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Full text of "Observations on American Slavery, After a Year's Tour in the United States"

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HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




Giflef 

THE AUTHOR 



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I'w^ £. Z tf > ^.^ 

OBSERVATIONS 



, AMERICAN SLAVERY. 



gar's %,nt in \\t %v.\i\ %ii\n. 



BY 

RUSSELL LANT CARPENTER,/ B. A. 



iiLONDON: 
EDWARD T. WHITFIELD, 2, ESSEX STREET, STRAND. 

1852. 



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HA^^VARD \ 
MAY 6 ^^n 



PREFACE. 



The following Letters were written at the request of the Editor of the 
Christian Eeformer, to whom they were originally addressed. They are to 
be read as the observations of a traveller, not as a treatise on Slavery. They 
convey impressions recorded, for the most part, at the time, in letters to those 
whose anti-slavery zeal required no stimulant, and who needed information 
less as to the horrors of slavery, than as to the general aspect of the system, 
as it appears to its supporters and to passing observers. 

My acquaintances were of every shade of opinion on the subject, and I 
desired to hear with candour what each had to say : if this candour is embo- 
died in these pages, their views will be represented without distortion : there- 
fore, in describing my visit among « pro-slavery" persons, I may state that 
which is supposed to have a pro-slavery bearing; nor have I so mean an idea 
of the love of freedom in the hearts of my readers, that I shall tremble for 
the consequences of my fairness. Even should these papers fall into the 
hands of any who sanction slavery, I have no fear lest they should suppose 
that I befriend their system $ whilst they will be more likely to listen patiently 
to what I say against it, from seeing that I have listened patiently to what 
can be said for it If we wish to convince those in error, we must shew our 
comprehension of theur point of view, and our readiness to give the friU weight 
to all that they can urge. The resultant of conflicting forces is more deserv- 
ing of regard than a single force which has not yet overcome opposition. 

As I did not permit the glories of America to dazzle me, I should be un- 
willing to let its shame blind me ; and what the Christian Hegister (Boston, 
Oct. 25, 1851) says of my articles on another subject, may I hope be applied 
by unprejudiced readers to the present letters : — " The London Inquirer of 
Sept. 27, among its other good things (brother May's letter about us, one of 
them P) contains an excellent article on our Common Schools, by Rev. R. L. 
Carpenter. There is no Englishman who seems to us to write more wisely 
about America and American affairs than Mr. Carpenter. He recognizes both 
the good and the evil, and praises and blames us not without discrimination. 
He saw through his eyes, rather than through his prejudices for or against 
us." 

The complaint is made in some anti-slavery publications, that travellers to 
the South are peculiarly liable to become " pro-slavery." If those who went 
wiUi strong prepossessions against slavery return its advocates, it certainly 
implies that there must be some good qualities in an institution which thus 



CONTENTS. 



Letteb I. 



Political aspect of the Slave question in 18^0, l-^Peculiar charaeter of the city 
of Washington, 2— Distinction between the Declaration of Independence and 
the Constitution, 2— Opinions of the different parties as to the bearings of the 
Constitution on this question, 4 — A visit to Congress, 7 — ^History of the Fugi- 
tive Slave Law, 7— Speech of Senator Hale, 10— Other speakers, 11. 

Letter n. 

Visit to the South ; Dr. Fumess, of Philadelphia ; Baltimore ; Maryland ; Dr. 
Bumap, 13 — Constitutional influences at Washington, 14— Defences of Slavery ; 
Senator Hunter, l^—The Presid^t's levee; General Taylor, 18— Daniel 
Webster, 19— Dr. Bailey and the National Era, 19— Unitarian Church ; Rev. 
J. H. Allen, 20— Catholic Church, 20— Coloured people at Washington, 20— 
Journey through Virginia ; the disinterested Slave, 22— Wilmington, N. C, 
22^A gang of Slaves, 23 — ^Wrongs at home, 24. 

Lettbb m. 

Charleston, S. C. ; Calhoun ; Disunion meeting, 25— Southern Views of the 
Slave question, 26— Slave sale, 28— Slave advertisements, 29— Superficial 

. views of Slavery, 31— The mixed race, 32-^Dr. Gilman and his nominal Slav«> 
33— Unitarian Church, 34— Negro prayer-meeting, 35. 

Letter IV. 

Heligious teaching of Slaves, 38— Miss Bremer, 39— Mrs. Oilman; the Southern 
matron, 40 fnote^— Condition of women, 40— Visit to a plantation, 41— Sa- 
vannah, 43 — Macon; Coloured Church, 44— The North in the South, 45— 
Journey with a Methodist Bishop, 45 — ^Visit to the Mammoth Cave ; Stephen, 
46— Nashville, 47— The State prison, 48. 

Letter V. 

Voyage to St. Louis ; Slave at Paducah ; Episcopal Methodists, 49— St. Louis ; 
Mr. Eliot ; Unitarian Church, 50— Louisville ; Mr. Hey wood ; the Louisville 
Examiner, 51— Conversations with Slaveholders, 52— The Coloured race at 
the North, 54— Cincinnati, 55— F. Douglass, 56— Coloured schools, 57— J. 
Henson, 57— Dr. Nichols, 57— Dr. Hill, 58— Position of Unitarian ministers 
on this question, 58— The Christian Register, 62 (and 59, note)^J>r. Palfrey ; 
his sacrifices, 63— The Abolitionists ; Mr. Mountford, 64—" Pro-slavery," 66 
—Personal intercourse with Abolitionists, 67— English action, 68. 



AMERICAN SLAVERY. 



to the editob of the chbistian befobmeb. 

Sib, 
You ask me for some observations on Slavery in the United States. 
I comply, but not without reluctance ; for the subject is painful and 
complicated, and every one who handles it must submit to be misre- 
presented. This article will be published on the first of August, the 
anniversary of West-Indian Emancipation. When I took part in a 
meeting of American Abolitionists, a year ago, to commemorate this 
great event, I candidly told them that it seemed to me that the South- 
erners misunderstood the Northerners, and the Northerners the South- 
erners, and that I could not profess to understand either of them. 
Slavery I detest ; for Abolition I earnestly pray ; but as to the degree 
in which slaveholders are guilty or abolitionists wise, I do not feel 
prepared either to give a decision myself, or to accept one from any 
other man : perhaps no reasonable person will wish me to do so. 
I had intended to give you some impressions derived from my brief 
! observation of slavery; but though these shall not be withheld on 
some other occasion, should you require them, it on the whole seems 
[ best to make this letter of a less personal nature, and to dwell more 
on that political aspect of the question which presented itself to me 
. when I visited Washington in March, 1850. It was an interesting 
session : the subject of slavery had been uppermost from its commence- 
• ment. The nine Free-soil members had refused, at the onset, to aid 
i in the election of a Speaker who was not firm in the cause of freedom ; 
and so evenly balanced were the principal parties, that for several 
weeks no Speaker could be chosen. Before the excitement from this 
unprecedented conflict was allayed, the claims of California divided the 
nation. 

It will be remembered that whilst the number of Representatives 
; depends on population, that of Senators is fixed — two from each State. 
', So long, then, as the number of States in each section remained equal, 
I a balance would be preserved in the Senate, whatever might be the 
J overwhelming preponderance of Representatives. Accordingly, each 
I section has been anxious to increase the number of its States, and in 
j this policy the South has been generally beforehand. Texas was an- 
j nexed with the view of confirming slavery ; and the same motive was 
paramount in the infamous Mexican war, — a war attended with such 
J atrocious horrors, that, after reading its records, the wickedness of 
I slavery seems commonplace ! The Southerners reckoned on California 
j as theirs ; whilst the friends of liberty in the North expressed their 
j determination to oppose the admission of any new slave State. Mean- 
while the Californians, unwilling to risk such opposition, and perceiving 
that, as their wealth arose from labour, it was undesirable to bring 
disgrace on it by employing slaves in the same work, agreed on a con- 
stitution excluding slavery ; but that this arose from no high feeling 
of human brotherhood is manifest from their exclusion of all coloured 



people, free as well as slaves. Their decision excited general surprise. 
Southerners declared that there had been foul play, — that the Federal 
government, to avoid a struggle, had recommended this course, and 
that the President, General Taylor (though himself a slaveholder), had 
used his influence to betray them. Whilst some vehemently opposed 
the admission of a State on which they had once reckoned so fondly, 
others demanded, as the price of the political power thus accruing to 
the North, concessions, among which was a measure of the nature of 
the Fugitive Slave Bill. The great Whig leaders. Clay and Webster, 
had each proclaimed their ideas of compromise before my arrival, so 
that I only heard them on minor occasions. Their powerful rival, the 
slaveholding democrat Calhoun, had published his final sentiments in 
a speech which was read by a friend, and his death was daily expected. 

The visitor to Washington soon perceives a change from the moral 
atmosphere of the North. It is not a city of spontaneous growth, 
which has achieved its own greatness; but it owes its existence to 
political expediency, and is, literally, built upon a concession. Its very 
form is significant — a noble plan not carried out — magnificent distances 
— the few great buildings disposed on the principle of the balance of 
power, so that no division has more than a share. Compared with 
European capitals, the city is remarkably devoid of all intrinsic charms 
and sources of excitement. All depends on the Union. The Capitol, 
the White House, the Post Office, the Patent Office, the Treasury, are 
all owing to the Union. The singularly heterogeneous population, i 
comprising some very agreeable residents, is brought together by the 
Union. The traveller owns that there is at least one spot, and that 
the one which for the time engages his attention and enlists his inte- . 
rest, which entirely depends for its fame and prosperity on the Union. ' 
The name reminds him of one whom the Union delights to honour. * 
Every relic of that great man is preserved with scrupulous care : he is 
idolized : a saint of remote antiquity could not be more revered, the j 
memory of a near kinsman could not be more hallowed : a magnificent 
marble obelisk, designed to reach the height of 600 feet, with a base i 
of 55 feet square, is receiving the contributions of the States of which I 
he has been called the Father. We hear everywhere of his courage, ' 
his wisdom and philanthropy ; but we turn our eyes to the slaves, and J 
mourn over the incompleteness of human virtue. ' 

A dreamer might fancy that the capital of the most enlightened of i 
republics, the peculiar mission of which is to teach the world freedom, j 
would be the favourite home of Liberty. A reasoner might doubt J 
whether Liberty is most at home in any seat of government whatever ; • 
for those who draw the car of state go in harness ; and certainly he • 
should not expect to find here more freedom than the average through \ 
the country, which must needs be lower than what he could meet with * 
elsewhere. We must distinguish between the characters of the Con- i 
stitution and of the Revolution. The fundamental idea of the Revolu- 
tion was Liberty, which is embodied in the Declaration of Independence, 
Union results in a consciousness of mutual dependence, A Constitution^ 
a standing together, is less designed to promote effort after more 
liberty, than to preserve order, — Heaven's first law, — indeed, the 
essence of all law. The preamble is as follows : j 

" We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more per- [ 



feet union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for 
the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the bless- 
ings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish 
this Constitution for the United States of America." 

As some love peace, though they detest the war by which it is affirmed 
that peace was attained, so men are to be found who value the amount 
of liberty secured by the constitution, but candidly own that they regard 
the Declaration of Independence but as so much waste paper ; whilst 
there have been from the first those who objected to a central govern- 
ment, as having a tendency to abridge liberty. The old parties, Fede- 
ralists and Anti-federalists, still exist under different names. A con- 
federated government is not founded on the same obvious necessity as 
a state government ; and therefore, if it is to exist at all, its conditions 
must be more scrupulously observed. You enter the Senate, and find 
ambassadors, so to speak, of "Sovereign States" of quite different origins 
— the Spanish Florida, the French Louisiana, the Dutch New York, the 
Catholic Maryland, the Calvinistic Connecticut, — the descendants of Ca- 
valiers and the descendants of Roundheads. The vast influx of immi- 
grants of every nation add to the complexity. Our own Parliament has, 
indeed, to consult for interests as various ; but we have no fear that 
England will lapse into a Heptarchy again. Our constitution has under- 
gone changes, and will undergo more ; alteration is not fatal to it — it is 
a thing of life. But the American constitution is a machine, constructed 
with the utmost skill and care ; break part, the whole is endangered. 
Men remember its formation, and may see its destruction. If, moreover, 
it is broken in bad faith or blind anger, no new union can be expected 
to grow out of mistrust and alienation. The question, then, does not 
lie between this form of government and a better, but between this and 
none at all. It is, indeed, open to alteration — it has been altered — by 
the consent of three-fourths of the States ; but if any smaller section 
despotically insists on a dominant idea and breaks this condition, the 
confederation is destroyed. It will be destroyed hopelessly and terribly ; 
the idea of mutual forbearance will have been proved futile ; impatience 
and wounded pride will inflame an undisciplined people ; the stability 
which the best part of the population inherit from the mother country, 
will be exchanged for the feverish and unsuccessful struggles of conti- 
nental Europe, and there will be warfare, worse than European, worse 
than Mexican, the worst kind of civil war ; the revolutionary idea, once 
rekindled, will not be satisfied so soon as when the Atlantic interposed 
between the combatants. It will easily be conceived that these consi- 
derations give the American constitution an adventitious importance, 
and this is felt nowhere more strongly that at Washington. The citizen 
of a remote State may think little and care less for the safety of the 
confederation ; but when he comes here he is almost on frontier ground, 
and he is told that here, if war is kindled, will be the scene of conflict : 
and if he comes as a Member of Congress, he is reminded that the con- 
sciences of men differ, their customs differ, their State laws differ, but 
that he and his fellow-members have one thing in common, the Consti- 
tution, and on that their decisions must be based. (However narrowing 
we may esteem such deference to human law, we must candidly remem- 
ber that those of our own reformers who have produced the most lasting 
practical results have worked under our constitution.) I found, there- 



fore, the absorbing question to be, What says the constitution — what 
is its general spirit, and what its special enactments — is it pro-slavery^ 
or is it anti-slavery ? 

The Garrisonianf abolitionists, whose watchword is. No union with 
slaveholders, regard it a " covenant with death and an agreement with 
hell." They point to these facts, — that as, in the census for represen- 
tation, five slaves are reckoned as three freemen, the Southern States 
have, through their 3,000,000 slaves, an influence equal to 1,800,000 
freemen, which influence is specially exerted against these very slaves 
through whom it is derived ; that the North is bound to give up the 
fugitives, and to aid in suppressing any insurrection ; that the seat of 
government is a slave district ; and that the influence of this union has 
been shewn in the subservience of the North, and the remarkable pre- 
ponderance of slaveholding Presidents and high public functionaries. 

The ultra Southerners accept this line of argument, and threaten dis- 
union, unless respect is shewn to what they somewhat ludicrously call 
the rights of the South. 

The Free-soil party (to which we shall afterwards allude) plead, on 
the contrary, that, to judge of the tendency of the constitution, we must 
not compare it with abstract right, but with the system under the 
British government which it superseded ; that the provision to abolish 
the foreign slave-trade at a time when the number of native Negroes 
was diminishing, indicated the desire to limit the evil, and that slavery 
has actually been abolished in many States ; that whilst the Represen- 
tatives are apportioned, not according to the number of voters, but to 
the population in each State, the diminution of the number by two-fifths 
in the case of slaves ought to be regarded as a penalty on slavery ; J 
that Jefferson's resolution in 1787, which had the effect of making all 
the territory over which Congress had control free soil, — the absence of 
all mention of slavery in the constitution, and the known sentiments of 
many of the Southern Members of the Convention, — indicated the ex- 
pectation that an evil inherited from the mother country would gradu- 
ally disappear through the general influence of republicanism (which 
might have been the case but for circumstances not then foreseen) ; and 
that, interpreting it by the spirit of its founders, as displayed in the 
Declaration of Independence, those are the true friends of the constitu- 

* I must apologize for the use of a word essentially wnenglish, 
t I by no means use this word invidiously, as if to indicate that any party 
surrenders its freedom of thought to Garrison, but simply to denote that section 
of those who desire the abolition of slavery which looks for this result through 
the dissolution of the Union. 

J See Gerrit Smith's Constitutional Argument. In point of fact, this provision 
arose out of a measure for taxation. To meet the expenses of the war, it was 
proposed, in 1776, that the different colonies should contribute according to their 
population. A Southern member wished that the white inhabitants alone should 
be reckoned; another, as a compromise, proposed that two slaves should be 
counted as one freeman. On the whole, when the rate of five to three was 
agreed to in 1783, it seemed a concession on the part of the South. "The 
provision " in regard to representation *• was adopted, because members of the 
Convention who were * principled against slavery,* were yet unwilling to seem 
to do injustice to the slaveholding States, by an appointment of direct taxes 
without an equivalent representation." See Report ofCongi'egational Ministers on 
Slavery, 1849, p. 70. 



tion vrho use the powers it undoubtedly gives them to make the influ- 
ence of government favourable to freedom. 

Others wish to regard the constitution as neutral. They conceive that 
its founders considered that it was of more importance to have a go- 
vernment, than to risk its existence by determining its position in regard 
to questions which, after all, must for the most part be settled by the 
States in their separate capacity. If Northern States were false to their 
great principle in linking themselves to slaveholders, Englishmen have 
no right to condemn them, for they did it to secure that portion of 
liberty which they had acquired against the tyranny of England, which 
was sdso slaveholding. If compromises were made, it is to be remem- 
bered that all governments, except despotisms, are founded on com- 
promise ; and if those compromises were in some respects unfavourable 
to liberty, it was not in abridging liberty formerly enjoyed, but in ac- 
quiescence with less than had been desired. 

Neutrality is now, however, no longer possible. Earnest men on 
each side are striving to enlist the national influence, and on each side 
much may be done within the letter of the constitution. Those who 
think peace worth any sacrifice, declare that the same spirit of compro- 
mise which called the Union into being is required for its continuance ; 
and plead that it is ungenerous in the North to take advantage of its 
rapidly-increasing strength, to sacrifice those without whose aid in times 
past New England might have been still a colony. The obvious answer 
is, that we cannot be generous with that which does not belong to us. 
Let the North abridge its own privileges if it thinks proper ; but these 
questions at issue affect three million persons, who, being citizens of 
no State, have the claims of humanity on every State. Indeed, every 
law passed by Congress injurious to the slave, has a flaw inherent in it 
which impairs its moral obligation even on those who profess submis- 
sion to the will of the majority ; for 1,800,000 voices have been recorded 
for it which ought to have been against it, and 3,000,000 voices against 
it have been disregarded. 

Politicians regard slavery politically, and frequently take sides, ac- 
cording to their section of country of which the institution, or the 
absence of it, happens to be the badge. But we generally find that 
men who contend for property are more unscrupulous and united than 
those who contend for principle ; and the Southern oligarchy* forms a 
more compact body, and numbers more adroit politicians, than the 
Northern democracy. The Southerners profess that their principles 
and their interests go together ; whilst interest often tempts the North- 
erner from his professed principle, and those who have been eloquent 
for freedom before their sympathizing constituents, have been ready in 
the Southern atmosphere of Washington to abandon it at the threat of 
disunion, or the bribe of some commercial or party boon ; so that Con- 
gress, though containing a Northern majority, and challenging the 
reverence of the world as the guardian of freedom, has been disgraced 
by such barefaced betrayal of the liberty of speech and petition, that it 
provokes scorn and indignation. 

As each of the great parties in the North, though professing anti- 

* The slaveholders are a mere fraction of the inhabitants of the South, being, 
it is thought, under 200,000. 



slavery sentiments when it suited their purpose, have evidently made 
the cause of the slave quite a suhordinate concern, the puhlic sentiment 
against Southern aggression, which was kindled by the annexation of 
Texas, occasioned the formation of a third party, which has taken Free 
Soil* as its watchword. I have already given the view that it takes of 
the spirit of the constitution, and it maintains that " it is the duty of the 
government to relieve itself from all responsibility for the existence or 
continuance of slavery, wherever that government has constitutional 
power to legislate on the subject, and is consequently responsible for its 
existence," and that all compromises with slavery " must be repealed." 
The Free-soilers did not appear to be in favour. As the Conservatives 
and even some Liberals at home viewed the erection of a Free- trade party 
with jealousy, so this movement has weakened both Whigs and Demo- 
crats. The South is of course indignant with them ; the Northern politi- 
cians feel their existence implies a reproach on their own apathy to free- 
dom. They are in some quarters more obnoxious than the Abolitionists : 
just as Chartists, who turn the scale at elections and are impracticable on 
divisions, and who insist on a hearing in the House, are more disliked 
than those who keep aloof from all political action. The Garrisonians 
place no confidence in them, because they have seen the instability of 
politicians. What could be stronger than the assertion of Webster in 
the Senate, so lately as Aug. 10, 1848 ? — " My opposition to the increase 
of slavery in this country, or to the increase of slave representation in 
Congress, is general and universal. It has no reference to the lines of 
latitude or points of the compass. I shall oppose all such extension, 
and all such increase, in all places, at all times, under all circumstances, 
even against all inducements, against all supposed limitation of great 
interests, against all combinations, against all compromise." This pas- 
sage, and another equally forcible, I heard Mr. Hale quote in the Senate; 
but Mr. Webster, in explanation, professed that no one " of candour 
and intelligence" could see any inconsistency between that and his 
recent speech ! The firmness and courage hitherto shewn by the Free- 
soil leaders seem to give proof of their superior honesty. As the Gar- 
risonians believe that the constitution is pro-slavery^ they likewise allege 
that no one who has taken an oath to observe it can be true to freedom 
without being guilty of perjury .f 

» This party has nothing to do with that movement ctgainat rent-paying which 
occasioned disturbance some time ago. 

t A little before my visit, Governor Seward, Senator for New York, who, 
however, does not belong to the Free-soil party, had made this declaration : 
"The Constitution regulates our stewardship; the Constitution devotes the 
domain to union, to justice, to defence, to weliare, and to liberty. But there is 
a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the 
domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no 
inconsiderable part, of the common heritiige of mankind, bestowed upon them 
by the Creator of the universe. "We are his stewards, and must so discharge 
our trust as to secure, in the highest attainable degree, their happiness." This 
contains what many will deem a self-evident truth ; but " no sentiment ever 
uttered in Congress seemed to produce more astonishment. Grave Senators 
affected to be horrified that a statesman should conceive the idea that the law 
of the Creator was paramount to human enactments.** (Vide Annual Report of 
the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1850, p. 86.) They chose to 
understand from it, " that a person who is sworn to support the Constitution, 
if he believes the Constitution countervails the law of God, is imder no obliga- 






I attended the meetings of Congress almost daily whilst I was at 
Washington ; they usually commenced about twelve o'clock, and ad- 
journed about four o'clock. In the House the speakers are limited to 
an hour. From the bad construction of their hall, I heard so imper- 
fectly that I seldom remained there. On my last visit, I sent in my 
card to Mr. Horace Mann, to Xvhom I b»4 been introduced, and he 
politely invited me to sit with him. This is not unfrequently done, 
though in strictness it is a privilege only allowed to certain official per- 
sons ; the admission of Father Mathew to the floor of the Senate was 
made the subject of a special vote. The speaker was a person of no 
great weight ; but I could hear easily, and the observations of those 
around enabled me to enter more completely into the spirit of what was 
going on. Mr. Mann, who has a European celebrity as an educator, is 
now striving to educate the public conscience. I was not acquainted 
with Mr. Wilmot, who has given name to the proviso, that " the Jef- 
fersonian ordinance of 1787" should be applied to all new territories 
and states. I met Mr. Giddings, however, who was expelled from the 
House of Representatives several years ago for his anti-slavery zeal, 
but was immediately returned again by his constituents in Ohio, and 
has not been molested since. He seemed hopeful as to the future ; for, 
whatever might be the immediate issue, the free discussion of the sub- 
ject must have a good effect. He was a tall, hearty-looking man ; and 
personal pretence is not to be despised in one who has to stand much 
alone. 

The Free-soil Senators are Messrs. Hale and Chase (to these we may 
now add Charles Sumner). Mr. Hale traces his great interest in this 
movement, as I have heard, to the influence of his late pastor at Dover, 
N.H., the Rev.^. Parkman, who has visited this country. He, too, 
had a hearty, courageous, though good-humoured demeanour. There 
was, I thought, a good deal of the Englishman about him ; and he 
commands more respect than if he seemed a wily politician. Three 
years ago he so kindled the ire of Mr. Foote, an excitable Southerner, 
that he declared in the Senate that if Mr. Hale would visit his State, 
" he would not travel ten miles before he would grace one of the tallest 
trees of the forest, with a rope about his neck, with the approbation of 
every virtuous and patriotic citizen ; and that, if necessary, he (Mr. F.) 
would assist in the operation." Mr. Foote distinguished himself by 
an equally violent attack on Mr. Benton (during my visit), which was 
not received with equal good temper. 

