Welcome to the 1852 book, Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A History of the Great Struggle In Both Hemispheres; With A View of The Slavery Question In The United States, by Rev. William Goodell (1792-1878).
Prior to the 1861-1865 War, there were a number of abolitionists who opposed slavery. Nowadays, their reasons for doing so are generally unknown.
This series of websites under construction plans to educate by making the text of major abolitionist writings (1700-1860) accessible.
Examples of such writers include Samuel Sewall (1700), L. C. J. Mansfield (1772), S. G. Tucker (1795), Bishop Samuel Horsley (1806), Rev. John Rankin (1823), Salmon P. Chase (1837), Gerrit Smith (1839), George Mellen (1841), Alvan Stewart (1845), Lysander Spooner (1845), Benjamin Shaw (1846), Rev. William Patton (1846), Horace Mann (1849), Joel Tiffany (1849), Rev. John G. Fee (1851), Harriet B. Stowe (1853), Abraham Lincoln (1854), Edward C. Rogers (1855), William E. Whiting, LL.D., et al. (1855), Rep. Amos P. Granger (1856), Rev. George B. Cheever (1857), Frederick Douglass (March 1860), and Charles Sumner (June 1860).
Whether or not you agree with their legal and moral position, it is at least a good idea to know what their views were!
Goodell has an overview of the 'slavery is unconstitutional' analyses at pp 475-477.
Goodell discusses, in slavery context, many aspects of U.S. history, as impacted by slavery:
This site in the series reprints an 1852 book by Rev. William Goodell (1792-1878), pastor of a congregation at Honeoye, New York, and Liberty Party candidate for President.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A History of the
Great Struggle In Both Hemispheres;
With A View of The Slavery Question
In The United States
Rev. William Goodell
(New York: William Harned Pub, 1852)
| OBJECT AND PLAN OF THIS BOOK||viii
||I. Magnitude and necessity of the struggle|| 1
||II. Origin of the modern Slave Trade and Slavery|| 4
||III. Slavery and the Slave Trade in the British Colonies
||IV. Early testimonies against Slavery and the Slave Trade|| 27
||V. Action of religious bodies against the Slave Trade and Slavery,
||VI. Of Slavery and its abolition in England||44
||VII. Of efforts for abolishing the African Slave Trade||53
||VIII. Period of the American Revolution,
||IX. Era of forming the Federal Constitution|| 81|
|X. Of direct anti-Slavery efforts, including ecclesiastical action, from the
||XI. Decline of the spirit of Liberty, and growth of Slavery, since the
||XII. Position of the American Churches respecting Slavery, during the first
||XIII. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued)
||XIV. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued).—||163
||XV. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued).—IV. Baptists||183
||XVI. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued).
||XVII. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued).
||XVIII. Position of the American Churches, &c. (continued)—||202
||XIX. Action of the Federal Government, to the close
||XX. Subsequent action of the Federal Government—Colored people||237
||XXI. Further action of the Federal Government—||247
|XXII. Further action of the Federal Government—||263
||XXIII. Further action of the Federal Government—||268
||XXIV. Further action of the Federal Government—||272
||XXV. Conspiracy for the conquest of Mexico, and the
||XXVI. Further action of the Federal Government—The war with ||287
||XXVII. Further action of the Federal Government—
||XVIII. Further action of the Federal Government—General
||XXIX. Colonization Society||341
||XXX. Abolition of Slavery in the British Colonies||353
||XXXI. Distinctive features of American Slavery||377
||XXXII. The present Anti-Slavery Agitation in America—
||XXXIII. Opposition to Abolitionists—Its elements—||400
||XXXIV. Attempts to silence the discussion by authority—||408
|XXXV. Opposition from leading Clergy and Ecclesiastical bodies||425
||XXXVI. Persecutions of Abolitionists||434
||XXXVII. Of the elements and occasions of division among Abolitionists||447
||XXXVIII. Divisions in 1839-40||457
||XXXIX. Organized political action—Liberty party—|
Liberty League—Free Soil Party
||XL. Anti-Slavery Church agitation—New
||XLI. The Anti-Slavery Societies—||509
||XLII. The American Anti-Slavery Society—||517
||XLIII. Second revolution in the position and policy of
||XLIV. Further difficulties in the American Anti-Slavery Society||529
||XLV. Political course of the American Anti-Slavery Society,
||XLVI. Course of Mr. Garrison and the American Anti-Slavery
||XLVII. General estimate of the American Anti-Slavery
|XLVIII. Review of these divisions and their results.||559
||XLIX. Different views of the Constitution and of the legality of Slavery||563
||L. The Slavery question in America—and the Crisis—What shall be done?||583
MAGNITUDE AND NECESSITY OF THE STRUGGLE.
A World's Question—The Problem of the Present Age.
ORIGIN OF THE MODERN SLAVE TRADE AND SLAVERY.
The Portuguese—The Spaniards—Charles V.—Ferdinand V.—The Hollanders, the Danes, the French, the English—Queen Elizabeth, John Hawkins, Louis XIII. of France—Act of George II.—Prohibition of Violence—Barbarity of the Traffic—Statistics—Imports into Jamaica.
"In the year 1442, while the Portuguese, under the encouragement of their celebrated Prince Henry, were exploring the coast of Africa, Anthony Gonzalez, who, two years before, had seized some Moors, near Cape Badajor, was, by that prince, ordered to carry his prisoners back to Africa. He landed them at Rio del Oro, and received from the Moors in exchange, ten blacks and a quantity of gold dust, with which he returned to Lisbon."—Edwards' History of the West Indies, Vol. II., p. 37.
"This new kind of commerce, appearing to be a profitable speculation, others, of the same nation, soon embarked in it."—Godwin's Lectures on Slavery, p. 184. (American Edition.)
|Ed. Note: See analysis of this situation by a historian in Seville, Spain, Consuelo Varela, La Caida de Cristobal Colon (The Fall of Christopher Columbus), cited by Graham Keeley, "Columbus exposed as iron-fisted tyrant who tortured his slaves" (The Independent, 21 July 2006). See also
"This great prince was not, in all probability, aware of the dreadful evils attending this horrible traffic, nor of the crying injustice of permitting it; for in 1542, when he made a code of laws for his Indian subjects, he liberated all the Negroes, and by a word put an end to their slavery. When, however, he resigned his crown and retired into a monastery, and his minister of mercy, Pedro de la Gasca, returned to Spain, the imperious tyrants of these new dominions returned to their former practices, and fastened the yoke on the suffering and unresisting Negroes."—Godwin, p. 185. See also Clarkson's History, pp. 28, 29.
