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(title page) Pictures of Slavery in Church and State; Including Personal Reminiscences, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, etc. etc. with an Appendix, Containing the Views of John Wesley and Richard Watson on Slavery
John Dixon Long
426 p., ill.
Published by the Author
Call number 326 L84p (Wilson Annex, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.--(LEV. 25: 10th verse.)
BY ORDER OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR THE STATE HOUSE IN PHILADELPHIA, 1753.
The above is the inscription on the time-honored bell which now stands in Independence Hall--the most sacred political spot in the world. It is surely significant that the bell which, for more than twenty years, had borne so prophetic a motto, should be the first, in all the American colonies, to ring out the joyous news of the immortal Declaration of Independence!
But if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.--I COR. vii. 21
I WAS born in New Town, Worcester County, Maryland, on the 26th day of September, 1817. My mother's name was Sally Laws Henderson. She was a devout member of the M. E. Church, and died in June, 1828. From her lips I received my first antislavery lesson. Could she have had her way, no slave would ever have been held by any member of her family. My father, John W. Long, was a native of Maryland, and a slaveholder. In the early part of his life he was a sea-captain, with all the generosity of the sailor, but with few of the faults common to him. During the war of 1812 he abandoned the sea, and commenced the mercantile business in New Town. In 1824 he removed to the Ferry on the Somerset side of the Pocomoke River, nearly a mile from New Town. He died in 1834, leaving my two sisters and brother under my protection.
I was received into the M. E. Church in 1835, by the Rev. John A. Roche, of the Philadelphia Conference, who is an accomplished Christian gentleman and eloquent preacher. I commenced my ministerial career in 1839, and was received into full connection in the Philadelphia Conference in 1842. In 1848 my health failed; and since at time the Conference has permitted me to labor when and where I have pleased, according to the state of my health.
I am an ardent lover of Methodism, and consider that man its greatest enemy who strives, directly or indirectly, to fasten to it the dead and putrid body of chattel slavery. I trust I am no bigot; for I love those who love our Lord Jesus Christ, of whatever church, race, or color.
Fifteen months ago it was my expectation to live and die in my native State--in private to bear my testimony to masters against slavery, and in public to labor for the salvation of slaves. I had resolved to bear the reproaches of those who would regard me as an abolitionist, and to endure the slang to which I would necessarily be subjected from fellows of the "baser sort." But I had four boys, and, as a Christian father, I wished to train them to honorable labor; and was desirous that they should regard all mankind as members of one universal family. They were beginning to imbibe the common prejudices of slave society-- hatred of work and of slaves. Accordingly, I determined to remove to a free State. A Southern gentleman remarked to me that, if he had sons, and held my views on slavery, he would act precisely as I have acted.
In October, 1856, I removed to Philadelphia, the "city of brotherly love;" in which, to my astonishment, I found prevailing a vast deal of pro-slavery sentiment. At this discovery all my latent antislavery feeling awoke into activity. A Southern antislavery man can listen with some patience to one who obtains his bread and butter by the institution; but the justification of slavery by a Northern man is almost intolerable. A conviction that I ought to bear my testimony against the system by writing now took possession of my mind. But difficulties loomed up before me. I should lose my friends, and would doubtless have to encounter persecution. Again, save a few scraps and obituary notices, I had never written
a line for publication. But, in view of the responsibilities of the great future, the path of duty seemed plain. Accordingly, last Christmas I commenced to write my book, which, justice to myself requires me to state, has been written in a small room with my family around me, subject to the interruptions of visitors, and to all the depressing influences of feeble health, and the discouraging advice of friends. When my manuscript was ready, no publisher in Philadelphia that I approached would undertake its publication. I have but little money to lose; yet I have published it at my own risk. It goes forth on my own responsibility. Its glory or its shame will fall on my own head. No minister or layman in the Philadelphia Conference is accountable for it. If any of either class shall approve it after reading it, I shall be gratified. I most devoutly believe what I have written. I have no misgivings that the principles I have advocated will be found unsound in the Great Day. I regret that I have not been able to present my thoughts and facts in a more attractive form. Like a plate of strawberries, or a quiver full of arrows, they have association, but little arrangement. I fear that the repetition of my thoughts, and the egotism almost inseparable from such a work, will be offensive. All criticisms aimed at the literary execution of the book will be unheeded. If I have misstated facts, I am open to conviction. I have not written for the learned; yet even to these some of my thoughts may prove suggestive. I am from the masses, and have lived and labored with them. I love and sympathize with the oppressed of all classes and colors. Yet I honor the rich, the wise, the learned, and those high in authority. My design is not to array the poor against the rich, or the colored against the white; but to array all classes against slavery as it exists in the Southern States of this Union.
Slavery will be found, on close examination, to be the common foe of church and state; of master and slave; of rich and poor. I have added my mite of facts and observations against it. I believe that all truth is profitable, sooner or later. I have done what I conceive to be my duty to the church and to my country. May the blessing of Christ rest on the antislavery cause!
PHILADELPHIA, May 1, 1857.
"Slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever." "A slave is one doomed, in his own person and his posterity, to live without knowledge, and without the capacity to make any thing his own; and toil that another may reap the fruits."
My observations of Slavery have been confined, in the main, to the States of Delaware and Maryland, where it exists in its mildest form: if, therefore, it shall be found to be a great crime against God and humanity in those States, what must it be in its most aggravated manifestations? I shall endeavor to draw truthful pictures of what I have seen and heard. I shall do justice to master and slave. In treating of slaves, I shall group them into three
classes. First, there are the slaves owned by large planters and farmers, and governed by overseers or "nigger-drivers," as they are called. This class being excluded from all contact and association with the families of their wealthy owners, are, as a general rule, as degraded as their ancestors were before they were stolen from the west coast of Africa. Their language is shockingly barbarous; they say "dis" for this, "dat" for that, and "tudder" for the other.
They are great believers in charms, spells, witches, wizards, and ghosts; if they are sick, they are "in misery." They do not say that they have the headache or pain in the side, but "misery" in the head or side, as the case may be. Their food and clothing are of the coarsest kind; one suit of coarse cloth for winter, and of cotton cloth for summer. Their allowance of food is one peck of Indian corn meal and three pounds of fat pork per week. This they cook as best they can. Among this class there is no respect paid to sex: the females work in the field, cut wood, drive the ox-cart, make fences. Indeed, I have often seen them in situations, where, if the pecuniary
value of their offspring had been consulted, they should have been removed to the "quarters" till after a certain time. Chastity is out of the question. There is a certain attachment between male and female, but the horrible slave laws allow it to be little more than the promiscuous commerce of beasts. There is, however, a genuine love between mother and child. The slave can truly say, "I have no father, but I know my mother." The males, like the dogs of their masters, are frequently called after the celebrated philosophers and generals of Greece and Rome. Almost every plantation has a Plato, Cato, Pompey, and Cæsar. This seems like a retribution. The great men of Rome were slaveholders on a magnificent scale, and their names are now borne by slaves more abject than theirs.
The cowhide is their only coat of arms. They seldom hear a kind word spoken to them on the part of their overseers. With them there is neither digression nor progression. The plantation slave is but little better informed than those of the same class fifty years ago; and one hundred years hence will
find them the same, if slavery continues as it is. Their principal amusements are hunting and dancing. They are very fond of hunting the raccoon and opossum, which they call "varmint." Reader, did you ever see a genuine negro dog? There is as much difference between such a cur and a gentleman's dog, as there is between an oyster cart-horse and an Arabian charger.
See that poor slave. He is just returning from the lordly mansion of his master, with his week's allowance of meal and pork. Over his left shoulder is suspended a wallet, with meal in one end and pork in the other. His left hand presses against it. In his right hand he holds his stick (he never says cane). He is trudging along to the adjoining plantation, where he belongs. He has a downcast look, and a gentle, forward stoop. His dog alternately trots and walks behind him. His tail is cut midway, and his ears are cropped. Look: yonder comes his young master on his fine horse, with his glossy spaniel bounding before him. He approaches; the negro makes a low bow, and says, "Sarvent, massa." His dog
skulks to one side: if the spaniel attacks him, he makes no resistance; he falls flat on the ground, turns on his back, curves his cut tail between his legs, and appeals to the magnanimity of his master's dog, and says by actions, "Oh don't! I am but a poor slave of a slave!" The slave loves his dog. They are constant companions. He talks with him by day and hunts with him at night, and shares with him his scanty meals. His dog is the only thing under the sun that he can call his own; for the master claims the woman that is called his wife, his offspring, his hut, his pig, his own body--and his very soul.
The master despises "nigger dogs." If he is given to profanity, he swears at them whenever he sees them, accusing them of killing sheep and his fat young pigs.
The plantation slaves often suffer with hunger. Despite the common boasts of the slaveholder, the Allwise only knows how much penury and starvation wear out the lives of the slaves. Dancing is one of their favorite amusements. I have often looked at their dances during their different holidays. The
banjo is of all instruments the best adapted to the lowest class of slaves. It is the very symbol of their savage degradation. They talk to it, and a skillful performer can excite the most diverse passions among the dancers. Generally, however, they have no instruments, but dance to the tunes and words of a leader, keeping time by striking their hands against the thighs, and patting the right foot, to the words of
" 'Juber,' 'Cesar boy,'
Ash-cake in de fire,
'Possum up de gum tree,
Raccoon in de holler."
I have seen males and females dancing, rapidly whirling round, whooping and yelling with brutal delight, alike unmindful of the past and future. I have never known, in a single instance, of a colored man of any moral tone who was fond of the banjo or common dance.
The "quarters" of the large slaveholders are generally mere shells; very few are plastered; and no arrangement is made for the separation of male and female. The men generally have no beds, but sleep in their clothes on benches
made of wide plank, with their feet to the fire. The plantation slaves are remarkable for their fine teeth. The slave is never supposed to be sick, unless he is very ill. The ignorant overseer takes for granted that, if the slave complains, he is "acting the 'possum," and frequently, before the master or physician knows it, the slave dies. The death of a slave is considered a mere money loss. Neighbor A says that "neighbor B has lost a fine slave worth one thousand dollars."
The humble body is buried in the negro graveyard, in some obscure part of the plantation. For the slave there is no tombstone. The flowers of memory and affection never bloom over the lonely hillock that marks his resting-place. The wild rose and dewberry mat his grave; and the lark builds there her lowly nest, and sings at morn his only requiem. Many an undeveloped poet, orator, and artist lies entombed in such obscure cemeteries throughout the South. A slave-burying is one of the saddest sights I ever saw. They do not cry and weep like freemen; they are sad and stupid. They have no religious services at the
grave, and could not have them if they wished. The negro preacher on the adjoining plantation must not leave his hoe. The white minister is either too grand to bury the slave, or is not called on. I have never known of more than one white minister of the gospel who has performed religious service at the burial of the slave.
A negro funeral is different from the "burying," and is a unique affair. Several weeks after burial the funeral is preached; and never was there more frolic at an Irish wake than at these funerals, held frequently in the woods; and sometimes as many as three funerals are preached at once. Unless a colored person's funeral is preached, whether he be saint or sinner, there is no peace of mind to his friends.
There are 3,000,000 of these slaves in these United States.
The second class of slaves embraces such as owned by the less extensive slaveholders and farmers. These have no overseer, live in the kitchen, mingle with the master's family, eat the same kind of food as the other members of the family, are not generally overworked, use good language for slaves, and are
attended to when sick. Their children are raised with their master's children, play with them, and nurse them. In mind and body they are greatly superior to the plantation slaves. A strong attachment frequently exists between them and their masters and mistresses. From this class we derive most of our church members. After they arrive at the age of 45, many of them become truly chaste and pious, according to the light they have, and receive the honorable appellations of "aunt" and "uncle;" until that age, they are usually called "girls" and "boys."
Notwithstanding the superior physical condition of this class of slaves, they are generally more unhappy and restless than the more degraded classes. Their superior advantages only serve as a lamp to show them their degradation. They are just as liable as any other class of chattels to be sold by the master or his creditors. Take an illustration. Beaufort owns a young negro man, brought up in his own house. Beaufort becomes security for neighbor Miflin. Miflin fails; the creditors resort to Beaufort. The boy must be sold. His master and negro
buyer fix on the price. The boy is to be delivered at a certain place where I happen to be. The poor fellow comes on an errand, as he supposes, little dreaming of the trap that is set for him. The master is there. The "Georgia trader" presently arrives. This worthy orders the boy to cross his hands; the concealed rope is produced, and the boy is tied. The poor slave is stunned, and turns ashy pale. The dealer in human souls hurries him off to the county town to await transportation. Beaufort weeps and trembles, and mutters, "He was a good boy; I never ate him or drank him; I shall never be happy again." Unhappy master! if he had set him free before going in debt, he would have escaped thorns that will be planted in his dying pillow; and if he should ever read these lines, he will attest the faithfulness of this narration. Colored people love to sing, "The judgment day is rolling around, is rolling around," &c.
The third class constitute the Aristocracy and chivalry of the slave population of the South. They are the household servants of our Congressmen, judges, doctors, naval officers,
wealthy merchants, clergymen, planters, and farmers. Very few of them are jet black; nearly all are more or less white. The men are fine looking. The women are beautiful, and many of them even opulent in charms. Nor is this a wonder. The best blood of the Saxon courses through their veins; the intellect of that race gleams in their eye. They have the health and beautiful form of the African, with the polish and gracefulness of the Caucasian race. They seldom mix with the common slave, and feel great contempt for poor white people. Many of them can read; and many of the female servants are brought up virtuously, sleeping in the same room with their young mistresses. Notwithstanding their accomplishments, they are often sold with mules, horses, and hogs. The females bring the highest prices in the South. For them there is no virtue after a certain age, unless they die the martyr's death. They never can say "this man is my husband;" "that woman is my wife;" "this is my child." From this class, as fugitives, have arisen such men as Frederick Douglass, Wm. Wells, Brown, and, I presume,
Dr. Pennington. I have seen them so white that a stranger could not have told that they were slaves or even negroes.
O chattel slavery, if I had no other name by which to call thee, "I would call thee Devil!"
The free colored people of the South constitute a distinct class of colored persons in that section of the Union. They labor under many civil and religious disabilities, and are the most slandered and persecuted class of men in the United States. The early Methodists in England and America were not more so. They are not permitted to educate their children, unless they reside in the cities, notwithstanding they pay taxes. They have to take the raking fires from three batteries. The slave envies them. The poor white man is jealous of them lest they encroach upon his assumed rights and privileges; and the large slaveholder hates them, as their very presence puts notions of freedom in the minds of his slaves. They are expected to please every body, which is a very difficult matter. They are the scape-goats of
southern society. If any crime is committed, and the perpetrator is not discovered, it is laid to the free negro. If he commits a crime, and it is proved on him, he is sure to get the full penalty of the law. If he steals from the white man, he goes to the penitentiary; which is right. If the white man steals from him, he goes clear; which is wrong. If he is lazy, he is a nuisance; if industrious, and lays up money, he is accused of dealing with slaves; if he conducts himself properly, he is proud and wants taking down a little. His wife and daughter may be insulted by rowdies, and he must hold his tongue. Yet for intelligence, industry, economy, and morality, he is far superior to the third class of slaves. His wife and children are his; his body is his own. He can remove to a free State or go to Africa. Partial liberty is better than pampered slavery. Considering his antecedents and circumstances, he has met the expectations of all reasonable men. Many of them are lazy, but it must be remembered that laziness is a contagious disease in the South. My advice to all young enterprising free colored people of the Southern States is, to leave for the free States, Canada, or Liberia.
I consider the Negro race inferior in mental endowment only to the great European or white race. The negro is as full of music as an egg is full of meat; and music is allied to poetry and eloquence. No people have the religious element more deeply grounded in their nature. As a race, they are proverbial for kindness and affection, and respect for authority and age. In their religious meetings they exhibit more reverence in their devotion than the whites. We defy any set of atheists to make many converts among them in theory. In drollery they are unequalled and are only inferior to the Irish in wit; even rivalling the French in politeness. If properly trained, they would make first-class orators and musicians. I have seen an exceedingly fine portrait executed by a colored artist of Baltimore. They are great aristocrats; and pay much respect to those above them in intellect and authority. Hence our great Southern aristocracy, by emancipating their negroes, could retain them by affection and their own choice; and thus reap all the benefits of slavery without its crime and consequences.
THE M. E. Church was organized in 1784, in the city of Baltimore. What did the fathers of the church think of slavery at that time? We will quote their own language, taken from the first Discipline of the church, compared with the Large Minutes. See the History of the Discipline by Rev. Robert Emory, former President of Dickinson College. Published at the Book-room, New York, for the M. E. Church: p. 43.
"Question 42. What methods can we take to extirpate slavery? Ans. We are deeply conscious of the impropriety of making new terms of communion for a religious society already established, excepting on the most pressing occasion: and such we esteem the practice of holding our fellow-creatures in slavery. We view it as contrary to the golden law of God, on which hang all the law and the prophets, and the alienable rights of mankind, as well as every principle of the Revolution, to hold in the deepest debasement, in a
more abject slavery than is perhaps to be found in any part of the world except America, so many souls that are capable of the image of God. We therefore think it our most bounden duty to take immediately some effective method to extirpate this abomination from among us; and for that purpose we add the following to the rules of our society--viz.
1st. Every member of our society who has slaves in his possession shall, within twelve months after notice given him by the assistant (which notice the assistants are required immediately, and without any delay, to give in their respective circuits), legally execute and record an instrument, whereby he emancipates and sets free every slave in his possession who is between the ages of forty and forty-five immediately, or at furthest when they arrive at the age of forty-five.
And every slave who is between the ages of twenty-five and forty immediately, or at furthest at the expiration of five years from the date of the said instrument.
And every slave who is between the ages of twenty and twenty-five immediately, or at furthest when they arrive at the age of thirty.
And every slave under the age of twenty, as soon as they arrive at the age of twenty-five at furthest.
And every infant born in slavery after the above mentioned rules are complied with, immediately on its birth.
2d. Every assistant shall keep a journal, in which he shall regularly minute down the names and ages of all the slaves belonging to all the masters in his respective circuit, and also the date of every instrument executed and recorded for the manumission of the slaves, with the name of
the court, book, and folio, in which said instrument respectively shall have been recorded; which journal shall be handed down in each circuit to the succeeding assistants.
3d. In consideration that these rules form a new term of communion, every person concerned who will not comply with them, shall have liberty quietly to withdraw himself from our society within the twelve months succeeding the notice given as aforesaid; otherwise the assistants shall exclude him from the society.
4th. No person holding slaves shall in future be admitted into society or the Lord's Supper, till he previously complies with these rules concerning slavery.
N. B. These rules are to affect the members of our society no further than as they are consistent with the laws of the States in which they reside.
Question 43. What shall be done with those who buy sell slaves, or give them away? Ans. They are immediately to be expelled; unless they buy them on purpose to free them."
1. It will be seen, by the above, that our preachers, in 1784, viewed the holding of slaves, or the sustaining voluntarily the relation of master and slave, as contrary to the golden law of God. Hence, not only official members, but private members, were to break that relation by manumission according to the conditions laid down.
2. They regarded slavery in America the most abject of any perhaps in the known world.
3. They considered that holding a fellow-creature in bondage was a sin sufficient to exclude any one from the Supper of the Lord, and was an abomination which they sought to extirpate from the church. These fathers then were a band of Christian abolitionists, and contended for emancipation. For "extirpation" means, according to Webster, to "destroy, to pull up by the roots;" which is all we mean by abolition.
4. We have painfully to admit that the church did afterward fall from her noble and New Testament position on the subject of slavery; and many of these fathers tried to undo with their own hands what they had so nobly accomplished. So that in 1808 was stricken out of the Discipline all that related to private members; and slaveholding was only considered an official impediment. Private members could hold for life their fellow-creatures in bondage, give them away to their children during their lifetime, and leave them in perpetual slavery. So the whole ground was in effect conceded to slavery. What a fearful history the
M. E. Church has read to the world by this concession--a history written with the blood and tears of oppressed thousands! Private members holding slaves, soon involved class-leaders, exhorters, local preachers, and travelling preachers, and finally debauched the moral sentiments of the whole church, so that in 1836 the General Conference was in direct antagonism to the Conference of 1784. The year 1836 was the darkest hour in the history of the M. E. Church. Rum and slavery were both triumphant in her at this time. At that period private members could manufacture and sell rum, but an ordained elder could not. The church has seen the folly of such a distinction, and has since decreed that rumselling for gain is sin in any man; and she will arrive at the same conclusion with regard to slavery.
Had it not been for New England and Western Methodism, in 1844, we should have had some slaveholding bishops to preside over our conferences at this time. I thank my Divine Master for New England Methodism!
What was the final result of the concession of 1808? The organization and development of
the M. E. Church South; whose only peculiar and distinctive feature is that she upholds, defends, and sustains her entire membership, including travelling preachers and bishops, in holding, buying, selling, and giving away slaves, as goods personal, to all intents and purposes. She defends slavery as a good, and appeals to the religion of Christ to sustain it. She can take but one other step; and that is, to recommend the reopening of the slave trade on the coast of Africa, which is certainly no worse than the internal slave-trade. And all these consequences flow necessarily from the premise that private members are not sinners by holding, breeding and working, giving away, or willing human beings as things and chattels. Once grant this in church or state, and all other things will be added, including the slave-trade. They are all parts of one great whole. While we detest the principles of the M. E. Church South on the subject of slavery, we admire her honesty in avowing that slavery is not a sin in private members or bishops; and the only holy and logical weapons by which we can subdue her is to affirm that slavery is sin by
whomsoever committed, be he saint or sinner, layman or bishop. To this point the Discipline of the M. E. Church will come, as it ought to have come in 1856, at the General Conference at Indianapolis.
We lament that this talented and venerable body of Christian ministers and divines should have hesitated a moment to declare that slaveholding is a sin in the laity as well as in the ministry. It is true that the members of the General Conference of 1856 took higher ground against slavery, in their speeches at the Conference, than has been taken since 1784; and much progress has been made in the right direction. Nevertheless, we occupy an anomalous position. While three-fourths of the ministry and laity are decidedly antislavery, we have a pro-slavery Discipline, which allows our private members in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to hold for gain, to give away, and transmit by will to their heirs, as chattels personal, souls for whom Christ died. The slave can be sold for their debts at any time. They can give them away to relatives, who can sell them to the negro buyer at pleasure; and do all this according
to the Discipline of the church; and they cannot be expelled for it. At one small country appointment, in the fall of '55 and winter of '56, I knew two members of the M. E. Church who died, and left from twenty-five to thirty slaves in bondage for life; thereby depriving these poor creatures of rights natural and divine. Slaveholding and slave-breeding can never be broken up in the church by merely keeping it out of the ministry. Suppose we were to send missionaries to Utah to convert the Mormons, and they were to profess to be converted and offer to join the M. E. Church, but request to retain polygamy, and the preachers were to say that they might do it, but were determined to keep it out of the ministry: would we ever break up polygamy among the Mormons? Never! never! For my part, I believe it just as much a sin in a private member to deprive a fellow-creature of his just wages, to separate him like a brute from friends, as it would be in a bishop. The antislavery principles of our holy religion, and the M. E. Church South, will drive us, on the Border, from this untenable ground. Let us get on the rock of eternal truth and righteousness, and
then we shall have the sympathy of the good of all nations. And what is still better, we shall have the sympathy of the man Christ Jesus, who was sold like a slave for thirty pieces of silver. I believe that the blessed Jesus is an antislavery Redeemer. When he forgave me my sins, he whispered to my inmost soul that the holding of slaves was sin.