As I before intimated, the Southern Members were not disposed to 
admit California without compromises, and one of these was to be a 
Fugitive Slave Bill. The gross injustice of the measure, which was 
passed some months afterwards, took us on this side the Atlantic by 
surprise ; and those who had not heard Douglass and others describe 
the perils to which fugitives have been always exposed, even on nomi- 
nally " free soil," supposed that this law worked an entire revolution 
in their position, and was a scandalous innovation, not only in detail, 

tion to support the Constitution, and that he is to judge of his obligations after 
he has taken the oath to support it." Certainly, as no one is compelled to enter 
office, he ought previously to study the meaning of the oath, and not take it if 
he does not intend to keep it. Southerners, however, have used similar or 
stronger language when it suited their purpose. 



8 

but in principle. It is now, however, generally understood that the 
general principle, though happily our English feeling could not tolerate 
it, is not discordant with the American Constitution. I will recite the 
passage that bears upon it : 

" Article IV. — Miscellaneous. 
« Section I. 

" 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, 
records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And Congress may, 
by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and pro- 
ceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof. 

" Section II. 

" 1. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and 
immunities of citizens in the several States. 

" 2. A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, 
who shall flee from justice and be found in another State, shall, on the demand 
of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, 
to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime. 

"3. No person held to service or labour 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 labour ; but shall be delivered up 
on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due." 

All this seems to read innocently enough, and Sect. II. § 2 is perhaps 
the worst in appearance ; for as, within the present century, some things 
were capital ofiFences in England which were not offences at all in Ame- 
rica, and many which were venial there, so there is dissimilarity, though 
not so great, between the criminal codes of the different commonwealths; 
and persons might be very unwilling to give up a man who had thrown 
himself on their protection, and whom they might think very pardon- 
able, if not innocent, to be tried and hung elsewhere ; but a regard to 
federal obligations leads them to " shift the responsibility" on the State 
where the alleged crime was committed, and which demands the of- 
fender. Now as to service,— if a man is held to it by a friendly State, 
it might seem a less hardship than that to which we have just adverted 
that he should be restored to that State, which, it is presumed, will 
judicially decide as to the legality of his indenture ; but our feeling in 
the matter quite changes when we know that the meaning is not service, 
but slavery, which implies not service only, but a hopeless deprivation 
of all the rights of freemen, and liability to injury and wrong too dread- 
ful to describe. 

It will be observed that the clause relates to fugitives, I understand 
that if a master take his slave with him into a free State, and the slave 
choose to leave him and assert his freedom, this clause gives the master 
no redress ; because the servant did not escape into the free State, but 
was brought there voluntarily. 

In 1 793, an Act was passed to carry into effect the provision of this 
clause, to which Dr. Palfrey thus alludes, in a speech on the " Political 
Aspect of the Slave Question," delivered Jan. 26, 1848, in the House 
of Representatives, of which he was then a distinguished Free-soil 
Member : 

" Let me first mention the unutterably heinous law — I can characterize it 
by no milder epithet — of Feb. 12, 1793, putting the liberty of every freeman 
in this nation at the mercy of every paltry town and county magistrate whom 
the kidnapper may delude, or bribe to do his dirty work. If my neighbour 



sues me for twenty dollars, the Constitution of my country gives me, the 
security of a jury of our peers to pass between us. Not so with my liberty, 
which 1 value at more than tw^enty dollars. Let a stranger come among us 
of the free States, and claim one of our number as his runaway slave, and 
let him satisfy, any-hoto, some trading justice that his claim is good, and that 
justice's warrant is valid for him against all the world. The law makes no 
distinction between white and black men ; though, if it did, it would make 
no difference in the atrocity of the principle. Let the man-stealer get that 
warrant, and with it he may bring me, or any representative from a free 
State on this floor, to the auction-block close by this Capitol, to make our 
next remove in chains to Natchez or New Orleans. He may take my wife 
from my side, or my infant from its cradle, and if I resist, he is armed with 
the whole power of the country to strike me down. The odious law by its 
letter threatens and insults the Governor of Massachusetts or New York, as 
much as the darkest menial they employ. Do gentlemen say the law would 
never be so executed ? Be it so. What would prevent it ? The law of force, 
or the fear of force. The standing outrage and indignity, standing on the 
defiled pages of the Statute-book, are still the same." 

The vagueness of this law, v^rhilst it added to its atrocity, crippled its 
power. In Massachusetts and other States, laws were passed prohibit- 
ing the State officers from any action in the matter, and refusing the 
use of State prisons for the detention of the fugitives. The strong 
popular feeling which led to these measures afforded an additional 
security. There are many who would sympathize in the bold language 
of Mr. Giddings in the House of Representatives (March 28, 1850) : 

" We cannot under the constitution protect or secrete the slave from 
his master. But the Legislatures of free States may prohibit their own 
citizens from aiding or assisting the master to track out the panting 
fugitive, in order again to subject him to the lash or the thumb-screw. 
Such a law has been introduced into the Legislature of Ohio ; and I 
am free to say, that if there be a crime for which I would hang a citizen 
of our State, it is that of aiding the slaveholder to seize his trembling 
victim upon soil consecrated to freedom." 

Where, then, this clause was enforced, it was usually by violence or 
stratagem. When I was in Cincinnati, I found that the day before 
a party of armed Kentuckians had carried off a fugitive in open day, 
in defiance of the citizens, who attempted a rescue ; and in the remoter 
States a capture was rarely attempted, still more rarely successful. The 
case of Prtffg v. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania brought the matter 
to an issue; and the Supreme Court of the United States decided, 
though not unanimously, that it was the duty, not of the State officers, 
but of those of the National Government, to further such capture. As 
a general principle, it is of course desirable to avoid collisions between 
the States and the Federal Government. Three ways of dealing with 
the question were open: — First, to repeal the clause in the consti- 
tution ; but this, under present circumstances, was impossible, for it 
would require the consent of three-fourths of the States. Secondly, to 
leave it alone ; the obscurity of the Act enforcing the clause is in keep- 
ing with the vagueness of the clause itself; it is impolitic to attempt to 
violate conscience, when that conscience is the conscience of a State ! 
Thirdly, to maintain the supremacy of the constitution, by providing 
that the officers of the general government should be required to carry 
out its enactments. The first course being at present impracticable, 



10 

the second seemed the least of two evils. We English are usually more 
tolerant of apparent contradiction than of a practical grievance. The 
politician, however, who makes the existence of a federal government 
his first consideration, insists on the observance of those provisions 
through which it came into being, and on which its life depends. But 
this plea has not much weight in the present instance ; for those who 
exhibited such reverence for contracts in the case of Sect. II. § 3, pro- 
posed no measure to prevent the atrocious violation of Sect. II. § 1 ! 

" The coloured citizen of Massachusetts," says Dr. Palfrey, " goes on his 
lawful occasions to a Southern State, with just as ^ood a constitutional right 
to tread its soil in security and at will, as the heir of its own longest and 
proudest lineage. But not only is he forbidden by the pseudo-legislation of 
the place to land there in freedom, he is not permitted even to remain in 
freedom on board the ship that has conveyed him. He is forced on shore to 
a prison ; and when he is discharged and departs, it is on the payment of a 
ransom, called the expense of his detention. If he comes a second time, he 
is scourged. If a third, he is sold into perpetual slavery." 

If the South had shewn a readiness to maintain the constitutional 
rights of the coloured freemen of the North, it might with some plau- 
sibility have demanded some mode of obtaining legally that " service" 
which the constitution guaranteed. 

The rage of many of the Southerners on being, as they thought, 
cheated out of California, and the corresponding eagerness of the North 
to obtain the prize, led to the proposition of compromises which turned 
Congress, as it was said, into a club for debating slavery. I attended the 
Senate several times. The speakers there are not limited as to time. 
I have now before me a newspaper containing a speech by Mr. Hale in 
answer to Mr. Calhoun. The Daily National Intelligencer gives a con- 
densed account of the debates of the day before, and a full report, often 
revised by the speaker, of some leading speech on a previous day. This 
speech covers fifteen columns. On the first day, Mr. Hale shewed at 
considerable length that the opponents of slavery were acting in accord- 
ance with the spirit of those who framed the constitution ; and when I 
heard him on the following day, he gave a most interesting and detailed 
account of the Abolition movement, with the pretext of disproving the 
charge of Mr. Calhoun, that both the parties of the North had co-ope- 
rated with the abolitionists in almost all their measures. 

" Every principle of law, and every safeguard of property, and every pro- 
priety of civilized society, were violated by both parties at the North to put 
down this movement. And, Sir, they vied with each other to see who might 
go the farthest ; and the men that said the severest things, and who did the 
severest things against the abolitionists, were those who supposed that they 
were commending themselves most to public favour. And yet. Sir, in the 
face of this undoubted history of the facts of the case, it is now asserted that 
they were received with favour by both parties at the North, and that both 
parties did their bidding. It has been charged against the abolitionists 
also, again and again, that throughout this movement they were sending emis- 
saries to the South, preaching insurrection to the slaves. In 1835, when this 
movement first started, it is due in justice to the abolitionists to say, that 
they disavowed it in the most solemn manner, and have continued to disavow 
it from that day to the present, although the assertion is repeated here almost 
every time that any gentleman has occasion to speak upon this subject." 

Few on hearing the recapitulation of the injuries inflicted on the 



11 

abolitionists in that ** martyr age of the United States," could feel sur- 
prise at the acrimoniousness in which they have sometimes unfortunately 
indulged ; and we may certainly congratulate ourselves that there has 
been some progress in public opinion. Mr. Hale quoted from Southern 
organs, which at the first threatened a disunion convention, in case the 
Abolition movement was not put down by the States' Legislatures. 
The movement continued, but the threat was empty. (The Southerners 
have cried "Wolf!" so often, that a certain incredulity on the part of 
the North is scarcely surprising.) He proceeded to advert to the pro- 
posed Fugitive Slave Bill. He could not, consistently with the con- 
stitution, protest against the surrender of those who had " escaped from 
service." His objections were therefore against the details ; and he 
pointed out the dangers to which (as we have shewn was also the case 
under the former Act) even freemen were exposed. 

'' You come upon him with an affidavit taken a thousand miles off, and 
you seize him. Where is that man's right P Where is the trial by jury ? 
Where is the habeas corpus ? Where is the protection which the consti- 
tution guarantees to the meanest citizen living under the law ? Why, Sir, it 
is trampled in the dust by this Bill ; he is carried before a tribunal by one of 
the officers of the Government, without the right of a supervising examina- 
tion of a judge of the United States Court within the district ; without any 
of the privileges belonging to a freeman, he is seized and hurried off; and 
although it may appear upon the face of it a mere prima facie examination, 
it is to all intents and purposes a final and conclusive judgment, because the 
officer gives to the claimant a certificate, and he hurries him off; and when 
he gets to the great slave mart of Christendom, the city of Washington, he 
may sell him, or send hira wherever he pleases. • • • Now, Sir, if that is to 
be the price of the preservation of the Union, I say, * Come disunion, and 
come to-day.* If you can only purchase peace with us by compelling us to 
surrender everything which exalts us above your slaves, let disunion come ; 
I think the people of the free States will be ready for it. I am utterly aston- 
ished to hear a proposition of this sort made in the American Senate. The 
Bill proceeds entirely on the assumption that there are no rights in the con- 
stitution except the rights of slavery ; and there is not a single word or 
letter in the proposition I have read, and I have read it very carefully, that 
is found to guard and protect with any efficient legislation the rights of a 
man or child that may be wrongfully seized." 

Having been accused of desiring " to irritate, wound and insult the 
feelings of Southern gentlemen," he refers them to the still stronger 
declarations of the founders of the republic in slave States, among them 
the celebrated speech of Pinkney in Maryland. He concluded his 
speech with an eloquent prediction of ultimate freedom. It is a great 
point gained that such a speech could be delivered in the Senate, and 
find its way, by the papers, in quarters where no anti-slavery publica- 
tion is ever seen. When he commenced, the Senators did not appear 
to pay him much attention. They have their desks, and seem to occupy 
much of their time in writing ; but as he proceeded, they became inte- 
rested and excited, and frequently interrupted him with remarks and 
questions. 

On another occasion, I heard Mr. Chase, of Ohio. He was entering 
into minute calculations of the political power which had hitherto been 
chiefly absorbed by the South, to prove that the retention of fugitives 
could not be taken as a desire on the part of the North to deprive the 
South of its influence ; and shewed that it was premature for the slave- 



12 

holders to complain that they would be cramped if confined to their 
present boundaries, whilst they had such an immense preponderance of 
land over the free States. 

I also heard Mr. Dayton, of New Jersey, which it will be remembered 
was originally a slave State. He first spoke on the territorial question, 
but afterwards entered into the proposed Fugitive Slave Bill at consi- 
derable length, and shewed the extreme injustice of its provisions. Mr. 
D. was not a Free-soiler, and spoke contemptuously and angrily of that 
party ; but he seemed to take somewhat the same ground. He advo- 
cated trial by jury for the alleged fugitive. Probably, however, it is 
well that the inherent injustice of the Bill should not be disguised by 
any show of justice in the details. A jury might, indeed, protect a man 
who was not a fugitive ; but the fugitive woiSdd be only mocked by the 
form of a trial, unless his escape was secured at the expense of twelve 
cases of perjury. As the measure stands, there is nothing to divert the 
attention from its essential iniquity. 

I was of course desirous to hear what the Southerners could say in 
their defence, and I was present at a speech by a Senator of Virginia, 
of which I may give you some account in a subsequent letter. 

On the whole, I am inclined, from what I saw and heard, to look 
favourably on the future. The passage of this Bill shewed, indeed, the 
strength of the slave power and the timidity or selfishness of the North- 
ern majority, but it established no new principle ; whilst, if I am not 
mistaken, a counter-concession was made in the abolition of the slave- 
trade in the District of Columbia. This is a most important measure : 
it is the commencement of legislation on the subject of slavery in the 
District, and may also be a step towards the abolition of the slave-trade 
between the different States. When this takes place, freedom in those 
States where it is now only profitable to rear slaves for transportation, 
cannot be far distant. Another triumph of still greater importance is 
the recovery of the right of petition and freedom of speech in Congress. 
Hitherto it has operated most unfavourably for liberty, that the legis- 
lature has met where the sight of slavery became familiar to them,— 
the North has been contaminated, the South unreformed ; but every 
blow aimed at slavery in the District will be felt throughout the South ; 
and, as I have before intimated, the debates are read by thousands 
whose consciences were before comparatively torpid on the subject. 

We live in an age of great reforms ; but this may teach us to per- 
severe without impatience. In our own country, deep-rooted preju- 
dices have been destroyed, mighty interests have yielded to the claims 
of humanity, and an occasional disappointment and defeat does not 
dishearten those who labour in hope. I trust that we may see the day 
when liberty, as well as peace and order, shall prevail in the great con- 
federacy of America, — when the word slavery^ which does not appear 
in the Constitution, shall be obsolete, and the thing it signifies be 
viewed as a bygone horror and disgrace. 

Yours respectfully, 

R. L. Carpenter. 

Neath, July 5, 1851. 



No. II. 

to the editob of the chbistian befobmeb. 

Sib, 

In my last letter,* I described the political aspect of the Slave ques- 
tion, as it presented itself to me on my visit to Washington last year. 
I shall advert to the same topic again ; but this letter will also contain 
more of my personal observations. Your readers will be candid enough 
to distinguish observations hom judgments. My materials are my let- 
ters written at the time : and I may repeat what persons told me, 
without aflBrming my own accordance in their views. My opinion of 
slavery is not derived from the superficial and brief view I had of it, 
but from the investigations of those who have studied it in its varied 
bearings ; and I should be pained if any one was unwise enough to 
think lightly of so monstrous an evil, because, as a traveller, I met 
with those who thus thought of it, and report what they said without 
any comment ; for since I am writing to Englishmen, I suppose such 
comments little needed. I was very fortunate in making my last home, 
before quitting what was comparatively free soil, with Dr. Fumess, of 
Philadelphia, — a man of large heart and spirit, who has taken decided 
part with the Abolitionists, though by doing so he has alienated some 
of his congregation, — among them, I fear, some of the English founders 
of this congregation, or their descendants. Some of those who are 
disgusted with the apathy of the church in this movement, intimate 
that the fact that a minister retains his position, is a proof that he is 
no honest foe to slavery. If this is a rule, Dr. Fumess must be taken 
as an exception. His moral heroism is, however, blended with Chris- 
tian charity ; and in a large city many can be found to admire both 
these qualities. I did not understand that his congregation had lost 
more than it had gained. I saw at Philadelphia Lucretia Mott and 
some other earnest abolitionists. 

I entered the Slave States, March 18, 1851. My first resting-place 
was at Baltimore, in Maryland, which had an interest for me as the 
former abode of F. Douglass. As I looked on his coloured f brethren, 
I thought whether he had kindred spirits among them who would, like 
him, achieve their freedom. I carried a letter of introduction to the 
Unitarian minister. Dr. Burnap, who kindly insisted upon my leaving 
my hotel and being his guest, as Miss Martineau and the Rev. W. 
Hincks had before been. He is well known in this country by repub- 
lications of his Lectures to Young Men and other works, and is one of 
the most industrious literary men in our body. There is a University 
here, of which he is one of the Regents, and I accompanied him to the 
annual bestowal of medical degrees. The church was full of ladies and 
other friends of the students, and it was a very interesting occasion. 
The Unitarian church is built somewhat after the model of the Pan- 



♦ In the last letter, p. 7, line 28, for Rev. F. Parkman, read Rev. J. Park- 
man. 

t White is the combination of colours, black the a^ence of them ; but perhaps 
an anomalous nomenclature is appropriate to an anomalous system. 



14 

theon at Rome, and is considered one of the handsomest edifices in the 
Union, and, as Dr. B. remarked, is the scene of the ** Unitarian Pen- 
tecost," — Dr. Channing's great sermon in 1819. Dr. Jared Sparks, 
who succeeded Mr. Everett as President of Cambridge University, was 
minister here, which may partly account for his strong objection to any 
violent disruption of the ties which bind the Northern and Southern 
States. 

In Maryland, slavery does not prevail in its most aggravated form. 
I was told that great numbers of slaves had been set at liberty, either 
being allowed to work for hire and buy their freedom. Or being freed as 
a reward of faithful service, or having received their liberty by bequest. 
The number of free blacks (73,943), which bears an unusually large 
proportion to that of the slaves (89,800), seems to confirm this state- 
ment. In the city of Baltimore (population 160,000) there are com- 
paratively few slaves, though a great number of hired coloured servants. 
There may perhaps be half-a-dozen slaveholders in Dr. Bumap's large 
congregation, which comprises some country families. Since the Abo- 
lition movement, it is said that the pride of the slaveholders has been 
roused, and that emancipation is much more difficult and rare ; and I 
was sorry to see lately a law passed which seemed directed against the 
free coloured population. Those, however, who agitate from a Chris- 
tian sense of duty and in a Christian spirit, must not be deterred by 
increased injuries on those whom they would benefit : the irritation 
may be preliminary to cure. 

Dr. Bumap, who is more secluded than he wishes from ministerial 
intercourse, was kindly urgent that I should prolong my stay ; but I 
was anxious to reach Washington with as little delay as possible, and 
from March 20th to 29th I paid a promised visit to the Rev. J. H. 
Allen (now of Bangor, Maine), a nephew of Dr. H. Ware, Jun. 

I have already alluded to the peculiar influences of Washington, 
leading men to look at questions in relation to that constitution throngh 
which they meet together ; and there are cases in which we might 
judge incorrectly of a person's real feelings from this circumstance. 
One of the Supreme Judges, in conversation, expressed his doubt of 
the legality of the Wilmot proviso, though he was a friend to freedom. 
This, indeed, is what we are continually finding at home : the lawyer 
and politician seem to make a point of silencing the wishes of their 
hearts whilst they determine what is according to law and the princi- 
ples of our government. The true moral reformer enunciates lofty 
principles, and is ready to abstain from action rather than compromise 
them : the political reformer, looking to practical results, enunciates 
lofty principles only when it leads to them, and meanwhile shakes 
hands with evils which he hopes to change or cure. Each is apt to be 
impatient with the other ; each, when wise, is glad of the aid the other 
gives his cause. To take, as an example, the evil of war (which Chan- 
ning pronounces " the concentration of ail human crimes : here is its 
distinguishing accursed brand : under its standard gather violence, 
malignity, rage, fraud, perfidy, rapacity and lust ") : no ardent peace- 
man could vote for reduced warlike estimates, — any estimate implies a 
participation in a system he abhors ; but to plead against any arma- 
ment, however small, Gobden would deem futile ; yet the " impractica- 
ble enthusiast" influences public sentiment, and the politician makes 



15 

this sentiment as available as possible to change deep-rooted practices. 
The cause of freedom is probably greatly indebted, not indeed to those 
statesmen who are ready to declaim for freedom when it interferes with 
no party measure, but to those who are now making freedom itself the 
watchword of Iheir party, and are doing all they can to turn the influ- 
ence of government in the right direction. Their number, as was 
before intimated, is so small, that they could do but little, were it not 
that they often hold the balance of power, and have a moral influence 
from the stress they lay on what is, nominally, the great boast of Ame- 
rica — ^liberty and equal rights. 

In my last letter I gave a brief account of some speeches I heard 
against slavery : it will now be fair to give you some idea of what was 
said on the other side. I once supposed that the iniquity of slavery 
was so self-evident, that no one would defend it, except on the ground 
that it was too deeply rooted to be easily removed ; but the Southern- 
ers now not only palliate, but justify their system ; and, spoiled by the 
deference they have so long received, denounce the present stand made 
against them as most injurious tyranny. Some of their pleas might 
impose on those who have not that wholesome horror of slavery which 
needs no argument to rebut its sophistries. We refer them to the 
Bible : they do not see a.ny positive precept, and differ from us in their 
apprehension of its spirit. We bid them hearken to the voice of Chris- 
tendom : they And it divided. We address them as American citizens, 
and they answer in this way : We are a confederacy of independent 
States : slavery is not prohibited in the constitution : nothing is said 
there about the sin of slaveholding, or having property in man. " As 
a general rule, there is no positive law in England, or this country, 
creating property in anything. The right to property, according to 
Grotius and Fuflendorf, rests upon the implied assent of mankind. 
This assent is implied in every society, either from laws providing re- 
medies for the protection of this right, or from laws regulating the 
mode of its transfer, or from undisturbed use and occupation." What 
is property in some regions, is not in others : each must determine for 
itself. If you say, that no precedent ought to hold in this case, for 
that property in man is an outrage on common sense, we remind you 
that the common sense of the majority of mankind has been, and is, 
in favour of slavery, and that many of the honoured fathers of our con- 
stitution were slaveholders themselves. As long as we are in a con- 
federacy, we are not to be persecuted and reviled for laws which have 
been recognized among us for nearly the whole of our existence. We 
agree with your ultra-abolitionists, that if we cannot tolerate each 
other's differences of opinion, it will be best to separate, when we will 
each carry out our own ideas without molestation. 

The speaker from whom I have already quoted was Mr. Hunter, the 
Senator for Virginia. It was interesting to me to hear a Southerner's 
statement of what the North had already attempted for freedom : 

" The evil, Mr. President, of which the South complains, arises out of the 
fact, that a party in the North, by no means contemptible in point of num- 
bers, is seefing to convert this Government, through its direct legislation, 
into an instrument of warfare upon tiie institution of slavery in the States, 
and from the fear that the majority of those in the free States who are here- 
after to control and manage this Government will use, if not its positive legis- 



16 

lation, at least iU moral influence,* for that purpose. GoTemment is designed 
to protect persons and property ; but with what feelings will it be regarded, 
if, instead of performing those fiinctions, it should become either directly or 
indirectly the source of constant assaults, not only upon twelve or fifteen 
hundred millions of property in the South, but upon the very safety of those 
whose peace depends upon preserving the existing relations between master 
and dave in tiiose States ?" 

He then gave a summary of the Northern agitation of the subject, 
and continued : 

** They petitioned Congress to withdraw the protection of law from slavery 
wherever it was given by the National Government. And why? Because 
slavery itself, in their opinion, was unlawful, and one man had no right to 
hold another as property.f They petitioned Congress to abolish slavery in 
the forts, arsenals and dock-yards of the United States, even in the slave 
States.^ Their object was to exhibit to the master and to the slave in those 
States the example and influence of the general Government operating in their 
very midst and m opposition to slavery. They had probably other things in 
view, which were even better calculated for use in this war upon slavery. 
These places were thus to be fltted as the arenas for anti-slavery agitation in 
those States, and to be opened as a sort of free-negro Alsatia, where he might 
hold his perpetual Saturnalia of license and of crime (!) Thus the forts de- 
signed for our military protection were to be converted into abolition strong- 
holds in the slave States themselves." 

He dwelt on the dangers to the slave system from the propositions 
to abolbh slavery in the district of Columbia and the slave-trade be- 
tween the States—" the most deadly blow, short of actual abolition, at 
the institution of slavery which could possibly be given " — and men- 
tions other instances to prove the innovating tendencies of the North. 
The grievance which most provoked his ire was their determination to 
oppose the admission of any more slave States, and thus to seal the 
political doom of the Southern party ; and he draws a picture, meant 
to be very touching, of the horror and shame felt by the young hero 
in the Mexican war on finding that he had only fought to secure the 
ascendancy of his political foes, and to bring disgrace on his native 
State. All this was rather gratifying to me to hear ; for it shewed 
that the efforts of the North for freedom, however inadequate we may 
deem them, were producing no inconsiderable result. 