"The first importation of Slaves from Africa by Englishmen was in the reign of Elizabeth, in the year 1562. This great princess seems, on the very commencement of the trade, to have questioned its lawfulness. She seems to have entertained a religious scruple concerning it, and, indeed, to have revolted at the very thought of it. She seems to have been aware of the evils to which its continuance might lead, or that, if it were sanctioned, the most unjustifable means might be made use of, to procure the persons of the natives of Africa. And in what light she would have viewed any acts of this kind, had they taken place, we may conjecture from this fact; that when Captain (afterwards Sir John) Hawkins [1532-1595] returned from his first voyage to Africa and Hispaniola, whither he had carried slaves, she sent for him, and, as we learn from Hill's Naval History, expressed her concern lest any of the Africans should be carried off without their free consent, declaring that 'it would be detestable, and call down Heaven's vengeance upon the undertakers.' Captain Hawkins promised to comply with the injunctions of Elizabeth in this respect. But he did not keep his word [Details], for when he went to Africa again, he seized many of the inhabitants, and carried them off as slaves, which occasioned Hill, in the account he gives of his second voyage, to use these remarkable words:
'Here began the horrid practice of forcing the Africans into slavery, an injustice and barbarity which, so sure as there is vengeance in heaven for the worst of crimes, will sometime be the destruction of all who encourage it.' That the trade should have been suffered to continue under such a princess [Queen Elizabeth], and after such solemn expressions as those which she has been described to have uttered, can only be attributed to the pains taken by those concerned to keep her ignorant of the truth."—Clarkson, p. 30.
|Ed. Note: See analysis of this situation by Lewis Tappan, et al., Proceedings of Convention (New York, 1855), pp 13-14.|
"One wants the plain, sinewy, Saxon tongue, to tell of deeds that should have shamed devils. Great Britain was the mother. Her American Colonies were the daughter. The mother lusted for gold. To get it, she made partnership with robbery and death. Shackles, chains, and weapons for human butchery, were her outfit in trade. She made Africa her hunting ground. She made its people her prey, and the unwilling colonies her market-place. She broke into the Ethiop's home, as a wolf into a sheep-fold at midnight. She set the continent aflame, that she might seize the affrighted inhabitants as they ran shrieking from their blazing hamlets. The aged and the infant she left to the vultures, but the strong men and the strong women she drove, scourged and bleeding, to the shore. Packed and stowed like merchandise between unventilated decks, so close that the tempest without could not ruffle the pestilential air within, the voyage was begun.____________
"Once a day the hatches were opened, to receive food and disgorge the dead. Thousands and thousands of corpses which she plunged into the ocean from the decks of her slave ships, she counted only as the tare of her commerce. The blue monsters of the deep became familiar with her pathway; and, not more remorseless than she, they shared her plunder. At length the accursed vessel reached the foreign shore. And there, the monsters of the land, fiercer and feller than any that roam the watery plains, rewarded the robber by purchasing his spoils. For more than a century did the madness of this traffic rage.† During all those years the clock of eternity never counted out a minute that did not witness the cruel death by treachery or violence of some father or mother of Africa."
"Mr. Edwards says that from 1700 to 1786, the number imported into Jamaica was 610,000. ' I say this,' he observes, 'on sufficient evidence, having in my possession lists of all the entries.' 'The total import into all the British Colonies from 1680 to 1786 may be put down at 2,130,000.' In 1771, which he considers the most flourishing period of the trade, there sailed from England to the coast of Africa, one hundred and ninety-two ships, provided for the importation of 47,146 negroes. 'And now,' he observes, (1793) 'the whole number annually exported from Africa by all the European powers, is 74,000, of which 38,000 are imported by the British."—Godwin, page 187.
SLAVERY AND THE SLAVE TRADE IN THE BRITISH COLONIES
IN NORTH AMERICA, NOW THE UNITED STATES.
Slavers from New England—Slavery in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas—Condition of the Slaves—Testimony of
Wesley and Whiteneld—Inquiry into the legal foundation of Colonial Slavery—
Complaints of the Colonies against the King of Great Britain, for favoring the
traffic—Paradoxes—Absence of English Statutes legalizing Slavery—
Common Law—Lord Mansfield—Colonial Charters—Slavery introduced in
absence of Colonial enactments—Date and circumstances of introduction of
Slavery into Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia—Prohibition of Slavery
in Georgia, (Gen.Ogelthorpe)—Dates of early enactments concerning
Slavery in Virginia, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland—
Loose and vague character of these enactments.
"Whereas, there ia a common course practised among Englishmen, to buy negroes to that end they may have them for service or slaves forever; for the preventing of such practices among us, let it be ordered., That no black mankind or white being shall be forced, by covenant, bond, or otherwise, to serve any man or his assignees longer than ten years, or until they come to be twenty-four years of ago, if they be taken in under fourteen, from the time of their coming within the liberties of this colony; at the end or term of ten years to set them free, as the manner is with the English servants. And that man that will not let them go free or shall sell them away elsewhere, to that end they may be enslaved to othere for a longer time, he or they shall forfeit to the colony forty pounds."
"The general officers were, John Smith, president; Thomas OIney, general assistant, from Providence; Samuel Gorton, from Warwick; John Green, general recorder; Randal Holden, treasurer; Hugh Bewett, general sergeant.
"The commissioners were from Providence—Robert Williams, Gregory Dexter, Richard Waterman, Thomas Harris, William Wickenden, and Hugh Bewett; from Warwick—Samuel Gorton, John "Wickes, John Smith, Randal Holden, John Green, jr., and Ezekiel Holliman."
|Ed. Note: See also
|"As I lately passed through your provinces on my way hither, I was sensibly touched with a fellow-feeling for the miseries of the poor negroes. Whether it be lawful for Christians to buy slaves, and thereby encourage the nations from whom they are bought to be at perpetual war with each other, I shall not take upon me to determine.
"Sure I am it is sinful, when they have bought them, to use them as bad as though they were brutes, nay worse; and whatever particular exceptions there may be (as I would charitably hope there are some), I fear the generality of you, who own negroes, are liable to such a charge; for your slaves, I believe, work as hard, if not harder, than the horses whereon you ride.
"These, after they have done their work, are fed, and taken proper care of; but many negroes, when wearied with labor in your plantations, have been obliged to grind their corn, after their return home. Your dogs are caressed and fondled at your table, but your slaves, who are frequently styled dogs or beasts, have not an equal privilege. They are scarce permitted to pick up the crumbs which fall from their masters table.
"Not to mention what numbers have been given up to the inhuman usage of task-masters, who, by their unrelenting scourges, have plowed their backs, and made long furrows, and, at length, brought them even unto death.
"When passing along, I have viewed your plantations cleared and cultivated, many spacious houses built, and the owners of them faring sumptuously every day, my blood has frequently almost run cold within me, to consider how many of your slaves had neither convenient food to eat, nor proper raiment to put on, notwithstanding most of the comforts you enjoy were solely owing to their indefatigable labors."