I consider American slavery to be the great question now before the American people in church and state. Its importance surpasses the political separation from Great Britain, which agitated the minds of our fathers from 1770 to 1776. I believe that it will eventually come in contact with every association, whether literary, scientific, benevolent, social, political, or religious. With regard to this question, whatever appearances may indicate to the contrary, in reality there is no neutral ground. In health, I am as a reed shaken by the wind. As a preacher in the M. E. Church, I am not distinguished for wealth, high office, learning, family, or intellect. I shall soon fall from the
tree of this natural life as a leaf, to be forgotten among my fellow leaves: yet I have a little influence among men. It may survive me a little while after death. For that influence, God, the judge of all, will hold me accountable. I feel I must bear my testimony as an honest man against chattel slavery in this nation. Whether living or dying, I wish to be quoted as conscientiously opposed to it, in all its shapes, forms, and modifications. I wish to wound no man's feelings; yet, in the discharge of a sacred duty, I may have to do it. I believe that the only way to remedy any evil is to proclaim the truth, clearly and distinctly, concerning that evil. The man, and especially the Christian minister, who is silent on the subject of slavery, who never whispers to his friend or foe a word of opposition to it, is giving his example and influence in its favor. A prophet of God who can stand by, and see those for whom Christ died held in bondage, deprived of legal claim to wife, child, or to his own body, deprived of freely worshiping Almighty God, and yet give no alarm of danger, nor utter a cry of warning, need not be envied when he stands at the judgment-seat
of Christ to render up his account. Next to the love and approbation of Christ and my own family, there is nothing that I so highly appreciate as the love and good opinion of my ministerial brethren, especially those of the Philadelphia Conference. From the day that I became associated with them to this hour, I honored them for their office' sake, and loved them (with few exceptions) for their great moral worth and purity. When they have honored me, in the darkest hour of my bodily afflictions, with visits to my humble abode, they always gave me more pleasure than they received. I have not seen the hour, when not confined to my sick room, that I would not go through wind and rain to bathe their brows or wash their burning feet, if that would alleviate their sufferings. I expect my brethren to condemn this book, and severely blame me for writing it; yet I trust I shall have grace to bear up under the castigation. I must express the painful conviction that the fathers of the Philadelphia Conference have been too silent in their testimony against slavery. I have been among them for seventeen years, and have
never listened to a sermon against slavery. I never heard a presiding elder, in a quarterly conference, public congregation, or love-feast, throw out a hint that it was wrong to hold slaves for life. Our membership must conclude, from our silence upon the subject, that slavery is no sin. Now and then a brother in Maryland sets his negroes free, feeling it a sin to hold them in slavery; but he arrives at these conclusions from his natural sense of justice; or, perhaps, from reading the life of Freeborn Garretson, and yielding to the silent operations of the Holy Spirit.
There are good men in Virginia, Kentucky, and other Slave States, who, while the pulpit has either been quiet upon the subject, or taught the doctrine that slavery is of Divine origin, have searched the Scriptures and reasoned for themselves; and, in the name of justice and in the fear of God, they have emancipated their slaves, and sent them to Liberia or the free States of this Union. Why will not the watchmen on the walls of Zion sound the alarm, when they see slavery desolating our beautiful Southern States, crushing the intellect, and
poisoning the morals of nearly all beneath its influence?
Brethren, I would that ye were as strongly antislavery as I am, except these bonds. My feelings have been lacerated a hundred times on account of my opposition to slavery. Soon after I joined the church, I became leader of a colored class. This brought persecution; and from that day to this I have been bound in spirit with Christ's down-trodden people. This book will banish me from my relatives, from the graves of my honored parents, and from my native State. If I were to visit my former places of residence, I might not receive personal violence; but the man who should entertain me would be marked, and would have to suffer on my account; and I would not knowingly be the cause of bringing trouble upon my friends. Henceforward I shall be an exile among strangers, and shall seek a home and a grave among them. Many who once thought of my name with affection will associate it with disgrace. Some will even believe that they will be doing God service to abuse me. Any man who dares to utter a word against slavery is branded by
the Southerners as a fanatic. I communicated to a friend my intention of writing against slavery. "Well, sir," said he, "you may prepare yourself to have showers of lies heaped upon you." Henceforward, by all Christian and lawful means, I expect to urge an uncompromising warfare against the sin of slavery. To those who may persecute me, I trust I shall be enabled by Divine assistance to pray, "Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do."
THE following extract is made from an address of the Philadelphia Annual Conference to the Societies under its care, dated Wilmington, Del., April 7, 1847:
"If the plan of separation gives us the pastoral care of you, it remains to inquire whether we have done any thing, as a Conference, or as men, to forfeit your confidence and affection. We are not advised that, even in the great excitement which has distressed you for some months past, any one has impeached our moral conduct, or charged us with unsoundness in doctrine, or corruption or tyranny in the administration of Discipline. But we learn that the simple cause of the unhappy excitement among you is, that some suspect us, or affect to suspect us, of being abolitionists. Yet no particular act of the Conference, or any particular member thereof, is adduced as the ground of the erroneous and injurious suspicion. We would ask you, brethren, whether the conduct of our ministry among you for sixty years past ought not to be sufficient to protect us from this charge? Whether the question we have been accustomed,
for a few years past, to put to candidates for admission among us, namely, Are you an abolitionist? and, without each one answered in the negative, he was not received, ought not to protect us from the charge? Whether the action of the last Conference on this particular matter ought not to satisfy any fair and candid mind that we are not, and do not desire to be, abolitionists? * * * We cannot see how we can be regarded as abolitionists, without the ministers of the M. E. Church South being considered in the same light. * * * * * * *
Wishing you all heavenly benedictions, we are, dear brethren, yours, in Christ Jesus,
J. P. DURBIN,
IGNATIUS T. COOPER,
WILLIAM H. GILDER,
JOSEPH CASTLE. Comm."
The above extract, I presume, is correctly copied from the original Report made by the Committee to the Philadelphia Conference of the M. E. Church, at its annual session in Wilmington, Delaware, in April, 1847, and adopted by the Conference. The extract has been published in Mrs. Stowe's "Dred" and "Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin," which circulated throughout Europe and America. This Report did not profess to speak the sentiments of the New England and Western Conferences of the M. E.
Church, but simply those of the Philadelphia Conference. I was often confined to my room during that session of Conference, and did not know the contents of the Report till I read it in the Wilmington papers after the close of the session. After the division of the M. E. Church in 1844, there were troubles among our members in Accomac and Northampton Counties, Va. Many went off to the M. E. Church South, and wished all others to go with them; but many determined to remain in the M. E. Church. One or two of our preachers were mobbed. And for what? For teaching that holding slaves for gain was sin? No. For insisting that masters should teach slaves to read as a preparation for freedom? No. For getting up Sabbath-schools among colored people? No. What then caused the commotion? Simply this: that some said that they would continue to belong to the M. E. Church, and others said that all should join the M. E. Church South. It was a quarrel about mere names. There was no moral issue concerning slavery between the laity of the two denominations. In proof of this, I appeal to the Report of the
Committee of five of the most gifted and distinguished brethren of the Conference. The Report says that "some suspect us of being abolitionists;" but the Committee deny it, and say they are not "abolitionists," and do not intend or desire to be. What did the Committee mean by "abolitionist?" Simply one who believes and teaches that it is a sin in the private members of the M. E. Church to hold slaves, and that non-slaveholding should be a condition of membership. The Committee meant to say to the Virginia Methodists who remained with us, about as follows: "Does the M. E. Church South allow her private members, and class-leaders, and local preachers, to hold slaves for gain, and for life, and then leave them in bondage? So do we. We are not more opposed to slavery than the ministers of the M. E. Church South. If any person accuses us of being 'abolitionists,' they can with the same propriety accuse the ministers of the M. E. Church South of the same grievous offence."
Now the whole country knows that the Church South is pro-slavery, that it glories in being so. This Report suggests to my mind these
inevitable reflections: 1st. It is unequivocally a pro-slavery document. 2d. Its doctrines are still held by a majority of the Philadelphia Conference, for the Conference has not repudiated them, but continues to send preachers to Virginia, with the understanding that they are to act in accordance with the Report. 3d. The right of the laity to breed and hold slaves is guaranteed to them by the present Discipline. 4th. The Committee, at that time, held the doctrine of the Discipline as their private views. 5th. If in the last ten years they have not changed their views, we must sorrowfully place them and their great talents and influence among the ranks and resources of the pro-slavery party. 6th. I repudiate the doctrine of the Report, and believe that slaveholding is a sin in all men. 7th. The Discipline of the M. E. Church ought to be altered so as to exclude slaveholders from the church. 8th. I believe three-fourths of all the ministry and laity of the M. E. Church are Christian abolitionists; that is, they are antislavery in sentiment.
I profess to know as much about slavery in the Philadelphia Conference as any member of the Conference of my age. I have travelled some of the most laborious circuits lying in the slave portions of its territory.
In pursuing my pastoral duties, I have visited the abject slaves in their huts or cabins, the free negroes in their little houses, and baptized their children.
I have seen slavery in the quarter, in the kitchen, and in the parlor; at the church, at the funeral, at the marriage, under the eye of the overseer in the fields, and on holiday occasions. I have seen it in its most disgusting forms, and amid circumstances so mild as to veil from the stranger its real character.
I have witnessed its effects on the owners and employers, in the relations of master, mistress, and overseer. I have studied it with a painful and prayerful interest. From the year 1835, in which I confessed Christ, to this hour, I have
never wavered in my conviction that to hold a human being in bondage, as a chattel, would be a sin. For one human being has no right to force another to work for him, or take his labor without paying for it. One man has no right to own another; therefore, chattel slavery is a gross violation of right. It is sin and a crime. I always felt, too, that, if I treated a slave well, my death, or failure in business, might nevertheless consign him to chains and to the lash of the merciless slave-trader.
Of the few hundred dollars received from my father's estate, one-fourth of the whole was in the person of a valuable and honest slave. I immediately filed a deed of manumission; and had I owned five hundred slaves, and had every cent I was worth been invested in them, I should have set them free. Believing slavery to be a sin, why should I have hesitated? "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Nevertheless, I have patiently listened to every vulgar and obscene argument advanced in its favor, and read all the arguments in its defence from Dr. Fuller to Taylor Bledsoe. Dr. Fuller is the ablest advocate that has yet
taken the field in support of chattel slavery; and should he ever attempt to prove from the Bible that we ought not to eat with our teeth, or see with our eyes, he will be just as successful as in his defence of slavery. From all these antecedents, I think I am prepared to give a tolerably good idea of the state of things in the slaveholding portions of our Conference. As regards the supposed number of actual slave-holders immediately under the jurisdiction of our Conference, I have a word to say. By actual slaveholders, I mean those who hold them for gain, just as the utterly irreligious hold them; without any reference to brethren who have manumitted their slaves, to be free at twenty-five, thirty, or thirty-five years of age.
According to the Minutes of the Conference for 1856, there were upward of 15,000 white members and probationers in the slave portion of the Conference. Of this number there are at least 1000 mercenary slaveholders; these thousand slaveholders own at least 3000 slaves. Numbers own from five to ten. I know one individual who owns 20. Intelligent laymen, in that section of the country, will not think
this a large estimate, but quite within the bounds of truth.
I cannot speak for the Baltimore Conference, though it is certain it has a vastly larger slaveholding territory than the Philadelphia Conference. If that Conference has jurisdiction over one thousand mercenary slaveholders, and these own 3000 slaves, then we have 6000 slaves owned by 2000 members of the M. E. Church, all sheltered by the Discipline of our church.
It is my opinion that 8000 of our Philadelphia Conference members, who are not actual slaveholders, are yet advocates of slavery; and would rejoice to inherit slaves, or otherwise obtain them. If these 3000 or 6000 slaves, doomed in their persons and posterity to toil that others may reap, could have appeared before the General Conference of 1856, that noble and generous body of Christian ministers would have been moved to tears. Indeed, the poor slave cannot go to conventions and Conference to plead his own cause. He cannot know his benefactors. His mind is doomed to eternal barrenness. He who advocates his cause, in the public estimation, partakes in some degree of his degradation.
I will advance another opinion. I do it with caution. I know it will be called in question, if not positively denied; but I court investigation; and if the statement can be proved false, I will rejoice.
I make bold to declare that there are more slaves owned now by members of the M. E. Church than in 1845. There has been a vast increase of wealth in our church in the last fifteen years, especially among farmers. Wheat and corn have brought enormous prices. Luxury is on the increase, and slaves are very valuable. The pecuniary temptation to hold them is greater now than ever. Slaves have been better fed and clothed for the last twenty years than ever before in Maryland. The people of the free States scarcely know how fast slaves multiply. A brother who had two young girls in 1844 may now have twelve or fifteen young slaves as the product.
"Why, you astonish me!" says one; "I thought that antislavery principles were on the increase since the division of the church."
But the fact is, that our members don't care one cent how much the preachers slap each
other and the bishops about holding slaves; nor how much they talk against slavery in the abstract, and advocate colonization, if they will but abuse abolitionists without defining the term, and never hint, even in private conversation, that it is a sin in private members to hold slaves, and get rich upon their labor. When you strike that key-note, you will find out that there is very little difference between the laity of the M. E. Church and the laity of the M. E. Church South, in theory or practice, on the subject of slavery. Do the members of the church South hold slaves for life? So do ours. Do their slaves live in promiscuous intercourse? So do ours. Do they refuse to nominate and vote for men who will advocate State laws prohibiting masters from separating mother from children? So do our members. On one point there is entire unanimity among the laity in the slaveholding portion of our Conference, and that is, opposition to the free colored people having day schools, in which to teach their children to read the Word of God. I know numbers of free colored people who are able and willing to educate their children, but no person dare teach them;
and they must look on and see their children grow up in ignorance. A free negro can send his children to the grogshop with a black jug; he can get drunk, and no one interferes.
Tell it not in old papal Rome that Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians, in the nineteenth century, in the United States of America, are contending that a part of the human race should be kept in ignorance, gross and hopeless ignorance; that ignorance in slaves is the mother of devotion and State security; that the grog-shop is better than the schoolhouse; and rum better than education.
A free colored man of property petitioned the Legislature of Maryland to pass a law to exempt his property from school-tax, as he could not educate his own children. Some of its members were in favor of the exemption; but the delegate from the county of the petitioner, who was a prominent member of the M. E. Church, opposed it, on the ground that the petitioner was exempt from military duty! But it is contended that the members of the Church South can sell negroes to the traders in flesh and blood, when they please, but that our members can be expelled
for such traffic. We will grant that this is the theory; but in practice there is very little difference, as far as my knowledge goes. There are many ways to avoid this rule and expulsion. Take an example.
Bro. Hardshell wants money; perhaps he has an extravagant family. He has made up his mind to sell a negro man; and as he must have an excuse, he charges him with impudence. His conscience goads him; and he is ashamed to tie him, and ride with him to the county town, and be caught bargaining with the negro buyer. So he goes to Mr. Skinflint, who represents a class of men in the South that, for fifty cents, will give a woman stripped to her waist thirty-nine lashes, and offers him 25 dollars if he will come at night and take him to the negro buyer: and this is done, according to contract. Perhaps weeks elapse before the preacher hears it, and then it is "nigger news." It is considered beneath the dignity of a gentleman to be prowling around negro quarters to see if any slaves are missing. But should the preacher in charge call on Bro. Hardshell, he demands proof that he ever sold a slave. There is no proof at
hand. If he admits it, he charges the negro with being a thief, or being saucy, or with some other fault.
This is about the end of the affair. And the preacher must not show too much zeal in the matter. If he does, the cry of "abolitionist" will soon ring about his ears. Mr. Skinflint can procure among his associates plenty of tar and feathers. It is sometimes the case that slaves under age commit crimes for which the courts order them to be sold. In such cases, Christian masters should not use that money for the support of their families, but use it for the good of the colored race.
It is urged that, if we pronounce slaveholding a sin, we shall drive our slaveholding members into the Methodist Protestant, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches, and into the M. E. Church South, where a man can do what he pleases with his slaves without molestation. But we should "deal justly" and "love mercy," though the pillars of heaven fall.
It is further contended that, if the General Conference should make slaveholding a test of membership, the preachers will not attempt to
carry it out in slaveholding territory. Very well. Then the responsibility will rest on the preachers and members of that particular locality. The church at large and the Discipline would be free from slaveholding taint; and brethren at the North and West would no longer have their cheeks mantled with shame, when infidels point to the Discipline as it is, and prove that it allows men to hold human beings in ignorance and slavery, and will them at death to ungodly relatives, who may sell them as oxen. Let no man in the ministry or laity of the M. E. Church leave her communion because her Discipline is not yet perfect; but let him pray and labor, and lift up his voice against the abominations of chattel slavery, till a sound public opinion shall blow it away like chaff before the whirlwind.
Some fifteen years ago, the roll of the Philadelphia Conference was called, and each member, as his name was announced, was required to answer the following question: "Are you a slaveholder?" When my name was called, I made my first and nearly my last speech before the Conference. In my remarks I used this expression,
that I would lose my right arm sooner than be a voluntary slaveholder. When I sat down, the Rev. Robert Emory, whom I had never seen before, made his way toward me, and putting his arm affectionately around me, inquired if this was Bro. Long. I answered in the affirmative, when he introduced himself very good-humoredly. Whether he was pleased with the sentiments I had expressed, I cannot say. This was the first and last time I ever spoke to him.
Since that time, the question has never been put, "Are you a slaveholder?" but another one has been substituted, and put to young preachers about to be received into the Conference: "Are you an abolitionist?" Is it not time to recur to the old question, "Are you a slaveholder?" I feel in my inmost soul that an awful storm cloud is gathering over the Philadelphia Conference. The feeling may be from earth--a morbid apprehension. It may be from Heaven. Nevertheless, I have the impression. Preachers brought up in Pennsylvania, who may be anti-slavery in their principles, are trammeled when they go into slave territory. They must own or
deny Christ with regard to slavery pretty soon; for things have come to that point that slaveholders want to know your sentiments soon after you arrive on the circuit. If the preacher denies his antislavery principles, he is a self-disgraced man at the bar of his own conscience. If he confesses them, he must leave, or be annoyed all the time. If he sells his principles for a wife or good salary, he becomes the worst of pro-slavery preachers. All apostates pursue this course. The fact is, the Philadelphia Conference has humored and compromised with slavery in Delaware and Maryland so long, that it is now unmanageable. The cry is stronger than ever, "The Discipline as it is!" And if the General Conference should ever make non-slaveholding and non-slave-breeding a test of membership, the Eastern Shore of Maryland will go to the Church South. And this after all the indulgence the North has shown toward the Border brethren; and after losing thousands of members in the free States, every year perhaps, because the Discipline allows private members to hold their fellow-creatures as chattels. And if a separation takes place, it will engender more bad feeling than it would have done in 1844.
THE colored people are remarkable for their reverence and respect for the public worship of God, notwithstanding their keen sense of the mirthful and ridiculous. On one occasion, however, I saw them lose their gravity, and show their white teeth in spite of themselves. In the second year of my ministry, in the month of May or June, in a beautiful grove of woods, I attempted to preach for my colored brethren, according to previous engagement. I had recently become the owner of a new hat, and had determined to take good care of it; for in these days I only received $100 per annum, finding my own horse, books, clothes, and traveling expenses. I had placed it immediately behind me. While singing the first hymn, a gentleman, who was a cripple, came riding by in his carriage, and seeing the congregation, concluded to stop and
listen to the sermon. His mare had a young colt, and a saucy fellow he was too. He soon made his way around the outskirts of the assembly; and when we knelt in prayer, he took the opportunity to steal up behind me, and with his mouth grabbed my new hat. The noise attracted my attention, and when I saw the danger my poor hat was in, I confess to the weakness of bringing my prayer to an abrupt close. I made at the colt, who, refusing to drop my hat, ran off to the woods, and I after him. After chasing him some distance, he let it fall, and ran for the carriage. The master, I suppose, shook his sides with laughter. The colored friends could not command their risibles. I made a few remarks in great confusion, and departed, hoping never again to encounter a frolicsome colt under similar circumstances.
In one of the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland, lying immediately on the road to the county town, are the beautiful farm and mansion of Mr. Willard. A spacious lawn leads from the road-gate to the house, with a row of poplars
on both sides. To the right is a large apple orchard, and in the month of May I have seen the ground literally covered with blossoms, the air redolent with their perfume; the bluebird, cat-bird, robin-redbreast, and wren, pouring forth sweetest music; while the mockingbird seemed to take pleasure in tantalizing the whole feathered company. I spent ten pleasant months under the hospitable roof of Mr. Willard, who was a member of the M. E. Church, having joined it in those days when it was considered wrong to hold slaves for life. He made it a rule to manumit all his slaves at a certain age, and he had already set free quite a number of them. Mrs. Willard was a member of the Presbyterian Church; and as she has passed away, in the hope of a glorious immortality, I feel at liberty to speak of her many virtues. "'Tis distance that lends enchantment" to the admiration we feel for many professors of religion; while close intimacy and observation are destructive of all respect for their character. Not so with Mrs. Willard. As time rolled on, some new and lovely trait would show itself, as a star appears in the heavens when darkness
comes on. To her, Christ was all and in all. She had dignity without stiffness, humility without weakness, and cheerfulness without levity. She had the most profound reverence for the name of God, and his holy Sabbath. She dressed plainly, and despised show and pretense. It gave her pleasure to impart happiness to others. As the mistress of her house, she ate not the bread of idleness. From garret to cellar, from parlor to kitchen, every thing passed under her notice. She did not encourage her servants in tattling and tale-bearing, and meddling with their neighbors' affairs. Nor did she indulge them one day, and have them cowhided the next. She neither scolded nor fretted. She was not a saint in the parlor, and a termagant in the kitchen. She cared for the temporal and spiritual interests of those over whom the Lord had made her mistress. Her female servants had rooms to themselves. Her kitchen was not a place where licentiousness called down the judgments of heaven. Her servants loved her, and treated her with great respect. She treated me as a son, and I loved her as a mother. She was a fine specimen of a true Maryland
lady; and as a mistress and a Christian wife and mother, I have never known her superior.