It was not, however, by any means soothing to my English pride 
when he commenced a justification of slavery on the ground that it was 
necessary for national welfare. "I have been looking," he said, "into 
the results of the British experiment, and for that purpose I have ex- 
amined the last Reports upon that subject which are to be found in 
our library. They are comprised in certain volumes for 1847, 1848 — 

* Some Southerners have impudently demanded that the moral influence of 
Government should be exerted to perpetuate slavery. 

t I am not aware that the constitution at all recognizes the right of property 
in tnarif though it recognizes the right of property in ktbouTf wmch is not the 
same thing. A freeman may owe service. Art. Iv. Sect. ii. 3 (which I quoted 
in my last letter as that on which the Fugitive Slave Bill was founded), uses no 
words which might not refer to an apprentice, or a hired labourer who had re- 
ceived his wages in advance. 

t It is singular how men who boast of their liberty can bear to call their native 
land a slave State : one would suppose that it was only the reproachful name 
given by their foes ! 



17 

large volumes, Sir — and turn where you may, you find the same pic- 
ture of ruin, waste and social depression." He then gave a succession 
of extracts from official documents, which, taken by themselves, cer- 
tainly led to the idea that vast evil had resulted from emancipation. 
He dwelt on the horrors of the " new slave-trade " in Coolies, and noted 
that the African slave-trade had greatly increased in extent and in the 
wretchedness attending it ; so that the efforts of English philanthro- 
pists had proved ''disastrous and illusory;" and affirmed that our 
islands were relapsing into barbarism, and that any civilized nation had 
as much right to seize on them as we had to take them from the In- 
dians.* He drew an imaginary picture of the result, if throughout the 
world slavery had been abolished, with a similar decline of exports : 
" Why how many people would have been thus stricken, rudely and 
at once, from the census of the world ! An intelligent member from 
Alabama, in a recent and striking letter to his constituents, has just 
said, that the entire loss of one cotton crop in the United States would 
produce more misery and ruin in Europe than any two of Napoleon's 
most destructive campaigns." 

He then proceeds to argue against the horror felt at slavery as in- 
voluntary servitude : 

" But what is involuntary servitude — what is slavery? as I asked before. I 
know of no voluntary servitude, except the labour of love. The socialist tells 
us that the institution of wages is an institution of slavery ; and surely all 
servitude for wages is involuntary, and therefore a state of slavery according 
to the common definition. We serve for wages to avoid something which 
is more painful to us than serving another ; and upon what other principle is 
it that the African works for us ? Will any man pretend to say that the ser- 
vitude of the labourers in the crowded populations of Europe is voluntary ? 
Go into the English colliery, and tell me if those boys who are hitched to 
carts by dog-chains, to draw coals through the dark, damp and narrow pas- 
sages of the pits, are voluntary servants ; if those women who toil like beasts 
of burden, without even the blankets that cover the coach-horse, are voluntary 
servants ; if those beings who know nothing of the most essential truths of 
religion, nothing of the most common facts in human history, who pass through 
life knowing nothing, caring nothing, and fearing nothing, but the taskmaster's 
edict and the taskmaster's lash (for it seems tne lash is used there too), are 
to be considered as serving less from compulsion than our Southern slaves P 
In point of moral culture and physical comfort, who can doubt but that the 
Southern slave is the superior ? 6ut it may be said that the condition of the 
father is not inherited by the son ; he has at least a chance to rise above the 
social position of those from whom he sprung. A chance to rise above this 
condition ! — the child inherits it as certainly from its parents by the force of 
circumstances, as if it descended to him by positive law. What chance has 
the child for moral culture or social advancement who is sent to labour at six, 
eight or ten years of age, and works twelve, fourteen or sixteen hours a day, 
as a living fixture to a spinning machine P Chosen because his limbs are 
supple and his will obedient, he winds and turns amidst the machinery until 
his limbs grow crooked, and his body becomes misshapen and deformed. A 
victim to premature vice and sordid ignorance, what can he hope except to 
tread the weary round trodden by his father before him — ^from Uie cradle to 

* I was continually taught how easy it is to make out a strong case, even 
from official documents, if we confine ourselves to one-sided evidence : and per- 
haps the slaveholder may complain that we also are one-sided when we descant 
on the physical evils of slavery, as if they were universal or unmitigated. 



18 

the factory, from the factory to the poor-house, and the poor-house to the 
grave? The Southern slave has a far better chance to become a freeman by 
emancipation than the child of the lowest class of English labourers has to 
rise above the condition of his father.'' 

It were a strange mode of defending a system to compare it with 
evils which every one of ordinary humanity deplores,^ and which are 
only named among us as abuses which call for a reme'dy. His argu- 
ment, however, may have some force against those in the old world 
who say, " Stand by thyself, come not near unto me, for I am holier 
than thou :" and when he further tells us, " Your socialist is the true 
abolitionist, and he only fully understands his mission," we may re- 
member that other questions are opening upon us, in which the wea- 
pons we are forging will be used ; and that, unless we are prepared to 
discard all mere prudential considerations, and to regulate our daily life 
by the law of self-sacrificing Christian love, it may be wise to mete 
such measure as we shall not be displeased to have measured unto us 
again. 

The subject of disunion was the common topic of conversation whilst 
I was at Washington, and I was mortified to find that an idea was 
prevalent that the South was making a league with England. I re- 
marked to a gentleman who mentioned it, that I thought that the sen- 
timents of Great Britain, as regards slavery, were pretty well known. 
He did not know that I was an Englishman, and replied, that its love 
of money was equally notorious. I observed that our sacrifice of 
£20,000,000 precluded such an insinuation, and also that, as our free- 
traders* were for the most part peace-men, however glad they might 
be to have free- trade with the South, they would not be likely to en- 
gage in war with the North in its behalf. 

One Friday evening I attended the President's Levee, which I shall 
not encroach on the province of the general tourist by describing. I 
was pleased with the simplicity of the arrangements, and the general 
blending of persons of all ranks. With one discreditable exception — 
the absence of coloured people — it seemed in keeping with a Republic. 
Among the persons of note to whom I was introduced was Mr. Filmore, 
then Vice-President, who was a member of my friend's congregation. 
I went to America with a considerable contempt and horror for General 
Taylor. I had no respect for his intellect ; in fact, I understood that 
he was elected as a party tool. I merely regarded him as a slaveholder 
and a soldier who had been successful in some scandalous wars, bound 
up therefore with two systems that I detest. But I suppose that we 
usually find out that a man is not an embodied sin : such a one would 
be 9k fiend. No one is always fighting or exercising tyranny. General 
Taylor, before he died, gained the character, even with many undoubted 
lovers of peace and freedom, of a courageous man, who honestly tried 

* It used to be said, vices clash, virtues harmonize ; but perhaps it may ap- 
pear that imperfect virtues also clash ; and if it is the case that zeal iox free-trade 
had the effect of stimulating slavery in Brazil, &c., we ought to exercise some 
charity towards those whose one-sided zeal for union seems to cherish slavery. 
Both Unionists and Free-traders have this faith in their favourite principle, 
that if they will have patience with it, it will pay them all. Certainly the ill 
success of our crusade against slave-ships confirms the truth, that Satan cannot 
cast out Satan, and that cruelty cannot be put down by violence. 



19 

to do his duty, — though, compared with pure Christianity, his notions 
of duty were rarely of the very highest, and had been of the lowest 
kind. But, as President, he strove to act for the whole people, and to 
put away party, sectional and private interests. The South felt that 
he would not swerve from the constitution to favour them; whilst some 
of those who dreaded his accession the most, were most disheartened 
at his death. I called at the White House on the following Tuesday 
morning, with a gentleman who had been first Comptroller of the Trea- 
sury when the Democrats were in power : he spoke (as every one did) 
of the kindheartedness of General Taylor, who had been anxious to 
retain him in office, though differing from him in politics, and only 
knowing him by report. As no one, I believe, called on Tuesday 
mornings without a previous introduction, the servant did not attend 
us to announce our names. Other callers were there, and as there were 
not chairs enough near the President, he immediately rose to fetch 
some for us from the side of the room. Of course we forestalled him ; 
but I must confess that I thought this unaffected, gentlemanly courtesy 
far more engaging than the formal courtliness of our European poten- 
tates. He conversed in a pleasant, friendly manner, and told me that 
I should find a difference between England and America : we were 
improving our lands, whilst they were exhausting theirs : he princi- 
pally referred to Virginia. I said that I supposed that the owners 
would adopt some mode of renewing their exhausted soil : he thought 
not, they preferred to migrate. I was glad to hear the gentleman who 
was with me, a Southerner, speak of the pleasure which the improved 
culture and the evident security of property had given him in New 
England. Had it been polite, I should have liked to have intimated 
to General Taylor that neglect of land was not surprising in regions 
marked by neglect of man : but I heard that he was no enthusiast for 
slavery, but regarded it, as some of our military men do war, as a 
necessary evil. 

I called on the man who holds the greatest intellectual eminence in 
America, Daniel Webster, bringing an introduction from Mr. Lothrop 
(the present President of the American Unitarian Association), to whose 
church he belongs when at Boston. His wife, I was informed, is an 
Episcopalian, and he did not attend our church at Washington. I was 
impressed, as every one is, by his wonderful eyes and forehead. He 
had a far more imposing presence than the President. The brief con- 
versation in which we engaged was very interesting to me ; but I pur- 
posely avoided any reference to the Slavery question, on which we 
must have differed. 

I spent part of an evening with Dr. Bailey, whose (weekly) paper, 
The National JEra, is, I suppose, regarded as the Free-soil organ at 
Washington. It has a circulation of about 15,000, including about 600 
exchanges. Provincial editors are of course glad to get a paper from 
the capital ; so they print his circular, and then he does not know how 
to decline an exchange. He manages to glance at most of them, which 
of course gives him considerable knowledge of what is going on through- 
out the country. He has many subscribers, and about a hundred 
" exchanges," in the Southern States. The view that he took of cheap 
literature was on the whole favourable, as he thought that the reading 
matter, consisting largely of extracts, was generally superior to the 



tone of the popular mind, and must, so far, tend to elevate it. His 
office has been mobbed on account of his sentiments. He mentioned 
that, in Louisiana, a process is going on which may ultimately promote 
abolition. There is a large free coloured population which is not under 
ban so much as in the North, and intermarriages are not unfrequent. 

On the morning of Sunday, March 24th, I preached for Mr. Allen, 
who took the opportunity to do some missionary duty in the neigh- 
bourhood. This church, like that of Philadelphia, boasts an indepen- 
dent origin, not being a scion of New England. Mr. Little, from this 
country, was the first minister here. He died somewhat suddenly, 
after labouring here for eight years, much lamented and respected. 
The attendance was about 200, comprising the mayor of the city, 
several members of Congress, and other persons of influence. Some 
fellow-countrymen came to speak to me after the service. A cloud 
passed over my spirit at the consciousness that I was preaching in slave 
territory. I prayed, however, distinctly for the slaves, shewing what 
I felt rather in tone and manner than in mere words. Mr. Allen has 
great independence of character, and is not a party-man ; those who 
are fond of paradox may therefore call him pro-slavery ; but I was 
pleased to find that his church was disliked by many as 'Hhe Abolition 
church :" what may be its future reputation under Dr. Dewey it is not 
for me to say. 

In the afternoon I went to a large Roman Catholic church. On my 
way I fell in with a Negro and wjdked with him, as we were going to 
the same place. In the North I should have done so as a matter of 
course ; but here I had to learn a little charity towards others, by being 
conscious of reluctance to attract observation by transgressing the 
usages of the place. As, however, I could not reconcile this false shame 
with any honourable feeling, I overcame it at once, and I do not re- 
member being troubled with it again. He took for granted that I was 
a Northerner ; I felt pleasure in telling him that I was an Englishman. 
In most of the other denominations, as he informed me, they have 
separate churches : the whites would not take the communion with 
them : in the Catholic church, they have one of the side galleries. My 
new acquaintance introduced me to the sexton, who directed me to a 
seat. Those who believe the soul the most important part of man, will 
deem the enslavement of the soul the most awful kind of slavery. The 
spiritual bondage of those who make their loud boast of freedom, the 
ceremonies of this old decaying church in this irreverential new world, 
and the bold tirade of the eloquent preacher, excited a variety of re- 
flections, — with which, however, it is not necessary that I should trou- 
ble your readers. 

The next morning a black man called to ask aid to build a coloured 
Presbyterian church. Whilst they have separate places of worship, 
the black elder or minister is allowed a place in the Presbytery. There 
are several thousand free coloured people in Washington, if free they 
can be called when they are subject to so much oppression. They have 
to find a heavy bail to enable them to settle here, and they are not 
allowed to keep shops, though they may be barbers, hucksters, and 
dealers in small wares ; and they are liable to a fine if out after ten 
o'clock at night, unless they are coachmen or servants. I asked him 
why he did not live in the North ? He had travelled over a great part 



21 

of the Union, but was attached to his home ; he was free-born. He 
had seen F. Douglass, but dared not take his paper : one of their mi- 
nisters had had his house searched for abolition papers ; fortunately he 
had sent them away a little while before. The coloured inhabitants, 
he further told me, have no assistance from the public school fund : on 
the other hand, they are not taxed for it. They are now attending to 
education, and are very different in that respect from what they were 
ten years ago. 

I did not inquire how many slaveholders there were in my friend's 
congregation, nor indeed whether there were any. Free black servants 
are common. One very estimable lady told me that she preferred 
hiring slaves. An abolitionist, who would eat no Carolina rice and use 
no slave-grown cotton, might, without inconsistency, say that she was 
patronizing the system. This lady, however, felt that these slaves, if 
not hired out, would be sold, and that by hiring them she could secure 
for them the comforts of a kind home as long as they were with her. 
Those who see no express injunction against the employment of slaves 
in the Bible, and have not our almost instinctive horror of it, naturally 
doubt whether their desire to alter one of the bad institutions of their 
country should so far keep them aloof from it as to put it out of their 
power to mitigate the condition of its victims. She treats them not as 
slaves, but as hired servants — far more considerately than many treat 
their servants ; and if the wages go for the most part (for food and 
clothing, &c., of course form part of the wages) to some one who has 
no moral right to it, this unfortunately is not absolutely peculiar to 
slave countries. I mention this case to shew how difficult it is to 
decide as to persons' motives. We may be thankful if we are never 
tempted to compromise with slavery through a benevolent feeling 
towards the slave. 

I left Washington on Good Friday. My time was limited, as I made 
a particular point of returning for the Boston anniversaries, and I had 
a great deal to see first ; else I should have liked to have remained here 
longer. It was the arena of a most important conflict, and afforded 
me the opportunity of becoming acquainted with men of high talent 
and great influence. There seemed to be more social intercourse than 
in the busy Northern cities, and of course the society was more varied. 
The number of idlers make it, however, a very dissipated place. It is 
rising in favour as a winter residence, though its anomalous position — 
not belonging to any State, but being under the general Government, 
of which the local city Government is sometimes jealous — was long 
unfavourable to its improvement. Hitherto, as I hinted in my last 
letter, the session of Congress in a city which has been described as 
^' the great slave mart of Christendom," is not only a just cause of 
contemptuous indignation against a " free and enlightened Republic," 
but has had a tendency to weaken and corrupt the Northern majority : 
when once, however, it understands and asserts its great principles, 
these circumstances will have a very different result. Washington will 
be the fulcrum on which the lever of freedom will work. It is already 
decreed that the slave-dealer must find his mart elsewhere : he takes it 
as an omen, and so do I, that he shall see the day when he shall find 
one nowhere. 

The sail down the Potomac affords a beautiful view of Washington, 



22 

and we soon arrived at the place where he whose name it bears lies 
buried. His memory is kept green. As we passed Mount Vernon, 
the bell of the steamer tolled solemnly«*unlike the ringing usual to 
warn passengers to disembark. We soon landed in Virginia — the old 
dominion-* once the principal State in the Union, now only the fourth. 
I reached Richmond by railroad, which had an interest for me as the 
abode of Dr. Channing at a very important period of his life. It con- 
tains large manufactories of tobacco : prejudice against colour subsides 
before affection for the weed, and Americans do not object to chew 
what Negroes have been handling. I was told that slaves employed 
in this work often earn a good deal for themselves : they may have 
the gloomy satisfaction that they are engaged in forging chains for 
their masters, who are the slaves of this filthy and degrading habit 
A black came into the '' cars*' to sell papers, and, to put the passengers 
in good humour, talked in the grandest and most absurdly pompous 
style. Most of the conversation that I heard was on the prevailing 
topic of the day. One gentleman was speaking of a slave who had 
purchased the freedom of his wife in preference to his own : I suppose 
that any children he might afterwards have should be free, as they 
follow the condition of the mother. I understood that, since the agi- 
tation of the subject, laws had been passed prohibiting persons who 
should be freed thenceforth from remaining in the State. The husband 
had therefore induced some gentlemen, on whom he could rely, to be 
her nominal purchasers, that she might continue to be near him. A 
horrid state of the laws 1 yet slavery does not shew its vilest influences 
when such self-devotion can grow up under it. It touched me to find 
one who loved his wife and children better than himself. He was the 
Lord's freeman : the servile soul was in his reputed master ! 

The mere passing traveller is struck with the difference between 
this Southern railroad and those in the North. The trains are less 
frequent, the cars inferior, the roads wretched. One mitigation was, 
that, time not being valued, we had an easy allowance of it for our 
meals. Temperance principles seemed less prevalent, and the compa- 
rative absence of the excitements of commercial speculation appeared 
in numerous schemes for lotteries. I was first reminded of the new 
kind of *' property" in these regions (for I had not remarked it at 
Washington) by a paper stuck up at a '' dep6t," announcing a sale 
by auction of thirty Negroes. I wondered how my fellow-passengers 
in the second-class cars felt when they read such advertisements, till I 
remembered that probably they could not read. 

When we reached Wilmington, N. C, we embarked on board a 
steamer ; but the weather was unfavourable, and the next morning we 
had to put back. It was Easter Sunday. I had hoped to have spent 
it at Charleston, S. C, but found my way to the Episcopal church of 
this town. Here, emphatically a strange land, I found that the En- 
glish Liturgy had its charms. All sects are equal : the wicked and 
base political services and Athanasian Creed are omitted from the 
Prayer-book ; and I could listen to it less as a Dissenter protesting 
i^ainst a tyrannical establishment, than as an Englishman thinking of 
his home of freedom. What touched me most, however, was one of 
our commonest of common-metre tunes, in which I joined with good 
heart. I witnessed the administaration of the Lord's Supper. How 



23 

characteristic it seems of a system in which the church is to do every- 
thing, that instead of the communicants taking the bread and dividing 
it among themselves, the priest selects the piece of bread for each one, 
and gives it him or her. Bishop Ives preached : he is a Puseyite ; 
and I heard that very high notions as to clerical authority prevailed in 
some of the proud cities of the South. 

We waited for the arrival of the daily train, which brought us some 
new passengers of a painfully interesting character— 70 or 80 slaves 
going to Alabama for sale. I never felt more strongly than in such 
circumstances the importance of a firm, deep-rooted conviction of the 
inalienable dignity of human nature — honour for man as man; for, 
without it, the sight of degradation naturally excites contempt, unless 
there is something to move anger or pity ; and where there is no ex- 
ternal sign of misery, sorrow is only spontaneous in one who looks 
beneath the surface. It is well known that chains and fetters are the 
frequent accompaniments of slavery ; but I saw nothing of this kind, 
and no outward cruelty. It was really sadder as it was : it shewed 
that escape was deemed impossible. The Negro porters of the vessel 
were lively fellows, though their jokes sometimes saddened me : they 
were very merry about the " African gentlemen." We in England see 
a superior class of Negroes : if they are fugitives, the fact indicates 
enterprize and superiority to a base condition : even if they are not men 
of mark, those who are in constant intercourse with the European race 
must have some civilization, though too often of a bad sort : but some 
of these persons looked in the lowest grade of humanity. Of course 
I do not refer to the colour, — for some of the finest men that I have 
seen had the same, — but to their features and expression. I felt dis- 
posed to attribute this to slavery ; yet I was assured by visitors to Cuba, 
that the new importations are much worse.* Be this as it may, if the 
tyranny of their native rulers in a heathen, barbarous country tends to 
keep them in a low condition, this is no justification for tyranny, even 
of a milder form, in a country professedly civilized and Christian. There 
is something naturally disgusting in the idea of slavery, and I looked 
with no good- will on the two drivers. As I had resolved to travel as an 
observer, I looked, but said nothing. My looks may have indicated 
my feelings ; for three or four Americans explained to me that the 
dealers were a despised race, and that selling slaves, except in cases of 
extreme necessity, was thought disreputable. (This " extreme neces- 
sity " seems extremely common.) Perhaps they have the same feeling 
towards them that some moderate drinkers have to publicans or gin- 
sellers. I was shocked to see that most of the gangs were women, 
generally young, and children. This indicated a great disruption of 
family ties. There were only four or five men. I purposely did not 
speak to them : their real feelings will not be uttered in presence of 
their oppressors, and the utterance of mine might have only increased 
their oppression. A passenger asked one of them whether he was not 
sorry to leave Washington. He said that he was sorry when he was 
first parted from his family ; but that if he was to be moved from them, 

* Perhaps no general statement can be made. Some native Africans are said 
to be far finer and nobler men than the majority of slaves bom in America. 



24 

he supposed that he might find as good a master in Alabama as in 
Washington. 

Nothing, I hope, shall ever silence my voice against this treatment 
of man as property, and driving human beings from their homes in 
droves, like sheep ; but it is just to remember that, with us, sheep are 
often more regarded than men, because men are not property, and 
poverty is often treated as a crime. Your readers are familiar with 
the evictments of human beings, for the benefit of sheep-owners, in 
the Highlands. Such cases still continue. Last February, I saw in a 
London paper a forcible letter against welcoming Americans who are 
cool about slavery, and I had some thought of sending it across the 
water, but was deterred by seeing that the next column contained a 
letter from a Scotch paper not creditable to our selfish freedom : 

" This will be handed you by a very poor man, one of the fathers of ten 
most destitute families, comprising about sixty individuals, old and youn^;, 
who have been compelled by the strong arm of starvation to flee from their 
wretched homes in the island of Barra; or, more properly speaking, have 
been driven out by the proprietor of the soil which they and tneir ancestors 
have occupied f(fT centuries. * * ♦ The proprietor, wallowing in wealth, as 
he is said to be, seems to think he makes out a sufficient plea of justification 
for his conduct * * * by alleging that he has made a bad bargain in the pur- 
chase of this island, and that therefore he has a full right to clear off from it 
all incumbrances, especially the wretched people. ♦ * • Hunger was legibly 
painted in their faces, and till benevolent individuals supplied various articles 
of clothing, all of them nearly, but especially the women and children, were 
in rags, or almost naked.** 

As regards this single feature of slavery, that it tears persons from 
their homes, it may seem as bad to deem them an incumbrance and 
turn them off to starve, as to deem them property and drive them off 
to toil. " Two wrongs," however, " do not make a right ;" and for- 
tunately, with us, no class is so dominant as to enforce silence as to 
its wrong-doings : what we in England freely denounce as unfeeling 
though legalized tyranny, is in republican America an every-day occur- 
rence. I will confess that the horror which the sight of slavery kindled 
in me, makes me more sensitive than ever to heartless oppression of 
every kind ; and till Great Britain is without sin, it especially becomes 
us to remember that our Saviour spake a " parable unto certain which 
trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." 

If you feel sufficient interest in my remarks to desire their conti- 
nuance, I will in my next letter give you an account of my visit to 
Charleston, S. C, the head quarters of Slavery and Disunion. 

Yours respectfully, 
Neath, Aug, 4, 1851. R. L. Cakpentek. 



No. III. 

to the editob of the chbistiak befobmeb. 

Sib, 

In the Northern States, I might often have forgotten that I was not 
on British ground ; but in the South, I was continually reminded that 
I was no longer in the land of the free. The captain of the steamet 
from Wilmingtoii, N. C, to Charleston, S. C, demanded our age, pro- 
fession, native land, &c., as if we were entering a foreign country. 

South Carolina, the "Nullification State," is famed for its high 
notions respecting '* State rights :" it is also peculiarly sensitive on the 
Slavery question, for the slaves preponderate (350,000 slaves, 280,000 
whites) ; whilst in all the Southern States taken together the white 
population is twice as numerous as the slaves. Calhoun, the stern 
upholder of slavery, was one of its senators in Congress ; and what 
made it peculiarly interesting to me at that juncture, was, that his 
death was just announced ; and I attended a public meeting, called in 
consequence at the City Hall, at which the Governor presided. There 
was a great deal of impassioned eloquence.* They were exhorted to 
vow, as over his body, " inextinguishable resistance to tyranny :" and 
as his death was hastened by his efforts for the Southern party, there 
were various allusions to the death- wounds of Caesar, &c. ; and one 
speaker suggested that he was sorry that, instead of electing a suc- 
cessor, they could not leave his empty seat, decked in mourning, to 
speak to the hearts of the senators. The audience thought the idea 
very beautiful : doubtless the North would equally have admired it ; — 
votes are precious. 