"The New England colonies, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, presented to the throne the most humble and suppliant petitions, praying for the abolition of the trade. The colonial legislatures passed laws against it. But their petitions were spurned from the throne. Their laws were vetoed by their Governors."-Hon. Horace Mann. Speech in Congress, June 30, 1848.
"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty, in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep a market where men
should be bought and sold, he has at length prostituted his negative for suppressing any legislative attempt to prohibit and restrain this execrable commerce."
"Of the one hundred and five persons on the list of emigrants destined to remain, there were no men with families,—there were but twelve laborers, and very few mechanics. The rest were composed of gentlemen of fortune, and of persons of no occupation,—mostly of idle and dissolute habits—who had been tempted to join the expedition through curiosity or the hope of gain; a company but poorly calculated to plant an agricultural State in a wilderness."—[Marcius] Willson's Am. Hist. [(NY: Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman & Co, 1846)], p. 162.
New emigrants arrived in 1609, "most of whom were profligate and disorderly persons, who had been sent off to escape a worse destiny at home.''—Ib. p. 166.
"In the month of August, 1620, a Dutch man-of-war entered James River and landed twenty negroes for sale. This was the commencement of negro slavery in the colonies."—Ib. p. 169.
At this time "there were very few women in the colony"—"Ninety women of reputable character" were soon after sent over, and the colonists purchased them fur wives, "the price of a wife rising from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco."—Ib. p. 170.
About the year 1671, Sir John Yeamans was appointed governor of South Carolina. "From Barbadoes he brought a number of African slaves, and South Carolina was, from the first, essentially, a planting State, with slave labor."— Willson's Am. Hist. p. 256.
Unhappily—"Most of those who first came over were unaccustomed to habits of labor." (Ib. 262.) "The Colony did not prosper," and some of the colonists began to "complain that they were prohibited the use of slave-labor.
"The regulations of the trustees began to be evaded, and the laws against slavery were not rigidly enforced. At first, slaves from South Carolina were hired for short periods; then, for a hundred years, or during life, and a sum equal to the value of the negro paid in advance; and finally, slavers for Africa sailed directly from Savannah; and Georgia, like Carolina, became a planting State, with slave-labor."—Willson's Am. Hist. p. 265.
"In 1752, the trustees of Georgia, wearied with complaints against the system of government which they had established, and finding that the Colony languished under their care, resigned their charter to the king," &c.—Ib. p. 266.
"My friends and I settled the Colony of Georgia, and by charter were established trustees, to make laws, &c. We determined not to suffer slavery there. But the slave merchants and their adherents occasioned us not only much trouble, but at last got the then government to favor them. We would not suffer slavery, (which is against the Gospel, as well as the fundamental law of England) to be authorized under our authority; we refused, as trustees, to make a law permitting such a horrid crime. The government, finding the trustees resolved firmly not to concur with what they believed unjust, took away the charter by which no law could be passed without our consent."—Stuart's Memoir of Sharp, p. 25.
"In North Carolina, no general law at all was passed, prior to the revolution, declaring who might be slaves." (See Iredell's Statutes, revised by Martin).—Spooner, p. 40.
"In South Carolina the only statutes, prior to the revolution, that attempted to designate the slaves, was passed [ex post facto/bill-of-attainder style] in 1740—after slavery had a long time" (sixty-nine years) "existed." And even this statute, in reality defined nothing, for the whole purport of it was to declare that all negroes, Indians, mulattoes, and mestizoes, except those who were then free, should be slaves."—Spooner, p. 40.
|Ed. Note: Examples of court precedents overturning laws pursuant to the "void for vagueness doctrine" include: Kolender v Lawson, 461 US 352, 357 (1983); Papachristou v City of Jackson, 405 US 156; 92 S Ct 839; 31 L Ed 2d 110 (1972); Gooding v Wilson, 405 US 518; 92 S Ct 1103; 31 L Ed 2d 408 (1972); and Grayned v City of Rockford, 408 US 104, 108-109; 92 S Ct 2294; 33 L Ed 2d 222 (1972).|
"The same law, in nearly the same words, was passed in Georgia, in 1770," [ex post facto/bill-of-attainder style] more than a quarter of a century after the introduction of slavery, and after the commencement and brisk prosecution of the African slave trade."—Vide Spooner, pp. 40, 41—Willson's History, &c.
"Divers free-born English women, forgetful of their free condition, and to the disgrace of our nation, do intermarry with negro slaves; by which, also, divers suits may arise, touching the issue of such women, and great damage doth befall the master of such negroes," &c.
"Whatsoever free-born woman shall intermarry with any slave, shall serve the master of such slave during the life of her husband, and that all the issue of such free born women, so married, shall be slaves, as their fathers were."—Stroud's Sketch of the Slave Laws, p 10.
Yet ''the doctrine of 'partus sequitur' obtained in the province" (i.e. the children of slaves followed the condition of the father) "till the year 1699 or 1700, when a general revision of the laws took place, and the acts in which this doctrine was recognized were, with many others, repealed. An interval of about fifteen years appears to have elapsed, without any written law on this subject; but in 1715 (chap. 44, sec. 22) the following one was passed: "All negroes and slaves already imported, or hereafter to be imported into this province, and all children now born or hereafter to be born of such negroes and slaves, shall be slaves during their natural lives." Thus, (continues Stroud) was the maxim of the civil law, 'partus sequitur ventrem' introduced, and the condition of the mother, from that day to the present time, has continued to determine the fate of the child."—Stroud's Sketch, pp. 10, 11.
EARLY TESTIMONIES AGAINST SLAVERY AND THE SLAVE TRADE.
|[Ed. Note: Examples of slaver "villainies" include but are not limited to
(8) concubines for clergy,
(11) doctrine-changing to aid slavery,
(15) infinite train of iniquities,
(16) kidnaping white women,
(17) making infidels,
(18) mass abuses,
(19) parent of all sin,
(21) racking and salting,
(23) reign of terror,
(25) Seminole War,
(28) three-fourths of Christians "of the devil,"
(32) war of aggression against Mexico,
(34) worse than the ancients,
(35) worst in history,
(36) worst sin.
For a graphic description of slavery horrors, see, e.g.,
"Bible-Belt" slavery: truly a “peculiar institution”—if too horrible to read about—too horrible to have happened.
It was what would later be called the Nazi untermenschen view, that some people are untermenschen, subhuman, have no rights worth respecting. The untermenschen view was upheld by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case under smoker Roger Taney.
Slavers were so debauched, depraved, as to deem abolitionist opposition to these abuses as "joking."
