« PreviousContinue »
those partial and depraved critics, who eulogize and render popular those intellectual murderers, (who deserve the gibbet more than the highway robber, who only kills the body, while they destroy the soul,) when compared to the commendation of the humane and philanthropic of all denominations, whose approving smiles I almost anticipated and have gained, though like angels' visits, few and far between ; at any rate, what are the vociferated praises of millions of “ stupid starers,” to one self-approving thought, begotten by conscious rectitude ?
I make these remarks to justify, not the merits, but the motives of my publications. I have now done with public patronage. This volume, like the twenty others from which it has been compiled, I “ cast upon the waters," and continue in the city of brotherly love in my quiet shades of obscurity.
“ Here let me live, unseen, unknown,
Here let me unlamented die,
Tell where I lie."
" Whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye eden so to them.”
SLAVERY is in itself so inconsistent, that it seems strange it ever should have had a defender, or its cause should have been espoused by any human being, who had only sense enough to distinguish light from darkness, right from wrong, or happiness from misery. It debases the noble creature man, created but a little below the angels, and reduces him to a level almost with the brutes. Slavery, hateful to God and man, and the greatest evil and sum-total of all evils under the sun, and inflicted by Americans, the most favoured people, and, may I not say, the most enlightened and highest in profession of liberty and Christianity, must render us the most inexcusable, and draw down, unless expiated by sincere repentance and undoing heavy burdens, the just indignation of Him who does not even let a sparrow fall without his notice ; and can we suppose that his noble creature man shall be trampled on, and the oppressor suffered to pass with impunity ?
You that are parents, husbands, wives, and children, make their case your own.
Man was made to be happy; it is his duty to be so ; and it is incumbent on him to use his best endeavours to make his fellow creatures so, without distinction of name, nation, or colour; and, doubtless, he who most honestly and faithfully uses the faculties and means he may be blessed with, to augment the general mass of happiness, must be most ac. ceptable in the sight of a just and impartial Creator, and the reverse. I love my country, I always have loved it; but for this
cause, shall I cruelly treat one of another country? God forbid! I am a citizen of the world, and a candidate for heaven, where, I am confident, whoever, by obedient walking, is so happy as to arrive, will never be interrogated in respect to his nation, colour, or profession, for “God is no respecter of persons.
I wish that all distinction of parties might be done away. We are all the offspring of the same Universal Parent. How much better would it be, if, instead of teaching our children to regard every other nation or profession as inferior to our. selves, and out of the way, we should take pains to instruct them that he has other sheep, not of this fold, spread over the whole earth, in every country, and among every people ; and that virtue only is to be respected, and vice despised, wherever found ; whether arrayed in gold or clothed in rags; whether in one that wields a sceptre begs his bread.
With what a smile of contempt must the judicious foreigner view, on the floor of the capitol, an American slaveholder expatiating on the cause of liberty, virtue, and patriotism, especially when he reflects, that the main tenet, or as it were, the corner-stone, (may I not rather say the whole fabric) of the religion he professes is simply the divine command already mentioned—“ Whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”—and when he looks back to the time « that tried men's souls ;” when they could resolve, “We will neither import nor purchase any slave, imported after the first day of December next, (1775,) after which, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade; and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, or sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it;" and, in their solemn, unequivocal, positive and pointed Declaration of Independence,
6. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed ;" when he views this just declaimer in the cause of liberty, &c, when he views our public prints, offering human beings for sale, (and frequently inserted" for no fault”'); when, after a lapse
of thirty years, he sees the thirteen stripes stoop so low, in such a base and ignoble traffic, as to waft from their native homes, from every thing near and dear in this life, thousands of (as to us) inoffensive beings; with what disgust must he turn away from such a hypocritical people, and say, well may their great patriot and statesman, Jefferson, exclaim, “ I tremble for my country, when I reflect that God is just ; that his justice cannot sleep forever;" for, surely, indeed, “ we cannot form to ourselves an idea of an object more ridiculously mean than an American patriot signing declarations of independence with one hand, and with the other brandishing his whip over his affrighted slave.”
TYRANNY consists in will and actions, not in power, for a man may be as complete a tyrant over one, as one hundred millions. Slavery and tyranny are completely in. separable ; for remove the one and the other ceases. There cannot be a slave without a tyrant; for, if the conduct of the master is such as to do away the appellation of tyrant, of course, that of slave must subside. But he that holds another man in bondage against his will, and that not for his good or comfort, does not do as he would be done by, and, of course, must be a tyrant : and it appears a self-evident truth, that no man who holds a slave ought to be entrusted with a post, either great or small, among a free people.
“Ah! why will kings forget that they are men ?
In one soft bond of amity and love ?” After waiting with anxious solicitude to hear the joyful intelligence of the prohibition of this iniquitous commerce in slaves, how great was my grief and disappointment to find that Mr. Wilberforce's philanthropic bill was rejected by the infatuated British cabinet, in so contemptuous and insulting a manner, as greatly to discourage the friends of the abolition from exerting their influence or abilities on the subject again ; consequently, the fetters, the galling fetters of the unhappy Africans are hereby riveted. All future questions respecting their natural rights, as men, must lie dormant, and the land and sea must again open to drink their innocent
blood and receive their lacerated bodies. But neither the ocean nor the earth can conceal their blood (blood which cries to heaven for vengeance upon the British parliament) from the indignant eyes of a just and impartial God.
My readers will be ready to exclaim with one of old, “ There is treachery, oh Ahaziah !” when they are informed that out of 600 members of parliament and upwards, (when the above bill, on the decision of which rested the peace and felicity of thousands now in existence, and millions yet un. born) only 147 appear to have voted on this momentous question, which should have roused every feeling of humanity and national honour; which should have collected to the house every member in whose breast glowed the least particle of Christianity, or even common honesty.
66 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Askelon, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice” in the villany and guilty pretensions of a Christian parliament, who, by profession, are the defenders of the faith, but, in practice, the traitors and tyrants of mankind. [Their baseness was rivalled by both branches of the U. S. Congress in the sessions of 1837 and 1838.]
Alas! not only devoted Africa, but thousands in Europe, and millions in Asia, as well as the poor natives of America, feel the despotism of avaricious politicians; their measures consign, with impunity, thousands of families to death and destruction, while millions of poor unhappy orphans and widows are precipitated into a labyrinth of human wretchedness and misery : their measures kindle the flames of rebellion, and then they cry “ havoc ! and let slip the dogs of war." Unpitying, unrelenting, thoughtless and indifferent to all their ravages and completed horrors; and yet, forsooth, votes of thanks sanction the cool-blooded assassins of millions of innocent Asiatics ; and the deluded multitude, like the Jews of old, by their concurrence, virtually say, “their blood be upon us and our children forever."
It was a personal knowledge of the wretched fate of the exiled sons of Africa, which induced me, with reluctance, to commence author, though born with a love to poetry ; but my diffidence was equal to that love, and no motive could induce me to expose my premature performances to the indiscriminate inspection of critics, but a well-grounded belief