient be- 
ings," and that this is "the cardinal principle 
of slavery." [N'o, they are not fed, nor clothed, 
nor treated as sentient beings ! They are left 
without food and raiment, just as if they were 
stocks and stones ! They are not talked to, 
nor reasoned with, as if they were rational ani- 
mals, but only driven about, like dumb biTites 
beneath the lash ! No, no, not the lash, for 
that would recognise them as "sentient be- 
ings !" They are only thrown about like stones, 
or boxed up like chattels; they are not set, 
like men, over the lower animals, required to 
do the work of men ; the precise work which, 
of all others, in the grand and diversified 
economy of human industry, they are the best 
qualified to perform ! So far, indeed, is this 
from being " the cardinal principle of slavery," 

* The Italics are his own. 


that it is no principle of slavery at all. It 
bears not the most distant likeness or approxi- 
mation to any principle of slavery, with which 
we of the South have any the most remote 

That man may, in certain cases, be held as 
property, is a truth recognised by a higher 
authority than that of senators and divines. 
It is, as we have seen, recognised by the word 
of God himself. In that word, the slave is 
called the "possession"* of the master, and 
even "his money."t ^ow, is not this lan- 
guage as strong, if not stronger, than that ad- 
duced from tbe code of South Carolina? It 
certainly calls "the bondman" his master's 
"money." Why, then, did not the Senator 
from Massachusetts denounce this language, as 
divesting "a man of his human character," and 
declaring him to be mere money? Wliy did 
he not proceed to condemn the legislation of 
Heaven, as well as of the South, out of its 
own mouth? Most assuredly, if his princijDles 
be correct, then is he bound to pronounce the 
law of God itself manifestly unjust and iniqui- 
tous. For that law as clearly recognises the 

* Lev. chap. xxv. f Exod. chap. xxi. 




right of property in man as it could possibly 
be recognised in words. But it nowhere com- 
mits the flagrant solecism of supposing that 
this right of the master annuls or excludes all 
the rights of the slave. On the contrary, the 
rights of the slave are recognised, as well as 
those of the master. For, according to the law 
of God, though *' a possession," and an " in- 
heritance," and '' a bondman forever," yet is 
the slave, nevertheless, a man; and, as a man, 
is he protected in his rights; in his rights, not 
as defined by abolitionists, but as recognised 
by the word of God. 

§ XT. The seventeenth fallacy of the aboli- 
tionist; or the argument from the Declaration 
of Independence. 

This argument is regarded by the abolition- 
ists as one of their great strongholds; and no 
doubt it is so in effect, for who can bear a 
superior? Lucifer himself, who fell from hea- 
ven because he could not acknowledge a 
superior, seduced our first parents by the sug- 
gestion that in throwing off the yoke of sub- 
jection, they should become "as gods." We 
need not wonder, then, if it should be found, 
that an appeal to the absolute equality of all 


men is the most ready way to effect the ruin 
of States. We can surely conceive of none 
better adapted to subvert all order among us 
of the South, involving the two races in a ser- 
vile war, and the one or the other in utter 
extinction. Hence we shall examine this ar^u- 
ment from the equality of all men, or rather 
this appeal to all men's abhorrence of infe- 
riority. This appeal is usually based on the 
Declaration of Independence : " We hold these 
truths to be self-evident: that all men are cre- 
ated equal; that they are endowed by their 
Creator with certain inalienable rights; that 
among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of happiness." We do not mean to play upon 
these words; we intend to take them exactly 
as they are understood by our opponents. As 
they are not found in a metaphysical document 
or discussion, so it would be unfair to sup- 
pose — as is sometimes done — that they incul- 
cate the wild dream of Helvetius, that all men 
are created with equal natural capacities of 
mind. They occur in a declaration of inde- 
pendence; and as the subject is the doctrine 
of human rights, so we suppose they mean to 
declare that all men are created equal with 
respect to natural rights. 


Nor do we assert that there is no truth in this 
celebrated proposition or maxim; for we be- 
lieve that, if rightly understood, it contains 
most important and precious truth. It is not 
on this account, however, the less dangerous as 
a maxim of political philosophy. Nay, false- 
hood is only then the more dangerous, when 
it is so blended with truth that its existence is 
not suspected by its victims. Hence the un- 
speakable importance of dissecting this pre- 
tended maxim, and separating the precious 
truth it contains from the pernicious falsehood 
by which its followers are deceived. Its truth 
is certainly very far from being self-evident, or 
rather its truth is self-evident to some, while 
its falsehood is equally self-evident to others, 
according to the side from which it is viewed. 
We shall endeavor to throw some light both 
upon its truth and its falsehood, and, if possi- 
ble, draw the line which divides them from 
each other. 

This maxim does not mean, then, that all 
men have, by nature, an equal right to politi- 
cal power or to posts of honor. No doubt 
the words are often understood in this sense 
by those who, without reflection, merely echo 
the Declaration of Independence; but, in this 


sense, they are utterly untenable. K all men 
had, by nature, an equal right to any of the 
offices of government, how could such rights 
be adjusted? How could such a conflict be 
reconciled? It is clear that all men could not 
be President of the United States; and if all 
men had an equal natural right to that office, 
no one man could be elevated to it without a 
wrong to all the rest. In such case, all men 
should have, at least, an equal chance to oc- 
cupy the presidential chair. Such equal chance 
could not result from the right of all men to 
oflTer themselves as candidates for the office; 
for, at the bar of public opinion, vast multi- 
tudes would not have the least shadow of a 
chance. The only way to effect such an object 
would be by resorting to the lot. We might 
thus determine who, among so many equally 
just claimants, should actually possess the power 
of the supreme magistrate. This, it must be 
confessed, would be to recognise in deed, as 
well as in word, the equal rights of all men. 
But what more absurd than such an equality of 
rights? It is not without example in history; 
but it is to be hoped that such example will 
never be copied. The democracy of Athens, 
it is well known, was, at one time, so far car 


lied away by the idea of equal riglits, tliat her 
generals and orators and poets were elected by 
the lot. This was an equality, not in theory 
merely, but in practice. Though the lives and 
fortunes of mankind were thus intrusted to 
the most ignorant and depraved, or to the 
most wise and virtuous, as the lot might deter- 
mine, yet this policy was based on an equality 
of rights. It is scarcely necessary to add that 
this idea of equality prevailed, not in the better 
days of the Athenian democracy, but only 
during its imbecility and corruption. 

If all men, then, have not a natural right to 
fill an office of government, who has this right ? 
Who has the natui^al right, for example, to 
occupy the office of President of the United 
States? Certainly some men have no such 
right. The man, for example, who has no 
capacity to govern himself, but needs a guar- 
dian, has no right to superintend the affiiirs 
of a great nation. Though a citizen, he has no 
more right to exercise such power or authority 
than if he were a Hottentot, or an African, or 
an ape. Hence, in bidding such a one to 
stand aside and keep aloof from such high 
office, no right is infringed and no injury done. 
N'ay, right is secured, and injuiy prevented. 


Wlio has such a riglit, tlien ? — such, natural 
right, or right accorcliiig to the law of nature or 
reason ? The man, we answer, who, all things 
considered, is the best qualified to discharge the 
duties of the office. The man who, by his 
superior wisdom, and virtue, and statesmanship, 
would use the power of such office more ef- 
fectually for the good of the whole people than 
would any other man. K there be one such 
man, and only one, he of natural right should be 
our President. And all the laws framed to 
regulate the election of President are, or should 
be, only so many means designed to secure the 
services of that man, if possible, and thereby 
secure the rights of all against the possession of 
power by the unworthy or the less worthy. This 
object, it is true, is not always attained, these 
means are not always successful; but this is 
only one of the manifold imperfections which 
necessarily attach to all human institutions ; one 
of the melancholy instances in which natural 
and legal right run in different channels. All 
that can be hoped, indeed, either in the con-- 
struction or in the administration of human 
laws, is an approximation, more or less close, 
to the great principles of natural justice. 

What is thus so clearly true in regard to the 


office of President, is equally true in regard to 
all the other offices of government. It is con- 
trary to reason, to natural right, to justice, that 
either fools, or knaves, or demagogues should 
occupy seats in Congress ; yet all of these classes 
are sometimes seen there, and by the law of the 
land are entitled to their seats. Here, again, 
that which is right and fit in itself is diffi^rent 
from that which exists under the law. 

The same remarks, it is evident, are appli- 
cable to governors, to judges, to sheriffs, to con- 
stables, and to justices of the peace. In eveiy 
instance, he who is best qualified to discharge 
the duties of an office, and who would do so 
with greatest advantage to all concerned, has 
the natural right thereto. And no man who 
would fill any office, or exercise any power so as 
to injure the community, has any right to such 
office or power. 

There is precisely the same limitation to the 
exercise of the elective' franchise. Those only 
should be permitted to exercise this power who 
are qualified to do so with advantage to the 
community ; and all laws which regulate or limit 
the possession of this power should have in 
view, not the equal rights of all men, but solely 
and exclusively the public good. It is on this 


principle that foreigners are not allowed to vote 
as soon as they land upon our shores, and that 
native Americans can do so only after they have 
reached a certain age. And if the public good 
required that any class of men, such as free 
blacks or slaves, for example, should be ex- 
cluded from the privilege altogether, then no 
doubt can remain the law excluding them 
would be just. It might not be equal, but 
would be just. Indeed, in the high and holy 
sense of the word, it would be equal ; for, if it 
excluded some from a privilege or power which 
it conferred upon others, this is because they 
were not included within the condition on 
which alone it should be extended to any. 
Such is not an equality of rights and power, it 
is true; but it is an equality of justice, like 
that which reigns in the divine government 
itself. In the light of that justice, it is clear 
that no man, and no class of men, can have a 
natural right to exercise a power which, if in- 
trusted to them, would be wielded for harm, 
and not for good. 

This great truth, when stripped of the mani- 
fold sophistications of a false logic, is so clear 
and unquestionable, that it has not failed to 
secure the approbation of abolitionists them- 



selves. Thus, after all his wild extravagancies 
about inherent, inalienable, and equal rights, 
Dr. Channing has, in one of his calmer moods, 
recognised this great fundamental truth. " The 
slave," says he, "cannot rightfully, and should 
not, be owned by the individual. But, like 
every citizen, he is subject to the community, and 


DEMANDS." ']^ow this is all we ask in regard to 
the question of equal rights. All we ask is, that 
each and every individual may be in such wise 
and so far restrained as the public good de- 
mands and no farther. All we ask is, as may 
be seen from the first chapter of this Essay, that 
the right of the individual, whether real or 
imaginary, may be held in subjection to the 
undoubted right of the community to protect 
itself and to secure its own highest good. This 
solemn right, so inseparably linked to a sacred 
duty, is paramount to the rights and powers of 
the individual. l!^ay, as we have already seen,* 
the individual can have no right that conflicts 
with this ; because it is his duty to co-operate in 

* In the first chapter. 


the establishment of the general, good. Surely 
he can have no right which is adverse to duty. 
Indeed, if for the general good, he would not 
cheerfully lay down both liberty and life, then 
both may be rightfully taken from him. We 
have, it is true, inherent and inalienable rights, 
but among these is neither liberty nor life. For 
these, upon our country's altar, may be sacri- 
ficed ; but conscience, truth, honor may not be 
touched by man. 

Has the community, then, after all, the right 
to compel "a man," a "rational and immortal 
being," to work? Let Dr. Channing answer: 
" If he (the slave) cannot be induced to work by 
rational and natural motives, he should he obliged 
to labor, on the same principle on which the 
vagrant in other communities is confined and com- 
pelled' to earn his bread.'" IsTow, if a man be 
" confined, and compelled" to work in his con- 
finement, what becomes of his "inalienable 
right to liberty?" We think there must be a 
slight mistake somewhere. Perhaps it is in the 
Declaration of Independence itself ^ay, is it 
not evident, indeed, that if all men have an in- 
alienable right to liberty," then is this sacred 
right trampled in the dust by every government 
on earth ? Is it not as really disregarded by the 


enlightened Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
which "confines and compels" vagrants to earn 
their bread, as it is by the Legislature of Vir- 
ginia, which has taken the wise precaution to 
prevent the rise of a swarm of vagrants more 
destructive than the locusts of Eg}^t? The 
plain truth is, that although this notion of the 
*' inalienable right" of all to liberty may sound 
very well in a declaration of independence, and 
may be most admirably adapted to stir up the 
passions of men and produce fatal commotions 
in a commonwealth, yet no wise nation ever has 
been or ever will be guided by it in the con- 
struction of her laws. It may be a brand of dis- 
cord in the hands of the abolitionist and the 
demao-offue. It will never be an element of 
light, or power, or wisdom, in the bosom of the 

"The gift of liberty," continues Dr. Chan- 
ning, "would be a mere name, and worse than 
nominal, were he (the slave) to be let loose 
on society under circumstances dri\dng him to 
commit crimes, for which he would be con- 
demned to severer bondage than he had es- 
caped." If then, after all, liberty may be worse 
than a mere name, is it not a pity that all men 
sliould have an "inalienable right" to it? If 


it may be a curse, is it not a pity that all men 
should be required to embrace it, and to be 
even ready to die for it, as an invaluable 
blessing? We trust that "no man," that "no 
rational and immortal being," will ever be so 
ungrateful as to complain of those who have 
withheld from him that which is "worse than 
nominal," and a curse. For if such, and such 
only, be his inalienable birthright, were it not 
most wisely exchanged for a mess of potage ? 
The vagrant, then, should not be consulted 
whether he will work or not. He should be 
"confined and compelled" to work, says Dr. 
Channing. ^or should the idle and the vicious, 
those who cannot be induced to work by 
rational motives, be asked whether they will 
remain pests to society, or whether they will 
eat their bread in the sweat of their brow. 
"For they, too," says Dr. Channing, "should be 
compelled to work." But how? "The slave 
should not have an owner," says Dr. Channing, 
"but he should have a guardian. He needs 
authority, to supply the lack of that discretion 
which he has not yet attained; but it should 
be the authority of a friend, an official author- 
ity, conferred by the State, and for which there 
should be responsibility to the State." JSTow, 

H lU* 


if all this be true, is not the doctrine of equal 
rights, as held by Dr, Channing, a mere dream? 
If one man may have "a guardian," ^^an offi- 
cial authority," appointed by the State, to com-* 
pel him to work, why may not another be 
placed under the same authority, and subjected 
to the same servitude? Are not all equal? 
Have not all men an equal right to liberty 
and to a choice of the pursuits of happiness ? 
Let these questions be answered by the ad- 
mirers of Dr. Channing ; and it will be found 
that they have overthrown all the plausible 
logic, and blown away all the splendid rhe- 
toric, which has been reared, on the ground 
of equal rights, against the institution of 
slavery at the South. 

We are agreed, then, that men may be com- 
pelled to work. We are also agreed that, for 
this purpose, the slaves of the South should 
be placed nnder guardians and friends by the 
authority of the State. Dr. Channing thinks, 
however, that the owner is not the best guar- 
dian or the best friend whom the State could 
place over the slave. On the contrary, he 
thinks his best friend and guardian would be 
an official overseer, bound to him by no ties 
of interest, and by no peculiar feelings of 


affection. In all this, we think Dr. Clianning 
greatly mistaken; and mistaken because lie is 
an utter stranger to the feelings usually called 
forth by the relation of master and slave. But, 
be this as it may, since such are the conces- 
sions made by Dr. Channing, it is no longer 
necessary to debate the question of slavery 
with him, on the high ground of abstract in- 
alienable rights. It is brought down to one 
of practical utility, of public expediency. 

And such being the nature of the question, 
we, as free citizens of the South, claim the 
right to settle the matter for ourselves. We 
claim the right to appoint such guardians and 
friends for this class of our population as we 
believe will be most advantageous to them, as 
well as to the whole community. We claim 
the right to impose such restraints, and such 
only, as the well-being of our own society 
seems to us to demand. This claim may be 
denied. The ^orth may claim the right to 
think for us in regard to this question of ex- 
pediency. But it cannot be denied that if 
liberty may be a curse, then no man can, in 
such case, have a right to it as a blessing. 

If liberty would be an equal blessing to all 
men, then, we freely admit, all men would have 


an equal riglit to liberty. But to concede, as 
Dr. Channing does, that it were a curse to some 
men, and yet contend that all men have an 
equal riglit to its enjoyment, is sheer absurdity 
and nonsense. But Dr. Channing, as we have 
seen, sometimes speaks a better sense. Thus, 
he has even said, "It would be cruelty, not 
kindness, to the latter (to the slave) to give 
him a freedom which he is unprepared to un- 
derstand or enjoy. It would be cruelty to 
strike the fetters from a man whose first steps 
would infallibly lead him to a precipice." So 
far, then, according to the author himself, are 
all men from having an "inalienable right" 
to liberty, that some men have no right to it 
at all. 

In like manner. Dr. Wayland, by his own 
admission, has overthrown all his most confi- 
dent deductions from the notion of equal rights. 
He, too, quotes the Declaration of Independence, 
and adds, "That the equality here spoken of 
is not of the means of happiness, but in the 
right to use them as one wills, is too evident 
to need illustration." If this be the meaning, 
then the meaning is not so evidently true. On 
the contrary, the vaunted maxim in question, 
as understood by Dr. Way land, appears to be 


pure and unmixed error. Power, for example, 
is one means of happiness ; and so great a 
means, too, that without it all other means 
would be of no avail. But has any man a 
right to use this means of happiness as he 
wills? Most assuredly not. He has no right 
to use the power he may possess, nor any other 
means of happiness, as he will, but only as 
lawful authority has willed. If it be a power 
conferred by man, for example, such as that 
of a chief magistrate, or of a senator, or of a 
judge, he may use it no otherwise than as the 
law of the land permits, or in pursuance of 
the objects for which it was conferred. In like 
manner, if it proceed from the Almighty, it 
may be used only in conformity with his law. 
So far, then, is it from being true that all 
men possess an equal right to use the means 
of happiness as they please, that no man ever 
has, or ever will, possess any such right at all. 
And if such be the meaning of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, then the Declaration of 
Independence is too evidently erroneous to 
need any further refutation. Unless, indeed, 
man may put forth a declaration of independ- 
ence which shall annul and destroy the immu- 
table obligations of the moral law, and erect 


one's will as the rule of right. But is an 
equal exemption from the restraints of that 
law liberty, or is it universal anarchy and 
confusion ? 

It were much nearer the truth to say that 
all men have an equal right, not to act as " one 
wills," but to have their wills restrained by 
law. 'Eo greater want is known to man, in- 
deed, than the restraints of law and govern- 
ment. Hence, all men have an equal right to 
these, but not to the same restraints, to the 
same laws and governments. All have an equal 
right to that government which is the best for 
them. But the same government is not the 
best for all. A despotism is best for some ; a 
limited monarchy is best for others ; while, for 
a third people, a representative republic is the 
best form of government. 

This proposition is too plain for controversy. 
It has received the sanction of all the great 
teachers of political wisdom, from an Aristotle 
down to a Montesquieu, and from a Montesquieu 
down to a Burke. It has become, indeed, one 
of the commonplaces of political ethics; and, 
however strange the conjunction, it is often 
found in the very works which are loudest in 
proclaiming the universal equality of human 


rights. Thus, for example, says Dr. Wayland: 
*' The best form of government for any people 
is the best that its present moral condition renders 
practicable. A people may be so entirely surren- 
dered to the influence of passion^ and so feebly 
influenced by moral restraints, that a government 
which relied upon moral restraint could not exist 
for a day. In this case, a subordinate and 
inferior principle yet remains — the principle of 
fear, and the only resort is to a government of 
force or a military despotism. And such do we 
see to be the fact." What, then, becomes of 
the equal and inalienable right of all men to 
freedom? Has it vanished with the occasion 
which gave it birth ? 

But this is not all. "Anarchy," continues 
Wayland, " always ends in this form of govern- 
ment. [A military despotism.] After this has 
been established, and habits of subordination 
have been formed, while the moral restraints 
are too feeble for self-government, an hereditary 
government, which addresses itself to the imagi- 
nation, and strengthens itself by the influence 
of domestic connections, may be as good a form 
as a people can sustain. As they advance in 
intellectual and moral cultivation, it may ad- 
vantageously become more and more elective. 


and, in a suitable moral condition, it may be 
wholly so. For beings who are willing to 
govern themselves by moral principles, there 
can be no doubt that a government relying 
upon moral principle is the true form of govern- 
ment. There is no reason why a man should 
be oppressed by taxation and subjected to fear 
who is willing to govern himself by the law of 
reciprocity. It is surely better for an intelligent 
and moral being to do right from his own will, 
than to fay another to force him to do right. And 
yet, as it is better that he should do right than 
wrong, even though he be forced to do it, it is 
well that he should pay others to force him, if 
there be no other way of insuring his good con- 
duct. God has rendered the blessing of free- 
-lom inseparable from moral restraint to the 
individual ; and hence it is vain for a people to 
expect to be free unless they are first willing to 
be virtuous." Again, " There is no self-sustain- 
ing power in any form of social organization. 
The only self-sustaining power is in individual 

"And the form of a government will always 
adjust itself to the moral condition of a people. 
A virtuous people will, by their own moral 
power, frown away oppression, and, under any 


form of constitution, become essentially free. 
A people surrendered up to their own licentious 
passions must be held in subjection by force; 
for every one will find that force alone can pro- 
tect Mm from liis neigbbors; and be will sub- 
mit to be oppressed, if be can only be protected. 
Thus, in tbe feudal ages, tbe small independent 
landholders frequently made themselves slaves 
of one powerfal chief to shield themselves from 
the incessant oppression of twenty." 

IsTow all this is excellent sense. One mi^ht 
almost imagine that the author had been read- 
ing Aristotle, or Montesquieu, or Burke. It 
is certain he was not thinking of equal rights. 
It is equally certain that his eyes were turned 
away from the South; for he could see how 
even "independent landholders" might right- 
fully make "slaves" of themselves. After such 
concessions, one would think that all this clamor 
about inherent and inalienable rights ought to 

In a certain sense, or to a certain extent, all 
men have equal rights. All men have an 
equal right to the air and light of heaven; to 
the same air and the same light. In like man- 
ner, all men have an equal right to food and 

raiment, though not to the same food and 



raiment. That is, all men have an equal right 
to food and raiment, provided they will earn 
them. And if they will not earn them, choosing 
to remain idle, improvident, or nuisances to 
society, then they should be placed under a 
goverment of force, and compelled to earn 

Again, all men have an equal right to serve 
God according to the dictates of their own 
consciences. The poorest slave on earth pos- 
sesses this right — this inherent and inalienable 
right; and he possesses it as completely as the 
proudest monarch on his throne. He may 
choose his own religion, and worship his own 
God according to his own conscience, provided 
always he seek not in such service to interfere 
with the rights of others. But neither the slave 
nor the freeman has any right to murder, or 
instigate others to murder, the master, even 
though he should be ever so firmly persuaded 
that such is a part of his -religious duty. He has, 
however, the most absolute and perfect right to 
worship the Creator of all men in all ways not 
inconsistent with the moral law. And wo be 
to the man by whom such right is denied or 
set at naught! Such a one we have never 
known; but whosoever he may be, or where- 


soever he maj be found, let all the abolitionists, 
we saj, hunt him down. He is not fit to be a 
man, much less a Christian master. 

But, it will be said, the slave has also a right 
to religious instruction, as well as to food and 
raiment. So plain a proposition no one doubts. 
But is this right regarded at the South? ^o 
more, we fear, than in many other portions of 
the so-called Christian world. Our children, 
too, and our poor, destitute neighbors, often 
suffer, we fear, the same wrong at our remiss 
hands and from our cold hearts. Though we 
have done much and would fain do more, 
yet, the truth must be confessed, this sacred 
and imperious claim has not been fully met 
by us. 

It may be otherwise at the i^orth. There 
children and poor neighbors, too, may all be 
trained and taught to the full extent of the 
moral law. This godlike work may be fully 
done by our Christian brethren of the I^orth. 
They certainly have a large surplus of bene- 
volence to bestow on us. But if this glorious 
work has not been fully done by them, then 
let him* who is without sin cast the first stone. 
This simple thought, perhaps, might call in 
doubt their right to rail at us, at least with 


such malignant bitterness and gall. This sim- 
ple thouglit, perhaps, might save us many a 
pitiless pelting of philanthropy. 

But here lies the difference — here lies our 
peculiar sin and shame. This great, primor- 
dial right is, with us, denied by law. The 
slave shall not be taught to read. Oh ! that 
he might be taught! What floods of sym- 
pathy, what thunderings and lightnings of 
philanthropy, w^ould then be spared the world! 
But why, we ask, should the slave be taught 
to read? That he might read the Bible, and 
feed on the food of eternal life, is the reply; 
and the reply is good. 

Ah ! if the slave would only read his Bible, 
and drink its very spirit in, we should rejoice 
at the change; for he would then be a better 
and a happier man. He would then know his 
duty, and the high ground on which his duty 
rests. He would then see, in the words of Dr. 
Wayland, that ''The duty of slaves is explicitly 
made known in the Bible. They are bound to 
obedience, fidelity, submission, and respect to 
their masters — not only to the good and kind, 
but also to the unkind and froward ; not, how- 
ever, on the ground of duty to man, but on the 
ground of duty to Crod.'' But, with all, we 


have some little glimpse of our dangers, as 
well as some little sense of our duties. 

The tempter is not asleep. His eye is still, 
as ever of old, fixed on the forbidden tree; 
and thither he will point his hapless victims. 
Like certain senators, and demagogues, and 
doctors of divinity, he will preach from the 
Declaration of Independence rather than from 
the Bible. He will teach, not that submis- 
sion, but that resistance^ is a duty. To every 
evil passion his inflammatory and murder-in- 
stigating appeals will be made. Stung by these 
appeals and maddened, the poor African, it is 
to be feared, would have no better notions of 
equality and freedom, and no better views of 
duty to God or man, than his teachers them- 
selves have. Such, then, being the state of 
things, ask us not to prepare the slave for his 
own utter undoing. Ask us not — most 
kind and benevolent Christian teacher! — ask 
us not to lay the train beneath our feet, that 
you may no longer hold the blazing torch in 
vain ! 

Let that torch be extinguished. Let all in- 
cendiary publications be destroyed. Let no 
conspiracies, no insurrections, and no murders 

be instigated. Let the pure precepts of the 



gospel and its sublime lessons of peace be 
everywhere set forth and inculcated. In one 
word, let it be seen that in reality the eternal 
good of the slave is aimed at, and, by the co- 
operation of all, may be secured, and then may 
we be asked to teach him to read. But until 
then we shall refuse to head a conspiracy 
against the good order, the security, the mo- 
rals, and against the very lives, of both the 
w^hite and the black men of the South. 

We might point out other respects in which 
men are essentially equal, or have equal rights. 
But our object is not to write a treatise on the 
philosophy of pohtics. It is merely to expose 
the errors of those who push the idea of 
equality to an extreme, and thereby unwisely 
deny the great differences that exist among 
men. For if the scheme or the political prin- 
ciples of the abolitionists be correct, then 
there is no difference among men, not even 
among the different races of men, that is 
worthy the attention of the statesman. 

There is one difference, we admit, which 
the abolitionists have discovered between the 
master and the slave at the South. "Whether 
this discovery be entirely original with them, 
or whether they received hints of it from 


others, it is clear that they are now fully in 
possession of it. The dazzling idea of equality 
itself has not been able to exclude it from 
their vision. For, in spite of this idea, they 
have discovered that between the Southern 
master and slave there is a difference of color! 
Hence, as if this were the only difference, in 
their political harangues, whether from the 
stump or from the pulpit, they seldom fail to 
rebuke the Southern statesman in the words 
of the poet: ^'He finds his fellow guilty of a 
skin not colored like his own;" and ''for such 
worthy cause dooms and devotes him as his 
lawful prey." Shame and confusion seize the 
man, we say, who thus dooms and devotes his 
fellow-man, because he finds him '' guilty of a 
skin!" If his sensibilities were only as soft as 
his philosophy is shallow, he would certainly 
cry, "Down with the institution of slavery!" 
For how could he tolerate an institution which 
has no other foundation than a difference of 
color? Indeed, if such were the only differ- 
ence between the two races among us, we 
should ourselves unite with Mr. Seward of Kew 
York, and most " affectionately advise all men 
to be born white." For thus, the only diffei- 
ence havino; been abolished, all men would 


be equal in fact, aud consequent! ^'^ entitled to 
become equal in political rights, and power, 
and position. But if such be not the only dif- 
ference between the white and the black man 
of the South, then neither philosophy nor 
paint can establish an equality between them. 
Every man, we admit, is a man. But this 
profound aphorism is not the only one to which 
the political architect should give heed. An 
equality of conditions, of political powers and 
privileges, which has no solid basis in an 
equality of capacity or fitness, is one of the 
wildest and most impracticable of all Utopian 
dreams. K in the divine government such an 
equality should prevail, it is e^Hident that all 
order would be overthrown, all justice ex- 
tinguished, and utter confusion would reign. 
In like manner, if in human government such 
equality should exist, it would be only for a 
moment. Indeed, to aim at an equality of con- 
ditions, or of rights and powers, except by first 
aiming at an equality of intelligence and virtue, 
is not to reform — it is to demolish — the govern- 
ments of society. It is, indeed, to war against 
the eternal order of divine Providence itself, 
in which an immutable justice ever reigns. 
•'It is this aiming after an equality," says 


Aristotle, "which is the cause of seditions." 
But though seditions it may have stirred up, 
and fierce passions kindled, yet has it never 
led its poor deluded victims to the boon after 
which they have so fondly panted. 

Equality is not liberty. " The French," said 
Napoleon, " love equality : they care little for 
liberty." Equality is plain, simple, easily under- 
stood. Liberty is complex, and exceedingly diffi- 
cult of comprehension. The most illiterate pea- 
sant may, at a glance, grasp the idea of equality ; 
the most profound statesman may not, without 
much care and thought, comprehend the nature 
of liberty. Hence it is that equality, and not 
liberty, so readily seizes the mind of the multi- 
tude, and so mightily inflames its passions. 
The French are not the only people who care 
but little for liberty, while they are crazy for 
equality. The same blind passion, it is to be 
feared, is possible even in this enlightened 
portion of the globe. Even here, perhaps, a 
man may rant and rave about equality, while, 
really, he may know but little more, and conse- 
quently care but little more, about that com- 
plicated and beautiful structure called civil 
liberty, than a horse does about the mechanism 
of the heavens. 


Thus, for example, a Senator* of the United 
States declares that the democratic principle 
is "Equality of natural rights, guaranteed and 
secured to all by the laws of a just, popular 
government. For one, I desire to see that 
principle applied to every subject of legisla- 
tion, no matter what that subject may be — to 
the great question involved in the resolution 
now before the Senate, and to every other 
question." Again, this principle is " the ele- 
ment and guarantee of liberty." 

Apply this principle, then, to every subject, 
to every question, and see what kind of govern- 
ment would be the result. All men have an 
equal right to freedom from restraint, and con- 
sequently all are made equally free. All have 
an equal right to the elective franchise, and to 
every political power and privilege. But sup- 
pose the government is designed for a State in 
which a large majority of the population is 
without the character^ or disposition, or habits, 
or experience of freemen? No matter: the 
equal rights of all are natural ; and hence they 
should be applied in all cases, and to every 
possible " subject of legislation." The principle 

■* Mr. Chase, of Ohio. 


of equality sliould reign everywhere, and inould 
every institution. Surely, after what has been 
said, no comment is necessary on a scheme so 
wild, on a dream so visionary. "As distant as 
heaven is from earth," says Montesquieu, '^ so is 
the true spirit of equality from that of extreme 
equality." And just so distant is the Senatoi 
in question, with all his adherents, from the 
true idea of civil and political freedom. 

The Senator thinks the conduct of Virginia 
"singular enough," because, in presenting a 
bill of rights to Congress, she omitted the 
provision of "her own bill of rights," "that all 
men are born* equally free and independent." 
"We think she acted wisely. For, in truth and 
in deed, all men are born absolutely dependent, 
and utterly devoid of freedom. What right, we 
ask, has the new-born infant ? Has he the 
right to go where he pleases ? He has no power 
to go at all ; and hence he has no more a right 
to go than he has to fly. Has he the right to 
think for himself? The power of thought is 
as yet wholly undeveloped. Has he the right 
to worship God according to his own con- 
science ? He has no idea of God, nor of the 

* "By nature," in the Original Bill of Rights. 


duties due to him. The plain truth is, that no 
human being possesses a right until the power 
or capacity on which the enjoyment of that 
right depends is suitably developed or acquired. 
The child, for instance, has no right to think 
for himself, or to worship God according to 
the dictates of conscience, until his intellectual 
and moral powers are suitably developed. He 
is certainly not born with such rights. ITor 
has he any right to go where he pleases, or 
attempt to do so, until he has learned to walk. 
Nor has he the right then, for, according to 
the laws of all civilized nations, he is subject 
to the control of the parent until he reaches 
the lawful age of freedom. The truth is, that 
all men are born not equally free and inde- 
pendent, but equally without freedom and 
without independence. "All men are born 
equal," says Montesquieu; but he does not 
say they " are born equally free and independ- 
ent." The first proposition is true : the last 
is diametrically opposed to the truth. 

Another Senator* seems to entertain the same 
passion for the principle of equality. In his 
speech on the Compromise Bill of 1850, he says 

* Mr. Seward, of New York. 


that " a statesman or a founder of States" should 
adopt as an axiom the. declaration, *' That all 
men are created equal, and have inalienable 
rights of life, liberty, and choice of pursuits 
of happiness." Let us suppose, then, that this 
distinguished statesman is himself about to 
establish a constitution for the people of Mis- 
sissippi or Louisiana, in which there are more 
blacks than whites. As they all have a natural 
and " inalienable right" to liberty, of course 
he would make them all free. But would he 
confer upon all, upon black as well as upon 
white, the power of the elective franchise ? 
Most certainly. For he has said, " We of "New 
York are guilty of slavery still by withholding 
the rigJit of suffrage from the race we have 
emancipated." Surely, if he had to found a 
State himself, he would not thus be guilty of 
slavery — of the one odious thing which his 
soul abhors. All would then be invested with 
the right of suffrage. A black legislature would 
be the consequence. The laws passed by such 
a body would, we fear, be no better than the 
constitution provided by the Senator — by the 
statesman — from ITew York. 

"All men are born equal," says Montesquieu; 
but in the hands of such a thinker no danger 



need be appreliended from such an axiom. For 
ha\dDg drank deeply of the true spirit of law, 
lie was, in matters of government, ever ready 
to sacrifice abstract perfection to concrete utility. 
!N^either the principle of equality, nor any other, 
would he apply in all cases or to every subject. 
He was no dreamer. He was a profound 
thinker and a real statesman. "Though real 
equality," says he, "be the very soul of a 
democracy, it is so difficult to establish, that an 
extreme exactness in this respect is not alivays 

■ Again, he says: "All inequalities in demo- 
cracies ought to be derived from the nature 
of the government, and even from the prin- 
ciple of equality. For example, it may be ap- 
prehended that people who are obliged to live 
by labor would be too much impoverished by 
public emplo}Tnent, or neglect the duties of at- 
tending to it; that artisans would grow inso- 
lent; and that too great a number of freemen 
would overpower the ancient citizens. In this 


Thus to give all men equal power where the 
majority is ignorant and depraved, would be 
indeed to establish equality, but not liberty. 


On the contrary, it would be to establish the 
most odious despotism on earth, — ^the reign of 
ignorance, passion, prejudice, and brutality. It 
would be to establish a mere nominal equality, 
and a real inequality. For, as Montesquieu 
says, by introducing "too great a number of 
freemen," the " ancient citizens" would be op- 
pressed. In such case, the principle of equality, 
even in a democracy, should be " suppressed 
for the good of the State." It should be sup- 
pressed, in order to shut out a still greater and 
more tremendous inequality. The legislator, 
then, who aims to introduce an extreme equal- 
ity, or to apply the principle of equality to 
every question, would really bring about the 
most frightful of all inequalities, especially in 
a commonwealth where the majority are igno- 
rant and depraved. 

Hence the principle of equality is merely a 
standard toward which an approximation may 
be made — an approximation always limited and 
controlled by the public good. This principle 
should be applied, not to every question, but 
only to such as the general good permits. For 
this good it " may be suppressed." I^ay, it 
must be suppressed, if, without such suppres- 
sion, the public order may not be sustained; 


for, as we have abundantly seen, it is only in 
the bosom of an enlightened public order that 
liberty can live, or move, or have its being. 
Thus, as Montesquieu advises, we deduce an 
inequality from the very principle of equality 
itself; since, if such inequality be not deduced 
and established by law, a still more terrific in- 
equality would be forced upon us. Blind pas- 
sion would dictate the laws, and brute force 
would reign, while innocence and virtue would 
be trampled in the dust. Such is the inequality 
to which the honorable senators would invite 
us ; and that, too, by an appeal to our love of 
equality! If we decline the invitation, this is 
not because we are the enemies, but because 
we are the friends, of human freedom. It is 
not because we love equality less, but liberty 

The legislators of the North may, if they 
please, choose the principle of equality as the 
very "element and guarantee" of theu' liberty ; 
and, to make that liberty perfect, they may ap- 
ply it to every possible " subject of legislation," 
and to " every question" under the sun. But, 
if we may be permitted to choose for ourselves, 
we should beg to be delivered fi-om such an 
extreme equality. We should reject it as the 


very worst " element," and the very surest 
"guarantee," of an unbounded licentiousness 
and an intolerable oppression. As the ^^ ele- 
ment and guarantee" of freedom for ourselves, 
and for our posterity, we should decidedly pre- 
fer the principle of an enlightened public 





In discussing the arguments of tlie abolition- 
ists, it was scarcely possible to avoid intimating, 
to a certain extent, the grounds on which we 
intend to vindicate the institution of slavery, as 
it exists among us at the South. But these 
grounds are entitled to a more distinct enun- 
ciation and to a more ample illustration. In 
the prosecution of this object we shall first 
advert to the argument from revelation ; and, 
if we mistake not, it mil be found that in the 
foregoing discussion we have been \dndicating 
against aspersion not only the peculiar institu- 
tion of the Southern States, but also the very 
legislation of Heaven itself. 