Physicians, as a class, are equal to any profession in intellectual culture, humanity, and accomplished manners. The Christian ministry are greatly indebted to them for their professional services to themselves and families, and for the kindness and cheerfulness with which their labors are bestowed, and always free of charge. The Doctors of Medicine of the United States give away annually to the clergy not less, perhaps, than $100,000 in professional services, besides contributing in money, for charitable purposes, as much as any other class according to their wealth. Personally, I am specially indebted to them for their kindness to me in various sections of the country, having for years suffered from bilious affections and bleeding of the lungs. Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Methodist physicians have treated me with equal attention and Christian kindness. Had they charged me for their services the same rates paid by those unconnected with the
ministry, I could not have supported my family. A braver set of men have never lived. The hero meets death with sword and plume. The presence of brave comrades and the soul-stirring strains of martial music, nerve him for the contest. The approving smile of his government rests upon him, and the pen of the historian is ready to embalm his name on the pages of his country's history. Who could not die thus? The physician coolly meets the pestilence at the midnight hour, in the lone cabin, or in the alleys of crowded cities, while the darts of death are flying thick around him. If he survives, it is regarded as a mere business transaction, and his noblest sacrifices and impulses are set down to the account of dollars and cents. If he dies, the grave too often covers his fame and name among men. In the South, colored people, free or slave, are treated kindly by physicians in their professional capacity. No hut is too lowly for them to enter. In this respect, they put to shame many preachers, and Bible and Tract agents, who avoid the hut of the negro, but visit the white man next door. What preacher ever thinks, in his pastoral visits
among his flock, of calling and praying with his despised sheep? Yet surely they need his pastoral attention more than any other class committed to his care.
An educated farmer, who was a native of one of the Southern States, and a member of the M. E. Church, related to me his experience with regard to slavery and emancipation, in substance as follows: He owned several valuable slaves when he began his farming, and treated them with great kindness; but soon his troubles commenced. One slave would come to him with charges against another. He did not know which to believe. Things would be stolen. His slaves would idle away their time when they could. The farmer would often find meat and potatoes secreted about the premises in a decayed condition; an evidence that they were not wanted by the thief, when stolen. He at last detected one of the thieves, and threatened to sell him; but his wife interceded, and he forgave him. Yet theft was as common as ever. He
was worried and perplexed, yet did not despair. He looked into his own bosom, and found that Hope was the motive-power of his actions; that his labors were stimulated by the prospect of reward, of something that he could call his own. Applying this to the slave, he said to himself: "He is a man of like passions with myself. He works under the influence of despair and force. He has no motive to be honest or to labor." It then occurred to him that the system must be wrong; contrary to the whole nature of man. He determined to set his slaves free at a certain age. He called them all together, and told them what he had determined to do; and proposed to them that, at the commencement of the New Year, he wished them all to become partners with him in farming. He was to have so much for his part of the produce of the farm, and the balance was to be divided equally among themselves; and he knew, if they would be industrious, they might lay up money, so that, when they were free, they would have something to commence business with for themselves.
They cheerfully agreed to the proposition.
He said that he never saw such a change as that which followed. There was no more stealing; and if one commenced to idle his time, the others would tell him that it was not fair for them to do the work, while he shared the produce equally with themselves. So to work he would go.
The master began to experience what happiness was, and made more money than he did before. Several of his slaves became men of property and usefulness among the free colored community. Said a gentleman of Alabama to me: "You may imagine our fears, on our large plantations of 300 or 400 negroes, where frequently there are not more than ten or twelve white persons." Had that gentleman set them free, and given them a certain portion of the cotton crop, he might have slept sweetly, without any fear of the midnight assassin.
In all our county towns are located negro-traders or their agents. If any one doubts this fact, let him read their advertisements in the county papers. Thursdays and Saturdays are
the public days in the towns. A great deal of property is sold from various parts of the county at Court House doors, at sheriff's sale. At these auctions, numbers of slaves are sold. The trader or his agent is always present. He also attends the public vendues of deceased persons, where hogs, mules, horses, and negroes are sold. He is also very attentive to private calls from men at their houses. When he has collected a drove of negroes, he starts for the South. Such are the facilities for travel now, that he does not collect so great a number at a time as formerly.
If the reader will take a good map of Maryland, he will find that the Pocomoke River divides Worcester from Somerset County, for more than twenty miles above its mouth. A traveler wishing to go to Norfolk, Va., from Princess Anne, the county town of Somerset, would have to cross this river at the Ferry about a mile above New Town, through which he must pass to Eastville, Va., and thence to Norfolk. To the Ferry my father removed in 1824, where he had bought property. It was here that I spent several years of my life. It was here that I witnessed some of the scenes
which I will now attempt to describe, and which are so deeply pictured on my memory as to cast a gloom over the associations of my youthful home.
Picture the following scene, which I have often witnessed: One or two negro-buyers, mounted on horses, with pistols peeping from their pockets, with large loaded whips in their hands, and cursing the slaves with deep oaths. A large two or four-horse wagon, laden with women and children. Negro men walking, handcuffed and chained around the ankle, two and two; and when the two men were not of the same height, the chains were very painful; or, if the negro was very large, the foot-cuff too small for his ankle, he suffered great agony. I have seen them, at the Ferry, under the necessity of violating the decencies of nature before the women, not being permitted to retire. The first drove I saw, after the love of Christ was shed abroad in my heart, caused me to wring my hands in deep agony. It cast a gloom over me for several days. Slaves from Somerset County could follow their friends as far as the Ferry; here they had to part. Here I have
seen mothers part with their children, and brothers with their sisters. Here I have heard them bid adieu thus: "Farewell, mother;" "farewell, child;" "farewell, John;" "farewell, Bill;" and then rend the air with their cries and lamentations. Dear reader, is it unreasonable that I should feel deeply on this subject? This infamous traffic is still carried on in every part of Maryland, but not in so vulgar a manner. The slaves are conveyed in close carriages to the steamboats, via Baltimore. It is a shameful fact that, in the South, church-members are constantly selling church-members, professed saints selling real ones, and infidels selling the members of Christ's body. Barter and traffic in temples of the Holy Ghost are carried on. Native Americans sell Native Americans; white Whigs and Democrats sell black Whigs and Democrats (for slaves generally profess the politics of their masters); and all this is done in the "land of the free, and the home of the brave." What is the fountain that feeds all these streams of negro-droves, outrages, indecencies, handcuffs and blighting separations of the dearest relations of life? The relation of owner and slave. Who furnishes
the material for these slave factories? The man who breeds them, lets them be sold for his debts, wills them to his children, or gives them away during his lifetime, that they may be sold.
In a dense pine woods were a small lot of cleared ground, and a hut built of pine logs with clay chimney. The earthen floor was often sprinkled with clean white sand. A few peach-trees surrounded the cabin. Near by was a spring of sweet water. Here the mocking-bird sang his wild notes, and the owl woke the slumbering echoes of the night. Every thing in the inclosure seemed contented. The pig ate, grunted, and slept. The cow lay chewing her cud. The watch-dog whined in his daydreams outside the hut in a sunny corner; and puss lay stretched in the fire-place within. In summer time, after morning class and preaching, might have been seen an aged couple, sitting at the door of their tent--Uncle Levi and his wife. Levi was a slave in law, but never in spirit. The master who owned him in his old age,
treated him with great kindness and respect. He was the patriarch of the great home plantation. He was converted under the first Methodist preacher that visited Maryland.
Levi has now passed into the heavens. When I saw him last, his form was erect; his white hair gave him a venerable appearance. He was a remarkable man in his moral tone. He was rigidly honest and truthful. He had not tasted liquor since his conversion. He would not go in debt. He spent all his leisure time in cultivating his lot; and, enjoying remarkable health, he was regular at church. He related to me substantially the following incident in his history. When he joined the Methodist Society, he was taught that to drink spirituous liquor was a sin, except in cases of necessity. Harvest time came. All the hands drank but himself. His master observed that he refused to drink. He wanted to know the reason. Uncle Levi informed him that he was a Methodist, and it was wrong for him to drink. He told his master that he "did more work now than when he drank." His master said "he should drink." He refused. His master got into a rage and
ordered the hands to tie him. His master had a glass of liquor pressed to his mouth, but Levi closed his lips. Sending to the house for his gun, his master loaded it in his presence. He had the bosom of his slave laid bare, and gave him a short time to decide whether he would obey. If he did not, he told him he would shoot him on the spot, for rebellion. Levi replied that he could not sin against Christ, and that he was willing to be shot. He was convinced that his master would do what he said; but, just at the critical moment, a friend rode up, and inquired what was the matter; took the gun from the infuriated man; and, finding that Levi did not mean to disobey his master in things lawful, soon brought about a reconciliation. Ever afterward his master loved and respected him.
Here was a noble instance of the martyr spirit. Such was Uncle Levi. There was no power in chattel slavery to make him do a thing that he thought was contrary to the will of heaven. And to be a Christian, every slave must be ready to die at any time.
WHAT a mad dog is on the crowded thoroughfare--what a heretic is in Spain--what a Republican is in Russia, the abolitionist is in the Slave States.
Many good but timid men fear and tremble at the very thought of being branded as an abolitionist. This one word of twelve letters has done more to kill off the antislavery feeling of the South, in church and state, than any other in the English language. The slaveholder will not stop to define it. That would defeat his object. The term is now applied to men of the purest Christian faith and morals.
Let it be known that you believe slavery to be a sin; that you mean what you say, then take care. Once let a negro-catcher, or a grog-shop politician, point you out, and say, as you walk the streets "There goes an abolitionist!"
you are at the mercy of the mob, unless your wealth and political influence shield you. A Methodist slaveholder, who was defending his right to hold slaves, said to me, "I hear that you are an abolitionist." "Sir," I replied, "if you mean by abolitionist one that would persuade a slave to run a way from his master, or cut his master's throat, then I am not an abolitionist; but, if you mean one who believes it a sin to hold one's fellow-beings in bondage, then I am an abolitionist."
I could relate a bitter experience on this subject, giving dates and places; but I forbear. Ofttimes has the lip of contempt and the eye of vengeance met my glance, the vulgar jest and obscene allusion saluted my ears, as the "negro preacher" passed along. I have known good men, who would not hold slaves, when questioned upon the subject, say, "I am no abolitionist." There is one thing that gives me pleasure, in view of a dying hour and the judgment-seat of Christ,--that I have not quailed before the oppressors of the African race. I believe that, on the subject of slavery and religion, there is no neutral ground. Opposition to slavery
"in the abstract" will not do before Heaven, and will not do much longer before men. The conservatives will have to quit blowing hot and cold, and must take a decided position one way or the other.
Slavery produces laziness, and laziness begets tale-bearing and tattling. This is natural. If people will not labor either with their hands or head, or both, in useful employment, they will use their tongues about other people's business. The masses of the South are not readers. Yet they have all the natural talent and inquisitiveness of the people of New England, without their industry, books, and periodicals to supply the demand for intellectual stimulus. Hence there is necessarily more "small talk" in the South than in the North. Many of the slaves are perfect adepts in it; yet they are wholly irresponsible. It is considered dishonorable for persons to break friendship on what is called "nigger news." Yet it is done; and the difficulty is that you cannot reconcile the parties, for the one that believes the negro testimony is
ashamed to avow the authorship of the mischief, and the other party remains in ignorance of the cause of the altered conduct of his friend. This is a feature of Southern society, arising out of slavery, which I have not seen alluded to by any writer on the subject. But experience as a pastor has taught me the lesson. Neighbors often get to know the family secrets of one another through their servants, to the great annoyance and mortification of high-minded gentlemen and ladies, who abominate and detest tattling in all persons and classes. Masters and mistresses are frequently not careful in talking before some half-grown negro girl, who pretends to be snoring fast asleep in the chimney corner; and some servants, finding that tattling pleases their mistresses, become quite skillful in manufacturing stories about their neighbors, in order to minister to this morbid curiosity.
Example--Scene first and last.
Mrs. Slouchy. "Nell, run right quick and
tell Mrs. Twaddle to come over and spend the afternoon with me; tell her she must be sure and come, and bring her snuff-box with her."
Nell goes, running with all speed. Mrs. Twaddle comes immediately.
Mrs. Slouchy. "How are you, Mrs. Twaddle? I am so glad to see you. I have been thinking about you the whole blessed day. Right smart and cold to-day, Mrs. Twaddle; take a seat by the fire. Nell, you can go after your cow, and cut some wood for the night. Nell, get the spittoon before you go. Mrs. Twaddle, did you bring your snuff-box?"
Mrs. Twaddle. "O yes, Mrs. Slouchy; I never go without it."
Mrs. Slouchy. "Tush! now, let's have a rub of snuff."
The box is passed round. The gums and jaw-teeth are carefully plastered with it by the insertion of the right fore-finger; and then the salivating and spitting commence.
Mrs. Slouchy. "Mrs. Twaddle, have you heard the report about Mr. Sodawater?"
Mrs. Twaddle. "No; what is it?"
Mrs. Slouchy. "Now, if you be sure and not
let it be known, even to your husband, I will tell you."
Mrs. Twaddle. "O, do tell me; I will never whisper it."
Mrs. Slouchy. "Well, it's 'nigger news;' yet I believe niggers can tell the truth sometimes, as well as any person else. Well, my Nell ran over last night to see Mr. Sodawater's Nance, and Bob and Bill live there. Now, I told Nell not to stay long; but she came poking home about one o'clock, and I told her if she did so again, I would cowskin her. You know, Mrs. Twaddle, that it is hard to keep negro girls from running about at night; but 'niggers will be niggers;' but I would not care about it if it was not that I don't want to be bothered with her brats crying and squalling in the kitchen. She has as much as she can do to attend to the family.
"Lah me, Mrs. Twaddle! give me some more snuff. I liked to have forgot what I was talking about. Now I remember. Mr. Sodawater's Nance told my Nell that her master came home drunk last night, and his face was bloody where he fell down, and his wife had a great time with him."
Mrs. Twaddle. "Dear me, what is the world coming to! Why, he is my class-leader. Well, well, I always thought he was a hypocrite, and I have said that he would come to some bad end."
Enter MISS TRUTHFUL.
Miss Truthful. "How are you, ladies? I thought I would step in a moment and give you a good religious tract. I have just called on Bro. Sodawater, and I suppose you have heard of his misfortune."
Mrs. Slouchy. "What is it?"
Miss Truthful. "In returning from his office last night, he attempted to part two drunken rowdies that were fighting, and they turned on him and beat him very badly."
Exit Miss Truthful.
Twaddle hastily gets her bonnet, and goes home.
MRS. SLOUCHY AND NELL.
Mrs. Slouchy. "Nell, how came you to tell that story on Mr. Sodawater?"
Nell. "Why, missis, Nance told me so; indeed she did."
I was appointed preacher in charge on--Circuit. Soon after my arrival on the circuit, I was informed that Brother A., one of the most talented and influential men in that part of the country, had sold one or two of his negroes. It was also stated that there was no proof against him, though the negroes were missing; and that the church was suffering in consequence of the report, as it was believed to be true. I was also informed that, if I attempted to investigate the charge, trouble might be expected; that the transgressor was a "rough man to handle;" and that he had never been defeated in any trial.
I was told that, some years previously, he had sold a young negro-man. He sent the poor fellow to the negro buyer alone, with a letter. The letter was to inform the trader that the bearer was the boy sold; and when the unfeeling savage attempted to tie him, he fought bravely, supposing that the purchaser was a kidnapper, exclaiming, "My master don't know that you are taking me away!" And such was his confidence in his master's word, it
was impossible to convince him that he had been thus meanly sold; and he went South under the impression that he was kidnapped, and that his master did not know what had become of him. For this act he had been tried before the church, when, by his overbearing temper, he frightened preacher and committee, and was acquitted.
Now, what was to be done? I was a stranger, so debilitated with chills and fever that all excitement had a tendency to prostrate me. And, since my arrival on the circuit, this gentleman had shown me the utmost kindness. My wife was sick, and I was pressed down with care. But conscience asserted her rights; and when I thought of the oppressed ones, I determined to investigate the affair. I knew, if I did any thing at all, I must do it quickly. No member of the church would stand responsible for any thing. Determined to assume the responsibility, I drew up a charge specifying the offence, and sent it to him in a letter, over my own name, requesting him to meet me, before a Committee of seven, the next week. He promised to comply. The appointed time came. It was the day my chills came on,
and I rode to the place of meeting with enfeebled body and heavy heart. The Committee met at the time agreed upon, and Mr. A. was there also. Knowing the Committee to be ignorant men, he felt certain of an easy victory. He received me with great kindness; but I could detect a lurking smile of contempt for the sick preacher and the ignorant Committee. He evidently anticipated a complete triumph, and was preparing to rejoice. We opened the business with prayer; and before I had time to state the object of the meeting, he arose, opened the letter I had sent him containing the charge, and with the most contemptuous scowl I ever witnessed, commenced a speech. He addressed himself to me substantially as follows:
"May it please your Reverence: You have preferred a charge against me, and summoned me to appear before this Committee, on mere report, without any proof whatever; and I here let you know that you cannot compel me to testify against myself. Now prove to this Committee, if you can, that I sold the woman and child. I ask for proof, and defy you to do any thing without it." He took his seat.
The Committee were alarmed, and commenced to speak one to another, saying, "There is no proof; we will have to acquit him:" &c. &c.
I arose and addressed him thus: "Bro. A.: I am aware that you are not required to confirm yourself before a civil tribunal; but you are now before a Committee of your brethren, who cannot allow the truth to be suppressed and our church injured by technicalities of law. Report says you are guilty of the crime specified. Your reputation is suffering; the Church of Christ is suffering; and we have brought the matter here for a fair and full investigation, and for the good of all concerned. Now, if you will say that you have not sold her, and that she is at home, then the matter will drop, and we will go out into the community and defend you; but if you have sold her, then don't stand here quibbling about proof. As an honest Christian man, you ought to affirm or deny the charge."
He immediately arose and said: "I sold her; more than I designed to admit when I came here; and I shall not tell you any thing about the circumstances under which I sold her."
He contended that he had not broken the
Discipline in selling her. He explained the rule, which reads thus, "the buying and selling of men, women, and children, with an intention to enslave them," to mean, "trading in negroes."
I differed from him. The Committee brought in a verdict of guilty on his own admission, and I expelled him. He refused to appeal to the Quarterly Conference. I expected that he would be exceedingly angry; but he was calm after hearing the decision, and continued to hear me preach till his death. I had the satisfaction to know that he entertained no unkind feelings, for he remarked to a friend that I had done my duty. If he had refused to acknowledge the fact of the sale, he could have remained in the church.
Now, I say, from my observation and experience, that a member of the church can evade the rule about buying and selling in numerous ways; and that the only true course is to strike at negro-breeding in the church. Let no slaveholder into the church. Let him not be sheltered by the Discipline. It is impossible, in this wicked world, that any church or society should have all good men in it. Some persons
belonging to every Christian church may swear and get drunk; but they cannot do it, and appeal to their church manuals as guaranteeing them the right to do so.
If we had a rule excluding slaveholders, we might still have members who would advocate slavery as something right and just, and vote for men that will sustain it; yet they could not appeal to the Church Discipline, and say, "This book gives me the right to do so; and you cannot put me out for holding in bondage my fellow-beings." As the Discipline now is, men can breed slaves for their children and grand-children; and, when no white person is present, sell them with impunity. I could give facts of recent occurrence; but I forbear. This thing is done in all the churches in slave territory that I am acquainted with, except among the Friends or Quakers.
We find it impossible, from the nature of their condition, to exercise church-discipline over slaves for fornication or adultery. We have to leave them to the judgment of the All-seeing
Eye. White members cannot be expelled from the church unless tried by a committee of lay brethren. But slaves are taken in and expelled at the will of their class-leaders; and this is the best that can be done under the circumstances. Pastors have no right to summon a slave to trial, or as a witness, from the work of his master. And as many slaves are guilty of the crime, they will not inform against each other. If they do inform, they get no credit from their master, and are sure to be hated by their fellow-slaves. Masters have the power to drive from her house the husband of his slave woman, and compel her to take any colored man they please. Their power overrides all church authority. Pastors cannot visit a dying or sick slave, no matter how much the slave desires it, unless the master gives permission. A slave boy may disobey his father, and yet that father dare not correct him if the master forbids it. Chattel slavery and licentiousness are inseparable; and he who defends the one must defend the other.
Methodist preachers teach that men ought
to cease from evil at once. "Behold, now is the accepted time! To-morrow may be too late!" When should we set our slaves free? Now? All under forty or forty-five years? Immediately. A brother preacher related to me the following anecdote.
At a camp-meeting, a brother was leading in prayer, and among other petitions he prayed the Lord to curtail the power of the Devil. A poor African, behind the pulpit, who perhaps had seen pictures of the devil with a long tail and hoofs, misapprehended the meaning of the word curtail, and responded, "Amen! may it be cut right, smack, smooth, short off." The poor colored man was opposed to cutting a piece off at a time. He wanted short work made of it, and smooth at that.
A TRAVELER from the North will be struck with the number of captains, colonels, majors, and generals in the South, in proportion to the white population. We should honor those to whom honor is due. The soldier by education and profession, or who has suffered and fought for his country, is worthy of his titles; but it is unfair and absurd for men in civil life, farmers, merchants, mechanics and lawyers, who have never smelt gunpowder, except when shooting crows, blackbirds and partridges, to claim and share the titles of regular military officers. Doctors are generally satisfied with the title which their profession confers. Unless a lawyer becomes a judge, he has no title, and remains a simple "Esquire." Some lawyers are very fond of being "coloneled," by way of breaking the monotony of their life. Perhaps there
is one advantage in having so many colonels: it may keep the poor whites in awe of their superiors, and serve to scare the negroes.
There are several colleges in the South, but many of them are no better than first-class academies in the North. Almost every county town of 1000 inhabitants has an academy, principally for the sons of the rich. Very little provision is made for the education of the poor. The school-houses are lonely, desolate, wretched-looking, one-story buildings, situated with no regard to shade, convenience, or play-grounds. What windows! what doors! what benches without backs! what fine places to give the boys and girls spinal diseases and consumption! There is not much difficulty in raising money in the South for a barbecue, or to procure pine and hickory poles and flags, or to buy whisky, for political purposes; but when funds are wanted for a library, to build a school-house, or to increase the salary of a school-teacher--that is quite another question.
A common-school teacher does not occupy a
very high social position in public estimation. A "gentleman horse-jockey" stands head and shoulders above him. The rich generally educate their children at home, until old enough to send to college or boarding-school. The instructors of youth should occupy as honorable a position in society as any other class of men. Until this is the case, our progress in civilization and useful learning will not be rapid.
I confess that I have felt trammeled in the South while making missionary speeches. If I described Africa without the knowledge of letters and the Bible, and urged the importance of sending the living teacher, I saw in the galleries before me men who had grown up in our families, and under the shadow of our school-houses and churches, without any effort having been made to open to their immortal minds the more than golden treasure of the words of Jesus. I knew these men had equal claims upon the church with their brethren in Africa. Frequently the offerings of their masters were the product of their own involuntary earnings.
A sense of shame has come over me for these inconsistencies, and paralyzed my efforts. If a minister devotes much of his time to them, and manifests much interest in their welfare, he may get the name of "negro preacher;" and as he passes by a crowd of miserable loafers, he will hear one say. "That man's got the nigger mania; he's just fit to preach to niggers!" and even his superiors in office may give him a few cold, discouraging hints. Forsaken by the church, persecuted by the world, and disliked by the immoral negroes themselves, the man of God can look only to Heaven for support and encouragement. But let a man go to Africa, and his labors for the negro are lauded to the skies by young orators at our missionary anniversaries. I am not opposing foreign missions[.] I am trying to rebuke that sickly religious zeal that can cry over the condition of the negro in Africa, and yet have no sympathy for the unfortunate condition of those in America.
