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Speeches by Moses Roper Delivered at Baptist Chapel, Devonshire Square, 26 May 1836 and at Finsbury Chapel, London, England, 30 May 1836

From: Ripley, C. Peter, et al., eds. The Black Abolitionist Papers, Vol. I: The British Isles, 1830-1865, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Used by permission of the publisher. Originally published in Patriot (London), 1 June 1836.

Mr. M. ROPER addressed the meeting, and stated a number of facts which had come under his own knowledge, demonstrative of the horrors and cruelties of American slavery. One case which he mentioned, was that of a slave who occasionally preached to his fellow-bondsmen. His master threatened that if he ever preached on the Sabbath again, he would give him 500 lashes on the Monday morning. He disobeyed the order, however, and preached, unknown to his master. He became alarmed, ran away from Georgia, and crossed the river into South Carolina, where he took refuge in a barn belonging to a Mr. Garrison. Mrs. Garrison saw him in the barn, and informed her husband of it. Mr. Garrison got his rifle and shot at him. The law required that they should call upon a slave to stop three times before they fired at him; Mr. Garrison called, but he did not stop. The ball missed him, and Mr. Garrison then struck him with the gun and knocked him down. The slave wrested it from him. and struck him (Mr. G.) with it. The slave was taken up for it; his master went after him; Mr. Garrison purchased him for 500 dollars, and burned him alive.

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Mr. ROPER then stood forward, and observed with considerable warmth, that Dr. Cox did pay a portion towards his education, but that should not hinder him from advocating the cause of his mother, brethren, and sisters, now in bondage. (Loud cheers.) He was grateful to Dr. Cox for that which he was doing for him; but at the same time his principles were not to be bought. (Cheers.) There was not a Christian Society in America, which did not hold slaves, except the Society of Friends. (Cheers.) In Salem, a town in South Carolina, containing perhaps 20,000 Quakers, there was not a single slave, though they were surrounded by a slave-holding population. (Cheers.) He had run away from his master, and was going to see his mother in North Carolina. He had to pass through the town of Salisbury, where there was a Quaker in gaol who was to be executed on the following Friday, for having given a slave a free pass. (Shame, shame.) Mr. Thompson had given them an account of some bad slaveholders; he (Mr. R.) would tell them of some good ones. A master with whom he once lived, Mr. Beveridge, in travelling from Apalache to Columbia, having to pass through the Indian nations, it was necessary for him to take arms. He was taken exceedingly ill, and could neither stand up nor sit down. He had a trunk with him containing 20,000 dollars, and he (Mr. R.) took the pistols and protected his master and his master's property. When he arrived at Columbia, his master becoming embarrassed in circumstances, sold him on a block; that was his kindness to him (Mr. R.) for saving his master's life and protecting his property. Another good master was Colonel M'Gillon, a Scotchman, who held about 300 slaves, and who used to boast that he never flogged them. His mode of punishing them was to get a rice hogshead, into which several nails were driven about a quarter of an inch through, and the slave then being fastened in, he used to roll them down a very steep hill. (Shame, shame.) At one of the Revival meetings (of which he had heard so much since he came to this country), two ladies of colour came in and took their seats in the pew for inquirers. Holding down their heads, they were not observed; but some ladies coming in, and noticing their colour, left the pew directly. (Hear, hear.)

Titles by Moses Roper