§ I. The argument from the Old Testament. 

The ground is taken by Dr. Wayland and 
other abolitionists, that slavery is always and 
everywhere, semper et ubique, morally wrong, 
and should, therefore, be instantlv and univer- 


sally swept away. We point to slavery among 
the Hebrews, and say, There is an instance in 
which it was not wrong, because there it re- 
ceived the sanction of the Almighty. Dr. 
Wayland chooses to overlook or evade the 
bearing of that case upon his fundamental 
position; and the means by which he seeks to 
evade its force is one of the grossest fallacies 
ever invented by the brain of man. 

Let the reader examine and judge for him- 
self. Here it is: "Let us reduce this argu- 
ment to a syllogism, and it will stand thus: 
'Whatever God sanctioned among the Hebrews 
he sanctions for all men and at all times. God 
sanctioned slavery among the Hebrews; there- 
fore God sanctions slavery for all men and at 
all times." 

^ow I venture to affirm that no man at the 
South has ever put forth so absurd an argu- 
ment in favor of slavery, — not only in favor of 
slavery for the negro race so long as they 
may remain unfit for freedom, but in favor of 
slavery for all men and for all times. If such 
an argument proved any thing, it would, in- 
deed, prove that the white man of the South, 
no less than the black, might be subjected to 
bondage. But no one here argues in favor of 


the subjection of the white man, either South 
or North, to a state of servitude. Ko one here 
contends for the subjection to slavery of any 
portion of the civilized world. We only con- 
tend for slavery in certain cases; in opposition 
to the thesis of the abolitionist, we assert that 
it is not always and everywhere wrong. For 
the truth of this assertion we rely upon the ex- 
press authority of God himself. We affirm 
that since slavery has been ordained by him, it 
cannot be always and everywhere wi'ong. And 
how does the abolitionist attempt to meet this 
reply? Why, by a little legerdemain, he con- 
verts this reply from an argument against his 
position, that slavery is always and everywhere 
wrong, into an argument in favor of the mon- 
strous dogma that it is always and everywhere 
right! If we should contend that, in some 
cases, it is right to take the life of a man, he 
might just as fairly insist that we are in favor 
of having every . man on earth put to death ! 
Was any fallacy ever more glaring? was any 
misrepresentation ever more flagrant ? 

Indeed we should have supposed that Dr. 
Wayland might have seen that his representa- 
tion is not a fair one, if he had not assured us 
of the contrary. We should have supposed 


that he might have distinguished between an 
argument in favor of slavery for the lowest 
grade of the ignorant and debased, and an 
argument in favor of slavery for all men and 
all times, if he had not assured us that he pos- 
sesses no capacity to make it. For after having 
twisted the plea of the most enlightened states- 
men of the South into an argument in favor 
of the universal subjection of mankind to 
slavery, he coolly adds, " I believe that in these 
words I express the argument correctly. If I 
do not, it is solely because I do not know how 
to state it more correctly." Is it possible Dr. 
Wayland could not distinguish between the 
principle of slavery for some men and the 
principle of slavery for all men? between the 
proposition that the ignorant, the idle, and the 
debased may be subjected to servitude, and 
the idea that all men, even the most enlight- 
ened aiid free, may be reduced to bondage ? If 
he had not positively declared that he possessed 
no such capacity, we should most certainly have 
entertained a different opinion. 

It will not be denied, we presume, that the 
very best men, whose lives are recorded in the 
Old Testament, were the owners and holders 
of slaves. " I grant at once," says Dr. "Way- 


land, "that tlie Hebrews held slaves from the 
time of the conquest of Canaan, and that Abra- 
ham and the patriarchs held them many cen- 
turies before. I grant also that Moses enacted 

laws with special reference to that relation 

I wonder that any should have had the hardi- 
hood to deny so plain a matter of record. I 
should almost as soon deny the delivery of the 
ten commandments to Moses." 

IsTow, is it not wonderful that directly in 
the face of "so plain a matter of record," a 
pious Presbyterian pastor should have been 
arraigned by abolitionists, not for holding 
slaves, but for daring to be so far a freeman 
as to express his convictions on the subject of 
slavery? Most abolitionists must have found 
themselves a little embarrassed in such a pro- 
ceeding. For there was the fact, staring them 
in the face, that Abraham himself, "the friend 
of God" and the "father of the faithfW," was 
the owner and holder of more than a thousand 
slaves. How, then, could these professing 
Christians proceed to condemn and excommu- 
nicate a poor brother for having merely ap- 
proved what Abraham had practised? Of all 
the good men of old, Abraham was the most 
eminent. The sublimity of his faith and the 


fervor of Ms piety lias, by tlie unerring voice 
of inspiration itself, been beld up as a model 
for the imitation of all future ages. How, then, 
could a parcel of poor common saints presume, 
without blushing, to try and condemn one of 
their number because he was no better than 
*' Father Abraham?" This was the difficulty; 
and, but for a very happy discovery, it must 
have been an exceedingly perplexing one. 
But "!N"ecessity is the mother of invention." 
On this trying occasion she conceived the 
happy thought that the plain matter of record 
"was all a mistake;" that Abraham never 
owned a slave ; that, on the contrary, he was 
"a prince," and the "men whom he bought 
with his money" were "his subjects" merely! 
If, then, we poor sinners of the South should 
be driven to the utmost extremity, — all honest 
arguments and pleas failing us, — may we not 
escape the unutterable horrors of civil war, by 
calling our masters princes, and our slaves 

We shall conclude this topic with the pointed 
and powerful words of Dr. Fuller, in his reply 
to Dr. Wayland: "Abraham," says he, "was 
'the friend of God,' and walked with God in 
the closest and most endearing intercourse ; nor 


can any tiling be more exquisitely touching 
than those words, ' Shall I hide from Abraham 
that thing which I do?' It is the language of 
a friend who feels that concealment would 
wrong the confidential intimacy existing. The 
love of this venerable servant of God in his 
promptness to immolate his son has been the 
theme of apostles and preachers for ages; and 
such was his faith, that all who believe are called 
*the children of faithful Abraham.' This Abra- 
ham, you admit, held slaves. Who is suiprised 
that Whitefield, with this single fact before 
him, could not believe slavery to be a sin ? Yet 
if your definition of slavery be correct, holy 
Abraham lived all his life in the commission 
of one of the most aggravated crimes against 
God and man which can be conceived. His 
life was spent in outraging the rights of hun- 
dreds of human beings, as moral, intellectual, 
immortal, fallen creatures, and in violating 
their relations as parents and children, and 
husbands and wives. And God not only con- 
nived at this appalling iniquity, but, in the 
covenant of circumcision made with Abraham, 
expressly mentions it, and confirms the patri- 
arch in it, speaking of those 'bought with his 
money,' and requiring him to circumcise them. 


Why, at the very first blush, every Christian 
will cry out against this statement. To this, 
however, you must come, or yield your position ; 
and this is only the first utterly incredible and 
monstrous corollary involved in the assertion 
that slavery is essentially and always ^ a sin of 
appalling magnitude.' " 

Slavery among the Hebrews, howpver, was 
not left merely to a tacit or implied sanction. 
It was thus sanctioned by the express legislation 
of the Most High: "Both thy bondmen and 
thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall 
be of the heathen that are round about you ; 
of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 
Moreover, of the children of the strangers that 
do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, 
and of their families that are with you, which 
they begat in your land ; and they shall be your 
possession. And ye shall take them as an 
inheritance for your children after you, to in- 
herit them for a possession ; they shall be your 
bondmen forever."* 'Now these words are so 
perfectly explicit, that there is no getting around 
them. Even Dr. Wayland, as we have seen, 
admits that the authority to take slaves seems 

Lev, XXV. 44, 45, 46. 
K 13 


to be a part of ''this original, peculiar," aud 
perhaps "anomalous grant." No wonder it 
appeared loecuUar and anomalous. The only 
wonder is, that it did not appear impious and 
absurd. So it has appeared to some of his co- 
agitators, who, because they could not agree 
with Moses, have denied his mission as an in- 
spired teacher, and joined the ranks of infi- 

Dr. Channing makes very light of this and 
other passages of Scripture. He sets aside this 
whole argument from revelation with a few 
bold strokes of the pen. "In this age of the 
world," says he, "and amid the light which 
has been thrown on the true interpretation of 
the Scriptures, such reasoning hardly deserves 
notice." Now, even if not for our benefit, we 
think there are two reasons why such passages 
as the above were worthy of Dr. Channing's 
notice. In the first place, if he had conde- 
scended to throw the light in his possession on 
such passages, he might have saved Dr. Way- 
land, as well as other of his admirers, from the 
necessity of making the very awkward admission 
that the Almighty had authorized his chosen 
people to buy slaves, and hold them as "bond- 
men forever." He might have enabled them 


to see through the great difficulty, that God 
has authorized his people to commit " a sin of 
appalling magnitude," to perpetrate as "great 
a crime as can be conceived;" which seems so 
clearly to be the case, if their views of slavery 
be correct. Secondly, he might have enabled 
his followers to espouse the cause of abolition 
without deserting, as so many of them have 
openly done, the armies of the living God. For 
these two reasons, if for no other, we think Dr. 
Channing owed it to the honor of his cause to 
notice the passages of Scripture bearing on the 
subject of slavery. 

The Mosaic Institutes not only recognise 
slavery as lawful ; they contain a multitude of 
minute directions for its regulation. We need 
not refer to all of them ; it will be sufficient 
for our purpose if we only notice those which 
establish some of the leading characteristics 
of slavery among the people of God. 

1. Slaves were regarded as property. They 
were, as we have seen, called a "possession" 
and an "inheritance."* They were even 
called the "money" of the master. Thus, it 
is said, "if a man smite his servant or his 

* Lev. XXV. 44, 45, 46. 


maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, 
he shall surely be punished. [N'otwithstanding, 
if he continue a day or two, he shall not be 
punished, for he is his money. ""^ In one of 
the ten commandments this right of property 
is recognised : " Thou shalt not covet thy 
neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy 
neighbor's wife, nor Ms man-servant, nor Mb 
maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any 
thing that is thy neighbor's." 

2. They might be sold. This is taken for 
granted in all those passages in which, for 
particular reasons, the master is forbidden to 
sell his slaves. Thus it is declared: "Thou 
shalt not make merchandise of her, because 
thou hast humbled her." And still more 
explicitly: "If a man sell his daughter to be 
a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men- 
servants do. If she please not her master who 
hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let 
her be redeemed: to sell her to a strange na- 
tion, he shall have no power, seeing he hath 
dealt deceitfully with her."t 

3. The slavery thus expressly sanctioned was 
hereditar}^ and perpetual: "Ye shall take them 

* Exod. xxi. 20, 21. f Exod. xxi'. 7, 8. 


as an inlieritance for your children after you, to 
inherit them for a possession ; they shall be 
your bondmen forever." Even the Hebrew 
servant might, by his own consent, become in 
certain cases a slave for life: ''If thou buy a 
Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve ; and 
in the seventh shall he go out free for nothing. 
If he came in by himself, he shall go out by 
himself: if he were married, then his wife shall 
go out with him. K his master have given him 
a wife, and she have borne him sons or daugh- 
ters, the wife and the children shall be her 
master's, and he shall go out by himself. And 
if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, 
my wife, and my children ; I will not go out 
free : then his master shall bring him unto the 
judges : he shall also bring him to the door or 
unto the door-post, and his master shall bore 
his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve 
him forever.'' 

Kow it is evident, we think, that the 
legislator of the Hebrews was not inspired 
with the sentiments of an abolitionist. The 
principles of his legislation are, indeed, so 
diametrically opposed to the political notions 
of the abolitionist, that the latter is sadly per- 
plexed to dispose of them. "While some deny 



the authority of these principles altogether, and 
of the very book which contains them, others 
are content to evade their force by certain in- 
genious devices of their own. We shall now 
proceed to examine some of the more remark- 
able of these cunningly-devised fables. 

It is admitted by the inventors of these de- 
vices, that God expressly permitted his chosen 
people to buy and hold slaves. Yet Dr. Way- 
land, by whom this admission is made, has 
endeavored to weaken the force of it by alleging 
that Grod has been pleased to enlighten our race 
progressively. If, he argues, the institution of 
slavery among His people appears so very " pecu- 
liar and anomalous," this is because he did not 
choose to make known his whole mind on the 
subject. He withheld a portion of it from his 
people, and allowed them, by express grant, to 
hold slaves until the fuller revelation of his will 
should blaze upon the world. Such is, perhaps, 
the most plausible defence which an abolitionist 
could possibly set up against the light of revelation. 

But to what does it amount ? If the views 
of Dr. Wayland and his followers, respecting 
slav, )ry, be correct, it amounts to this: The 
Almighty has said to his people, you may com- 
mit '-a sin of appalling magnitude;" you may 


perpetrate "as great an evil as can be con- 
ceived;" you may persist in a practice which, 
consists in "outraging the rights" of your fel- 
low-men, and in " crushing their intellectual 
and moral" nature. They have a natural, in- 
herent, and inalienable right to liberty as well 
aS' yourselves, but yet you may make slaves of 
them, and they may be your bondmen forever. 
In one word, you^ my chosen people, may de- 
grade " rational, accountable, and immortal be- 
ings" to the "rank of brutes." Such, if we 
may believe Dr. Wayland, is the first stage in 
the divine enlightenment of the human race ! 
It consists in making known a part of God's 
mind, not against the monstrous iniquity of 
slavery, but in its favor ! It is the utterance, 
not of a partial truth, but of a monstrous false- 
hood ! It is the revelation of his will, not 
against sin, but in favor of as great a sin "'as 
can be conceived." l^ow, we may fearlessly 
ask if the cause which is reduced to the ne- 
cessity of resorting to such a defence may not 
be pronounced desperate indeed, and unspeak- 
ably forlorn ? 

It is alleged that polygamy and divorce, as 
well as slavery, are permitted and regulated in 
the Old Testament. This, we reply, proves, in 


regard to polygamy and divorce, exactly what 
it proves in regard to slavery, — namely, that 
neither is in itself sinful, that neither is ahvays 
and evert/ where sinful. In other words, it proves 
that neither polygamy nor divorce, as permitted 
in the Old Testament, is ''malum in se," is in- 
consistent with the eternal and unchangeable 
principles of right. They are forbidden in the 
New Testament, not because they are in them- 
selves absolutely and immutably wrong, but 
because they are inconsistent with the best in- 
terests of society; especially in civilized and 
Christian communities. If they had been wrong 
in themselves, they never could have been per- 
mitted by a holy God, who is of purer eyes than 
to behold iniquity, except with infinite abhorrence. 
Again, it is contended by Dr. Wayland that 
"Moses intended to abolish slavery," because 
he forbade the Jews "to deliver up a fugitive 
slave." The words are these : " Thou shalt not 
deliver unto his master the servant that is 
escaped from his master unto thee : He shall 
dwell with thee, even among you, in that place 
which he shall choose in one of the gates' where 
it liketh him best : thou shalt not oppress him."* 

* Deut, xxiii. 15,16. 


"This precept, I think," says Dr. Way] and, 
"clearly shows that Moses intended to abolish 
slavery. How could slavery long continue in 
a country where every one was forbidden to 
deliver up a fugitive slave? How different 
would be the condition of slaves, and how soon 
would slavery itself cease, were this the law 
of compulsory bondage among us !" 

The above passage of Scripture is a precious 
morsel with those who are opposed to a fugitive 
slave law. A petition from Albany, Kew York, 
from the enlightened seat of empire of the Em- 
pire State itself, signed, if we recollect right, by 
one hundred and fifty persons, was presented 
to the United States Senate by Mr. Seward, 
praying that no bill in relation to fugitive slaves 
might be passed, which should not contain that 
passage. Whether Mr. Seward was enlightened 
by his constituents, or whether he made the 
discovery for himself, it is certain that he holds 
an act for the reclamation of fugitive slaves 
to be "contrary to the divine law." It is certain 
that he agrees with his constituents, who, in. 
the petition referred to, pronounced every such 
>ct "immoral," and contrary to the law of God. 
But let us look at this passage a little, and see 
if these abolitionists, who thus plant themselves 


SO confidently upon "a higher law," even upon 
"the divine law" itself, be not as hasty and 
rash in their interpretation of this law as they 
are accustomed to be in their judgment re- 
specting the most universal and long-established 
institutions of human society. 

In the first place, if their interpretation be 
correct, we are at once met by a very serious 
difficulty. For we are required to believe that 
one passage of Scripture grants an "authority 
to take slaves," while another passage is de- 
signed to annul this authority. We are re- 
quired to believe that, in one portion of the 
divine law, the right of the master to hold his 
slaves as "bondsmen" is recognised, while an- 
other part of the same law denies the existence 
of such right. In fine, we are required to 
believe that the legislator of the Jews intended, 
in one and the same code, both to establish 
and to abolish slavery ; that with one hand he 
struck down the very right and institution 
which he had set up with the other. How Dr. 
Channing and Mr. Sumner would have disposed 
of this difficulty we know full well, for they 
carry within their own bosoms a higher law 
than this higher law itself. But how Dr. Way- 
land, as an enlightened member of the good 


old orthodox Baptist Churcla, witli whom the 
Scripture is really and in truth the inspired 
word of God, would have disposed of it, we 
are at some loss to conceive. 

We labor under no such difficulty. The 
words in question do not relate to slaves owned 
by Hebrew masters. They relate to those slaves 
only who should escape from heathen masters, 
and seek an asylum among the people of God. 
*'The first inquiry of course is," says a learned 
divine,* "in regard to those very words, ^^"VTiere 
does his master live ?' Among the Hebrews, 
or among foreigners ? The language of the 
passage fully develops this and answers the 
question. 'He has escaped from his master 
unto the Hebrews; (the text says^ — tJiee^ i. e. Is- 
rael ;) he shall dwell with thee, even among you . . . 
in one of thy gates. ^ Of course, then, he is an 
immigrant, and did not dwell among them before 
his flight. If he had been a Hebrew servant, 
belonging to a Hebrew, the whole face of the 
thing would be changed. Restoration, or resti- 
tution, if we may judge by the tenor of other 

* Moses Stewart, a divine of Massachusetts, who had de- 
voted a long and laborious life to the interpretation of Scrip- 
ture, and who was by no means a friend to the institution o;*' 


property-laws among the Hebrews, would have 
surely been enjoined. But, be that as it naa}^, 
the language of the text puts it beyond a doubt 
that the servant is a foreigner, and has fled from 
a heathen master. This entirely changes the 
complexion of the case. The Hebrews were 
God's chosen people, and were the only nation 
on earth which worshipped the only living and 

true Grod In case a slave escaped from 

them (the heathen) and came to the Hebrews, 
two things were to be taken into consideration, 
according to the views of the Jewish legislator. 
The first was that the treatment of slaves among 
the heathen was far more severe and rigorous 
than it could lawfully be under the Mosaic law. 
The heathen master possessed the power of life 
and death, of scourging or imprisoning, or put- 
ting to excessive toil, even to any extent that 
he pleased, ^ot so among the Hebrews. Hu- 
manity pleaded there for the protection of the 
fugitive. The second and most important 
consideration was, that only among the He- 
brews could the fugitive slave come to the 
knowledge and worship of the only living and 
true God." 

Now this view of the passage in question 
harmonizes one portion of Scripture with an- 


other, and removes every difficulty. It shows, 
too, how greatly the abolitionists have deceived 
themselves in their rash and blind' appeal to 
"the divine law" in question. "The reason 
of the law," says my Lord Coke, "is the law." 
It is applicable to those cases, and to those cases 
only, which come within the reason of the law. 
Hence, if it be a fact, and if our J^orthern 
brethren really believe that we are sunk in the 
darkness of heathen idolatry, while the light 
of the true religion is with them alone, why, 
then, we admit that the reason and principle 
of the divine law in question is in their favor. 
Then we admit that the return of our fugitive 
slaves is "contrary to the divine law." But if 
we are not heathen idolaters, if the God of the 
Hebrews be also the God of Southern masters, 
then the Northern States do not violate the 
precept in question — they only discharge a so- 
lemn constitutional obligation — in delivering up 
our "fugitives from labor." 

§ H. The argument from the New Testament, 
The jN"ew Testament, as Dr. "Wayland re- 
marks, was given, " not to one people, but to 
the whole race; not for one period, but for 
all time." Its lessons are, therefore, of uni- 



versal and perpetual obligation. If, then, the 
Almighty had undertaken to enlighten the 
human race by degrees, with respect , to the 
great sin of slavery, is it not wonderful that, 
in the very last revelation of his will, he has 
uttered not a single syllable in disapprobation 
thereof? Is it not wonderful, that he should 
have completed the revelation of his will, — that 
he should have set his seal to the last word he 
will ever say to man respecting his duties, and 
yet not one word about the great obligation of 
the master to emancipate his slaves, nor about 
the "appalling sin" of slavery? Such silence 
must, indeed, appear exceedingly peculiar and 
anomalous to the abolitionist. It would have 
been otherwise had he written the 'New Testa- 
ment. He would, no doubt, have inserted at 
least one little precept against the sin of 

As it is, however, the most profound silence 
reigns through the whole word of God with 
respect to the sinfulness of slavery. "It must 
be granted," says Dr. Wayland, "that the New 
Testament contains no precept prohibitory of 
slavery." Marvellous as such silence must 
needs be to the abolitionist, it cannot be more 
50 to him than his attempts to account for it 


are to others. Let us briefly examine these at- 
tempts : 

" You may give your child," says Dr. Way- 
land, "if he were approaching to years of dis- 
cretion, permission to do an act, while you 
inculcate upon him principles which forbid it, 
for the sake of teaching him to be governed by 
principles, rather than by any direct enactment. 
In such case you would expect him to obey the 
principle, and not avail himself of the per- 
mission." ]^ow we fearlessly ask every reader 
whose moral sense has not been perverted by 
false logic, if such a proceeding would not be 
infinitely unworthy of the Father of mercies? 
According to Dr. Wayland's view, he beholds 
his children living and dying in the practice 
of an abominable sin, and looks on without the 
slightest note of admonition or warning. ]^ay, 
he gives them permission to continue in the 
practice of this frightful enormity, to which 
they are already bound by the triple tie of habit, 
interest, and feeling ! Though he gives them 
line upon line, and precept upon precept, in 
order to detach them from other sins, he yet 
gives them permission to live and die in this 
awful sin ! And why ? To teach them, for- 
sooth, not to follow his permission, but to be 


guided by his principles! Even tlie guilty Eli 
remonstrated with his sons. Yet if, instead of 
doing this, he had given them permission to 
practise the very sins they were bent upon, he 
might have been, for all that, as pure and 
faithfal as the Father of mercies himself is 
represented to be in the writings of Dr. Way- 
land. Such are the miserable straits, and such 
the impious sophisms, to which even divines 
are reduced, when, on the supposition that 
slavery is a sin, they undertake to vindicate or 
defend the word which they themselves are 
ordained to preach ! 

Another reason, scarcely less remarkable than 
the one already noticed, is assigned for the 
omission of all precepts against slavery. " It 
was no part of the scheme of the gospel reve- 
lation," we are told by Dr. Wayland, (who 
quotes from Archbishop Whately,) " to lay 
down any thing approaching to a complete sys- 
tem of moral precepts — to enumerate every thing 
that is enjoined or forbidden by our religion." 
If this method of teaching had been adopted, 
*' the ]^ew Testament would," says Dr. Way- 
land, "have formed a library in itself, more 
voluminous than the laws of the realm of Great 
Britain." Now, all this is very true; and hence 


the necessity of leaving many points of duty to 
the enliglitened conscience, and to tlie applica- 
tion of tlie more general precepts of tlie gospel. 
But liow lias it happened that slavery is passed 
over in silence? Because, we are told, "every 
thing" could not be noticed. If, indeed, slavery 
be so great a sin, would it not have been easier 
for the divine teacher to say, Let it be abo- 
lished, than to lay down so many minute pre- 
cepts for its regulation? "Would this have 
tended to swell the gospel into a vast library, 
or to abridge its teachings? Surely, when Dr. 
Wayland sets up such a ]3lea, he must have for- 
gotten that the Kew Testament, though it can- 
not notice "every thing," contains a multitude 
of rules to regulate the conduct of the master 
and the slave. Otherwise he could scarcely 
have imagined that it was from an aversion to 
minuteness, or from an impossibility to forbid 
every evil, that the sin of slavery is passed over 

in silence. 

He must also have forgotten another thing. 
He must have forgotten the colors in which he 
had painted the evils of slavery. If we may 
rely upon these, then slavery is no trifling of- 
fence. It is, on the contrary, a stupendous sin, 
overspreading the earth, and crushing the 

T. 14- 


faculties — both intellectual and moral — of mil- 
lions of human beings beneath its odious and 
terrific influence. jN'ow, if this be so, then 
would it have been too much to expect that at 
least one little word might have been directed 
against so great, so tremendous an evil? The 
method of the gospel may be comprehensive, if 
you please ; it may teach by great principles 
rather than by minute precepts. Still, it is cer- 
tain that St. Paul could give directions about his 
cloak ; and he could spend many words in pri- 
vate salutations. In regard to the great social 
evil of the age, however, and beneath which a 
large maj ority of even the civilized world were 
crushed to the earth, he said nothing, lest he 
should become too minute, — lest his epistles 
should swell into too large a volume ! Such is 
one of Dr. Wayland's defences of the gospel. 
We shall offer no remark ; we shall let it speak 
for itself. 

A third reason for the silence in question is 
the alleged ease with which precepts may be 
evaded. "A simple precept or prohibition," 
says Dr. "Wayland, " is, of all things, the easiest 
to be evaded. Lord Eldon used to say, that 
' no man in England could construct an act of 
Parliament through which he could not drive a 


coach-and-four.' We find this to liave been 
illustrated by the case of the Jews in the time 
of our Saviour. The Pharisees, who prided 
themselves on their strict obedience to the let- 
ter, violated the spirit of every precept of the 

Mosaic code." 

Kow, in reply to this most extraordinary pas- 
sage, we have several remarks to offer. In the 
first place, perhaps every one is not so good a 
driver as Lord Eldon. It is certain, that acts 
of Parhament have been passed, through which 
the most slippery of rogues have not been able 
to make their escape. They have been caught, 
tried, and condemned for their offences, in spite 
of all their ingenuity and evasion. 

Secondly, a "principle" is just as easily 
evaded as a "precept;" and, in most cases, it is 
far more so. The great principle of the ]^ew 
Testament, which our author deems so appli- 
cable to the subject of slavery, is this: "Thou 
Shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Kow, if 
this be the great principle intended to enlighten 
us respecting the sin of slavery, we confess it 
has been most completely evaded by every slave 
State in the Union. "We have, indeed, so en- 
tirely deceived ourselves in regard to its true 
import, that it seems to us to have not the 


most remote application to sucli a subject. If 
any one will give our remarks on this great 
"principle" a candid examination, we think he 
will admit that we have deceived ourselves on 
very plausible, if not on unanswerable, grounds. 
If slavery be a sin, — always and everywhere a 
monstrous iniquity. — then we should have been 
far more thoroughly enlightened with respect 
to its true nature, and found evasion far more 
difficult, if the IlTew Testament had explicitly 
declared it to be such, and commanded all 
masters everywhere to emancipate their slaves. 
We could have driven a coach-and-four neither 
through, nor around, any such express prohibi- 
tion. It is indeed only in consequence of the 
default, or omission, of such precept or com- 
mand, that the abolitionist appeals to what he 
calls the principles of the gospel. If he had 
only one such precept, — if he had only one 
such precise and pointed prohibition, he might 
then, and he would, most triumphantly defy 
evasion. He would say. There is tlie ivord; and 
none but the obstinate gainsayers, or unbe- 
lievers, would dare reply. But as it is, he is 
compelled to lose himself in vague generalities, 
and pretend to a certainty which nowhere ex- 
ists, except in his own heated mind. This pre- 


tence, indeed, that an express precept, pro- 
hibitory of slavery, is not the most direct way 
to reveal its true nature, because a precept is so 
much more easily evaded than a principle, is 
merely one of the desperate expedients of a for- 
lorn and hopeless cause. If the abolitionist 
i would maintain that cause, or vindicate his 
principles, it will be found that he must retire, 
and hide himself from the light of revelation. 

Thirdly, the above passage seems to present a 
very strange view of the Divine proceedings. 
According to that view, it appears that the 
Almighty tried the method of teaching by pre- 
cept in the Old Testament, and the experiment 
failed. For precepts may be so easily evaded, 
that every one in the Mosaic code was violated 
by the Pharisees. Hence, the method of teach- 
ing by precept was laid aside in the 'New Testa- 
ment, and the better method of teaching by 
principle was adopted. Such is the conclu- 
sion to which we must come, if we adopt the 
reasoning of Dr. "Wayland. But we cannot 
adopt his reasoning; since we should then have 
to believe that the experiment made in the Old 
Testament proved a failure, and that its Divine 
Author, having grown wiser by experience, im- 
proved upon his former method. 


The truth is, that the method of the one Tes- 
tament is the same as that of the other. In 
both, the method of teaching by precept is 
adopted ; by precepts of greater and of lesser ge- 
nerality. Dr. "Wayland's principle is merely a ge- 
neral or comprehensive precept ; and his precept 
is merely a specific or limited principle. The 
distinction he makes between them, and the use 
he makes of this distinction, only reflect dis- 
credit upon the wisdom and consistency of the 
Divine Author of revelation. 

A third account which Dr. Wayland gives of 
the silence of the 'New Testament respecting 
the sin of slaveiy, is as follows: "K this form 
of wrong had been singled out from all the 
others, and had alone been treated preceptively, 
the whole system would have been vitiated. 
"We should have been authorized to inquire 
why were not similar precepts in other cases 
delivered ? and if they were not delivered, we 
should have been at liberty to conclude that 
they were intentionally omitted, and that the 
acts which they would have forbidden are inno- 
cent." Yery well. But idolatry, polygamy, 
divorce, is each and every one singled out, and 
forbidden by precept, in the New Testament. 
Slavery alone is passed over in silence. Ilence, 


according to the principle of Dr. Wayland Mni- 
self, we are at liberty to conclude that a precept 
forbidding slavery was " intentionally omitted," 
and that slavery itself "is innocent." 

Each one of these reasons is not only exceed- 
ingly weak in itself, but it is inconsistent with 
the Others. For if a precept forbidding slavery 
were purposely omitted, in order to teach man- 
kind to be governed by principle and to dis- 
regard permissions, then the omission could not 
have arisen from a love of brevity. "Were it 
not, indeed, just as easy to give a precept for- 
bidding, as to give one permitting, the existence 
©f slavery? Again, if a great and world-de- 
vouring sin, such as the abolitionists hold slavery 
to be, has been left unnoticed, lest its condemna- 
tion should impliedly sanction other sins, then 
is it not worse than puerile to suppose that the 
omission was made for the sake of brevity, or 
to teach mankind that the permissions of the 
Most High may in certain cases be treated with 
contempt, may be set at naught, and despised 
as utterly inconsistent, as diametrically opposed 
to the principles and purity of his law ? 

If the abolitionist is so completely lost in 
his attempts to meet the argument from the 
silence of Scripture, he finds it still more 


difficult to cope with that from its express 
precepts and injunctions. Sei^vants, obey your 
masters, is one of the most explicit precepts of 
the New Testament. This precept just as cer- 
tainly exists therein as does the great principle 
of love itself. " The obedience thus enjoined is 
placed," says Dr. Way land, "not on the ground 
of duty to man, but on the ground of duty to 
God." We accept the interpretation. It can- 
not for one moment disturb the hne of our 
argument. It is merely the shadow of an at- 
tempt at an evasion. All the obligations of the 
ISTew Testament are, indeed, placed on the same 
high ground. The obligation of the slave to 
obey his master could be placed upon no higher, 
no more sacred, no more impregnable, ground. 

Eights and obligations are correlative. That 
is, every right implies a corresponding obliga- 
tion, and every obligation implies a correspond- 
ing right. Hence, as the slave is under an obli- 
gation to obey the master, so the master has a 
right to his obedience. N'or is this obligation 
weakened, or this right disturbed, by the fact 
that the first is imposed by the word of God, 
and rests on the immutable ground of duty to 
him. If, by the divine law, the obedience of 
the slave is due to the master, then, by the 


same law, the master has a right to his obe- 

Most assuredly, the master is neither "a 
robber," nor "a murderer," nor "a manstealer," 
merely because he claims of the slave that 
which God himself comm.ands the slave to 
render. All these epithets may be, as they 
have been, hurled at us by the abolitionist. 
His anathemas may thunder. But it is some 
consolation to reflect, that, as he was not con- 
sulted in the construction of the moral code 
of the universe, so, it is to be hoped, he will 
not be called upon to take part in its exe- 

The most enlightened abolitionists are sadly 
puzzled by the precept in question ; and, from 
the manner in which they sometimes speak of 
it, we have reason to fear it holds no very high 
place in their respect. Thus, sa^^s the Hon. 
Charles Sumner, "Seeking to be brief, I shall 
not undertake to reconcile texts of the Old 
Testament, which, whatever may be their im- 
port, are all absorbed in the ISTew; nor shall I 
stop to consider the precise interpretation of 
the oft-quoted pTirase, Servarits, ohey your mas- 
ters ; nor seek to weigh any such imperfect 
injunction in the scales against those grand 



commandments on which, hang all the law and 
the prophets."* Xow this is a very significant 
passage. The orator, its learned author, will 
not stop to consider the texts of the Old Testa- 
ment bearing on the subject of slavery, because 
they are all merged in the 'New ! I^Tor will he 
stop to consider any "such imperfect injunction' 
as those contained in the IS'ew, because they are 
all swallowed up and lost in the grand com- 
mandment, " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 

If he had bestowed a little more attention on 
this grand commandment itself, he might have 
seen, as we have shown, that it in no wise con- 
flicts with the precept which enjoins servants 
to obey their masters. He might have seen 
that it is not at all necessary to "weigh" the 
one of those precepts "in the scales against" 
the other, or to brand either of them as imper- 
fect. For he might have seen a perfect har- 
mony between them. It is no matter of sur- 
•prise, however, that an abolitionist should find 
imperfections in the moral code of the New 

It is certainly no wonder that Mr. Sumner 

* Speech in the Metropolitan Theatre, 1855. 


should have seen imperfections therein. For 
he has, in direct opposition to the plainest terms 
of the gospel, discovered that it is the first duty 
of the slave to fly from his master. In his 
speech delivered in the Senate of the United 
States, we find among various other quotations, 
a verse from Sarah W. Morton, in which she 
exhorts the slave to fly from bondage. Having 
produced this quotation "as part of the testi- 
mony of the times," and pronounced it "a 
truthful homage to the inalienable rights" of 
the slave, Mr. Sumner was in no mood to ap- 
preciate the divine precept, "Servants, obey your 
masters." Having declared fugitive slaves to be 
"the heroes of the age," he had not, as we may 
suppose, any very decided taste for the common- 
place Scriptural duties of submission and obe- 
dience, ^ay, he spurns at and rejects such 
duties as utterly inconsistent with the " inaliena- 
ble rights of man." He appeals from the oracles 
of eternal truth to "the testimony of the times." 
He appeals from Christ and his apostles to Sarah 
W. Morton. And yet, although he thus takes 
ground directly against the plainest precepts 
of the gospel, and even ventures to brand some 
of them as "imperfect," he has the hardihood 
to rebuke those who find therein, not what it 


really contains, but only a reflection of them- 

The precept in question is not an isolated 
injunction of the [NTew Testament. It does not 
stand alone. It is surrounded by other injunc- 
tions, equally authoritative, equally explicit, 
equally unequivocal. Thus, in Eph. vi. 5 : 
*' Servants, be obedient to them that are your 
masters according to the flesh." Precisely the 
same doctrine was preached to the Colossians : 
(iii. 22 :) '' Servants, obey in all things your 
masters according to the flesh; not with eye- 
service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of 
heart, fearing God." Again, in St. Paul's Epis- 
tle to Timothy, he writes : " Let as many ser- 
vants as are under the yoke count their own 
masters worthy of all honor, that the name of 
God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." 
Likewise, in Tit. ii. 9, 10, we read: "Exhort 
servants to be obedient to their own masters, 
and to please them well in all things; not 
answering again; not purloining, but show- 
ing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the 
doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." 
And in 1 Pet. ii. 18, it is written: "Ser- 
vants, be subject to your masters with all 
fear; not only to the good and gentle, but 


also to tlie fro ward." Yet, in the face of 
these passages, Mr. Sumner declares that it is 
the duty of slaves to fly from bondage, and 
thereby place themselves among ^' the heroes of 
the age." He does not attempt to interpret or 
explain these precepts; he merely sets them 
aside, or passes them by with silent contempt, 
as "imperfect." Indeed, if his doctrines be 
true, they are not only imperfect — they are radi- 
cally wrong and infamously vicious. Thus, the 
issue which Mr. Sumner has made up is not 
with the slaveholders of the South; it is with 
the word of God itself. The contradiction is 
direct, plain, palpable, and without even the 
decency of a pretended disguise. "We shall 
leave Mr. Sumner to settle this issue and con- 
troversy with the Divine Author of revela- 

In the mean time, we shall barely remind the 
reader of what that Divine Author has said in 
regard to those who counsel and advise slaves 
to disobey their masters, or fly from bondage. 
"They that have believing masters," says the 
great Apostle to the Gentiles, " let them not 
despise them because they are brethren; but 
rather do them service, because they are 
faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. 