I had rather be the pastor of a congregation in a free State than be a presiding elder or a
bishop. For this reason. The office of an elder or bishop would deprive me of the duties and pleasures of the pastorate. To be surrounded with a kind flock, to weep when they weep, to rejoice when they rejoice, to build up when tempted, to console in distress, is to my mind the acme of human felicity. The weakest and most obscure of the flock should have access to their best earthly friend, and pour into his ear, if they desire it, their troubles, their doubts, and their temptations. But chattel slavery raises barriers between the pastors and the slave that are seldom, if ever, crossed. If the slaves are maltreated by their masters, they fear to go to their preachers with their trouble. If the masters were to know of their servants making complaints, both preacher and slave would fare badly, for both are in the hands of the master. Slaveholders, united, can starve the preacher and sell the slaves. The whole truth of the matter is, there is no such thing as the pastorate in the South between the white preacher and slaves, and never can be, from the nature of slave society and its consequences. If the preacher is pro-slavery, the slaves will never come to him,
for they look upon him as an ally of the master; consequently, have no faith in his religion.
"My country, right or wrong," said a brother preacher in my presence. I pronounce this a bad maxim, full of the poison of evil. My country and my church, when right. When wrong, I will pray for their reformation; and, if need be, cry aloud and show them their sins and abominations. Suppose a father were to say to his sons that he intended to stand by them, right or wrong; suppose a pastor were say to his congregation, "I will justify you, no matter what sins you commit" --what would be thought of such a father and such a minister? This dangerous American maxim is too much acted out by individuals and States.
This idea was suggested to me by a gentleman who stated that he was present when a slave was sold to the traders. A pair of scales being in the house, some of the party weighed the body of the slave, and made a calculation
of the price of the slave per pound. A young colored man will bring from seven to eight dollars per pound at this time, and bright mulatto girls a little more. Beef cattle from seven to eight cents per pound.
In the days of my youthful inexperience, I concluded that those who shed the most tears, and used the best language while relating their religious experience, had most piety. My views were modified from the following painful incident: One of the most eloquent men I ever heard speak in class-meeting was a colored man. He would relate his experience with great force and power, while large tears would roll down his cheeks. But he fell from his high estate. He stole a hog, confessed it, and was sentenced to the penitentiary. Gifts and grace are not always found together in black or white.
I was discussing, with an acquaintance who was a slaveholder, that feature of Popery which forbids freedom of speech where it has the
power to do it, and referred to Italy, where a man is not allowed to preach against Popery publicly. "Very true," said he; "but you know, very well, that there is no freedom of speech in Maryland. You know that we would not permit you to preach against slavery publicly. A man can do it in Massachusetts, but not here." He closed my mouth effectually. I felt that it was true. I said no more to him about Popery. Slavery and popery are twin sisters.
Of late years, the question of slavery meets you everywhere; and the time is very near when woe be unto that man who shall attempt to occupy neutral ground upon the subject. Discussing the question of slavery with a distinguished son of Virginia, he defended the entire system, even the separation of parents and children. I suggested that his views were in opposition to those expressed by Washington and Henry. He admitted the fact, and added that "any well-instructed Virginia lad was better informed upon that subject than they were." As a matter of course, the conversation then
ceased. The immortal Washington emancipated all his negroes at his death; and if all the great slaveholders of Virginia had followed his example, the Old Dominion would not now be the fourth State in the Union. Virginia is remarkable for having given birth to more Presidents than any other State. She gave the first President to this great Republic. Ex-president Roberts, the first President of the Republic of Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, is also a native of Virginia. Maryland has given birth to but one president, and he is a "Black Republican;" we allude to President Benson, the present chief-magistrate of Liberia.
It has ever been the practice of the world, and worldly churches, to extol the martyrs of the past, to build tombs and monuments to their memory, and to despise and persecute the martyrs of the present. I have no doubt that those who burned John Rogers at the stake at Smithfield, were great admirers of St. Stephen. It has forcibly struck me, in reading the lives of martyrs, ancient and modern, that they were
never put to death by their persecutors for doing good works, or for loving their Creator with all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves, but for meddling with politics, for violating the laws of the land, or for speaking against the customs and prejudices of their country! Our Divine Saviour was crucified on the charge of treason--of trying to overthrow the government of Cæsar. When Stephen was stoned to death, his enemies did not admit that it was for his goodness, but for speaking against the law of Moses and the custom of the Jews. The Jews despised the Gentiles as much as an American does a negro. And in these last days the test of martyrdom is opposition to slavery.
My father took great pleasure in raising bees. He had one swarm that no kindness and attention could tame or conciliate. There was a very self-conceited colored man in his employ, who boasted that he could rob them without being stung. He insisted that it was one's clothes that irritated bees, and that he would rob them for a given price. The bargain was made, and
Arnold commenced, with his shirt off, in good earnest. He took the hive down, knocked off the head, and in a moment the bees swarmed on his neck and head, putting hundreds of stings in his black skin. As he had boasted so much of his skill, he endured it for some time, while I--then a boy--was rolling over in the garden, convulsed with laughter. Finally, nature could endure the agony no longer. Arnold gave a groan of despair, dropped his tub, sprang like a deer over the railing of the garden and plunged into the river to drown his tormentors.
The spirit of slavery, like that hive of bees, cannot be tamed. You may take your hat off to it, and your shirt also; but it will not do. It will sting its best friends as well as its deadliest enemies. It must be drowned in the river of life and in the ocean of righteousness.
I was brought up only a few miles from Accomac County, Virginia. There was considerable trouble there some years ago, upon the slavery question. It is reported that peace reigns again on the Border. I trust it has a good basis. I
would not augment the trouble of any real anti-slavery man, if such there be. But I have my fears. I was conversing with a brother on the troubles of the church. He stood by the M. E. Church through all her difficulties. At the close of the conversation, said I, "Brother, are you a slaveholder?" He replied that he was. "Do you intend to free yourself from slavery?" He answered that he did not intend so to do.
I believe that, as a church, we offer the same facilities to our members for negro-breeding, for the holding of slaves for life, and for devising them to relatives, as the M. E. Church South does. We leave it with our members to decide for themselves. But, says a preacher on the Border: "If I were to hint to my class-leaders and stewards that holding slaves as chattels for life was a sin, they would run me off, and the M. E. Church South would get our members. It is only by allowing our members the privileges enjoyed by our Southern brethren, we can maintain our ground." If these are the conditions upon which we are to maintain our ground, the sooner we give it up the better. We can go to China and Turkey, and preach salvation
to all persons without being molested. If you are persecuted in one city, you can flee to another. I suppose we cannot preach the Gospel in Rome or Spain; and, until we can preach the truth there, we had better wait till God in his providence opens our way. No real antislavery preacher can be wholly silent on this subject. If he is silent, his own manhood begins to sink in slavery. One who is thoroughly pro-slavery in sentiment is not fit to preach to any people. One or two years ago I was visiting near the Border, and I remarked to an acquaintance that, if I resided there, I would get up a Sabbath-school among the negroes. He answered that it would not be allowed; "he should mark me as an abolitionist." I told him, if I had the opportunity the effort would be made.
The American nation may be compared to a building or temple on fire. Chattel slavery is the fire consuming the building. The antislavery men are running with engine and hose to arrest the flames, and, if possible, to save the
building. Here comes a Southern pro-slavery man, as hoarse as if he had wool in his throat, and exclaims, "What is the matter here? Let the fire alone; it's none of your business! So clear yourselves!" "But it is our business," reply the antislavery men. "The fire will not only consume the southern portion of the building, but will spread to the northern part, and burn us all out of house and home." "No danger of this," says a northern pro-slavery man, choked up with cotton. "Let it alone, and slavery will die out of itself; agitation only makes it worse; the more water you pour on it, the fiercer it burns, because it is like no other kind of fire in the universe." Other kinds of fire may be quenched with water, all other subjects may be agitated, but this must not be disturbed. If you wish to put down swearing, you must preach against it. If you wish to put down drunkenness, you must hold up the evil effects of intoxication. If a merchant wants to sell goods, he must advertise in the newspapers. Every thing must be agitated but slavery. Just let it alone, and it will increase at the rate of 100,000 slaves yearly, or 1,000,000
every ten years, and die out of itself, especially in Texas; and when the slave-trade is reopened in Africa, and the Southern newspapers, books and pulpits are teeming with arguments in its defense, it will die out. O yes, it will die out of itself!
Crows are very numerous in some of the slave States, and are about as profitable to any section of country as slavery itself. It was on a cold, raw, winter afternoon, while visiting at the house of a friend, that I was standing at the window fronting a spacious yard. A large flock of crows, apparently driven by hunger, alighted near the window. My curiosity was greatly excited at seeing a white bird among them. I could not imagine what kind of bird it was. I perceived that it was of the same size as the crows, and walked about the yard, and picked up its food in the same manner as the other birds. I was satisfied that it was of the same species. The gentleman of the house came in, when I exclaimed, "Here is a white crow!" "O yes," said he, "I often see it."
A genuine antislavery man is as easily distinguished among his fellow-citizens in the slave States, as this white crow was among his black companions.
The modern slave-trade on the western coast of Africa originated in the Roman Catholic Church.
Slavery on the continent of America is the daughter of Rome.
"In 1442, Gonzales returned from a second voyage of two years and a half, and brought with him ten slaves and gold-dust.
"This was the first gold, and these were the first slaves ever taken from the western shore of Africa, and may therefore be regarded as the beginning of that inhuman traffic in men which has continued with scarcely any interruption for more than four centuries. The slaves were presented by Prince Henry to Pope Martin the Fifth, who thereupon conferred upon Portugal the right of possession and sovereignty over all the country that might be discovered between Cape Bojador and the East Indies.
"In accepting these slaves, the pope gave his
sanction to the iniquitous transaction by which they were taken; but it would be difficult to say whether he was guilty of greater injustice in conferring upon Portugal territory over which he had no jurisdiction, and which, as yet, had been but partially discovered, or inhumanity in consigning the whole African race to perpetual servitude."*
The Portuguese, who have ever been the most devoted of Romanists, were the first to engage in the bloody traffic, and will be the last to abandon it. The spirit and laws that mercilessly consign men, women, and children to be helpless chattels, are Popery in its blackest form.
A pro-slavery Protestant, of whatever creed, is just as much opposed to liberty, and will wage as bitter warfare against free discussion, as any Romanist. There is as much liberty in Italy and Austria as in the extreme Southern States of the American Union.
The author of the justly celebrated Kirwan's Letters exposed the abominations of Popery in no very delicate language. If we mistake not, he subsequently visited Italy and Rome without
any personal violence, and I presume he expressed himself freely against Romanism. If he should ever, in his glowing language, picture the heart-sickening and more vulgar abominations of chattel slavery, and afterward visit the extreme South, it would be at his peril; his life would be the forfeit for denouncing that hated institution and defending human rights. Does Romanism forbid the reading of the Protestant Bible by the masses? So does pro-slavery Protestantism forbid the reading of the Bible by the slaves. There is not an accusation that can be sustained against Romanism which will not hold good against pro-slaveryism.
Philip the Second, King of Spain, was one of the most malignant and persecuting princes which the Church of Rome has ever held in communion. The Duke of Alva was a man after his own heart. In the sixteenth century Holland was the United States of Europe, commercially. Protestantism found its way there. Philip, claiming a right to govern these States from his father, the emperor Charles the Fifth of Germany, regarded these Protestants as heretics in the church and traitors in the state; hence he
authorized the Duke of Alva, his great general, to put them to death by most cruel tortures. But those men were charged with crime. We handcuff men and sell them for no charge of crime. Their very virtues and religion are sold to the highest bidder; and their obedience in all things is assigned as the reason why they should bring the highest price.
GOING in debt without a probability of paying frequently brings many sorrows. One of the earliest lessons that my father instilled into my mind was, to be cautious about contracting debts, and to live within my income. Slavery begets a carelessness in business, and this carelessness begets loss of credit and ruin of character. Some of the aristocracy regard it as almost an insult to demand the settlement of an account under six or twelve months. The rich slaveholder often lives beyond his means, and his extravagance falls heavily upon the mechanics and merchants who did his work and furnished his goods on credit. If he is a slaveholder, and engages in the sports of the South, fox-hunt and the gaming-table will swallow up his cash; the merchant must wait, the mechanic may have no means of buying
comforts for his family, and the half-fed slaves may go unclad.
Once, having returned to my native place after an absence of several years, I was walking out alone, when a colored man, whom I had known from my youth, approached me. My heart swelled with joy, for the sight of him reminded me of bygone years. I soon perceived that he did not recognize me. So I suppressed my feelings, and feigned not to know him, to see whether he would discover who I was. I altered my voice, and asked his name. He took off his hat, made a low bow, and seemed confused. I could scarcely restrain my feelings. I then asked him whether he was free, or a slave. He said he was a slave. "What is your master's name?" He told me.
He still did not know me. I asked him if he "ever knew a boy named John D. Long?" His eyes brightened, and he exclaimed, "Why, is this Mass John Dixon! Why, I did not know you, Mass John. I am so glad to see you, Mass John. You don't know how bad I was scared
when I saw you. I took you to be a nigger-buyer or kidnapper, Mass John."
Poor fellow! If I had thought that those were his feelings, I would not have kept him in suspense one moment.
Some pro-slavery orators say the negroes are happy. Not quite so happy as the fox when the hounds are after him, though as happy as a man walking a dark street in New York with money in his pocket, and who expects every moment that he will be seized by some desperado by the throat. The fact is, thousands of slaves, whenever they see a stranger, think they see an enemy in disguise. A sense of insecurity is always resting upon them. They distrust every one, feeling that their pathway is upon quicksand, which may at any moment swallow them down.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" is the "Pilgrim's Progress" of American literature. It struck slavery the heaviest blow it ever received from one hand. It was astonishing how extensively it was read in the South. Every one denounced it. Some said it was "all a pack of lies." Still
all would read it. An intelligent slaveholder was denouncing it in my presence. Said I, "Have you read it?" "No." "Do you get it, and read it before you condemn it." He promised to do so. Some time afterward I saw him. "Have you read 'Uncle Tom'?" "Yes." "How did you like it?" "Well, I read it to my wife and daughter, and we all cried. What puzzled me most about 'Uncle Tom' was, how a Northern woman could draw negro character to life, and speak negro language to perfection!"
Negro-Buyers--Negro-Traders--Georgia-Traders-- Negro-Purchasers. By these four names the dealers in human flesh are designated in the South. "Georgia-trader" is a favorite title among the slaves. I dare not trust myself to describe the extent of my detestation of the moral character and horrible occupation of this class of men. No language is sufficiently strong to paint them in their true colors. Paul uses language, in reference to the old Romans, that comes nearest to that which my subject requires, when he says that they were "filled with all
unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, malignity, haters of God, despiteful, proud, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful." What the captain of a slave-ship is on the ocean these men are on the land. To this day, when I see one of them, a strange sensation thrills me, and my love of human nature is weakened. To the slave population they are regarded as the impersonation of Satan. When slave mothers wish to keep their children quiet, they threaten them with the negro-buyer; and when one of these men is seen riding up to the master's house by the slaves, terror settles on the faces of all the poor creatures. They feel as much alarmed as a hen and her chickens when a hawk flies over a barnyard. And well they may! Negro-buyers respect ministers of the Gospel who hate slavery; and it is my opinion that they have the utmost contempt for those preachers who contend that chattel slavery is right. No man knows better than the negro-buyer the awful sin of slavery. And could you see the terrible death-bed scenes of these men, you would think so too. If I believed that to
sustain the relation of owner and slave was not a sin, I should regard these men as gentlemen. I should welcome them to the pews of our churches. If it is no sin in an Ohio farmer to raise hogs and horses for the eastern market, it is no sin in any man to buy these hogs and horses, and collect them in droves and sell them in our cities. If it is no sin to hold men as horses, it is no sin to sell them; and the man who collects them in droves commits no sin. It is therefore wrong in pro-slavery church members to treat them with disrespect, and to speak contemptuously of their calling. These men are benefactors; they take away the surplus stock of negro chattels; and provide masters with ready money, which enables them to build churches, to contribute to Bible, Tract, and Missionary Societies--to visit Saratoga, Cape May, the Virginia Springs and Newport--to support pro-slavery preachers, Bible agents, and political and religious newspapers!
The first official relation I ever sustained in the M. E. Church was leader of a colored class.
A young colored slave girl, whom I shall call Nancy, was a member of my class. She had been brought up in the house, by her old and young mistresses, who had taken special care of her religious training. Her virtue was above suspicion. She was sold under the following circumstances:--
A man who had married into the family took it upon himself to sell her, without the knowledge or consent of her mistresses. The girl was waylaid and brought over the Ferry to a house near my residence, to await the coming of the negro-buyer. The colored people heard of it, and gave the alarm. I started for the house to see if it were Nancy. I found the house guarded, but without asking permission, walked in-- and, O horrible! Here was this Christian girl, walking up and down the room, crying, and wringing her hands. When she saw me, she exclaimed: "O, Master John! (slaves will call you master, whether you desire it or not,) I am sold! I am sold! My mistresses don't know I am sold; I know they don't. O that I could only see them once more and bid them
farewell. They won't let me get my clothes. O! I am sold! I am sold! What shall I do!"
I said, "Nancy, put your trust in the Lord." I could say no more. I left her. The sight was unendurable. I went to the man who guarded her, and said: "Sir, though there is no human law to punish you for selling this girl, yet God will punish you at the Day of Judgment." He hung his guilty head, and said not a word. She was soon gone to the county town. When she arrived at Richmond, Va., she procured the service of some one to write me a letter, stating that she was on her way South; and thanking me for my kindness, and asking me to pray for her, and give her love to all her friends, and to bid them farewell. This was the last we ever heard of poor Nancy.
One of her young mistresses has since died, with a blessed hope of immortality.
I have often asked myself the question: "Does Nancy still live? Is she now a coarse, vulgar field hand, on some rice-swamp, or sugar-plantation? Is she the finely dressed mistress of some haughty atheist? Or has she died broken-hearted,
and rejoined her mistress in the bosom of their common Saviour?"
Though we live in a land dotted with post-offices, and above our heads is a net-work of telegraph wires, yet by neither is any message of love sent or brought from the poor slave sold from one State to another. They who sell them wish to forget them, like the sons of Jacob who sold their brother Joseph into Egypt; and those who buy them endeavor to make the slave forget the associations of his youth as soon as possible.
The following is the only instance that ever came under my notice of a clear conversion by the reading of the Word of God alone. A young slave was very ill in the kitchen adjoining the dwelling of his master. He was so much alarmed on account of his sins, and by the prospect of death, that he would hold on to his mother, and would not consent for her to leave his bedside. A good brother informed me of his condition, and requested me to see him; and I asked the brother why he did not go and pray
for him. He said that he was afraid of his master, who was violently opposed to religion.
I immediately felt it my duty to see him. Then came the fear of man. Here was a struggle. The cross was heavy. I went, hoping that the master might be away; but he was at home.
I entered the kitchen, and lest I might awaken the anger of the master, I did not attempt to sing or pray. I took my Testament, and drawing near the dying man, read a part of the third chapter of St. John's Gospel. When I read the sixteenth verse: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life," his soul drank it in with an attention and eagerness which I have never witnessed. I read the verse again and again, and left him. Before I reached home he was happy in the Saviour's love. He told his mother that she could leave him; he was ready and willing to die.
I saw him on the following Sabbath, and love, hope, and joy gleamed from his countenance. He slept in Jesus. Despite the power of the slave-breeder, who labors to reduce the sons and
daughters of our heavenly Father to brute beasts, the Christian slave, when dying, can exclaim,
"How can it be, thou heavenly King,
That thou shouldst me to glory bring;
Make a slave a partner of thy throne,
Decked with a never-fading crown!"
How different the end of this Christian slave from that of his proud, haughty, and despotic master. It was said that the last word that fell from the lips of the master was a horrid oath, addressed to a body-servant. He was struck speechless, and soon expired. Thousands of slaveholders die awful deaths. And no wonder, when the blood and tears of mothers, infants, orphans, fathers, brothers and sisters cry to Heaven against them.
The laws in the slave States regard the marriage of slaves as a farce, as an unmeaning jumble of words, and of no more binding force than if the ceremony were performed over so many beasts of the field. Their marriage does not diminish the power of the master; he can separate and sell the husband and wife at any time
he pleases. Yet, strange to say, if a minister marries a slave in Maryland, without the consent of his owner, he is liable to a heavy fine.
A slave had obtained a forged certificate, purporting to be from his master, and I married him. Supposing the paper to be genuine, and that its preservation was not important, I carelessly used it, a few mornings afterward, in kindling a fire. But what an error! The master sent word to me that I had married his servant without his consent, and that I must prepare for court. A friend interposed, and the enraged master was persuaded to abandon the suit.
With shame I must inform the reader that the man who threatened to arraign me before the county court was a member of the M. E. Church, on an adjoining circuit; and was considered so much of a saint that a house of worship in his neighborhood was named after him. The man whom he sent to warn me was an insolent negro-driver in his employ. I suppose this negro-breeding Methodist had heard that I had organized a Sabbath-school for colored children
on my circuit, and was anxious to get some excuse to wreak his vengeance on me.
I sent word to him that, if he sued me, I would have him tried in the church for going to law with me before preferring a charge against me to the Presiding Elder or the Annual Conference. Possibly this helped to prevent the execution of his threat.
Masters seldom attach any importance to the marriage of their slaves. This is shown by refusing to give the slave money to pay his marriage fee. I have married scores, and have never received but one dollar from these poor creatures during my whole ministry. And these slaves have principally belonged to professedly religious masters in the M. E. Church. My opinion is, that the clergyman who believes chattel slavery well-pleasing in the sight of God, and who justifies the master in separating husband and wife, ought not to marry slaves. If he does, he must do it under the impression that the master is equal in authority with the Deity, or that the Lord of Heaven and Earth contradicts himself.
Joseph Smithers was a native of Delaware, and died in Dover in 1854 or '5, aged, I suppose, in the absence of positive record, about 55 years. He was a local preacher in the M. E. Church, and was at one time a member of the Senate of Delaware. I had not seen him for three years previous to his death. I became acquainted with him in 1844, and our acquaintance soon ripened into friendship. I never left his presence without feeling that I was a better man. The hours that we spent together in religious meetings and under his roof loom up among the pleasant memories of my life. There were many in Delaware who were his superiors in acquired knowledge; but there were few greater in native intellect, and not one who had a nobler moral constitution. His was an iron will. He looked at every thing through the medium of his conscience. Whenever he came to the conclusion that any thing was right, that it was according to the law of God, that it was beneficial to society, he would stand by it, though friends and foes, in church and state,
all combined against it. He was the chief apostle of temperance in Kent County, Del. He espoused the cause when it was young, feeble, and unpopular. He would go out into the forests and highways, and hold meetings, in order to elevate the poor and the despised. He was and retiring and unassuming in his manners, and kind and gentle in private life. There was nothing haughty or dictatorial in his conversation. He was small in stature, with an open, frank countenance; his fine blue eye indicated honesty and purity. He was not a man of policy or cunning. Being in easy circumstances, he devoted several of the last years of his life to moral and religious objects. His services were in great demand as a temperance speaker; and he had but few equals on this subject. His health was taxed to the utmost, suffering, as he did, from a pulmonary affection. Had you wished to see this gentle man converted into a lion, you should have gone to a temperance convention, and seen some talented speaker oppose a favorite measure; his lip would quiver, his eye would flash fire, and, after speaking a few minutes in scathing language, he would regain his usual
equable temper; then there would flow from his lips words that would enchain an audience in rapt attention.