Torturing continued in the South after the Civil War. See examples such as
This is the "Bible-Belt" in action, the natural consequence of pro-slavery preaching and teaching. Such clergy are of the devil.
For further analysis, see p 131, infra.
And in modern context, see, e.g., Ray McGovern, "'Christians' Wink at Torture" (ConsortiumNews.com, 1 August 2009).
Slave dealers, he [Wesley] denominated "man stealers; the worst of thieves, in comparison of whom high-way robbers [car-jackers]
|Ed. Note: For more by Grotius (e.g., the "original grant" concept), see
ACTION OF RELIGIOUS BODIES AGAINST THE SLAVE TRADE
AND SLAVERY, COMMENCING BEFORE THE
AMERICAN REVOLUTION, AND ITS RESULTS.
George Fox in Barbadoes—William Edmundson, A.D. 1675—Friends in England,
A.D. 1727—l761—1763—l772—Friends in America—Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia,
A.D. 1696—Gov. Penn, 1700—Quarterly Meetings of Chester, Haddonfield, &c.
Yearly Meeting, 1754—1774—1776—Frienda in New England—Rhode Island
Quarterly Meeting, A.D. 1716—1727—1770—Yearly Meeting of New York,
1759—Purchase Quarterly Meeting, 1767. Yearly Meeting, 1771—1781—Yearly
Meeting of Virginia, A.D. 1757—1766—1767—1768—1778—1787—Compensation
provided for Emancipated Slaves—Stirring Agitations among Friends during
this Reformation—William Burling, Ralph Sandiford, Benjamin Lay, John Woolman,
Anthony Benezet—Congregationalists in America—
Dr. Samuel Hopkins—Church at Newport, 1769.
"I desired, also, that they would cause their overseers to deal mildly and gently with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them, as the manner
of some had been; and that, after certain years of servitude, they should make them free."*
"Let me tell you, it will doubtless be very acceptable to the Lord, if so be that masters of families here, would deal so with their servants, and negroes, and blacks, whom they have bought with their money, as to let them go free, after they have served faithfully a considerable number of years, be it thirty, more or less, and when they go, and are made free, let them not go away empty handed."†
"I do not find any individual of this Society (i. e. in England) moving in this cause, for some time after the death of George Fox and William Edmundson. The first circumstance of moment which I discover, is a resolution of the whole society, on the subject, at their yearly meeting, held in London, in the year 1727. The resolution was in the following words":—
"It is the sense of this meeting, that the importing of negroes from their native country and relations, by Friends, is not a commendable or allowed practice, and is therefore censured by this meeting."— Clarkson's History, p. 51.
"We fervently warn all in profession with us, that they carefully avoid being in any way concerned in reaping the unrighteous profits arising from the iniquitous practice of dealing in negro or other slaves, whereby, in the original purchase, one man selleth another, as he doeth the beasts that perish, without any better pretension to property in him, than that of superior force, in direct violation of the Gospel rule, which teacheth all to do as they would be done by, and to do good to all. We, therefore, can do no less than, with the greatest earnestness, impress it upon Friends, everywhere, that they endeavor to keep their hands clear of the unrighteous gain of oppression."
"This meeting, having reason to apprehend that diverse, under our name, are concerned in the unchristian traffic in negroes, doth recommend it earnestly to the care of Friends, everywhere, to discourage, as much as in them lies, a practice so repugnant to our Christian profession, and to deal with all such as shall persevere in a conduct so reproachful to Christianity; and disown them, if they do not desist therefrom."
"We renew our exhortation that Friends, everywhere, be especially careful to keep their hands clear of giving encouragement, in any shape, to the slave-trade, being evidently destructive of the natural rights of mankind, who are all ransomed by one Savior, and visited by one divine light, in order to salvation, a traffic calculated to enrich and aggrandize some, upon the misery of others; in its nature, abhorrent to every just and tender sentiment, and contrary to the whole tenor of the Gospel."
By the minute which was made on this occasion, I apprehend that no one belonging to the Society, could furnish even materials for such voyages."—Clarkson, p. 52.
FRIENDS IN AMERICA.
"The Quakers in America, it must be owned, did most of them, originally, as other settlers there, with respect to the purchase of slaves."— Clarkson, p. 57.
In the year 1696, the yearly meeting of Philadelphia advised its members to " be careful not to encourage the bringing in of any more negroes, and that those who have negroes be careful of them, bring them to meetings, have meetings with them in their families, and restrain them from loose and lewd living, as much as in them lies, and from rambling abroad, on First days, or other times."*—"Brief Statement," &c., p 8.
"By a resolution of that year, all members concerned in importing, selling, purchasing, giving, or transferring negroes or other slaves, or otherwise acting in such a manner as to continue them in slavery beyond the term limited by law or custom (i.e., for white persons), were directed to be excluded from membership, or disowned."—Clarkson's History, p. 60.
"In the year 1776, the same yearly meeting carried the matter still farther. It was then enacted, That the owners of slaves, who refused to execute proper instruments for giving them their freedom, were to be disowned likewise."—Ib.
"As the minute of 1781 is the last on record" (of the Yearly Meeting) "on this subject, which speaks of slaves being still owned by our members, it is probable that before the succeeding Yearly Meeting, they had all been freed."—Brief Statement, p. 35.
"And we entreat all to examine, whether the purchasing of a negro, either born here or imported, doth not contribute to a further importation, and consequently to the upholding all the evils above mentioned, and promoting man stealing—the only theft which, by the Mosaic law, was punished with death: 'He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.'—Ex. 21:16."—Brief Statement, see p. 18.
So that the ecclesiastical testimony of the "Friends"—invidiously commended by some for its mildness, did not reach its object, till it had identified slaveholding with man stealing. This testimony is recorded as being "supposed to have been from the pen of Anthony Benezet."
"Are Friends clear of importing negroes, or buying them when imported; and do they use those well, when they are possessed by inheritance or otherwise, endeavoring to train them up in the principles of religion?"
"And are all set at liberty that are of age, capacity and ability, suitable for freedom?"
"We know not but all the members of this members are clear of that iniquitous practice of holding or dealing with mankind as slaves."—Brief Statement, &c., pp. 44 to 47.