These things teach and exhort. K any naan 
teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome 
words, even the words of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and to the doctrine v^hich is according 
to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing.'' 
Mr. Sumner congratulates himself that he has 
stripped " from slavery the apology of Chris- 
tianity." Let servants " count their own mas- 
ters worthy of all honor," and " do them ser- 
vice," says St. Paul. "Let servants disobey 
their masters," says Mr. Sumner, "and cease 
to do them service." "These things teach and 
exhort," says St. Paul. "These things denounce 
and abhor," says Mr. Sumner. " If any man 
teach otherwise," says St. Paul, " he is proud, 
knowing nothing." "I teach otherwise," says 
]Mi\ Sumner. And is it by such conflict that 
he strips from slavery the sanction of Chris- 
tianity? If the sheer ipse dixit of Mr. Sumner 
be sufficient to annihilate the authority of the 
Xew Testament, which he professes to revere as 
divine, then, indeed, has he stripped the sanc- 
tion of Christianity from the relation of master 
and slave. Otherwise, he has not even stripped 
from his own doctrines the burning words of 
her condemnation. 

Dr. Wavland avoids a direct conflict with the 


teacliings of the gospel. He is less bold, and 
more circumspect, than the Senator from Massa- 
chusetts. He has honestly and fairly quoted 
most of the texts bearing on the subject of 
slavery. He shows them no disrespect. He 
pronounces none of them imperfect. But with 
this array of texts before him he proceeds to 
say: " Kow, I do not see that the scope of these 
passages can be misunderstood." Kor can we. 
It would seem, indeed, impossible for the 
ingenuity of man to misunderstand the words, 
quoted by Dr. Wayland himself, "Servants, 
obey in all things your masters according to 
the flesh." Dr. Wayland does not misunder- 
stand them. For he has said, in his Moral 
Science : " The duty of slaves is explicitly made 
known in the Bible. They are bound to obe- 
dience, fidelity, submission, and respect to their 
masters, not only to the good and kind, but 
also to the unkind and fro ward." But when 
he comes to reason about these words, which he 
finds it so impossible for any one to misunder- 
stand, he is not without a very ingenious 
method to evade their plain import and to 
escape from their influence. Let the reader 
hear, and determine for himself. 

"I do not see," says Dr. Wayland, "that the 


scope of these passages can be misunderstood. 
They teach patience, meekness, fidelity, and 
charity — duties which are obligatory on Chris- 
tians toward all men, and, of course, toward 
masters. These duties are obligatory on us 
toward enemies, because an enemy, like every 
other man, is a moral creature of God." True. 
But is this all? Patience, meekness, fidelity, 
charity — duties due to all men ! But what has 
become of the word obedience? This occupies 
a prominent — nay, the most prominent — place 
in the teachings of St. Paul. It occupies no 
place at all in the reasonings of Dr. Wayland. 
It is simply dropped out by him, or overlooked ; 
and this was well done, for this word obedience 
is an exceedingly inconvenient one for the abo- 
litionist. If Dr. Wayland had retained it in his 
argument, he could not have added, '' duties 
which are obligatory on Christians toward all 
men, and, of course, toward masters." Chris- 
tians are not bound to obey all men. But 
slaves are bound to obey "their own masters." 
It is precisely upon this injunction to obedience 
that the whole argument turns. And it is pre- 
cisely this injunction to obedience which Dr. 
Wayland leaves out in his argument. He does 
not, and he cannot, misunderstand the word. . 


But he can just drop it out, and, in conse- 
quence, proceed to argue as if nothing more 
were required of slaves than is required of all 
Christian men ! , 

The only portion of Scripture which Mr. 
Sumner condescends to notice is the Epistle 
of St. Paul to Philemon. He introduces the 
discussion of this epistle with the remark that, 
"In the support of slavery, it is the hahit to 
pervert texts and to invent authority. Even St. 
Paul is vouched for a wrong which his Chris- 
tian life rebukes.'"^ I^ow we intend to examine 
who it is that really perverts texts of Scripture, 
and invents authority. We intend to show, as 
in the clear light of noonday, that it is the con- 
duct of Mr. Sumner and other abolitionists, and 
not that of the slaveholder, which is rebuked by 
the life and writings of the great apostle. 

The epistle in question was written to a slave- 
holder, who, if the doctrine of Mr. Sumner be 
true, lived in the habitual practice of ^' a wrong 
* so transcendent, so loathsome, so direful," that 
it "must be encountered wherever it can he 
reached, and the battle must be continued, with- 
out truce or compromise, until the field is en- 

* Speech at the Metropolitan Theatre, 1855. 


tirelj won." Is there any thing like this in 
the Epistle to Philemon ? Is there any thing 
like it in any of the epistles of St. Paul? Is 
there anywhere in his writings the slightest 
hint that slavery is a sin at all, or that the act 
of holding slaves is in the least degree incon- 
sistent with the most exalted Christian pnrity 
of life ? We may safely answer these questions 
in the negative. The very epistle before us is 
from "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and 
Timothy our brother, unto Philemon, our dearly- 
beloved, and fellow-laborer.'' The inspired writer 
then proceeds in these words: "I thank my 
God, making mention of thee always in my 
prayers. Hearing of thy love and faith, which 
thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward 
all saints ; that the communication of thy faith 
may become effectual by the acknowledging 
of every good thing which is in you in Christ 
Jesus. For we have, great joy and consolation 
in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are 
refreshed by thee, brother." 

ISTow if, instead of leaving out this portion 
of the epistle, Mr. Sumner had pronounced it 
in the hearing of his audience, the suspicion 
might have arisen in some of their minds that 
the slaveholder may not, after all, be so vile a 


wretch. It might even have occurred to some, 
perhaps, that tlie Christian character of Phile- 
mon, the slaveholder, might possihlj have heen 
as good as that of those by whom all slave- 
holders are excommunicated and consigned to 
perdition. It might have been supposed that 
a Christian man may possibly hold slaves with- 
out being as bad as robbers, or cut-throats, or 
murderers. We do not say that Mr. Sumner 
shrunk from the reading of this portion of the 
epistle in the hearing of his audience, lest it 
should seem to rebuke the violence and the 
uncharitableness of his own sentiments, as well 
as those of his brother abolitionists at the ItTorth. 
We do say, however, that Mr. Sumner had no 
sort of use for this passage. It could in no way 
favor the impression his oration was designed 
to make. It breathes, indeed, a spirit of good- 
will toward the Christian master as different 
from that which pervades the speeches of the 
honorable Senator, as the pure charity of heaven 
is from the dire malignity of earth. 

"It might be shown," says Mr. Sumner, "that 
the present epistle, when truly interpreted, is a 
protest against slavery, and a voice for freedom." 
If, instead of merely asserting that this " might 
-be done," the accomplished orator had actually. 


done it, he would have achieved far more for 
the cause of abolitionism than has been effected 
by all the splendors of his showy rhetoric. He 
has, indeed, as we shall presently see, made 
some attempt to show that, the Epistle to Phile- 
mon is an emancipation document ! When we 
come to examine this most extraordinary at- 
tempt, we shall perceive that Mr. Sumner's 
power "to pervert texts and to invent authority," 
has not been wholly held in reserve for what 
"might be done." If his view of this portion 
of Scripture be not very profound, it certainly 
makes up in originality what it lacks in depth. 
K it should fail to instruct, it will at least amuse 
the reader. It shall be noticed in due time. 

The next point that claims our attention is 
the intimation that St. Paul's "real judgment 
of slavery" may be inferred "from his con- 
demnation, on another occasion, of 'manstealers,' 
or, according to the original text, slave-traders, 
in company with murderers of fathers and mur- 
derers of mothers." Were we disposed to enter 
into the exegesis of the passage thus referred 
to, we might easily show that Mr. Sumner is 
grossly at fault in his Greek. We might show 
that something far more enormous than even 
trading in slaves is aimed at by the condemna- 


tion of the apostle. But we have not under- 
taken to defend "manstealers," nor "slave- 
traders," in any form or shape. Hence, we 
shall dismiss this point with the opinion of 
Macknight, who thinks the persons thus con- 
demned in company with murderers of fathers 
and mothers, are " they who make war for the 
inhuman purpose of selling the vanquished as 
slaves, as is the practice of the African princes." 
To take any free man, whether white or black, 
by force, and sell him into bondage, is man- 
stealing. To make war for such a purpose, 
were, we admit, wholesale murder and man- 
stealing combined. This view of the passage 
in question agrees with that of the great aboli- 
tionist, Mr. Barnes, who holds that "the essential 
idea of the term" in question, "is that of convert- 
ing a free man into a slave' .... the "changing 
of a freeman into a slave, especially by traffic, 
subjection, &c." l!^ow, as we of the South, 
against whom Mr. Sumner is pleased to inveigh, 
propose to make no such changes of freemen 
into slave&j much less to wage war for any such 
purpose, we may dismiss his gross perversion 
of the text in question. He may apply the 
condemnation of the apostle to us now, if it so 
please the benignity of his Christian charity, 

• 16 


but it will not, we assure him, enter into our 
consciences, until we shall not only become 
"slave-traders," but also, with a view to the gain 
of such odious traffic, make war upon free- 

'We have undertaken to defend, as we have 
said, neither "slave-traders," nor "manstealers." 
We leave them both to the tender mercies of 
Mr. Sumner. But we have undertaken to de- 
fend slavery, that is, the slavery of the South, 
and to vindicate the character of Southern mas- 
ters against the aspersions of their calumniators. 
And in this vindication we shrink not from St. 
Paul's "real judgment of slavery." I^ay, we 
desire, above all things, to have his real judg- 
ment. His judgment, we mean, not of man- 
stealers or of murderers, but of slavery and 
slaveholders. We have just seen "his real judg- 
ment" respecting the character of one slave- 
holder. We have seen it in the veiy epistle 
Mr. Sumner is discussing. Why, then, does he 
fly from St. Paul's opinion of the slaveholder 
to what he has said of the manstealer and the 
murderer ? We would gather an author's opi- 
nion of slavery from what he has said of slavery 
itself, or of the slaveholder. But this does not 
seem to suit Mr. Sumner's purpose q^iite so well. 


Entirely disregarding the apostle's opinion of 
the slaveholder contained in the passage right 
before him, as well as elsewhere, Mr. Sumner 
infers his "real judgment of slavery" from 
what he has said of manstealers and mur- 
derers ! He might just as well have inferred 
St. Paul's opinion of Philemon from what he 
has, '' on another occasion," said of Judas Is- 

Mr. Sumner contents himself with " calling 
attention to two things, apparent on the face" 
of the epistle itself; and which, in his opinion, 
are " in themselves an all-sufficient response." 
The first of these things is, says he : " While it 
appears that Onesimus had been in some way 
the servant of Philemon, it does not appear that 
he had ever been held as a slave, much less as 
a chattel." It does not appear that Onesimus 
was the slave of Philemon, is the position of 
the celebrated senatorial abolitionist. We can- 
not argue this position with him, however, since 
he has not deigned to give any reasons for it, 
but chosen to let it rest upon his assertion 
merely. We shall, therefore, have to argue the 
point with Mr. Albert Barnes, and other aboli- 
tionists, who have been pleased to attempt to 
bolster up so novel, so original, and so bold an 


interpretation of Scripture with exegetical rea- 
sons and arguments. 

In looking into these reasons and argu- 
ments, — if reasons and arguments they may be 
called, — we are at a loss to conceive on what 
principle their authors have proceeded. The 
most plausible conjecture we can make is, that 
it was deemed sufficient to show that it is pos- 
sible, by a bold stroke of interpretation, to call 
in question the fact that Onesimus was the 
slave of Philemon ; since, if this may only be 
questioned by the learned, then the unlearned 
need not trouble themselves with the Scripture, 
but simply proceed with the work of abolition- 
ism. Then may they cry, " Who shall decide 
when doctors disagree?"'*' and give all such dis- 
putings to the wind. Such seems to us to have 
been the principle on which the assertion of 
Mr. Sumner and Mr. Barnes has proceeded; 
evincing, as it does, an utter, total, and reckless 
disregard of the plainest teachings of inspira- 
tion. But let the candid reader hear, and then 
determine for himself. 

* Fools may hope to escape responsibility by such a cry. 
But if there be any truth in moral science, then every man 
ghould examine and decide, or else forbear to act. 


The Greek word douXo^:, applied to Onesimus, 
means, according to Mr. Barnes, either a slave, 
or a hired servant, or an apprentice. It is not 
denied that it means a slave. ^' The word," 
says Mr. Barnes himself, " is that which is com- 
monly applied to a slave." Indeed, to assert 
that the Greek word douXoc does not mean 
slave, were only a little less glaringly absurd 
than to affirm that no such meaning belongs to 
the English term slave itself. If it were neces- 
sary, this point might be most fully, clearly, 
and conclusively established ; but since it is not 
denied, no such work of supererogation is re- 
quired at our hands. 

But it is insisted, that the w^ord in question 
has a more extensive signification than the Eng- 
lish term slave. ^'Thus," says Mr. Barnes, "it 
is so extensive in its signification as to be ap- 
plicable to any species of servitude, whether 
voluntary or involuntary." Again: "All that 
is necessarily implied by it is, that he was, in 
some way, the servant of Philemon — whether 
hired or bought cannot he shown." Once more, 
he says : " The word denotes servant of any 
kind, and it should never be assumed that 
those to whom it was applied were slaves." 
Thus, according to Mr. Barnes, the word in 



question denotes a slave, or a hired servant, 
or, as he has elsewhere said, an apprentice. It 
denotes "servant oi any kind," whether "volun- 
tary or involuntary." 

Such is the positive assertion of Mr. Barnes. 
But where is the proof? Where is the autho- 
rity on which it rests? Surely, if this word is 
applied to hired servants, either in the Greek 
classics or in the I^ew Testament, Mr. Barnes, 
or Mr. Sumner, or some other learned abo- 
litionist, should refer us to the passage where 
it is so used. We have Mr. Barnes' asser- 
tion, again and again repeated, in his very 
elaborate Kotes on the Epistle to Philemon ; 
but not the shadow of an authority for any 
such use of the word. But stop: in making 
this assertion, he refers us to his "Notes on 
Eph. vi. 5, and 1 Tim. vi." Perhaps we may 
find his authority by the help of one of these 
references. We turn, then, to Eph. vi. 5 ; and 
we find the following note: "Servants. ffc 
douXoc. The word here used denotes one who 
is bound to render service to another, whether 
that service be free or voluntary, and may de- 
note, therefore, either a slave, or one who binds 
himself to render service to another. It is 
often used in these senses in the New Testa- 


ment, just as it is elsewhere."'^ ^iiy? then, if 
it is so often used to denote a hired servant, or 
an apprentice, or a voluntary servant of any 
kind, in the I^ew Testament, is not at least one 
such instance of its use produced by Mr. 
Barnes? He must have been aware that one 
such authority from the 'New Testament were 
worth more than his bare assertion, though it 
were a hundred times repeated. Yet no such 
authority is adduced or referred to; he merely 
supports his assertion in the one place by his 
assertion in the other ! 

Let us look, in the next place, to his other 
reference, which is to 1 Tim. vi. 1. Here, 
again, we find not the shadow of an author- 
ity that the word in question is applicable to 
"hired servants," or "apprentices." "We sim- 
ply meet the oft-repeated assertion of the 
author, that it is applicable to antf species of 
servitude. He refers from assertion to asser- 
tion, and nowhere gives a single authority to 
the point in question. If we may believe him, 
such authorities are abundant, even in the 
New Testament ; yet he leaves the whole mat- 
ter to rest upon his own naked assertion ! 

■^ The Italics are ours. 


Yea, as Greek scholars, lie would have us to 
believe that dou}.o^ may mean a ''hired servant," 
just as well as a slave ; and he would have us 
to believe this, too, not upon the usage of 
Greek writers, but upon his mere assertion! 
"We look for other evidence; and we intend 
to pin him down to proof, ere we follow him 
in questions of such momentous import as the 
one we have in hand. 

"Why is it, then, we ask the candid reader, 
if the term in question mean " a hired ser- 
vant," as well as a slave, that no such ap- 
plication of the word is given? If such 
applications be as abundant as our author as- 
serts they are, why not refer us to a single 
instance, that our utter ignorance may be at 
least relieved by one little ray of light? Why 
refer us from assertion to assertion, if authori- 
ties may be so plentifully had? We cannot 
conceive, unless the object be to deceive the 
unwary, or those who may be willingly de- 
ceived. An assertion merely, bolstered up 
with a " See note," here or there, may be 
enough for such ; but if, after all, there be 
nothing but assertion on assertion piled, we 
shall not let it pass for proof. Especially, if 
such assertion be at war with truth, we shall 


track its author, and, if possible, efface his 
footprints from the immaculate word of God. 

If the term dooXo^ signifies " a hired servant," 
or "an apprentice," it is certainly a most ex- 
traordinary circumstance that the best lexico- 
graphers of the Greek language have not made 
the discovery. This were the more wonderful, 
if, as Mr. Barnes asserts, the word "is often used 
in these senses" by Greek writers. We have 
several Greek lexicons before us, and in not one 
of them is there any such meaning given to the 
word. Thus, in Donnegan, for example, we 
find: '^douXoc, a slave, a servant, as opposed to 
deaTtoTYji;^ a master." But we do not find from 
him that it is ever applied to hired servants or 
apprentices. In like manner, Liddell and Scott 
have " douXo^, a slave, hondman^ strictly one born 
so, opposed to avdpaitodov.'' But they do not lay 
down "a hired servant," or "an apprentice," as 
one of its significations. If such, indeed, be 
found among the meanings of the word, these 
celebrated lexicographers were as ignorant of 
the fact as ourselves. Stephens also, as any one 
may see by referring to his " Thesaurus, Ling. 
Grsec, Tom I. art. z/oyioc," was equally ignorant 
of any such use of the term in question. Is it 
not a pity, then, that, since such knowledge 


rested with Mr. Barnes, and since, according to 
his own statement, proofs of its accuracy were 
so abundant, he should have withheld all the 
evidence in his possession, and left so important 
a point to stand or fall with his bare assertion ? 
Even if the rights of mankind had not been in 
question, the interests of Greek literature were, 
one would think, sufficient to have induced him 
to enlighten our best lexicographers with respect 
to the use of the word under consideration. 
Such an achievement would, we can assure him, 
have detracted nothing from his reputation for 

But how stands the word in the IN'ew Testa- 
ment ? It is certain that, however *' often it may 
be applied" to hired servants in the IS'ew Tes- 
tament, Mr. Barnes has not condescended to 
adduce a single application of the kind. This 
is not all. Those who have examined every 
text of the ]^ew Testament in which the word 
douXo^ occurs, and compiled lexicons especially 
for the elucidation of the sacred volume, have 
found no such instance of its application. 

Thus, Schleusner, in his Lexicon of the Kew 
Testament, tells us that it means slave as op- 
posed to ehodepo^, freeman. His own words are : 
" JouXot;, 00, 6, (1) proprie : servus, minister, homo 


non liber nee sui juris, et opponitur rw ehudepo^. 
Matt. viii. 9; xiii. 27, 28 ; 1 Cor. vii. 21, 22; xii. 
13; dre douXo:, elrs iXsudepoi. Tit. ii. 9." 

We next appeal to Robinson's Lexicon of tlie 
"New Testament. We there find these words: 
" douXo^, ou, b, a hondman, slave, servant, pr. by 
birth; diff. from audpanodou, ^ one enslaved in 
war,' comp. Xen. An., iv. 1, 12," &c. ]^ow if, as 
Mr. Barnes asserts, the word in question is so 
often applied to hired servants in the 'New Tes- 
tament, is it not passing strange that neither 
Schleusner nor Robinson should have disco- 
vered any such application of it? So far, in- 
deed, is Dr. Robinson from having made any 
such discovery, that he expressly declares that 
the douXo^ "was never a hired servant; the 
latter being called ptcadioq, pLccfdcoro^." '^In a fa- 
mily," continues the same high authority, "the 
douXo^ was bound to serve, a slave, and was the 
property of his master, *a living possession,' as 
Aristotle calls him." 

"The Greek dovXo^," says Dr. Smith, in his 
Dictionary of Antiquities, "like the Latin servus, 
corresponds to the usual meaning of our word 
slave Aristotle (Polit. i. 3.) says that a com- 
plete household is that which consists of slaves and 
freemen, (oixia de tsXsco^ ex dooXov xal ehodepojv,) 


and he defines a slave to be a living working-tool 
and possession. (' douloz linpoyov opyavov^ Ethic. 
!N^icim. viii. 13 ; 6 dooXo^ xr/^/ia vc ej^/^u^ou, Pol. i. 
4.) Thus Aristotle himself defines the 8ouXo^ 
to be, not a "servant of any kind," but a slave ; 
and we presume that he understood the force 
of this Greek word at least as well as Mr. 
Barnes or Mr. Sumner. And Dr. Robinson, 
as we have just seen, declares that it never 
means a hired servant. 

Indeed, all this is so well understood by Greek 
scholars, that Dr. Macknight does not hesitate 
to render the term douXo^, applied to Onesimus in 
the Epistle to Philemon, by the English word 
slave. He has not even added a footnote, as 
is customary with him when he deems any 
other translation of a word than that given by 
himself at all worthy of notice. In like man- 
ner, Moses Stuart just proceeds to call Onesimus 
"the slave of Philemon," as if there could be 
no ground for doubt on so plain a point. Such 
is the testimony of these two great Biblical 
critics, who devoted their lives in great measure 
to the study of the language, literature, and 
interpretation of the Epistles of the N'ew Tes- 

Now, it should be observed, that not one of 


the authorities quoted by us had any motive 
"to pervert texts," or ^'to invent authorities," 
"in support of slavery." Il^either Donnegan, 
nor Liddell and Scott, nor Stephens, nor Schleus- 
ner, nor Eobinson, nor Smith, nor Macknight, 
nor Stuart, could possibly have had any such 
motive. If they were not all perfectly un- 
biassed witnesses, it is certain they had no bias 
in favor of slavery. It is, indeed, the aboli- 
tionist, and not the slaveholder, who, in this 
case, "has perverted texts;" and if he has not 
" invented authorities," it is because his attempts 
to do so have proved abortive. 

Beside the clear and unequivocal import of 
the word applied to Onesimus, it is evident, 
from other considerations, that he was the slave 
of Philemon. To dwell upon all of these 
would, we fear, be more tedious than profitable 
to the reader. Hence we shall confine our 
attention to a single circumstance, which will, 
we think, be sufficient for any candid or impar- 
tial inquirer after truth. Among the arguments 
used by St. Paul to induce Philemon to receive 
his fugitive slave kindly, we find this: "For 
perhaps he therefore departed for a season^ that 
thou shouldest receive him. forever.'' This verse 
is thus paraphrased by Macknight : ^' To miti- 


gate thy resentment, consider, that perhaps also 
for this reason lie was separated from thee for a 
little while, (so Tipo^ wpav signified, 1 Thess. ii. 
17, note 2,) that thou mightest have him thy slave 
for life.'' Dr. Macknight also adds, in a foot- 
note : " By telling Philemon that he would now 
have Onesimus forever, the apostle intimates to 
him his firm persuasion that Onesimus would 
never any more run away from him." Such 
seems to be the plain, obvious import of the 
apostle's argument. 'Eo one, it is believed, who 
had no set purpose to subserve, or no foregone 
conclusion to support, would view this argu- 
ment in any other light. Perhaps he was se- 
parated for a while as a slave, that " thou might- 
est have him forever," or for life. IIow have 
him? Surely, one would think, as a slave, or 
in the same capacity from which he was sepa- 
rated for a while. The argument requires this; 
the opposition of the words, and the force of 
the passage, imperatively require it. But yet, 
if we may believe Mr. Barnes, the meaning of 
St. Paul is, that perhaps Onesimus was sepa- 
rated for a while as a servant, that Philemon 
might never receive him again as a servant, but 
forever as a Christian brother ! Lest we should 
be suspected of misrepresentation, we shall give 


his own words. ^' The meaning is," says he, 
''that it was x^ossihle that this was permitted 
in the providence of God, in order that One- 
simus might be brought under the influence 
of the gospel, and be far more serviceable to 
Philemon as a Christian than he could have 
been in his former relation to him." 

In the twelfth verse of the epistle, St. Paul 
says: "Whom I have sent again," or, as Mac- 
knight more accurately renders the words, 
"Him I have sent back," (ov avzriziKpa^j Here 
we see the great apostle actually sending hack a 
fugitive slave to his master. This act of St. 
Paul is not, and cannot be, denied. The words 
are too plain for denial. Onesimus '^I have sent 
hack.'' Surely it cannot be otherwise than a 
most unpleasant spectacle to abohtionist eyes 
thus to see Paul, the aged, — perhaps the most 
venerable and glorious hero whose life is upon 
record, — assume such an attitude toward the 
institution of slavery. Had he dealt with 
slavery as he always dealt with every thing 
which he regarded as sin; had he assumed 
toward it an attitude of stern and uncompro- 
mising hostility, and had his words been thun- 
derbolts of denunciation, then indeed would he 
have been a hero after the very hearts of the 


abolitionists. But, as it is, they have to apolo- 
gize for the great apostle, and try, as best they 
may, to deliver him from his very equivocal posi- 
tion ! But if they are true apostles, and not 
false, then, we fear, the best apology for his 
conduct is that he had never read the Declara- 
tion of Independence, nor breathed the air of 

This point, however, we shall not decide. 
"We shall examine their apologies, and let the 
candid reader decide for himself. St. Paul, it 
is not denied, sent back Onesimus. But, says 
Mr. Barnes, he did not compel or urge him to 
go. He did not send him back against his 
will. Onesimus, no doubt, desired to return, 
and St. Paul was moved to send him by his 
own request. I^ow, in the first place, this 
apology is built on sheer assumption. There 
is not the slightest evidence that Onesimus re- 
quested St. Paul to send him back to his mas- 
ter. " There may have been many reasons," 
says Mr. Barnes, " why Onesimus desired to 
return to Colosse, and no one can prove that 
he did not express that desire to St. Paul, and 
that his ' sending' him was not in consequence 
of such request." True; even if Onesimus had 
felt no such desire, and had expressed no such 


desire to St. Paul, it would have been impossi- 
ble, in the very nature of things, for any one to 
prove such negatives, unless he had been ex- 
pressly informed on the subject by the writer 
of the epistle. But is it not truly wonderful, 
that any one should, without the least particle 
or shadow of evidence, be pleased to imagine a 
series of propositions, and then call upon the 
opposite party to disprove them ? Is not such 
proceeding the very stuff that dreams are made 

'No doubt there may have been reasons why 
Onesimus should desire to return to his master. 
There were certainly reasons, and reasons of tre- 
mendous force, too, why he should have desired 
no such thing. The fact that Philemon, whom 
he had offended by running away, had, accord- 
ing to law, the power of life and death over 
him, is one of the reasons why he should have 
dreaded to return. Hence, unless required by 
the apostle to return, he mat/ have desired no 
such thing, and no one can prove that an ex- 
pression of such desire on his part was the 
ground of the apostle's action. It is certain, 
that he w^ho affirms should prove. 

In the second place, if St. Paul were an abo- 
litionist at heart, he should have avoided the 



appearance of so great an evil. He should not, 
for a moment, have permitted himself to stand 
before the world in the simple' and unexplained 
attitude of one who had sent back a fugitive 
slave to his master. No honest abolitionist 
would permit himself to appear in such a 
light. He would scorn to occupy such a posi- 
tion. Hence, we repeat, if St. Paul were an 
abolitionist at heart, he should have let it be 
known that, in sending Onesimus back, he was 
moved, not originally by the principles of his 
own heart, but by the desire and request of the 
fugitive himself. By such a course, he would 
have delivered himself from a false position, 
and spared his friends among the abolitionists 
the necessity of making awkward apologies for 
his conduct. 

Thirdly, the positions of Mr. Barnes are not 
merely sheer assumptions ; they are perfectly 
gratuitous. For it is easy to explain the deter- 
mination of St. Paul to send Onesimus back, 
without having recourse to the supposition that 
Onesimus desired him to do so. Such deter- 
mination was, indeed, the natural and necessary 
result of the well-known principles of the great 
apo.stle. He had repeatedly, and most emphati- 
.cally, inculcated the principle, that it is the 


duty of slaves to '' obey their masters," and to 
" count them worthy of all honor." This duty 
Onesimus had clearly violated in running away 
from his master. If St. Paul, then, had not 
taught Onesimus a different doctrine from that 
which he had taught the churches, he must 
have felt that he had done wrong in abscond- 
ing from Philemon, and desired to repair the 
wrong by returning to him. " It is," says Mr. 
Barnes, "by no means necessary to suppose 
that Paul felt that Onesimus was under obliga- 
tion to return." But we must suppose this, 
unless we suppose that Paul felt that Onesimus 
was under no obligation to obey the precepts 
which he himself had delivered for the guid- 
ance and direction of all Christian servants. 

We shall now briefly notice a few other of 
Mr. Barnes' arguments, and then dismiss this 
branch of the subject. " K St. Paul sent back 
Onesimus," says he, ''this was, doubtless, at 
his own request; for there is not the slightest 
e\T.dence that he compelled him, or even urged 
him, to go." We might just as well conclude 
that St. Paul first required Onesimus to return, 
because there is not the slightest evidence that 
Onesimus made any such request. 

"Paul," says Mr. Barnes, "had no power to 


send Onesimus back to his master unless he chose 
to go." This is very true. But still Onesimus 
may have chosen to go, just because St. Paul, 
his greatest benefactor and friend, had told him 
it was his duty to do so. He may have chosen 
to go, just because the apostle had told him it 
is the duty of servants not to run away from 
their masters, but to obey them, and count 
them worthy of all honor. It is also true, that 
" there is not the slightest evidence that he 
compelled him, or even urged him, to go." It 
is, on the other hand, equally true, that there 
is not the slightest evidence that any thing 
more than a bare expression of the apostle's 
opinion, or a reiteration of his well-known 
sentiments, was necessary to induce him to 

" The language is just as would have been 
used," says our author, " on the supposition, 
either that he requested him to go and bear a 
letter to Colosse, or that Onesimus desired to 
go, and that Paul sent him agreeably to his re- 
quest. Compare Phil. ii. 25 : ' Yet I suppose it 
necessary to send Epaphroditus, my brother, and 
companion in labor,' &c.; Col. iv. 7, 8: 'AH 
my estate shall Tj^chicus declare unto you, 
who is a beloved brother, and a faithful mi- 


nister and fellow-servant in the Lord: whom I 
have ■ sent unto you for the same purpose, that 
he might know your estate.' But Epaphro- 
ditus and Tychicus were not sent against their 
own will, — nor is there any more reason to 
think that Onesimus was." iTow there is not 
the least evidence that either Epaphroditus or 
Tychicus requested the apostle to send them as 
he did; and, so far as appears from his state- 
ments, the whole thing originated with him- 
self. It is simply said that he sent them. It 
is true, they were " not sent against their own 
will," for they were ready and willing to obey 
his directions. We have good reason, as we 
have seen, to believe that precisely the same 
thing was true in regard to the sending of 

But there is another case of sending which 
Mr. Barnes has overlooked. It is recorded in 
the same chapter of the same epistle which 
speaks of the sending of Epaphroditus. We 
shall adduce it, for it is a case directly in point. 
'' But ye know the proof of him, (z. e. of Timo- 
thy,) that, as a son with the father, he hath 
served with me in the gospel. Him, therefore, 
I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see 
how it will go with, me." Kow, here the apostle 


proposes to send Timothy, not so soon as Timo- 
thy should request to be sent, but so soon as 
he should see how it would go with himself as a 
prisoner at Rome. "As a son with the father," 
60 Timothy, after his conversion, served w^th 
the great apostle, and, not against his own will, 
but most cheerfully, obeyed his directions. And 
in precisely the same ineffably endearing re- 
lation did Onesimus stand to the apostle. As 
a recent convert, — as a sincere and. humble 
Christian, — he naturally looked to his great in- 
spired teacher for advice, and was, no doubt, 
with more than filial affection, ready to obey. 

Hence, we insist that Paul was responsible 
for the return of Onesimus to his master. He 
might have prevented his return, had he so de- 
sired ; for he tells us so himself, (ver. 13.) But 
he chose to send him back. And why ? Be- 
cause Onesimus requested? The apostle says 
not so. "I would have retained him with me," 
says he to Philemon, "that in thy stead he 
might have ministered unto me in the bonds 
of the gospel. But without thy mind would 
I DO kothixg." l^ay, whatever may have been 
his own desires, or those of Onesimus, he 
would do nothing without the mind of Phile- 
mon. Such is the reason which the apostle 


assigns for liis own conduct, for his own deter- 
mination not to retain tlie fugitive slave. 

" What the apostle wTote to Philemon on 
this occasion is," says Dr. Macknight, ''highly 
worthy of notice ; namely, that although he had 
great need of an affectionate, honest servant to 
m.inister to him in his bonds, such as Onesimus 
was, who had expressed a great inclination to 
stay with him; and although, if Onesimus had 
remained with him, he would only have dis- 
charged the duty which Philemon himself owed 
to his spiritual father, yet the apostle would by 
no means detain Onesimus without Philemon's 
leave, because it belonged to him to dispose of 
his own slave in the way he thought proper.' 
Such was the apostle's regard to justice, and to 
the rights of mankind !" 

According to Mr. Barnes, however, the apos- 
tle was governed in this transaction, not by a 
regard to principle or the rights of mankind, 
but by a regard for the feelings of the master ! 
Just listen, for one moment, to his marvellous 
discourse: "It is probable," says he, "that if 
Onesimus had proposed to return, it would have 
been easy for Paul to have retained him with 
him. He might have represented his own want 
of a friend. He might have appealed to his 


gratitude on account of his efforts for his con- 
version. He might have shown him that he 
was under no moral obligation to go back. He 
might have refused to give him this letter, and 
might have so represented to him the dangers 
of the way, and the probability of a harsh re- 
ception, as effectually to have dissuaded him 
from such a purpose. But, in that case, it is 
clear that this might have caused hard feeling 
in the bosom of Philemon, and rather than do 
that, he preferred to let him return to his master, 
and to plead for him that he might have a kind 
reception. It is, therefore, by no means neces- 
sary to suppose that Paul felt that Onesimus 
* was under obligation to return, or that he was 
disposed to co7npel him, or that Onesimus was 
not inclined to return voluntarily; but all the 
circumstances of the case are met by the sup- 
position that, if Paul had retained him, Phile- 
mon might conceive that he had injured 

Alas! that so much truth should have been 
suppressed ; and that, too, by the most glorious 
champion of truth the world has ever seen. 
He tells not his "son Onesimus" that he is 
under no moral obligation to return to his 
master. On the contraiy, he leaves him igno- 


rant of his rights — of his inherent, sacred, and 
eternal rights. He sees him bhndly put off 
*^ the hero," and put on " the brute" again. 
And why? Because, forsooth, if he should 
only speak, he might cause hard feeling in the 
bosom of his master! Should he retain Onesi- 
mus, his son, he would not injure Philemon at 
all. But then Philemon " might conceive' that 
he had injured him. Ah! when will abolitionist 
again suppress such mighty truth, lest he dis- 
turb some fancied light, or absurd feeling 
ruffle? "When the volcano of his mind sup- 
press and keep its furious fires in, lest he con- 
sume some petty despot's despicable sway; or 
else, at least, touch his tender sensibilities 
with momentary pain? ''Fiat justitia, mat 
ccelum,'' is a favorite maxim with other aboli- 
tionists. But St. Paul, it seems, could not as- 
sume quite so lofty a tone. He could not say, 
"Let justice be done, though the heavens 
should fall." He could not even say, "Let 
justice be done," though the feelings of Phile- 
mon should be hurt. 

It is evident, we think, that St. Paul needs 
to be defended against Mr. Barnes' defences 
of him, and vindicated against his apologies. 
If, indeed, he were so pitiful a pleader of " the 



innocent cause" as Mr. Barnes would have us 
to believe lie is, then, we ask if those aboli- 
tionists are not in the right who despise both 
the apostle and his doctrine? IN'o other abo- 
litionist, it is certain, will ever imitate his ex- 
ample, as that example is represented by Mr. 
Barnes. !No other abolitionist will ever sup- 
press the great truths — as he conceives them to 
be — with which his soul is on fire, and which, 
in his view, lie at the foundation of human hap- 
piness, lest he should " cause hard feelings" in 
the bosom of a slaveholder. 

It may be said, perhaps, that the remarks and 
apology of Mr. Barnes do not proceed on the 
supposition that Onesimus was a slave. If so, 
the answer is at. hand. For surely Mr. Barnes 
cannot think it would have been dishonorable 
in the apostle to advise, or even to urge, " a 
hired servant," or "an apprentice," to return 
and fulfil his contract. It is evident that, 
although Mr. Barnes would have the reader to 
believe that Onesimus was merely a hired ser- 
vant or an apprentice, he soon forgets his 
own interpretation, and proceeds to reason 
just as if he himself regarded him as a slave. 
This, if possible, will soon appear still more 


The apostle did not, according to Mr. Barnes, 
wholly conceal his abolition sentiments. He 
made them known to Philemon. Yes, we are 
gravely told, the letter which Onesimus carried 
in his pocket, as he wended his way back from 
Rome to Colosse, was and is an emancipation 
document ! This great discovery is, we believe, 
due to the abolitionists of the present day. It 
was first made by Mr. Barnes, or Dr. Channing, 
or some other learned emancipationist, and after 
them by Mr. Sumner. Indeed, the discovery 
that it appears from the face of the epistle itself 
that it is an emancipation document, is the se- 
cond of the two ^' conclusive things" which, in 
Mr. Sumner's opinion, constitute "an all-sufii- 
cient response" to anti-abolitionists. 