The next day I attended a much more numerous meeting, convened 
at the Military Hall, the largest in the city, to appoint delegates to the 
Nashville Convention. The views taken were strangely different from 
those to which I had been accustomed. So far from these Southerners 
being ashamed of themselves, as worse than sheep-stealers, they seemed 
quite in earnest in regarding themselves as injured men struggling for 
great rights. They spoke of the Revolutionary war as caused by less 
provocation than they had now, though England had been quite as 
dear to them as the North : the Northerners were all Abolitionists, or 
sympathizers with them, and a Southerner felt like a foreigner among 
them ; he was ostracised : disunion was a serious matter, and none 
should take part in these preliminaries who were not prepared for the 
horrors of civil war, &c. I was not struck with the ardour of the 
meeting : such stirring speeches, if they met with the popular approval, 

» An interesting anecdote was related of Calhoun. At the time of the Ash- 
burton treaty, the Administration was very unpopular. A gentleman connected 
with it, however, who was not on good terms with Mr. C, felt the importance 
of its ratification so much, that he called on him, dwelt on the horrors of war 
with ** glorious old England," and told him, that whatever might be the faults 
of the treaty, it seemed to be the only way of preventing war. Mr. C. said that 
he would take it into consideration, and would not allow personal feelings to 
influence him. When the Senate met, in secret session, for executive business, 
and appearances were strongly against the Administration, Calhoun rose, and 
produced such an impression that the treaty was carried. Persons of all parties 
shook hands with him, and it was truly said that such an hour was worth a life. 



26 

would hare been much more loudly cheered with us; but their habits on 
these occasions are quieter, and it was regarded as very enthusiastic. 
It was ludicrous, though painful, to hear them complain of '* Southern 
wrongs," and aggression and tyranny, in apparent unconsciousness 
that they are themselves regarded by many as the greatest tyrants 
and aggressors and wrong-doers on the face of the earth. It is, how- 
ever, no new thing for men to dwell on some apparent injustice towards 
themselves, rather than on their own injustice to others. In their esti- 
mate of the constitution as *' pro-slavery'' (as well as in their desire for 
disunion), they coincide with the Garrisonians. Those who declare that 
they will admit no new State without the Wilmot proviso, appear to 
them dishonest. "We have bought these lands from Mexico," they 
say, " with our blood and our treasure ; unless you can bring back oar 
dead and pay our costs, we are entitled to our share. You knew what 
persons we were when you entered into partnership ; it is too late to 
disclaim us now ; either give us our share, or we will break up partner- 
ship and take our share. You add insult to injury when you urge that 
our institutions would bring disgrace and evil on these lands. Better 
be tyrannized over by a king, than by a majority who are constantly 
getting more and more outrageous in their exactions !" They seemed 
quite as much in earnest as some Unitarians are against the British and 
Foreign School Society, which has pocketed our money and would now 
cast us out. " Think of your compact," say we ; " be honest I" " Honesty 
may be the best policy," say our opponents, " but we must not peril 
the immortal souls of children for morality, or policy, or anything else." 
" Observance of compacts and oaths may be all very well," says the 
North, " but human freedom is far above them all." Thus the South 
thinks of the North, so we of the orthodox ; in each case, the other 
party thinks itself misrepresented. 

In the evening a friend introduced me to a meeting of his club, com- 
posed of some of the most influential men of the city, including some 
of the Professors of the University. The subject was. The Philosophy 
of the Union. The opener of the discussion regarded slavery as a 
divine institution and a providential arrangement. Cotton, rice, &c., 
were needed for human welfare : incalculable misery, in Europe as well 
as America, would result from their failure : they would fail without 
coloured labour. West-Indian experience proved that without slavery 
sufficient labour could not be procured, whilst the race was sinking 
back to a state of savage existence, and wretched neglect and ruin pre- 
vailed.* Wilberforce's labours were abortive, as the British Govern- 
ment was convinced that the horrors of the Slave-trade had only been 
increased by compulsory efibrts to check it. Slavery had done far more 
than missionary effort to civilize the coast of Africa: the Liberians 
would teach the natives the useful arts which they had learnt whilst 
slaves. It was absurd for persons in the North, living in an entirely 
different climate and in quite another state of society, to judge for them. 
Union was very important : on no continent had the idea of unshackled 
intercourse been so fully developed : it was delightful to travel from 
one State to another without restrictions and imposts ; — still, if union 

* I have before adverted to the one-sided use made of some official reports 
from the West Indies. 



27 

only forced persons together to quarrel, who might be friendly if sepa- 
rate, it ceased to be a blessing. England was the great anti-slavery 
country : it was not interest or calculation that made it so. The prospe- 
rity of the colonies was not consulted. There was such b strong senti- 
ment against slavery, that it had to be abolished. England refused to 
give up slaves, and was the great exciter of anti-slavery feeling in the 
North ; and yet it so happened, that they had now kindlier feelings 
towards England than towards the North. The North and South took 
entirely different views, and then difficulties arose from the attempt to 
make the North the supporter of a system which it abhorred. The 
South would get on better by itself. Its energies had stagnated ; dis- 
union would stimulate them. It possessed the world's supply of cotton, 
and it had a North within itself, the manufacturing capabilities* of 
which would soon be developed. This gentleman spoke in the calmest 
manner, and evidently laid great stress on the Bible : he bore the highest 
character, I heard, for purity and integrity of character. 

A clergyman said, that he was glad to hear slavery spoken of as a 
civilizing instrumentality. He thought that the moderate opponents 
of the system would not feel such abhorrence of it if they regarded it 
as transitional, and preparatory to a better state. If the Negroes were to 
be the educators of Western Africa, they must themselves be educated. 
(This was demurred to ; the education meant was only of that kind 
which was insensibly derived from living among civilized men.) He 
could not give any hopeful view for the future. Whatever might be 
the temporary alternations of feeling in the North, it was on the whole 
becoming more decidedly opposed to the system. The churches of the 
North were divided, if not formally, yet in feeling, from those in the 
South. He felt under a ban in New England. He believed that there 
were 20,000 pulpits where prayers were offered against slavery every 
Sunday, and in many of them sermons were annually preached against 
it. — Another clergyman spoke very bitterly of the immoral doctrines 
of the Northern church : the sanctity of oaths and compacts seemed 
utterly despised. 

One gentleman remarked that he did not entertain the least hope from 
Webster, who spoke as a constitutional lawyer. As Texas had been 
admitted, he would carry out all the provisions then made ; but he 
avowed that he had opposed those provisions, — that he was averse to 
slavery, and would take all constitutional means to discountenance it. 

It was believed that the New - Englanders, who were of Puritan 
origin, were moved by a sincere, though narrow-minded and over- 
bearing, sense of duty ; but New York was spoken of contemptuously, 
as the hotbed of socialism and wild theory, peopled by a mixed race, 
and making concessions only through mercenary motives. It was stated 
that when Governor Seward f visited the South, he said that he was 
merely acting as he felt compelled to by his constituents. The idea 
that individual conscience was higher than all law or compact, was the 
purest fanaticism (!) | 

* And not improbably its anti-slavery tendencies also ! 
t Vide p. 6. 

i The Catholic says, Hear the Church ; the Puritan, Hear the Conscience ; 
the Politician, Hear the State. We consider the Catholic immorali in setting 



28 

Of course I took no part. In the midst of much that grieved me, it 
was interesting to hear the way in which they referred to their English 
origin,* and their respect for the mother country (this feeling prevails 
far more in the old States of the North and South than in the Middle 
States) ; and it was a comfort to find, that though the Northern clergy 
are considered by the Garrisonians as scandalously lukewarm, they are 
regarded by the supporters of the system as doing more than any other 
body to diffuse a general sentiment against it. It was a favourable 
opportunity for hearing the opinions of a number of sensible and influ- 
ential men, conversing among themselves. They seemed to have no 
idea that they were in the wrong ; but spoke in the tone of persons 
who had been calumniated, and who were about to be cheated. If sla- 
very was what they represented it in theory, and what in the practice 
of some few wise and kind persons it may be, it might be viewed with 
that calmness with which we contemplate those faulty systems which, 
in the Divine government, seem designed to prepare the way for what 
is better. Conversing with a number of gentlemanly men on the matter 
abstractedly, is like a friendly chat with officers who have been engaged 
in our ambitious wars. If we happen to witness a flogging, naval or 
military, or to come across the victims of rapacity, lust and fury, and 
hear their tale, it is not quite so pleasant. 

The next morning I saw in the newspaper several advertisements of 
sales, by a merchant whom I had met the evening before. They were 
to be held near the Post-office, and I resolved to be present. Of course 
my acquaintance did not officiate in person, any more than a high- 
sheriflf would act as hangman ; meaner men are found ready to do dis- 
creditable work. There were several slaves for sale. They stood upon 
a bench by the auctioneer, lot after lot. I did not observe any fetters 
or show of violence. On the whole, I would rather have seen them : 
it would not have seemed such an ordinary, commonplace matter. The 
absence of precaution to prevent escape shewed that escape was re- 
garded as hopeless. Outward force is less mysteriously horrible than the 
influence which paralyses a man's inward strength. I did not remark 
any of those indecencies, as regards the dress or the handling of the 
persons for sale, which so frequently reveal the inherent and essential 
indecency of all such sales. There was no peculiar excitement, and 
only about thirty persons were present. They were selling a young 
man when I came — a good boy, he would not run away (the " good- 
ness'' was that of a prisoner; he looked stupid and sullen); afterwards 
a black girl, who manifested her shame at being sold ; a mother and 
her children ; an old man : I wondered that any one would buy the 
duty of taking care of him in his declining years. As some persons 
think no jest so good as a perversion of what is sacred^ so others seem 
to find something ludicrous in the perversion of what is human; and if 
incongruity is the soul of wit, a heartless wit may find amusement in the 
outrageous incongruities of a human market : and I saw in many present 
a sneering expression, which I have often noticed in persons who have 

aside oaths to serve the Church ; the Politician thinks us immoral, in setting 
them aside to serve private Conscience ; we and the Catholics think the Politi- 
cian impious, to set Church and private Conscience at nought to serve the State. 
* Some of the principal people of Charleston, however, are of Huguenot 
extraction. 



29 

to look on that which they dare not regard serioosly. I thought, too, 
that I detected a brutality of tone which men do not acquire from 
dealing in sheep. The sales I have specified were not quite consecu- 
tive ; for though they took but a very short time, it was longer than I 
could endure to remain, for they made me half hysterical, half sick ; 
and in order to retain the necessary composure, I had to go away once 
or twice to recover self-control. What the deadening effect might be of 
seeing such a thing often, I do not care to inquire. I have seen it once : 
I went as a duty — a duty I hope never to have to undertake again. I 
found that those who viewed it as a necessary part of a necessary system, 
could not understand my emotion, nor the horror which I assured them 
my friends would feel at the very sight of the advertisements.* Those, 
however, who perceived how shocking I thought it, were anxious to 
impress upon me that it was regarded as discreditable to sell, except 
in cases of emergency, and that great efforts were made to provide as 
comfortable places as possible for those from whom they had to part, 
and not to separate families. No doubt the kind persons who spoke 
in this way would act thus themselves ; and I saw in one of the papers 
an advertisement — " A likely black girl, 17 years of age ; a good house- 
servant ; to remain in the city, as she is sold for no fault ;*' and in a few 
other cases, " to be sold to a city resident ;" but generally the adver- 
tisements shew no such consideration. I had intended to copy all the 
advertisements relating to slavery which occurred in a single paper, the 
Charleston Courier, April 9, 1850, — since, as I hope that your volumes 
will long outlive the '' peculiar institution," they may hereafter be re- 
garded as curiosities. I found, however, that there were about twenty- 
five, relating to the sale of about 250 slaves ; and I will not distress 
you with more than a few specimens : 

"Negeoes Wanted. — Wanted to purchase, likely young Negroes, for 
which the very highest market price will be paid. Apply to M. McBride, 
1, Chalmers Sr." He might have spared his advertisement if he had applied 
to "Thos. Rtan & Son, 12, State Street," who announce "Negeges at 
Pbivate Sale : Between 60 and 70 Negroes, consisting of Field Hands, 
Cooks, Washers and Ironers, House Servants, Coachmen and Hostlers, &c.'' 
" At Private Sale, an uncommonly fine family of Negroes, consisting of 
one Woman, 40 years old, a first-rate washer and ironer, with her three cnil- 
dren, one 19, one 14, and one 8 years old. They are town raised, of unex- 
ceptionable character, and perfectly healthy" (you will observe that there 
is no mention of a husband; and I may say the same of the other ** family" 
advertisements in the paper) ; " also, a very valuable Ship Carpenter, about 
35 years old. The above property is offered simply to change the investment, 
and is well worthy the attention of persons wishing such. Apply at the office 
of D. C. Gibson, Esq., 84, Church Street, up stairs." " On Thursday, the 
11th inst, at 11 o'clock, at the North of the Custom House, will be sold, A 
Pew in St. Peter's church, known by the No. 72, and situate in the south 
aisle. AlsOf Two Slaves, viz. Peggy, an elderly woman, and Jeofry [her 

* A gentleman told me, that as there must of course be sales, he thought 
public ones best. Some Southerners, whose chivalric notions about white 
women are in the inverse ratio of their respect for womanhood when the skin 
is coloured, would be shocked at our statute-fairs, where women stand in the 
streets for hire, exposed to the staring scrutiny of every passer-by, sometimes 
even allowing their hands to be felt, as evidence that they nad been accustomed 
to hard work. Whilst, then, we have public hiring it is not the publicity of 
the sale, but the fieust that there is a tale at all, which is to us so utterly revolting. 



32 

general deportment. When I have had occasion to walk or ride with 
them, I was not disturbed by the perpetual touching of the hat in con- 
versation. This, however, may result from the general custom of 
society; and there would be more difference in manner between a 
white American and a slave, than between an English mechanic and a 
footman. To see the coloured people at their " weekly jubilee," the 
Saturday market,* which is mostly supplied by them, or to watch them 
on the Sunday before the doors of their houses, chatting merrily with 
one another, one would not imagine them a wretched people. Our 
sadness, however, awakens when theirs sleeps. We know that, whilst 
the masses may seem resolved to make what they suppose the best of 
their condition, the noblest among them are wretched even in their 
ease, and are bitterly longing for the hardness of the freeman*s lot. 
Complacency in slavery is the perfection of its curse. 

A tourist who did not look at advertisements, and never came across 
a dave-sale, might not have his feelings much lacerated by what met 
his eye. He is not importuned by beggars. He sees no thumb-screws, 
or slave- whips, or fetters, hung up in the halls, nor is he awakened in 
the morning by screams. His own kindly looks may be reciprocated 
by those who wait on him, and there may be nothing to remind him 
that he is not receiving free-will service. There is, however, a place in 
this city where persons may, if they please, send slaves whom they 
deem refractory or dishonest. It was an old sugar-house, and was not 
long ago the scene of a formidable riot. When I was at Charleston, 
a new building was in course of erection. The Southerners boast that 
they do not punish their slaves so severely as the law does offenders in 
free States : such boasters seem vnlfully blind to the atrocities so fVe- 
quently perpetrated. Even if mild persons shrink from being their own 
executioners, and selfish ones do not choose to be at the expense of 
the maintenance of a slave when unproductive,! it does not prove the 
humanity of the South ; but may indicate our inhumanity, if our punish- 
ments are more severe than we should ourselves choose to inflict on 
any in whom we had a direct interest. 

The prevalence of persons of the intermediate shades of colour, who 
for obvious reasons are more numerous in the cities than on the planta- 
tions, tells its own sad and disgraceful tale. In former times there were 
instances in which a white man would marry a coloured woman, and 
set her and the children free; but now no one can be set free and 
remain in the State. A high-minded man would as soon be the son of 
a slave as the father of one ; but these persons, who cant about liberty, 
seem to take a pleasure in being the parents of slaves ! Which is most 
free in soul, — the mother who weeps to see her children in bonds, or 
the father who loves to have them so ? He is the degraded slave of 
lust and mammon. The mixed race are, in the South, the evidences 
of licentiousness. On this matter, those who are acquainted with inves- 
tigations connected with this most painful of subjects will perhaps feel 

* It is held in a commodious erection down one of the principal streets, and 
is lighted with gas. Basket-work and rough upholstery were for sale, besides 
meat and vegetables. 

t Five hundred dollars a month has been paid to the city for board of the 
prisoners by their owners. 



d3 

that we in England cannot with propriety assume any Pharisaic atti- 
tude ; nor is the cwidition of our myriads of victims of seduction much 
to be envied, even by Negro mothers. Fortunately, we are spared one 
temptation to hypocrisy ; for there you may hear grave divines arguing 
against the imion of races, as something abhorrent to the laws of 
nature, whilst palpable proofs to the contrary are everywhere before 
their eyes ; and, if I am not mistaken, a coloured man is punishable 
with death for having intercourse with a white woman, whilst her bro- 
ther may with impunity corrupt his (the coloured man's) sister. It is 
not then, colour, but slavery, that has most influence here. The co- 
loured children of the white woman would be free, and mammon has 
no motive to pardon the disgrace. The coloured children of the black 
woman are slaves : the owner cares little who the father was ; perhaps 
prefers a white one, because they may be more intelligent. — But the 
disgust which I feel in adverting to this topic, teaches me some allow- 
ance for those who willingly are ignorant of the worst horrors of sla- 
very. 

My visit at Charleston was to the Rev. Dr. Oilman, a native of New 
England, whom a residence of thirty years in the South has familiarized 
with the feelings of the place. He is, nominally, a slaveholder, and is 
much respected in this metropolis of slavery — circumstances sufficient 
to secure him the denunciations of some abolitionists. He certainly 
occupies a position which would be fatal to my peace of mind, but yet 
I hope that he is indirectly promoting the great cause of freedom. He 
has held a slave for many years, I believe ; how he became possessed 
of him, I did not inquire : by the law of the land he is prevented from 
setting him free to reside in the State. He treats him, however, with 
the same kindness that he shews to his hired white servants, pays his 
wages into the savings' bank, and whenever he is disposed to leave the 
State, those wages and his free papers are ready for him. One of 
Dr. O.'s daughters has lately married in New England, and she wished 
to take this servant with her, when of course he would have been free ; 
but he naturally preferred remaining in the scenes with which he was 
familiar. If he went Northward, the climate might not suit him, and 
he would And himself comparatively isolated on account of his colour. 
At present, knowing that he is virtually free, he may feel in a better 
relative position in the South, where the majority are of his own com- 
plexion and not so fortunate as himself. I need not descant on the 
obvious iniquity of the law ; but any censures are manifestly unjust 
which confound those who strive to mitigate the evils under which 
they live, with those who aggravate them. And possibly it might 
savour as much of pride as of humanity, if, to avoid the name of slave- 
holder. Dr. O. should drive a man who was attached to his country into 
compulsory exile. If all slaveholders followed his example, slavery 
would of course be a nonentity ; and I was glad to be able to adduce it 
to those who professed to me that, living in the South, they couki not 
do otherwise than fall in with the ordinary customs. Dr. O. heard me 
with much candour when I commented with my usual freedom on the 
evils of the system. From his connection with the North, as well as 
from natural disposition, he was a devoted adherent of the Union, and 
censured those whose bitterness he regarded as a cause of the tenacity 
with which the South clung to an institution which he thought would 



34 

have yielded before the combhied influences of Republicanism and 
Christianity. He had, however, no sympathy with those who spoke 
lightly on the subject, and expressed the pain that he felt when pro- 
fessing Christians at Boston advocated the delivery of a fugitive (under 
the old Act) on the ground of their commercial relations with the South. 
At his request I preached for him on Sunday, April 7. His church 
was larger, apparently, than that at Washington; and they talk of 
either enlarging or rebuilding it. It is situated in the midst of a spa- 
cious burying-ground, which then bloomed with Cherokee roses and 
other flowers, in striking contrast to the snow which I had left at 
Washington. It was not the fullest season, but there was a good con- 
gregation, and in the galleries were many coloured people — several of 
them, I believe, slaves. Ladies and gentlemen were in the same gal- 
leries, and I did not see a more marked distinction than between the 
rich and the poor at home.* Had I been told that I was only to preach 
on certain conditions, I should certainly have declined altogether ; yet, 
whilst no such conditions were imposed, I felt that I was not there to 
gratify my own impatience at evil, but to do what good was in my 
power. When I was in the pulpit, it occurred to me to shew Dr. G. 
this expression — "We would remember those who are in bonds, as 
bound with them" — in the written prayer which I thought of using. f 
He told me that he might perhaps use the expression, to which, in 
itself, there could of course be no objection, but that its employment 
by a stranger would give rise to much irritation and remark ; and that, 
in the. present highly excited state of public feeling, it was for me to 
consider whether I wished to drop a spark upon gunpowder. If it had 
been a sentence in a sermon, my pride might have dictated its reten- 
tion, come what would. Yet even abolitionists indignantly blame those 
whose honest speech wounds their feelings ; so perhaps it would have 
been a false pride which would lead me to utter what would offend 
without convincing. And in a mixed congregation, where slaves are 
present, one cannot wisely say what one might address to masters alone. 
The Great Teacher spoke as the people were able to bear it. In a public 
prayer, however, the minister speaks in behalf of the people ; and if he 
utters that as the people's which he knows is not, — if he inflames their 
rage, whilst he professes to be drawing their thoughts to God, — he 
can scarcely be offering true worship. Accordingly, I selected another 
prayer. Perhaps there may be some pulpits, even in England, in which 
ministers do not feel themselves perfectly free to set themselves in 
direct opposition to the strong and prevailing sentiment in their socie- 
ties ; but during the whole of my visit to the South, I had a most 

* I ouffht not to foreet that in the chapel that I attended as a boy, the minis- 
ters of which were undoubted friends to freedom and Christian equsdity, the 
poor had their separate seats ; and after the sermon, my childish admiration was 
excited by seeing a troop of livery- servants leaving tne chapel, — it seeming of 
more importance that their masters should not be kept waiting for their car- 
riages, than that they themselves should join in the concluding devotions of the 
congregation. 

t The American pulpits are very large, and usually contain a sofa or two or 
three chairs. When a stranger preaches, it is the custom for the minister of 
the pla^e to sit in the pulpit with him. Written forms of prayer do not appear 
to be used in America. I thought it wisest, however, to act on my usual cus- 
tom of eraplojang my manuscript in what we call the long prayer. 



35 

painful conviction of the humiliating hondage in which all puhlic men 
are held on this topic. I conversed freely, because I was a traveller 
and an Englishman ; but I found that a whisper of blame was as ef- 
fective and audible there, as a shout of reproach on the subject in the 
North. Another reflection was more consolatory : I had often heard 
the prayers of Northern ministers for the slave treated with something 
like derision ; but I found that they are not regarded as idle words, and 
that there are few things more distressing to a religious Southerner 
than the knowledge that those under his yoke are continually the sub- 
jects of prayer, as peculiarly requiring the Divine compassion and deli- 
verance. 

I partook of the Lord's Supper. At one part of it we were invited 
to think of our absent friends in Christ, and there was a pause for that 
purpose. Certainly, if we remember the Head, we should call to mind 
the members also ; and as a stranger in a foreign land, I felt it pecu- 
liarly interesting to be led to go in thought to those who were so near 
me in heart. About thirty or forty Negroes communicated with us. 
They were seated on benches down the middle aisle, and I believe that 
the senior deacon handed them the bread and wine.* After the service, 
an aged Negro came up and shook hands cordially with Dr. Oilman 
and myself, .and hoped to see us at their evening meeting. He* was an 
interesting old man. Before the present law rendered such a step ille- 
gal, he had bought his freedom with his savings, and a day or two after 
he had acquired it he broke his arm. A double loss : for had he re- 
mained a slave, his master was bound by law to maintain him ; or had 
he desired his freedom, he could of course have procured it at a much 
reduced rate. He had however many kind friends, who contributed to 
his support. There is often open-handedness where there is not even- 
handedness : the South loves generosity more than justice. 