The Hon. Henry M. Ridgely, formerly United States Senator from Delaware, and one of the finest scholars in the State, invited me to make his house my home occasionally, during my stay in Dover Circuit. In one of my visits, the conversation turned on Mr. Smithers, when Mr. Ridgely remarked that he was opposed to Mr. Smithers in politics, yet he considered him a good and great man; that such was the confidence reposed in his judgment and integrity, that cases were often taken out of court and left to him for arbitration.
At that time, I thought Mr. Ridgely overrated his intellect; but further acquaintance with Mr. Smithers proved to my mind the correctness of Mr. Ridgely's judgment. He was among that class of preachers who enter the local ministry merely as a means of doing good to the bodies and souls of men. He was willing to take the lowest seat in the synagogue. It was enough for him to have the smile and approbation of Heaven. The following anecdote is
characteristic of Mr. Smithers. It was related to me by a brother in the Methodist Church, who was also a member of the Senate of Delaware when Mr. Smithers belonged to that body. It seems that a bill had passed the lower house granting to some company the privilege of establishing lotteries throughout the State. Mr. Smithers was its great opponent in the Senate. The upper house was divided. The gentleman who related to me the circumstance said he was conscientiously opposed to lotteries, but found his better judgment beginning to give way through considerations of policy. Mr. Smithers entreated the Senate not to pass it. During one of his vigorous speeches, he fixed his eye on his wavering brother, and exclaimed with great emphasis, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The shaft told. From that moment the brother determined to vote against the bill; and it failed in the Senate.
In almost the last conversation I had with Mr. Smithers, he expressed to me his abhorrence of chattel slavery.
Joseph Smithers is not "dead, but sleepeth."
The infidelity existing at this time in the United States, in its outward manifestations, is not the abusive, vulgar, and blasphemous infidelity of Louis the Fifteenth of France or Charles the Second of England, nor such as the disciples of Paine once exhibited in this country. The infidels of the present day are wiser and better than their fathers. Their unbelief is more secret, cautious, and circumspect. One great cause of the infidelity in our nation is chattel slavery.
The unbelief of our country may, for convenience, be distributed into two principal divisions:--
I. That of the free States. The cultivated infidels of the free States are equal, perhaps, in education, to the same class in France or England, and perhaps their superiors in private morality. Many of them are sincere in promoting the cause of temperance and human freedom. Seeing professed ministers of the Gospel, in their midst, teaching that slavery is not inconsistent with the principles of the Christian
religion, they embrace scepticism; for the very instinct of their nature teaches them that slavery is wrong.
II. That of the slave States. The infidels of these States may be subdivided into two classes--the masters and the slaves. I believe there are more secret infidels among slaveholders than among any other class of men, according to their numbers, in the Christian world. They do not show it by special avowal, or by writing against the Bible, as a general thing, but by total indifference to the moralities and duties of religion.
A Southern infidel, making great pretensions to intellectual ability, once remarked to me, "that he considered religion good enough for negroes, but Christianity was not adapted to cultivated men." You will not find many educated Southern men avow these sentiments publicly; but, if you judge by their neglect of the Sabbath, making it a day of feasting and for reading and discussing politics, you will infer that they consider it intended to be kept sacred only by the poor whites and the negroes.
When ministers cease to defend chattel
slavery, and refuse to acknowledge it to be a divine institution, then even religion will not be good enough for the negroes, and they will be denied the free worship of the Great Eternal. Slavery makes infidels of the masters thus: The large slaveholder demands and receives implicit obedience from his human chattels. This servile obedience fills him with pride and self-esteem. He soon begins to imagine himself a god on a small scale. He begins to ask "Who is the God of Israel, that claims the homage of my property? They shall not be the Lord's freemen." It was the pride engendered by absolute power that caused some of the Cæsars, when at the height of their glory, to build temples in which to have themselves worshiped by the Romans.
But there is infidelity among the slaves. Many of these poor creatures become secret infidels, doubting the sincerity of the white preacher, and receiving for truth only so much of his teachings as may seem consistent with their views of justice. They sometimes listen to a colonization agent, and go off and say: "There is no such place as Liberia. It is only
a trap of the kidnapper to send us to the cotton-fields of Georgia."
When we remember that they see the white man selling their children, their husbands, their wives, with as little feeling as a stock-grower exhibits when selling his cattle, and that they hear the preacher declare slavery to be consistent with the Word of God, how can we expect them to confide in our statements, or to fall in love with the principles of Christianity? They cannot read for themselves, and, substituting man's teachings for the word of God, they frequently lapse into infidelity.
They hear ministers denouncing them for stealing the white man's grain; but, as they never hear the white man denounced for holding them in bondage, pocketing their wages, or for selling their wives and children to the brutal traders of the far South, they naturally suspect the Gospel to be a cheat, and believe the preachers and the slaveholder to be in a conspiracy against them. In vain do we tell them the justice of the Father, of the precious promises in the Word of Life. Unbelief springs up; they doubt our sincerity, and say: "We poor
slaves can't read, and how do we know what the Bible says!" Bitter experience has taught me some of these objections while laboring among them.
Christianity will overthrow slavery in this country, or slavery will overthrow that pure New-Testament Christianity which commands supreme love to God and universal love to man, of whatever color or condition. Our Divine Redeemer said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; and thy neighbor as thyself." It is impossible to love a man as yourself, and yet hold him as a chattel. Those professed ministers of Christ who teach that chattel slavery or American slavery is well pleasing in the sight of Christ, or, in other words, that it is not a sin, are doing more to sap the foundations of Christianity in this land than any other class of public teachers. They are "sowing to the wind, and will reap the whirlwind." They make Christianity cut its own throat. The Christian Church cannot exist unless marriage between one man and one woman is regarded as a sacred compact. Christianity has ever ignored polygamy;
but chattel slavery is polygamy in its worst form.
The divine command to "honor thy father and thy mother," is rendered void by slavery, which annihilates the parental relation, making the child honor his master, though, in so doing, he may dishonor his parents, and set at naught the laws of God. Where Popery prevails, it makes secret infidels of the intellectual classes. Where chattel slavery prevails, it does the same. At least, this is the tendency of both institutions.
My opinion is that the clergy are more respected as efficient police-officers, in the South, than they are loved and honored as the ambassadors of the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
AUNT PHILLIS died, in my native town, in the fall of 1856, aged 83 years. She sustained a membership of 65 years in the M. E. Church, and died beholding the Lamb of God. She was born a slave, and was sold to a second master, of whom she bought herself. And all her children became free except one. She was the mother of "more bairns" than any other colored woman in Worcester County. She was of pure African descent. In her old age she was venerable; her hair white, and her eyes beaming with good-will to all. Her mind was of a superior order. She was a pattern of honesty, industry, meekness, and piety. Neither saint nor sinner could bring aught against her character. Her religious enjoyments were uniform. I have seen her calm when all others were excited. And when religion would ebb to its lowest point among
professors, she was the same happy disciple of Christ.
She enjoyed remarkable health. Every preacher that occupied the pulpit where she worshiped might expect that Aunt Phillis would be present, if no one else was there. She lived near the town, in a neat little house, built by her husband. When I would return home, sometimes after an absence of two or three years, I would immediately hasten to greet her. She was the only human being that I ever saw that could always move me to tears. She had the clearest of views of Christ's love to a lost world. It gave her the greatest pleasure to have any one to read to her the New Testament. She was the most devoted and pious colored woman in all my acquaintance; and I never expect to see her like again. I would have esteemed it a privilege to kneel side by side with her at the Communion-table.
It is customary with all churches in the South, so far as I know, to have grave-yards connected with them. The veriest infidel or drunken outcast in society would not be denied burial, provided he had a white face, in any
Methodist grave-yard. He would be laid side by side with the best member of the church. And of this I do not complain; I am glad that it is so. But Aunt Phillis's remains would not have been permitted to be interred in any Methodist grave-yard consecrated to the whites. A white man may denounce, as an impostor, the blessed Redeemer, and be buried with his saints. But this devout colored woman, serving the Lord for 65 years, whose body was a temple of the Holy Ghost, could not have been deposited in the same inclosure with white saints and white scoffers, but must be buried in some old field, like a dead horse. The master, in the South, always provides a place for his slave's body. But the free colored people are frequently, in this respect, most painfully situated; like the heretics in some Roman Catholic countries, they have no place to bury their dead. Generally owning no land their friends have to go from land-owner to land-owner to beg the privilege to bury the dead in the burying-grounds of the slaves on the plantations. Free colored Methodists are sometimes forced to beg the
privilege of infidel land-owners for ground enough to cover their departed loved ones.
The Rev. Mr. --, of --Town in Maryland, a minister in the Episcopal Church, sets a good example to all Christians in this respect. He has the colored members of his church buried among his white members, with beautiful trees planted over their graves. He is the only exception to this rule I have ever known.
When I think that Aunt Phillis was once sold, like a cow or a horse, I hate slavery more than ever.
Suffer a word of exhortation from one who has been compelled, by disease, in the prime of life, to return to comparative obscurity from active co-operation in your labors. It is painful to listen to the cannon's roar, and to the shouts of victory, without being able to participate in the battles that are going on; but I will rejoice in your moral triumphs, and pray while you labor. The college in which I graduated was
a log school-house; my theological companion was my saddle-bags; and my text-books the Bible, the Hymnbook, and the Discipline. Yet I rejoice at the greater facilities which the church is offering to her young preachers for acquiring the knowledge of those languages in which the Scriptures were originally written. I am inspirited at the sight of her academies, her private tutors, her colleges, and her schools. I have ever considered it an affliction that, as a minister of the Gospel, I could not read the Word of God in the original tongues.
The men of this age and in this country live under a greater weight of responsibility than men of past ages. The powers of light and darkness are marshalling their hosts on the plains of America. The greatest battle ever waged between liberty and slavery, Christianity and infidelity, is now going on in the United States of America. And now, brethren, we beseech you, by the mercies of the Cross, that you do not, directly or indirectly, attempt to prove, from the Greek or the Latin, that one man has a right, natural or divine, to own property in another man; that one member of the
body of Christ has a right to sell another member of Christ's body, and hold and reduce him to a chattel or thing. Of all men under the blue and starry heaven, the minister of Christ, the disciple of Christ, should be the last to countenance fraud or oppression.
The doctrine that one man can hold property in another, and voluntarily sustain to another the relation of an irresponsible master, and yet be a good Christian, is a magazine of powder that will blow up every church organization that holds it. It is the corrupt fountain whence flows the separation of families; which has given rise to the African slave-trade; which sustains the slave-trade between the States; which leads to kidnapping, and all the ignorance and moral degradation that abound in the slave States. Slavery is based on the doctrine that the strong may oppress the weak; that might is right. Once admit the abstract principle of slavery, and where shall we stop? The proud Saxon may enslave the Negro, the Indian, the Mexican, the Chinese, the Hindoo, the Spaniard. But suppose, when we become rich and effeminate, that the hardy negro should, like
the barbarians that conquered proud Rome, get might on his side, would it be right for him to make slaves of us? "No," we indignantly reply. Then we assert that it is wrong, now and forever, to enslave any individual, or any part of the human race. The very fact of holding a man as a slave is a gross insult to his manhood. The very name brands him with disgrace in the estimation of the world. We do not admonish you to withdraw from your church organization, but, by patient continuance in bearing your testimony against the great evil, to wipe out that blot from our Discipline which allows private members to breed and hold slaves for life. And, even when this is done, a great work will remain to be accomplished in correcting a vitiated public opinion in the North. The M. E. Church has a glorious future before her, if she will, in the spirit of her Lord and Master, more earnestly help to save the poor, the halt, and blind, and the oppressed of every class and color.
The Hon. Jno. M. Clayton, of Delaware, had
two sons, his only children, James and Charles. They both died as they entered manhood. The father has recently followed them to the spirit land. Charles was talented and reserved. His father lavished upon him the wealth of his affections. He sent him to Paris and Rome to perfect his education. Soon after his return home, consumption, that destroyer of so many youthful prospects, settled upon him. The best medical aid was called in requisition. He was under the care of Dr. Cowper. Death approached slowly, but with steady pace. I learned that no minister of the Gospel had been to see him. I was not personally acquainted with him or his father, but was well acquainted with James. Impressed with the conviction that I ought to visit him, and present to his mind the subject of religion, I determined to make the attempt. Discouraging thoughts arose in my mind. How did I know that a visit to the young man would be acceptable from a stranger? The father also might be displeased at the intrusion of a stranger upon the privacy of his son. I could get no one to introduce me. I knew that Mr. Clayton would receive me politely as a visitor; but
I feared that in object would be displeasing, and my message rejected or disregarded.
With many fears, I walked from a neighbor's house, and arrived at the home of Mr. Clayton just before his dinner hour. I rang the bell, supposing that a servant would come to the door, and hoping that James might be at home, who would inform me of the probability of an interview with his brother. But, to my surprise, Mr. Clayton came to the door himself. I introduced myself to him as best I could, but did not inform him that I was a minister. The period of my visit was soon after General Taylor's election; and a political friend of Mr. Clayton was on a visit at his house. Contrary to my expectation, he invited me into the parlor, and introduced me to his friend. Strange feelings came over me at that hour. What to do, or what to say, or how explain the object of my visit, I knew not. Mr. Clayton was scanning me, and probably thinking I was some politician seeking office. He asked what was the news. I told him I knew of none. This seemed to confuse him; he took up his newspapers, and threw them down. The conversation between
himself and his friend ceased. His eye seanned me more closely, and it seemed that he could not make up his mind concerning me. My position was exceedingly unpleasant. The perspiration was gathering in drops upon my brow. Just at that critical moment, his son James came into the room, greeted me kindly, and invited me to his apartment. I told him my business. He remarked that the servant had taken his brother Charles to ride, and would soon be back; that Charles did not converse much, as it hurt him to talk. The brother soon returned, when I was introduced to him, and politely received. Dinner was ready, but I had dined at the old-fashioned hour of twelve o'clock. I begged to be left alone, and the young men retired to their dining-room. While there, I suppose James informed his brother who I was, and what was the nature of my visit. I was planning how I should approach Charles upon the subject of religion; and while thus absorbed in thought, I felt an arm affectionately laid about me. I turned, and it was Charles Clayton, who addressed me thus: "Sir, I cannot bear to see you alone; I cannot eat unless you come
and sit with us at the table." I told him that, for his gratification, I would do as he wished. Soon after I was seated at table, he started the subject of Romanism. He said that he had seen it at head-quarters at Rome; that the cardinals were proud and haughty; and that he disliked the whole system. He added that, in his doctrinal views, he was a Methodist from conviction. This remark placed me at ease, and I felt at liberty to speak freely.
After dinner, he invited me to his private chamber. He took up a Bible, and said that a kind lady friend had presented it to him. He then requested me to select some chapters suitable to his condition. I did so, and among others, the eighth chapter of Romans. He pulled my chair up to his, and I saw, from the tremulous tear in his eye, that this motherless and sisterless young man wanted to unburthen a sin-bleeding heart to some one that could tell him what he must do to be saved. I encouraged him to relate his experience. He told me that his heavenly Father had convinced him of the vanity of all earthly honors and pleasures; that he believed he should die; that he had no desire
whatever to get well; that he feared, if he should recover, that, such were the worldly associations surrounding him, his present impressions might be effaced; and that he would rather die than that this should be the case. I told him that what he needed was the divine assurance that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned his sins, and that he was a son of God; that he must not trust in any thing but the merits of Christ; that he must look to the Saviour with a child-like faith. "Yes," said he, "this is just what I want." And the tears gushed from his eye.
I asked if I should sing and pray with him. "If you please," was the prompt reply. I sang:
"Other knowledge I disdain:
'Tis all but vanity;
Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain:
He tasted death for me.
Me to save from endless woe
The sin-atoning victim died.
Only Jesus will I know,
And Jesus crucified."
We knelt in prayer, and I committed the young man to God and the word of his grace.
Before leaving, I went into the parlor to bid Mr. Clayton good-by. He had ascertained that my visit was agreeable to Charles, and I never saw a father more delighted. He insisted that I should come often and ordered his carriage to be brought that his servant might take me home. I declined, stating that I was not accustomed to riding in such carriages, that I had walked there and could walk back to the friend's house where I was staying. Charles insisted on walking a short distance with me, expressing his gratitude for my visit, and entreating me to see him as often as I could. He pressed my hand for the last time. A short time afterward he left for Havana, and died among strangers, soon after his arrival in that city.
There was hope in his death. I related the incidents of my visit to the late Rev. James Smith, my presiding elder, and he thought that I ought to publish them in the newspapers. I thought not. I feared that some might impute an unworthy motive to me as the cause of my visit.
The elder Mr. Clayton is now gone to another world, and I feel at liberty to give the facts of the
case. I always differed from him on two subjects--temperance and slavery.
I have observed that the man who will hold a Congo negro in slavery will hold a mulatto and a quadroon; and the man that will hold a quadroon, would hold a white man in slavery, if the law allowed it. The old Romans teach us this lesson. Their slaves were of all colors--the classical Greek, the jet-black African, and the blue-eyed German.
It is as much a crime to hold an African in slavery as to hold an Englishman, Irishman, or American. Slavery tends to destroy the love of liberty in the white man, and even to lessen the love one has for his native place. No matter where a true son of New England goes, he loves and cherishes his early home. He contributes his money, wherever he may reside, to build colleges, schools, asylums, churches, and libraries in his native county, town, or State.
Now Maryland and Delaware have sent their sons South and West, some of whom have
amassed fortunes as doctors, lawyers, and merchants; but who ever heard of their building a college, school, church, or library, as a tribute of love and respect for their native town or county. Why? These flourish only on free soil.
If they go South, they see the same manners, customs, and institutions prevail as in their native place. If they go to a free State they begin to feel ashamed of the peculiar institution. An intelligent Southern man remarked to me once that "he always felt ashamed of his native State when he traveled North, especially in Massachusetts, where everything looked so thriving, and the people appeared so intelligent."
From 1820 to 1830, slaves were very cheap. A young negro man would only bring from two to three hundred dollars. A colored woman could be hired for eighteen dollars per annum; a colored man for thirty or forty dollars per year. Now a person of the same class will sell for from 1000 to 1500 dollars, and is hired at from 30 to 100 dollars per year.
It passed into a proverb that the hogs ate the
corn, the negroes ate the hogs, and the master ate the negroes.
The negro was the sure crop, though he sold cheap. If the master wanted to build a new house, he sold one or two negroes. If he bought a fine carriage, poor Sambo had to look out. If he got pushed for money, his hope lay in the quarter. But when the virgin soils of Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, and Texas opened, and cotton took a rise, then negroes went up.
If slaves were as cheap now as they were 30 years ago, the South would scarcely thank you for a fugitive slave law. Hundreds of slaveowners would give you all you wanted to get them out of the way. It is not true that the abolitionist has retarded emancipation in the South. The change of sentiment is due to the augmented demand for cotton, sugar, and tobacco.
"And to conclude, I here register my testimony against the unprincipled, inhuman, antichristian, and diabolical slave-trade, with all its authors, promoters, abettors, and sacrilegious gains, as well as the great Devil, the father of it and them."--DR. ADAM CLARKE'S Commentary on the New Testament.
Whatever may be said against kidnapping the natives on the west coast of Africa, and selling them to the North American States, may be charged against the internal slave-trade of the American Union. Indeed, the latter is far more odious, inhuman, and antichristian. This will appear from several considerations. Who are the subjects of the African slave-trade? Heathens, idolaters, barbarians, and strangers. Who supplies the subjects of this trade? Outlaws and pirates, by the laws of nations, and by the laws of this great Republic; men whose home is on the "ocean wave;" who sneak amid the marshes and jungles of a tropical clime, where the anaconda, the tiger, and the lion crouch. Who are the subjects of the American or internal slave-trade? Women who wiped the cold sweat from the languid and pale faces of our mothers when they suffered the pangs of our nativity; mothers whose juicy breasts have nourished the very men who sell them to the slave-trader; Christian husbands and wives, married by the ministers of the everlasting Gospel in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; brothers sold by brothers in
church relationship; children sold by their fathers, and sisters by their brothers. This abomination of abominations is perpetrated in sight of our school-houses and our churches; in sight of our grave-yards and our cemeteries; at the doors of our courts of justice and our halls of legislation. Yes, more than this: in sight of the Capitol of this Second Roman Empire, enlarged and improved, whose proud eagles hold in their iron claws 4,000,000 of human chattels. Who furnishes the subjects for this inhuman traffic? Those who suffer their slaves to be sold for their debts, or, dying, leave them to be sold by their children. He who condemns the African slave-trade must condemn the internal slave-trade; and he who condemns the internal traffic must condemn the fountain that feeds it.
You are a native, and a distinguished citizen of Talbot county, Md., a county for which the God of nature has done almost every thing. The best idea which a stranger can form of this portion of Maryland is to
imagine a thousand small islands connected together by small necks of land, and these islands indented in every direction by clear salt-water rivers and streams, winding their course through green wheat fields, up to nearly every man's dwelling; and those rivers abounding in fish, terrapins, oysters, and water-fowl. And, were it not for the curse of slavery, lands that now sell for forty and sixty dollars per acre would bring from one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars per acre. I have often admired your beautiful residence near the ancient town of Oxford, on the Third Haven River. Not far from your place lies all that is mortal of the father of the celebrated Robert Morris, the great financier of the American Revolution. Borrowing a term from the "Old Dominion," it can be said of you that you belong to the "first families" of Maryland.
Deem it not flattery when I say that I regard your mind, independent of culture, as one of the first class. It has received that discipline and polish which should be expected from the National Military Academy at West Point, of which you are a graduate. I believe that there is no one man that has so much public spirit
and energy as yourself in things pertaining to the material development of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. To your exertions the Military Academy at Oxford owes its existence. In the face of opposition the most discouraging, you projected, and are now prosecuting to completion, the Maryland and Delaware Railroad. It will be a proud monument to your memory. This road will wake up the "old fogies," will drive the lazy white loafers further South, will bring in its neighborhood a number of energetic farmers and gardeners, and will promote the interest of the poor whites by stimulating common schools, and, what is best of all, religion. Whoever blesses and benefits my native State shall have my gratitude. I have no personal acquaintance with you; and, for all I know, you may desire to have none with an obscure Methodist Preacher, especially one who believes slavery to be a gigantic curse to any people--morally, socially, religiously, agriculturally, and politically. For you, personally, I have the kindest of feelings. Nevertheless, regarding you as a public man, I have somewhat against you.