^tTow supposing St. Paul to have been an abo- 
litionist, such a disclosure of his views would, 
we admit, afford some little relief to our minds. 
For it would show that, although he did not 
provoke opposition by proclaiming the truth 
to the churches and to the world, he could at 
least run the risk of hurting the feelings of a 
slaveholder. But let us look into this great 
discovery, and see if the apostle has, in reality, 
whispered any such w^ords of emancipation in 
the ear of Philemon. 


In his note to the sixteenth verse of the 
epistle, Mr. Barnes says : " Kot now as a sei'vant. 
The adverb rendered ^not now,' [obxhc,) means 
no more, no further, no longer.'' So let it be. 
We doubt not that such is its meaning. Hence, 
we need not examine Mr. Barnes' numerous 
authorities, to show that such is the force of 
the adverb in question. He has, we admit, 
most abundantly established his point that obxirt 
means no longer. But then this is a point which 
no anti-abolitionist has the least occasion to 
deny. We find precisely the same rendition 
in Macknight, and we are perfectly willing to 
abide by his translation. If Mr. Barnes had 
spared himself the trouble of producing these 
authorities, and adduced only one to show that 
doblo^ means a hired servant, or an apprentice, 
his labor would have been bestowed where it 
is needed. 

As the passage stands, then, St. Paul exhorts 
Philemon to receive Onesimus, "no longer as 
a servant." [N'ow this, we admit, is perfectly 
correct as far as it goes. " It {i. e. this adverb) 
implies," says Mr. Barnes, "that he had been 
in this condition, hut was not to he noiv.'' He 
was no longer to be a serv^ant ! Over this view 
of the passage, Mr. Sumner goes into quite a 


paroxysm of triumphant joy. ^^ Secondly," says 
he, "in charging Onesimus with this epistle to 
Philemon, the apostle announces him as ' not 
now a servant, but above a servant, — a brother 
beloved;' and he enjoins upon his correspond- 
ent the hospitality due only to a freeman, say- 
ing expressly, 'If thou count me, therefore, as 
a partner, receive Mm as myself ;' ay, sir, not as 
slave, not even as servant, but as a brother 
beloved, even as the apostle himself. Thus 
with apostolic pen wrote Paul to his disciple 
Philemon. Beyond all doubt, in these words 
of gentleness, benediction, and emancipation,'*' 
dropping with celestial, soul-awakening power, 
there can be no justification for a conspiracy, 
which, beginning with the treachery of Iscariot, 
and the temptation of pieces of silver, seeks 
by fraud, brutality, and violence, through offi- 
cers of the law armed to the teeth like pirates, 
and amid soldiers who degrade their uniform, 
to hurl a fellow-man back into the lash-resound- 
ing den of American slavery; and if any one 
can thus pervert this beneficent example, allow 
me to say that he gives too much occasion to 
doubt his intelligence or his sincerity." 

'^- The emphasis is ours. 



IN'ow in regard to the spirit of this passage 
we have at present nothing to say. The sudden 
transition from the apostle's "words of blessing 
and benediction," to Mr. Sumner's words of 
railing and vituperation, we shall pass by un- 
noticed. Upon these the reader may make his 
own comments. It is our object simply to 
comment on the words of the great apostle. 
And, in the first place, we venture to suggest 
that there are several very serious difficulties 
in the way of Mr. Barnes' and Mr. Sumner's 
interpretation of the passage in question. 

Let us, for the sake of argument, concede 
to these gentlemen that Onesimus was merely 
the hired servant, or apprentice, of Philemon. 
What then follows? If they are not in error, 
it clearly and unequivocally follows that St. 
Paul's "words of emancipation" were intended, 
not for slaves merely, but for hired servants 
and apprentices ! For servants of any and 
every description! Mr. Sumner expressly tells 
us that he was to return, "not as a slave, not 
even as a servant , but as a brother beloved." 
]^ow such a scheme of' emancipation would, it 
seems to us, suit the people of Boston as little 
as it would those of Richmond. It would 
abolish every kind of "servitude, whether vo- 


luntary or involuntary," and release all hired 
servants, as well as apprentices, from the obli- 
gation of their contracts. Such is one of the 
difficulties in their way. It may not detract 
from the "sincerity," it certainly reflects no 
credit on the "intelligence," of Mr. Sumner, 
to be guilty of such an oversight. 

There is another very grave difficulty in the 
way of these gentlemen. St. Paul writes that 
the servant Onesimus, who had been unprofit- 
able to Philemon in times past, would now be 
profitable to him. But how profitable? As a 
servant ? 'No ! he was no longer to serve him 
at all. His "emancipation" was announced! 
He was to be received, not as a slave, not even 
as a servant, but onli/ as a brother beloved ! 
Philemon was, indeed, to extend to him the hos- 
pitalities due to a freeman, even such as were 
due to the apostle himself? Now, for aught 
we know, it may have been very agreeable to 
the feelings of Philemon, to have his former 
servant thus unceremoniously "emancipated," 
and quartered upon him as "a gentleman of 
elegant leisure ;" but how this could have been 
so profitable to him is more than we can con- 

It must be admitted, we think, that in a worldly 


point of view, all the profits would have been 
on the side of Onesimus. "But," says Mr. 
Barnes, "he would now be more profitable as 
a Christian brother." It is true, Onesimus had 
not been very profitable as a Christian brother 
before he ran away, for he had not been a 
Christian brother at all. But if he were sent 
back by the apostle, because he would be pro- 
fitable merely as a Christian brother, we cannot 
see why any other Christian brother would not 
have answered the purpose just as well as One- 
simus. If such, indeed, were the apostle's 
object, he might have conferred a still greater 
benefit upon Philemon by sending several 
Christian brethren to live with him, and to 
feast upon his good things. 

Thirdly, the supposition that St. Paul thus 
announced the emancipation of Onesimus, is 
as inconsistent with the whole scope and design 
of the passage, as it is with the character of 
the apostle. If he would do nothing without 
the consent of Philemon, not even retain his 
servant to minister to himself while in prison, 
much less would he declare him emancipated, 
and introduce him to his former master as a 
freeman. We submit to the candid reader, we 
submit to every one who has the least percep- 


tion of the character and spirit of the apostle, 
if such an interpretation of his words be not 
simply ridiculous. 

It is certain that such an interpretation is 
peculiar to abolitionists. "Men," says Mr. 
Sumner, "are prone to find in uncertain, dis- 
connected texts, a confirmation of their own 
personal prejudices or prepossessions. And 
I," — ^he continues, "who am no divine, but 
only a simple layman — make bold to say, that 
whosoever finds in the gospel any sanction of 
•slavery, finds there merely a reflection of him- 
self." He mu«t have been a very simple lay- 
man indeed, if he did not perceive how very 
easily his words might have been retorted. We 
venture to affirm that no one, except an abo- 
litionist, has ever found the slightest tincture 
of abolitionism in the writings of the great 
apostle to the Gentiles. 

The plain truth is, that Philemon is exhorted 
to receive Onesimus " no longer as a slave only, 
but above a slave, — a brother beloved." Such 
is the translation of Macknight, and such, too, 
is the concurrent voice of every commentator 
to whom we have access. Pool, Clarke, Scott, 
Benson, Doddridge — all unite in the interpreta- 
tion that Onesimus was, in the heaven-inspired 


and soul-subduing words of the loving apostle, 
commended to his master, not as a slave merely, 
but also as a Christian brother. The great 
fact — the "words of emancipation," which Mr. 
Sumner sees so clearly on "the face of the 
epistle," — they cannot see at all. ISTeither sign 
nor shadow of any such thing can they per- 
ceive. It is a sheer reflection of- the abolitionist 
himself. Thus, the Old Testament is not only 
merged in the Il^ew, but the ^ew itself is merged 
in Mr. Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts. 

We shall notice one passage more of Scrip- 
ture. The seventh chapter of the Epistle to 
the Corinthians begins thus: "JSTow concerning 
the things whereof ye wrote unto me;" and 
it proceeds to notice, among other things, the 
relation of master and slave. This passage was 
designed to correct the disorders among the 
Christian slaves at Corinth, who, agreeably to 
the doctiine of the false teacher, claimed their 
liberty, on pretence that, as brethren in Christ, 
they were on an equality with their Christian 
masters." Here, then, St. Paul met abohtionism 
face to face. And how did he proceed? Did 
he favor the false teacher? Did he recognise 
the claim of the discontented Christian slaves? 
Did he even once hint that they were entitled 


to their freedom, on the ground that all men 
are equal, or on any other ground whatever? 
His own words will furnish the best answer 
to these questions. 

"Let every man," says he, "abide in the 
same calling wherein he was called. Art thou 
called, being a servant? care not for it.'' Thus,. 
were Christian slaves exhorted to continue in 
that condition of life in which they were when 
converted to Christianity. This will not be 
denied. It is too plain for controversy. It is 
even admitted by Mr. Barnes himself. In the 
devout contemplation of this passage Chry- 
sostom exclaims : " Hast thou been called, being 
a slave ? Care not for it. Continue to be a 
slave. Hast thou been called, being in uncir- 
cumcision ? Remain uncircumcised. Being cir- 
cumcised, didst thou become a believer? Con- 
tinue circumcised. For these are no hindrances 
to piety. Thou art called, being a slave; an- 
other, with an unbelieving wife ; another, being 
circumcised. Astonishing ! Where has he put 
slavery? As circumcision profits not, and un- 
circumcision does no harm, so neither doth 
slavery nor yet liberty." 

"The great argument" against slavery is, 
according to Dr. Channing and other aboli- 


tionists drawn from the immortality of the soul. 
"Into every human being," says he, "God 
has breathed an immortal spirit, more precious 
than the whole outward creation. 'No earthly 
nor celestial language can exaggerate the worth 
of a human being." The powers of this im- 
mortal spirit, he concludes, "reduce to insig- 
nificance all outward distinctions." Yea, ac- 
cording to St. Paul himself, they reduce to utter 
insignificance all outward distinctions, and espe- 
cially the distinction between liberty and slavery. 
"Art thou called," says he, "being a slave? 
care not for it." Art thou, indeed, the Lord's 
freeman, and as such destined to reign on a 
throne of glory forever ? Oh, then, care not 
for the paltry distinctions of the passing world ! 

!N"ow, whom shall the Christian teacher take for 
his model? — St. Paul, or Dr. Channing? Shall 
he seek to make men contented with the con- 
dition in which God has placed them, or shall 
he stir up discontent, and inflame the restless 
passions of men ? Shall he himself, like the 
great apostle, be content to preach the doctrines 
of eternal life to a perishing world ; or shall he 
make politics his calling, and inveigh against 
the domestic relations of society? Shall he ex- 
hort men not to continue in the condition of 


life in which God has placed them, but to take 
his providence out of his hands, and, in direct 
opposition to Ms word, assert their rights? In 
one word, shall he preach the gospel of Christ 
and his apostles, or shall he preach the gospel 
of the abolitionist ? 

"Art thou called, being a servant? care not 
for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it 
rather." The Greek runs thus: dXX' ei xac 
duvaaai i.Xei)depo(; yeviodat, [xaXkov '/^pTjaai, — ^lite- 
rally, " but even if thou canst become free, 
rather make Use of." Make use of what? 
The Greek verb is left without a case. How, 
then, shall this be supplied? To what does 
the ambiguous it of our translation refer? 
" One and all of the native Greek commen- 
tators in the early ages," says Stuart, " and 
many expositors in modern times, say that the 
word to be supplied is douXela, i. e. slavery, 
bondage. The reason which they give for it 
is, that this is the only construction which 
can support the proposition the apostle is labor- 
ing to establish, viz. : ^ Let every man abide in 
statu quo.' Even De Wette, (who, for his high 
liberty notions, was banished from Germany,) 
in his commentary on this passage, seemc 
plainly to accede to the force of this reason- 



ing; and vnih liim many others have agreed. 
"No man can look at the simple continuity of 
logic in the passage without feeling that there 
is force in the appeal." Yet the fact should 
not be concealed, that Stuart himself is " not 
satisfied with this exegesis of the passage;" 
which, acccording to his own statement, was 
the universal interpretation from " the early 
ages" down to the sixteenth century. This 
change, says he, " seems to have been the 
spontaneous prompting of the spirit of 
liberty, that beat high" in the bosom of its 

Kow have we not some reason to distrust an 
interpretation which comes not exactly from 
Heaven, but from a spirit beating high in the 
jiuman breast? That is certainly not an un- 
erring spirit. We have already seen what it 
can do with the Scriptures. But whether it 
has erred in this instance, or not, it is certain 
that it should never be permitted to beat so 
very high in any human breast as to annul the 
teachings of the apostle, or to make him contra- 
dict himself. This has been too often done. 
We too frequently hear those who admit that 
St. Paul exhorts "slaves to continue in slavery," 
stir, contend that " if they may be made free," 


tliey should move heaven and earth to attain so 
desn-able an object. They '' should continue in 
that state," and yet exert all their power to es- 
cape therefrom! 

Conybeare and Howson, who are acknow- 
ledged to be among the best commentators 
on the Epistles of St. Paul, have restored " the 
continuity of his logic." They translate his 
words thus ; " ISTay, though thou have power to 
gain thy freedom, seek rather to remain con- 
tent." This translation certainly possesses the 
advantage that it makes the doctrine of St. 
Paul perfectly consistent with itself. 

But let us return to the point in regard to 
which there is no controversy^ It is on all sides 
agreed, that St. Paul no less than three times 
exhorts every man to continue in the condition 
in which Providence has placed him. "And 
this rule," says he, " ordain I in all the 
churches." Yet — would any man believe it 
possible? — the veiy quintessence of abolition- 
ism itself has been extracted from this pas- 
sage of his writings ! Let us consider for a mo- 
ment the wonderful alchemy by which this has 
been effected. 

We find in this passage the words : "Be not 
^^ the servants of men." These words are 


taken from the connection in which, thej stand, 
dissevered from the words which precede and 
follow them, and then made to teach that 
slaves should not submit to the authority of their 
masters, should not continue in their present 
condition. It is certain that no one but an 
abolitionist, who has lost all respect for revela- 
tion except when it happens to square with his 
own notions, could thus make the apostle so 
directly and so flatly contradict himself and 
all his teaching. Different interpretations have 
been given to the words just quoted; but until 
abolitionism set its cloven foot upon the Bible, 
such violence had not been done to its sacred 

Conybeare and Howson suppose that the 
words in question are intended to caution the 
Corinthians against " their sei'vile adherence to 
party leaders." Bloomfield, in like manner, 
says : " The best commentators are agreed," 
that they are "to be taken figuratively, in the 
sense, ' do not be blindly followers of men, con- 
forming to their opinions,' &c." It is certain 
that RosenmUller, Grotius, and we know not 
how many more, have all concurred in this 
interpretation. But be the meaning what it 
may, it is not an exhortation to slaves to burst 


their bonds in sunder, unless the apostle has, 
in one and the same breath, taught diametri- 
cally opposite doctrines. 

Yet, in direct opposition to the plain words 
of the apostle, and to the concurrent voice of 
commentators and critics, is he made to teach 
that slaves should throw off the authority of 
their masters! Lest such a thing should be 
deemed impossible, we quote the words of the 
author by whom this outrage has been perpe- 
trated. " The command of the 23d verse," 
says he, ^''be not ye the servants of men,' is 
equally plain. There are no such commands 
uttered in regard to the relations of husband 
and wife, parent and child, as are here given in 
regard to slavery. No one is thus urged to dis- 
solve the marriage relation. No such commands 
are giveii to relieve children from obedience to 
their parents,'' &c.* JSTor is any such command, 
we repeat, given to relieve slaves from obedi- 
ence to their masters, or to dissolve the relation 
between them. 

If such violence to Scripture had been done 
by an obscure scribbler, or by an infidel quot- 
ing the word of God merely for a purpose, i"^ 

* EUiott on Slavery, Vol. I., p. 295. 


would not have been matter of such profound 
astonishment. But is it not unspeakably 
shocking that a Christian man, nay, that a 
Christian minister and doctor of divinity, 
should thus set at naught the clearest, the 
most unequivocal, and the most universally 
received teachings of the gospel? If he had 
merely accused the Christian men of the South, 
as he has so often done in his two stupid vo- 
lumes on slavery, of the crimes of "swindling," 
of "theft," of "robbing," and of "mansteal- 
ing," we could have borne with him well; and, 
as we have hitherto done, continued to pass 
by his labors with silent contempt. But we 
have deemed it important to show in what 
manner, and to what extent, the spirit of abo- 
litionism can wrest the pure word of God to 
its antichi-istian purpose. 

We shall conclude the argument from Scrip- 
ture with the following just and impressive 
testimony of the Princeton Review : " The mass 
of the pious and thinking people in this coun- 
try are neither abolitionists nor the advocates 
of slavery. They stand where they ever have 
stood — on the broad Scriptural foundation ; main- 
taining the obligation of all men, in their several 
places and relations, to act on the law of love, 


and to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare 
of others by every means in their power. They 
stand aloof from the abolitionists for various 
reasons. In the first place, they disapprove of 
their principles. The leading characteristic 
doctrine of this sect is that slaveholding is in 
all cases a sin, and should, therefore, under all 
circumstances, be immediately abandoned. As 
nothing can be plainer than that slaveholders were 
admitted to the Christian church by the inspired 
apostles, the advocates of this doctrine are brought 
into direct collision with the Scriptures. This 
leads to one of the most dangerous evils connected 
with the whole system, viz., a disregard of the 
authority of the word of God, a setting up a dif- 
ferent and higher standard of truth and duty, and 
a proud and confident wresting of Scripture to 
suit their own purposes. The history of inter- 
sider themselves above the scriptures; and 
when they put themselves above the law of 
God, it is not wonderful that they should 
■ DISREGARD THE LAWS OF MEN. Significant ma- 
nifestations of the result of this disposition to 


consider tlieir own light a surer guide than 
the word of God, are visible in the anarchical 
opinions about human governments, civil and 
ecclesiastical, and on the rights of women, 
which have found appropriate advocates in the 
abolition publications. Let these principles be 
carried out, and there is an end to all social 
subordination, to all security for life and pro- 
perty, to all guarantee for public or domestic 
virtue. If our women are to be emancipated 
from subjection to the law which God has im- 
posed upon them, if they are to quit the retire- 
ment of domestic life, where they preside in 
stillness over the character and destiny of so- 
ciety; if they are to come forth in the liberty 
of men, to be our agents, our public lecturers, 
our committee-men, our rulers; if, in studied 
insult to the authority of God, we are to re- 
nounce in the marriage contract all claim to 
obedience, we shall soon have a country over 
which the genius of Mary Wolstonecraft would 
delight to preside, but from which all order 
and all virtue would speedily be banished. 
Tnere is no form of human excellence before 
which we bow with profounder deference than 
that which appears in a delicate woman, 
adorned with the inward graces and devoted 


to the peculiar duties of her sex; and there is 
no deformity of human character from which 
we turn with deeper loathing than from a wo- 
man forgetful of her nature, and clamorous 
for the vocation and rights of men. It would 
not be fair to object to the abolitionists the 
disgusting and disorganizing opinions of even 
some of their leading advocates and publica- 
tions, did they not continue to patronize those 
publications, and were not these opinions the 
legitimate consequences of their own principles. 
Their women do but apply their own method 
of dealing with Scripture to another case. 
This no inconsiderable portion of the party 
have candor enough to acknowledge, and are 
therefore prepared to abide the result." 




We have not sliunned tlie abstractions of the 
abolitionist. We have, on the contrary, ex- 
amined all his arguments, even the most ab- 
stract, and endeavored to show that they either 
rest on false assumptions, or consist in false de- 
ductions. While engaged in this analysis of 
his errors, we have more than once had occasion 
to remind him that the great practical problem 
of slavery is to be determined, if determined at 
all, not by an appeal to abstractions, but simply 
by a consideration of the public good. It is 
under this point of view, or with reference to 
the highest good of the governed, that we now 
proceed to consider the institution of slaver}^ 

The way is open and clear for this view of 
the subject. For we have seen, we trust, that 
slavery is condemned neither by any principle 
of natural justice, nor by any precept of divine 
revelation. On the other hand, if we mistake 
not, it has been most clearly shown that the 


doctrines and practices of the abolitionist are 
at war with the most explicit words of God, as 
well as with the most unquestionable principles 
of political ethics. Hence, without the least 
disrespect to the eternal principles of right, we 
may now proceed to subject his doctrines to 
the only remaining test of political truth, name- 
ly, to the test of experience. Having examined 
the internal qualities of the tree and found theip. 
bad, we may now proceed to inquire if "its 
fruits" be not poison. And if the sober lessons 
of history, if the infallible records of experience, 
be found in perfect harmony with the conclu- 
sions of reason and of revelation, then shall 
we not be triply justified in pronouncing abo- 
litionism a social and a moral curse ? 

§ I. The Question. 

Here, at the outset, we may throw aside a 
m.ass of useless verbiage, with which our in- 
quiry is usually encumbered. "We are eternally 
told that Kentucky has fallen behind Ohio, and 
Virginia behind Pennsylvania, because their 
energies have been crippled, and their pros- 
perity over-clouded, by the institution of 
slavery. Now, it is of no importance to our 
argument that we should either deny the fact, 


or the explanation which is given of it hy abo- 
litionists. If the question were, whether slavery 
Bhould be introduced among us, or into any 
non-slaveholding State, then such facts and ex- 
planations would be worthy of our notice. 
Then such an appeal to experience would be 
relevant to the point in dispute. But such is 
not the question. We are not called upon to 
decide whether slavery shall be established in 
our midst or not. This question has been de- 
cided for us. Slavery — as everybody knows — 
was forced upon the colonies by the arbitrary 
and despotic rule of GTreat Britain, and that, too, 
against the earnest remonstrances of our ances- 
tors. The thing has been done. The past is 
beyond our control. It is fixed and unalterable. 
The only inquiry which remains for us now is, 
whether the slavery which was thus forced upon 
our ancestors shall be continued, or whether it 
shall be abolished? The question is not what 
Virginia, or Kentucky, or any other slave State, 
might have been, but what they would be in 
case slavery were abolished. If abolitionists 
would speak to the point, then let them show 
us some country in which slavery has been abo- 
lished, and we will abide by the experiment. 
Fortunately for us, we need not look far for 


such an experiment ; — an experiment which has 
been made, not upon mere chattels or brutes^ 
but upon the social and moral well-being of 
more than a million of human beings. We 
refer, of course, to the emancipation of the 
slaves in the British Colonies. This work, as 
every one knows, was the great vaunted achieve- 
ment of British abolitionists. Here, then, we 
may see their philosophy — if philosophy it may 
be called — "teaching by example." Here we 
may see and taste the fruits of abolitionism, ere 
we conclude to grow them upon our own soil. 

§ H. Emancipation in the British Colonies, 

It is scarcely in the power of human lan- 
guage to describe the enthusiastic delight with 
w^hich the abolitionists, both in England and 
in America, were inspired by the spectacle of 
"West India Emancipation. We might easily 
adduce a hundred illustrations of the almost 
frantic joy with which it intoxicated their 
brains. We shall, however, for the sake of 
brevity, confine our attention to a single exam- 
ple, — which will, at the same time, serve to 
show, not only how wild the abolitionist him- 
self was, but also how indignant he became 
that others were not equally disposed to part 



with their sober senses. " The prevalent state 
of feeling," said Dr. Channing in 1840, ''in the 
free States in regard to slavery is indifference — 
an indifference strengthened by the notion of 
great difficulties attending the subject. The fact 
is painful, but tlie truth should be spoken. The 
majority of the people, even yet, care little 
about the matter. A painful proof of this in- 
sensibility was furnished about a year and a 
half ago, when the English West Indies were 
emancipated. An event surpassing this in 
moral grandeur is not recorded in history. In 
one day, probably seven hundred thousand of 
human beings were rescued from bondage to 
full, unqualified freedom. The consciousness 
of wrongs, in so many breasts, was exchanged 
into rapturous, grateful joy. What shouts of 
thanksgiving broke forth from those liberated 
crowds ! What new sanctity and strength were 
added to the domestic ties ! What new hopes 
opened on future generations ! The crowning 
glory of this day was the fact that the work of 
emancipation was wholly due to the principles 
of Christianity. The West Indies were freed, 
not by force, or human policy, but by the reve- 
rence of a great people for justice and human- 
ity. The men who began and carried on this 


cause were Christian philantliropists ; and they 
prevailed by spreading their own spirit through 
a nation. In this respect, the enaancipation of 
the West Indies was a grander work than the 
redemption of the Israelites from bondage. 
This was accomplished by force, by outward 
miracles, by the violence of the elements. That 
was achieved by love, by raoral power, by God, 
working, not in the stormy seas, but in the 
depths of the human heart. And how was this 
day of emancipation — one of the most blessed 
days that ever dawned upon the earth — received 
in this country? While in distant England a 
thrill of gratitude and joy pervaded thousands 
and millions, we, the neighbors of the West In- 
dies, and who boast of our love of liberty, saw 
the sun of that day rise and set with hardly a 
thought of the scenes on which it was pouring 
its joyful light. The greater part of our news- 
papers did not refer to the event. The great 
majority of the people had forgotten it. Such 
was the testimony we gave to our concern for 
the poor slave; and is it from discussions of 
slavery among such a people that the country is 
to be overturned?" 

Such were the glowing expectations of the 
abolitionists. It now remains to be seen who- 


tlier they were true prophets, or merely " blind 
leaders of the blind." Be that as it may, for the 
present we cannot agree with Dr. Channing, 
that the good people of the free States were 
insincere in boasting of their "love of liberty," 
because they did not go into ra^Dtures over so 
fearful an experiment before they had some 
little time to see how it would work. They 
did, no doubt, most truly and profoundly love 
liberty. But then they had some reason to 
suspect, perhaps, that liberty may be one thing, 
and abolitionism quite another. Liberty, they 
knew, was a thing of light and love ; but as for 
abolitionism, it was, for all they knew, a demon 
of destruction. Hence they would wait, and 
see. We do well to rejoice at once, exclaims 
Dr. Channing. If a man-child is born into the 
world, says he, do we wait to read his future 
life ere we rejoice at his birth? Ah, no! But 
then, perhaps, this offspring of abolitionism is 
no man-child at all. It may, for aught we 
know, be an abortion of night and darkness 
merely. Hence, we shall wait, and mark his 
future course, ere we rend the air with shouts 
that he is born at last. 

This man-child, or this monster, is now seven- 
teen years and four months old. His character 


is developed, and fixed for life. We may now 
read his history, written by impartial men, and 
determine for ourselves, whether it justifies the 
bright and boundless hopes of the abolition- 
ists, or the "cold indifference," nay, the sus- 
picions and the fears, of the good people of the 
free States. 

We shall begin with Jamaica, which is by 
far the largest and most valuable of the British 
West Indies. The very first year after the 
complete emancipation of the slaves of this 
island, its prosperity began to manifest symp- 
toms of deca}^ As long as it was possible, 
however, to find or invent an explanation of 
these fearful signs, the abolitionists remained 
absolutely blind to the real course of events. In 
1839, the first year of complete emancipation, it 
appeared that the crop of sugar exported from 
the island had fallen oft' no less than eight thou- 
sand four hundred and sixty-six hogsheads. But, 
then, it was discovered that the hogsheads had 
been larger this year than the preceding ! It 
is true, there was not exactly any proof that 
larger hogsheads had been used all over the 
island, but it was rumored; and the rumor 
was, of course, eagerly swallowed by the abo- 



And besides, it was quite certain that the 
free negroes had eaten more sugar than while 
they were slaves, which helped mightily to ac- 
count for the great diminution in the exports 
of the article. IsTo one could deny this. It is 
certain, that if the free negroes only devoured 
sugar as eagerly as such floating conjectures 
w^ere gulped down by the abolitionists, the 
whole phenomenon needed no other cause for 
its perfect explanation. It never once occurred, 
however, to these reasoners to imagine that 
the decrease in the amount of rum exported 
from another island might be owing to the cir- 
cumstance that the free blacks had swallowed 
a little more of that article as well as of sugar. 
On the contrary, this fact was held up as a most 
conclusive and triumphant proof that the free 
negroes had not only become temperate them- 
selves, but also so virtuous that they scorned 
to produce such an article to poison their fel- 
low-men. The English abolitionists who re- 
joiced at such a reflection were, it must be 
confessed, standing on rather delicate ground. 
For if such an inference proved . any thing, it 
proved that the blacks of the island in question 
had, at one single bound, j)assed from the 
depths of degradation to an exaltation of virtue 


far above their emancipators, the English people 
themselves ; since these, as every reader of his- 
tory knows, not only enforced the culture of 
opium in India, but also absolutely compelled 
the poor Chinese to receive it at the mouth of 
the cannon ! 

It also appears that, for 1839, the amount of 
coffee exported had fallen off 38,554 cwt., or 
about one third of the whole amount of the 
preceding year. ^' The coffee is a very un- 
certain crop," said a noted English emancipa- 
tionist, in view of this startling fact, " and the 
deficiency, on the comparison of these two years, 
is not greater, I believe, than has often occurred 
before." This is true, for a drought or a hur- 
ricane had before created quite as great a 
deficiency. But while the fact is true, it only 
proves that the first year of emancipation was 
no worse on the coffee crop than a drought or 
a hurricane. 

"We should also remember," says this zeal- 
ous abolitionist, '• that, both in sugar and coffee, 
the profit to the planter may be increased by 
the saving of expense, even where the produce 
is diminished." Such a thing, we admit, is 
possible ; it way be true. But in jpoint of fait^ 


as we shall soon see, tlie expense was increased, 
while the crop was diminished. 

But after every possible explanation, even 
Dr. Channing and Mr. Gurney were bound to 
admit "that some decrease has taken place in 
both the articles, in connection with the change 
of system." They also admitted that "so far 
as this decrease of produce is connected with 
the change of system, it is obviously to he traced 
to a corresponding decrease in the quantity of 

May we not suppose, then, that here the in- 
genuity of man is at an end, and the truth 
begins to be allowed to make its appearance? 
By no means. For here '^ comes the critical 
question," — says Mr. Gurney, "the real turning 
point. To what is this decrease in the quan- 
tity of labor owing? I answer deliberately 
but without reserve, 'Mainly to causes which 
class under slavery and not under freedom.' It 
is, for the most part, the result of those impo- 
litic attempts to force the labor of freemen which 
have disgusted the peasantr}^, and have led to 
the desertion of many of the estates." 

ISTow suppose this were the case, is it not 
the business, is it not the duty, of the legislator 
to consider the passions, the prejudices, and 


the habits of those for whom he legislates? 
Indeed, if he overlook these, is he not a reck- 
less experimenter rather than a wise statesman? 
If he legislates, not for man as he is, but for 
man as he ought to be, is he not a political 
dreamer rather than a sound philosopher? 

The abolitionist not only closed his eyes on 
every appearance of decline in the prosperity 
of the West Indies, he also seized with avidity 
every indication of the successful operation of 
his scheme, and magnified it both to himself 
and to the world. He made haste, in particu- 
lar, to paint in the most glowing colors the 
rising prosperity of Jamaica.* His narrative 
was hailed with eager delight by abolitionists 
in all parts of the civilized world. It is a pity, 
we admit, to spoil so fine a story, or to put a 
damper on «o much enthusiasm. But the truth, 
especially in a case like the present, should be 
told. While, then, to the enchanted imagina- 
tion of the abolitionist, the wonderful industry 
of the freed negroes and the exuberant bounty 
of nature were concurring to bring about a 
paradise in the island of Jamaica, the dark 
stream of emancipation was, in reality, undei 

* Life of Joseph John Gurney, vol. ii. p. 214. 


mining its prosperity and gloiy. "We sliall 
now proceed to adduce the evidence of this 
melancholy fact, which has in a few short years 
become so abundant and so overwhelming, 
that even the most blind and obstinate must 
feel its force. 

After describing the immense sources of 
wealth to be found in Jamaica, an intelligent 
eye-witness says : " Such are some of the na- 
tural resources of this dilapidated and poverty- 
stricken country. Capable as it is of producing 
almost every thing, and actually producing 
nothing which might not become a staple with 
a proper application of capital and skill, its 
inhabitants are miserably poor, and daily sink- 
ing deeper and deeper into the utter helpless- 
ness of abject want. 

*' ' Magnas inter opes inops.' 

*' Shipping has deserted her ports ; her mag- 
nificent plantations of sugar and coffee are 
running to weeds; her private dwellings are 
falling to decay; the comforts and luxuries 
which belong to industrial prosperity have been 
cut off*, one by one, from her inhabitants ; and 
the day, I think, is at hand when there will 
be none left to represent the wealth, intelli- 


gence, and liospitality for which the Jamaica 
planter was once distinguished."''' 

"It is impossiblej" says Mr. Carey, 'Ho read 
Mr. Bigelow's volume, without arriving at the 
conclusion that the freedom granted to the 
negro has had little effect except that of en- 
abling him to live at the expense of the planter 
so long as any thing remained. Sixteen years 
of freedom did not appear to its author to have 
* advanced the dignity of labor or of the labor- 
ing classes one particle,' while it had ruined 
the proprietors of the land, and thus great 
damage had been done to the one class with- 
out benefit of any kind to the other." 

From a statistical table, published in August, 
1853, it appears, says one of our northern jour- 
nals, that, since 1846, "the number of sugar 
estates on the island that have been totallv 
abandoned amounts to one hundred and sixty- 
eight, and the number partially abandoned to 
sixty-three ; the value of which two hundred 
and thirty-one estates was assessed, in 1841, at 
.£1,655,140, or nearly eight millions and a half 
of dollars. Within the same period two hun- 

* Bigelow's Notes on Jamaica in 1850, as quoted in Carey's 
" Slave Trade, Foreign and Domestic." 


(Ired and twenty-three coffee-plantations have 
been totally, and twenty partially, abandoned, the 
assessed value of which w-as, in 1841, .£500,000, 
or two millions and a half of dollars ; and of 
cattle-pens, (grazing farms,) one hundred and 
twenty-two have been totally, and ten partially, 
abandoned, the value of which was a million 
and a half of dollars. The aggregate value of 
these six hundred and six estates, which have 
been thus ruined and abandoned in the island 
of Jamaica, within the last seven or eight years, 
amounted by the regular assessments, ten years 
since, to the sum of nearly two and a half mil- 
lions of pounds sterling, or twelve and a half 
millions of dollars."* 

In relation to Jamaica, another witness says : 
" The marks of decay abound. Neglected 
fields, crumbling houses, fragmentary fences, 
noiseless machinery — these are common sights, 
and soon become familiar to observation. I 
sometimes rode for miles in succession over fer- 
tile ground, which used to be cultivated, and 
which is now lying waste. So rapidly has culti- 
vation retrograded, and the wild luxuriance of 
nature replaced the conveniences of art, that 

* Quoted "by Mr. Carey. 


parties still inhabiting these desolated districts 
have sometimes, in the strong language of a 
speaker at Kingston, * to seek abont the bush to 
find the entrance into their houses.* 

" The towns present a spectacle no less 
gloomy. A great part of. Kingston was de- 
stroyed, some years, ago, by an extensive con- 
flagration : yet multitudes of the houses which 
escaped that visitation are standing empty, 
though the population is little, if at all, dimi- 
nished. The explanation is obvious. Persons 
who have nothing, and can no longer keep up 
their domestic establishments, take refuge in 
the abodes of others, where some means of sub- 
sistence are still left ; and in the absence of any 
discernible trade or occupation, the lives of 
crowded thousands appear to be preserved from 
day to day by a species of miracle. The most 
busy thoroughfares of former times have now 
almost the quietude of a Sabbath. 

" 'The finest land in the world,' says Mr. 
Bigelow, ' may be had at any price, and almost 
for the asking.' Labor ' receives no compensa- 
tion, and the product of labor does not seem 
to know how to find the way to market.' "* 

* Carej^'s Slave Trade. 


From the report made in 1849, and signed by 
various missionaries, the moral and religious 
state of the island appears no less gloomy than 
its scenes of poverty and distress. The fol- 
lowing extract from that report we copy from 
Mr. Carey's " Slave Trade, Domestic and 
Foreign:" — 

"Missionary efforts in Jamaica are beset at 
the present time with many and great discour- 
agements. Societies at home have withdrawn 
or diminished the amount of assistance afforded 
by them to chapels and schools throughout this 
island. The prostrate condition of its agricul- 
ture and commerce disables its own population 
from doing as much as formerly for maintaining 
the worship of God and the tuition of the 
young, and induces numbers of negro laborers 
to retire from estates which have been thrown 
up, to seek the means of subsistence in the moun- 
tains, where they are removed in general from 
moral training and superintendence. The con- 
sequences of this state of matters are very dis- 
astrous. !N^ot a few missionaries and teachers — 
often struggling with difficulties which they 
could not overcome — have returned to Europe, 
and others are preparing to follow them. Cha- 
pels and schools are .abandoned, or they have 


passed into tlie hands of very incompetent in- 

We cannot dwell upon each of the "West In- 
dia Islands. Some of these have not suffered so 
much as others; but while some^ from well- 
known causes, have been partially exempt from 
the evils of emancipation, all have suffered to 
a fearful extent. This, as we shall now show, 
is most amply established by English authori- 

Mr. Bigelow, whose "]Srotes on Jamaica in 
1850" we have noticed, is an American writer; 
a JsTorthern man ; and, it is said, by no means a 
friend to the institution of slavery. It is cer- 
tain that Mr. Robert Baird, from whom we 
shall now quote, is not only a subject of Great 
Britain, but also a naost enthusiastic advocate 
of " the glorious Act of British Emancipa- 
tion." But although he admires that act, yet, 
on visiting the West Indies for his health, he 
could not fail to be struck with the appalling 
scenes of distress there exhibited. In describing 
these, his object is not to reflect shame on the 
misguided philanthropy of Great Britain; but 
only to urge the* adoption of other measures, in 
order to rescue the West Indies from the utter 
ruin and desolation which must otherwise soon 


overtake them. We might easily adduce many- 
impressive extracts from his work ; but, for the 
sake of brevity, we shall confine our attention to 
one or two passages. 