Anti-Slavery Books by Anthony Benezet [1713-1784]:
A Short Account of That Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes (Philadelphia: W. Dunlap, 1762)
A Caution to Great Britain and Her Colonies in a Short Representation of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes in the British Dominions (Philadelphia, 1767)
Observations on the Inslaving, Importing, and Purchasing of Negroes With Some Advice Thereon, Extracted from the Epistle of the Yearly-Meeting of the People called Quakers, Held at London in the Year 1748 (Germantown, Pa.: Christopher Sower, 1760)
A Mite Cast into the Treasury, or, Observations on Slave-keeping (Philadelphia, 1772)
The Potent Enemies of America Laid Open: Being Some Account of the Baneful Effects Attending the Use of Distilled Spirituous Liquors, and the Slavery of the Negroes (Philadelphia: Joseph Crukshank, 1774)
The Case of our Fellow-Creatures, the Oppressed Africans, Respectfully Recommended to the Serious Consideration of the Legislature of Great Britain (London: J. Phillips, 1783)
Short Observations on Slavery: Introductory to Some Extracts from the Writing of the Abbé Raynal on That Important Subject (Philadelphia: Enoch Story, 1785)
Views of American Slavery, Taken a Century Ago (Philadelphia: Association of Friends for the Diffusion of Religious and Useful Knowledge, 1858)
"Let all the evangelical denominations but follow the simple example of the Quakers in this country, and slavery would soon come to an end."— Albert Barnes.
"Resolved, that the slave trade and the slavery of the Africans, as it has existed among us, is a gross violation of the righteousness and benevolence which are so much inculcated in the gospel, and therefore we will not tolerate it in this Church."
OF SLAVERY, AND ITS ABOLITION IN ENGLAND.
Judicial Action—Granville Sharp—Early Introduction of Slavery into England;
its supposed legality (1700)—Opinion of York and Talbot, in favor of its legality
(1729)—Effects of this Opinion—Slave Traffic in England—Case of Jonathan
Strong—Efforts of Sharp—His Investigation of British Law—Declares Slavery to
be illegal—Publishes his argument—Treats Slavery as illegal, though the Courts
and Public Sentiment were against him—Case of Thomas Lewis—
Decision of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, sustaining the legality of Slavery—Sharp enters
his Protest—Blackstone alters his Commentaries to defeat Sharp, and favor the
Slaveholders—Case of James Somerset—The Argument—A Decision found
against Slavery in the times of Queen Elizabeth—Lord Mansfield hesitates—An
interval before the decision—Sharp anticipates the result, and memorializes
Lord North against Slavery in the Colonies—State of Public Sentiment against Slavery—
Final decision of Lord Mansfield (1772), releasing Somerset, and declaring Slavery
Illegal in England—Second Memorial of Sharp to Lord North, admonishing him
of the duty of suppressing Slavery in the Colonies,
agreeably to the decision of Lord Mansfield.
"In this dilemma, they applied, in 1729, to York and Talbot, the Attorney and Solicitor-General, for the time being, and obtained from them, the following strange opinion:—'We are of opinion that a slave, by coming from the West Indies into Great Britain or Ireland, either with or without his master, does not become free, and that his master's right and property in
him is not thereby determined or varied, and that baptism doth not bestow freedom upon him, or make any alteration in his temporal condition, in these kingdoms. We are also of opinion that the master may legally compel him to return again, to the plantations.'"
"This cruel and illegal opinion was delivered in 1729. The planters, merchants, and others, gave it, of course, all the publicity in their power; and the consequences were as might easily have been apprehended. In a little time, slaves absconding, were advertised in the London papers, as runaways, and rewards offered for the apprehension of them; in the same brutal manner as we find them advertised in the land of slavery. They were advertised, also, in the same papers, to be sold at auction, sometimes by themselves, and at others, with horses, chaises, and harness. They were seized also by their masters, or by persons employed by them, in the very streets, and dragged from thence to the ships; and so unprotected, now, were these poor slaves, that persons, no wise concerned with them, began to institute a trade in their persons, making agreements with captains of ships, going to the West Indies, to put them on board at a certain price." This "shows, as all history does, that where there is a market for the persons of human beings, all kind of enormities will be practiced to obtain them."—Clarkson's History, &c., pp. 38—9.
"But the lawyers whom Sharp consulted, declared the laws were against him. Sir James Eyre, Recorder of the city, whom he retained as his counsel, adduced to him York and Talbot's opinion, and informed him that Lord Chief Justice Mansfield agreed with those gentlemen."—Stuart's Memoir of Sharp, p. 8.
"Mischief framed by law, yet against law, thus took deep root in Britain." "At this time slavery had disgraced the British Colonies in America and in the West Indies, for two hundred years. The righteous law of the empire had been evaded or perverted, and opinion and precedent had been substituted for law."—Ibid, pp. 6-7.
Laird was intimidated, let go his grasp, and Sharp conveyed away the ransomed captive in triumph. This led to a suit against Sharp, the trial of which was deferred by the plaintiffs for two years, and then withdrawn, by them under charge of treble costs for the delay."I charge you, in the name of the king, with an assault upon the person of Jonathan Strong, and all these are my witnesses!"
"The result of his research, was a tract, "On the injustice and dangerous tendency of tolerating slavery, or even of admitting the least claim to private property, in the persons of men, in England."—Stuart's Memoir, p. 8.____________
"In this work"* (says Clarkson) "he refuted, in the clearest manner, the opinion of York and Talbot.
He produced against it the opinion of
|"In the beginnings of his researches, Granville Sharp had found and noted the following passage in Blackstone's Commentaries, Book I., page 123, Edition 1st—'And this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our Constitution, and rooted in our very soil, that a slave or a negro, the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and, with regard to all national rights, becomes eo instanti, a freeman.'
"This passage being quoted in one of the trials, was triumphantly repelled by the opposite counsel, who produced the volume from which the quotation was made, and instead of the words as noted by Granville Sharp, read as follows: 'A negro, the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and so far becomes a free man, though the master's right to his service may possibly remain.'
"Upon further investigation, it was found that, in the course of the trials, Dr. Blackstone himself had made this alteration in the subsequent editions."—Stuart's Memoir of Sharp, p. 19.
James Somerset "had been brought to England in November, 1769, by his master, Charles Stewart, from Virginia, and in process of time had left him. Stewart had him suddenly seized, and carried on board the Ann and Mary, Captain Knowles, in order to be taken to Jamaica, and there sold for a slave."
"On February 7, 1772, the cause was tried in the King's Bench, before Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, aided by Justices Ashton, Welles and Ashhurst. The question at issue was—''Is every man in England entitled to the liberty of his person, unless forfeited by the laws of England?' This was affirmed by the advocates of Somerset; and Mr. Sergeant Davy, who
opened his cause, broadly declared, 'that no man at this day is, or can be, a slave in England."—Stuart's Memoir, p. 11.
"In order that time might be given for ascertaining the law fully on this head, the case was argued at three different sittings. First in January, secondly in February, and thirdly in May, 1772. And that no decision otherwise than what the law warranted, might be given, the opinion of the judges were taken on the pleadings."—Clarkson's Hist. p. 43.
"Granville Sharp availed himself, with his usual zeal, of this interval, and, among the other measures by which he sought to obtain an equitable decision, he addressed a Letter to Lord North, dated Feb. 18th, 1772."—Stuart's Memoir, p. 12.