You were appointed by the Governor of
Maryland, to attend the late Southern Convention held in Richmond, Va. You were president of that Convention, and delivered a speech during its session. In that speech, you uttered, in substance, the following sentiment: "That the perpetuity of the Union depends upon the perpetuity of slavery." Stepping from the political forum to the pulpit, you announced that "chattel slavery is in harmony with the Christian religion; that the African is better off in a state of slavery than freedom." I was grieved to see such sentiments emanate from such a man; but what was still more painful to me, all the papers of your native State, which published your speech, gave them their warm approval. Your doctrine cuts off at one stroke all hope of emancipation, immediate or prospective, by colonization or otherwise. You have indirectly cast reflections upon the framers of the Constitution of the United States, who were so much ashamed of slavery, and especially chattel slavery, that, in the instrument of their creation, property in man was alluded to, not by the terms "things or chattels," but by the words "persons held to service." Your doctrine directly or indirectly assumes that every man is an abolitionist
who believes that the tendency of the Gospel is to bring about the abolition of slavery, gradually or otherwise. And, sir, I believe there are men in Maryland who, rather than subscribe to your bill of slavery, will prefer to be so designated. If it is a greater blessing to the negro to be held in slavery in America than to be freemen in Africa or America, then the African slave-trade is a blessing; then the crew of a slaver, so far from being pirates, are missionaries of the Cross; then the man who kidnaps free negroes in our midst is doing a good work.
These, we conceive, are the conclusions to be drawn from your premises. I am an advocate for the perpetuity of the American Union; but I also believe that chattel slavery will be abolished, either by the slaveholders themselves, or by the judgment of a righteous God. I regard slavery as a great cancer, eating up the body of the great Republic; and as a wolf in sheep's clothing in the church.
Hoping that you may yet embrace antislavery principles, and that your valuable life may be long spared to your family and State,
I remain yours, with respect,
JNO. D. LONG.
I HAVE never regarded these gentlemen with other than feelings of pity. I have heard them eulogized by slaveholders and politicians, and have thought that they had paid dearly for their popularity, because, whether intentionally or not, they were on the side of the oppressor. If John Summerfield were living, and dared to preach against the sin of slavery, he would be unpopular. If the great Wesley could leave the tomb, and preach the sentiments that are found in his tract on slavery, he would be driven from the South by Southern Methodists. The result of this state of things will be that those ministers residing in the South, who are opposed to slavery, will leave for the free States and Territories; and their places will be filled by pro-slavery men from the North. And I venture the prediction that, eventually, very many conscientious antislavery men among the
laity will settle in the free States--not from fear of personal violence, but to escape the taunts of the rabble, and petty annoyances from the pro-slavery multitude. The Southern pulpit already presents a sad and dreary aspect. Ministers are not allowed to proclaim in it the whole counsel of God. It affords an immense amount of unprofitable preaching. The following incident has often occurred to my mind. A professional gentleman from one of the slave States, in attempting to describe, in my hearing, the peculiar cast of mind of a distinguished Southern politician, said that he would argue with you all night on the question, "whether or not an angel could see in the dark."
We fear that the Northern pulpit is not altogether innocent in this matter. The poor slave has no sympathy from men who love ease, money, or popularity, more than they love holiness and heaven.
Pro-slavery preachers have the advantage, in this world, over antislavery preachers. While the former are received in the South with open arms, they can come North and be caressed; but the latter are not acceptable in the slave
States, nor very cordially welcomed on free soil.
Stealing is the taking of your money or other property without your consent. Gambling is taking your money by the chances of a game without giving you an equivalent for it. It is stealing under the protection of a social custom considered equivalent to law. Gamblers by profession are often men of fine natural abilities, who have been brought up without an honorable trade or profession. They abound most in those States where labor is regarded as dishonorable.
Young men should never know the names of cards. They should eschew their use, even in amusement. Dealing in lottery-tickets is the worst form of gambling. Many persons who would never think of sitting down to a card-table with a professed gambler will step slyly into a lottery-office, and buy a ticket. I have known professors of religion to engage in this business. I hazard nothing in saying that it has ruined thousands of young men and hundreds of families. The State that encourages lottery-gambling to augment its revenues is
penny-wise and pound-foolish. I have never passed without indignation, the lottery-offices in Baltimore, where large figures are glaringly exhibited to tempt the young and the weak to ruin.
Leaving the free States out of the question, Church and State are, in the Southern section of our Union, united in fact, though not in form, on the subject of slavery. What the State dictates to be done, or declares ought not to be done, the churches decree. In Italy, the church governs the State, and priests govern both. In the South, the State governs the church, and the politicians govern both. If any minister of the Gospel attacks slavery in the South, no matter how prudently, and the politicians determine that he is a dangerous member of society, there is no church that would defend him. If all the Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Episcopalians of the South were to unite, they could abolish slavery, or greatly mitigate its evils. But they will not do it. They sit as laymen in their quarterly conferences, their presbyteries, and their conventions,
and argue that, admitting slavery to be an evil, it is a civil institution and as such the church has nothing to do with it. These men, when sent as representatives to their several Legislatures, help to make those very laws to perpetuate chattel slavery, whose existence they affect to deprecate as a bar to effective exertion on the part of the church to rid itself of the evil.
Now, if these men fail to perform the duties which God requires of them as civilians, how can they attain heaven as churchmen? The truly pious man carries his religion into his politics, and yields his support to no measure, political or otherwise, that cannot abide the test of the highest of ethical standards. In other words, the true Christian cannot, as a legislator, give his sanction to laws that are unjust, oppressive, and cruel; because goodness and benevolence are the basis of all religion. The churches of the South, through the sympathies of their members, are so closely affiliated with the State, that they are, to a great extent, responsible for the existence of slavery. If slavery is a sin, then the church must suffer for
that sin to the extent that its laity vote to sustain the laws that uphold it. It is the duty of a king to rule in righteousness. But the people are the rulers in this government; therefore, they should rule in righteousness.
Camp-meetings in the South are held almost exclusively by the Methodist churches. The primary design of these meetings was the glory of God and the salvation of souls. They are generally held in the summer time--in some central position, on an elevated spot, shaded with beautiful oak and hickory trees, and where water can easily be obtained. The camp consists of a circle of tents, numbering from fifty to three hundred, made of plank or canvas. The space included within the first circle of tents, excepting the avenue for walking or promenading, is consecrated to religious worship. Within this inclosure a rough and substantial pulpit is erected, immediately in front of which is a place denominated the altar, where those who seek the forgiveness of their sins come forward to be prayed for. Still further on are seats for the white congregation.
Behind the pulpit, and separated by a board fence, is the place allotted for the colored people, who labor under the disadvantage of not catching the inspiration which darts from the eye of an earnest orator, or beams from a countenance irradiated by heavenly enthusiasm.
Camp-meetings are, of all meetings held by Methodists, the most exciting and popular.
1. With the preachers, and the most spiritual members of the church. But few men are great orators before small assemblies. If a man has the "gift divine," he is very apt to develop it at a camp-meeting, where thousands dwell upon his tongue. Perhaps the greatest displays of American pulpit eloquence have been witnessed at camp-meetings. Here the preachers generally do their best, and cultivate toward each other kind feelings. Here, with many young ministers, springs up an intimacy with ladies who subsequently prove to be their companions for life. Here the private members from different circuits and stations become acquainted with each other, and reap mutual benefits from each other's talents, zeal, and spirituality.
2. With money-making Methodists, who can keep a horse-pound, a boarding-tent, and a bread-stall, and retail tobacco, pipes, and cigars.
3. With the worldly; with the politician who goes to confirm a doubtful voter; with the constable and collector, who are thus afforded a convenient opportunity to catch an old debtor; with the dandy and the beau, who seize the occasion to exhibit the latest fashion of coat and cane; with numbers of young, beautiful, and accomplished ladies, who, arrayed in rich and costly attire, spend their golden moments in thoughtless levity. Here, also, like vultures flocking to a carcass, come the licentious from the surrounding country.
But by no class is a camp-meeting hailed with more unmixed delight than by the poor slaves. It comes at a season of the year when they most need rest. It gives them all the advantages of an ordinary holiday, without its accompaniments of drunkenness and profanity. Here they get to see their mothers, their brothers, and their sisters from neighboring plantations;
here they can sing and jump to their hearts' content.
When properly conducted, more can be said in favor of camp-meetings than against them. I have witnessed scenes at these meetings morally grand and sublime--scenes which can never be blotted from my memory. Camp-fires blazing in every direction with heart pine wood; the groans and the sobs of penitent sinners; the shout and the rapture of the new convert; the rejoicing of friends; the deep, melodious, organ-like music welling from a thousand African throats--all conspired to elevate the soul to Christ, "who sitteth at the right hand of the Father."
Love-feasts, in the Methodist Episcopal Church, are held once a quarter, at the visitation of the Presiding Elder of the district. They usually commence at nine o'clock on Sabbath morning, and close before eleven. Members of the church, far and near, are admitted to them. The Elder, after opening the meeting, authorizes two or four male members to hand round bread and water,
in token of equality and brotherly love. This being done, the meeting is conducted on the principle pursued at a Friends' or Quaker Meeting; no one is called on to speak; and those who do speak are supposed to be moved thereto by the drawings of the Holy Spirit. The young are not to wait for the aged, nor are the women to wait for the men. Nevertheless, in Delaware and Maryland, when colored members are present, no matter what may be their age or experience, they dare not speak till the Presiding Elder closes for the whites, and announces to them that they are at liberty to relate their experience. Out of two hours they have thirty minutes. The Spirit is supposed to move the white members at pleasure, but not the colored people till the Elder gives them liberty to speak; or, if the Spirit does move them before the permission thus given, they are compelled to quench its promptings.
Among the Wesleyans in England no such restriction exists. But with us slavery intrudes itself into the vestibule of heaven; for I consider a properly conducted love-feast an antepast of glory.
"O, let us find the ancient way
Our numerous foes to move,
And force an unbelieving world to say--
See how these Christians love."
The following is an extract from a letter addressed to the New York Examiner by a clergyman of the Baptist Church in the State of Georgia. It was clipped from a Philadelphia daily paper of January, 1857:--
"We, Baptists of the South, have no hesitation in avowing our belief that God 'hath made of one blood all nations.' We maintain, whether against 'politicians or infidels, philosophers or fanatics,' that the negro is a man. Because we believe this, we preach the Gospel to the negro at home; and we send the missionary to Africa to preach to him there. We witness the effect of a preached Gospel in the conversion of the negro; and when converted, the negro is as gladly welcomed into our churches as a brother, as if he were of pure Anglo-Saxon blood. Not more than a mile from where I now write, stands an humble building erected for the worship of God. Among the people who worship there, more than a hundred negroes were baptized during last year. The church now numbers two hundred and eighty-five members, of whom two hundred and twenty-eight are colored. By invitation of the pastor, I preached
there Sunday before last. Two-thirds of the congregation were negroes, and, as I proclaimed the truth, 'Ye are bought with a price,' their streaming eyes witnessed that there was a common tie of brotherhood felt and recognized between the preacher and the people, without regard to color. Not many months ago, it was my privilege, as pastor of a Baptist church, to preside in conference, when two women presented themselves as candidates for admission. They took seats on the same bench. One was a lady of wealth, intelligence, and high social position; the other a negro servant. They related their experiences. No difference could be perceived in the cordiality of the vote by which they were received. The next morning I baptized them both in the same running stream. We then repaired to the church. In the beginning of the service, in the presence of an unusually large congregation, the newly baptized took a stand together in front of the pulpit, and were addressed by the pastor in the same words of warning, exhortation, encouragement, and confidence. Then, while we sang a hymn, the members of the church, white and colored, bond and free, came forward and gave the right hand of fellowship to the new sisters. Among them, servants gave the hand to their mistress; yet was not that mistress (well though we knew her future zeal and usefulness) more sincerely welcomed as a sister in the church than the humble servant who stood by her side."
Well done, my Baptist brother! So far, so good. The Baptists of Georgia, in some respects,
are far ahead of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Maryland and Delaware. Such is the prejudice against color in my own church, that if, upon a public occasion in the Lord's House, at a baptism or at a reception of members into the church, I were to invite the colored candidates to come forward and kneel around the same altar at the same time, I should expect to be ordered off the circuit or station by the members of the church themselves.
According to our custom, in the administration of the Lord's Supper, the preachers take the bread and wine first; then the white laity; and afterward the colored members of our church. If any preacher should advocate the doctrine that colored and white members ought to kneel at the same altar side by side, and together thus partake of bread and wine in commemoration of the Saviour's death, and attempt to carry his doctrine into practice, he would grossly insult the white members, he would be denounced as an amalgamationist, he would have to leave for a free State, and would, perhaps, receive a rebuke from his superior in office for his impertinence. I am no leveller outside of the church walls. In
society, let every man know his own place. But in the church, the beggar and the prince, the white and the colored man, the rich and the poor, the master and the servant, should kneel together. Our Divine Master set us the example of washing the saints' feet. Some think that, in heaven, the negroes will all be made white. I once heard a colored man, in relating his experience in a love-feast, say that, if he should be so happy as to get to heaven, he "expected to have a white face, just like his white brethren!"
The M. E. Church has recently sent a missionary to India. Now we have read that in India there exist four castes or classes. Some of these classes will not come in contact with each other. Suppose that some of each class should profess faith in Christianity under Brother Butler, our missionary to India, and that the higher class of Hindoos should refuse to take the sacrament at the same time it is partaken of by the converts of the poorer classes, and that our minister should yield to their claims. What would the church do? Why, she would recall him; and it would be right so to do. Yet every
month we do at home what we would denounce if done abroad. How inconsistent!
It is but justice to add that, notwithstanding our delinquencies as a church, we are doing more for the religious instruction of the colored people than any other denomination in the Southern States. While we rejoice that the Baptists of Georgia recognize, in their religious ordinances, the common humanity of the negro, it is painful to think that the laws of Georgia permit a lady who is received into the church at the same time with her servant, and who acknowledges that servant as a Christian sister, to send the latter the next day to the slave mart to be sold, far from husband and children, to be separated from the care of her pastor, and to be deprived of religious ordinances. And what is more painful, if true, is that the minister who baptized her upholds and justifies the law of the State of Georgia, which gives the mistress such unlimited power over her colored sister in Christ.
In estimating the evils of slavery on masters
and owners, we must not overtook the guilt contracted, and the remorse endured by those who hold, breed, and sell slaves for the market. And none but the All-seeing Eye knows the full cup of misery which they drink. True, no outward voice condemns them. The politician and the preacher may tell the slave-breeder that his business is "all right; that the Lord sent the African here to be Christianized, to prepare him to go to Liberia to convert the heathen." But conscience whispers: "It is sin!" Thoughts of death and judgment flash terror to his heart, even in the moment of greatest revelry. He feels like the duelist feels, when he thinks of the death, by separation, he has occasioned. Thou blood-stained soul, thou wilt bear me witness that I never soothed thy guilty conscience by telling thee that slavery was not forbidden in the New Testament!
I have often observed, in men who have sold slaves, a peculiar restlessness about the eye; and with such men, the least reference to slavery is as fire in the bosom. How hard it is for State laws and worldly sophistry to efface the eternal impress of right and wrong! The duelist
may take the life of his brother, and receive the plaudits of the community, yet his inward monitor will not be quiet, but ceaselessly whispers, "Thou art a murderer!" And thus it is with the slaveholder. He robs the slave of his intellect and affections, and the laws of the land say he does right. But the inward voice whispers, "Thy sin will find thee out!"
Maryland contains more free colored persons than any other State in the Union. They number 74,000. The question has been asked: "How has it come to pass that this State contains so many free colored persons?" I believe that the result is principally due to the rapid spread of Methodism in its borders from 1776 to 1810. The early Methodists denounced the holding of slaves as a sin in private members as well as in ministers. In those days, slaves prayed ardently for the conversion of their masters, knowing that the law of love worked good to the master and emancipation to the slave.
The Chesapeake Bay is world-renowned for its fish and canvass-back ducks, for its bold and beautiful shore. Its vast oyster beds are perhaps as rich and inexhaustible as the gold mines of California. Noble rivers flow into its bosom from its eastern and western shores. The most prominent on the Eastern Shore is the Choptank. A few miles from its mouth, on the right bank, is the beautiful town of Cambridge. This is the shire town of Dorchester County, and contains about 1200 inhabitants. A few years ago, a beautiful and costly stone church was erected in this town by the members of the M. E. Church. But it seems that, with the consent of the preacher in charge, it was deeded conditionally to trustees for the use of the members of the M. E. Church. That is to say, so long as the Discipline of the M. E. Church allowed her laity to hold human beings as chattels, and to be sold or given away as chattels, so long should the beautiful edifice be theirs; but so soon as the General Conference should interfere with that right, the stone edifice was
to be no longer the property of the M. E. Church.
It is reported that the Cambridge church is not the only one thus conditionally deeded to the M. E. Church in the Philadelphia Conference. Now, the preacher who would aid to build a church on such conditions should be arraigned before his Conference on the charge of maladministration, the specification being an attempt unlawfully to legislate. What is this but a daring effort to threaten and forestall the General Conference in its legislative capacity? Slavery manifests the same aggressive spirit everywhere, whether in a bar-room of Kansas, or in a church-building committee of Maryland. I would never, under any circumstances, assist even at the dedication of a church with such a deed of trust. It is time that our brethren at the North and West should know how many churches in the Baltimore and Philadelphia Conferences are thus conditionally deeded to the M. E. Church.
I would like to know whether the Metropolitan church at Washington is to be thus consecrated to chattel slavery; and whether anti-slavery
preachers are to be excluded from its pulpit.
Just before, or soon after it was dedicated, there sprang up in Cambridge church a great revival of religion. Among others who at that time joined the society was Judge Lecomte, whose name is connected with the affairs of Kansas. He was a lawyer in Cambridge. Did the judge draw the deed I have spoken of? How many years he remained a member of the M. E. Church I cannot say, but it is reported that he withdrew from the church some time before he went to Kansas.
I do not consider churches deeded to us on the conditions above specified as true M. E. churches; and unless such churches or trustees throw up their deeds, and give us deeds according to our Discipline, they should be excluded from the jurisdiction of our Conference.
Rum is a giant curse to any people. It is one of the great pillars that support the temple of slavery. Rum and slavery are inseparable. What slave State has a prohibitory law? Drunkenness does more to corrupt the slaves than any thing else. Nine-tenths of all the crime committed by slaves are traceable to its influence; yet those who retail intoxicating liquors find their strongest advocates among the large slaveholders. In Maryland, the friends of a prohibitory law found their weightiest opponents in the great landowners. When I have beheld groups of drunken slaves around a grog shop, I have often wondered why it was that masters did not oppose these nurseries of vice simply from regard for their slaves.
But when you come to examine the philosophy of chattel slavery, it will be found to be
perfectly consistent with itself in the treatment of slaves. Rum brutalizes the slave, and destroys the desire for liberty by blunting his thirst for moral and intellectual improvement; for, whenever a slave becomes reconciled to his condition, he ceases to have any moral character much beyond a brute. Even honesty in a slave is not valued for its own sake, but in the light of pecuniary advantage. As a general thing, masters would rather see their slaves drunk occasionally than be constantly sober, thoughtful, and religious. Hence, when there is any rumor of an insurrection, preachers are warned to stop their religious meetings. But no warning is given to the retailers of whisky not to sell to the slaves. We know this from painful experience. If you advocate a prohibitory law, the reply may be: "O yes! and when you get your prohibitory law, then you fanatics will want a negro law to prevent us from holding our slaves. Your prohibitory law will be an entering wedge to emancipation." Temperance among the laboring white men of the South might lead to thinking; and thinking might bring on discussion; and discussion might reveal
the cause of their depressed condition, and thus terminate in something unpleasant. Pro-slavery men have a peculiar instinct for smelling affinities.
Where slavery abounds, education is below par, and the seller of rum is more respected than the school-teacher. Chattel slavery inevitably begets laziness, ignorance, drunkenness, and licentiousness. It is morally impossible to reform slavery. It is stupid nonsense to talk about sanctifying it. Education, religion, temperance, industry, and the spirit of liberty must exterminate slavery, or slavery, like the rod of Moses when converted into a serpent, will swallow up religion and liberty.
It has been asserted that the South has no literature. This is not true. If it can be proved, however, that law-reports, judicial decisions, and State papers constitute no part of literature, then we admit the charge to be partially true. But this will not be admitted. In my opinion, legal learning should be ranked in the highest class of literature. Why should it not be? It emanates generally from the
noblest minds of the nation. What section of the country has produced abler judges than John Marshall and Bushrod Washington of Virginia, and Tilghman of Maryland? Alexander Hamilton possessed the greatest intellect among the statesmen of his day; but he was not a native of our country. It was the impression of Jefferson, if I mistake not, that James Madison was the only man that could match him in depth of mind. If all the authors of the political papers and legal decisions of the country were ascertained, it would be found, I think, that natives of the South had contributed their full portion to the legal literature of their country. Much of the medical, scientific, and theological literature of the nation is the production of Southern authors. The South has given birth to but few poets; and among the best of these are Nathan C. Brooks, Amelia Welby, Edgar A. Poe, and Frances E. Watkins, all natives of Maryland. The South would produce more poets were it not for slavery. Poetry needs the pure air and genial sunlight of liberty. If a man has ever so much poetry in his soul, the sight of a slave drove, with men
chained together, and women put up at public auction, is sufficient to drive it out of him; or, if it must have utterance, it is too apt to be tinged with melancholy, like Poe's "Raven."
The South has produced several first-class orators. Eloquence is the noblest of God's earthly gifts to man. In its highest degree it includes and reveals the power of poetry, music, and painting. Slavery is its great antagonist. No Southern orator has ever made a brilliant speech in defence of chattel slavery. He may foam and he may rage, but his eloquence dies on his tongue. You must get him on some other subject, to feel and know his power. Webster himself would scarcely have been known as an orator, had he expended his energies in attempting to prove that the sun did not shine, and that no such objects as the moon and stars existed. An orator, to be great, must really believe what he says to be true, whether it is true or not. No great man in the South really believes in his heart that chattel slavery is right and just; and any defence he may make of it will necessarily be feeble. Henceforth, the South will produce no full-developed orators
but those professing antislavery principles. From this portion of our Union, we predict, will come the deliverance of the enslaved. Her great orators will canvass the Northern towns, cities, and States, and in strains of eloquence worthy of the lips of Henry, Harper, Hayne, Preston, Pinkney, and Wirt, arouse the pro-slavery, money-loving, money-getting portion of the free States to a sense of its duties and dangers.
Col. Pocomoke was a Maryland gentleman of the old school; proud and haughty to his inferiors; bland and courteous to his equals. He was a large slaveholder, and owned several farms near "The Home Mansion." When provoked, terrible was his wrath, swearing, as he did, in classical English, and fearing neither God nor man. At such times his poor negroes would tremble as at the roar of a lion. He had a remarkably retentive memory, forgetting nothing that he had ever seen or heard. He always treated me with great kindness and tenderness; and, I think, for this reason--that I would with pleasure, listen to his tales of the olden time.
He was personally acquainted with many of the great lawyers of Maryland, such as Luther Martin, Chase, Pinkney, Bayly, and Wirt, of whom he related many instructive anecdotes.