"Hope," says Mr. Baird, "delights to brighten 
the prospects of the future ; and thus it is that 
the British West Indian planter goes on from 
year to year, struggling against his downward 
progress, and still hoping that something may 
yet turn up to retrieve his ruined fortunes. 
But all do not struggle on. Many have given 
in, and many more can and will confirm the 
statement of a venerable friend of my own 
— a gentleman high in office in one of the 
islands above-mentioned — who, when showing 
me his own estate and sugar-works, assured 
me, that for above a quarter of a century they 
had yielded him nearly X2000 per annum; 
and that now, despite all his efibrts and im- 
provements, (which were many,) he could 
scarcely manage to make the cultivation pay 
itself. Instances of this kind might be mul- 
tiplied till the reader was tired, and even 
heart-sick, of such details. But what need of 
such? Is it not notorious? Has it not been 
proved by the numerous failures that have 
taken place of late years among our most 


extensive West Indian merchants? Ai^e not 
the reports of almost all the governors of our 
colonial possessions filled with statements to 
the effect that great depreciation of property 
has taken place in all and each of onr West 
Indian colonies, and that great has been the 
distress consequent thereupon ? These gover- 
nors are, of course, all of them imbued, to some 
extent, with the ministeriar policy — at least it 
is reasonable to assume that they are so. At 
all events, whether they are so or not, their 
position almost necessitates their doing their 
utmost to carry out, with success, the minis- 
terial views and general policy. To embody 
the substance of the answer given by a talented 
lieutenant-governor, in my owm hearing, to an 
address which set forth, somewhat strongly, the 
ruined prospects and wasted fortunes of the 
colonists under his government : ' It must, or 
it ought to be, the object and the desire of 
every governor or lieutenant-governor in the 
British West Indian Islands, to disappoint and 
stultify, if he can, the prognostications of com- 
ing ruin with which the addresses he receives 
from time to time are continually charged?' 
Yet w^hat say these governors? Do not the 
reports of one and all of them confirm the 



above statement as to the deplorable state of dis- 
tress to which the West Indian planters in the 
British Colonies are reduced?"* 

Again, he says : " That the British "West In- 
dian colonists have been loudly complaining that 
they are ruined, is a fact so generally acknow- 
ledged, that the very loudness and frequency of 
the complaint has been made a reason for dis- 
regarding or undervaluing the grounds of it. 
That the West Indians are always grumbling 
is an observation often heard ; and, no doubt, 
it is very true that they are so. But let any one 
who thinks that the extent and clamor of the 
complaint exceeds the magnitude of the distress 
which has called it forth, go to the West Indies 
and judge for himself. Let him see with his 
own eyes the neglected and abandoned estates, — 
the uncultivated fields, fast hurrying back into a 
state of nature, with all the speed of tropical 
luxuriance — the dismantled and silent machinery, 
the crumbling walls, and deserted mansions, 
which are familiar sights in most of the British 
West Indian colonies. Let him, then, trans- 
port himself to the Spanish islands of Porto 

* "The West Indies and North America," by Robt. Baird, A.M., 
p. 145. 


Eico and Cuba, and witness the life and ac- 
tivity which in these slave colonies prevail. Let 
him observe for himself the activity of the 
slavers — the improvements daily making in the 
cultivation of the fields and in the processes 
carried on at the Ingenios or sugar-mills — and 
the general indescrihahle air of thriving and pros- 
perity which surrounds the whole, — and then let 
him come back to England and say, if he 
honestly can, that the British West Indian 
planters and proprietors are grumblers, who 
complain without adequate cause."* 

Great Britain has shown no little solicitude 
to ascertain the real state of things in her West 
India colonies. For this purpose, she ap- 
pointed, in 1842, a select committee, consisting 
of some of the most prominent members of Par- 
liament, with Lord Stanley at their head. In 
1848, another committee was appointed by her, 
with Lord G-eorge Bentinck as its chairman,, to 
inquire into the condition of her Majesty's East 
and West India possessions and the Mauritius, 
and to consider whether any measures could be 
adopted for their relief. The report of both 

* "The West Indies and North America," by Robt. Baird, A.M., 
p. 143. 


committees show, beyond all doubt, tbat unex- 
ampled distress existed in the colonies. The 
report of 1848 declares : " That many estates in 
the British "West India colonies have been 
already abandoned, that many more are in the 
course of abandonment, and that from this 
cause a very serious diminution is to be appre- 
hended in the total amount of production. 
That the first efiect of this diminution will be 
an increase in the price of sugar, and the ulti- 
mate effect a greater extension to the growth 
of sugar in slave countries, and a greater im- 
petus to slavery and the slave-trade." From the 
same report, we also learn that the prosperity 
of the Mauritius, no less than that of the West 
India Islands, had suffered a fearful blight, in 
consequence of the " glorious act of emanci- 

A third commission was appointed, in 1850, 
to inquire into the condition and prospects of 
British Guiana. Lord Stanlev, in his second 
letter to Mr. Gladstone, the Secretary of the Bri- 
tish Colonies, has furnished us with the follow- 
ing extracts from the report of this committee : — 

"Of Guiana generally they say — 'It would be 
but a melancholy task to dwell upon the misery 
and ruin which so alarmiosr a chans^e must have 


occasioned to the proprietary body; but your 
.commissioners feel themselves called upon to 
notice the effects which this wholesale abandon- 
ment of property has produced upon the colony 
at large. Where whole districts are fast re- 
lapsing into bush, and occasional patches of 
provisions around the huts of village settlers 
are all that remain to tell of once flourishing 
estates, it is not to be wondered at that the 
most ordinary marks of civilization are rapidly 
disappearing, and that in many districts of the 
colony all travelling communication by land will 
soon become utterly impracticable.' 

" Of the Abary district: — ^Your commission 
j&nd that the line of road is nearly impassable, 
and that a long succession of formerly culti- 
vated estates presents now a series of pestilent 
swamps, overrun with bush, and productive of 
malignant fevers.' 

"]^or are matters," says Lord Stanley, "much 
better farther south. 

" ' Proceeding still lower down, your commis- 
sioners find that the public roads and bridges 
are in such a condition that the few estates still 
remaining on the upper west bank of Mahaica 
Creek are completely cut off, save in the very 
dry season ; and that with regard to the whole 


district, unless something be done very shortly, 
travelling by land will entirely cease. In such e 
state of things it cannot be wondered at that the 
herdsman has a formidable enemy to encounter 
in the jaguar and other beasts of prey, and that 
the keeping of cattle is attended with considera- 
ble loss from the depredations committed by 
these animals.' 

" It may be worth noticing," continues Lord 
Stanley, " that this district — now overrun with 
wild beasts of the forest — was formerly the very 
garden of the colony. The estates touched one 
another along the whole line of the road, leaving 
no interval of uncleared land. 

" The east coast, which is next mentioned by 
the commissioners, is better off. Properties, 
once of immense value, had there been bought 
at nominal prices ; and the one railroad of 
Guiana passing through that tract, a compara- 
tively industrious population — composed of for- 
mer laborers on the line — enabled the planters 
still to work these to some profit. Even of this 
favored spot, however, they report that it ' feels 
most severely the want of continuous labor.' 

" The commissioners next visit the east bank 
of the Uemerara River, thus described : — 

^ 'Proceeding up the east bank of the river 


Demerara, the generally prevailing features of 
ruin and distress are everywhere perceptible. 
Koads and bridges almost impassable are fear- 
fully significant exponents of the condition of 
the plantations which they traverse ; and Canal 
ISTo. 3, once covered with plantains and coffee, 
presents now a scene of almost total desolation.' 

" Crossing to the west side, they find pros- 
pects somewhat brighter: ^A few estates' are 
still ' keeping up a cultivation worthy of better 
times.' But this prosperous neighborhood is 
not extensive, and the next picture presented to 
our notice is less agreeable : — 

" 'Ascending the river still higher, your com- 
missioners learn that the district between Hoba- 
boe Creek and " Stricken Heuvel" contained, in 
1829, eight sugar and ^lyq coffee and plantain 
estates, and now there remain but three in 
sugar, and four partially cultivated with plan- 
tains, by petty settlers; while the roads, with 
one or two exceptions, are in a state of utter 
abandonment. Here, as on the opposite bank 
of the river, hordes of squatters have located 
themselves, who avoid all communication with 
Europeans, and have seemingly given them- 
selves up altogether to the rude pleasures of a 
completely savage life.' 


" The west coast of Deraerara — tlie only part 
of the country which still remains unvisited — is 
described as showing only a diminution of fifty 
per cent, upon its produce of sugar ; and with 
this fact the evidence concludes as to one of 
the three sections into which the colony is 
divided. Does Demerara stand alone in its mis- 

"Again hear the report: — 'K the present 
state of the county of Demerara afibrds cause 
for deep apprehension, your commissioners find 
that Essequibo has retrograded to a still more 
alarming extent. In fact, unless a large and 
speedy supply of labor be obtained to culti- 
vate the deserted fields of this once flourishing 
district, there is great reason to fear that it will 
relapse into total abandonment.' 

"Describing another portion of the colony — 
they say of one district, ' Unless a fresh sup- 
ply of labor be very soon obtained, there is 
every reason to fear that it will become com- 
pletely abandoned.' Of a second, 'speedy im- 
migi-ation alone can save this island from total 
ruin.' 'The prostrate condition of this once 
beautiful part of the coast,' are the words which 
begin another paragraph, describing another 
tract of country. Of a fourth, 'the proprie- 


tors on this coast seem to be keeping up a 
hopeless struggle against approaching ruin.' 
Again, Hhe once famous Arabian coast, so long 
the boast of the colony, presents now but a 
mournful picture of departed prosperity. Here 
were formerly situated some of the finest estates 
in the country, and a large resident body of 
proprietors lived in the district, and freely ex- 
pended their incomes on the spot whence they 
derived them.' Once more, Hhe lower part of 
the coast, after passing Devonshire Castle, to the 
river Pomeroon, presents a scene of almost 
total desolation.' Such is Essequibo ! 

"Berbice," says Lord Stanley, "has fared no 
better. Its rural population amounts to 18,000. 
Of these, 12,000 have withdrawn from the es- 
tates, and mostly from the neighborhood of the 
white man, to enjoy a savage freedom of igno- 
rance and idleness, beyond the reach of ex- 
ample and sometimes of control. But on the 
condition of the negro I shall dwell more at 
length hereafter; at present it is the state of 
property with which I have to do. What are 
the districts which together form the county 
of Berbice? The Corentyne coast — the Canje 
Creek — east and west banks of the Berbice 
River — and the west coast where, however, 



cotton was formerly the chief article produced. 
To each of these respectively the follomng pas- 
sages, quoted in order, apply : — 

"^The abandoned plantations on this coast,* 
which, if capital and labor could be procured, 
might easily be made very productive, are either 
wholly deserted, or else appropriated by hordes 
of squatters, who of course are unable to keep 
up at their own expense the public roads and 
bridges; and consequently all communication 
by land between the Corentyne and l^ew Am- 
sterdam is nearly at an end. The roads are 
impassable for horses or carriages, while for 
foot passengers they are extremely dangerous. 
The number of villages in this deserted region 
must be upward of 2500, and as the country 
abounds with fish and game, they have no diffi- 
culty in making a subsistence. In fact, the 
Corentyne coast is fast relapsing into a state 
of nature.' 

"^Canje Creek was formerly considered a 
flourishing district of the county, and numbered 
on its east bank seven -sugar and three coffee 
estates, and on its west bank eight estates, of 
which two were in sugar and six in coffee, 

* The Corentyne. 


making a total of eigliteen plantations. The 
coffee cultivation has long since been entirely 
abandoned, and of the sugar estates but eight 
still now remain. They are suffering severe- 
ly for want of labor, and being supported 
principally by African and Coolie immigrants, 
it is much to be feared that if the latter leave 
and claim their return passages to India, a 
great part of the district will become aban- 

" ' Under present circumstances, so gloomy 
is the condition of affairs here,* that the two 
gentlemen whom your commissioners have ex- 
amined with respect to this district, both concur 
in predicting "its slow but sure approximation 
to the condition in which civilized man first 
found it.'" 

" ^A districtf that in 1829 gave employment 
to 3635 registered slaves, but at the present 
moment there are not more than 600 laborers 
at work on the few estates still in cultivation, 
although it is estimated there are upward of 
2000 people idling in villages of their own. 
The roads are in many parts several feet under 

* East bank of the Berbice River, 
t- West bank of the Berbice R,iver. 


water and perfect swamps, while in some places 
the bridges are wanting altogether. In fact 
the whole district is fast becoming a total wil- 
derness, with the exception of the one or two 
estates which yet continue to struggle on, and 
which are hardly accessible now but by water.' 

"'Except in some of the best villages,* they 
care not for back or front dams to keep off the 
water ; their side-lines are disregarded, and con- 
sequently the drainage is gone, while in many 
instances the public road is so completely 
flooded that canoes have to be used as a means 
of transit. The Africans are unhappily follow- 
ing the example of the Creoles in this district, 
and buying land on which they settle in con- 
tented idleness ; and your commissioners cannot 
view instances like these without the deepest 
alarm, for if this pernicious habit of squatting 
is allowed to extend to the immigrants alsQ, 
there is no hope for the colony.' "f 

We might fill a volume with extracts to the 
same effect. We might in like manner point 
to other regions, especially to Guatemala, to 
the British colony on the southern coast of 

* West coast of Berbice River, 
f Quoted in Carey's Slave Trade. 


Africa, and to tlie island of Hayti, in all of 
which emancipation, has been followed by pre- 
cisely similar results. But we must hasten to 
consider how it is that emancipation has 
wrought all this ruin and desolation. In the 
mean time, we shall conclude this section in 
the ever-memorable words of Alison, the his- 
torian: "The negroes," says he, "who, in a 
state of slavery, were comfortable and pros- 
perous beyond any peasantry in the world, 
and rapidly approaching the condition of the 
most opulent serfs of Europe, have been hy the 
act of emancipation irretrievably consigned to a state 
of barbarism." 

§ m. The manner in which emancijoation has 
ruined the British Colonies. 

By the act of emancipation, Great Britain 
paralyzed the right arm of her colonial industry. 
The laborer would not work except occasion- 
ally, and the planter was ruined. The morals 
of the negro disappeared with his industry, 
and he speedily retraced his steps toward his 
original barbarism. All this had been clearly 
foretold. "Emancipation," says Dr. Channing 
in 1840, "was resisted on the ground that the 
Blave, if restored to his rights, icould fall into 

R 22* 


idleness and vagrancy, and even relapse into bar- 

This was predicted by the West Indian plant- 
ers, who certainly had a good opportunity to 
know something of the character of the negro, 
whether bond or free. But who could suppose 
for a moment that an enlightened abolitionist 
would listen to slaveholders? His response 
was, that "their unhappy position as slave- 
holders had robbed them of their reason and 
blunted their moral sense." Precisely the same 
thing had been foretold by the Calhouns and 
the Clays of this country. But they, too, were 
unfortunately slaveholders, and, consequently, 
so completely "sunk in moral darkness," that 
their testimony was not entitled to credit. The 
calmest, the profoundest, the wisest statesmen 
of Great Britain likewise forewarned the agi- 
tators of the desolation and the woes they 
were about to bring upon the West Indies. 
''But the madness of the day would confide in 
no wisdom except its own, and listen to no 
testimony except to the clamor of fanatics. 
Hence the frightful experiment was made, 
and, as we have seen, the prediction of the 
anti-abolitionists has been fulfilled to the very 
letter. . 


The cause of this downward tendency in the 
British colonies is now perfectly apparent to 
all who have eyes to see. On this point, the 
two committees above referred to both concui 
in the same conclusion. The committee of 
1842 declare, "that the principal causes of 
this diminished production, and consequent 
distress, are the great difficulty which has been 
experienced by the planters in obtaining steady 
and continuous labor, and the high rate of remu- 
neration which they give for even the broken 
and indifferent work which they are able to 

The cry of the abolitionist has been changed. 
At fii'st — even before the experiment was more 
than a year old — he insisted that the industry 
of the freed black was working wonders in the 
■British colonies. In the West Indies, in par- 
ticular, he assured us that the freed negro 
would do "an infinity of work for wages."* 
Though he had been on the islands, and had had" 
an opportunity to see for himself, he boasted 
that "the old notion that the negro is, by con- 
stitution, a lazy creature, who will do no work at 
•all except by compulsion, is now forever ex- 

* Gurney's Letters on the West Indies. 


ploded.''^ He even declared, that the free 
negro "understands liis interest as well as a 
Yankee. "t These confident statements, made 
by an eye-witness, were hailed by the abolition- 
ists as conclusive proof that the experiment 
was working admirably. " The great truth has 
come out," says Dr. Channing, "that the hopes 
of the most sanguine advocates of emancipation 
have been realized — if not surpassed — by the 
West Indies." "What! the negro become idle, 
indeed! "He is more likely," says the en- 
chanted doctor, " to fall into the civilized man's 
cupidity than into the filth and sloth, of the 
savage." But all these magnificent boasts were 
quite premature. A few short years have suf- 
ficed to demonstrate that the deluded authors 
of them, who had so lamentably failed to 
predict the future, could not even read the 

Their boasts are now exploded. Their former 
hopes are blasted ; and their cry is changed. 
The song now is, — "Well, suppose the negroes 
will not work : they are free ! They can now 
do as they list, and there is no man to hinder." 
Ah, yes ! they can now, at their own sweet will,' 

* Guiney's Letters on the West Lidies. f Ibid. 


stretch themselves " under their gracefully- wav- 
ing groves," and be lulled to sleep amid the 
sound of waterfalls and the song of birds. 

Such, precisely, is the paradise for which the 
negro sighs, except that he does not care for 
the waterfalls and the birds. But it should bo 
remarked, that when sinful man was driven from 
the only Paradise that earth has ever seen, he 
was doomed to eat his bread in the sweat of his 
brow. This doom he cannot reverse. Let him 
make of life — as the Haytian negroes do — " one 
long day of unprofitable ease,"* and he may 
dream of Paradise, or the abolitionists may 
dream for him. But while he dreams, the 
laws of nature are sternly at their work. 
Indolence benumbs his feeble intellect, and in- 
flames his passions. Poverty and want are 
creeping on him. Temptation is surrounding 
him ; and vice, with all her motley train, is 
winding fast her deadly coils around his veiy 
soul, and making him the devil's slave, to do 
his work upon the earth. Thus, the blossoms 
of his paradise are fine words, and its fruits are 

"If but two hours' labor per day," says 

* Dr. Channing. 


Theodore Parker, "are necessary for tTie sup- 
port of each colored man, I know not why he 
should toil longer." You know not, then, 
why the colored man should work more than 
two hours a day? JSTeither does the colored 
man himself. You know not why he should 
have any higher or nobler aim in life than to 
supply his few, pressing, animal wants? IN'ei- 
ther does he. You know not why he should 
think of the future, or provide for the necessi- 
ties of old age? I^either does he. You know 
not why he should take thought for sea- 
sons of sickness ? N'either does he ; and hence 
his child often dies under his own e^^es, for the 
want of medical attendance. You know not 
that the colored man, who begins with working 
only, two hours a day, will soon end with ceasing 
from all regular employment, and live, in the 
midst of filth, by stealing or other nefarious 
means? In one word, you know not why the 
colored man should not live like the brute, in 
and for the present merely — blotting out all the 
future from his plans of life? K, indeed, you 
really know none of these things, then we beg 
you will excuse us, if we do not know why you 
should assume to teach our senators wisdom ; — 
if we do not knoAV why the cobbler should not 


stick to Ms last, and all sucli preachers to tlieir 

Abolitionism is decidedly progressive. The 
time was when Dr. Channing thought that men 
should work, and that, if they would not labor 
from rational motives, they should be com- 
pelled to labor, f The time was, when even 
abolitionists looked upon labor with respect, 
and regarded it as merely an obedience to the 

* We moot a higher question: Is he fit for the pulpit, — for 
that great conservative power by which religion, and morals, and 
freedom, must be maintained among us? "I do not believe," 
he declares, in one of his sermons, ' ' the miraculous origin of 
the Hebrew church, or the Buddhist church, or of the Christian 
church, nor the miraculous character of Jesus. I take not 
the Bible for my master — ^nor yet the church — nor even Jesus 

of Nazareth for my master He is my best historic 

ideal of human greatness ; not without errors — not without the 
stain of his times, and I presume, of course, not without sins ; 
for men without sins exist in the dreams of girls." Thus, the 
truth of all miracles is denied ; and the faith of the Christian 
world, in regard to the sinless character of Jesus, is set down by 
this very modest divine as the dream of girls ! Yet he believes 
that half a million of men were, by the British act of emancipa- 
tion, turned from slaves into freemen ! That is to say, he does 
not believe in the miracles of the gospel ; he only believes in 
the miracles of abolitionism. Hence, we ask, is he fit for the 
pulpit, — for the sacred desk, — for any holy thing? 

f See extract, p. 111. 


very first law of nature, or merely a compliance 
witli tlie very first condition of all economic, 
social, and moral well-being. But the times 
are changed. The exigencies of abolitionism 
now require that marmal labor, and the gross 
material wealth it produces, should be sneeringly 
spoken of, and great swelling eulogies pro- 
nounced on the infinite value of the negro's 
freedom. For this is all he has ; and for this, 
all else has been sacrificed. Thus, since aboli- 
tionists themselves have been made to see that 
the freed negro — the pet and idol of their 
hearts — will not work from rational motives, 
then the principles of political economy, and 
the afiairs of the world, all must be adjusted 
to the course he may be pleased to take. 

In this connection we shall notice a passage 
from Montesquieu, which is exactly in point. 
He is often quoted by the abolitionists, but sel- 
dom fairly. It is true, he is exceedingly hostile 
•to slavery in general, and very justly pours ridi- 
cule and contempt on some of the arguments 
used in favor of the institution. But yet, with 
all his enthusiastic love of liberty, — nay, with 
his ardent passion for equality, — he saw far too 
deeply into the true " Spirit of Laws" not to 
perceive that slavery is, in certain cases, founded 


on the great principles of political justice. It is 
precisely in those cases in which a race or a 
people will not work without being compelled 
to do so, that he justifies the institution in ques- 
tion. Though warmly and zealously opposed to 
slavery, yet he was not bent on sacrificing the 
good of society to abstractions or to prejudice. 
Hence, he could say: "But as all men are born 
equal, slavery must be accounted unnatural, 


NATURAL. REASON; and a wide difference ought 
to be made betwixt such countries, and those in 
which natural reason rejects it, as in Europe, 
where it has been happily abolished."* IS'ow, 
if we inquire in what countries, or under what 
circumstances, he considered slavery founded on 
natural reason, we may find his answer in a pre- 
ceding portion of the same page. It is in those 
"countries," says he, "wiiere the excess of heat 
enervates the body, and renders men so slothful 
and dispirited, that nothing but the fear of 
chastisement can oblige them to perform any 
laborious duty," &c. Such, as we have seen, is 
precisely the case with the African race in its 
present condition. 

* Spirit of Laws, vol. i. book xt. chap. vii. 


"Natural slavery, then," he continues, "is to 
be limited to some particular parts of the 
world."* And again: "Bad laws have made 
lazy men — they have been reduced to slavery 
because of their laziness." The first portion of 
this remark — that bad laws have made lazy men 
— ^is not applicable to the African race. For they 
were made lazy, not by bad laws, but by the 
depravity of human nature, in connection and 
in co-operation with long, long centuries of 
brutal ignorance and the most savage modes of 
life. But, be the cause of this laziness what it 
may, it is sufficient, according to the princi- 
ples of this great advocate of human fi-eedom 
and equality, to justify the servitude in which 
the providence of God has placed the Af- 

Ko doubt it is very hard on lazy men that 
they should be compelled to work. It is for 
this reason that Montesquieu calls such slavery 
"the most cruel that is to be found -among 
men;" by which he evidently means that it is 
the most cruel, though necessary, because those 
on whom it is imposed are least inclined to 
work. If he had only had greater experience 

* Spirit of Laws, vol. i. book xv. chap. viii. 


of negro slavery, the hardship would have 
seemed far less to hhn. For though the negro 
is naturally lazy, and too improvident to work 
for himself, he will often labor for a master with 
a right good will, and with a loyal devotion to 
his interests. He is, indeed, often prepared, 
and made ready for labor, because he feels 
that, in his master, he has a protector and a 

But whether labor be a heavy burden or a 
light, it must be borne. The good of the lazy 
race, and the good of the society into which 
they have been thrown, both require them to 
bear this burden, which is, after all and at the 
worst, far lighter than that of a vagabond life. 
"^N'ature cries aloud," says the abolitionist, ''for 
freedom." ISTature, we reply, demands that 
man shall work, and her decree must be ful- 
filled. For ruin, as we have seen, is the bitter 
fruit of disobedience to her will. 

It is now high time that Ave should notice 
some of the exalted eulogies bestowed by abo- 
litionists upon freedom; and also the kiJid of 
freedom on which these high praises have been 
so eloquently lavished. This, accordingly, we 
shall proceed to do in the following section. 


§ lY. The great benefit supposed hy American 
abolitionists to result to the freed negroes from the 
JBritish act of emancipation. 

We have, in tlie preceding sections, abun- 
dantly seen that the freed colored subjects of 
the British crown are fast relapsing into the 
most iiTetrievable barbarism, while the once 
flourishing colonies themselves present the most 
appalling scenes of desolation and distress. 
Surely it is no wonder that the hurrahing of 
the English people has ceased. "At the pre- 
sent moment," says the London Times for De- 
cember 1st, 1852, "if there is one thing in the 
world that the British public do not like to 
talk about, or even to think about^ it is the con- 
dition of the race for whom this great effort 
was made." I^ot so with the abolitionists of 
this country. They still keep up the annual cele- 
bration of that great event, the act of emancipa- 
tion, by which, in the language of one of their 
number, more than half a million of human 
beings were " turned from brutes into freemen !" 

It is the freedom of the negro which they 
celebrate. Let us look, then, for a few mo- 
ments, into the mysteries of this celebration, 
and see, if we may, the nature of the praises 


tliej pour forth, in honor of freedom, and the 
kind of freedom on which they are so passion- 
ately bestowed. 

"We shall not quote from the more insane 
of the fraternity of abolitionists, for their wild, 
raving nonsense would, indeed, be unworthy of 
serious refutation. We shall simply notice the 
language of Dr. Channing, the scholar-like and 
the eloquent, though visionary, advocate of 
British emancipation. Even as early as 1842, 
in an address delivered on the anniversary of 
that event, he burst into the following strain 
of impassioned eulogy: "Emancipation works 
well, far better than could have been antici- 
pated. To me it coidd hard!}/ have worked other- 
wise than well. It banished slavery, that wrong 
and curse not to be borne. It gave freedom, the 
dear birthright of humanity; and had it done 
nothing more, I should have found in it cause 
for joy. Freedom, simple freedom, is 4n my 
estimation just, far prized above all price.' I 
do not stop to ask if the emancipated are better 
fed and clothed than formerly. They are free ; 


GOOD,* unknown to the most pampered slave." 

* The emphasis is ours. 


And again, he says, "!N"ature cries aloud for 
freedom as our proper good, our birthright and 
our end, and resents nothing so much as its 

In these high-sounding praises, which hold 
up personal freedom as *^our proper good," aa 
"our end," it is assumed that man was made 
for liberty, and not liberty for man. It is, in- 
deed, one of the fundamental errors, of the 
abolitionist to regard freedom as a great sub- 
stantive good, or as in itself a blessing, and not 
merely as a relative good. It may be, and in- 
deed often is, an unspeakable benefit, but then 
it is so only as a means to an end. The end 
of our existence, the jproper good, is the improve- 
ment of our intellectual and moral powers, the 
perfecting of our rational and immortal natures. 
"When freedom subserves this end., it is a good ; 
when it defeats this end, it is an evil. Hence 
there may be a world of evil as well as a world 
of good in "this one word." 

The wise man adapts the means to the end. 
It were the very height of folly to sacrifice 
the end to the means. "No man gives personal 
freedom to his child because he deems it always 
and in all cases a good. His heart teaches him 
a better doctrine when the highest good of his 


child is concerned. Should we not be per- 
mitted, then, to have something of the same 
feeling in regard to those whom Providence 
has placed under our care, especially since, hav- 
ing the passions of men, with only the intel- 
lects of children, they stand in utmost need 
of guidance and direction? 

As it is their duty to labor, so the law which 
compels them to do so is not oppressive. It 
deprives them of the enjoyment of no right, 
unless, indeed, they may be supposed to have 
a right to violate their duty. Hence, in com- 
pelling the colored population of the South to 
work, the law does not deprive them of liberty, 
in the true sense of the word ; that is, it does 
not deprive tJiem of the enjoyment of any natural 
right. It merely requires them to perform a 
natural duty. 

This cannot be denied. It has been, as we 
have shown, admitted both by Dr. "VYayland 
and Dr. Channing.* But while the end is ap- 
proved, the means are not liked. Few of the 
abolitionists are disposed to offer any substitute 
for our method. They are satisfied merely to 
pull down and destroy, without the least 

* See pages 110 and 119. 


thought or care in regard to consequences. 
Dr. Channing has, however, been pleased to 
propose another method, for securing the in- 
dustry of the black and the prosperity of the 
State. Let us then, for a moment, look at 
this scheme. 

The black man, says he, should not be owned. 
He should work, but not under the control of 
a master. His overseer should be appointed 
by the State, and be amenable to the State 
for the proper exercise of his authority. Kow, 
if this learned and eloquent oi'ator had only 
looked one inch beneath the surface of his 
own scheme, he would have seen that it is 
fraught with the most insuperable difficulties, 
and that its execution must needs be attended 
with the most ruinous consequences. 

Emancipate the blacks, then, and let the State 
undertake to work them. In the first place, 
we must ignore every principle of political 
economy, and consent to the wildest and most 
reckless of experiments, ere we can agree that 
the State should superintend and carry on the 
agricultural interest of the country. But sup- 
pose this difficulty out of the way, on what 
land would the State cause its slaves to be 
worked ? It would scarcely take possession of 


the plantations now under improvement; and, 
setting aside the owners, proceed to cultivate 
the land. But it must either do this, or else 
leave these plantations to become worthless 
for the want of laborers, and open new ones 
for the benefit of the State! In no point of 
view could a more utterly chimerical or foolish 
scheme be well conceived. If we may not be 
allowed to adhere to our own plan, we beg 
that some substitute may be proposed which 
is not fraught with such inevitable destruction 
to the whole South. Otherwise, we shall fear 
that these self-styled friends of humanity are 
more bent on carrying out their own designs 
than they are on promoting our good. 

But what is meant by the freedom of the 
emancipated slaves, on which so many exalted 
eulogies have been pronounced? Its first ele- 
ment, it is plain, is a freedom from labor* — • 
freedom from the very first law of nature. In 
one word, its sum and substance is a power 
on the part of the freed black to act pretty 
much as he pleases. ^fSTow, before we expend 
oceans of enthusiasm on such a freedom, would it 
not be well to see how he would be pleased to act ? 

* See chap. i. | 2. 


Dr. Channing has told us, we are aware, of 
the "indomitable love of liberty," which had 
been infused into the breast of "fierce bar- 
barians" by their native wildernesses.* But we 
are no great admirers of a liberty which knows 
no law except its own will, and seeks no end 
except the gratification of passion, f Hence, 
we have no very great respect for the liberty 
of fierce barbarians. It would make a hell 
on earth. "My maxim," exclaims Dr. Chan- 
ning, "is anything but slavery!" Even slavery, 
we cry, before a freedom such as hisi 

This kind of freedom, it should be remem- 
bered, was born in France and cradled in the 
revolution. May it never be forgotten that 
the "Friends of the Blacks" at Boston had 
their exact prototypes in 'Hes Amis des Noirs'' 
of Paris. Of this last society Robespierre was 
the ruling spirit, and Brissot the orator. By 
the dark machinations of the one,J and the 
fiery eloquence of the other, the French people — 
la grande nation — were induced, in 1T91, to pro- 

* Works, vol. V. p. 63. f See chap. i. § 2. 

J We have in the above remark done Boston some injustice. 
For New York has furnished the Robespierre, and Massachu- 
eetts only the Brissot, of " les Amis des Noirs" in America. 


claim the principle of equality to and for the 
free blacks of St. Domingo. This beautiful 
island, then the brightest and most precious 
jewel in the crown of France, thus became the 
first of the West Indies in w^hich the dreadfal 
experiment of a forced equality was tried. 
The authors of that experiment were solemnly 
warned of the horrors into which it would 
inevitably plunge both the whites and the 
blacks of the island. Yet, firm and immov- 
able as death, Robespierre sternly replied, then 
*' Perish the colonies rather than sacrifice one 
iota of our principles !"* The magnificent 
colony of St. Domingo did not quite perish, it 
is true; but yet, as every one, except the phi- 
lanthropic ''Ami des ]^oirs" of the present day, 
still remembers with a thrill of horror, the 
entire white population soon melted, like suc- 
cessive flakes of snow, in the furnace of that 
freedom which a Robespierre had kindled. 

The, atrocities of this awful massacre have had, 
as the historian has said,t no parallel in the 

* This reply is sometimes attributed to Robespierre and 
sometimes to Brissot; it is probable that in substance it was 
made by both of these bloody compeers in the cause of abo- 

f See Alison's History of Europe, vol. ii. p. 241. 


annals of human crime. "The negroes," says 
Alison, " marched with spiked infants on their 
spears instead of colors ; they sawed asunder 
the male prisoners, and violated the females on 
the dead bodies of their husbands." The work 
of death, thus completed with such outbursts 
of unutterable brutality, constituted and closed 
the first act in the grand drama of Haytian 

But equality was not yet established. The 
colored men, or mulattoes, beheld, with an eye 
burning with jealousy, the superior power and 
ascendency of the blacks. Hence arose the 
horrors of a civil war. Equality had been pro- 
claimed, and anarchy produced. In this frightful 
chaos, the ambitious mulattoes, whose insatiable 
desire of equality had first disturbed the peace 
of the island, perished miserably beneath the 
vengeance of the very slaves whom they had 
themselves roused from subjection and elevated 
into irresistible power. Thus ended the second 
act of the horrible drama. 

This bloody discord, this wild chaos of dis- 
gusting brutalities, of course terminated not in 
freedom, but in a military despotism. With 
the subsequent wars and fearful destruction of 
human life our present inquiry has nothing to 


do. We must confine our attention to tlie 
point before us, namely, the kind of freedom 
achieved by the blacks of St. Domingo. We 
have witnessed the two great manifestations of 
that freedom ; we shall now look at its closing 
scene. This we shall, for obvious reasons, pre- 
sent in the language of an English author. 

"An independent negro state," says he, "was 
thus established in Hayti; but the people have 
not derived all the benefits which they san- 
guinely expected. Released from their com- 
pulsory toil, they have not yet learned to sub- 
ject themselves to the restraints of regular 
industry. The first absolute rulers made the 
most extraordinary efibrts to overcome the in- 
dolence which soon began to display itself. 
The Code Rural directed that the laborer should 
fi:x himself on a certain estate, which he was 
never afterward to quit without a passport from 
the government. His hours of labor and rest 
were fixed by statute. The whip, at first per- 
mitted, was ultimately prohibited ; but as every 
military officer was allowed to chastise with a 
thick cane, and almost every proprietor held 
a commission, the laborer was not much re- 
lieved. By these means Mr. Mackenzie sup- 
poses tliat the produce of 1806 was raised to 



about a third of that of 1789. But such vio- 
lent regulations could not continue to be en- 
forced amid the succeeding agitations, and un- 
der a republican regime. Almost all traces of 
laborious culture were soon obliterated; large 
tracts, which had been one entire sugar garden, 
presented now only a few scattered planta- 

Thus the lands were divided out among the 
officers of the army, while the privates were 
compelled to cultivate the soil under their 
former military commanders, clothed with more 
than "a little brief authority." IN'o better 
could have been expected except by fools or 
fanatics. The blacks might preach equality, it 
is true, but yet, like the more enlightened ruf- 
fians of Paris, they would of course take good 
care not to practise what they had preached. 
Hence, by all the horrors of their bloody revo- 
lution, they only effected a change of masters. 
The white man had disappeared, and the black 
man, one of their own race and color, had as- 
sumed his place and his authority. And of all 
masters, it is well known, the naturally servile 
are the most cruel. "The earth," says Solo- 

* Encyclopaedia of Geo., vol. iii. pp. 302, 303. 


mon, "cannot bear a servant wTien he 

<' The sensual and the dark rebel in vain: 

Slaves by their own compulsion, in mad game 

They burst their manacles, to wear the name 

Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain." 


Thus " the world of good" they sought was 
found, most Hterally, in "the word;" for the 
word, the name of freedom, was all they had 
achieved— at least of good. Poverty, want, dis- 
ease, and crime, were the substantial fruits of 
their boasted freedom. 