The second service in the church, according to the usage which still 
prevails in America, was in the afternoon. In the evening I attended 
a religious meeting of Negroes, in a large upper room adjoining Dr. 
Oilman's house, which lasts from about seven to half-past nine o'clock. 
Mrs. O. makes a point of attending, and Dr. O. generally looks in. I 
believe that such evening meetings would be illegal without the pre- 
sence of a white person. Miss Fredrika Bremer, whom I had previ- 
ously met at Cambridge, Mass., was now visiting Charleston. She bad 
been my hearer in the morning, and was now, like myself, desirous to 
be present at a scene so strange to us. We and two or three other 
visitors had the inferior places: it was our turn now to sit down the aisle. 
The service was conducted by two old black men, one of whom read, 
very imperfectly, John xiv., which had been my lesson in the morning, 
expounding it as he proceeded, f The other could not read at all, but 
said that he was moved by the spirit, which was above the letter. A 
prayer-meeting for the women followed, the presiding brother telling 
them to be short. One prayed in a most beautiful, beseeching tone : 

* I have heard that in most places the black and white communicants do not 
meet, but receive the rite at different times. I relate what I saw. There was 
more religious equality than in a Catholic congregation, entirely white, where 
the laity are excluded from the cup. 

t When he came to the 22nd verse, he said, <* Now you shall hear the objec- 
tion made by the traitor. * Judas saith unto him, Not Iscariot, Lord,' " &c. 



the interest which I felt in the others was principally derived (rom their 
condition. One infirm old lady seemed to have a better heart than 
head. She not only prayed to, or invoked, Christ, but Abraham, Isaac 
and Jacob, &c., and her ''dear pastor*' (who was not then present). 
She seemed full of intense gratitude that she had been able that day to 
attend public worship, for the first time after many months' illness. 
Many of her expressions were very touching. Hymns were sung, but 
with little credit to their musical powers. When they were told to sing 
" more spiritually" (spiritedly ?), they gave us one or two characteristic 
songs : one was a sort of Easter recitative. The minister walked among 
them and gave out a line, such as — " I go before you to Galilee ;" then 
the rest sung *' Hallelujah !" with great zeal. The burden of another 
song was to this effect — ''We shall have nothing at all to do but ring 
Jerusalem ;" and they did " ring Jerusalem," with amazing animation, 
the old man gesticulating, and the others waving to and fro and singing 
with the greatest earnestness. 

I came away much moved by what I had seen and heard. I was 
painfully impressed with the evil of keeping our brethren in degrading 
ignorance ; but I also felt, never more strongly, the significance of that 
text, " The Spirit maketh intercession for us, with groanings which 
cannot be uttered." Their scarcely intelligible exclamations were often 
the promptings of that prayerful spirit which Qod hears as clearly as 
our distinct requests-soften, in their very distinctness, undevotional. 
I recognized the blessedness of religion : to it these poor people owed 
what little instruction they possessed : low as they are, criminal as are 
those who keep them so, they are thus raised far above their pagan 
ancestors, and indeed above all who have not the knowledge of God. 
Slavery would have made them " without hope," were it not that the 
gospel gives to them, as freely as to us, " life's best cordial." They 
adverted in their prayers to their hope of sitting on thrones in heaven, 
and to their enjoyment of the reward of faithful service. I was re- 
minded of those whom Paul exhorted, if they might be made free, to 
use it rather (1 Ck>r. vii.), but at all events remembering that the time 
was short, just to perform those duties which -Providence assigned them, 
The words " Our Father" had an affecting significance. Here was the 
Swedish novelist, and the English preacher, and the Northerner proud 
of freedom, and the master, and the slave ; but it was one Father to 
whom we were all praying, and we were brethren, going to the same 
home ; and all our local and conventional differences seemed paltry 
when contemplating the infinite. Commonplace truths startle us in 
uncommon circumstances. The old minister spoke of me as "the 
brother over the water," and wished me to say a few words : so I 
simply told them that I had come from a far land, and mi^ht not see 
them again here ; but I hoped that we might all meet in that better^ 
land, to which those who obey their Lord and Master ''^ Jesus were 
hastening. My heart responds to this prayer, as I now repeat it in 
my dear native land. Religion widens and deepens our sympatliies : 
it unites us to those from whom we seem diametrically to differ, intel- 

* I had been struck with their frequent use of the expr^ion, " Master Jesus." 
I thought that they would have had such painful assdmtions with the word 
nutOeTf that they would not have applied it to the Saviour. 



87 

lectually and morally. Where a cultivated taste, or fastidious refinement, 
repels us, — where even humanity finds little to attract it,— -or where, 
on the other hand, a narrow philanthropy indignantly forbids our at- 
tachment, — a belief that the divine nature exists, however obscured, 
in every soul, awakens a solemn conviction of brotherhood. No com- 
plexion conceals it, no oppression can crush it out, no sin can utterly 
destroy it : and so we feel when in the Father's presence. 

As I am writing to those whom I suppose well acquainted with the 
horrors of slavery, I need not remind them that religion, as usually 
administered in the South, awakens no such earnest sense of brother- 
hood ; that its perversions soothe the tyrant, and make the slave's de- 
gradation more complete ; that the Protestant zeal which sends Bibles 
to savages abroad, subsides into a Papal reserve towards the servile 
population at home ; that God's word is thus dishonoured, and the 
ambassadors of Christ become the spiritual police of the powers of the 
world. I am not, however, hopeless as to the future ; and if you desire 
it, I may, in some further observations, intimate the reasons of my hope. 

Yours respectfully, 
Neath, Aug, 23, 1851. R. L. Cabpenteb. 



No. IV. 

to the editob of the chbistian befobmeb. 
Sib, 

As I intimated in my last letter, when we look at the Southern 
Church in relation to human rights, we cannot he surprised at those 
who are revolted by its servility, hypocrisy, or inconsistency. How- 
ever honourable the exceptions, it must be on the whole regarded as a 
bulwark of slavery ; — as such, many slaveholders themselves regard 
it. A speaker at Charleston, S. C, observed that it appeared provi- 
dential, that when slavery had become impaired, its vitality was re- 
newed by religion ; for so great a zeal for the spiritual welfare of the 
slaves had arisen, that places of worship for them were springing up 
in all directions. He did not explain how religion operated as a sup- 
port to slavery : whether it was that the consciences of the masters 
were spared the reproaches which even their own synods uttered 
against the disgraceful heathenism of the South, — and that now they 
flattered themselves that slavery had received a spiritual grace, as an 
instrument for the salvation of Negroes (as our opium war was to^ be 
sanctified to the conversion of the Chinese to a saving faith), — or v^rhe- 
ther the slaves themselves had become, in consequence, more moral and 
manageable. 

I mentioned to Dr. Oilman the notion we had in England of the sort 
of religious instruction which was given to Negroes, yet expressed my 
hope, that as it was the religious public in Great Britain which pro- 
moted emancipation, so it might be the same there eventually. He 
thought it possible. After the dangerous riot at the slave prison, many 
were very vehement against the religious teaching of the slaves, on the 
ground that it made them presuming and rebellious, and a committee 
was appointed to obtain the opinions of clergymen and others. The 
religious sentiment prevailed, and it was determined that they should 
continue to attend public worship in the same churches with the whites. 
He thought that if the South should ever gain rest from outward agi- 
tation, the important differences of opinion as to religious education 
would be a fertile source of contention. The pro-slavery clergy expli- 
citly maintain that slavery is distinctly taught, sanctioned and provided 
for, in the Bible ; and denounce as fanaticism the assertion, that if slave- 
holders were Christians they would free their slaves. On the other 
hand, they denounce as infidelity the plea, that to make the slaves 
Christians would give them a thirst for civil liberty ; and consistently 
say, that as they would not sanction slavery unless they believed it 
Christian, so they will sanction nothing which shall deprive the slaves 
of Christian teaching. This feeling will lead on to the desire for some- 
thing more than oral instruction : the somewhat superstitious regard of 
most Protestants for the letter of Scripture, may prompt to an educa- 
tion which shall put that letter in the reach of all. At present, how- 
ever, it is a point of pride not to appear to yield to intimidation : in 
the storm of passion, wisdom is either silent or unheard. It is quite 
fashionable to give oral instruction to slaves at one of the Episcopal 
churches at Charleston ; and though doubtless it is such as the more 
intelligent among them despise, it has probably an elevating effect on 
the masses^ and it cannot but have an important influence in coun- 



39 

teracting the base view of a slave as a soulless chattel. The abomi- 
nable anti-educational laws are notorious : like other laws which con- 
travene the best feelings of our nature, they are frequently broken. 
Children often teach their coloured playmates ; and at Charleston there 
is a school which is attended by some young slaves, bringing tickets of 
leave from their mistresses, who pay the cost. Mrs. G. heard one of 
them read an extract from Milton. There is not the same objection to 
reading as to writing. Writing would enable them to forge passes, &c. 
We know how strong a prejudice existed in England against the edu- 
cation of the working classes, lest they should be raised above their 
condition as labourers and servants, and use their powers to the detri- 
ment of their employers : even now, many clergymen are to be found 
who discourage all but mere scriptural instruction. The rapid change 
which is going on in this respect among us may give us hope for the 
South. 

Religion as administered by the selfish and crafty is made there, as 
elsewhere, an instrument of degradation ; on the whole, however, its 
influence is to elevate the social condition of the Negroes. Their de- 
votional fervour touches a chord of sympathy in the more pious whites. 
Bond and free mutually pray with each other and for each other. I 
heard of one lady who regularly prayed with her slave, who was a 
member of the same church with herself, for the conversion of this 
lady's husband. No one who has been truly awakened to a conviction 
of the immortal nature of a slave, and has felt that he has equal access 
with himself to the Great Father of all, can regard him as a mere am- 
mal.* On some of the plantations the religious culture of the slaves is 
still, no doubt, shamefully neglected ; but in the towns that I visited, 
they appeared to frequent public worship as freely as the poor at home, 
and are allowed to choose their own religion, which is more than can 
be said for many English servants. The Baptist is, I believe, the most 
popular faith with the Negroes : the ceremony of immersion, typifying 
newness of life, would in itself have a powerful hold on their imagina- 
tions. Some of the white clergy are jealous of the coloured preachers, 
and wish them superseded, on the ground that they rant and talk non- 
sense. They think that it would be better that they should preach to 
the coloured congregations themselves. Possibly, however, some may 
suggest that this would not always obviate the objection. Looking at 
it abstractedly, I preferred the system of Dr. Gilman's church, where 
all of the same faith join in public worship together, whatever their 
hue, whilst the coloured people have an additional service conducted 
by themselves. There is one incidental evil connected with this ad- 
mixture, that a preacher cannot, in presence of the slaves, feel as free 
as he otherwise might to deal plainly with the masters. 

I mentioned that Miss Bremer attended our Sunday services. I had 
also the pleasure of meeting her at Prof. Bachman's, and at an agree- 
able pic-nic at Sullivan's Island, which my friends had arranged for 
her. I am informed that she is now regarded by the Garrisonians as 
pro-slavery. Certainly, I never heard such a suggestion whilst I was 

* Experience of course proves that a recognition of a common nature does 
not prevent cruelty. White persons are savage to each other; and without 
doubt there are many instances in which the master is cruel to the slave with 
whom he has prayed. 



40 

in America. More than most travellers^ she entered those circles 
which are regarded as ultra in philanthropic movements, and was sup- 
posed to sympathize with them. Mrs. Oilman is well known as an 
authoress ;* and Miss Bremer wrote to her, to try to enlist her pen in 
the cause of emancipation. Mrs. Q., regarding the matter as one of 
politics, considered it out of her province. She suggested to me, that 
Miss B. might he herself reminded that she may he indirectly injuring 
the cause of Temperance, hy the laxity on that subject displayed by 
some of her heroines. Both Dr. and Mrs. Q. are very earnest in the 
Temperance movement, and, among other means of improving the 
social condition of the coloured people of their flock, had established a 
Teetotal Society among them.f I told them that I had heard that 
many planters promoted intemperance among their slaves, in order to 
drown that serious thought which might prompt to liberty. As far as 
their own observation went, they pronounced it a calumny. Where 
there are three million slaves, there will of course be a great diversity 
in the mode in which they are treated. I sympathized with my friends 
in their efforts to promote that self-control which is wisdom's root. 

The pitiable fate of the Indians proves, that liberty connected with 
licence is more fatal to a race than outward slavery. Our passions are 
our worst tyrants ; or if we are at the mercy of others, those are most 
cruel and savage whose passions are frenzied by intoxication. There 
are many Negro slaves who have no reason to envy the wife and chil- 
dren of a brutal, fiendish drunkard. The most disgusting feature of 
slavery is the condition of the women ; and whilst some who have the 
power are striving to restore the sanctity of domestic relations by poli- 
tical action, those are not labouring in vain who endeavour to produce 
those habits without which outward freedom is partial at best. I have 
heard Southern ladies question how far women might gain by any 
sudden emancipation. Slavery educates for tyranny, and the freed 
slave might be the domestic tyrant. Nor is woman safe from injury 
among those who are of free birth : the free-bom Negro may have as 
vile passions as the free-bom white, and be as unscrupulous in their 
gratification. Woman is only respected and honoured where Christian 
principle prevails. Elsewhere, her defenceless condition entails on her 
the hardest drudgery, or makes her the sport of pleasure ; and even in 
England her advocate can plead*—" The truly horrible effects of the 
present state of the law among the lowest of the working population, 
is exhibited in those cases of hideous maltreatment of their wives by 

• One of her works is " The Southern Matron,'* which gives what I should 
regard as the sunny side of Southern life. A friend of mine in the North, a 
gentleman of inteUigence, said that his feeling of the pro-slavery tendency of 
me book was so strong, that he burnt his copy. When I next wrote to Br. G., 
I mentioned this circiunstance. His family felt rather proud of this auto-de-fi, 
" It is strange," he says, " that anybody should regard it as a pro-slavery book. 
It was written with not the slightest reference to the Abolition agitation, which 
at that time was hardly felt at the South. It was only a faithful {Hcture of what 
tiie writer had seen and experienced, just as *The Northern Housekeeper' was. 
To bum it for being dangerous, is one of the most convincing arguments in 
favour of the institution ; for its representations were notoriously true, and the 
dark sides of the institution were intimated, as well as the bright sides." 

t Dr. G. also makes a point of attending the weekly meeting of the Tem- 
perance Society in the town. 



41 

working men with which every hew&pftper and everj police-court 
teems. Wretches unfit to have the smallest authority over any living 
thing, have a helpless woman for their household slave/' (West- 
minster Review for July, 1851.) I mentioned (p. 22) an instance in 
which a man preferred the freedom of his wife to his own. I heard 
of a case of a different kind, in which a young coloured woman, who 
was free, and whose children therefore would be free, whatever l^e 
condition of the husband, married a slave in preference to a free black, 
because, she said, the free coloured men treated their wives so badly, 
(You may suggest the possibility of some other reason !) I trust that 
no one will be absurd enough to suppose that I state this as a defence 
of the present state of things : on the contrary, it is an evil growing 
out of this state, which takes for granted that power to oppress gives 
the right. The labours of those who strive to substitute the dominion 
of Christian love and equity are here especially needed. 

I scarcely saw anything of plantation life, though a gentleman kindly 
drove me over to his estate, about eight miles from Charleston. It 
was a fine day at the beginning of April, and the ride was lovely. The 
road, indeed, was in a state of nature — sand, except where a portion of 
plank-road had been just laid down ; but all around had the rich beauty 
of our early summer. There were many hedges (they are very rare in 
the North), but not quite like ours ; for one that I remarked round the 
well-cultivated garden of a Scotchman was a mixture of Spanish bayo- 
net and Cherokee rose, the blossoms of which added grace to its for- 
midable aspect. One plantation which we passed belonged to a mu- 
latto. A Frenchman of the last generation had married a slave and 
liberated her : this would now be illegal, unless she left the State. We 
turned off the high road, through a forest, into the plantation. I saw 
the acacia full of blossom ; the dog- wood too, about twenty feet high, 
with its blossoms as large as dog-roses. Fines seemed the commonest 
trees, but the live oak was the glory of the place. It has a small dark 
leaf,— the same, I believe, as owe evergreen 0£ik, only it grows to a 
magnificent size, in spite of the long trailing clusters of Spanish moss 
which hang from it, and which are often picked by the Negroes and 
sold for bed-stuffing. Mr. P. and his father own about 1500 acres, 
only 500 of which are cultivated, and laid out principally in rice, Indian 
com and vegetables. There was a reserve (a very large pond) which 
held the water used for irrigation. Alligators are found in it, and rat- 
tle-snakes are in the beautiful woods which overhang it. A number of 
cranes were sitting near its brink. The water is let on the land before 
the rice is planted, and is drained off in ditches. After the rice has 
sprouted up, the water is let on two or three times more. Only Negroes 
can live in these swampy districts : it is dangerous for Whites to sleep 
on rice plantations in the months of June and July. The culture 
requires much care. Mr. P.'s plantation is near a tidal river ; and some 
of his lands were completely spoilt the previous year by some breakage 
in an embankment, which let in the salt water. The land is a rich 
black soil, said to be twelve feet deep. I saw some rice lands still 
under water ; a buzzard with his wide-spread wings was flying across 
them. I went to another field, where there were about thirty Negroes, 
of both sexes, employed in scattering the rice, and just turning the 
earth over it with a sort of toothless rake. It did not seem hard work. 



42 

The overseer was there, and the driver, who carried the disgusting 
whip. The name and ensign of his office were repulsive to me. Mr. P. 
told me that the whip was only used three or four times a year. The 
driver was a very trustworthy old Negro ; though usually the blacks, 
when in office, are tyrannically inclined, as fags make the hardest mas- 
ters. He said that, as a rule, those who treated the slaves worst were 
the free coloured proprietors ; next the French ; then the Scotch, who 
were too grasping ; next the English and Northerners, who got impa- 
tient at their stupidity ; and that the best masters are the Southern- 
ers, who are to the manner born.* Every here and there I saw a little 
patch of land, which he told me was a Negro's. He allows them to 
cultivate as much as they can in spare times. In some parts of the 
year they work very hard, but generally much the contrary ; and they 
often get home by one o'clock when employed on task- work (that day 
they were returning home before our dinner). I can believe that where 
masters are indulgent, slaves may earn a great deal more, with less 
work, than our farm labourers ; but then they are still slaves. They 
may often be as well or better fed, and perhaps as well clothed. Those 
that I saw had no shoes or stockings : they have them in the winter ; 
but, like many of the children of the rich, dislike them at this season. 
The women seemed not very different in dress from those similarly 
employed in England, except that they wore turbans or handkerchiefs 
instead of bonnets, and drawers reaching down to the ankles. They 
were certainly not prepossessing. A few whom I saw in the city, how- 
ever, held themselves very well, were tall, and looked dignified. 

Most of the houses of the Negroes were near the residence. I did 
not ask to go into them, as I did not desire to appear intrusive, and I 
was told that as Mr. P. did not reside on the spot, they might not be 
a fair specimen. The cottages were of wood, better looking than many 
of the Irish shanties which I have seen. I observed that there was no 
glass, only shutters, for their windows ; but I subsequently noticed the 
same in the cottages of some white persons. Mr. P. seemed to take 
an interest in his slaves ; he brought over an oven for one of them in 
his carriage. He was, however, a determined Southerner, believing 
slave labour essential for the culture of rice and cotton ; and only look- 
ing on the evils of the system as either not inherent in it, or else such 
as are necessarily attached to every system. He thought that the 
Negroes needed direction and control ; and that to give them freedom 
would be to reduce them to squalidity, sloth, and the most abject po- 
verty. In reference to their religious instruction, he told me that they 
generally go to worship at Charleston, though sometimes persons come 
out and preach to them. They are married, and live in families. When 
young, they are usually unchaste, but settle down into general faith- 

♦ If they are the bestf you may say, woe for the worst ! This statement I 
have heard confirmed by others. Till I visited the South, I was scarcely aware 
that there were coloured slaveholders there. The Southerners, though passionate, 
have often more kindliness than Northern masters, who, indeed, one must sup- 
pose to have done great violence to their nature to be slaveholders at all. The 
relaxing climate seems favourable to indolence and fataUsra. These are spe- 
cially the weaknesses of the slaves, and help to keep them in their degraded 
position ; they also afiect the masters, and contribute to deaden them to the 
horrors of their system. 



43 

fulness. He has slaves whose ancestors have been slaves to his ances- 
tors for three or four generations. They feel mutually attached. His 
old nurse seems as much interested in him as in a child of her own. 
I see no reason for disputing such statements. We know that there 
are disinterested friendships between those who by the sweat of their 
brow can scarcely keep their families from starvation, and those who 
by the profits of their labour are affluent and at ease. Justice is indeed 
a great safeguard for a wise and lasting friendship ; but affection springs 
up in the human heart whether there be justice and equality or not. 
We have not to go to America to find out anomalies. The lordly arro- 
gance of one white to another, the extortion of half-paid service, the 
crying poverty and even starvation to be found in our islands, shock a 
Southerner. Those who have felt satisfied with themselves, as if they 
had done their duty when they have cared for the physical condition of 
their dependants, have told me that they have felt a pang which they 
could scarcely endure when in Europe they have heard the cries of our 
beggars. You rarely see a beggar there. 

After a ten-days' visit to Charleston, I left it, not without emotion. 
It seemed to me the seat of many sins and many virtues. No city in 
the Union was more associated in my mind with heartless tyranny ; yet 
nowhere did I live in a domestic atmosphere of greater kindness. These 
contrasts induce a feverish state of feeling. I have mentioned the 
friends with whom I stayed more than I should have felt justified in 
doing, had they not been to a certain degree public characters. The 
position which Dr. Q. holds brings upon him the charge of time-serving. 
His principles on the matter of slavery certainly are not the same as 
yours and mine ; but this does not prove them to be dishonest. He 
has maintained his Unitarian views in a region where they are extremely 
unpopular, which shews that he is not one who merely floats with the 
stream ; and if he is of a mild and conciliatory disposition, I have not 
yet learnt that such men are altogether unchristian or useless. A world 
all sores and no balm would soon fester away. 

My next visit was to Savannah, Georgia, where I called on an Epis- 
copalian clergyman, with whom I had had some warm but friendly dis- 
cussions on the subject of slavery in the steamer by which I went to 
America. We were well pleased to meet again, and he kindly took 
me a beautiful ride over the bluff, to a plantation about four miles off. 
About 300 Negroes are employed on this estate. We rode through 
their village, which was about a furlong from the residence. I did 
not enter the houses. Externally they were sufficiently commodious, 
though they had a bare look. The gardens, if any, were, I took for 
granted, elsewhere ; as vegetables would not thrive under the thick wood 
beneath which these cottages were built. The whole had a very foreign 
aspect. The Negroes are accused of great want of cleanliness ; they 
will not keep their houses neat. Cleanliness cannot flourish where 
self-respect is trampled down. 

I only remained at Savannah two days, which I spent at the hotel. 
I called on some Unitarians to whom I had introductions. One of 
them, since deceased, was about to build a new church for the congre- 
gation, which was then without one. Their minister was in the North. 
I did not remember that this was the society which rejected a Unitarian 
minister some years ago^ on the ground that he was suspected tp be 



44 

inimical to Southern institutions, though entirely unconnected with the 
Abolition movement ! Most of the gentlemen who took this humiliat- 
ing course were New-Englanders.* Converts are often most zealous. 
Some gentlemen with whom I conversed complained much of the 
remarks against slavery in the Unitarian papers, and the alienation 
between the various Northern and Southern churches. I remarked 
that if our papers contained erroneous statements, they were doubtless 
open to reply ; and that, whilst personally unfavourable to exclusive- 
ness, I thought that as long as men did separate from one another, it 
was a rather more important subject of difference whether man could 
be made property, than whether a child should be sprinkled ! 

I spent Sunday, April 14, at an hotel at Macon, Ga., a place which 
I remember with additional interest when I think of it as the slave 
residence of W. and E. Craft. A gentleman, to whom I had been 
introduced, shewed me a little of the neighbourhood. There is an 
important female seminary here ; and the appearance of the suburbs, 
• f and the hilly situation, reminded me more of New England than the 
^ places I had recently visited. In the morning I attended the Episcopal 
church, in the afternoon the Methodist, and thence proceeded to the 
coloured church, a modest wooden building, in a grove, not far from 
the beautiful Rose-Hill Cemetery. There was not room for me to 
enter, for it was a special occasion. An old man had died, and was 
buried some six months before ; but they had found no fitting occasion 
to do honour to his memory. The hour and the man had now both 
come. I listened, and looked in at the door and then at an open win- 
dow. The audience was mostly composed of women, of every shade 
of complexion, down to the white child, whom its nurse had taken with 
her. The preacher expressed himself very well, and was certainly more 
of an orator than his white brother whom I had just heard. The people 
shewed their emotion by amens, sighs and groans. When I looked at 
them and marked their orderly deportment and comfortable appearance, 
and when I heard the preacher discoursing of the rest that remaineth 
for the people of God, I could not but feel how far elevated they were 
above their savage brethren in Africa ; although I lamented that the 
cry was, Thus far shalt thou go, but no farther. Christianity appeared 
yet more sacred and the Sabbath more lovely: as I gazed on these 
slaves, they revived my hopes of their deliverance. I saw several cheer- 
ful groups of Negroes this day, — generally they were well dressed — 
many genteelly so ; some wore light satin bonnets and white mantillas 
with lace. I am not prepared to state why a black woman should not 
dress in white with as great propriety as a white woman in black. No 
doubt many mistresses take as much pride in seeing their servants well 
dressed, as the masters of footmen in livery do in England. Gaiety 
often hides a heavy heart ; yet the Negroes are a more cheerful race 
than their oppressors : and though persons who are alive to the degra- 
dation of their condition may truly say, that they never knew a happy 
hour till they had escaped, I apprehend that, were their thoughtful 
misery more general, so would be the issue to it. Three million Crafts 

♦ Vide an article in the Christian Examiner, for July, 1843, " Position and 
Duties of the North with regard to Slavery," by ReV. A. P. Peabody (reprinted 



46 

could not be kept as slaves. Better thoughtful misery than mere ser- 
vile acquiescence ; the slaveys joy makes the free heart sad. I was a little 
struck here by a lady telling me that she had a slave who was almost 
a white person, and was so in her disposition. It never seemed to 
enter her mind that there was anything to be ashamed of in having a 
white slave ; she only congratulated herself on being so fortunate : and 
from what she said of the kindness often shewn to slaves, probably 
thought that she did more on her part than many mistresses of hired 
servants. 