The colonel had a slave-boy of fine mind, for whom he conceived a great fancy. He sent him to the same school which I attended. The teacher, knowing the master's influence, and dreading his indignation, treated him kindly, and made no difference between him and the white boys. When the colonel died, he willed him free, and to be sent to Pennsylvania. If a poor white man had sent the boy to school, he would have been driven home the first day he entered it by teacher and boys. The lesson we learn from this sketch is simply this, that the wealthy and influential men of the South can alter, abridge, or change any custom or prejudice at their pleasure.
As a further illustration of this fact, I shall record another incident. A wealthy man in Maryland, holding a highly responsible office under the United States government, and who employs on his beautiful farms free colored laborers, sent for me to read the burial-service
of our church over the remains of a colored boy, aged about ten years. This boy was remarkable for his truthfulness and obedience. He had been religiously trained by the two sisters of his master, ladies who are an honor to their native State, and whose labors of love among the poor and the needy of every class and color practically illustrate the religion of Christ which they profess. His body was deposited in the family burying-ground, surrounded by the tombstones of one of the most respectable families of the State. I never read the burial-service with more interest. Here stood a wealthy man, whose companions were the great and the wise of our land, his hair frosted with age, his head uncovered, over the grave of this youthful servant. This was the first instance I had ever witnessed in a slave State of a colored person being buried among white people. It was the first practical acknowledgment that I had ever seen, at the door of eternity, that the proud American and the oppressed African have a common origin and a common destiny, and are equally redeemed by the blood of Christ; that in death, the white
and the colored meet on common ground, for "the Lord is the maker of us all." Not the least offence was given to the community by this act.
Had a poor man paid this respect to a colored person he would have blasted his reputation in that neighborhood.
They have cut down our forest, and grubbed our fields. They cultivate our sugar, tobacco, and cotton plantations. They plant our corn, and reap our wheat. They nursed us when young, and dig our graves for us when we die.
Their labor is the basis of England's wealth and New England's prosperity. They hew our wood and draw our water. They toil to educate our sons and daughters. Their labor supports our ministry and builds our churches. They have not incurred the guilt of the white man in taking possession of the soil. We drove the Indians before us with the rifle, and dragged the negro after us in chains and slavery. The Africo-American says to the Anglo-American, "Thy God shall be our God, and thy nation our nation." He appeals to our Christianity, to our
sense of justice and mercy, to our honor and magnanimity. Shall he appeal in vain? The African has a birthright in our soil. He is a Native American. Did not his blood flow in defence of American Independence? Did not a colored man of Boston strike the first blow against British aggression in the war of 1776?
'Saviour, when in dust to thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our streaming eyes,
O, by all thy pain and wo,
Suffered once for man below,
Bending from thy throne on high,
Hear us when to thee we cry!
"By thine hour of dark despair,
By thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
Piercing spear, and tort'ring scorn;
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O'er the dreadful sacrifice,
Jesus, look with pitying eye!
Listen to our humble cry!
"By the deep, expiring groan,
By the sad, sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode
Held in vain the rising God--
O, from earth to heaven restored,
Mighty, reascended Lord,
Saviour, prince exalted high,
Hear, O hear our humble cry!"
A RELATIVE of the writer, a captain of a vessel, owned a young negro man, who sailed with his master. This slave was vicious and cruel from his youth. I knew him personally. He took offence at his master, who forbade his marrying a certain colored woman. That he might obtain revenge on his master, he deliberately laid his plans to kill by poison all hands on board the vessel, though several were men of his own color, and had given him no offence. By a providential interference, all of them escaped a terrible death. The boy confessed the crime, and ought to have been handed over to the court for trial. He deserved hanging, or the penitentiary for life. But his master simply took him to the slave-pen in Baltimore, and-- put him in his pocket! This was all the punishment he received--a punishment daily inflicted
on pious colored persons who have done no harm. He went South to corrupt a whole plantation, perhaps, and to involve innocent negroes in suspicion and punishment. Slavery should never be inflicted on any human being except as a punishment for crime; but chattel slavery dooms the good and the bad to one common degradation.
There are three crimes for which a human being ought to be punished with death: Malicious and unprovoked murder; setting fire to a house, knowing it to be inhabited at the time by persons asleep; and violating the person of a female. They should die, not to gratify in the community a feeling of vengeance, but to protect society against the recurrence of such crimes. I once attended a colored criminal to the gallows for the crime last specified. He richly deserved his fate. A number of colored and white persons of the more vicious class were present. So far was this public execution from inspiring terror, that it was looked upon with heartless levity; so much so, that the citizens of
the place immediately got up a petition to the legislature, then in session, to pass a law prohibiting public executions. The law was passed; and criminals are now hung in that State privately, by the sheriff, in the company of twelve men. This is as it ought to be.
The execution of a criminal in private gives room for the imagination to play, and inspires more dread than the sight of it. To my Southern friends I would say:-- When you convict a colored man of a crime, don't burn him, don't beat him to death. This injures your own moral nature. Don't put him to death in the presence of slaves, for it hardens their hearts, and kindles in their bosoms that mysterious power in our nature called sympathy, and defeats the end you wish to accomplish. Try, convict, and punish him according to law, just as you would any other human being. The man who inflicts punishment to gratify a cruel disposition sinks to a lower depth, morally, than the object of his vengeance has reached.
WILLIAM OTTERBEIN, a distinguished Presbyterian divine, was born in Germany, in March, 1726, and died November 17th, 1813, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. He assisted at the ordination of Bishop Asbury in 1784. He was a man equal to Bishop Asbury in piety, and was his superior in learning. He was the founder of the German Methodist Church, or what is called "The United Brethren in Christ," a community which now numbers 500 preachers and 60,000 members. The seventh rule of the Discipline of this body of Christians reads thus: "All slavery, in every sense of the word, is prohibited. Should any be found in our church who hold slaves, they cannot continue as members, unless they do personally manumit or set free such slaves."
It is remarkable that the Germans are great enemies of chattel slavery. May they ever remain so, world without end!
I am glad to know, as a Methodist preacher, that I can trace my ordination in regular succession up to Dr. Coke and William Otterbein,
both good antislavery divines. I am more proud of it than I would be of all the ordinations of all the pro-slavery bishops in the universe.
Rev. JOHN NICHOLSON was born in Lewes, Delaware, in 1807, and died in October, 1843, in the thirty-seventh year of his age. He was received on trial in the Philadelphia Conference in 1828. We have taken the following extract from the printed Minutes of the Conference for 1844:--
"Bro. Nicholson was a man of study, of method, and of prayer. His piety was never questioned, and his qualifications for the work of the ministry were beyond dispute. His literary acquirements were respectable, and his talents, though not showy, were real, solid, compact, and available. He was indeed an amiable man, a Christian gentleman, an able minister of the New Testament, a faithful pastor, an affectionate husband, a kind parent, and true friend. He lived to honer his Divine Master, and fell asleep in Jesus, as a Christian warrior, fresh from the battle-field, with his laurels green upon him. Many are the gems of immortal beauty that will deck his unfading crown."
John Nicholson was a man, in the highest sense of that term. While he did not dictate to
others, he dared to think for himself, and had the moral nerve to avow his principles every where, fearless of consequences. In proof of this, I will recall an incident in his life which made a deep and lasting impression upon my mind. I think it was in 1842, or in 1843, during the session of our Conference, that something was said about abolitionism. Mr. Nicholson calmly arose, and in a tone of voice, and with a firmness of manner, that I can never forget, said "I am an abolitionist!" and immediately resumed his seat. It was the sublimest moral scene I ever witnessed. He was the only man who, to my knowledge, ever publicly avowed, upon the floor of the Philadelphia Conference, that he was an abolitionist. A few others may have held the same sentiments privately, but did not see proper to call themselves by that name. If, under the same circumstances, a young man had made the same avowal, he would have been located without his consent.
Rev. DAVID SHIELDS was born in Ireland, in 1813, and died in 1851. Having no copy of
the Minutes of the Philadelphia Conference for 1852, I cannot say what time he entered the Conference; I presume it was about the year 1838. I could justly eulogize him as a man, as a Christian, and as a minister. I will say that he was one of the purest and noblest Christian ministers I ever knew. He honored me with his confidence, and I loved him for his principles. He utterly abominated chattel slavery in all its forms and modifications. He was a true successor of John Nicholson, and with him may now be singing, "Worthy the Lamb that died!"
I have no doubt that the white ladies of the South have worse health than any class of females in any enlightened nation or country. This is not owing to climate, for Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the mountainous parts of North Carolina and Georgia, are as healthy as any portion of the Union. It is the result of slavery, which exempts them from all labor of a domestic character. Such labor is stamped with disgrace, because it is associated with slaves. Without exercise in the open air,
there can be no health. But persons who are averse to labor seldom take exercise. An English nobleman's daughter will walk five miles at a time to promote health. The daughter of a rich planter would almost faint at the idea. It is considered a mark of gentility to be feeble, effeminate, dyspeptic, and nervous. And when nature triumphs over custom, and a young lady is healthy and large, with the bloom of the new-blown rose on her cheeks rivalling the tints of the luscious peach, she regrets that it is so, and envies the wasp-waisted, emaciated creature to whom life is a burthen. Some resort to acids to reduce their bulk, and thus ruin their teeth, their breath, and their health. I once asked an intelligent English traveller, who spent some time in the metropolis of Maryland, whether he did not think that the ladies of Baltimore were very beautiful. He replied that he had never seen handsomer faces, hands, and feet than were to be found among the young ladies of that city; but they lacked the finely formed chests of the ladies of England, especially those of the middle counties. He added that their flat breasts greatly detracted from their
beauty. So we think, and fear that many bosoms, that appear natural, are but cotton after all. If the ladies should ever turn soldiers, they will not, we fear, stand in need of cotton bales, like Gen. Jackson's soldiers, to defend themselves. Southern ladies die early, and bequeath multitudes of motherless children to step-mothers. It is no uncommon thing to find men who have been married two, three, and four times. There is another cause of bad health, especially in some parts of Maryland and Delaware, and, we presume, in all the slave States. It is the use of tobacco, in the form of snuff, by ladies of the highest class, as well as others. This snuff is ground out of refuse tobacco stems, and is the most dangerous form in which tobacco can be taken. The manner of using it is this: The women have a box well filled with snuff, and a little mop by which it is pasted into the mouth. Here it dissolves, and frequently passes into the stomach. This is the most disgusting way in which tobacco is used. It spoils the complexion. Its first symptoms are a yellow tinge on the upper lip, on the side of the nose, and on the forehead. It produces giddiness of the head, dyspepsia, and
irritability, and often ends in chronic diarrhoea and death. It is nearly as dangerous as opium, and far more filthy. It is blasting the health of many a young mother, while a broken-hearted husband stands by and can render no relief. No wonder that Southern men are irritable, passionate, and headstrong, if born of such mothers. This loathsome practice no doubt came originally from slave women, as it does not prevail in the North. Ask a young lady if she rubs snuff. "No, sir," she will reply; "only use a little to clean my teeth."
It is sad to witness groups of little girls and young ladies using the vile weed in this way. The use of snuff is demoralizing. It stimulates passions that should be kept in check. I would rather that a wife or daughter of mine should drink wine than be a snuff-rubber. In one case she might reform; in the other, there is but little hope when the habit is once contracted. I once saw a lady dying, who knew I was opposed to the habit. When I would turn my back, she would beckon her nurse to shovel snuff in her mouth. What a sad spectacle!
No. 1. "The better you treat slaves, the more dissatisfied they are." Mr. Acorn says that "he does not put his slaves on allowance; that they eat in his kitchen; that he clothes them well, and does not overwork them; that he gives them many privileges; but that they still seem dissatisfied, and are less contented than Mr. Walnut's slaves. Mr. Walnut works his slaves hard; just barely gives them enough to eat; corrects them severely; and always speaks to them harshly; notwithstanding which, they are patient, and very mannerly, and seem satisfied." I admit the truth of all this, to some extent. The reason, I presume, is this. If you hold a man like a brute, and treat him like a brute (unless a miracle of grace interpose), he will feel like a brute. If you hold a man like a horse, yet treat him as a man, you increase his desire to escape the chattel condition of the horse, and he is therefore miserable. Try the experiment on free colored people and see if kindness will not produce gratitude, and cruelty dissatisfaction.
No. 2. "There are very few slaves who will
not steal from their masters." This charge deserves attention. Slaves are not accused of stealing from slaves, but from their masters. There is truth in the accusation. Slaves have their code of honor, and their tricks of trade, which are not altogether founded on the Gospel. The colored people reason as rationally on some questions as we do. Their conceptions of justice and right are not very different from those of white men. They say: "We do the work; we raise the corn and the wheat; and part of it is justly ours." A gentleman related to me the following anecdote: When he was a boy, and going to school, one of his father's servants said to him: "Do you know who it is that sends you to school?" "Father," replied the boy. "No, he doesn't," said the slave; "it's my labor that sends you to school, but I cannot send my children to school." The gentleman added that he often thought of that remark. If a minister of the Gospel wishes to lose his influence with the slaves, let him often preach against stealing. They think that he is preaching to please their masters. If it be wrong in the slave to steal from his master, what shall we say of the master,
who compels the slave to labor for his own gains, and gives him a bare animal support? In my travels as an itinerant minister, when I have gazed on the golden harvest reaped by the poor slave, who was deprived of his own body, and debarred from the improvement of his mind, this portion of Holy Scripture has forced itself on my thoughts: "Go to, now, ye rich men; weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter; ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you."
The literature of any people, whether in prose or song, is the index of their inner life, and of their habits of thought. The slave population of the Union have a literature unlike any other. It is the literature of a class, not of a tribe or nation--of a class which has none of the stimulants of ancestral renown. The slaves have no chief to remind them of the valor of their fathers. There is no bond of union among them, except that of a common oppression. This alone unites the jet-black Congo with the quadroon. The handcuff and the cowhide inspire a common sympathy; and a "fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind."
The inevitable tendency of servitude is to make a slave a hypocrite toward the white man. If you approach him from the stand-point of authority, you will never get an insight into his real character. He is exceedingly shrewd. I have endeavored to study his character coolly and impartially, and with all the philosophy I could command. I think I have some little knowledge of him, but I have not acquired it
always directly from him. Let a slave once know or suspect that you are seeking to "pump" him, and if you don't meet with your match for once, then I am mistaken; even though you be an Eastern Shore or Delaware Yankee, the keenest of all Yankees, the genuine Boston specimens not excepted. You must catch him at work. Listen to his songs while seated on his ox-cart hauling wood, or splitting rails. You must overhear his criticisms in the quarters--his holiday songs and his self-made hymns. His songs do not always indicate a happy state of mind. He resorts to them in order to divert his thoughts from dwelling on his condition. The loud, merry laughter of the prostitute does not prove that she is happy. The songs of a slave are word-pictures of every thing he sees, or hears, or feels. The tunes once fixed in his memory, words descriptive of any and every thing are applied to them, as occasion requires. Here is a specimen, combining the sarcastic and the pathetic. Imagine a colored man seated on the front part of an ox-cart, in an old field, unobserved by any white man, and in a clear loud voice, ringing out these words, which wake
up sad thoughts in the minds of his fellow-slaves:
"William Rino sold Henry Silvers;
Sold him to de Gorgy trader;
His wife she cried, and children bawled,
Sold him to de Gorgy trader;
Here is a specimen in the religious vein.
"Working all day,
And part of the night,
And up before the morning light.
CHORUS.--When will Jehovah hear our cry,
And free the sons of Africa?"
I was once sitting at the table of a rich, haughty slaveholder, who addressed me thus: "Mr. Long, do you believe that the negroes are a part of the human race?" "Yes, sir," I replied. "Well, I do not," said he. "I believe that they are a species of monkey." "Then,
sir," said I, "you do not believe in the Bible." His treatment of his slaves was in accordance with his theory. Yet he was more consistent than those who hold that they are of the same blood as ourselves, and yet treat them like brutes--who hold to their common origin with ourselves from Adam, and their common redemption by Christ, and yet sell them like oxen. Much ado has been made by some divines about the infidel theory that denies the common origin of the races. This theory is supported by Professor Agassiz and others. But the fact is we have, in the slave States, practically affirmed the diverse origin of the African race for one hundred and fifty years. It is the very nature of slavery to produce this result. I believe the Greeks and Romans held their origin to be distinct from that of their slaves. Slavery is doing more to cast discredit on the doctrine of the unity of the races, than the writings of all the infidel philosophers combined. Notwithstanding many pro-slavery men affect to be sceptical with regard to the intellect of the negro, yet, as a general rule, the South secretly and practically believes in the parity of mind of
the two races. This is evident from the sleepless vigilance they exercise to keep all knowledge from them; by their forbidding them to learn the letters of the alphabet; and by excluding them from all honorable positions in society. With singular inconsistency, they withhold from the slave the means of mental culture, and then impute his ignorance to inferiority of mind. They not only by positive law interdict him educational advantages, but appeal to the worst prejudices of our nature against him. The governing minds of the South know full well that, if they were to open their schools and colleges to colored people, many of this degraded class would exhibit superior abilities. The very existence of the laws which forbid education to the slaves is positive proof that the lawmakers of the slave States believe in the improvability of the negro's intellect.
"THE re-opening of the slave-trade, spoken of in Congress, is not quite so horrible a proposition as it would appear at first sight. True, as it was once conducted, it was a disgrace to the governments that tolerated it, and a stigma upon the human race. It seems to have been prosecuted without reference to any thing save the profits resulting from it. The brutality which accompanied it in the days of its pristine prosperity was no hindrance to it. Cruelty was not taken into account as a drawback. But now, things are different. The people who might be interested in it at this time are a humane and highly cultivated people. The government which would tolerate it is abundantly able to throw such guards about it as would be necessary to prevent excesses and to insure humanity; and under proper restrictions it could not fail to be a blessing to the Africans, and to render the condition of very many of them as much superior to what it is at present, as that of the slave here is to the doom of the savage in the old world. It is to show the savage at home that I compile the papers which will follow. They will show him to be just about as miserable as it is possible for a human being to be. Savage is not the word to express the idea. He
is a beast, with just enough intellect to make him worse than if he were moved by instinct alone.
"The proposition aforesaid was scoffed out of Congress. It was right, perhaps, that it should be, while men, with the films of prejudice and fanaticism over their eyes, are unable to see any thing but the phantasms of their morbid imaginations. But the day must come when philanthropy will make it a matter of more serious reflection. An enlightened philanthropy now is shocked at the idea of the African being forever doomed to the barbarity, to the revolting religious rites, to the brutal customs, and even to the slavery prevailing on his own continent. It would open emigration to him as well as to the rest of mankind, and give him a chance to see and improve by a civilization of which it appears unassisted he is incapable."
The above paragraph is taken from the "Easton Star," Talbot Co. Md., issued Feb. 24th, 1857. Its author is reputed to be a ripe classical scholar. He has been engaged as an educator of the youth of the wealthy men of the Eastern Shore of Maryland for a number of years. It is presumed that the editor of the paper, and the writer of the article, are acquainted with the opinions of their patrons with regard to the subject in question. Ten years ago, public sentiment would not have tolerated such an
article in Talbot County. We call the attention of our Northern friends to it, as a straw or feather which indicates the way the wind is blowing.
The extract shows the writer to be grossly ignorant of the native African, whose moral condition was greatly superior to the Spanish, English, and American pirates who stole him from his native country.
The slave States seem determined to re-open the foreign slave-trade. If the governing classes in Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, and Missouri should object to it, their objections will not be those of a moral or religious character, but of a pecuniary nature. They may fear that the traffic may diminish the price of their own slaves. The opinion is fast gaining ground that the foreign slave-trade is not piracy. The candid Southern slaveholder argues thus: "If it is right and just to hold the negro in slavery, if he is my property, then it is right to sell him if it is my pleasure. If it is right to sell him in Maryland and send him to Texas, separating him from mother and sisters, then it can be no worse to catch a pagan African and sell him in
Texas. Consequently, if a planter in the South wants negroes, he ought to have the privilege of getting them from Africa or Virginia, as may suit him best."
A word to the ministers of the South who defend chattel slavery among us: "Gentlemen, your taskmasters, the politicians, have made you their tools in the past. They made you outlaw the negro from humanity and the compassion of Christ, so far as you are concerned; and now you cannot stop. You cannot chain the tiger. You cannot halt, and say, 'we shall go no farther.' They will force you to preach the divine recognition of the benefits of the foreign slave-trade. If you hesitate, they will denounce you as abolitionists, and run you from the sunny South. And they will serve you right. You granted them their premises. You must now perforce accept their conclusions."
And now a word to ministers of the North, who justify slavery. "You need not turn up your eyes in holy horror at the thoughts of reopening the foreign slave-trade. You have already sanctioned the principle on which it rests, the internal slave-trade. And now you
must approve the other; otherwise the rich Southern planter will rank you with the abolitionists. Yes, gentlemen, 'you have sown to the wind, and you will reap the whirlwind.' You have taken 'coals into your bosom,' and you must expect to be burned."
And you, nice Conservatives, who labor day and night, at the North, to choke off investigation, your time is coming! Once justify in one man the right of property in another, and the internal and foreign slave-trade, with all their horrors, naturally follow. Let me tell you, clerical gentlemen of the North who preach in favor of slavery, that you are secretly despised by the great slaveholders of the South. I am a Southern man, and know a few of these slave-holders. They are generally bold and impetuous, and keenly penetrate the motives of Northern men. Should some antislavery preachers in the North go South, they would be handed over to the tender mercies of the mob. Yet they are at heart more respected than those who, as soon as they get in the South, belie their Northern education. I give it as my opinion that, when a planter in
Texas or Florida wants slaves from Africa, he will get them in spite of the laws against the slave-trade. When Southern men want to conquer the Central Americans, they will at least try to do it. The South is dead in trespasses and sins on the subject of slavery. The North is far from being regenerated. Paul said: "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" Slavery is a carcass chained to the church, and the church will have to shake herself loose from it, or be suffocated by its horrible stench.
The American Colonization Society, and the Colonization Societies of the different States, have, within the last forty years, succeeded in planting a colony of free and liberated colored persons on the west coast of Africa, called Liberia. The men who projected and now sustain the enterprise deserve all the credit they receive. The missionaries of the Cross who have labored and died there, have left the church a precious legacy. As a foundation of missionary operations
for the conversion of the native African, and as a refuge for those who otherwise might never have enjoyed their freedom, I have ever given it my cordial support, and ever expect to. But as a remedy for American slavery, I have no confidence whatever in African colonization, and for the following reasons: The present colonial population of Liberia does not exceed 12,000; yet it has had an existence of more than thirty years. The slave population of the United States is now 4,000,000, and more than doubles itself every thirty years. The annual increase of slaves, exclusive of those that are sent to Liberia and those who flee to free States, is 100,000 souls. Now if you could transport 10,000 of these annually to Liberia, you would ruin the colony, and have 90,000 net increase left; for the plantation-slave would not till the soil, and would thus prove a curse to the colony. He would, if he could, get a few pipes and tobacco, and there set up a little shop.
The North will not send them, for she believes that the colored man has as much right to the soil as the white man. The South will not, for
the governing classes of that section proclaim that slavery is the best condition for the African. My opinion is that more slaves are smuggled here from Africa every year than are liberated by the South and sent to Liberia. If any one doubts this, let him read the back numbers of the Maryland Colonization Journal. I have often listened to colonization agents, and have heard them distinctly declare that colonization was not designed as a remedy for slavery, but for the benefit of the free colored people.