In 1789, the sugar exported was 672,000,000 
pounds; in 1806, it was 47,516,531 pounds; in 
1825, it was 2020 pounds; in 1832, it was 
pounds. If history had not spoken, we might 
have safely inferred, from this astounding de- 
cline of industry, that the morals of the people 
had suffered a fearful deterioration. But we 
are not left to inference. We are informed, by 
the best authorities,t that their "morals are ex- 
ceedingly bad;" and that under the reign of 

* Prov. XXX. 22. 

f Encyc. of Geo., vol. ui. p. 303. Mackenzie's St. Domingo, 

vol. ii. pp. 260, 321. 


liberty, as it is called, their condition lias, in all 
respects, become far worse than it was before. 
"There appears every reason to apprehend," 
says James Franklin, "that it will recede into 
irrecoverable insignificance, poverty, and dis- 

Mr. T. Babington Macaulay has, we are 
aware, put forth certain notions on the sub- 
ject of liberty, which are exactly in accordance 
with the views and the spirit of the abolition- 
ists, as well as with the cut-throat philosophy of 
the Parisian philanthropists of the revolution. 
As these notions are found in one of his juve- 
nile productions, and illustrated by "a pretty 
story" out of Ariosto, we should not deem it 
worth while to notice them, if they had not been 
retained in the latest edition of his Miscellanies. 
But for this circumstance, we should pass them 
by as the rhetorical flourish of a young man 
who, in his most mature productions, is often 
more brilliant than profound. 

"Ariosto," says he, "tells a pretty story of a 
fairy, who, by some mysterious law of hei 
nature, was condemned to appear at certain sea- 
sons in the form of a foul and poisonous snake. 

* Franklin's Present State of Hayti, &c., p. 265. 


Those who injured her during the period of her 
disguise were forever excluded from partici- 
pation in the blessings which she bestowed. 
But to those who, in spite of her loathsome 
aspect, pitied and protected her, she afterward 
revealed herself in the beautiful and celestial 
form which was natural to her, accompanied 
their steps, granted all their wishes, filled their 
houses with wealth, made them happy in love, 
and victorious in war. Such a spirit is Liberty. 
At times she takes the form of a hateful reptile. 
She grovels, she hisses, she stings. But wo to 
those who in disgust shall venture to crush her ! 
And happy are those who, having dared to re- 
ceive her in her degraded and frightful shape, 
shall at length be rewarded by her in the time 
of her beauty and her glory." 

For aught we know, all this may be very fine 
poetry, and may deserve the place which it has 
found in some of our books on rhetoric. But 
yet this beautiful passage wdll — like the fairy 
whose charms it celebrates — be so surely trans- 
formed into a hateful snake or venomous toad, 
that it should not be swallowed without an anti- 
dote. Eobespierre, Danton, Marat, Barr^re, and 
the black Dessalines, took this hatcfal, hissing, 
stinging, maddening reptile to their bosoms, 


and they are welcome to its rewards. But tliey 
mistook the thing: it was not liberty trans- 
formed; it was tyranny unbound, the very 
scourge of hell, and Satan's chief instrument 
of torture to a guilty world. It was neither 
more nor less than Sin, despising God, and war- 
ring against his image on the earth. 

We do not doubt — nay, we firmly believe — 
that in the veritable history of the universe, analo- 
gous changes have taken place. But then these 
awful changes were not mere fairy tales. They 
are recorded in the word of God. When Luci- 
fer, the great bearer of light, himself was free, 
he sought equality with God, and thence be- 
came a hateful, hissing serpent in the dust. 
But he was not fully cursed, until "by devilish 
art" he reached " the organs of man's fancy," 
and with them forged the grand illusion that 
equality alone is freedom. 

For even sinless, happy Eve was made to feel 
herself oppressed, until, with keen desire of 
equality with gods, " forth reaching to the fruit, 
she plucked, she ate:" — 

** Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat, 
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of wo, 
That all was lost." 


How mucli easier, tlien, to effect the ruin of 
poor, fallen man, by stirring up tliis fierce de- 
sire of equality witli discontented tliougMs and 
vain hopes of unattainable good! It is this 
dark desire, and not liberty, which, in its rage, 
becomes the "poisonous snake;" and, though 
decked in fine, allegoric, glowing garb, it is 
still the loathsome thing, the "false worm," 
that turned God's Paradise itself into a blighted 


If Mr. Macaulay had only distinguished be- 
tween liberty and license, than which no two 
things in the universe are more diametrically 
opposed to each other, his passion for fine 
rhetoric would not have betrayed him into so 
absurd a conceit respecting the diverse forms of 
freedom. Liberty is — as we have seen — the 
bright emanation of reason in the form of law ; 
license is the triumph of blind passion over all 
law and order. Hence, if we would have 
liberty, the great deep of human passion must 
be restrained. For this purpose, as Mr. Burke 
has said, there must be power somewhere; and 
if there be not moral power within, there must 
be physical power without. Otherwise, the 
restraints will be too weak; the safeguards of 
liberty will give way, and the passions of men 


will burst into anarchy, the most frightful of all 
the forms of tyranny. Shall we call this liberty ? 
Shall we seek the secure enjoyment of natural 
rights in a wild reign of lawless terror? As 
well might we seek the pure light of heaven in 
the bottomless pit. It is, indeed, a most horri- 
ble desecration of the sacred name of liberty, to 
apply it either to the butcheries and brutalities 
of the French Revolution, or to the more dia- 
bolical massacres of St. Domingo. If such 
were freedom, it would, in sober truth, be 
more fitly symbolized by ten thousand hissing 
serpents than by a single poisonous snake ; and 
by all on earth, as in heaven, it should be ab- 
horred. Hence, those pretended friends and 
advocates of freedom, who would thus fain 
transmute her form di\dne into such horribly 
distorted shapes, are with her enemies confede- 
rate in dark misguided league. 

§ Y. The consequences of abolition to the South. 

"We have had experience enough in our 
own colonies," says the Prospective Review, for 
JN'ovember, 1852, "not to wish to see the ex- 
periment tried elsewhere on a larger scale." 
Now this, though it comes to us from across the 
Atlantic, really sounds like the voice of genuine 


pliilantliropy. !N"or do we wish to see the ex- 
periment, which has brought down such wide- 
spread ruin on all the great interests of St. 
Domingo and the British colonies, tried in this 
prosperous and now beautiful land of ours. It 
requires no prophet to foresee the awful con- 
sequences of such an experiment on the lives, 
the liberties, the fortunes, and the morals, of 
the people of the Southern States. Let us 
briefly notice some of these consequences. 

Consider, in the first place, the vast amount 
of property which would be destroyed by the 
madness of such an experiment. According to 
the estimate of Mr. Clay, " the total value of the 
slave property in the United States is twelve 
hundred millions of dollars," all of which the 
people of the South are expected to sacrifice on 
the altar of abolitionism. It only moves the 
indi2:nation of the abolitionist that we should 
for one moment hesitate. "I see," he ex- 
claims, "in the immenseness of the value of 
the slaves, the enormous amount of the rob- 
bery committed on them. I see ' twelve hun- 
dred millions of dollars' seized, extorted by 
unrighteous force."* But, unfortunately, his 

* Dr. Channing's Works, vol. v. p. 47. 


passions are so furious, that his mind no sooner 
comes into contact with any branch of the sub- 
ject of slavery, than instantly, as if by a flash 
of lightning, his opinion is formed, and he 
bescins to declaim and denounce as if reason 
should have nothing to do with the question. 
He does not even allow himself time for a sin- 
gle moment's serious reflection. N'ay, resenting 
the opinion of the most sagacious of our states- 
men as an insult to his understanding, he deems 
it beneath his dignity even to make an attempt 
to look beneath the surface of the great pro- 
blem on which he condescends to pour the 
illuminations of his genius. Ere we accept his 
oracles as inspired, we beg leave to think a 
little, and consider their intrinsic value. 

Twelve hundred millions of dollars extorted 
by unrighteous force! What enormous rob- 
bery! Now, let it be borne in mind, that this 
is the language of a man who, as we have seen, 
has — in one of his lucid intervals — admitted that 
it is right to apply force to compel those to work 
who will not labor from rational motives. Such 
is precisely the application of the force which 
now moves his righteous indignation ! 

This force, so justly applied, has created this 
enormous value of twelve hundred millions of 


dollars. It has neither seized, nor extorted this 
vast amount fi^om others ; it has simply created 
it out of that which, but for such force, would 
have been utterly valueless. And if experience 
teaches any thing, then, no sooner shall this 
force be withdrawn, than the great value in 
question will disappear. It will not be restored ; 
it will be annihilated. The slaves — now worth 
so many hundred millions of dollars — would be- 
come worthless to themselves, and nuisances to 
society. I^To free State in the Union would be 
w^illing to receive them — or a considerable por- 
tion of them — ^into her dominions. They would 
be regarded as pests^ and, if possible, every- 
where expelled from the empires of free- 

Our lands, like those of the British "West In- 
dies, would become almost valueless for the 
want of laborers to cultivate them. The most 
beautiful garden-spots of the sunny South 
would, in the course of a few years, be turned 
into a jungle, with only here and there a for- 
lorn plantation. Poverty and distress, bank- 
ruptcy and ruin, would everywhere be seen. 
In one word, the condition of the Southern 
States would, in all material respects, be like 
that of the once flourishing British colonies in 


whicli the fatal experiment of emancipation has 
been tried. 

Such are some of the fearful consequences of 
emancipation. But these are not all. The ties 
that would be severed, and the sympathies 
crushed, by emancipation, are not at all un- 
derstood by abolitionists. They are, indeed, 
utter strangers to the moral power which 
these ties and sympathies now exert for the 
good of the inferior race. '-Our patriarchal 
scheme of domestic servitude," says Governor 
Hammond, " is indeed well calculated to 
awaken the higher and finer feelings of our 
nature. It is not wanting in its enthusiasm 
and its poetiy. The relations of the most be- 
loved and honored chiefs, and the most faithful 
and admiring subjects, which, from the time of 
Homer, have been the theme of song, are frigid 
and unfelt, compared with those existing be- 
tween the master and his slaves; who served 
his father, and rocked his cradle, or have been 
born in his household, and look forward to 
serve his children ; who have been through life 
the props of his fortune, and the objects of his 
care; who have partaken of his griefs, and 
looked to him for comfort in their own ; 
whose sickness he has so frequently watched 


over and relieved ; whose holidays he has so 
often made joyous by his bounties and his 
presence; for whose welfare, when absent, his 
anxious solicitude never ceases, and whose 
hearty and affectionate greetings never fail to 
welcome him home. In this cold, calculating, 
ambitious world of ours, there are few ties more 
heaii:-felt, or of more benignant influence, than 
those which mutually bind the master and the * 
slave, under our ancient system, handed down ' 
from the father of Israel." 

Let the slaves be emancipated then, and, in 
one or two generations, the white people of the 
South would care as little for the freed blacks 
among us, as the same class of persons are now 
cared for by the white people of the l^orth. 
The prejudice of race would be restored with 
unmitigated violence; The blacks are con- 
tented in servitude, so long as they find them- 
selves excluded from none of the privileges of 
the condition to which they belong; bat let 
them be delivered from the authority of their 
masters, and they will feel their rigid exclusion 
from the society of the v/hites and all partici- 
pation in their government. They would be- 
come clamorous for " their inaUenable rights." 
Three millions of freed blacks, thus circum 

T 25 


stanced, would furnish the elements of the most 
horrible civil war the world has ever wit- 

These elements would soon burst in fury on 
the land. There was no civil war in Jamaica, 
it is true, after the slaves were emancipated; 
but this was because the power of Great Britain 
was over the two parties, and held them in sub- 
jection. It would be far otherwise here. For 
here there would be no power to check — while 
there would be infernal agencies at work to pro- 
mote — civil discord and strife. As Robespierre 
caused it to be proclaimed to the free blacks of 
St. Domingo that they were naturally entitled 
to all the rights and privileges of citizens; as 
Mr. Seward proclaimed the same doctrine to 
the free blacks of E'ew York ; so there would 
be kind benefactors enough to propagate the 
same sentiments among our colored population. 
They would be instigated, in every possible 
way, to claim their natural equality with the 
whites; and, by every diabolical art, their bad 
passions would be inflamed. If the object of 
such agitators were merely to stir up scenes 
of strife and blood, it might be easily attained; 
but if it were to force the blacks into a social 
and political equality with the whites, it would 


most certainly and forever fail. For the govern- 
ment of these Southern States was, by our fathers, 
founded on the virtue and the intelligence of 
the people, and there we intend it shall stand. 
The African has neither part nor lot in the matter. 

We cannot suppose, for a moment, that abo- 
litionists would be in the slightest degree 
moved by the awful consequences of emanci- 
pation. Poverty, ruin, death, are very small 
items with these sublime philanthropists. They 
scarcely enter into their calculations. The dan- 
gers of a civil war — though the most fearful the 
world has ever seen — lie quite beneath the 
range of their tumanity. 

Indeed, we should expect our argument 
from the consequences of emancipation to be 
met by a thorough-going abolitionist with the 
words, — "Perish the Southern States rather 
than sacrifice one iota of our principles I" "We 
ask them not to sacrifice their principles to us ; 
nor do we intend that they shall sacrifice us to 
their principles. For if perish we must, it shall 
be as a sacrifice to our own principles, and not 
to theirs. 

Note. — It has not fallen within the scope of our 
design to consider the effects of emancipation, and of the 
consequent destruction of so large an amount of pro- 


perty, on the condition and prosperity of the world. 
Otherwise it might easily have been shown that every 
civilized portion of the globe would feel the shock. This 
point has been very happily, though briefly, illustrated 
by Governor Hammond, in his *' Letters on Slavery. '' 

Nor has it formed any part of our purpose, in the fol- 
lowing section, to discuss the influence of American 
slavery on the future destiny and civilization of Africa. 
This subject has been ably discussed by various writers; 
and especially by an accomplished divine, the Rev. Wil- 
liam N. Pendleton, in a discourse published in the 
ti Virginia Colonizationist,'' for September, 1854. 

§ yi. Elevation of the Blacks hy Southern slavery. 

The abolitionists, with the most singular 
unanimity, perseveringly assert that Southern 
slavery degrades its subjects " into brutes." 
This assertion fills us with amazement. K it 
w^ere possible, we would suppose, in a judgment 
of cliarity, that its authors knew nothing of the 
history of Africa or of tbe condition of our 
slaves. But such ignorance is not possible. 
On the other hand, we find it equally impossible 
to believe that so many men and women — the 
very lights of abolitionism — could knowingly 
utter so palpable a falsehood. Thus we are 
forced to the conclusion, that the authors of 
this charge are so completely carried away by a 
blind hatred of slavery, that they do not care lo 


keep their words within the sacred bounds of 
eternal truth. This seems to be the simple, 
melancholy fact. The great question with them 
seems to be, not what is true or what is false, 
but what will most speedily eifect the destruction 
of Southern slavery. Any thing that seems to 
answer this purpose is blindly and furiously 
wielded by them. The Edinburgh Review, in a 
high-wrought eulogy on an American authoress, 
says that she assails slavery with arrows "poi- 
soned by truth." Her w^ords, it is true, are 
dipped in flaming poison; but that poison is 
not truth. The truth is never poison. 

The native African could not be degraded. 
Of the fifty millions of inhabitants of the con- 
tinent of Africa, it is estimated that forty mil- 
lions were slaves. The master had the power of 
life and death over the slave ; and, in fact, his 
slaves were often fed, and killed, and eaten, just 
as we do with oxen and sheep in this country. 
I^ay, the hind and fore-quarters of men, women, 
and children, might there be seen hung on the 
shambles and exposed for sale ! Their women 
were beasts of burden; and, when young, they 
were regarded as a great delicacy by the palate 
of their pampered masters. A warrior would 
sometimes take a score of young females along 



with him, in order to enrich his feasts and regale 
his appetite. He delighted in such delicacies. As 
to his religion, it was even worse than his morals ; 
or rather, his religion was a mass of the most dis- 
gusting immoralities. His notion of a God, 
and the obscene acts by which that notion was 
worshipped, are too shocking to be mentioned. 
The vilest slave that ever breathed the air of a 
Christian land could not begin to conceive the 
hoiTid iniquities of such a life. And yet, in 
the face of all this, we are told — yea, we are 
perseveringly and eternally told — that " the Af- 
rican has been degraded into a brute" by Ame- 
rican slavery! Indeed, if such creatures ever 
reach the level of simple brutality at all, is it 
not evident they must be elevated, and not de- 
graded, to it? . 

The veiy persons who make the above charge 
know better. Their own writings furnish the 
most incontestable proof that they know better. 
A writer in the Edinburgh Review,* for exam- 
ple, has not only asserted that "slavery degrades 
its subjects into brutes," but he has the auda- 
city to declare, in regard to slavery in the 
United States, that "we do not believe that 

* April No., 1855. 


Buch oppression is to be found in any other 
part of the world, civilized or uncivilized. We 
do not believe that such oppression ever existed 
before." Yet even this unprincipled writer has, 
in the very article containing this declaration, 
shown that he knows better. He has shown 
that he knows that the African has been elevated 
and improved by his servitude in the United 
States. "We shall proceed to convict him out 
of his own mouth. 

" The African slave-trade was frightful," says 
he ; " but its prey were savages, accustomed 
to suffering and misery, and to endure them 
with patience almost amounting to apathy. 
The victims of the American slave-trade have 
been bred in a highly-cultivated community. 
Their dispositions have been softened, their 
intellects sharpened, and their sensibilities ex- 
cited, by society, by Christianity, and by all the 
ameliorating but enervating influences of civili- 
zation. The savage submits ' to be enslaved 
himself, or have his wife or his child carried off 
by his enemies, as merely a calamity. His 
misery is not embittered by indignation. He 
suffers only what — if he could — he would in- 
flict. He cannot imagine a state of society in 
which there shall not be masters and slaves, 


kidnapping and man-selling, coffles and slave- 
traders, or in wliicli any class shall be exempt 
from misfortunes wliicli appear to him to be 
incidental to humanity." 

Thus, according to this very sagacious, ho- 
nest, consistent writer, it matters little what 
you do with the native African : he has no 
moral sense ; he feels no wrong ; he suffers only 
what he would inflict. But when you come to 
deal with the American slave, or, as this writer 
calls him, "the civilized Virginian," it is quite 
another thing ! His dispositions have been 
softened, his intellect shaipened, and his sensi- 
bilities roused to a new life, by society and by 
Christianity! And yet, according to this very 
writer, this highly civilized Virginian is the 
man who, by American slavery, has been de- 
graded from the native African into a brute ! 
We dismiss his lawless savage, and his equally 
lawless pen, from our further consideration. 

We proceed, • in like manner, to condemn 
Dr. Channing out of his own mouth. He has 
repeatedly asserted that slavery among us de- 
grades its subjects into brutes. Il^ow hear 
him on the other side of this question 

"The European race," says he, "have mani- 
fested more courage, enterprise, invention ; but 


in the dispositions which Christianity particu- 
larly honors, how inferior are they to the Afri- 
can ! When I cast my eyes over our Southern 
region, — the land of bowie-knives, lynch-law, 
and duels, of * chivalry,* ^ honor,' and revenge; 
and when I consider that Christianity is de- 
clared to be a spirit of charity, ' which seeketh 
not its own, is not easily provoked, thinketh 
no evil, and endureth all things,' and is also 
declared to be * the wisdom from above, which 
is * first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be 
entreated, full of mercy and good fruits ;' can I 
hesitate in deciding to which of the races in 
that land Christianity is most adapted, and in 
which its noblest disciples are most likely to be 

It was by casting his eyes over "our South- 
ern region" that Dr. Channing concluded "that 
we are holding in bondage one of the best races 
of the human family." If he had cast them over 
the appallingly dark region of Africa, he would 
have been compelled, in spite of the wonder- 
working power of his imagination, to pro- 
nounce it one of the very worst and most 
degraded races upon earth. If, as he imagines. 

* Dr. Channing's Works, vol. vi. p. 50, 51. 


this race among us is now nearer to the king- 
dom of heaven than we ourselves are, how dare 
he assert — as he so often has done — that our 
slavery has "degraded them into brutes?" K, 
indeed, they had not been elevated — both phy- 
sically and morally — ^by their servitude in Ame- 
rica, it would have been beyond the power of 
even Dr. Channing to pronounce such a eulogy 
upon them. We say, then, that he knew bet- 
ter when he asserted that we have degraded 
them into brutes. He spoke, not from his bet- 
ter knowledge and his conscience, but from 
blind, unreflecting passion. For he knew — if 
he knew any thing — that the blacks have been 
elevated and improved by their contact with 
the whites of this enlightened portion of the 

The truth is, the abolitionist can make the 
slave a brute or a saint, just as it may happen 
to suit the exigency of his argument. If 
slaveiy degrades its subjects into brutes, then 
one would suppose that slaves are brutes. But 
the moment you speak of selling a slave, he is 
no longer a brute, — he is a civilized man, 
with all the most tender affections, with all the 
most generous emotions. If the object be to 
excite indignation against slavery, then it 


always transforms its subjects into brutes; 
but if it be to excite indignation against 
the slaveholder, then he holds, not brutes, 
but a George Harris — or an Eliza — or an 
Uncle Tom — in bondage. Any thing, and 
every thing, except fair and impartial state- 
ment, are the materials with which he 

IsTo fact is plainer than that the blacks have 
been elevated and improved by their servitude 
in this country. We cannot possibly conceive, 
indeed, how Divine Providence could have 
placed them in a better school of correction. 
If the abolitionists can conceive a better me- 
thod for their enlightenment and religious 
improvement, we should rejoice to see them 
carry their plan into execution. They need 
not seek to rend asunder our Union, on 
account of the three millions of blacks among 
us, while there are fifty millions of the same 
race on the continent of Africa, calling 
aloud for their sympathy, and appealing to 
their Christian benevolence. Let them look to 
that continent. Let them rouse the real, 
active, self-sacrificing benevolence of the whole 
Christian world in behalf of that most de- 
graded portion of the human family; and, 


after all, if they will show us on the con- 
tinent of Africa, or elsewhere, three mil- 
lions of blacks in as good a condition — 
physically and morally — as our slaves, then 
will we most cheerfully admit that all other 
Christian nations, combined, have accom- 
plished as much for the African race, as has 
been done by the Southern States of the 


chapte:^ v. 


"We have, under our present Union, advanced 
in prosperity and greatness beyond all former 
example in the history of nations. We no 
sooner begin to reason from the past to the 
future, than we are lost in amazement at the 
prospect before us. We behold the United 
States, and that too at no very distant period, 
the first power among the nations of the earth. 
But such reasoning is not always to be relied 
on. Whether, in the present instance, it points 
to a reality, or to a magnificent dream merely, 
will of course depend on the wisdom, the in- 
tegrity, and the moderation, of our rulers. 

It cannot be disguised that the Union, with 
all its unspeakable advantages and blessings, 
is in danger. It is the Fugitive Slave Law 
asrainst which the waves of abolitionism have 
dashed with their utmost force and raged with 
an almost boundless fury. On the other hand, 



it is precisely the Fugitive Slave Law — that 
great constitutional guarantee of our rights — 
which the people of the South are, as one man, 
the most inflexibly determined to maintain. "We 
are prepared, and we shall accordingly proceed, 
to show that, in this fearful conflict, the great 
leaders of abolitionism — the Chases, the Sewards, 
and the Sumners, of the day — are waging a 
fierce, bitter, and relentless warfare against 
the Constitution of their country. 

§ I. 3Ir. Seioard's attack on the Constitution of his 

There is one thing which Mr. Seward's rea- 
soning overlooks, — namely, that he has taken 
an oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States. "VYe shall not lose sight of this fact, nor 
permit him to obscure it by his special pleadings 
and mystifications ; since it serves to show that 
while, in the name of a "higher law," he de- 
nounces the Constitution of his country, he at 
the same time commits a most flagrant outrage 
against that higher law itself. 

The clause of the Constitution which Mr. 
Seward denounces is as follows : " !N'o person 
held to service or labor in one state, under 
the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, 


in consequence of any law or regulation therein, 
be discharged from such service or labor, but 
shall be delivered up on claim of the party to 
whom such service or labor may be dite." 
This clause, as Mr. Seward contemptuously 
says, is "from the Constitution of the United 
States in 1787." He knows of only one other 
compact like this "in diplomatic history;" 
and that was made between despotic powers 
" in the year of grace 902, in the period called 
the Dark Ages." But whether this compact 
made by the fathers of the Republic, or the 
sayings and doings of Mr. Seward in regard to 
it, are the more worthy of the Dark Ages, it 
is not for him alone to determine. 

"The law of nature," says he, "disavows 
such compacts; the law of nature, written on 
the hearts and consciences of freemen, repu- 
diates them." If this be so, then it certainly 
follows that in founding states no such com- 
pacts should be formed. For, as Mr. Seward 
says, "when we are founding states, all these 
laws must be brought to the standard of the 
laws of God, and must be tried by that standard, 
and must stand or fall by it." This is true, we 
repeat ; bat the Senator who uttered this truth 
was not founding states or forming a consti- 


rtution. He was living and acting under a con- 
stitution already formed, and one which he had 
taken an oath to support. If, in the construc- 
tion of this instrument, our fathers really fol- 
lowed " as precedents the abuses of tyrants and 
robbers," then the course of the Senator in 
question was plain : he should have suffered Tnar- 
tyrdom rather than take an oath to sui^jport it. For 
the law of nature, it is clear, permits no man 
first to take an oath to support such compacts, 
and then repudiate them. If they are at war 
with his conscience, then, in the name of all 
that is sacred, let him repudiate them, but, by 
all means, without having first placed himself 
under the necessity of repudiating, at the same 
time, the obhgation of his oath. 

There is a question among casuists, whether 
an oath extorted by force can bind a man to act 
in opposition to his conscience. But this was 
not Mr. Seward's case. His oath was not ex- 
torted. If he had refused to take it, he would 
have lost nothing except an office. 

"There was deep philosophy," says he, ''in 
the confession of an eminent English judge. 
When he had condemned a young woman to 
death, under the late sanguinary code of his 
country, for her first theft, she fell down dead 


at his feet. 'I seem to myself,' said he, 'to 
have been pronouncing sentence, not against 
the prisoner, but against the law itself.' " Ay, 
there was something better than "deep philo- 
sophy" in that English judge ; there was 
stern integrity; for, though he felt the law 
to be hard and cruel, yet, having taken an 
oath to support it, he hardly felt himself at 
liberty to dispense with the obligation of his 
oath. We commend his example to the Sena- 
tor from 'New York. 

But who is this Senator, or any other politi- 
cian of the present day, that he should pre- 
sume to pass so sweeping and so peremptory 
a sentence of condemnation on a compact made 
by the fathers of the Republic and ratified by 
the people of the United States? For our 
part, if we wished to find "the higher law," 
we should look neither into the Dark Ages nor 
into his conscience. We had infinitely rather 
look into the great souls of those by whom 
the Constitution was framed, and by every 
one of whom the very compact which Mr. 
Seward pronounces so infamous was cordially 

" Your Constitution and laws," exclaims Mr. 
Seward, "convert hospitality to the refugee 

U 26* 


from tlie most degrading oppression on earth, 
into a crime, but all mankind except you es- 
teem that hospitality a virtue." Isot content 
with thus denouncing the " Constitution and 
laws," he has elsewhere exhorted the people 
to an open resistance to their execution. "It 
is," says he, in a speech at a mass-meeting in 
Ohio, "written in the Constitution of the 
United States," and "in violation to divine 
law,* that we shall surrender the fugitive slave 
who takes refuge at our fireside from his re- 
lentless pursuer." He then and there exhorts 
the people to resist the execution of this clear, 
this unequivocal, this acknowledged, mandate of 
the Constitution! "Extend," says he, a "cor- 
dial welcome to the fugitive who lays his weary 
limhs at your door, and defend him as you would 


We shall not trust ourselves to characterize 
such conduct. In the calm, judicial language 
,of the Chancellor of his own State such pro- 
ceeding of Mr. Seward will find its most fitting 
rebuke. "Independent, however," says Chan- 
cellor Walworth, " of any legislation on this sub- 
ject either by the individual States or by Congress, 

* On this point, see page 153. 


if the person whose services are claimed is in 
fact a fugitive from servitude under the laws 
of another state, the constitutional 'provision is im- 
perative that he shall be delivered up to his master 
upon claim made." Thus far, Mr. Seward con- 
curs with the chancellor in opinion; but the 
latter continues — "and any state officer or 
private citizen, who owes allegiance to the 
United States, and has taken the usual oath 
to support the Constitution thereof, cannot, 

JURY, do any act to deprive the master of his 
right of recaption, when there is no real doubt 
that the person whose services are claimed is 
in fact the slave of the claimant."* Yet, re- 
gardless of the question whether the fugitive is 
a slave or not, the life and labors of Mr. Seward 
are, in a great measure, dedicated to a sub- 
version of the constitutional clause and right 
under consideration. He counsels open resist- 
ance ! Yea, he exhorts the people to protect 
and defend fugitive slaves as such, and though 
they had confessed themselves to have fled from 
servitude ! But we doubt not that " the law of 
nature, written on the hearts and consciences 

* XIV. Wendell, Jack v. Martin, p. 528. 


of freemen," will reverse this advice of his, 
and reaffirm the decision of the chancellor of 
his own State. N"ay, wherever there exists a 
freeman with a real heart and conscience, there 
that decision already stands affirmed. 

As Mr. Seward's arguments are more fully 
elaborated by Mr. Sumner, of Massachusetts, 
so they will pass under review when we come 
to examine the speech of that Senator. In 
the mean time, we beg leave to lay before the 
reader a few living examples of the manner 
in which the law of nature, as written on the 
hearts and consciences of freemen, has ex- 
pressed itself in regard to the points above 

*'I recognise, indeed," says the Hon. R. C. 
Winthrop, of Boston, "a power above all hu- 
man law-makers and a code above all earthly 
constitutions ! And whenever I perceive a 
clear conflict of jurisdiction and authority be- 
tween the Constitution of my country and the 
laws of my God, my course is clear. I shall 
resign my office, whatever it may be, and re- 
nounce all connection with public service of 
any sort. Never, never, sir, will I put myself 
under the necessity of calling upon God to 
witness my promise to support a constitution. 


any part of which I consider to be inconsistent 
with his commands. 

" But it is a libel upon the Constitution of the 
United States — and, what is worse, sir, it is a 
libel upon the great and good men who framed, 
adopted, and ratified it; it is a libel upon 
Washington and Franklin, and Hamilton and 
Madison, upon John Adams, and John Jay, and 
Eufus King; it is a libel upon them all, and 
upon the whole American people of 1789, who 
sustained them in their noble work, and upon 
all who, from that time to this, generation after 
generation, in any capacity, — national, muni- 
cipal, or state, — have lifted their hands to hea- 
ven in attestation of their allegiance to the 
government of their country ; — it is a gross libel 
upon every one of them, to assert or insinuate 
that there is any such inconsistency! Let us 
not do such dishonor to the fathers of the Re- 
public and the framers of the Constitution." 

Mr. Ashmun, of Massachusetts, after reciting 
the clause in the Constitution which demands 
the restoration of fugitive slaves, proceeds as 
follows : " This reads very plainly, and admits 
of no doubt but that, so far as fugitive slaves 
are concerned, the Constitution fully recognises 
the right to reclaim them from within the limits 


of the free States. It is the Constitution which 
we have all sworn to support, and which I hope 
we all mean to support ; and I have no mental 
reservation excluding any of its clauses from 
the sanction of that oath. It is too late now to 
complain that such a provision is there. Our 
fathers, who formed that entire instrument, 
placed it there, and left it to us as an inherit- 
ance; and nothing but an amendment of the 
Constitution, or a violation of our oaths, can 
tear it out. And, however much we may abhor 
slavery, there is no way for honorable, honest — 
nay, conscientious — men, who desire to live 
under our laws and our Constitution, but to 
abide by it in its spirit." 

Li like manner, the Hon. S. A. Douglas, of 
Illinois, declares : "All I have to say on that 
subject is this, that the Constitution provides 
that a fugitive from service in one State, escap- 
ing into another, * shall be delivered up.' The 
Constitution also provides that no man shall be 
a Senator unless he takes an oath to support the 
Constitution. Then, I ask, how does a man ac- 
quire a right on this floor to speak, except by 
taking an oath to support and sustain the Con- 
stitution of the United States? And when he 
takes that oath, I do not understand that he 


has a right to have a mental reservation, or 
entertain any secret equivocation that he ex- 
cepts that clause which relates to the surrender 
of fugitives from service. I know not how a 
man reconciles it to his conscience to take that 
oath to support the Constitution, when he be- 
lieves that Constitution is in violation of the law 
of God. If a man thus believes, and takes the 
oath, he commits perfidy to his God in order 
that he may enjoy the temporary honors of a 
seat upon this floor. In this point of view, it is 
simply a question of whether Senators will be 
true to their oaths and true to the Constitution 
under which we live." 

§ n. The attack of Mr. Sumner on the Constitu- 
lion of his country. 

If we have not noticed the arguments of Mr. 
Chase, of Ohio, it is because they are repro- 
duced in the celebrated speech of Mr. Sumner, 
and because he has so fully endorsed the his- 
tory and logic of this speech as to make it his 
own. Hence, in replying to the one of these 
Senators, we at the same time virtually reply to 
the other. 

We select the speech of Mr. Sumner for exa- 
mination, because it is generally considered the 


more powerful of the two. It is, indeed, the 
most elaborate speech ever made in the Senate 
of the United States, or elsewhere, on the sub- 
ject of the Fugitive Slave Law. Even Mr. Wel- 
ler found it " so handsomely embellished with 
poetry, both Latin and Enghsh, so full of classi- 
cal allusions and rhetorical flourishes," as to 
make it more palatable than he supposed an 
abohtion speech could possibly be made. Aa 
to the abolitionists themselves, they seem to 
know no bounds in their enthusiastic admira- 
tion of this sublime effort of their champion. 
We should not wonder, indeed, if many a 
female reformer had gone into hysterics over 
an oration which has received such violent 
bursts of applause from grave and dignified 
Senators. " By this effort," says Mr. Hale, he 
has placed " himself side by side with the first 
orators of antiquity, and as far ahead of any 
living American orator as freedom is ahead of 
slavery. I believe that he has formed to-day a 
new era in the history of the politics and of the 
eloquence of the country; and that in future 
generations the young men of this nation will 
be stimulated to effort by the record of what an 
American Senator has this day done," &c. 
We have no doubt that young men may at- 


tempt to imitate the speech in question ; but, as 
they grow older, it is to be hoped that their 
taste will improve. The speech in question 
will make a "new era" in the tactics of aboli- 
tionism, and that is all. We shall see this 
when we come to examine this wonderful 
oration, which so completely ravished three 
Senators^ and called forth such wild shouts 
of applause from the whole empire of aboli- 

Mr. Chase seems almost equally delighted 
with this marvellous effort. " I avow my con- 
viction, now and here," says he, " that, logically 
and historically, his argument is impregnable-— 
entirely impregnable." "In my judg- 
ment," he continues, " the speech of my friend 
from Massachusetts w^ill make a new era in 
American histoiy." Indeed, Mr. Sumner him- 
self does not seem altogether dissatisfied with 
this effort, if we may judge from the manner in 
which it is referred to in his other speeches. 
"We do not blame him for this. "We can see 
no reason why he should be the only abolitionist 
in the universe who is not enraptured with his 
oration. But when he so "fearlessly asserts" 
that his speech "has never been answered," we 
beg leave to assure him that it may be refuted 



with the most perfect ease. For, indeed, its his- 
tory is half fiction, and its logic wholly false: 
the first containing just enough of truth to de- 
ceive, and the last just enough of plausibility to 
convince those who are waiting, and watching, 
and longing to be convinced. 

The first thing which strikes the mind, on 
reading the speech of Mr. Sumner, is the 
strange logical incoherency of its structure. 
Its parts are so loosely hung together, and ap- 
pear so distressingly disjointed, that one is fre- 
quently at a loss to perceive the design of the 
oration. Its avowed object is to procure a re- 
peal of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 ; but no 
one would ever imagine or suspect such a thing 
from the title of the speech, which is as follows : 
^'Freedom, national; Slavery, sectional." It is 
diflicult, at first view, to perceive what logical 
connection this title, or proposition, has with 
the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law. But if 
there be little or no logical connection between 
these things, we shall soon see how the choice 
of such a title and topic of discourse opens the 
way for the rhetorician to make a most power- 
ful appeal to the passions and to the prejudices 
of his readers. We say, of his readers, because 
it is evident that the speech was made for Bun- 


combe, and not for the Senate of the United 

Mr. Sumner deems it necessary to refute the 
position that slavery is a national institution, in 
order to set the world right with respect to 
the relations of the Federal Government to 
slavery. " The relations of the Government of 
the United States," says he, — "I speak of the 
^National Government — to slavery, though plain 
and obvious, are constantly misunderstood.''' In- 
deed, nothing in histoiy seems more remark- 
able than the amount of ignorance and stupidity 
which prevailed in the world before the ap- 
pearance of the abolitionists, except the won- 
derful illuminations which accompanied their 
advent. "A popular belief at this moment," 
continues Mr. Sumner, " makes slavery a na- 
tional institution, and, of course, renders its 
support a national duty. The extravagance of 
this error can hardly be surpassed." In truth, 
it is so exceedingly extravagant, that we doubt 
if it really exists. It is certain, that we have no 
acquaintance, either historically or personally, 
with those who have fallen into so wild an ab- 

It is true, there is " a popular belief" — nay, 
there is a deep-rooted national conviction — that 


the Government of the United States is bound 
to protect the institution of slavery, in so far as 
this may be done by the passage of a Fugi- 
tive Slave Law. This national conviction has 
spoken out in the laws of Congress ; it has been 
ratified and confirmed by the judicial opinion 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, as 
well as by the decisions of the Supreme Courts 
of the three great non-slaveholding States of 
Massachusetts, Is'ew York, and Pennsylvania. 
But no one, so far as we know, has ever deduced 
this obligation to protect slavery, in this respect, 
from the absurd notion that ''it is a national 
institution." No such deduction is to be found 
in any of the arguments of counsel before the 
courts above-mentioned, nor in the opinions of 
the courts themselves. "We shrewdly suspect 
that it is to be found nowhere except in the fer- 
tile imagination of Mr. Sumner. 