I was about a week in Georgia, making a visit to the remarkable 
Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, an isolated granite mass, which rises 
abruptly to the height of about 1000 feet above the plain, and commands 
a magnificent view. I also spent a day at Marietta, the scenery near 
which is very beautiful. This north-western part of the State, which 
recently belonged to the Cherokees, is hilly, and I found a great change 
in the climate. Southerners boast that they have a North within them- 
. selves ; and there is more truth in this than some of them are aware ofi 
These colder regions are not favourable to slavery, which is said, espe- 
cially now that immigration makes labour so much cheaper, to be only 
profitable in those rich soils where a very slovenly labour is productive, 
or in those regions where whites cannot toil with impunity. The white 
residents, too, have more of a Northern character, and are less indolent 
and pleasure-seeking than those who inhabit the relaxing districts. 
Georgia is one of the most energetic of the Southern States, and is 
shewing zeal in manufactures and in education, both of which are ini- 
mical to slavery. For slaves generally advance in intelligence as their 
masters advance ; and if they are employed in skilled labour, they learn 
their own resources for providing an independent maintenance, and 
receive a training for freedom. There is an increasing class of persons 
who are too poor to keep slaves, and are jealous of the oligarchy who 
assume undue influence from their possessions. Georgia is one of the 
most violently bigoted Slave States in the Union ; but it will not con- 
tinue so, if its present energy lasts. I travelled through it over more 
than 400 miles of railroad, and there are other lines. The accommo- 
dation on them is in no respect equal to that of New England ; but it 
is very striking to pass in this way through forests which Cherokees so 
lately tenanted, and to enter thriving towns where the stumps of pri- 
meval trees are still seen in the roads. 

From Chattanooga, Tennesee (on the borders of Georgia), I proceeded 
to the famous Mammoth Caves, in Kentucky, by stage. The distance 
was only about 240 miles, but it took me three days and part of three 
nights. The first part of the route, over the Cumberland Mountains, 
was very picturesque ; but two consecutive nights in a jolting coach are 
not agreeable: and as the streams we had to cross were suddenly 
swollen by unusual floods, our lives were once or twice endangered. 
Almost my only fellow-passengers, as far as Nashville, were a bishop* 
and clergyman belonging to the slaveholding section of the Episcopal 

* He was somewliat more primitive than their Lordships in England, — e. g., 
he spoke of ** them big trees. These slaveholding religionists are great tithers 
of mint and anise ; they were discussing the case of a barber who had been ex- 
pelled by his church for shaving on Sunday. Pious slaveholding Methodists 
shave on Saturday night. Dr. Bunting asked them, in England, whetiier they 
also thought it wrong to wash on Sunday. 



46 

Methodists. If a man speaks of slavery in the abstract as sin, the CFar- 
risonians suspect him to be pro-slavery ! This clergyman, however, 
was extremely indignant at any such doctrine. Slavery, he said, was 
not an abstract question, but a fact; as such he wished it judged. 
Where the masters were cruel, let them be condemned ; where they 
provided well for the slaves and treated them kindly, let them be 
acquitted ! 

From Nashville my only companion part of the way was a dirty young 
Negro, twelve years old, whose master preferred the outside for the 
benefit of the driver's company. He seemed by no means crushed by 
his servile condition (the full weight of which was yet to come), but 
enjoyed himself as he might, grinning at the persons whom we met. 
I saw several very respectably-dressed Negroes along the road. The 
boy said that he had been " raised" by this master, who seemed to take 
a kindly interest in him, asking him how he got on, &c., in very friendly 
tones. I had occasionally some interesting conversation with Negro 
drivers, porters, &c., and it was pleasant to feel that one could cheer, 
them by some remuneration for their services. Their situation gave 
them intercourse with strangers, and they were far more intelligent 
than I apprehend the majority of " field hands" would be, or even than 
many of our rustics. I asked one of them how he would like to be sent 
to a rice plantation further south ? He replied, " Lord, have mercy !" 
but those who are habituated to this relaxing heat cannot bear the cold 
of the hills. In the frontier States their condition is improving ; and 
in Kentucky (H. Clay's State) I was informed that education is not 
unlawful, and that masters may set their slaves free to live in the State. 
The Negroes are themselves rising in character. We may see no moral 
obligation that a slave is under to one who has robbed him of a price- 
less treasure — Liberty ! yet this is perhaps one of the cases in which 
honesty is the best policy ; the better-disposed masters repose more 
confidence in them, and treat them more as rational and accountable 
beings. 

The most intelligent slave that I ever met was Stephen, one of the 
guides at the Mammoth Cave, for whom I had been told to inquire by 
a former master of his, who was now landlord of the inn at which I 
stopped at Nashville. His father was a white, and he has, I fancy, a 
slight admixture of Indian blood. His last master owned the Cave, 
and apprenticed him to the guide. He died not long before my visit, 
leaving his slaves to be freed in six years, so that Stephen has only a 
limited term to finish. He first taught himself to read by watching 
persons write their names, so that he could read manuscript before he 
could printing. The first difficulties surmounted, he obtained aid. I 
was very much interested in his conversation. He has an extremely 
retentive memory, and treasures up what different travellers say. He 
evidently wished to gain knowledge as well as to impart it, and was 
very attentive if I made any remark which struck him as new. His old 
master was very proud of him, and had lent him several geological 
works, so that he talked quite familiarly of Lyell, Buckland, &c. He 
had also sent him to visit other caves ; he had been in some forty — 
none, however, above " the line ;" but he hopes, when he is free, to 
come and see the Peak and other caves of ours some day. I told him 
that he, and coloured men like him, were indirectly the best practical 
arguments for emancipation. Many Southerners must feel a little sur« 



47 

prised, perhaps abashed, at finding "a chattel" so much more conver- 
sant with science than themselves. He was interested in hearing that 
F. Douglass had been my guest, and we had a good deal of conversa- 
tion on slavery. When I told him that it was constantly urged that 
the Negroes if set free would sink into careless indolence, he replied 
that it would not be strange if those whose masters discouraged them 
from thinking or providing for themselves might not at first feel at 
home in their new condition, but he believed that the children would 
reap the benefit. He confirmed what I had heard of the improved con- 
dition of many of the slaves. Some years ago the masters declared that 
it was cheaper to work them up and buy new ones ;* but he believed 
that this is not the case now. (I heard it said of the Irish that they 
were killed off by wholesale in public works under the burning sun, but 
new immigrants were ready to fill the voids.) I took three excursions 
with Stephen, — two into the Mammoth Cave, and another into a smaller 
one. I was the only visiter, for it was not the season. The confidence 
which we repose in one another flashed vividly on my mind, when I 
found myself several miles from the entrance alone with him, a complete 
stranger. I was of course completely in his power — yet I felt no fear. 
The solitude was very awful in that immense cavern, especially when 
he left me for a few minutes to arrange some lights, &c. I was con- 
scious of some reverence for a man who raised himself from the degra- 
dation to which human laws and prejudices would consign him, by 
linking himself as it were to nature. How much more enviably free is 
such a bondsman than those who are burdened with nothing — no bonds 
of affection, no weight of knowledge ; whilst, indeed, their minds are 
fettered and their hearts heavy ! We parted with regret. 

On my way to and from the Mammoth Cave, I spent two days at 
Nashville, the principal city of Tennesee. It was here that the dreaded 
Southern Disunion Convention met, which, however, proved a failure. 
In Tennesee and Kentucky the whites are to the slaves as more than 
three to one, and there is less panic and pro-slavery bigotry than in 
S. Carolina. Southern feeling is, however, sufficiently strong. I car- 
ried an introduction here to a gentleman who had visited England. I 
dined with him, and he shewed me many objects of interest in the town ; 
among them, the house of President Polk : that of President General 
Jackson is in the neighbourhood. When I remarked that this choice 
of Southern Presidents proved that the North did not take advantage 
of their superiority in strength, he observed, that the Northerners could 
not but admit the superior gentlemanliness and high bearing which 
fitted the Southerners for such stations ! The Northerners were very 
excellent men, whom they were glad to have to settle among them ; 
still, they were generally more ingenious and painstaking than agree- 
able. He congratulated himself on being free from the low democracy 
of the North, where pauper emigrants came pouring in and swamping 
the constituency. They had not to depend for work on a number of 

• A similar selfish disregard to life is shewn in our own country, wherever 
masters kill their workpeople by inciting them to excessive toil, or by neglect, on 
account of the expense, of those sanatory improvements in workshops, &c., which 
are essential to health, — a course which they would be wise enough to avoid, if 
they had to pay a slave's price for every new workman. As it is, they have 
plenty of volunteers to supply the empty place at slave's wages — enough to pro- 
cure house-room, clothing and food. 



48 

immoral foreigners, but on well-disposed, orderly Negroes; so that 
things went on very pleasantly, and there was not so much crime ! 
Nashville contains a University, an Academy (which I visited) of about 
300 young ladies, — the full course in which extends over ten years, — 
and a magnificent State House, in course of erection, which is to cost 
a million dollars. The situation of the town is fine, and the turnpike 
roads out of it are remarkably numerous and good. I was most inte- 
rested in the State Prison, which is considered a model one. It is self- 
supporting; indeed, the labour of the prisoners in quarrying, shoe- 
making, cabinet-making, &c., has yielded a profit to the State. A 
dreadful affair had happened on the morning of my visit. A man who 
had been foreman in the shoe department had been superseded, and he 
kept brooding upon it till he attempted to murder his successor. For- 
tunately, he did not strike a vital part. He was removed to his cell ; 
and as they were too busy with the wounded man to think of searching 
him, he committed suicide with a knife which he had concealed about 
him. It was very striking to see the every-day aspect of the prison ; 
all was going on as if nothing had happened. Both the convicts were 
men-stealers, A criminal institution engenders strange crimes. There 
is a class of persons who entice away or kidnap slaves for the purposes 
of sale, — it seems to be thought worse to steal a slave than to kidnap 
a free man ! — and they are regarded with as little favour as our horse- 
stealers. A gentleman said, You have no offenders of that kind in 
England. I was glad to reply that we did not recognize such property. 
I saw no wards for women or boys, and asked whether there were simi- 
lar prisons for them. It was made a merit that there were none. They 
had responsible persons — husbands or parents — who ought to look 
after them ; and the Southerners were far too gallant to punish women 
(i. e. white ones) ! If sentenced, they were generally pardoned. One 
woman took advantage of this feeling. She got convicted five times, 
and was as many times pardoned. If she would only have left the 
State, they should not have minded ! 

I attended on the previous Sunday (April 21) the Christian church 
of the school of Campbell. They are more orthodox than the Chris- 
tians of the North, but agree with them in dislike to creeds and reve- 
rence for Scripture : they also are Baptists. The preacher was elo- 
quent, and the service interested me, — the more so from the presence 
of a large number of Negroes in the galleries, which again filled me 
with an intense emotion of the inspiring character of Christianity, with 
its immortal hopes, to a down-trodden people. Even if they did not 
sit among us, as I might have wished, there is something in worshiping 
one God in common, at the same hour, under the same roof. When 
will the day come when the religious sentiment of the South shall 
resolve itself into religious action, instead of evaporating into senti- 
mentality ! 

In one paper more I shall come to the end of what I intend to narrate 
respecting American slavery. It is anything but a pleasant task to 
write these letters, — to omit all description of those beautiful scenes 
which refreshed my spirit, and solely to cull out my reminiscences of a 
subject which never presented itself to me without grief, perplexity 
and disgust. 

Yours respectfully, 

Birkenhead, Oct, 7, 1851. R. L. Cabpenteb, 



No. V. 

to the editor of the ghbistian befofimeb. 

Sib, 

Fbom Nashville, Tennesee, I proceeded by steamer to St. Louis, 
Missouri. I retain vivid recollections of the grandeur and beauty 
which surrounded me; — the great flood on the Cumberland river, 
spreading through the trees and over ruined dwellings as far as the eye 
could reach ; the junction of those magnificent streams, the Ohio and 
Mississippi, which I saw at dawn and sunrise ; and the starlight scene 
which presented itself to me on the following night, as I paced the 
roof, so to speak, in solitude. Physically speaking, however, the voyage 
was not very comfortable ; for the vessel was unusually crowded with a 
large party of emigrants to California, and a host of Methodist clergy, 
including two bishops whom I had met before, who were going to a 
Conference at St. Louis. As all the state-rooms were full, I had to 
consider myself fortunate in securing for about five hours each night a 
mattrass, with my carpet bag for pillow, on a table in the close saloon : 
the floor was strewed with emigrants and clergy. My mint-and-anise 
friends, who would not on any consideration travel in a stage-coach on 
Sunday, found themselves in this steam-boat. However, they had 
service on board, and stopped at Paducah, at the mouth of the river 
Tennesee, to preach to the people there : both sermons were interest- 
ing. At an hotel at Paducah, I saw a slave punished : as we know 
how common an event this is, I was fortunate in not seeing it in any 
other instance. As I passed through the passage, I found the landlady 
striking a coloured waiter. It was dusk ; but from the sound, I do not 
suppose that she inflicted much bodily pain ; but the feeling of personal 
indignity made my blood boil. She evidently was not ashamed of her- 
self: — Her yellow boy was a smart fellow, but had been enticed by the 
yellow boy who kept the bar in the steamer, and had been made 
drunk: the boy was honest, and worth his weight in gold when 
sober ; but she would sell him for 800 dollars, though he would fetch 
1000 dollars at New Orleans, &c. Thus a man is first treated like a 
child or a beast ; then he makes a beast of himself, and then is treated 
so again. The only other occasion during my travels in which I wit- 
nessed blows, was on board an American ship, in my voyage home, 
when they were inflicted on white, and therefore " free and enlight- 
ened," American citizens: the cause here also was drunkenness. I 
saw men handcuffed : one (for another cause) retained in a filthy state 
from day to day : I heard the most horrid oaths and furious vitupera- 
tion : blood was shed upon the deck in a fray, and a formal flogging 
was expected.* Never had I felt before in such an atmosphere of 
tyranny, from which it was impossible to escape ; but then the limit of 
it was brief, and there was, if needful, a subsequent appeal to law : 
whilst slavery has no justice and no hopes. 

It was a good opportunity for learning the feelings of the Southern 
clergy, for these Episcopal Methodists belonged to the slaveholding 
section ; though, as I have since learnt, the division did not take place 

♦ The Americans have now set us a good example in abolishing flogging in 
the navy ; and the law, I believe, extends to merchantmen. 



50 

on the general question, but as to whether it was expedient that bishops 
should be slaveholders. One of the Northern bishops sided with the 
South ; whilst about 4000 slaveholders, 27,000 slaves, and their clergj, 
are said to remain with the Northern branch. I had some interesting 
conversation with the minister who preached at Paducah. He was a 
slaveholder, and said that he could not justify it to his conscience to 
be otherwise : the law prevented him from setting his slaves free,* and 
to sell them to another would be to do away with the means he had 
of improving their condition. He owned that there were great evils 
in the system : one of the greatest was the want of sanctity in the 
marriage tie. The law did noi recognize it»-the church of course did ; 
but he could not make the slaves pledge themselves to be constant till 
death do them part I asked whether he would consider a Christian 
Negro at liberty to marry again, if removed from his wife beyond his 
power to see her again ? He said that this was a painful question, on 
which he did not wish to pass judgment. Worldly, s^fish men might 
sell the husband and wife apart, but it was deemed discreditable and 
wrong : sometimes the husband oi wife would prefer remaining where 
they were, to going with their partner into a new service. As to the 
mixture of the races, he thought there was a divine law against it. I 
said that there was no revealed law, and that if it was a law of nature 
merely we need not interfere, but let nature take care of itself. He 
saw an improvement in the coloured race : th^e was still a great deal 
of immorality among them, part of which must be attributed to their 

Sisition ; still he had met with instances of the most exalted virtue, 
e spoke of their ill-treatment by some of those who were zealous 
against slavery. When he was at New York, many of his Northern 
brethren would not venture to lose caste, as they thought it, by preach- 
ing at the African church ; whibt he willingly did it, to their surprise, 
though greatly fatigued by two other services. 

St. Louis, as its name imports, was a French town, but most of the 
old buildings have been burnt down. Its rapid growth is wonderful. 
I first stopped at the Missouri Hotel, at which W. W. Brown was once 
a slave. The servants there seemed principally white : the Irish are 
superseding the slaves in many places. I afterwards spent a few days 
with a hospitable New-Englander. The Rev, W. Eliot was unfortunately 
from home. By his untiring zeal, aided by the remarkable increase of 
the place, the handful of persons with whom he commenced worship 
here has swelled into one of the largest Unitarian congregations in the 
Union. They have sold their church for 26,000 dollars, and were 
building another to cost about 60,000. Mr. Eliot has resided here 
longer than any other minister, and has exerted a very beneficial influ- 
ence in the city : he was appointed President of the Board of Educa- 
tion. Dickens, in his *' Notes," speaks of him with respect. He has 
been charged with being a slaveholder. As I was informed, his pity 
was greatly moved by a young woman who was to be sold ; he pur- 
chased her, and enabled her to earn her freedom. If he had selfishly 

• Unless, indeed, he forced them into exile. I was glad in cases like this to 
quote the example of Dr. Oilman. The evil is to have slaves at all : from the 
first injustice spring many more. Frequently the possession is an inherited 
curse ; sometimes it is even prompted by an imperfect kindness. 



61 

refrained from having anything to do with her, he might have pre- 
served his anti-slavery reputation untarnished. In Missouri, the white 
population is to the black as 6 to 1, and therefore there is not the fana- 
ticism and terror which prevail in South Carolina, e. g. The subject 
is openly discussed. Mr. Eliot is well known there to be opposed to 
slavery. He frequently adverts to the topic ; and by dwelling on great 
principles, he has the sympathy of most of his congregation against it. 

I preached in the morning of May 5th. In the afternoon there was 
a Lord-Supper service^ which was administered by Mr. Hassell, for- 
merly an English Methodist, Mr. E.'s colleague ; and in the evening 
the pulpit, in common with those of other denominations, was occupied 
by one of the Methodist Conference. (I have preached twice in a Me- 
thodist church in Pennsylvania, though known to be a Unitarian.) On 
the previous week I had looked in at their meeting. One of the body 
was proposing that the laity should be represented : they had thought 
it very hard that the church should be split on the slavery question, 
without their being permitted to utter a word. Still he feared that, if 
they were admitted to the Conference, the same men might be ap- 
pointed whose influence procured them civil promotions, such as senators 
and representatives ; and this would virtually make the Conference a 
union of Church and State, which was undesirable. The disGassion was 
postponed, many of the brethren thinking it a pity to put such thoughts 
into the heads of the laity. The cholera broke out whilst I was there, 
and one of the ministers, who had been my fellow-passenger, died of it. 
As the population had been decimated the year before, some 6000 
having been carried off by it, a gloom was cast over everything. The 
disease, however, subsided. 

I proceeded up the Mississippi as far as Alton, Illinois, in ordef to 
see the confluence of the Missoiu?!, and afterwards went to Cincinnati, 
spending a day on my way at Louisville, Kentucky. Our minister there 
is the Rev. J. H. Heywood, who seems peeuHarly devoted to his holy 
duties, especially to the young and the addicted. He cannot have the 
same loathing of slavery whidi some cherish, or he could not endure a 
life in such close contact with it. It appeared to me, however, that he 
was doing more, than many who declaim against it at a distance, to 
mitigate its horrors and prepare for its subversion. He avails himself 
of the comparative freedom of discussion which prevails in parts of Ken- 
tucky, to publish a little periodical called *^The Louisville Examiner," 
which contains papers favourable to liberty. He gave me the number 
for the month (May, 1850), the leading article of which is entitled, 
'* £jaow one Another and be Just.'* He shews that Northerners cannot 
regard slavery with too great aversion, as it is '' a system, not accident- 
ally, but inh^ently, corrupt and wrong ;" but tdiat they are u&just in 
regarding slaveholders without discrimination as embodiments of the 
i^stem; and are often so mistaken as to the actual condition of many of 
the slaves,* that it causes a revulsion of feeling when they come among 

* Whilst writing this article, I see that a Free-soiler from Kentucky says at 
Boston that " the 200,000 slaves of Kentucky might be, and probably are, better 
clothed and fed than an equal number of the poorest whites of the same State ; 
yet there was not one of those whites that would change places with one of those 
slaves. The existence of slavery was a great moral and civil evil to the whites, 
and was dragging the State down to ruin." 



52 

them. On the other hand, hereditary slaveholders who are kind to 
their Negroes lose sight of those essential evils of the system which 
they would see clearly if they were taken out of it, and unjustly regard 
the Northerners as meddlesome fanatics or political knaves. " Let the 
inhabitants of the different portions of our land," he concludes, " under- 
stand each other well ; let them come up together to the solution of 
the great problem of our country and our age, in the spirit of brother- 
hood, and with a determination to be just one to another, and all to be 
just to the slave, and the problem would speedily be solved. To remove 
the dark mountain of slavery which now obstructs our country's path 
to true greatness and glory, seems a formidable, a disheartening under- 
taking; but to a nation with boundless resources, and strong in its 
allegiance to duty and God, nothing is impossible. To the spirit which 
loyalty to heaven makes brave and strong, the right is always practi- 
cable." This number also contains W. Finckney's denunciation of 
slavery. 

On May 11, I landed at Cincinnati, and found myself once more on 
nominal free soil. 

When I was discussing slavery with a Southern clergyman, on board 
the Sarah Sands from Liverpool, I jocosely said, that before I visited 
the Southern States I might find it convenient to tar and feather 
myself, as I could probably do it more to my own satisfaction than his 
countrymen could do it for me. He assured me, however, that I could 
travel without risk ; and I am bound to say that I never felt any appre- 
hension either of violence or insult. (This was my experience through 
the whole of my travels in America, over about 13,000 miles, though I 
was often thrown into very rough company.) But then I seldom 
mixed in private life among persons who would be guilty of violence ; 
and as I was not travelling as an agent of any society, or even as a 
missionary, but as an observer, I rarely volunteered remarks on the 
subject, though I was glad of those opportunities for expressing my 
sentiments which the remarks of others occasioned. What would be 
cautious reserve with us, was bold outspeaking in the land of despot- 
ism ! As an English traveller, I was probably allowed greater freedom 
of speech than would be tolerated in an American ; because we are 
recognized opponents of slavery, and have shewn our honest aversion 
to it by our sacrifices. It would be a sort of treason to our country to 
defend slavery; whilst unless an American consents to it, he is re- 
garded as a traitor to the Union. My appearance indicated my origin, 
and I found strangers not unwilling to know what I thought of their 
institution. As facts can be mentioned where opinions might be invi- 
dious, I more than once found the advantage of being able to state how 
respectfully Douglass had been received in England, and that he had 
been a guest of my own. Once, for instance, I had some conversation 
with a well-educated Southerner, whom I met on the borders of 
Georgia, at an inn. He dilated on the kindness shewn to slaves, and 
asked my opinion. I told him that he need not inquire it, for I was an 
Englishman. When he pressed me, however, I said that I was dis- 
posed to believe that there were few better-fed peasantries anywhere. 
I was a second Daniel ! But then came my fundamental objection, — 
that they made it a crime to seek what it was a sin for a man not to 
seek — ^liberty and education. He then found that the English could 



53 

not understand their institutions ! He was half amused, half surprised, 
on hearing of the friendly equality on which I had been with coloured 
people in England.* It was now my turn to say that the Americans 
could not understand our institutions, and that he could probably scarce 
conceive the astonishment of England if the South actually left the 
Union on the ground that it, a republic, thought slavery essential. 