"I might indeed allege that many of the plantation laws (like every other act that contains anything which is malum in se, evil in its own nature,) are already null and void in themselves; because they want every necessary foundation to render them valid, being absolutely contradictory to the laws of reason and equity, as well as the laws of God."—Ib. p. 13.
"Lord Mansfield delayed judgment, and twice threw out the suggestion 'that the master might put an end to the present litigation, by manumitting the slave.' But the base suggestion was, providentially, not attended to. The judgment was demanded; and the judgment was given on Monday, 22d of June, 1772. After much lawyer-like circumlocution, Lord Mansfield decided as follows:
"Immemorial usage preserves the memory of positive law, long after all traces of the occasion, reason, authority, and time of its introduction are lost, and in a case so odious as the condition of slaves, must be taken strictly: (tracing the subject to natural principles, the claim of slavery can never be supported.) The power claimed by this return never was in use here. We cannot say the cause set forth in this return is allowed or approved of by the laws of this kingdom, and therefore the man must be discharged."—Stuart's Memoir, p. 17.
"Mr. Sharp felt it his duty, immediately after this trial, to write" (again) "to Lord North, then principal minister of State, warning him, in the most earnest manner, to abolish, immediately, both the slave trade and the slavery of the human species, 11 ALL THE BRITISH DOMINIONS, as utterly irreconcilable with the principles of the BRITISH CONSTITUTION, and the established religion of the land."—Clarkson's Hist., p. 44.
"It ought to be remembered that, while Granville Sharp thus boldly remonstrated with the government of his country, he filled a government situation, and was dependent for his present subsistence, and his future prospects in life, upon the ministry of the day."—Stuart's Memoir, p. 15.
OF EFFORTS FOR ABOLISHING THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE.
Relaxation of effort—American Revolution—Sharp espouses the cause of the
Colonies—Thomas Clarkson's early life—Granville Sharp—Slave ship "Zong" (1781)
—Trial of this case (1783)—Slave-traders sustained—Sharp's Report of the Trial
—Committee instituted to act against the Slave Trade (1787)—Unfortunate
Compromise—Policy of opposing the Slave Trade, but not Slavery—Solemn Protest
of Granville Sharp—William Wilberforce—Public Agitation—Abstinence
from Slave Products—Wilberforce denounced in the House of Lords—Influence
of John Wesley—of the Quakers—the Baptists—Inquiry in King's Privy Council,
1788; also in House of Commons, introduced by Wm. Pitt—Dates of various
movements in Parliament till 1806—Slave Trade abolished in Parliament in 1807—
Review of this struggle—Slavery declared illegal in 1772, yet the Slave Trade
tolerated till 1807—The turning point—The legality of the Slave Trade—Pitt
proved it illegal—Abolition of the Slave Trade abortive—Premature and misplaced
gratulation and triumph. Mr. Clarkson's late retraction of his grand error (1845).
Testimony to the impossibility of suppressing the traffic while Slavery continued
(1845)—Continued profitableness of the Slave Trade—Increased horrors of the
Middle Passage—Slave Trade actually increased instead of being suppressed.
"This is a case of goods and chattels. It is really so; it is a case of throwing over goods, for, to this purpose, and for the purpose of insurance, they are goods and property; whether right or wrong, we have nothing to do with it."
"The matter left to the jury is—"Was it from necessity? for they (the court) had no doubt (though it shocks one very much) that the case of slaves is the same as if horses had been thrown overboard. It is a very shocking case."
Granville Sharp "was present at this trial, and procured the attendance of a short-hand writer, to take down the facts," "which he communicated to the public afterwards. He communicated them also, with a copy of the trial, to the Lords of the Admiralty, as guardians of justice on the high seas, and to the Duke of Portland, as Minister of State. No notice, however, was taken, by any of these, of the information which had thus been sent to them."—Clarkson, p. 46.
|“It soon appeared to the committee that to aim at the removal of both, would be to aim at too much, and that by doing this, we might lose all.” “The question then was, which of the two would they take as their object.” “By aiming at the slave trade, they were laying the axe at the very root.” Pp. 27, 28.|
|“All history shows, from the time of Joseph, that where there is a market|
|for the persons of human beings, all kinds of enormities|
will be practiced to obtain them.” P. 39.
|“Emancipation is now stated to be the object of the friends of the negroes. This charge I repelled, by addressing myself to Monsieur Beauvet. I explained to him the views of the different societies which had taken up the cause of the Africans, and I desired [asked] him to show my letters to the planters [slavers].”—p. 241.|
|“If the slaves were kindly treated in our colonies, they would increase. The abolition of the slave trade would necessarily secure such a treatment, and would produce many other advantages,” &c.—p. 96.|
|“Thus, at the very outset,” says he, “they took a ground which was forever tenable. Thus they were enabled to answer the objection which was afterwards so constantly and so industriously circulating against them, that they vere going to emancipate the slaves. And I have no doubt that this was a wise decision, contributing greatly to their success, for I am persuaded that if they had adopted the other object, they would not, for years, if ever, have succeeded in their attempt.”—Clarkson's History, p. 98.|
|“He solemnly and vehemently remonstrated with the Committee against the resolution which they had adopted. He declared that, 'as slavery was as much a crime against God as the slave trade, it became the committee to exert themselves equally against the continuance of both, and he did not hesitate to pronounce all present guilty before God, for shutting those who were then slaves out of the pale of their approaching labors.'
“He delivered this protest with a loud voice, a powerful emphasis, and both hands lifted up towards heaven, as was usual with him when much moved. The Committee acknowledged the criminality of both to be the same, but they adhered to their resolution, fearing that if they attacked, at once, both slavery and the slave trade, they would succeed against neither.”—Stuart's Memoir of Sharp, p. 56.
Ed. Note: Goodell shows that Sharp's protest was later verified as having been accurate, pp 65-66, infra.
|“I have attended above seven hundred Committees and Sub-Committees with him,” says Clarkson, “yet, though sometimes but few were present, he always seated himself at the end of the room; choosing rather to serve the glorious cause, in humility, through conscience, than in the character of a distinguished individual.”|
|Ed. Note: For background on this process, see, e.g.,
|“Three hundred thousand persons, at this period, refrained from [boycotted] sugar altogether, perceiving that by using it they were directly supporting the slave system they abhorred. Three hundred and ten petitions were presented from England, one hundred and eighty-seven from Scotland, and twenty from Wales.”—Stuart's Memoir, p. 51-2.|
concept in referring to the "demonized" South.
|“one of the ablest writers and soundest divines who have ever adorned the Baptist denomination, good old Abraham Booth,”|
by his preaching and in his correspondence (1792) with brethren in America, bore a similar testimony. He, too,
|“Ye friends of humanity, heaven will reward and approve your conduct.”|
|“In 1793, Mr. Wilberforce renewed and lost his motion. In 1794, he renewed and carried it in the House of Commons, but the House of Lords rejected it. In 1795-6, the effort was renewed and negatived. In 1797, an address was carried to the king. In 1798-9, Mr. Wilberforce renewed his motion, and was defeated, but Dr. [Samuel] Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, in the House of Lords, nobly and effectually vindicated Scripture from the blasphemous imputation of tolerating slavery.”—Stuart's Memoir, p. 54.|
|Ed. Note: Likewise is true in the present, on
These predecessors showed that issues must be faced directly, rather than by indirect and gradualist means.
|“In 1804, the bill passed the Commons, but its discussion was deferred in the House of Lords.