We concede that slavery is not " a national 
institution." In combatting this position, Mr. 
Sumner is merely beating the air. We know 
that slaveiy is not national; it is local, being 
confined to certain States, and exclusively esta- 
blished by local or State laws. Hence, Mr. 
Sumner may fire ofiT as much splendid rhetoric 
as he pleases at his men of straw. " Slavery 


national!" he indignantly exclaims: "Sir, tliis 
is all a mistake and absurdity, fit to take a place 
in some new collection of 'Vulgar Errors' by 
some other Sir Thomas Browne, with the an- 
cient but exploded stories that the toad has a 
stone in its head and that ostriches digest 
iron." These may be very fine embellish- 
ments ; they certainly have nothing to do with 
the point in controversy. The question is not 
whether slavery is a national institution, but 
whether the National Government does not re- 
cognise slavery as a local institution, and is not 
pledged to protect the master's right to reclaim 
the fugitive from his service. This is the ques- 
tion, and by its relevancy to this question the 
rhetoric of Mr. Sumner must be tried. 

We do not say it has no such relevancy. Mr. 
Sumner beats the air, it is true, but he does not 
beat the air in vain. His declamation may have 
no logical bearing on the point in dispute, but, 
if you watch it closely, you will alwa^^s find that 
it is most skilfully adapted to bring the preju- 
dices and passions of the reader to bear on 
that point. Though he may not be much of a 
logician, yet, it must be admitted, he is " skilful 
of fence." We should do him great iujustice as 
an antagonist, at least before the tribunal of 



liuman passion, if we should suppose that it is 
merely for the abstract glory of setting up a 
man of straw, and then knocking it down, that 
he has mustered all the powers of his logic and 
unfurled all the splendors of his rhetoric. He 
has a design in all this, which we shall now pro- 
ceed to expose. 

Here are two distinct questions. First, Is 
slavery a national institution? Secondly, Has 
Congress the power to pass a Fugitive Slave 
Law? These two questions are, we repeat, 
perfectly distinct; and hence, if Mr. Sumner 
wished to discuss them fairly and honestly, he 
should have argued each one by itself We 
agree with him in regard to the first; we dis- 
sent toto coelo from him in regard to the last. 
But he has not chosen to keep them separate, 
or to discuss each one by itself. On the con- 
trary, he has, as we have seen, connected them 
together as premiss and conclusion, and he 
keeps them together through the first portion 
of his speech. Most assuredly Mr. Sumner 
knows that one of the very best ways in the 
world to cause a truth or proposition to be re- 
jected is to bind it up with a manifest error or 
absurdity. Yet the proposition for which we 
contend — that Congress has the power to support 


slavery by tlie passage of a Fugitive Slave Law 
—is bound up by him with the monstrous ab- 
surdity that " slavery is a national institution;" 
and both are denounced together as if both were 
equally absurd. One instance, out of many, of 
this unfair mode of proceeding, we shall now lay 
before our readers. 

*' The Constitution contains no power," says 
he, " to make a king or to support kingly rule. 
With similar reason it may be said that it con- 
tains no power to make a slave, or to support a 
system of slavery. The absence of all such 
power is hardly more clear in one case than in 
the other. But, if there be no such power,* all 
national legislation upholding slavery must be 
unconstitutional and void." 

Thus covertly, and in company with the sup- 
posed power of Congress to make slaves or to 
institute slavery, Mr. Sumner denounces the 
power of Congress to enact a Fugitive Slave 
Law! He not only denounces it, but treats it 
as absurd in the extreme; just as absurd, in- 
deed, as it would be to assert that Congress had 
power " to support kingly rule !" We can listen 
to the arguments of Mr. Sumner ; but we can- 
not accept his mere opinion as authority that 
the power of Congress to enact such a law is so 


glaringly unconstitutional, is so monstrously ab- 
surd; for, however passionately that opinion 
may be declaimed, we cannot forget that a 
Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the Congress 
of 1793, received the signature of George Wash- 
ington, and, finally, the judicial sanction of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Sum- 
ner is but a man. 

This advantage of mixing up with a glaring 
falsehood the idea he wishes to be rejected is not 
the only one which Mr. Sumner derives from 
his man of straw. By combatting the position — 
"the popular belief," as he calls it — that "slavery 
is 'a national institution," he lays open a wide 
field for his peculiar powers of declamation. 
He calls up all the fathers — ^North and South — 
to bear witness against slavery, in order to show 
that it is not a national institution. He quotes 
colleges, and churches, and patriots, against 
slavery. ISTot content with this, he pours down 
furious invectives of his own, with a view to 
render slaveiy as odious as possible. But, since 
the simple question is. What saith the Constitu- 
tion — why this fierce crusade against slavery? 
In deciding this very question, namely, the con- 
stitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793, 
a high judicial authority has said that " the ab- 


stract proposition of tlie justice or injustice of 
slaveiy is wholly irrelevant here, and, I appre- 
hend, ought not to have the slightest influence 
upon any member of this court."* 

It ought not to have — and it did not have — 
the slightest influence on the highest judicial 
tribunal of New York, in which the above 
opinion was delivered. Much as the author of 
that opinion (Mr. Senator Bishop) abhorred 
slavery, he did not permit such an influence to 
reach his judgment. It would have contami- 
nated his judicial integrity. But although be- 
fore a judicial tribunal, about to decide on the 
constitutionality of a Fugitive Slave Law, the 
abstract proposition of the justice or injustice of 
slavery is out of place, yet at the bar of passion 
and prejudice it is well calculated, as Mr. Sum- 
ner must know, to exert a tremendous influence. 
Hence, if he can only get up the horror of his 
readers against slavery before he comes to the 
real question, namely, the constitutionality of 
the Fugitive Slave Law, he knows that his vic- 
tory will be more than half gained. But we ad- 
monish him that passion and prejudice can only 
give a temporary eclat to his argument. 

* XIV. Wendell's RepoTts, Jack v. Martin. 


So mucli for the unfairness of Mr. Sumner. 
If we should notice all such instances of artful 
design in his speech, we should have no space 
for his logic. To this we would now invite the 
attention of the reader, in order to see if it be 
really "impregnable." 

As we have already intimated, Mr. Sumner 
does not, like Mr. Seward, openly denounce the 
Constitution of his country. On the contrary, 
he professes the most profound respect for every 
part of that instrument, not even excepting the 
clause which demands the restoration of the 
fugitive from labor. But an examination of his 
argument, both historical and logical, will enable 
us, we trust, to estimate this profession at its real 
intrinsic worth. 

We shall begin with his argument from his- 
tory. In the examination of this argument, we 
beg to excuse ourselves from any further notice 
of all that vast array of historical proofs to 
show that " freedom is national and slavery sec- 
tional."* We shall consider those proofs alone 

* In asserting that freedom is national, Mr. Sumner may per- 
haps mean that it is the duty of the National Government to 
exclude slavery from all its territories, and to admit no new 
state in which there are slaves. If this be his meaning, we 
Bhould reply, that it is as foreign from the merits of the Fugi- 


which relate to the real point in controversy, 
namely, Has Congress the power to pass a Fugi- 
tive Slave Law ? 

Mr. Sumner argues, from the well-known sen- 
timents of the framers of the Constitution with 
respect to slavery, that they intended to confer 
no such power on Congress. Thus, after quot- 
ing the sentiments of Gouverneur Morris, of El- 
bridge Gerry, of Roger Sherman, and James 
Madison, he adds : " In the face of these un- 
equivocal statements, it is absurd to suppose 
that they consented unanimoitsly to any pro- 
vision by which the E^ational Government, the 
work of their own hands, could be made the 
most offensive instrument of slavery." Such 

tive Slave Law, wliich he proposed to discuss, as it is from the 
truth. The National Government has, indeed, no more power to 
exclude, than it has to ordain, slavery ; for slavery or no slavery 
is a question which belongs wholly and exclusively to the sove- 
reign people of each and every state or territory. With our 
whole hearts we respond to the inspiring words of the President's 
Message: "If the friends of the Constitution are to have an- 
other struggle, its enemies could not present a more acceptable 
issue than that of a state, whose Constitution clearly embraces a 
republican form of government, being excluded from the Union 
because its domestic institutions may not, in all respects, com- 
port with the ideas of what is wise and expedient entertained in 
some other state." 


is the historical argument of Mr. Sumner. Let 
, us see what it is worth. 

Elbridge Gerry had said : " We ought to be 
careful not to give any sanction to slavery ;'' — lan- 
guage repeatedly quoted, and underscored as 
above, by Mr. Sumner. It is absurd, he con- 
cludes, to suppose that a man who could use 
such language had the least intention to confer 
a power on Congress to support slavery by the 
passage of a Fugitive Slave Law. This is one 
branch of his historical argument. It may ap- 
pear perfectly conclusive to Mr. Sumner, and 
"entirely impregnable" to Mr. Chase; but, after 
all, it is not quite so invulnerable as they 
imagine. Mr. Sumner stopped his historical 
researches at a most convenient point for his 
argument. If he had only read a little further, 
he would have discovered that this same identi- 
cal Elbridge Gerry was in the Congress of 1793, 
and VOTED for the Fugitive Slave Law then 
passed ! 

It fares no better with the historical argument 
to prove the opinion or intention of Roger 
Sherman. He had declared, it is true, that he 
was opposed to any clause in the Constitution 
"acknowledging men to be property." But we 
should not, with Mr. Sumner, infer from this 


that he never intended that Congress should 
possess a power to legislate in reference to 
slavery. For, unfortunately for such a con- 
clusion, however confidently it may be drawn, 
or however dogmatically asserted, Eoger Sher- 
man himself was in the Senate of 1793, and was 
actually on the committee which reported the 
Fugitive Slave Law of that session ! Thus, al- 
though the premiss of Mr. Sumner's argument 
is a historical fact, yet its conclusion comes 
directly into conflict with another historical 

"We cannot, in the same way, refute the argu- 
ment from the language of Gouverneur Morris, 
who said " that he never would concur in up- 
holding domestic slavery," because he was not 
in the Congress of 1793. But Robert Morris 
was there, and, although he helped to frame the 
Constitution in 1787, he uttered not a syllable 
against the constitutionality of the Fugitive 
Slave Law. Indeed, this law passed the Senate 
by resolution simply, the yeas and nays not having 
been called for ! 

The words of Mr. Madison, who "thought it 
wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea 
that there could be property in man,'* are four 
or five times quoted in Mr. Sumner's speech. 



As we have already seen,* tliere cannot be, in 
the strict sense of the terms, "property in 
man;" for the soul is the man, and no one, 
except God, can own the soul. Hence Mr. 
Madison acted wisely, we think, in wishing to 
exclude such an expression from the Constitu- 
tion, inasmuch as it would have been misunder- 
stood by I^orthern men, and only shocked their 
feelings without answering any good purpose. 

When we say that slaves are property, we 
merely mean that their masters have a right to 
their service or labor. This idea is recognised 
in the Constitution, and this right is secured. 
We ask no more. As Mr. Madison, and the 
whole South, had the thing, he did not care to 
wrangle about the name. We are told, again 
and again, that the word slave does not appear 
in the Constitution. Be it so. We care not, 
since our slaves are there recognised as "per- 
sons held to service" by those to whom "such 
service is due." It is repeated without end that 
the " Constitution acts on slaves as persons, and 
not as property." Granted; and if ^N'orthern 
men will, according to the mandate of the Con- 
stitution, only deliver up our fugitive servants, 

* Chap. ii. § X. 


we care not whether they restore them as per- 
sons or as property. If we may only reclaim 
them as persons, and regain their service, we 
are perfectly satisfied. We utterly despise all 
such verbal quibbling. 

Mr. Madison was above it. He acted wisely, 
we repeat, in refusing to shock the mind of any 
one, by insisting upon a mere word, and upon a 
word, too, which might not have conveyed a 
correct idea of his own views. But that Mr. 
Madison could, as he understood the terms, re- 
gard slaves as property, we have the most incon- 
testable evidence. For in the Convention of 
Virginia, called to ratify the Constitution of the 
United States, he said, "Another clause secures 
us that jproperty which we now possess. At 
present, if any slave elopes to any of those 
States where slaves are free, he becomes emanci- 
pated by their laws, for the laws of the States 
are uncharitable to one another in this respect." 
He then quotes the provision from the Constitu- 
tion relative to fugitives from labor, and adds: 
"This clause was expressly inserted to enable 
owners of slaves to reclaim them." So much 
for Mr. Sumner's main argument from the lan- 
guage of the members of the Convention of 
1787. • 


Arguing from the sentiments of that conven- 
tion with respect to slavery, he concludes that 
nothing could have been farther from their in- 
tention than to confer upon Congress the power 
to pass a uniform Fugitive Slave Law. He 
boldly asserts, that if a proposition to confer 
such a power upon Congress had "been dis- 
tinctly made it would have been distinctly de- 
nied." "But no person in the convention," he 
says, " not one of the reckless partisans of slavery, 
was so audacious as to make the proposition." JSTow 
we shall show that the above statement of his 
is diametrically opposed to the truth. We shall 
show that the members of the convention in 
question were perfectly willing to confer such a 
power upon Congress. 

The reason why they were so is obvious to 
any one who has a real knowledge of the times 
about whose history Mr. Sumner so confidently 
declaims. This reason is well stated in the lan- 
guage of the Chancellor of New York whom 
we have already quoted. " The provision," says 
he, " as to persons escaping from servitude in 
one State into another, appears by their journal 
to have been adopted by a unanimous vote of 
the convention. At that time the existence of 
involuntary servitude, or the relation of master 


and servant, was known to and recognised by 
the laws of every State in the Union except 
Massachusetts, and the legal right of recaiotion hy 
the master existed in all, as a paet of the cus- 


FEDERACY." Henco, instead of shocking the 
convention, a clause recognising such right 
would have been merely declaratory of the 
" customary or common law" which then uni- 
versally prevailed. The ^'history of the times" 
confirms this view, and furnishes no evidence 
against it. 

Mr. Sumner tries to make a different im- 
pression. He lays great stress on the fact that 
it was not until late in the convention that the 
first clause relative to the surrender of fugitive 
slaves was introduced. But this fact agrees 
more perfectly with our view than with his. 
There was no haste about the introduction of 
such a provision, because it was well known 
that, whenever it should be introduced, it would 
pass in the affirmative without difficulty. And, 
in fact, when it was introduced, it ''was unani- 
mously ADOPTED." This single fact speaks 

Let us now attend, for a moment, to Mr. 
Suinner's historical proofs. lie quotes the fol- 



lowing passage from the Madison Papers: — 
" Gen. (Charles Cotesworth) Pinckney was not 
satisfied with it. He seemed to wish some pro- 
vision should be included in favor of property 
in slaves." "But," by way of comment, Mr. 
Sumner adds, " he made no proposition. Un- 
willing to shock the convention, and uncertain 
in his own mind, he only seemed to wish such a 
provision." JSTow, a bare abstract proposition to 
recognise property in men is one thing, and a 
clause to secure the return of fugitive slaves is 
quite another. The first, it is probable, would 
have been rejected by the convention ; the last 
was actually and unanimously adopted by it. 

Mr. Sumner's next proof is decidedly against 
him. Here it is. " Mr. Butler and Mr. Charles 
Pinckney, both from South Carolina, now 
moved openly to require ^fugitive slaves and 

servants to be delivered up like criminals.' 

Mr. "Wilson, of Pennsylvania, at once ob- 
jected: 'This would oblige the executive of the 
State to do it at the public expense.' Mr. 
Sherman, of Connecticut, saw no more pro- 
priety in the public seizing and surrendering a 
slave or servant than a horse ! Under the pres- 
sure of these objections the offensive proposition 
w^as quietly withdrawn." 



Now maj-k the character of these objections. 
It is objected, not that it is wrong to deliver up 
fugitive slaves, but only that they should not be 
"delivered up like criminals;" that is, by a 
demand on the executive of the State to which 
they may have fled. And this objection is 
based on the ground that such a requisition 
would oblige the public to deliver them up at 
its own expense. Mr. Sherman insists, not that 
it is wrong to surrender fugitive slaves or fugi- 
tive horses, but only that the executive, or pub- 
lic, should not be called upon to surrender 
them. Surely, if these gentlemen had been so 
violently opposed to the restoration of fugitive 
slaves, here was a fair occasion for them to 
speak out ; and as honest, out-spoken men they 
would, no doubt, have made their sentiments 
known. But there is, in fact, not a syllable of 
such a sentiment uttered. There is not the 
slightest symptom of the existence of any such 
feeling in their minds. If any such existed, we 
must insist that Mr. Sumner has discovered it 
by instinct, and not by his researches in his- 

The statement that " under the pressure of 
these objections the offensive proposition was 
quietly loithdrmvrC' is not true. It was not 


quietly withdrawn ; on the contrary, it was 
withdrawn with the assurance that it would be 
again introduced. " Mr. Butler withdrew his 
proposition," says Mr. Madison, "m order that 
some particular provision might be 7nade, apart 
from this article."* Accordingly, the very next 
day he introduced a provision, which, as Mr. 
Madison declares, " was expressly inserted to 
enable owners of slaves to reclaim them.'' 

These glosses of Mr. Sumner on the history 
of the times will appear important, if we view 
them in connection with his design. This de- 
sign is to bring into doubt the idea that slaves 
are embraced in the clause of the Constitution 
which requires fugitives from service or labor to 
be delivered up. We should not suspect this 
design fi:om the hints here 'thrown out, if it 
were not afterward more fully disclosed. " On 
the next day," says Mr. Sumner, "August 29th, 
profiting by the suggestions already made, Mr. 
Butler moved a proposition, substantially like 
that now found in the Constitution, not directly 
for the surrender of 'fugitive slaves,' as originally 
proposed, but as 'fugitives from service or 
labor,' which, without debate or opposition of 

* Madison Papers, p. 1448. 



any kind, was unanimously adopted." Was it 
then unanimously adopted because it was a 
clause for tlie surrender of " fugitives from ser- 
vice or labor" only, and not for tbe surrender of 
fugitive slaves ? 

Such, appears to be the insinuation of Mr. 
Sumner. Be this as it may, it is certain that he 
has afterward said that it may be questioned 
whether "the language employed" in this clause 
*'can be judicially regarded as justly applicable 
to fugitive slaves, ivhich is often and earnestly de- 
nied." . . . ^' Still further," he says, in italics, 'Wo 
the courts of each State must belong the determination 
of the question, to which class of persons, according 
to just rules of interpretation, the phrase 'persons 
held to service or labor' is strictly applicable." 

Mr. Sumner doubts, then, whether this pro- 
vision, after all, refers to " fugitive slaves." 
Now, although he has said much in regard to 
" the effrontery of the Southern members of the 
convention" that formed the Constitution, we 
may safely defy him, or any other man, to point 
to any thing in their conduct which approxi- 
mates to such audacity. What ! the clause in 
question not designed to embrace fugitive 
slaves ? Mr. Butler, even before he introduced 
the clause, declared, as we have seen, that such 


would be its design. It was so understood by 
every member of tbe convention ; for tbere was 
not a man tbere wbo possessed tbe capacity to 
misunderstand so plain a matter; and it bas 
been so understood by every man, of all parties 
and all factions, from tbat day do\vn to tbe 
present. IlTot one of tbe bired advocates wbo 
bave been employed, in different States, to argue 
against tbe constitutionality of tbe Fugitive 
Slave Law, bas ever bad tbe unblusbing effron- 
tery to contend tbat tbe clause in question is not 
applicable to fugitive slaves. iN'ay, more, until 
Mr. Sumner appeared, tbe frantic zeal of no 
abolitionist bad ever so completely besotted bis 
intellect as to permit bim to take sucb ground. 
By Dr. Cbanning, by Mr. Seward, and by Mr. 
Cbase, sucb application of tbe words in ques- 
tion is unbesitatingly admitted ; and bence we 
dismiss Mr. Sumner's discovery witb tbe con- 
tempt it deserves. 

But to return. '' Tbe provision," says Mr. Sum- 
ner, " wbicb sbowed itself tbus tardily, and was 
so sligbtly noticed in tbe I^ational Convention, 
was neglected in most of tbe contemporaneous 
discussions before tbe people." N'o wonder; for 
it was merely declaratory of tbe " customary or 
common law" of tbat day. "In tbe Conven- 


tions of South. Carolina, ^N^orth Carolina, and 
Virginia," he admits, ''it was commended as 
securing important rights, though on this point 
there was a difference of opinion. In the Vir- 
ginia Conveiltion, an eminent character, — Mr. 
George Mason, — with others, expressly declared, 
that there was * no security of property coming 
within this section.' " 

;N'ow, we shall not stickle about the fact that 
Mr. Sumner has not given the very words of 
Mr. Mason, since he has given them in sub- 
stance. But yet he has given them in such a 
way, and in such a connection, as to make a 
false impression. The words of Mr. Mason, 
taken in their proper connection, are as follows : 
" We have no security for the property of that 
kind (slaves) which we already have. There is 
no clause in this Constitution to secure it, for 
they may lay such a tax as will amount to manumis- 
sion.'' This shows his position, not as it is mis- 
represented by Mr. Sumner, but as it stands in 
his own words. If slave property may be ren- 
dered worthless by the taxation of Congress, 
how could it be secured by a clause which en- 
ables the owner to reclaim it? It would not be 
worth reclaiming. Such was the argument and 
true position of Mr. George Mason. 


" Massachusetts," continues Mr. Sumner, 
" while exhibiting peculiar sensitiveness at any 
responsibility for slavery, seemed to view it with 
unconcern." If Massachusetts had only be- 
lieved that the clause was intended to confer on 
Congress the power to pass a Fugitive Slave 
Law, into what flames of indignation would her 
sensitiveness have burst! So Mr. Sumner 
would have us to .believe. But let us listen, 
for a moment, to the sober voice of history. 

It was only about four years after the govern- 
ment went into operation that Congress actually 
exercised the power in question, and 'passed a 
Fugitive Slave Law. Where was Massachusetts 
then? Did she burst into flames of indigna- 
tion ? Her only voice, in reply, was as distinctly 
and as emphatically pronounced in favor of that 
law as was the voice of Virginia itself. With a 
single exception, her whole delegation in Con- 
gress,* with Fisher Ames at their head, voted 
for the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793! JSTot a 
whisper of disapprobation was heard from their 
constituents. As Mr. Sumner himself says, the 
passage of that act " drew little attention." 
Hence he would have us to believe that Massa- 

* One member seems to have been absent from tlie House. 


chusetts would have been stirred from her 
depths if the convention had conferred such a 
power upon Congress, and yet that she was not 
moved at all when Congress proceeded, as he 
maintains, to usurjp and exercise that power ! 

This is not all. Every member from . the free 
States, with the exception of ^yq, recorded his 
vote in favor of the same law.* In the Senate, 
as we have already said, it was passed by resolu- 
tion, and not by a recorded vote. !N"o one, in 
either branch of Congress, uttered a syllable 
against the constitutionality of the law, though 
many of the most distinguished members of the 
very convention which framed the Constitution 
itself were there. ^N'ot to mention others, there 
were James Madison, and Roger Sherman, and 
Elbridge Gerry, and Rufus King, and Caleb 
Strong, and Robert Morris, and Oliver Els- 
worth ; and yet from not one of these illustrious 
framers of the Constitution was a syllable ut- 
tered against the constitutionality of the law in 
question. Nay, the law was supported and 
enacted by themselves. What, then, in the face 
of these indubitable facts, becomes of all Mr. 
Sumner's far-fetched arguments from " the lite- 

* Annals of Congress ; 2d Congress, 1791-1793, p. 861. 
AY 29 


rature of the age" and from his multitudinous 
voices against slavery? It is absurd, says Mr. 
Sumner, to suppose that such men intended to 
confer any power upon Congress to pass a Fugi- 
tive Slave Law. It is a fact^ we reply, that as 
members of Congress they proceeded, without 
hesitation or doubt, to exercise that very 
power. It " dishonors the memory of the 
fathers," says Mr. Sumner, to suppose they 
intended that Congress should possess such a 
power. How, then, will he vindicate the 
memory of the fathers against the imputation 
of his own doctrine that they, as members of 
Congress, must have knowingly usurped the 
power which, as members of the convention, 
. they had intended not to confer ? 

One more of Mr. Sumner's historical argu- 
ments, and we are done with this branch of the 
subject. He deems it the most conclusive of 
all. It is founded on the arrangement of cer- 
tain clauses of the Constitution, and is, we be- 
lieve, perfectly original. We must refer the 
reader to the speech itself if he desire to see 
this very curious argument, since we cannot 
spare the room to give it a full and fair state- 

Nor is this at all necessary to our purpose, 


inasmuch as we intend to notice only one thing 
about this argument, namely, the wonderful 
effect it produces on the mind of its inventor. 
" The framers of the Constitution," says he, 
" were wise and careful men, who had a reason 
for what they did, and who understood the lan- 
guage which they employed." "We can readily 
believe all this. ISTor can we doubt that they 
" had a design in the peculiar arrangement" of 
the clauses adopted by them. That design, 
however, we feel quite sure, is different from the 
one attributed to them by Mr. Sumner. But let 
us suppose he is right, and then see what would 

The design attributed to them by Mr. Sumner 
was to make every one see, beyond the possi- 
bility of a mistake, that the Constitution confers 
no power on Congress to pass a Fugitive Slave 
Law. " They not only decline all addition of 
any such power to the compact," says he, " but, 
to render misapprehension impossible, — to make as- 
surance doubly sure, — to exclude any contrary con- 
clusion, they punctiliously arrange," &c. Kow, 
if such were the case, then we ask if design of 
so easy accomplishment were ever followed by 
failure so wonderful ? 

They failed, in the first place, " to exclude a 


contrary conclusion" from the Supreme Courts 
of Massachusetts, of !N"ew York, and of Penn- 
sylvania, all of which tribunals have decided 
that they did confer such a power upon Con- 
gress. In the second place, although those wise 
men labored to make " misapprehension im- 
possible," yet, according to Mr. Sumner, the Su- 
preme Court of the United States has entirely 
misapprehended them. So far from seeing that 
the power in question is not granted to Con- 
gress, this high tribunal decides that it is clearly 
and unquestionably granted. This is not all. 
The most marvellous failure is yet to come. 
For, after all their pains to make the whole 
world see their meaning, these wise men did 
not see it themselves, but went away, many of 
them, and, in the Congress of 1793, helped to 
pass a Fugitive Slave Law ! 

It is to be feared, indeed, that the failure 
would have been absolutely total but for the 
wonderful sagacity of a few abolitionists. For 
the design imputed to the framers of the Con- 
stitution, and which they took so much pains to 
disclose, had remained profoundly concealed 
from nearly all men, not excepting themselves, 
until it was detected by Messrs. Sumner, Chase, 
and company. But these have, at last, dis- 


covered it, and now see it as in a flood of light. 
Indeed, they see it with such transcendent clear- 
ness, with such marvellous perspicacity of vision, 
as to atone for the stupidity and blindness of the 
rest of mankind. 

So much for Mr. Sumner's historical argu- 
ment. His logical argument is, if possible, still 
more illogical than his historical. In regard to 
this, however, we shall be exceedingly brief, as 
we are sick of his sophisms, and long to be de- 
livered from the pursuit of them. 

He encounters, at the outset, "a difficulty" in 
the legislation of the Congress of 1793 and in 
the decision of the Supreme Court of the United 
States." But " on examination," says he, " this 
difficulty will disappear." Perhaps difficulty so 
great never vanished so suddenly from before 
any other man. 

The authority of the Congress of 1T93, though 
it contained so many of the most distinguished 
framers of the Constitution, is annihilated by a 
few bold strokes of Mr. Sumner's pen. One 
short paragraph, containing two ineffiibly weak 
arguments, does the business. 

The lirst of these arguments is as follows: 
" The act of 1793 proceeded from a Congress that 
had already recognised the United States Bank, 



chartered by a previous Congress, which, though 
sanctioned by the Supreme Court, has been 
since in high quarters pronounced unconstitu- 
tional. If it erred as to the bank, it may have 
erred also as to fugitives from labor." We can- 
not conceive why such an argument should have 
been propounded, unless it were to excite a pre- 
judice against the Congress of 1793 in the 
minds of those who may be opposed to a Na- 
tional Bank. For if we look at its conclusion 
we shall see that it merely aims to establish a 
point which no one would deny. It merely aims 
to prove that, as the Congress of 1793 was com- 
posed of fallible men, " so it may have erred !" 
"We admit the conclusion, and therefore pass by 
the inherent weaknesses in the structure of the 

His second argument is this : " But the very 
act contains a capital eiTor* on this very subject, 
so declared by the Supreme Court, in pretend- 
ing to vest a portion of the judicial power of the 
nation in state officers. This error takes from the 
act all authority as an interpretation of the Constitu- 
tion. I DISMISS IT." This passage, considered 
■nz an argument, is • simply ridiculous. How 

* This error was by no means a capital one. 


many of the best laws ever enacted by man 
liave, in the midst of much that is as clear as 
noonday, been found to contain an error! 
Should all, therefore, have been blindly re- 
jected? As soon as the error has been detected, 
has any enlightened tribunal on earth ever said, 
" I dismiss" the whole? 

By such a process we might have made as 
short work with Mr. Sumner's speech. If, after 
pointing out one error therein, we had dismissed 
the whole speech as worthless, we should have 
imitated his reasoning, and in our conclusion have 
come much nearer to the truth. If we should 
say, indeed, that because the sun has a spot on 
its surface it is therefore a great ball of dark- 
ness, our argument would be exactly like that 
of Mr. Sumner. But that great luminary would 
not refuse to shine in obedience to our con- 
temptible logic. In like manner, the authority 
of the illustrious Congress of 1793, in which 
there were so many profound statesmen and 
pure patriots, will not be the less resplendent 
because Mr. Charles Sumner has, with Titanic 
audacity and Lilliputian weakness, assailed it 
with one of the most pitiful of all the pitiful 
sophisms that ever were invented by man. 

In regard to the decision of the Supreme 


Court he says : " Whatever may be the influence 
of this judgment as a rule to the judiciary, it 
cannot arrest our duty as legislators. And here 
I adopt, with entire assent, the language of Pre- 
sident Jackson, in his memorable veto, in 1832, 
of the Bank of the United States." He then 
quotes this language, in which he italicizes the 
following sentence: ''Each public officer, who 
takes an oath to support the Constitution, sivears thai 
he will support it as he understands it, and not as it 
is understood hy others.'' "With these authorita- 
tive words of Andrew Jackson," says he, " I 
dismiss this topic. The early legislation of Con- 
gress and the decisions of the Supreme Court 
cannot stand in our way. I advance to the argu- 
ment." We shall let him advance. 

But we must say a few words in conclusion. 
Mr. Sumner swears to support the Constitution 
as he understands it ; but how is it supported by 
him ? Is it supported by him at all or in any 
way? Let us see. The clause respecting "per- 
sons held to service or labor," says he, imposes 
an obligation, not upon " the ]^ational Govern- 
ment, but upon the States." Is he then in favor 
of the States passing any law, or doing any act, ' 
by which fugitive slaves may be delivered up ? 
" Never," he replies. Massachusetts will never 


do any such thing by his advice or consent. 
Surely, then, he will speak a kind word to the 
good people of Massachusetts, and advise them 
to do nothing in violation of this solemn com- 
pact of the Constitution. If he will do nothing 
to support the compact, surely he will do no- 
thing to break it down. He will not permit us 
to indulge any such charitable hope. For it is 
his avowed object, by speech-making and by agi- 
tation, to create such a "public opinion" as 
*' shall blast with contempt, indignation, and ab- 
horrence, all who, in whatever form, or under 
whatever name, undertake to be agents"* in re- 
claiming fugitive slaves. Yea, upon the very 
officers of the law themselves, who, for this pur- 
pose, act under and by authority of the supreme 
laws of the land, he pours down scorn and de- 
rision. Even these, though in the discharge of 
an official duty, are— if it be in the power of Mr. 
Sumner — to be blasted mth abhorrence, indig- 
nation, and contempt ! 

The Constitution declares that the fugitive 
slave "shall be delivered up." He shall not 
"be delivered up," says Mr. Sumner; and, in 
order to make his words good, he means to 

* Speech in the Senate, in 1855. 


create a "public opinion," which no Southern 
master dare encounter. Nay, he rejoices to believe 
that such public opinion is, in some localities, 
already created and prepared for open resist- 
ance to the Constitution of the United States. 
"There are many," says he, "who will never 
shrink at any cost, and, notwithstanding all the 
atrocious penalties of this bill, from efforts to 
save a wandering fellow-man from bondage. 
They will offer him the shelter of their houses, 


FORCE."* Horrible words ! Words tending 
directly to a conflict in which the brightest 
hopes of humanity must perish, and the glory 
of the Eepublic be extinguished in oceans of 

In the face of such things, we are imperiously 
constrained to doubt Mr. Sumner's regard for 
the obligation of the oath which binds him to 
support the Constitution of his country. It is 
certain that he can rejoice in the breach of this 
obligation by others. A certain judge in Ver- 
mont, who, like every other State officer, had 
taken an oath to support the Constitution of the 
United States, just set Constitution, laws, evi- 

* Speech in Boston, October 3d, 1850. 


dence, all at defiance, and boldly declared tliat 
the fugitive should not be delivered up, ''•unless the 
master could show a hill of sale from the Almighty.'' 
This deed, which, in the language of Chancellor 
Walworth, is stamped with " the moral guilt of 
perjury," appears heroic to Mr. Sumner, by 
whom it is related with evident delight. It 
w^ould seem, indeed, as if the moral sensibility 
of an abolitionist of his stamp is all drawn to a 
single point of his conscience, so that it can feel 
absolutely nothing except slavery. It seems 
dead to the obligation of an oath, to the moral 
guilt of perjury. N^ay, it seems to rejoice in 
the very bravery of its perpetration, provided 
it only enables a fugitive slave to effect his 

Perhaps Mr. Sumner would seek to justify 
himself by declaring that the language fugitives 
from service does not include fugitive slaves. K 
so, we reply that the Vermont judge, whose in- 
famous decision he approves, had no such fine 
pretext. It is Mr. Sumner, as we have seen, 
who first suggested this most excellent method 
of reconciling conscience with treachery to the 
Constitution. Though he professes the most 
profound respect for that instrument, he delibe- 
rately sets to work to undermine one of its 


most clear and unequivocal mandates. He does 
not, like Mr. Seward, openly smite the Consti- 
tution with, his hand, or contemptuously kick 
it with his foot. He betrays it with a kiss. 

Mr. Sumner admires the conduct of the Ver- 
mont judge ; but he can heap the most frantic 
abuse on the acts of the best men America has 
produced. Though they be the deliberate public 
acts of a Clay, or a Calhoun, or a Webster, or a 
George Washington, his language is not the 
less violent, nor his raving vituperation the less 
malignant. In regard to the Fugitive Slave 
Law of 1850, he says: "And still further, as 
if to do a deed which should 'make heaven 
weep, all earth amazed,' this same Congress, in 
disregard of all the cherished safeguards of 
freedom, has passed a most cruel, unchristian, 
devilish act." The great difficulty under which 
Mr. Sumner labors, and which all the energy of 
his soul struggles to surmount, is to find lan- 
guage violent enough in which to denounce 
this "foul enactment," this "detestable and 
heaven-defying bill," this "monster act," which 
"sets at naught the best principles of the Con- 
stitution and the very laws of God !" 

Now, this bill, let it be remembered, is liable 
to no objection which may not be urged against 


the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793. It will not be 
denied, indeed, that if the one of these laws be 
unconstitutional so also is the other, and that 
both must stand or fall together. Let it also be 
borne in mind that, as the one received the sup- 
port of a Clay, and a Calhoun, and a Webster, 
so the other received the sanction and the sis;- 
nature of George Washington. Yet, in the face 
of these facts, Mr. Sumner does not moderate 
his rage. They only seem to increase the in- 
tensity and the fuiy of his wrath. "The soul 
sickens," he cries, "in the contemplation of this 
legalized outrage. In the dreary annals of the 
past there are many, acts of shame — there are 
many ordinances of monarchs, and laws which 
have become a byword and a hissing to the na- 
tions. But when we consider the country and 
the age, I ask fearlessly, what act of shame, 
what ordinance of monarch, what law, can com- 
pare in atrocity with this enactment of an 
American Congress ?" 

ITot content with pouring floods of abuse on 
the law itself, Mr. Sumner proceeds to consign 
to infamy its authors and all who have given it 
their support. For, after furnishing examples of 
what he deems among the most atrocious trans- 
actions of the past, he adds : "I would not exag- 



gerate. I wish to keep witMn bounds ; but 
I think no jperson can doubt that the condemna- 
tion affixed to all these transactions and to their 
authors must be the lot hereafter of the Fugi- 
tive Slave Bill, and of every one, according to 
the measure of his influence, who gave it his 
support. Into the immortal catalogue of na- 
tional crimes this has now passed, drawing with 
it, by an inexorable necessity, its authors also, 
and chiefly him who, as President of the United 
States, set his name to the bill, and breathed into 
it that final breath without which it would have 
no life. Other Presidents may be forgotten, 
but the name signed to the Fugitive Slave Bill 
can never be forgotten. There are depths of 
infamy, as there are heights of fame. I regret 
to say what I must, but truth compels me. 
Better far for him had he never been born ; 
better for his memory, and for the name of his 
children, had he never been President !" 