As the opponents of the system dwell exclusively on the dark side, 
its supporters are anxious to represent favourable exceptions as general 
rules. I heard a great deal of the care which masters and mistresses 
often take of their slaves. In cases of illness the family physician was 
called in, and ladies watched by the sick bed. As we know that per- 
sons are usually ready to preserve their property, I do not see that this 
need be disputed. I heard Southerners boast that if they fought against 
the North, their slaves would fight for them. As English slaves fight, 
if called on, against their old companions, and even their kindred, this 
may be also granted. I heard that they are frequently treated with, 
kindness — so are dogs and cats ; — that they are regarded as members 
of the family — those must have base souls indeed who are willing to 
regard the members of their family as slaves ! And this state of things 
is precarious : let the slave be successful, often with no little falseness 
and fiattery, in retaining a kindness which is based on no sense of 
justice, and which depends on caprice — an angry creditor comes, or 
that cold but inexorable one. Death ; and the pet of the family may be 
sold, like the spaniel, to some harsh, brutal tyrant. Slaves may acquire 
property: good-natured planters allow them ground for their own 
culture : wise ones have found the stimulus of hope more powerful 
than that of fear (it were well if the wise were not the rare exceptions; 
for the more this truth is learnt, the nearer will be the day of freedom): 
and occasionally those whose labour is hired out, have the opportunity 
of earning something for themselves. A Northern acquaintance, whom 
I met in the South, told me that in a steamer in Georgia he found the 
steersman and his sons both slaves. One grieves that a steersman 
should be a slave, but is glad that a slave should be a steersman; 
for the steersmen on the American boats have superior accommoda- 
tions, and of course such an office is one of great trust. They were 
very intelligent men, and their master hired them out for 60 dollars a 
month, of which he gave them 30 ; or 29^. a week. A Tenneseean 
allowed to me that many blacks were very intelligent : his father had 
a slave of great practical sagacity, who was consulted about everything, 
and, as he had saved a good deal of money, was quite an important 
personage among the poor whites. He did not care to buy his freedom, 
as he thought that he was best off as he was. But in all these cases, 
I am not aware that if the master chose to rob the slave of his money, 
there would be any redress : certainly, if there was, it would be strain- 
ing out the gnat and swallowing the camel. It is no recommendation 
of slavery that some of its victims are better than some who grow up 

♦ One young man asked me how I should like a sister of mine to marry a 
coloured person ? — for his part, he would rather shoot his, than that such a thmg 
should happen ! I replied that there were a great many persons, even in my 
o\im country, for whom I desired equal rights, whom I did not desire as brothers- 
in-law, but I supposed that I should be ready to receive as such any one whom 
a sister should accept as a husband. 



under other wrong systems. Those of us who hate war and fagging, 
may allow that there are men and hoys so had, that they have heen 
improved hy the tyrannical discipline that hratalizes others; hut it 
remains to he proved that they could not he improved in a hetter way. 
The toiling Negro is a more respectable character than the mean heg- 
gar, or the lazerone, or the lazy savage who throws all the toil upon 
his wife ; but this is no proof that the Negro will necessarily relapse 
into sloth, or that compulsion is the only stimulus to industry. Those 
who defend slavery for the slave's sake, assume the responsibility of 
his present artificial condition with all its atrocities. 

Since my return, I have read over the portion of Dr. Channing's 
Memoirs which relates to this subject, and have been struck with per- 
ceiving how fully I can sympathize in his views. Did space allow, I 
might attempt to describe the general effect produced upon me by my 
tour ; but perhaps you will draw your own inferences from what I have 
already said. 

It remains that I say a little of what I observed in the Northern 
States. It cannot be denied that if all the Northerners were firm and 
consistent lovers of freedom, the days of slavery would be numbered. 
The frontier States would find it impossible to preserve their peculiar 
institution, if the coloured race were treated as brethren across the 
border. But now the moral influence of the Northerners is blighted : 
whenever they declaim about freedom, the condition of the Negroes in 
their midst is not unnaturally retorted against them. The liberty of 
some of the States is of a very selfish character: coloured persons 
are not allowed to settle in them ; so that their declamations arise 
rather from republican pride, than from a feeling of justice and human- 
ity. In other States they are treated with very great hardship and 
indignity ; and whilst the coloured race in slavery has been rapidly 
increasing, that in freedom in the North has actually declined. This, 
however, may be an argument against the cruelty of exiling manumit- 
ted slaves to a climate which is unfavourable to them. The coloured 
people in the North are either fugitives or freed men, or their descend- 
ants, or the descendants of those who had been slaves in the States 
which are now free. The fugitives are probably of two characters— 
either persons who have been quickened to flight by an uncontrollable 
yearning for liberty, or those who are rather moved by the practical 
hardships of slavery than by any lofty aspirations, and perhaps dread 
punishment for some offences — if there can be offence where there is no 
law. The first class we respect as heroes ; the last we pity for their 
sufferings. The first come ready to toil ; the last seek rest. The first 
have the souls of freemen, and all who are free will welcome them ; 
the others shew the degrading influence of their past bondage. The 
States which open their portals to all the refuse of Europe, as well as 
to its noble unfortunates, look with morbid horror on the dark stain 
caused by some few thousand men who have had energy enough to 
break their chains. Since I left, the coloured people have been the 
object of greater uneasiness than ever. They, rather than their tyrants, 
are regarded as the source of all the woe, the causers of the offence. 
The injured are hated ; and some petulantly wish that they could be 
driven back to the South — ^better still to Africa — anywhere out of their 
sight ! I believe that we ure somewhat chargeable with an analogous 



55 

perversity. Many men, who were very indignant at the wrongs of the 
Irish peasantry, were no less anxious that those who were broken down 
by these wrongs should not settle down among us. Scores were sent 
back to the scenes of starvation : and lovers of liberty and equal rights 
have been so tired of the *' wrongs of Ireland," that, half in jest, half 
in despairing earnest, they have said that the best way of curing them 
would be to submerse that ** gem of the sea" for some twenty minutes. 
A similar barbarous emotion does the sight of Negroes arouse in many 
American bosoms. I learnt, however, that, as a general rule, they are 
better treated and are improving in their condition. I have before 
mentioned, p. 9, that the day before I landed at Cincinnati, a fugitive 
slave had been carried off. He was a barber, and had been living for 
some time at Cincinnati undisturbed: a band of Kentuckians, however, 
armed with bowie knives, seized him in the public streets at midday, 
defying the crowd who attempted to rescue him ; and, hurraing, hur- 
ried him off by the ferry boat to the Kentuckian shore. I was told 
that ten years ago nothing would have been thought of it. Now it 
created great excitement : the papers boasted that the exchange was 
on the whole in favour of freedom ; for eight slaves had been smuggled 
from Kentucky to Ohio on the same day. I heard some burning words 
from the Presbyterian preacher the next Sunday morning,* who an- 
nounced that he should preach on the subject in the evening.f 

I had some conversation with a black hairdresser, a man of substance, 
whose son went to the Oberlin Institute, for which a collection was 
made in this country about ten years ago. My brother, P. P. Carpenter, 
had charged me with a packet for it, which I left here. It is said to be 
very free from a sectarian spirit. There are about 300 pupils, about 30 
or 40 of whom are coloured, and are received on a footing of equality. 

I was acquainted with very few coloured people in the North, but 
when visiting Rochester, N. Y., on my first journey to Niagara, I made 

* The Unitarian church, was closed for repairs. I arrived on the Saturday, 
and was not expected. Some kind friends to whom I had been introduced 
insisted on my leaving the hotel for their very hospitable house, and on Sunday 
evening I preached at the New Jerusalem church to as many of the Unitarians 
as could be collected at a few hours' notice. The Rev. A. A. Livermore, whose 
Commentaries are well known among us, and whom I had previously visited at 
Keene, N. H., arrived in the course of the following week. The congregation 
were fortunate in securing such a successor to the lamented Rev. J. H. Perkins. 
Dr. Ephraim Peabody and Mr. W. H. Channing had been mimsters here. I 
retain extremely agreeable recollections of my visit to Cincinnati. 

t The following table, from the Official Census Returns of Aug. 1851, will 
be interesting to your readers. 

Table ofFugUwea and Manumitted Slaves from the Southern States during the Tear 
ending June 1, 1850. 

States. FugitiTM. Manumitted. 
Mississippi 49 11 



States. Fugitives. Manumitted. 

Delaware 19 174 

Maryland 249 483 

Virginia 89 211 

N.Carolina 57 2 

S.Carolina 14 2 

Georgia 91 30 

Florida 16 22 

Alabama 32 14 



Louisiana • 79 • 96 

Texas 33 6 

Kentucky 143 164 

Tennesee 69 40 

Missouri 59 54 

Arkansas 11 6 

Dist. Columbia • • . . 7 



Total 1017 1314 



56 

a point of calling on F. Douglass. (It was a little indication of the 
way in which they are viewed, that in the City Directory they occupied 
a separate part of the book. They seemed mostly cooks, waiters, 
barbers, &c.) He resides at a neat house in the suburbs, which cost 
him about £400. Unfortunately, he was out of town: however, I 
found Mrs. Douglas and her sister, who are of a darker hue than he is, 
and his young family. They asked me to remain to tea, and we had 
much to converse about. It was a curious combination of the familiar 
and the strange. It was the first time that I had seen a Negro family, 
yet I saw one of my sister's pictures over the mantel-piece, and many 
reminiscences of England. They had not the same acquaintance among 
the whites as at Lynn, Mass., where they before resided ; and the 
coloured people were more illiterate. Mrs. D. did not seem, I thought, 
very intimate with them. She complained much of the diflSculty of 
providing her children with a good education. It was an interesting 
visit. In the following December, in New England, I heard my name 
cordially uttered at full length in a railway car, and Douglass presented 
himself to me. A minister who was with me gave him his seat ; so 
we sat together and had a good deal of conversation. He was rather 
afraid lest his English friends should be set against him by his desire 
to occupy a position independent of the Garrisonians. He regretted 
that I could not employ that unqualified denunciation of slaveholders, 
which is, to say the least, excusable in one who has been a victim ; but 
he knew my views on this point when he was at Bridgwater. I sub- 
scribed for his paper half a year, asking for the copy to be sent to some 
coloured man, which gratified him. The elevation of the free coloured 
race is a most important instrumentality for emancipation, and a man 
of talent and independence of character like Douglass is a telling ar- 
gument against the pretended necessity of slavery. While we were 
chatting together, the conductor, according to American custom, was 
walking through the carriage to look at the tickets, and came to where 
we were sitting. I observed that D. pulled out his ticket much more 
at his leisure than I had done. When the conductor had passed, D. 
asked me if he seemed civil. I said. Quite so. A few years ago, he 
observed, that man hit my hands, and dragged me out of the car. A 
great change has come over public opinion. Many of the coloured 
people at first were diffident, and did not like for D. and others to pro- 
voke ill will by struggling for their rights ; but now they are glad to 
enjoy them. I saw them in first-class railway cars not unfrequently, 
and in the omnibuses. It may have been accidental, but I thought 
that they generally went to the end of the cars, as if they did not feel 
yet quite at home there. I had some conversation with a respectable 
coloured man, on one of the Lake Erie steamers ; and he spoke warmly 
of the improvement, and the kinder usage which he received ; but I did 
not notice him at table with us. I saw coloured people in civic pro- 
cessions, public meetings, &c., at Boston ; and though no doubt there 
is still a great deal of prejudice to overcome, it is, I think, decidedly 
abating."^ The question that was then agitating the public mind in 

♦ No doubt the labours of the abolitionists have been very important in 
raising the coloured race ; but the gentlemanly feeling and sturdy common sense 
of others has not been unavailing. Mr. Edmund Quincy is an earnest abolition- 
ist, but his father is a whig of the old school. When President of the University 



57 

relation to them, was that of separate coloured schools, which at first, 
as I was told, were accepted as a boon by the coloured population, and 
are even now preferred by the less aspiring of their number. It is, 
however, obviously at variance with the spirit of equality, that colour 
should exclude from those public schools which are free to all — even 
to the child of the poorest Irish immigrant. If their right to admission 
were granted, as in many places it is, there might be no objection to 
schools supported by private benevolence for coloured children, as there 
are now for white ones, whom circumstances indispose from attending 
the ordinary schools. One advantage of coloured schools, as of coloured 
congregations, is, that it helps to raise a class of coloured teachers and 
preachers who might else, at present, fail of a situation. At a festive 
gathering of a normal school at W. Newton, Mass., I met a coloured 
lady, who seemed very well received. It is a fortunate circumstance 
that the great advocate of education, Horace Mann, is a distinguished 
advocate for freedom and equal rights. 

None of our ministers, with whom I conversed on the subject, ex- 
pressed that aversion to Negroes which Dr. Tuckerman and others had 
to cure with so much difficulty. I was at a very pleasant gathering of 
ministers at Boston, comprising some of the most influential, and, as 
they might be regarded, some of the most conservative of the body. 
The business of the meeting was concluded, when Josiah Henson was 
introduced, a fugitive slave who has settled in Canada. I was pleased 
at the cordial greeting which he received. He was installed in an 
arm-chair, and for about an hour conversed on subjects connected with 
slavery. Some one asked him what he thought of the position of the 
clergy in this matter. He sagaciously replied, that he greatly disap- 
proved of all " epithetic " observations on them ; but he shortly after 
gave us quite an earnest harangue, in the manner of a sermon, as to 
how persons would feel on their dying beds who had been idle or 
indifferent on this subject. I was interested at seeing this complete 
Negro, a born slave, sitting and giving instruction to some of the 
leading minds of the country. 

When I was at the ministerial conference at Portland, a handsome 
collation was prepared, the ladies presiding at the tables. It was at 
one time intended to invite the orthodox mmisters. Dr. Nichols, the 
respected minister of the First Church, declared that there should be 
no reference to colour, and that the two orthodox coloured preachers 
should be invited with the rest. He told me, that though he was in 

at Cambridge, Mass., Mr. Quincy was riding in an omnibus when a coloured 
lady wanted to get in. (The extreme courtesy shewn in America to white ladies 
is well known.) No one stirred, till the President himself made room for her ; 
and now I understand that in the Cambridge omnibuses no diflference is made 
in regard to colour. I heard another anecdote : — A coloured man was riding in 
a first-class railway car. A Southerner was excessively indignant ; and, though 
he had close by him a coloured servant taking care of his children, he began to 
bluster at the conductor, and to tell him that either he or the nigger must leave 
the car. The poor conductor was frightened and about to succumb, when a 
great burly man, who was getting quite purple in the face from indignation at 
the fiery Southerner, roared out to the conductor, that he should turn the black 
man out at his peril ; for he had as soon travel with a nigger as with a damned 
fool ! The said fool at once collapsed, while the stout man felt himself bound 
in honour henceforth to be a defender of Negro rights. 



58 

no favour with the aholitionists, he felt so strongly on this suhject, 
that he would rather have lost his parish than have refused to consort 
with his coloured brethren. He carried his point in the committee 
(composed of residents at Portland). It was afterwards found that 
some embarrassment might be caused to some orthodox ministers, if 
they went to a Unitarian collation ; and therefore none were asked, I 
believe. 

A brother minister, with whom I was staying at Boston, walked 
with me and with a coloured man through the streets of that city with- 
out making it appear that he was doing anything unusual. When I 
was stopping at Dr. Hill's at Worcester, a Negro called, I fancy for 
some aid. He was a minister among the coloured people, of whom 
there are about 200 there ; but unfortunately they are divided between 
Zion and Bethel, so that neither shepherd has much of a flock ! He 
told me that F. Douglass was one of " his boys," as he first gave him 
licence to preach. I felt that it was much easier to feel on terms of 
equality with such men as Douglass, than with the coarser, common- 
place specimens of the race. This worthy man went out as waiter or 
coachman, I believe, to increase his means of living, for which he is 
of course to be commended. Dr. H. asked him to remain to dinner, 
though there were two young ladies visiting him ; and afterwards he 
rode between us to town in Dr. H.'s open carriage. An ex-governor 
of the State called whilst he was there, and shook hands with him. 
Dr. H. is not one of the Qarrisonians ; but he did not make any parade 
of what he did, as though it was an unusual condescension. I was 
glad to refer to cases like these, when I heard Southern men saying 
that free blacks were more contemptuously treated in the North than 
with them. 

I think that I had unusual opportunities of becoming acquainted 
with the feelings of our brethren ; for two-thirds of my American year 
was spent in private houses. I was the guest of a great many ministers, 
and had social intercourse with many more. I am glad of this oppor- 
tunity of expressing my gratitude for the unmeasured kindness which 
was shewn me. It was not confined to one party : some of my most 
valued friends were Conservatives, others Garrisonians ; while the 
majority, especially among the younger men, seemed to me to accord 
in the views of Ware and Channing. The general tone of feeling 
among them was certainly more anti-slavery than I had expected, 
though there was the diversity of view which always results from in- 
dependent thought. I was told that it is now as unpopular to defend 
slavery in our churches, as it was ten years ago to preach against it. 
The subject was noticed, in connection with other moral movements, 
on public occasions.* Perhaps my visit was at a favourable juncture. 

♦ At the Unitarian Association, meeting in Dr. Gannett's church, May 1850, 
the Rev. H. Bellows alluded to the heavy cloud of domestic slavery. I was 
called upon next, and commenced thus : — " The black cloud to which the last 
speaker has alluded has saddened us, even on the other side of the Atlantic. 
When we contrasted that freedom and prosperity which might naturally excite 
your pride, with that baneful and humiliating institution, we were reminded of 
the providence of God, who permitted the apostle a thorn in the flesh, a mes- 
senger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be exalted above measure. To 
many of my brethren that cloud seemed to shed so much of its darkness even 
here, that they feared to come among you ; but, whilst not insensible of the 



69 

The threatened ignominy of the horrible Fugitive Slave Bill called out 
the love of freedom, which had been too often dormant I confess my 
disappointment at the comparative silence which has since prevailed 
on the subject ; but there are many who warmly protested against the 
making of the law, who suppose that, now that it is made, a different 
course of conduct is incumbent on them. My impression of their pre- 
sent position with regard to it is derived from my correspondents, and 
from my constant reading of the Christian Register.* I never met 
with a single advocate for slavery among Unitarian ministers, though, 
from extracts from the sermons of the Rev. T. Clapp, of New Orleans, 
I fear that such advocates may be found ; nor do I know that any of 
them approve the atrociously unjust provisions of the Fugitive Slave 
Bill, though some, viewing the matter constitutionally, might say that 
Congress could not do other than pass some such law, if called on by 
the South to do so. Dr. Dewey f and a few others, as it is well known, 
say that, as the law of the land, it must be obeyed. Others, feeling 
the complexity of the question, by their apologies for the maintainers 
of the law, and their sUence as to its iniquity, are ranked among its 
supporters. Some of these men, though deficient in the perception of 
wrongs in another clime, are remarkable for their generous defence of 
the injured, and self-sacrificing kindness to sufferers who have come 
within the range of their sympathies. Others, again, have viewed the 
matter, not from the constitutional, but the human point of view, and 
have boldly expressed their indignation, not only before, but after, it 
became law, and their fixed determination to oppose it, in a way which 
warms our hearts. Theodore Parker states his intention to resort to 
violence, if necessary, for the defence of the fugitive. His allusion to 

evil, it has been my privilege to behold the rainbow of promise, and to know 
that there was light which would dissipate the gloom. ♦ ♦ ♦ The great prin- 
ciples which we hold in common, on each side the ocean, are mitigating the evils 
in the worid, and preparing for their gradual extinction." My remarks were 
well received, even by those whom the Garrisonians call pro-slavery ; but my 
friend Dr. Gilman wrote to me that they occasioned him both mortification and 
regret. ** I was imable to circulate the Annual Report among my people ; yet 
your intentions, I have no doubt, were honest and fair." 

* The editors of this paper are the Rev. A. P. Peabody, who took decided 
anti-slavery ground in his paper on the Duties of the North ; the Rev. J. H. 
Morison, who is of the school of Henry Ware ; and the Rev. F. D. Huntingdon, 
with whose views I am less acquainted, though I know him to be interested in 
the various philanthropic movements. These gentlemen are men of the first 
standing in our body. The Rev. Dr. Peabody, who is regarded as conservative, 
and the Rev. J. Parkman, who is an abolitionist, have both recently retired 
from the editorship. 

t Dr. Dewey's shocking expression, — for every filial feeling is outraged by 
it, — that he would rather send his own mother into slavery, and go himself, 
than see the union between the free and slaveholding States dissolved, seems to 
indicate a degraded carelessness or blind ignorance of the evils of slavery, or a 
very exaggerated idea of the importance of the Union ; yet it does not prove 
that he thinks slavery desirable — only the least of two evifs. A noted abolition- 
ist, Parker Pillsbury, is reported to have said, " The American Union ! Union 
of whom } I would not pay such a price for union with the blest in heaven. I 
would rather suffer damnation for ever and ever." But probably it would be 
incorrect to regard him as pro-etemal-danmaiiion. An advocate of non-resistance 
might be driven to say, that, rather than kill men in the blossom of their sin, 
he would see his mother murdered before his eyes, and die himself; but it 
would not be charitable to regard him as somewhat favourable to the murder of 



60 

his ancestral sword and revolutionary pistols reads a little theatrical : 
if arms are used, more modern ones would be more killing : no one, 
however, who has marked his course, will doubt his entire earnestness 
and sincerity. Hitherto the abolitionists have been the great advocates 
for peace ; and although we excuse a man who takes murderous wea- 
pons on a sudden impulse of self-defence, such deliberate professions 
of bloody resistance to the laws of the land give a handle to the op- 
pressor, and produce a reaction in favour of what is represented as the 
cause of order. Lynch lawlessness, as well as Lynch law, may be 
dictated by a great thirst for justice ; but it is a thirst which leads to 
intemperance. The riot in favour of a fugitive at Boston has, I think, 
occasioned a greater timidity in the utterances of our body. An influ- 
ential minister, after deprecating the violence of speech which aggra- 
vates a sectional feeling already so passionate as well nigh to create 
civil war, adds, — " For my part, without deciding whether the Fugitive 
Slave Law of 1851 is or is not worse than the old law of 1793, 1 shall 
have nothing to do with the law. I shall obey it only in its penalties ; 
but I shall not prevent public oi&cers executing it. I will not join 
mobs nor encourage them, nor by harsh words raise them. I mean to 
bear patiently, hopefully, prayerfully — speak and preach when I think 
any good can come of it, otherwise be silent." It is, I believe, the 
resolution of the majority of our ministers to shew their respect for the 
law of God by harbouring the fugitive, and for that of man by submit- 
ting to the penalty. The '^ mission of silence " has exposed many to a 
great deal of obloquy and ridicule. We always admire courage ; and 
even a reckless daring is more attractive, to those who are uninjured 
by it, than prudence. The question arises, whether this prudence is 
selfish or disinterested, and our decision will be guided by our opinion 
of the individual. If it springs from cowardice, we despise it ; if from 
a generous forbearance, preferring contempt to the injury which a 
Quixotic interference brings upon the sufferer, we honour it. Some 
believe that, till there is a reasonable prospect of repealing the law, 
agitation only makes it more active : they hope that it may share the 
fate of the old law, which in New England was rarely put in operation. 
My hopes in this matter are not quite so creeping ; yet, whilst I regret 
this silence, I am not clear as to what example we set them. It is 
better to be a slave than a prisoner — that is, a slave at large than a 
slave in confinement ; because all prisoners are of course slaves, sepa- 
rated from their families, not allowed to marry, far more dull and mi- 
serable and degraded than Negroes. Imprisonment is a punishment 
which the slave himself dreads. In England, many persons are impri- 
soned who are not moral agents — children who steal by order of their 
parents, — adults who break laws of which they may be ignorant, or of 
which they have never learnt the obligation. Far more persons are 

mothers. It is fair to remark, that Dr. D. does not say that he was prepared to 
be a slaveholder t but a slave-— to suffer , not to do wrong. I have not seen his sad 
speech, and many of your readers are probably better acquainted with it than I 
am : it is perhaps consistent with his views formerly expressed, and with his 
mode of viewing other moral questions. His intimate iriends speak of him as a 
man of great independence of character. To us his independence seems less 
manifested against timeserving politicians than against overbearing reformers 
who do not convince him. 



61 

causelessly sent to slavery in England, and branded for life with the 
felon's mark, than there are returned fugitives in America. Soldiers 
have been entrapped into the service by those who were guilty of the 
awful crime of making them drunk; sailors have been impressed, 
actually kidnapped; and these men have not only been reduced to 
slavery — for no one who is acquainted with the rules of the service can 
pretend that it is otherwise — ^but a slavery which in their moments of 
thought they may feel positively abominable and cursed, obliging them 
to shed innocent blood. Yet, have the ministers of peace urged the 
duty of encouraging deserters, and braving the laws in their protection? 
Do we preach the duty of rescuing all persons whom we think unjustly 
sentenced, or sentenced to a punishment unjustly disproportionate to 
the offence ? There are many among us who do not think it either 
right or wise to set laws at defiance, whilst we strive to amend them ; 
and others, not very depraved, are so accustomed to these evils, that 
they scarcely attempt their cure. Channing truly says (Life, Vol. 
III. p. 142), *' We are slow to believe that we are as blinded as those 
whose errors amaze us ; but I begin to fear that the condition of so- 
ciety among ourselves may seem as shocking to a more enlightened 
and virtuous age as slavery does to us." 

Ministers in America are somewhat differently situated from what 
they are with us. Though it sounds absurd for a young republic to be 
toryfied, it is true that those who seem only one remove from anarchy 
are more likely to dread it than those who live under an old-established 
government ; and this will be particularly the case with the cultivated 
classes. Our clergy there more correspond with an established order, 
linked to existing institutions. We Dissenters, on the contrary, are 
hereditary nonconformists, and feel that we may indulge our fault- 
finding propensities with all freedom : there is little danger of our 
moving the world too fast, and the Government Church will take care 
that no abuses perish too soon. At the same time, it is fair to say that 
some of the boldest spirits in America are to be found among our clergy 
there. We hear in England the complaints of the abolitionists, which 
seem confirmed by occasional extracts from the conservative papers, 
eager to make the most of the countenance that is shewn this bad 
law ; but a wider knowledge of the American press would convince us 
that those whom we rebuke for their cowardice have to brunt the storm 
of those who reproach them for their anarchical tendencies, and our 
ministers are charged with ultra-radicalism ! So difScult is it to form 
an estimate of a widely-scattered body of men, living under varied in- 
fluences, guided by different fundamental rules of action, only united 
in adherence to the doctrine of the Divine Unity. 