“In 1805, Wilberforce renewed his motion, but lost it. Mr. Pitt, who had thus far fostered the bill, soon after died.
|“That the House, considering the slave trade to be contrary to the|
principles of justice, humanity and policy, will, with all practica-
|ble expedition, take effectual measures for its abolition.”—“This was carried by a majority of 114 to 15 in the Commons, and 41 to 20 in the Lords. Mr. Fox died before the next session.”
“In 1807, Lord Granville brought into the House of Lords a Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.” After mature discussion, during which counsel was heard against it, four days, the Bill was passed in the House of Lords, 100 to 36, and the House of Commons, 283 to 16. It received, almost immediately the Royal assent. This was March 16th, 1807. The Bill provided that no vessel should clear out from any British port for slaves after the 1st of May 1807, nor land any in the colonies after the 1st of March, 1808.—Stuart's Memoir, v 54. Clarkson's Hist. passim.
|Ed. Note: Would-be violators do whatever they think they can get away with.
We now see this with tobacco, selling to children, to minorities, smuggling, obstructing every aspect of attempted reform.
|Ed. Note: In the modern era, we see similiar arguments for tobacco, the pushers invariably saying 'it's legal,' ignoring both the common law rights on pure air and putting out fires, and the law and precedents on murder.|
|“Any contract,” he said, “for the promotion of this trade must, in his opinion, have been VOID FROM THE BEGINNING, for if it was an outrage upon justice, and only another name for fraud, robbery, and murder, what pledge could devolve on the legislature to incur the obligation of becoming principals in the commission of such enormities, by sanctioning their continuance?
“But he would appeal to the acts [words, text, laws] themselves. That of 33 George II., c. 31, was the one upon which the greatest stress was laid. How would the House be surprised to hear that these very outrages committed in the prosecution [carrying out] of this [slave] trade had been forbidden by that act!
'No master of a ship trading to Africa,' says the act, 'shall, by fraud, force, or violence, or by any indirect practice whatever, take on board or carry away from that coast any Negro, or native of that country, or commit any violence upon the natives, to the prejudice of said trade; and every person so offending shall, for every such offence, furfeit one hundred pounds.'But the whole [slave] trade had been demonstrated to be a system of fraud and violence, and therefore the contract [law] was daily violated under which the Parliament allowed it to continue.”—Clarkson's History, p. 314.
|“in Brazil the number of slaves imported are now beyond what they were before Great Britain first used her efforts to put down the trade.” Between 60,000 and 65,000 were computed to have been landed alive in Brazil, in the year 1847, after a loss of 35,000 by deaths, on the passage. In short, “the horrors of the slave trade appear to increase, just in proportion to the rigor used for its suppression.”|
|“It has been proved, by documents which cannot be controverted, that for every village fired, and every drove of human beings marched, in former times, there are now double. For every cargo then at sea, two cargoes,|
|or twice the number in one cargo, wedged together, in a mass of living corruption, are now borne on the wave of the Atlantic."—Bostons's Slave Trade, p. 159.|
PERIOD OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, AND THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INDEPENDENT GOVERNMENT.
Natural Tendencies of the Revolutionary Struggle—Its principle educed from
previous Anti-Slavery Discussion—Originated in the States least influenced
by Slavery—First Congress (1774)—Action in favor of "the abolition of Domestic
Slavery"—Resolutions against the Slave Trade—Previous action in Provincial and
Local Conventions—In North Carolina and Virginia—"Articles of Association"
against Slave Trade—Concurrent Action in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, and
Connecticut—Anti-Slavery Literature of 1776—Implied illegality of Slavery—
Declaration of Independence—The unanimous act of the Thirteen United States
—"The Union" formed then, and not by the Federal Constitution of 1789—John Q.
Adams—This Declaration equivalent to a Constitution of Government—State
Constitutions—Articles of Confederation (1778) mal^e no compromise with Slavery
—Sentiments published by order of Congress (1779)—.Jefferson's Notes on
Virginia—Peace of 1783—Address of Congress to the States—Sentiments
of prominent Statesmen—Legislation in Virginia.
|“Believe me,” says he, “I shall honor the Quakers for their noble efforts to abolish alavery. It is a debt that we owe to the purity of our religion to show that it is at variance with that law that warrants slavery. I exhort you to persevere in so worthy a resolution.” “I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil.”|
NEW HAMPSHIRE—John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom.
MASSACHUSETTS BAY—Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine.
RHODE ISLAND—Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward. “5. To show the world that we are not influenced by any contracted or interested [non-impartial] motives, but a general philanthropy for ALL MANKIND, of whatver climate, language, or complexion, we hereby declare our disapprobation and abhorrence of the unnatural practice of slavery in America, (however the uncultivated state of our countt), or other specious arguments may plead for it,) a practice founded in injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our liberties, (as well as lives,) debasing part of our fellow-creatures below men, and corrupting the virtue and morals of the rest, and is laying the basis of that liberty we contend for, (and which we pray the Almighty to continue to the latest posterity,) upon a very wrong foundation. We, therefore, Resolve, at all times to use our utmost endeavors for the manumission of our slaves in this colony, upon the most safe and equitable footing for the master and themselves.”—JAN. 12th, 1775.—Ibid., p. 1136. These are but “specimens [samples] of the formal and solemn declarations of public bodies." “The Articles of Association were adopted by Colonial Conventions, County Meetings, and lesser assemblages throughout the country, and became the law of America—the fundamental Constitution, so to speak, of the first American Union.” “The Union thus constituted was, to be sure, imperfect, partial, incomplete, but it was still a Union, a union of the Colonies and of the people for the great [pro-freedom] objects [purpose] set forth in the articles. And let it be remembered, also, that prominent in the list of measures agreed on in these articles, was the discontinuance of the slave trade, with a view to the ultimate extinction of slavery itself.”* "Let us, therefore, hold up everything we do to the eye of posterity. They will most probably measure their liberties and happiness by the most careless of our footsteps. Let no unhallowed hand touch the precious seed of liberty. Let us form the glorious tree in such a manner, and impregnate it with such principles of life, that it shall last forever. * * * I almost wish to live to hear the triumphs of the jubilee in the year 1874; to see the models, pictures, fragments of writings, that shall be displayed to revive the memory of the proceedings of the Congress of 1774. If any adventitious circumstance shall give precedency on that day, it shall be to inherit the blood, or even to possess the name, of a member of that glorious assembly."—Amer. Arch., 4 ser., vol. i, p. 976.