If neither Mr. Fillmore nor George Washing- 
ton swore to support the Constitution as Mr. 
Sumner understands it, we beg him to consider 
that his opinion was not»known when they took the 
oath of offi.ce. Mr. Fillmore had, at that time, 
no better guide to go by than the decisions of 
the most enlightened judicial tribunals of his 


countiyj with the Supreme Court of the United 
States at their head. He was not so far raised 
above other men, nor possessed of so wonderful 
an insight into the Constitution, as Mr. Sumner; 
for he could understand it no better than its 
framers. Hence he was, no doubt, so conscious 
of his own fallibility that he could hardly look 
• upon modesty as a crime, or upon a deference 
to the judicial tribunals of his country as in- 
famous. We trust, therefore, that his good 
name will survive, and that his children will 
not blush to own it. It is certain that the 
American people will never believe, on the bare 
authority of Mr. Sumner, that, in his course re- 
garding the Fugitive Slave Law, he planted his 
feet in the very ''depths of infamy," when they 
can so clearly see that he merely trod in the 
footsteps of George Washington. 

If what a man lacks in reason he could only 
make up in rage, then, after all, it would have 
to be concluded that Mr. Sumner is a very re- 
spectable Senator; for, surely, the violence of 
his denunciations is almost as remarkable as 
the weakness of his logic. Fortunately, how- 
ever, it can hurt no one except himself or those 
whom he represents. Certainly, the brightest 
names in the galaxy of American statesmen are 



not to be swept away by tbe filthy torrent of his 
invectives. The Clays, the Calhouns, the "Web- 
sters, and the Washingtons of America, are, 
indeed, as far above the impotent rage of this 
Senator as the very stars of heaven are beyond 
his arm.* 

* Mr. Sumner has a great deal to say, in Ms speech, about 
** the memory of the fathers." When their sentiments agree 
with his own, or only seem to him to do so, then they are " the 
demi-gods of history." But only let these demi-gods cross his 
path or come into contact with his fanatical notions, and in- 
stantly they sink into sordid knaves. The framers of the Con- 
stitution of the United States, says he, made "a compromise, 
which cannot he mentioned without shame. It was that hateful 
bargain by which Congress was restrained until 1808 from the 
prohibition of the foreign slave trade, thus securing, down to 
that period, toleration for crime.'" .... "The effrontery of 
slaveholders was matched by the sordidness of the Eastern mem-, 
bers.^' .... "The bargain was struck, and at this price the 
Southern States gained the detestable indulgence. At a subse- 
quent day. Congress branded the slave trade as piracy, and 
thus, by solemn legislative act, adjudged this compromise to be 
felonious and wicked.^' 

But for this compromise, as every one who has read the his- 
tory of the times perfectly well knows, no union could have been 
formed, and the slave trade might have been carried on to the 
present day. By this compromise, then, the Convention did not 
tolerate crime nor the slave trade; they merely formed the 
Union, and, in forming it, gained the power to abolish the slave 
trade in twenty years. The gain of this power, which Congress 


§ III. The right of Trial hy Jury not imjMired by 
the Fugitive Slave Law. 

It is alleged tliat tlie power to enact sucli a 
law does not reside in Congress, because no 
sucbpower has been "expressly delegated," and 
because it is not "necessary and proper" to 
carry any expressly delegated authority into 
effect. We should have replied to this argu- 
ment ; but it has been urged before every tri- 

had not before possessed, was considered by them as a great 
gain to the cause of humanity. If the Eastern members, from a 
blind and frantic hatred of slavery, had blasted all prospects of a 
union, and at the same time put the slave trade beyond their 
power forever, they would have imitated the wisdom of the 
abolitionists, who always promote the cause they seek to de- 

If any one will read the history of the times, he will see that 
«Hhe fathers," the framers of the Constitution, were, in making 
this very compromise, governed by the purest, the most pa- 
triotic, and the most humane, of motives. He who accuses them 
of corruption shows himself corrupt; especially if, like Mr. 
Sumner, he can laud them on one page as demi-gods, and on the 
very next denounce them as sordid knaves, who, for the sake of 
filthy lucre, could enter into a "felonious and wicked" bargain. 
Yet the very man who accuses them of having made so in- 
famous and corrupt a bargain in regard to the slave trade can 
and does most eloquently declaim against the monstrous in- 
justice of supposing them capable of the least act in favor of 

slavery ! 

X 30* 


bunal in wliicli tlie great question under con- 
sideration lias been tried, and everywhere re- 
futed. By Mr. Justice l!Telson, in tlie Supreme 
Court of IsTew York,* by Mr. Senator Bishop, in 
the Court of Errors in the same State, f and by 
Mr. Justice Story, in the Supreme Court of the 
United States, it has been so clearly, so power- 
fully, and so triumphantly demolished as to 
leave nothing more to be desired on the subject. 
And besides, it has been our object not so much 
to refute arguments against the law in question, 
or to establish that which has been so long esta- 
blished,J as to show on what slender grounds, 
and yet with what unbounded confidence, the 
greatest champions of abolition-ism are ac- 
customed to oppose the Constitution, the laws, 
the judicial decisions, and the uniform practice, 
of the whole government under which we live. 

In pursuance of this design, there is another 
sophism of theirs, which it now devolves upon 
us to examine. We. allude to the argument 

* XII. Wendell, p. 314. 

t XIV. Wendell, p. 530 ; XVI. Peters, p. 608. 

J Indeed, if we had produced all the arguments in favor of the 
constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, it would have car- . 
ried us far beyond our limits, and swelled this single chapter 
into a volume. 


that the Fugitive Slave Law is unconstitutional, 
because it denies the right of trial by jury. 

Is this still an open question? In the bio- 
graphy of Mr. Justice Story, published by his 
son, it is said : "The argument that the Act of 
1793 was unconstitutional, because it did not 
provide for a trial by jury according to the re- 
quisitions of the sixth article in the amendment 
to the Constitution, having been suggested to 
my father on his return from Washington, he 
replied that this question was not argued by 
counsel nor considered by the court, and that 
he should still consider it an open one." Mr. 
Sumner adduces this "distinct statement that 
the necessity of trial by jury was not before the 
court;" and adds, "So that, in the estimation 
of the judge himself, it was still an open ques- 

In the case here referred to — Prigg v. The 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, reported in 
XVI. Peters — it is true that the question of trial 
by jury was not argued by counsel nor con- 
sidered by the court. But if the greater in- 
cludes the less, then this question was embraced 
in the decision; for, in that case, Prigg had 
seized the fugitive slave without process, and 
carried her away without any certificate from 


magistrate or judge in the State of Pennsyl- 
vania. The court declared that he had a right 
to do so under and by virtue of the Constitution 
of the United States. Most assuredly, if he had 
a constitutional right to such proceeding, then, 
in such cases, the Constitution dispenses with 
the necessity of trial by jury. 

It was urged by counsel that such summary 
method of reclaiming fugitive slaves was uncon- 
stitutional ; but the court decided otherwise. It 
was insisted by Mr. Hambly, just as it is now 
insisted by Mr. Sumner and others, that such 
arrest was unconstitutional, because it was made 
by the mere wall of the party, and not, as the 
Constitution requires, " by due process of law." 
Thus the point was presented by the record, 
argued by the counsel, and overruled by the 

In overruling this argument the court says : 
" The owner must, therefore, have the right to 
seize and repossess the slave which the local 
laws of his own State confer upon him as pro- 
perty ; and we all know that this right of seizure 
and recaption is universally acknowledged in all 
the slave-holding States. Indeed, this is no 
more than a mere affirmance of the principles 
of the common law applicable to this very sub- 


ject." Then, after a quotation from Blacks tone, 
the court adds: "Upon this ground, we have not 
the slightest hesitation in holding that, under 
and in virtue of the Constitution, the owner of a 
slave is clothed with entire authority in every 
State in the Union to seize and recapture his 
slave whenever he can do it without any breach 
of the peace or any illegal violence." 

In accordance with this opinion of the court — 
delivered by Mr. Justice Story — Mr. Chief Jus- 
tice Taney says : the master "has a right, peace- 
ably, to take possession of him, and carry him 
away, without any certificate or warrant from a 
judge of the District or Circuit Court of the 
United States, or from any magistrate of the 
State ; and whosoever resists or obstructs him is 
a wrong-doer ; and every State law which pro- 
poses, directly or indirectly, to authorize such 
resistance or obstruction, is null and void, and 
afibrds no justification to the individual or the 
officer of the State who acts under it. This 
right of the master being given by the Consti- 
tution of the United States, neither Congress 
nor a State Legislature can by any law or regu- 
lation impair it or restrict it."* 

* This decision of the Supreme Court, which authorizes the 
master to seize his fugitive slave without process, (see his speech, 


Hence it would have been well if Mr. Sumner 
and the son of Judge Story had looked into 
this decision again before they proclaimed the 
opinion that the right of trial by jury is, in such 
cases, still an open question. Mr. Justice Story 
himself must, on reflection, have seen that the 
off-hand expression attributed to him was erro- 
neous. His more deliberate opinion is re- 
corded, not only in the case of Prigg, but also 

Appendix to Congressional Globe, vol. xxii., part 2, p. 1587,) is 
exceedingly oflFensive to Mr. Chase, of Ohio ; and no wonder, 
since the legislature of his own State has passed a law, making 
it a penitentiary offence in the master who should thus prose- 
cute his constitutional right as declared by this decision. But, 
in regard to this point, the Supreme Court of the United States 
does not stand alone. The Supreme Court of New York, in the 
case of Jack v. Martin, had previously said: "Whether the 
owner or agent might have made the arrest in the first instance 
without any process, we will not stop to examine ; authorities 
of deserved respectability and weight have held the affirmative. 
2 Pick. 11, 5 Serg. & Rawle, 62, and the case of Glen v. 
Hodges, in this court, before referred to, (in 9 Johnson,) seem 
to countenance the same conclusion. It would indeed appear to 
follow as a necessary consequence, from the undoubted position, 
that under this clause of the Constitution the right and title of the 
owner to the service of the slave is as entire and perfect within the 
jurisdiction of the State to which he has fled as it was in the one from 
which he escaped. Such seizure would he at the peril of the party ; 



in Ms " Commentaries on the Constitution of the 
United States." *' It is obvious," says he, " that 
these provisions for the arrest and removal of 
fugitives of both classes contemplate summary 
ministerial proceedings, and not the ordinary 
course of judicial investigations to ascertain whe- 
ther the complaint be well-founded or the claim 
of ownership be established beyond all legal con- 
troversy. In cases of suspected crimes the guilt 
or innocence of the party is to be made out at 
his trial, and not upon the preliminary inquiry 
whether he shall be delivered up. All that 
would seem in such cases to be necessary is that 
there should be prima facie evidence before the 
executive authority to satisfy its judgment that 
there is probable cause to believe the party 
guilty, such as, upon an ordinary warrant, would 
justify his commitment for trial. And in the 
cases of fugitive slaves there would seem to be 
the same necessity of requiring only prima facie 
proofs of ownership, without putting the party 
to a formal assertion of his rights by a suit at 
the common law."* 

But, since the abolitionists will discuss. this 
point, then let it be considered an open ques- 

* Story on Constitution, vol. iii., book iii., chap. xl. 


tion, and let them produce their arguments. 
The first we shall notice is from Mr. Sumner, 
who again reasons from the sentiments of the 
fathers. "At the close of the I^ational Conven- 
tion," says he, "Elbridge Gerry refused to sign 
the Constitution, because, among other things, 
it established ' a tribunal without juries, a Star 
Chamber as to civil cases.' Many united in his 
opposition, and, on the recommendation of the 
First Congress, this additional safeguard was 
adopted as an amendment." Thus, according 
to ]Mr. Sumner, Elbridge Gerry was the father 
of the clause in the Constitution which guaran- 
tees the right of trial by jury. Yet Elbridge 
Gerry never dreamed of applying this clause 
to the case of fugitive slaves ; for, as we have 
already seen, he voted for the Fugitive Slave 
Law of 1793, in which such application of it is 
denied. !N'or did any other member of that 
Congress propose the right of trial by jury in 
such cases. 

!N^o doubt there would have been opposition to 
the act of 1793 if any member of Congress had 
supposed, for a moment, that it denied the right 
of trial by jury to the fugitive slave. It does no 
such thing. It leaves that right unimpaired; 
and if any slave in the Union, whether fugitive 


or otherwise, desire such trial, it is secured to 
hira by the Constitution and laws of the coun- 
try. But he cannot have such trial where or 
in what State he chooses. If he lives in Eich- 
mond, he may have a trial by jury there ; but he 
cannot escape to Boston, and there demand this 
as a right. The fugitive from labor, like the 
fugitive from justice, has a right to a trial by 
jury, but neither can claim to have this trial in 
any part of the world he pleases. The latter 
must be tried in " the vicinage" where the of- 
fence is alleged to have been committed, be- 
cause there the w^itnesses are to be found. He 
has no right to flee from these and require 
them to follow him with their testimony. As 
he has a constitutional right to be tried in the 
vicinage of the alleged offence, so has the com- 
monwealth a right to insist on his trial there. 
In like manner, and for a similar reason, if the 
colored man wish to assert his freedom under 
the law, he may appeal to a jury of the country ; 
but this must be done in the State under whose 
laws he is claimed as a slave and where the 
witnesses reside. He cannot fly to a distant 
State, and there demand a kind of trial which 
neither the Constitution, nor the laws, nor public 
expediency, secures to him. If he assert this 



right at all, lie must assert it in conformity with. 
the widoubted right of the other party, which is to 
be sued in this, as in all other personal actions, 
in the place where he resides. 

In the face of these considerations, it is no 
wonder that the Congress of 1793 were so unani- 
mous in regard to the Fugitive Slave Law. 
Though this law did not provide for a jury trial, 
yet its authors all knew that such trial was not 
denied to the fugitive slave, if he had a mind to 
claim it. Hence the law was passed by that 
Congress, without even an allusion to this 
modern abolition objection to its constitution- 
ality. Among all the members of that body 
who had taken part in framing the Constitution 
of the United States,* not one was found to hint 

^ The framers of the Constitution in that Congress were : — 
"John Langdon and Nicholas Gilmer, of New Hampshire; Ca- 
leb Strong and Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts ; Roger Sher- 
man and Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut ; Rufus King, of New 
York ; Robert Morris and Thomas Fitzsimmons, of Pennsylva- 
nia ; George Reid and Richard Basset, of Delaware ; Jonathan 
Dayton, of New Jersey ; Pierce Butler, of South Carolina ; 
Hugh Williamson, of North Carolina ; William Few and Abra- 
ham Baldwin, of Georgia ; and last, but not least, James Madi- 
son, of Virginia." Yet from not one of these framers of the 
Constitution — from not one of these illustrious guardians of 
freedom — was a syllable heard in regard to the right of trial by 


at such an objection. This objection is of more 
recent origin, if not of less respectable pa- 

An amendment to the law in question, allow- 
ing a trial by jury to the fugitive slave in a dis- 
tant State, would indeed be a virtual denial of 
the constitutional right of the master. Either 
because the jury could not agree, or because dis- 
tant testimony might be demanded, the trial 
would probably be continued, and put off, until 
the expense, the loss of time, and the worriment 
of vexatious proceedings, would be more than 
the slave is worth. The language of Mr. Chief 
Justice Taney, in relation to an action for da- 
mages by the master, is peculiarly applicable to 
such a trial by jury. The master "would be 
compelled,'' says he, " to encounter the costs and ex- 
penses of a suit, prosecuted at a distance from his own 
home, and to sacrifice perhaps the value of his property 
in endeavoring to obtain compensation." This is 
not the kind of remedy, says he, the Constitu- 

jury in connection with the Fugitive Slave Law then passed. 
The more pity it is, no doubt, the abolitionist will think, that 
neither Mr. Chase, nor Mr. Sumner, nor Mr. Seward, was there 
to enlighten them on the subject of trial by jury and to save the 
country from the infamy of such an Act. Alas ! for the poor, 
blind fathers ! 


tion "intended to give. The delivery of the 
property itself — its prompt and immediate de- 
livery — is plainly/ required, and was intended to be 
secured." Such prompt and immediate delivery 
was a part of " the customary or common law" 
at the time the Constitution was adopted, and 
* its framers, no doubt, intended that this practice 
should be enforced by the clause in question, as 
appears from the fact that so many of them con- 
curred in the Act of 1793. 

But if such right to a prompt and immediate 
delivery be guaranteed by the Constitution itself, 
then, with all due submission, we would ask, 
what power has Congress to limit or abridge 
this right? If under and by virtue of the Con- 
stitution this right to a prompt and immediate 
delivery be secured, then what power has Con- 
gress to say there shall not be a prompt or im- 
mediate delivery? " This right of the master," 
says Mr. Chief Justice Taney, " being given by 
the Constitution of the United States, neither 
Congress nor a State Legislature can by any 


If this be sound doctrine, — and such we hold it 
to be, — then Congress has no j3onstitutional 
power to impair or restrict the right in question, 
by giving the fugitive slave a trial by jury in the 


State to wliicL. he may have flccl. This would 
not be to give a " prompt and immediate de- 
livery," such as the Supreme Court declares the 
master is entitled to by the Constitution itself; 
it would be either to give no delivery at all, or 
else one attended with such delays, vexations, 
and costs, as would materially impair, if not 
wholly annihilate, the right in question. 

It is right and proper, we think, that ques- 
tions arising exclusively under our own laws 
should be tried in our own States and by our 
own tribunals^ Hence we shall never consent, 
unless constrained by the judicial decision of 
the Supreme Court of the Union, to have such 
questions tried in States whose people and 
whose juries may, perhaps, be hostile to our in- 
terests and to our domestic institutions. For we 
are sovereign as well as they. 

Only conceive such a trial by jury in a ]N"orth- 
ern State, with such an advocate for the fugitive 
slave as [Mr. Chase, or ]VIr. Sumner, or some 
other flaming abolitionist! There sits the fugi- 
tive slave, — ^' one of the heroes of the age," as 
Mr. Sumner calls him, and the very embodi- 
ment of persecuted innocence. On the other 
hand is the master, — the vile " Slave-hunter," 
as Mr. Sumner delights to represent him, and 



whom, if possible, he is deteiinined " to blast 
with contempt, indignation, and abhorrence.'* 
The trial begins. The advocate appeals to the 
prejudices and the passions of the jury. He 
denounces slavery — about which neither he nor 
the jury know any thing — as the epitome of all 
earthly wrongs, as the sum and substance of all 
human woes. Now, suppose that on the jury 
there is onli/ one man, who, like the Vermont 
judge, requires "a bill of sale from the 
Almighty" before he will deliver up a fugitive 
slave; or who, like Mr. Seward, sets his own 
private opinion above the Constitution of his 
countiy; or who, like Mr. Sumner, has merely 
sworn to support the supreme law as he under- 
stands it ; and who, at the same time, possesses 
his capacity to understand it just exactly- as he 
pleases: then what chance would the master 
have for a verdict ? Just none at all. For that 
one man, however clear the master's evidence, 
would hang the jury, and the cause would have 
to be tried over again. 

But suppose the whole twelve jurors should 
decide according to the law and the evidence, 
and give a verdict in favor of the claimant; 
would his rights then be secured? Very far 
from it. For there is the eager crowd, which 


never fails to flock to such trials, and which the 
inflammatory eloquence of the advocate has 
now wrought into a frenzy. Cannot such 
crowd, think you, furnish a mob to efifect by 
force what every member of the jury had re- 
fused to accomplish by falsehood ? If the mas- 
ter — if the abhorred "slave-hunter" — should 
escape from such a crowd with a sound body 
only, and without his property, he ought, we 
think, to deem himself exceedingly fortu- 

Mr. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, has advo- 
vocated a trial by jury in such cases. He was, 
no doubt, perfectly sincere in the belief ex- 
pressed by him, that under such a provision 
more fugitive slaves would be reclaimed than 
under the law as it now stands. But it is 
equally certain that neither Mr. Seward nor 
Mr. Chase was of this opinion when the one 
proposed, and the other voted for, a trial by 
jury in such cases. JSTeither of these Sena- 
tors, we think we may confidently affirm, in- 
tended to aid the master in reclaiming his fugi- 
tive slaves. 

"At any rate, sir," says Mr. Winthrop, "I 
shall vote for the amendment offered by the 
Senator from Kew Jersey, as right and just in 


itself, whatever may be its effects." That is to 
say, whatever may be the effect of a jury trial in 
such cases, he means to vote for it as right and 
just in itself! Whether this were a burst of pas- 
sion merely, or the deliberate conviction of the 
author of it, we are not able to determine, but 
we shall trust it was the former. For surely 
such an opinion, if deliberately entertained, is 
creditable neither to a Senator nor to a jurist. 
E'either this, nor any other mode of trial, is 
" right in itself;" and when right at all, it is 
only so as a means to an end. It is only right 
when it subserves the great end of justice; and 
if it fail to answer this end it is then worse than 
worthless. Hence the statesman who declares 
that, ^'whatever may be the effects" of a particular 
mode of trial, he will nevertheless support it 
" as right and just in itself," thereby announces 
that he is prepared to sacrifice the end to the 
means, — a sentiment which, we venture to affirm, 
is more worthy of a fanatical declaim er than of 
the high-minded and accomplished Senator by 
whom it was uttered. 

The great objection urged against the Fugi- 
tive Slave Law is that under it a freeman may 
be seized and reduced to slavery. This law, as 
well as every other, may, no doubt, be grossly 


abused, and made a cover for evil deeds. But 
is there no remedy for sucli evil deeds ? Is there 
no protection for the free blacks of the Korth, 
except by a denial of the clear and unquestion- 
able constitutional rights of the South ? If not, 
then we should be willing to submit ; but there 
is a remedy against such foul abuse of the law 
of Congress in question, and, as we conceive, a 
most ample remedy. 

The master may recapture his fugitive slave. 
This is his constitutional right. But, in the 
language of the Supreme Court of E'ew York, 
already quoted, if a villain, under cover of a 
pretended right, proceeds to carry off a freeman, 
he does so '^at his peril, and would be answerable 
like any other trespasser or kidnapper.'' He must 
be caught, however, before he can be punished. 
Let him be caught, let the crime be proved upon 
him, and we would most heartily concur in the 
law by which he should himself be doomed to 
slavery for life in the penitentiary. 

The Fugitive Slave Law is not the only one 
liable to abuse. The innocent may be, and 
often have been, arrested for crime ; but this is 
no reason why the law of arrest should be 
abolished, or even impaired in its operation. 
Kay, innocent persons have often been mali- 


ciously prosecuted ; yet no one, on this account, 
ever dreamed of throwing obstacles in the way 
of prosecution for crime. The innocent have 
been made the victims of perjury; but who 
imagines that all swearing in courts of justice 
should therefore be abolished ? Such evils and 
such crimes are sought to be remedied by sepa- 
rate legislation, and not by undermining the 
laws of which they are the abuses. In like 
manner, though we wish to see the free blacks 
of the ]N"orth protected, and would most cheer- 
fully lend a helping hand for that purpose, yet, 
at the same time, we would maintain our own 
constitutional rights inviolate. The villain who, 
under cover of the law made for the protection 
of our rights, should seek to invade the rights 
of Il^orthern freemen, is as much abhorred by 
us as by any abolitionists on earth. JSTor, on 
the other hand, have we any sympathy with 
those who, under cover of a law to he made for 
the protection of the free blacks of the i^orth, 
seek to invade the rights of the South. We 
have no sympathy with either class of kid- 

Is it not wonderful that, while the abolitionists 
of the I^orth create and keep up so great a cla- 
mor about the danger their free blacks are in, 


they do so little, and ask so little, either hy 
legislation or otherwise, in order to protect 
them, except in such manner, or by such legis- 
lation, as shall aim a deadly blow at the rights 
and interests of the South ? If they really wish 
to protect their free blacks, and if the laws are 
not already sufficient for that purpose, we are 
more than willing to assist in the passage of 
more efficient ones. But we are not willing to 
abandon the great right which the Constitu- 
tion spreads, like an impenetrable shield, over 
Southern property to the amount of sixteen 
hundred millions of dollars. 

The complaint in regard to the want of pro- 
tection for the free blacks of the ISTorth is with- 
out just foundation. In the case of Jack v. Mar- 
tin, decided in the Court of Errors of l^ew York, 
we find the following language, which is here 
exactly in point: — "It was contended on the 
argument of this cause, with great zeal and ear- 
nestness, that, under the law of the United 
States, a freeman might be dragged from his 
family and home into captivity. This is sup- 
posing an extreme case, as I believe it is not 
pretended any such ever has occurred, or that 
any complaint of that character has ever been 
made ; at all events, I cannot regard it as a very 


potent argument. The same position might as 
well be taken in the case of a fugitive from jus- 
tice. It might be assumed that he was an inno- 
cent man, and entitled to be tried by a jury of 
the State where he was arrested, to ascertain 
whether he had violated the laws of the State 
from which he fled ; whereas the fact is, the 
executive of this State would feel bound to 
deliver up the most exalted individual in this 
State, (however well satisfied he might be of his 
innocence,) if a requisition was made upon him 
by the executive of another State." 

In the same case, when before the Supreme 
Court of Kew York, the court said: *'In the 
case under review, the proceedings are before a 
magistrate of our own State, presumed to pos- 
sess a sympathy with his fellow-citizens, and 
where, upon the supposition that a freeman is ar- 
rested, he may readily procure the evidence of his 
freedom. If the magistrate should finally err 
in granting the certificate, the party can still 
resort to the protection of the national judiciary. 
The proceedings hy which his rights have been in- 
vaded being under a law of Congress, the remedy for 
error or injustice belongs peculiarly to that high 
tribunal. Under their ample shield, the ap- 



It is evident that when this opinion v^as pro- 
nounced by the Supreme Court of ITew York, it 
had not fathomed the depths of some men's 
capacity of being alarmed by apprehensions of 
captivity and oppression. The abolitionists will, 
whether or no, be most dreadfully alarmed. 
But the danger consists, not in the want of laws 
and courts to punish the kidnapper, but in the 
want of somebody to catch him. If he does all 
the mischief ascribed to him by the abolitionists, 
is it not wonderful that he is not caught by 
them? Eumor, with her thousand tongues, is 
clamorous about his evil deeds ; and fanatical 
credulity, with her ten thousand ears, gives heed 
to the reports of rumor. But yet, somehow or 
other, the abolitionists, with all their fiery, rest- 
less zeal, never succeed in laying their hands 
on the offender himself. He must, indeed, be a 
most adroit, a naost cunning, a most wonderful 
rogue. He boldly goes into a community in 
which so many are all eye, all ear, and all 
tongue, in regard to the black man's rights ; he 
there steals a free negro, who himself has the 
power to tell when, where, and how, he became 
free ; and yet, in open day, and amid ten thou- 


sand flaming guardians of freedom,* he escapes 
with perfect impunity ! Is he not a most mar- 
vellous proper rogue ? But perhaps the reason 
the abolitionists do not lay hands on him is 
that he is an imaginary being, who, though in- 
tangible and invisible, will yet serve just as 
well to create an alarm and keep up a great ex- 
citement as if he were a real personage. 

§ rV". The Duty of the Citizen in regard to the 
Constitution of the United States. 

The Constitution, it is agreed on all sides, is 
"the supreme law of the land," — of every State 
in the Union. The first duty of the citizen in 
regard to the Constitution is, then, to respect and 
obey each and every one of its provisions. If 
he repudiates or sets at naught this or that pro- 
vision thereof, because it does not happen to 
agree with his own views or feelings, he does 
not respect the Constitution at all;' he makes 
his own will and pleasure the supreme law. 
The true principle of loyalty resides not in his 
bosom. We may apply to him, and to the su- 
preme law of the land, the language of an in- 

* This crime of kidnapping, says Mr. Chase, of Ohio, is "not 
unfrequent" in his section of country ; that is, about Cincinnati. 


spired apostle, that "whosoever shall keep the 
whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is 
guilty of all." He is guilty of all, because, by 
his wilful disobedience in the one instance, he 
sets at naught the authority by which the whole 
was ordained and established. 

In opposing the Fugitive Slave Law, it is for- 
gotten by the abolitionists that, if no such law 
existed, the master would have, under the Con- 
stitution itself, the same right to reclaim his fu- 
gitive from labor, and to reclaim him in the 
same summary manner ; for, as we have seen, 
the Supreme Court of the United States has de- 
cided that by virtue of the Constitution alone 
the master has a right to pursue and reclaim his 
fugitive slave, without even a writ or legal pro- 
cess. Hence, in opposing the Fugitive Slave 
Law because it allows a summary proceeding in 
such cases, the abolitionists really make war on 
the Constitution. The battery which they open 
against the Constitution is merely masked be- 
hind the Fugitive Slave Law ; and thus the 
nature of their attack is concealed from the eyes 
of their non-legal followers. 

But, says Mr. Chase, of Ohio, I do not agree 
wdth the Supreme Court of the United States. 
I oppose not the Constitution, but the decision 


of the Supreme Court. "A decision of tlie Su- 
preme Court," says he, '^cannot alter the Con- 
stitution." This is very true; but then, on the 
other hand, it is equally true that neither can 
his opinion alter the Constitution. But here 
the question arises, which is the rule of conduct 
for the true and loyal citizen, — the decision of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, or 
the opinion of Governor Chase ? "We decidedly 
prefer the former. " Sir," says Mr. Chase, 
"when gentlemen from the slave States ask us 
to support the Constitution, I fear they mean 
only their construction of the Constitution." We 
mean not so. We mean neither our nor his con- 
struction of the Constitution, but that construc- 
tion only which has been given to it by the 
highest judicial tribunal in the land, by the su- 
preme und final arbiter in all such conflicts of 

But Mr. Chase opposes argument as well as 
opinion to the decision of the Supreme Court in 
regard to slavery. "What more natural," says 
he, " than that gentlemen from the slave States, 
in view of the questions likely to come before 
the Supreme Court, should desire that a ma- 
jority of its members might have interests like 
those which they would desire to maintain ! 


Certain it is that some care has been taken to secure 
such a cbnstituiion of the court, and not without suc- 
cess.'' If Mr. Cliase, or any other abolitionist, 
should insinuate that the decision in question is 
owing to such an unfair constitution of the 
Supreme Court, the answer is as easy and 
triumphant as the accusation would be infamous 
and vile; for, as is well known, the very de- 
cision which is so obnoxious to his sentiments 
was delivered by the great jurist of Massachu- 
setts, Mr. Justice Story, and was concurred in 
by the other E"orthern members of the Court. 
This is not all. How did it happen that sub- 
stantially the same decision has been rendered 
by the Supreme Courts of E'ew York, Massa- 
chusetts, and Pennsylvania? Were these high 
tribunals also constituted with reference to the 
peculiar interests of the South ? 

The question is not whether the decision of 
the Supreme Court, or the opinion of Mr. Chase, 
the more perfectly reflects the Constitution. 
Even if he were infallible, as the Supreme Court 
certainly is not, we, the people of the United 
States, have not agreed that he shall decide such 
questions for us. And besides, it would be 
difficult, perhaps, to persuade the people that he 
is, for the determination of such questions, any 



more happily constituted than the Supreme 
Court itself, with all the manifold imperfections 
of its Southern members. But, however this 
may be, it is certain that until the people shall 
be so persuaded, and shall agree to abide by his 
opinions, it is the duty of the good citizen to 
follow the decisions of the great judicial tri- 
bunal provided by the Constitution of his 

If you, good citizen of the I^orth, have a right 
to set up your opinion in opposition to such de- 
cisions, then I have the same right, and so has 
every other member of the commonwealth. 
Thus, as many constructions of the Constitution 
would necessarily result as there are individual 
opinions in the land. Law and order would be 
at an end; a chaos of conflicting elements 
would prevail, and every man would do that 
which seemed right in his own eyes. The only 
escape from such anarchy is a just and loyal 
confidence in the judicial tribunals of the land — 
is a subjection of the intense egotism of the in- 
dividual to the will of the nation, as expressed 
in the Constitution and expounded by the con- 
stitutional authorities. Hence, we mean to sup- 
port the Constitution, not as we understand it 
nor as yoii understand it, but as it is understood 


by the Supreme Court of the United States. 
Such, it seems to us, is the only wise course — 
nay, is the imperative duty — of every citizen v^ho 
does not intend to disorganize the fundamental 
law and revolutionize the government of his 

It may be supposed, perhaps, by those who 
have reflected little on the subject, that the con- 
troversy respecting the Fugitive Slave Law is 
merely about the value of a few slaves. It is, 
in our opinion, far otherwise ; it is a great con- 
stitutional question; and hence the deep in- 
terest which it has excited throughout the 
nation, as well as in the Senate of the United 
States. It is a question, as it appears to us, 
whether the Constitution or the abolitionists 
shall rule the country. The Fugitive Slave Law 
is, as we have seen, surrounded by the strongest 
possible evidences of its constitutionahty ; and 
hence, if this may be swept away as unconstitu- 
tional by the passions of a mad faction, then 
may every other legal defence be levelled be- 
fore like storms, and all security annihilated. 
Hence, as the friends of law and order, we in- 
tend to take our stand right here, and defend 
this Act, which, although despised and abhorred 
by a faction, has received the sanction of the 


fathers, as well as of the great judicial tribunals, 
of the land. 

We are asked to repeal this law — ay, by the 
most violent agitator of the Korth we are 
asked to repeal this law — for " the sake of tran- 
qaillity and peace!'' But how can this bring 
peace ? Suppose this law were repealed ; would 
tranquillity be restored? We have not forgot- 
ten — nor can we be so easily made to forget — 
that this very agitator himself has declared, that 
slavery is "a wrong so transcendent" that no 
truce is to be allowed to it so long as it occupies 
a single foot of ground in the United States. 
Is it not, then, a delusive prospect of peace 
which is offered to us in exchange for the law in 
question ? 

l^^or can we forget what other agitators have 
uttered respecting the abolition of slavery in the 
Southern States. "Slavery," said Mr. Seward, 
at a mass-meeting in Ohio, " can be limited to 
its present bounds; it can be ameliorated. It 
can be — and it must be — abolished, and you 
and I can and must do it." Does this look like 
peace, if the Fugitive Slave Law were only out 
of the way ? Mr. Seward, from his place in the 
Senate of the United States, tells us how we 
must act among the people of the I^orth, if, in 


reclaiming our fugitive slaves, we would not dis- 
turb their peace. But lie had already exhorted 
the people of the ISTorth to "extend a cordial 
welcome" to our fugitive slaves, and to "defend 
them as they would their household gods." 
What, then, does he mean by peace ? 

This outcry, indeed, that the peace of the 
country is disturbed by the Fugitive Slave Law, 
is as great a delusion as ever was attempted to 
be palmed off on any people. If this law 
were repealed to-morrow, would agitation cease ? 
Would the abolitionists of the N'orth cease to 
proclaim that their doors are open, and their 
hospitality is ready, to receive the poor be- 
nighted blacks? (the blacks of the South, we 
mean ; for we have never heard of their open 
doors, or cordial hospitality, for the poor free 
blacks of their own neighborhood.) But we 
have heard — from Dr. Channing himself — of " a 
convention at the ;N"orth, of highly respected 
men, preparing and publishing an address to 
the slaves, in which they are exhorted to fly 
from bondage, and to feel no scruple in seizing 
and using horse or boat which may facilitate their 
escape." ^ow, if the Fugitive Slave Law were 
repealed, would all such proceedings cease ? Or 
if, under the Constitution as expounded by the 


Supreme Courts of the Union and of 'New York, 
and without any such law to back him, the mas- 
ter should seek to reclaim his property, would 
he be welcomed, or hooted and resisted, by the 
defenders of the fugitive from his service ? Let 
these things be considered, and it will be evi- 
dent, we think, that the repeal of the law in 
question would only invite further aggressions, 
and from this prostrate outpost the real enemies 
of the peace of the country would march, if 
possible, over every other defence of the Con- 

Hence, although we most ardently desire har- 
mony and concord for the States of the Union, 
we shall never seek it by a surrender of the 
Constitution or the decisions of the Supreme 
Court. If it cannot be found under these, it 
cannot be found at all. Mr. Chase assures us, 
indeed, that just so long as the rule laid down 
by the Supreme Court in the case of Prigg pre- 
vails, we must " encounter difficulties, and serious 
difficulties."* If it must be so, then so be it. 
If the question be whether the decisions of the 
Supreme Court, or the dictation of demagogues, 

* Appendix to Congressional Globe, vol. xxii., part ii., p. 



shall rule our destinies, tlien is our stand taken 
and our purpose immovably fixed. 

We have a right to peace under the decisions 
of that august tribunal. It is neither right nor 
proper — it is contrary to every principle of na- 
tural justice — that either party to this great con- 
troversy should decide for itself. Hence, if the 
abolitionists will not submit to the decisions of 
the Supreme Court, we shall most assuredly re- 
fuse submission to their arrogant dictation. We 
can, from our inmost hearts, respect the feelings 
of those of our !N"orthern brethren who may 
choose to remain passive in this matter, and 
leave us — by such aid as the law may afford — to 
reclaim our own fugitives from labor. For such 
we have only words of kindness and feelings of 
fraternal love. But as for those — and especially 
for those in high places — who counsel resistance 
to the laws and to the Constitution of the Re- 
public, we hold them guilty of a high misde- 
meanor, and we shall ever treat them as dis- 
turbers of the public peace, nay, as enemies of 
the independence, the perpetuity, the greatness, 
and the glory of the Union under which, by the 
blessing of Almighty God, we have hitherto so 
wonderfully prospered. 



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