As to the mode of preaching proper on the slavery question, there is 
great diversity of opinion. Some, at the risk of obloquy, poverty, and, 
what is far more trying, expulsion from a people dearly beloved and 
longed for, have preached boldly, searchingly and pointedly upon it. 
They have made the sacrifice, and have resigned their pulpits ; but 
their successors have found speech on the same subject far easier, 
and the absolute silence which was once required is now generally 
unpopular. We must judge of a man's conduct in this matter by his 
general style of preaching. If he is very plain and direct in his allu- 
sions to other particular sins, and omits this, it may be supposed that 



62 

he is either cowardly or indifferent respecting it ; hut, on the other 
hand, he may make it his general practice to lay down fundamental 
principles, and leave the application to his hearers. Some ministers 
who have adopted this latter course, suppose that they can trace to it 
an improved sentiment on this subject among their people. At all 
events, those who, engaging in great and unpopular movements at 
home, have found their warmth produce coldness, and have alienated 
where they wished to convince, and have felt how solemn a thing it is 
to divide a church and the families in it, will judge charitably of those 
who hesitate how best to attain the object they may have at heart. 
There is this additional difficulty. An English preacher on temperance, 
e. g., urges something practical, and in no way politicaL An anti-slavery 
preacher may be thought political or sentimental. If he eschew poli- 
tics, he speaks of an institution of other States : his hearers are not told 
to alter their own habits, for they do not keep slaves, but to oppose 
those of men living under other governments ; and if feeling is excited 
too frequently, without any direct effect on the condtici, sentiment fer- 
ments into sentimentality. If, on the other hand, he exhort to action, 
it will be commonly understood to denote political action— voting for 
some candidate, petitioning against some law, or supporting a party 
opposed to all candidates and to the Constitution itself. At home, our 
congregations for the most part support one section of the political 
world ; but there they are of all parties. In one State, the three rival 
candidates for Governor — Whig, Democratic and Free-soil — all be- 
longed to the same congregation. It may easily be imagined how 
little sacred would be the feelings which a minister would excite, who 
was supposed to be using the pulpit as an election engine. And even 
when he lays down great truths, those who might receive them with 
patience in ordinary circumstances— -perhaps have actually done so— 
are very sore if they suppose that it has cost them their office. It 
would not be fair to judge of the Unitarian laity by the resignations 
of ministers in consequence of their advocacy of freedom. In many 
cases the violent dissentients were a minority, even a small one, but 
enough to destroy a minister's comfort ; and those who have left one 
post for this cause, have sometimes found another more influential. I 
confess, however, that I do not envy the position of an American mi- 
nister at this juncture. Those who desire to fulfil their duty as the 
moral guides of the community, — the followers of him who came to 
save the lost and break every yoke, — ^have great need of wisdom to 
direct, of love to bear, and courage to act ; but we cannot doubt whose 
blessing follows those who give up all for the truth's sake. 

These remarks may be borne in mind in relation to our religious 
newspapers there. Owing to the abundance of papers, subscribers do 
not depend on their denominational paper for their general intelligence. 
The Register is not like our Inquirer. It scrupulously avoids touching 
on politics. Its supporters are of all parties, and the character of 
the paper would be altogether changed if it entered on party strife. 
There is a wider line than with us between the so-called secular and 
religious papers ; and questions which with us are simple moral ques- 
tions, are discussed with fierce political rancour. Hence the Register 
has been more reserved than we could wish on the Fugitive Slave Bill, 
since it has become law, with a political party as its champion ; but I 



65 

rarely see a number without some article against slavery, or in defence 
of the rights of conscience in relation to it. 

I mentioned in my first paper that I met some of the leaders of the 
Free-soil party in Washington. I saw others of them at Boston, among 
whom I may mention Hon. Charles Sumner, the present senator for 
Massachusetts, and Dr. Palfrey. Dr. Palfrey visited this country when 
he was Theological Professor at Cambridge. He edited my father's 
Harmony in America, and has made important contributions to theo- 
logical literature. Some years ago he relinquished the ministry, and, 
like his predecessor, Mr. Everett, devoted himself to politics, — not, 
however, with equal success. He joined the Free-soil party, and has 
for some time been out of office. He is the Free-soil candidate for 
Governor, but with little chance of election. No one can doubt that 
he has made a sacrifice for freedom ; but this is not his first sacrifice. 
His father was a Boston merchant, who settled in Louisiana, where two 
of Dr. P.'s brothers still reside. Dr. P. set his share of the slaves free. 
I was conversing with him on the laxity of the marriage contract among 
Negroes ; and he mentioned, that finding that one of the women whom 
he liberated had a husband who was a slave in a neighbouring planta- 
tion, he wrote to his master, asking him to name a price, — wishing to 
set him free, to live with his wife. The planter coolly replied that he 
did not want to sell him, and had furnished him with another wife. 
Dr. P. had never had any intercourse with Garrison, except when they 
had met on some town committee, and has shared the attacks which 
the Garrisonians make on his party; but I found at the South that such 
an act as his is more convincing than the most vehement speeches. 
They are always taunting the North with their want of sincerity. " You 
talk," say they, "of remembering those in bonds as bound with them ; 
and certainly you speak against us as if you had actually seen your own 
mothers whipped before your eyes. You call us pirates and robbers : 
yet if you were in the shocking state you describe, would you hesitate 
about giving up your money to be delivered from it ? If your mother 
were taken by a pirate, would you doubt as to the propriety of ransom- 
ing her, lest you should seem to acknowledge his right to capture her ? 
Slavery, you say, is worse than death ; yet if a robber asked for your 
money or your life, would you decline giving the money, lest it should 
indicate his right to it ? We don't believe you. You demand from us 
a sacrifice which our consciences do not require, but plead conscience 
against making any sacrifice yourselves. You sneer and reproach the 
consciences of those who let a slave be taken back to his master rather 
than break a law of the land ; yet expect us to respect your consciences, 
who let a slave be taken back to hell, as you call it, rather than put 
your hands in your pockets." To reasoners of this kind, who are not 
aware of the sacrifices the genuine abolitionists are making, such a 
plain, unmistakeable, palpable sacrifice as Dr. P. has made, speaks 
volumes. I heard Dr. P. make perhaps one of the most finished and 
touching speeches which I have ever listened to, at the Unitarian 
gathering, which greatly moved even his political opponents. I was 
scarcely prepared for the acrimony with which the Free-soilers are 
viewed ; but the Whigs of Massachusetts attribute to them some sore 
defeats. The consistent men of their party are among the most pow- 
erful and influential advocates of freedom : as a party, however, they 



64 

wUl be liable to those temptations to sacrifice principle to expediency 
to which other parties have at times succumbed. From this insinu- 
ation I must certainly except the Qarrisonians, who in a remarkable 
degree sacrifice expediency to principle. 

It will be expected that I should say something of the abolitionists ; 
yet it is painful to speak where one is sure to be misunderstood. A 
Yankee is properly a New-Englander ; whilst in remote parts of the 
Union all Northerners are so called, and we give the name to inha- 
bitants of the United States generally : so some Southerners call all 
Northerners abolitionists, whilst those in the North so name the advo- 
cates of abolition; whilst in New England the term especially denotes 
the Qarrisonians. Many are therefore embraced under this wide name, 
who are men of a very different spirit from the noble and disinterested 
labourers whom we honour. Some adopt the cry, in districts where it 
is popular, for political and selfish purposes. Some are actuated by 
pride, — vehement against the slaveholders for their pretensions and 
arrogance, — arrogant themselves towards the coloured race whose cause 
they espouse, like some haughty democrats at home. Some, with all 
their horror at the burden of slavery, will not move it with their fingers, 
only if possible with their tongues ; men who m£ike no pretension to 
anti-slavery zeal will often give and do far more to redeem a captive, 
than those whose mouths open more easily than their purses. Some 
profess abolitionism just as men migrate to the back woods — to feel 
themselves free from all restraint. If they give up the pleasure of co- 
operating with an important party, they love, in these moral " clear- 
ings," to have unbounded licence to say bitter things against all exist- 
ing institutions of church, state and society. (See Prospective Review 
for last November, "The American Fugitive Slave Act.") Whilst 
others, again, are men who, loving peace and good- will, and valuing a 
position in society, and income, and reputation, and the kindly appre- 
ciation of friends, have sacrificed everything for the oppressed's sake, 
knowing that what they do for the least of Christ's brethren, they do 
for him. So vast is the diversity among them, that you must judge 
each by himself, or refrain from judging at all. 

Though I attended more anti-slavery meetings than temperance ones, 
they were but few-— though I think that the half-dozen or so at which I 
was present afforded me a tolerable specimen. The meeting at which 
I spoke was at the celebration of West-Indian independence. There 
I felt in place as an Englishman ; but at public meetings to assail the 
Union and reproach public men, I should have thought it as improper 
for me to take a part, as for an American minister to be conspicuous at 
a revolutionary meeting in England. Much that I heard at their Conven- 
tion was certainly offensive. I did not like the glee of the audience when 
public men were "killed," or, as we might say, " cut up." If there is 
joy in heaven over the sinner that repenteth, pleasure in the inspection 
of other men's sins is felt elsewhere. It seemed to me that some 
speakers were, unintentionally, feeding malignant passions. As I knew 
pretty well what they meant, I did not allow myself to be much dis- 
turbed at some of their startling expressions. My friend W. Mount- 
ford, however, who came fresh to it, was filled with intense disgust 
when he heard H. C. Wright intimating his intention to trample on 
the Bible if there was anything pro-slavery in it, and to defy the Old- 



65 

Testament Qod. M. was nearly rising to remonstrate, but he was 
prudently silent. He has since learnt what a man must expect who 
has the honesty to utter what he thinks.* 

What I heard led me to feel that the breach between the church and 
the Garrisonians was so wide, that it was hopeless to attempt any cor- 
dial union between them. The church must be anti-slavery after its 
manner, and the Oarrisonians religious after their manner; and the 
wise men of each party will learn of the other. Unhappily, those who 
have set up for sanctity have been so cool about humanity, that the 
advocates for humanity are very suspicious of sanctity. Pious people 
say things which outrage the humane, and humane men outrage the 
pious. If humane men cannot bear to have their brother treated as a 
chattel, devout men are not partial to hearing their Heavenly Father 
(for so Christ calls the God of the patriarchs) treated as worse than a 
chattel— defied and scorned as a monstrosity. The church has much 
to answer for. In old times it set itself against science, and the philo- 
sophers derided it ; and now it has provoked the burning scorn of phi- 
lanthropists. Where it does its duty, it may have philosophy and 
philanthropy as its faithful friends and servants. 

* He addressed a letter tp our Inquirer against the proposed excommunication 
of American ministers, on the ground that we could as little understand their 
position in regard to the Abohtion movement, as they could ours in regard to 
the Chartist and other movements. More than a column is devoted to him in 
the Liberator, of which the first paragraph may be taken as a specimen : — " Mr. 
Mountford is an English Unitarian clergyman settled at Gloucester, in this 
State. Whether he belongs to that class 

* Who leave their country for their country's good,* 
or not, his short residence here has already made it very clear that he is no 
acquisition to the land of his adoption. The almost entire recreancy of the 
American pulpit to the cause of the heart-broken slave population at the South, 
renders it quite insupportable that it should be upheld and extended by foreign 
importation. The most despicable as well as the most dangerous of all trim- 
mers and time-servers is he who, claiming to be a minister of Jesus Christ (the 
most fearless and radical reformer who has ever appeared), is disposed to con- 
nive at popular wrong, and to cry, Peace ! peace ! when there is no peace. He 
is both a coward and a traitor of the basest type." I have given this extract, 
because your readers, who know Mr. M., will be able to judge what value is to 
be attached to similar censures of those whom they do not know. Mr. M. is not 
singular in his comparisons. Joseph Barker was supposed fully to sympathize 
vnSi Garrison ; and as he edited a collection of the horrors of American Slavery, 
he may be regarded as acquainted with them. Yet in a letter from America to 
B. Barker, which I suppose is his {The People, No. 75, Vol. II.), he writes as 
follows : — ** 1 consider that the aristocrats of Great Britain and Ireland are as 
really slaveholders as the slaveholders in the Southern States of America, and 
that the working clsisses are as really slaves as the poor chained Negroes of the 
Southern States." ** True, there is slavery here (in America), and sla- 
very is a terrible evil. It is nevertheless a fact, that the slavery of the Southern 
States neither starves men to death so often, nor separates husbands and wives, 
parents and children, brothers and sisters, so frequently, nor causes so much 
disease, nor so many violent deaths, as the horrible system of oppression prevail- 
ing in Great Britain and Ireland. True, slavery is the lowest state of man. It 
is a state in which humanity cannot long remain. It is nevertheless true, I 
believe, that the generality of the working people of Ireland are neither so well 
clad, so well fed, nor so well used in general, as the Negro slaves of the South. 
That is my opinion. And there appears to be a better prospect of speedily abo- 
lishing slavery, than there does of annihilating the aristocratic tyranny of Great 
Britain and Ireland, and popularizing their general and locid governments." 



66 

I have, as you know, some experience in the moral movements in 
England, and the churches have been regarded as indifferent or even 
obstructive to them ; but I have never heard at home such abuse of 
religious bodies and institutions as in America ; if I did, I could not 
act with them without such protests as would make my co-operation 
unacceptable. But the bond of our teetotal societies, e. g., is action^ 
not opinion. Any man who pledges himself to abstain from intoxicating 
drinks is a teetotaler, and the utmost strictness as to practice is combined 
with boundless freedom of opinion as to the way in which the intemperate 
are to be regarded. But a man by abstaining firom slaveholding is not 
thereby an abolitionist : the bond of the society is opinion, not as to our 
own conduct so much as to that of others. The practice of the Gar- 
risonian need not be different from that of other men ; he may, or may 
not, partake of slave produce ; other men may be as ready as he to 
redeem a fugitive or to suffer for him, and to treat the coloured race as 
brethren. He, and those whom he reviles, may and often do act in the 
same way towards the Negro. The main point at issue is, How is the 
master to be influenced ? Is the union with him to be regarded as a 
covenant with hell and a league with death, or as a bond of peace which 
may ultimately draw him to the cause of freedom ? 

The use of the term pro-slavery by the Garrisonians, strikes me as 
incorrect and likely to mislead. Fro denotes the inclination of the act 
or the actor. If of the aci, everything that has a tendency directly or 
indirectly to prolong slavery and aggravate its evils is pro-slavery ; but 
this is matter of opinion : it is the very charge brought warmly, and I 
have no doubt sincerely, against the Garrisonians themselves. If of 
the doer, we have no right to say that a man favours a sin because he 
does not accord in our way of uprooting it. Some teetotallers believe 
that if there were no moderate drinking there would be no drunkenness; 
but it would be deemed very unjust to call such moderate men pro- 
drunkenness, as if they were inclined to that vice. But, as I have said, 
these Northern pro-slavery men may be as free from slaveholding, even 
of the mildest form, as the Garrisonians themselves, and may protest 
against it. What would be thought if we called a man pro-drunkenness, 
who was a strict abstainer and an able and sincere defender of absti- 
nence, because he does not think it proper to denounce all makers, 
vendors and drinkers, and has spoken strongly on what he supposes the 
errors of teetotallers ? To say that slavery is the most hellish of crimes, 
and then to charge men with favouring it who are not only innocent, 
but express their abhorrence of it, seems to me unchristian and para- 
doxical. But paradox is a favourite weapon with them. Now that the 
evil of slavery is generally acknowledged, the topic does not seem suflS- 
ciently exciting to draw an audience. Their vehemence is often directed 
against those who are labouring to raise the condition of the Negro by 
a different instrumentality from their own. Many think it better, or 
easier, to destroy than improve ; and if any err from the truth, they do 
not restore them in the spirit of meekness. If a politician or clergyman 
has influence and uses it ill, they try to destroy his influence by blast- 
ing his character, as if he were a rock in their way. It did not seem to 
me that they were worse in this respect than some others. They do as 
they have been done by. Party vituperations in America are offensive 
and unjust in the extreme. Only one would wish the lovers of man- 



67 

kind to speak in love, and the friends of freedom to avoid moral despot- 
ism. We raise a high standard for them. Theology is of the old times, 
and has often the acerhity of age ; young philanthropy should have the 
sweetness as well as the vigour of childhood. Odium theohgicum is 
too had for us to desire odium philanthropicum. But moralists have 
similar dangers to religionists. The moral higot is as positive as to 
the truth of his convictions and the wickedness of contrary ones as the 
doctrinal bigot; and fanaticism and intolerance are injurious and dan- 
gerous in each case. On the other hand, we ought to make the same 
allowances for those who seem perhaps over-zealous in behalf of man, 
that we do for those who are zealots for Qod. Each party is attempt- 
ing a great work. 

My personal intercourse with abolitionists was very pleasant. When 
hearing them speak, I was often reminded of what one of their number 
gave me as his reason for not attending their Convention. He stopped 
away partly because he heard nothing new, but also because it was not 
pleasant to hear people whom he liked say things which he did not like. 
Incompleteness misleads. Half a loaf is better than no bread, but half 
a truth is often worse than silence ; and I frequently felt that, whatever 
might be my accordance with their speakers, their want of completeness 
gave an entirely wrong impression.* In conversation this could be 
altered. I freely told t^em my objections, which they kindly met, and 
we talked pleasantly of some of those other things by and for which 
men live. In my book of extracts. Garrison and Dr. Gannett appear 
side by side : we had this link of S3rmpathy — there were friends in En- 
gland who loved us all. I spent no happier or more profitable days 
&fui those which I enjoyed in the religious and affectionate homes of 
each of the Messrs. May and other leading abolitionists ; and I do not 
know any who had my fuller sympathy on this subject than those who 
laboured for the slave as the ministers of Christ, who did not allow the 
Egyptian darkness to overwhelm them, but were cheered in their 
labours by the light of love for the erring and faith in God. 

The Garrisonians have laboured devotedly in a glorious cause, and 
they cannot yet be spared. I am not prepared to deny that since their 
agitation the slaves have been more rigorously dealt with, from real or 
affected fear on the part of the masters, whose pride is more than ever 
enlisted in the maintenance of the system : in other States, however, 
there has been improvement. But in the North there has been a de- 
cided advance, much of which must be attributed to their unceasing 
exertions ,f and if they have done harm, good preponderates as far as 

* Perhaps this is almost unavoidable in a party meeting. The panegyrics on 
the Union uttered by the opposite party seemed to me equally one-sided. 

t All societies attacking existing institutions cause a temporary reaction. The 
ardour of Dissenters stimulates the Church. The Reformation Society inflames 
the Catholics. Unitarians are more opposed to Popery than any ouier body, 
yet they discountenance the Keformation Society, though the courage and zeal 
of many of its speakers are imdoubted, and the CathoUc Church is chargeable 
with countless errors and crimes : we think it well, if we want to convince a 
man, not to taunt him with his absurdities alone, but to do justice to everything 
which modifies them. One of our ministers told me Uiat it only did him harm 
to read the unceasing accusations of the abolitionists: he is coiled pro-slavery ; 
yet so great is his disgust at slavery, that he assured me he had never entered 
a slave State, as he could not endure the sight of it. 



68 

the cause of freedom is concerned. If I resided in America, I should 
probably not connect myself with them, but should prefer striving for 
freedom freely ; but I have every year given or procured contributions 
to their bazaar, because I honour their unflinching, self-sacriflcing inte- 
grity ; and those who discard all the ties of country for the slave's sake 
deserve the sympathy of men of all countries. To labour with them in 
America might be taken as an endorsement of much that would offend 
our consciences ; but by aiding them here we do not enter into their 
feuds with governments and religions, but aid '' an^t-slavery in the ab- 
stract," distinct from the questionable peculiarities of its advocates. 
Philanthropy requires a missionary spirit as well as theology ; and if it 
is right to send out preachers to convert the heathens abroad, though 
we have practical heathenism at home, I do not know why we should 
not help to assail slavery abroad, though we have practical slavery at 
home. 

Before I close this letter (which I have already extended far beyond 
my wish, though much has been omitted which I desired to say), I may 
advert to what we have already done. After a visit from Mr. S. May, 
Jun., a letter of brotherly remonstrance was sent from the Unita- 
rian ministers of this country which was numerously signed, and 
received an answer which indicated that it had done good. After a 
visit of F. Douglass to Bridgwater, I was commissioned by a com- 
mittee, appointed at a public meeting, to draw up a letter on the sub- 
ject to our namesake in Massachusetts, which had considerable dealings 
with the South. It fortunately met the approval of the Garrisonians, 
without exciting any hostile feeling in those whom it addressed : we 
had an answer very numerously signed : it drew increased attention 
to the question in the locality, and their neighbours at Taunton said 
that they would like a letter from their English namesake, couched in 
the same fraternal spirit. When an invitation was sent to our ministers 
to attend the Boston Unitarian anniversaries, a reply was drawn up, 
declining, on the ground, I believe, that a slaveholder was or had been 
an officer of the Association. Some of us could not conscientiously 
sign this letter, as it was not accordant with our principles nor our 
practices in parallel cases. This reply does not seem to have been 
effective of much good ; and as it was signed by laymen, those who 
objected to it, intimated that they did not want a refusal from persons 
whom they had never invited. There has been more recently an attempt 
to pass a resolution, excluding from our pulpits all American ministers 
who are not sound on this question. As such a step was generally re- 
garded as inconsistent with our congregational usages, it was only 
carried, I believe, in one instance. Its adoption would have led to 
some perplexity and many inconsistencies among ourselves, and might 
have exposed our American abolitionist ministers to great annoyance. 
When I was there, they freely exchanged pulpits with their brethren. 
If our exclusiveness had led to exclusiveness there, their influence would 
have been narrowed, and jealousy and unkindness might have been the 
result. Many of our congregations sent remonstrances, some of which 
might have less weight from their apparent ignorance of the origin of 
the Fugitive Slave Bill, — supposing its principle to be an innovation. 
The judge must know both sides, and hear all the evidence : where 
resolutions appear echoes of the Garrisonian party, those who are not 



69 

affected by the voice, are not much moved by the echo ; and the Ame- 
rican Unitarian papers have shewn no greater forwardness to insert our 
resolutions, than our periodicals might be to give publicity to any series 
of American documents which they thought incorrect. I should be 
extremely sorry if our hearts did not burn with indignation at so abo- 
minable a law, and at the whole system which inflicts such awful 
wrong — moral, mental, and often physical — on three millions of our 
fellow-beings : and it is the word from the heart which goes to the 
heart. Whatever we can do we ought to do, to lessen the evil. We 
should keep it in mind as the great wrong, which no false politeness 
should make us blink when Americans boast to us of the glory of their 
institutions. The law has this good effect, that the North can no 
longer pretend that it has nothing to do with the system. Unless they 
think their government a mass of rottenness, which it is death to 
touch, they must desire to shew their country as it ought to be — in 
the van, not the rear, of freedom. In our addresses to individuals or 
churches, we should be guided by our own experience. If we are im- 
proved by censures for faults to which we do not plead guilty, let us 
thus censure others ; if fierce invectives for acknowledged evil help us 
to quit it, let us not spare invectives : they may at all events help to neu- 
tralize those of the South, or the conservatives of the North, in the 
minds of the wavering. If it is kindness which subdues us, let us over- 
come evil with good ; if we are moved by appeals to our better natures, 
and encouraged by hope, let us administer life's best cordial to those 
■who are silent through despondency. Whatever we would that men 
should do to us, let us do to them. 

From England, America inherited slavery. Let it have her aid to 
uproot it : let us strive to instruct the myriads who leave our shores to 
settle there, in their duties to the coloured race : let us assist our Trans- 
atlantic visitors to be free from their prejudices, and to love equal 
rights. Let us help to raise the condition of our enfranchised popula- 
tion in the West Indies, to whom the Americans look to see the results 
of freedom, and who are quite as much our concern as the inhabitants of 
the States. Let us raise our degraded population at home, lest our selfish 
neglect bring distrust upon freedom. Let us root out from ourselves 
all moral and spiritual slavery, and never try to crush what we dislike, 
or to tyrannize over what we despise. When we act consistently with 
our Christian profession in our home walks, we shall have a Christ-like 
strength to break the yoke and set the oppressed free in distant lands : 
the truth that makes us free shall free others ; and those who do the 
will of God on earth as it is done in heaven, may pray with full assu- 
rance of faith, Thy kingdom come. 

Yours respectfully, 

Birkenhead, Nov, 4, 1851, R. L. Cabpenteb. 



C. Oieen, Printer, Hackney. 



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