was laid before this Convention, of which the following is an extract:
"THE ABOLITION OF DOMESTIC SLAVERY is the greatest object of desire in these Colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. But previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves, it is necessary to exclude further importations from Africa. Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions, and by imposing duties which might amount to prohibition, have been hitherto defeated by his Majesty's negative, thus preferring the immediate advantage of a few African corsairs to the lasting interests of the American States, and the rights of human nature, deeply wounded by this infamous practice."—Am. Archives, 4th series, Vol I, p. 696.
Resolved, We will neither ourselves import nor purchase any slave or slaves imported by any other person after the first day of November next , either from AFRICA, the WEST INDIES, or ANY OTHER PLACE."—Ib. p 687.
"Resolved, That we will not import any slave or slaves, or purchase any slave or slaves imported or brought into the Province by others, from any part of the woild, after the first day of November next."—Ib., p 735.
pendent States first, and a compromise of the slave question, in order to the effecting of a Union, afterwards. The following extracts from the articles of Association will show the principles and the terms, so far as the slave question is concerned, upon which this first union was effected:
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the extensive District of Darien, in the colony of Georgia, having now assembled in Congress, by authority and free choice of the inhabitants of said District, now freed from their [British] fetters, do resolve:
“Resolved, That every member of this meeting will, and every person in
the province should, strictly and inviolably observe and carry into
execution the Association agreed on by the Continental Congress.”
“The Association entered into by Congress being publicly read, the freeholders and other inhabitants of the county, that they might testify to the world their concurrence and hearty approbation of the measures adopted by that respectable body, very cordially acceded thereto, and did bind and oblige themselves, by the sacred ties of virtue, honor, and love to their country, strictly and inviolably to observe and keep the same in every particular.” “It is with singular pleasure we notice the second article of the Association, in which it is agreed to import no more negro slaves, as we cannot but think it a palpable absurdity so loudly to complain of attempts to enslave us while we are actually enslaving others.”—Am. Archives, 4th series, Vol. I., p. 1038.
"The least deviation from the resolves of Congress will be treason; such treason as few villains have ever had an opportunity of commuting. It will be treason against the present inhabitants of the colonies—against the millions of unborn generations who are to exist hereafter in America—against the only liberty and happiness which remain to mankind—against the last hopes of the wretched in every corner of the world; in a word, it will be treason against God. * * * WE ARE NOW LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN AMERICAN CONSTITUTION.
Ed. Note: This same point of view was expressed by
sons. But the careful and reflecting reader of the history we have given in the preceding chapters, will have been led to inquire when and how the "express sanction," of "civil government" had been given to slavery in any form that could entitle it to the reputation of being legalized. The decision of Lord Mansfield in the Somerset case, four years previous, may have been in the mind of Hopkins, and he is known to have been in correspondence with Granville Sharp, with whose views the reader is acquainted.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." "To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." "We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America," &c. &c.
ative a writer as Hopkins, if slavery were universally and unhesitatingly held to be legal. Legislatures and magistrates are not commonly spoken of as "conniving" (closing their eyes upon) practices which are admitted to be legal! Such language describes their culpable neglect to suppress and punish practices that are unlawful.
On this point, there can be no mistake.* It was not only a Declaration of the States by their delegates, but was separately ratified by all the States, afterwards, and has never been repudiated or repealed since. In connection with the previous Articles of Association, it was the only constitution of the United States, until the adoption of the "Articles of Confederation" in 1778; and with these, thenceforward, until the adoption of the present Federal Constitution, in 1789.
that men are, by nature, free; as accountable to Him that made them, they must be so; and so long as we have any idea of divine justice, we must associate that of human freedom. Whether men can part with their liberty is among the questions which have exercised the ablest writers; but it is conceded, on all hands, that the right to be free CAN NEVER BE ALIENATED; still less is it practicable for one generation to mortgage the privileges of another."
"I think a change is already perceptible since the  origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave is rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, THE WAY, I HOPE, PREPARING, UNDER THE AUSPICES OF HEAVEN, FOR A TOTAL EMANCIPATION."
NEW HAMPSHIRE—John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom.
MASSACHUSETTS BAY—Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine.
RHODE ISLAND—Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward.
“5. To show the world that we are not influenced by any contracted or interested [non-impartial] motives, but a general philanthropy for ALL MANKIND, of whatver climate, language, or complexion, we hereby declare our disapprobation and abhorrence of the unnatural practice of slavery in America, (however the uncultivated state of our countt), or other specious arguments may plead for it,) a practice founded in injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our liberties, (as well as lives,) debasing part of our fellow-creatures below men, and corrupting the virtue and morals of the rest, and is laying the basis of that liberty we contend for, (and which we pray the Almighty to continue to the latest posterity,) upon a very wrong foundation. We, therefore, Resolve, at all times to use our utmost endeavors for the manumission of our slaves in this colony, upon the most safe and equitable footing for the master and themselves.”—JAN. 12th, 1775.—Ibid., p. 1136.
These are but “specimens [samples] of the formal and solemn declarations of public bodies." “The Articles of Association were adopted by Colonial Conventions, County Meetings, and lesser assemblages throughout the country, and became the law of America—the fundamental Constitution, so to speak, of the first American Union.” “The Union thus constituted was, to be sure, imperfect, partial, incomplete, but it was still a Union, a union of the Colonies and of the people for the great [pro-freedom] objects [purpose] set forth in the articles. And let it be remembered, also, that prominent in the list of measures agreed on in these articles, was the discontinuance of the slave trade, with a view to the ultimate extinction of slavery itself.”*
"Let us, therefore, hold up everything we do to the eye of posterity. They will most probably measure their liberties and happiness by the most careless of our footsteps. Let no unhallowed hand touch the precious seed of liberty. Let us form the glorious tree in such a manner, and impregnate it with such principles of life, that it shall last forever. * * * I almost wish to live to hear the triumphs of the jubilee in the year 1874; to see the models, pictures, fragments of writings, that shall be displayed to revive the memory of the proceedings of the Congress of 1774. If any adventitious circumstance shall give precedency on that day, it shall be to inherit the blood, or even to possess the name, of a member of that glorious assembly."—Amer. Arch., 4 ser., vol. i, p. 976.