Emancipation on the soil is the only remedy for chattel slavery. Colored people could then go to Liberia, to the West Indies, to the free States, and to the Territories or Canada, just as they pleased. This is no novel theory. The fathers of the Methodist Church, in 1784, believed in this remedy. Gen. Washington believed in it when he set his slaves free at his death.
The present colored race have a claim on our justice, love, and magnanimity. We have degraded them, and we should labor to elevate them. In the stead of Negro-buyers and overseers, I would have ten thousand Yankee, English,
and Irish school-teachers, who have no prejudices against color; and an equal number of schoolhouses. For slave-pens, I would have churches. For handcuffs and thumb-screws, I would have primers and New Testaments. I believe that, if the colored people were set free, they would make the peasantry of the South equal to the peasantry of Europe, or at least equal to some parts of it. It is objected to this plan, or remedy, that none but a few religious persons would ever consent to sacrifice the value of their slaves by emancipation. This does not prove the theory or principle a wrong one; nor does it militate against its justice and honesty. If the Pharaohs of the land will not set the slaves free, the Jehovah will do it by his judgments. I believe drunkenness to be wrong, and that abstinence from intoxicating liquors is its remedy. But thousands will drink on, heedless of the remedy, and perish. Christ will save to the uttermost all that come to him; but millions will continue to reject him and forever die. Yet the Gospel is true and soul-saving. We are to proclaim what we believe to be the truth, whether the multitude believe it or not.
Slavery dissolves the marriage relation between slaves, or between a slave man and a free woman, or a free man and a slave woman, at the will of the master. It ignores the authority of God in the conjugal relation, and trammels the conscience of true ministers of Jesus Christ.
Two colored persons called upon the writer, in Maryland, to marry them, and, before proceeding with the ceremony, I inquired of the man if he was single. He stated that he had been married by a Methodist preacher, but his wife had been sold to Georgia about two years. I was embarrassed and perplexed. What was to be done under the circumstances? I married them. Did I do wrong? I fear I did. If I had refused, the man would have lived with the woman, and I should have laid a burden of temptation on him that the church would not have touched with her little finger. On the other hand, it seemed like acknowledging the power of the master as above the command of God. This man's lawful wife was separated
from him for a cause other than adultery; she was, perhaps, then living; and, it may be, was already the forced wife or mistress of a slave or master in the far-off South.
The serpent slavery meets the Christian minister at every turn, hissing at the authority and love of Christ. Slavery and the married relation are utterly incompatible. To-day, the preacher may, by permission of the master, unite two slaves in holy wedlock, and by Divine authority say, "Whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder;" and the next day, the husband or wife can, at the will of the owner, be sent to some distant State. What minister of Christ can justify a system which thus strikes at morality, and openly, unblushingly violates the commands of the Great Jehovah?
THE moral and political philosopher will find stranger developments of humanity in the Great American Republic than in any other Government. During January, 1857, I listened to a lecture delivered in Philadelphia by a distinguished preacher from the Baltimore Conference. The orator more than met my expectations. His enunciation was clear, his voice filling the great hall with ease. His gesture was fine; his thought striking and witty, and at times brilliant. In many particulars, he painted the portrait of the "Universal Yankee Nation" with accuracy. There was one prominent feature in "Brother Jonathan," however, which he entirely omitted. It was Jonathan's love for enslaving 4,000,000 of our fellow-creatures; his tact in reducing men, women, and children to chattels personal. Any painting of the Great American
Republic, without this feature, would be as inaccurate as a portrait of the face without the nose. Indeed, chattel slavery is the great Roman nose of the American portrait. I shall try my brush at a rough drawing of Brother Jonathan. I anticipate his criticism, and denial of its accuracy; but I shall insist that it is truthful. Prior to exhibiting the picture, I shall relate an anecdote.
On one occasion, I visited the studio of a distinguished artist in one of our large cities. The artist related to me the following incident: A wealthy lady, quite advanced in years, employed him to paint her portrait--which he executed, as he thought, with truthfulness to nature. She called to see it, and was much displeased, petulantly asserting that it was not a good likeness. He saw what was the matter--that it was too faithful. She wished him to try again. He complied with her request and painted a fine youthful lady, with no resemblance to the original. She was delighted--it was so young and handsome, and favored her so much!
The greatest moral, religious, and political phenomenon that earth has ever seen is the
United States of America, in which are concentrated the virtues, and the vices, and the various civilizations of all nations, ancient or modern. A national body, through whose veins circulates the blood of all races; a nation of "good, bad, and indifferent;" a land of political and religious enigmas, absurdities, contradictions, and inconsistencies; a land where the sublime and the ridiculous perpetually approach each other; a land of books and newspapers, where it is a disgrace for some not to read the Bible, and where it is treason to teach others to read it; a land of free speech and of trammeled speech; a land where the greatest liberty and the deadliest despotism that ever crushed a people prevail side by side; a land where there is no pope, and yet a million of popes; a land in which woman is treated with the utmost respect because she is woman, and where women are unsexed and sold like beasts of burden, and treated as incapable of virtue; a land of trial by jury, and of mob-law; a land where people teach, on every 4th of July, that there are certain self-evident truths--for instance, that the Great Creator has endowed all men, without
distinction of color, with such rights as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness-- and where, upon the same day of Independence, the same people teach that, so far as colored persons are concerned, these self-evident truths are self-evident lies; a land of churches, of Bibles, and tracts, and yet a land of darkness and slave-pens; a land where liberty is local, and slavery national; a nation combining within itself the greatest power and the greatest weakness; a people whose national emblems are the steam-engine, the printing-press, and the clipper-ship, while its slave-droves and old sedge fields loom out darkly in the background; a land that has given birth to the greatest and best men that ever lived, and also to the meanest and vilest wretches that ever breathed in any quarter of our globe. Should old Apollyon call a world's convention, and offer a premium for the worst man in the world, it is probable that some New England advocate of slavery would, uncontested, bear off the prize.
The world is not governed by chance or accident.
The King eternal, immortal, and invisible is "God over all and blessed forever more." The burning seraph and the little sparrow are both watched by a Father's eye, and sustained by a Father's love. In view of the thousand ills to which we are all exposed, I have often thought that it is wonderful that so many human beings should ever attain to the age of forty years. I presume few persons have grown to manhood under the most favorable circumstances, without sometimes having stood upon the verge of death, and having witnessed the watchful care and over-ruling providence of the Author of all good.
I. A Vicious Cow.--The first hair-breadth escape from death that I remember occurred when I was not more than six years old. Returning from school one afternoon, a vicious cow ran at me. I was in front of a stable against which she backed me, and, in the effort to gore me, she inclosed my body with her horns. She started back to run at me again, and her attention being just then diverted by the screaming of my little sister, I fortunately escaped.
II. Skating.--This is an innocent and bracing exercise. I was very fond of it in my younger days. A mill-pond, about a mile from home, offered great facilities for this healthful amusement to the young men of the neighborhood. The middle of the pond was deep, and, when the weather was not very cold, the ice on that part was thin and unsafe. On one occasion, in company with several young companions, I ventured too far on the weak ice, and broke through. My youthful friends lost their presence of mind, collected together some distance off, and made no effort to rescue me. I suspended myself even with the ice, but had no power to escape. I was holding on to the smooth surface with the greatest difficulty, and in a few moments more would have been compelled to let go and sink. A brave and noble young sailor, who was skating some distance up the pond saw me, and came dashing toward me at full speed. I reached out my hand, and he missed it. He could not stop, but circled off and returned with wonderful velocity. Again I reached out my hand, he caught it with a hard sailor's grasp, kept on his way, dragged me out
of the water, and both of us were soon safely rolling over on the hard ice. I shall ever owe him a debt of gratitude.
III. A Spirited Colt.--If my youthful readers will examine a map of Maryland, they will see that from Cape Charles to Cape Henlopen, there are numerous small islands between the ocean and main-land. The "Beach," as it is called, is mostly barren, producing little else than myrtle bushes, dwarf trees, and a sickly-looking marsh grass. Farmers on the main often send to this place their infirm mares, whose young are left to bask in the sunshine, or cower before a driving snow without shelter or protection, and to spend their days in hearing the eternal roar of the ocean. These were at one time owned by a stock company, and when old enough were caught and tamed. They are called "Beach ponies," and are about the size of the Shetland pony, but more beautiful in form and appearance. They are hardy little animals, and of wicked dispositions.
My father bought one, and I claimed him as my own. I kept him very fat, and had but little for him to do. A hill from eight to ten
feet high stood on the road-side, near my father's house. While riding my colt, one beautiful afternoon, the bridle came off, but, supposing the animal would keep the main road to his stable, I felt no alarm. But instead of doing as I expected, he deliberately turned out of the road, went to the hill and jumped off, throwing me over his head, and causing me to turn a very undesirable summerset. Although I fell on my back, I sustained no injury.
IV. The Fox-hunt.--Fox-hunting is one of the chief sports in some parts of the South. A man who keeps a pack of hounds, and entertains his fellow-sportsmen, is considered no mean fellow. Many a poor slave has been sold to feed dogs and keep up incidental expenses. There is a great deal of fun and excitement in a fox-chase for those who glory in earthly things. My first and last fox-hunt occurred in my teens. A gentleman in the neighborhood who was an accomplished hunter, and owned a fine pack of hounds and a horse thoroughly trained to the chase, gave me an invitation to accompany a large party on a hunt. As I was a greenhorn in the business, and as my Beach pony was also untutored, he proffered
me his well-broken horse and rode mine. I shall never forget the appearance of his horse. He was a tall white animal, with a gentle sleepy look, and seemed to take no interest in what was going on. It was a cold, clear, frosty winter morning on which the hunt took place. A number of gentlemen were in company with their hounds and horses. Mr. Boice (the name by which I shall designate the owner of the horse I rode) was the master-spirit. The hounds were frantic with delight. The horses snuffed in the bracing air, and threw it out in puffs of smoke. The merry laugh and joke passed round among the gentry. I confess I was happy, for then I saw nothing wrong in the sport. I was the only boy in the company, and was rather petted by the old friends of my father. Moreover, they anticipated some rare sport from me, in case a fox should be started. As for my little pony, he was all on fire. Sometimes he would go sideways, and sometimes backwards. He was rather hard to manage. The horse I rode seemed to take less interest in the whole scene than the other animals. I felt perfectly safe on his back. We started and rode about two miles, crossed one of
the turned-out fields, which are very common in slave States, and then passed through a pine thicket, and arrived at the border of a dense swamp. Mr. Boice then blew up the hounds, and the leading dog plunged into the jungle. The horsemen arranged themselves along the swamp. My position was about the centre. It was my intention, if a fox should be started, to keep in the rear, and take a lesson from the old sportsmen. My horse seemed to droop, now and then working his ears. Not more than fifteen minutes had expired when the leading dog began to bay, the sounds coming in quick succession. Mr. Boice gave notice that a fox was up, and to keep a sharp look-out, as he would pass by us. My sleepy horse became suddenly transformed into life, his head erect, and his body quivering with excitement. To my surprise the fox passed almost under his heels; but the animal did not move. The leading dog came on, and all the rest struck in at full bay. My horse held on till the dogs passed; then in a moment he wheeled, and, like a fiery racer, regardless of me, dashed on after the hounds, leaving my companions far in the rear.
I found I should have to let go the bridle, which I did, and, with both hands, held on by the pommel of the saddle. When I came to the old field, it almost seemed to me that the horse flew. The wind whistled and roared in my ears. I thought to myself: "What shall I do when I come to the oak woods?" I was trembling with fright, for I expected to be killed. He entered the woods, and wildly dashed through them, jumping old trees, and winding around others. He would actually accommodate his body to my circumstances, and dodge limbs to keep me from being hurt, so well did he understand the danger of hunting. He ran thus two or three miles, when the dogs lost the fox in a swamp. The rest of the hunters came up, and I dismounted amid the jokes of my old friends. Glad that I was not killed, I fully determined never to hunt the fox again.
V. Peril from Dogs.--A morbid love for dogs pervades all classes of our community. It has been computed that the annual cost of these animals to the nation is $9,000,000, not including in the calculation the loss occasioned by their destruction of sheep, which is immense.
Three-fourths of all the dogs in our country are wholly unnecessary for any purposes of security or utility.
In the hot month of July, while travelling on the public road, I was once bitten above the knee by a large mastiff. The wound was a terrible one, and the season of the year increased my suffering. I was laid up for six weeks, and narrowly escaped being a cripple for life. But for a kind Providence, mortification of the limb might have ensued, and resulted in my death.
While conversing with a friend, several years ago, a large, yellow dog approached me. I drove him from the house, and almost as soon as he had got outside, he bit two dogs. The alarm was given, and the cry of "Mad dog!" rang on the air, causing mothers to call in their children and close the doors. I took my gun and foolishly pursued the animal alone. I followed him to the woods, and came up to him sooner than I expected. In a raging fit he sprang toward me, but stopped, before he reached me, to snap at or bite himself. I had only time enough to raise my gun and fire at his head as he turned his face toward me for the attack.
The shot took effect in his forehead. But his skull was too thick to be seriously injured; the wound seemed merely to stun him for a moment, and, foaming with rage, he turned and ran under a house close by. I stooped down to look for him, and there he was, only a few feet distant, looking me in the face, his eyes glaring like balls of fire. To this day I condemn myself for this uncalled-for exposure of my life.
By a revival of religion I mean a more than ordinarily gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon an individual, or church. A revival is to the moral and religious world what an earthquake is to the natural or physical world. During its continuance, churches are revived, many worldly persons become thoughtful about eternal realities, and others are truly converted to Christ. I have been honored by the blessed Redeemer in conducting several of these revivals both among white and colored persons. Young converts, warm in their first love, never defend slavery. They feel that they want to elevate all classes of men. It is the old professors, that
have succeeded in hardening their hearts, who are in favor of slavery. My observations lead me to conclude that not more than one out of five persons, who profess to be converted in the slave States continues to adorn his profession with good works. Many remain in the church only a few months, or at most but one or two years. If slaveholders, they generally feel some scruples about holding their slaves in bondage. If they refuse, like Pharaoh, to let God's people go, their hearts become hardened, and they finally settle down as mere professors of religion, or leave the church altogether. They will backslide, if young men, unless they engage in some industrial occupation; and one of the hardest lessons in the world for men to learn who have been brought up to no business, is to acquire the habit of labor. Many of our revivals ought not to be published till twelve months after date. In fact, some of our most prudent and thoughtful preachers have been so disgusted with flaming revival notices in the "Christian Advocate and Journal," as to get on the other extreme, and write no accounts whatever. Many of the reported converts are campaigners, professing
religion at nearly every camp-meeting and protracted meeting in their vicinity. Preachers who insist on a strict moral life, on dealing justly in business transactions, and being truthful in our words, self-denying in our lives, and liberal according to the ability given us, are greatly undervalued among us. The pastor who tries to get up Sunday-schools and Bible-classes, and to inspire a taste for sound literature, is frequently considered a "dry stick." But he who cares little for these things, but can shout aloud and ejaculate "Glory!" as unctuously as the politician his "Hurrah!"--he who beats the Bible and stamps lustily in the pulpit, is supposed by many to be full of the Holy Ghost. I have always found it easier to get up a "shout" than a Bible-class. I am not opposing "shouting," as the result of the Holy Spirit's influence on the heart. But it does not always indicate genuine feeling. A brother who was shouting and jumping with apparent earnestness, was approached and asked by another brother if he was happy. "Oh, no!" he replied. "Why, then, do you jump and shout so?" He answered that he did it "to get happy." He used it as a "means of grace." I
have never yet found affected happiness set down in the Bible as a means of grace. Slavery enervates body and mind, and has a tendency to create in the mind aversion to habits of close thought and study. It seeks periodical excitement. Our converts, however good, bad, or indifferent, are on a par with those of other denominations. I never knew one of them to be rejected when seeking admission into other churches. Slavery destroys more than half of the fruits of genuine revivals. It seeks and requires nothing but elementary and abstract preaching. It is opposed to progress, and to personal effort to attain perfection. When you want to denounce sin, you must go to Adam and Eve, and to the Jews in the wilderness. You must be careful, however, when slaves are present, how you talk about Pharaoh making slaves of the Hebrews, and refusing to let the people leave Egypt. At any rate, you must make no direct application of the subject. To apply the morality of the Bible to American politics, would blow up the reputation of any preacher. He may know, but he must not affirm, that his official members spend money
liberally to buy votes directly or indirectly. He may preach as much as he pleases against French and Austrian politics. I once heard a minister in the pulpit say that the head of every king in Europe ought to come off. And the sentiment was received with delight. You may even preach against a certain Austrian general who publicly whipped the wives and daughters of Hungary, and you will be applauded. But you must not dare to hint that it is wrong in America to strip a woman and cowhide her because she is restless under slavery. If an Italian prince confines a man in prison for reading the Bible, you can get up an indignation meeting, especially in Baltimore, that will astonish mankind. But to deprive millions of colored Native American citizens of equivalent privileges is a virtue of the highest order. The preacher, to be popular, must flatter church and state, especially the state. He must proclaim that this is the greatest and freest nation on the globe. It can be said truly that men in this country have more liberty to buy and sell, and whip men, women, and children, than in any other country, civilized, or savage. If
Napoleon III, were to cause to be sold annually 100,000 Frenchmen at public auction, and have them handcuffed and driven like cattle to different parts of France, his throne would be pulled down sooner than it took the allied powers to blow up Sebastopol. If the Pope were to sell at public auction, in Rome, 100,000 Italians yearly, the Vatican would tremble to its foundations. As a general thing, the religion of slaves is an A, B, C religion; and, though the great and merciful Redeemer saves many of them in their infantile development, yet this affords no excuse to those who keep them in that state.
White children in the South are almost exclusively nursed by slaves. A parent thus addresses her child: "Mary, child, you must not be kissing that black nigger! Bet, why do you let that child kiss you? Go along, this moment, and wash its face, for the child shall not kiss me after she has been kissing you,
unless her face is washed." Thus endeth the first lesson on caste.
The only way slaves can get along pleasantly, both with parents and children, is to flatter both. The self-will and vanity of children are stimulated from the beginning. Even aged slaves are great flatterers of their mistresses and masters. Slavery stimulates to excess the love of power, of ease, of applause, and of money, and aggravates licentious passion--the very tendencies that should be most repressed in youth. There are virtuous young men in the South; but their virtue is due solely to the intense watchfulness of parents and sisters. There is no need of French pictures and obscene books to corrupt youth in the South. The living pictures are the slaves. I have often been ashamed and astonished at some professed Christian parents, who would have thought themselves unfit for decent society if obscene prints were suspended in their parlors; and yet who in summer would dress up large colored boys and girls in a simple tow-linen shirt, who, in this costume, would play with their white children. White boys or girls coming on the
plantation thus dressed would have been driven off. The white children necessarily listen to conversations, and witness familiarities among slaves, that they should never hear or see. Many religious parents try to keep their children from the quarters; but it is a hard matter. Slaves often glory in corrupting the children of their owners. They learn them frequently to swear, to chew tobacco, to drink rum; and pollute their imaginations. In my opinion, eighty out of one hundred of the most religious families in the South have bad women connected with their household, in the persons of their female servants. Yet this horrid system is considered so sacred that it must not be exposed. Every man, from Maine to Oregon, who defends and apologizes for the system will partake of its punishment in the future world, as well as the slaveholders themselves.
As a rule, I have no faith in negro insurrections. A few well-authenticated ones have occurred; but nineteen out of twenty rumors are false. I have lived through two of these insurrections,
and, if I had not witnessed the fears and cowardice of men of the highest standing, I could not have believed that such could be the fact. There are men in the slave States, who neither fear God nor regard the white man, that act like nerveless women at the very mention of a slave insurrection. Their imaginations take fire, and they see a "Nat Turner" in every negro boy. On the merest rumor, many of the negroes are taken up and beaten unmercifully, and, for the sake of being let down, confess to any lie that may be suggested; just as the poor creatures of New England confessed to witchcraft in order to mitigate their punishment. The order of proceeding is about as follows:
Somebody starts a report that "the niggers are going to rise." Messrs. Scared-to-death & Co. take up servant Bob, strip off his shirt, make him "hug" a tree, and then tie him in that position. Mr. Stonyhead steps forward: "Did you hear Bill Black say that the niggers were going to rise and kill the whites?" "No, sir." "You lie, you rascal!" Click! click! click! goes the cowhide; the blood flows, and the boy writhes in agony at every stroke. "Now confess, you
dog." "O yes, Massa! O, let me down, Massa! and I will confess. Bill did say to me that the niggers were going to rise." Away they go after Bill. He is caught, and a rope is adjusted around his neck. In vain he protests his innocence; he is hung up to the nearest tree just like a dog, with no semblance of a trial. It is a clear case of downright murder. When the excitement dies away, and conscience upbraids, the men feel ashamed of themselves.
If a colored preacher or intelligent free negro gains the ill-will of a malicious slave, all the latter has to do is to report that said preacher had attempted to persuade him to "rise," or to run away; and the poor fellow's life may pay the forfeit. Indeed, the white man who is known to be opposed to slavery is in the same danger, if he reproves a vicious slave for swearing or drunkenness. Imaginary is as terrible as real suffering. It is not to be denied that there is a vast amount of uneasiness among the white population of the South from fear of the negroes, and the negroes suffer an equal amount from fear of the whites. It is a fact that the reign of terror has already commenced in the South.
Scenes of cruelty and torture are there enacted equal in character to any enacted by the authority of the Duke of Alva against the Protestants of Holland. And such scenes will continue to increase so long as the range of chattel slavery widens. When insurrections shall occur in the South, they will take place, not through the agency of Christian antislavery men, but of political speakers and editors of the press, who, in charging each other with abolitionism, shall be unguarded in their remarks before colored people; for by such means alone will the latter know and feel their strength. Indeed, the people of the South would never know anything of abolitionism, were it not for politicians. It is a terrible thought that the structure of Southern society, based as it is on chattel slavery, rests on a volcano, which, at some future day, will belch forth fire and brimstone, and vomit rivers of burning lava, which will sweep away the cities, and devastate the plains of the sunny South, unless the catastrophe is averted by timely repentance. We may start back with horror at the thought, and smile on the picture with vain derision; but neither horror nor affected
derision will change the eternal laws of right and wrong, or arrest the awful penalties that follow their violation.
Mr. RUSKIN was once a slave in one of the counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He succeeded in buying himself from his master; and being a man of superior abilities, and devoting his talent and energy to the accumulation of money, became one of the richest men in the county. I was informed that he was a member of the M. E. Church. He rode in the same style as the richest white men; and I observed, for he lived on a circuit adjoining mine, that when he entered a store, the utmost respect was shown him. The pro-slavery portion of the community held him in high esteem. The colored people despised him heartily; and so did I. He was a slaveholder, and treated his slaves precisely as his neighbors treated theirs. He died in 1846, and I witnessed his funeral cortege. His male slaves brought up the rear, mounted on horses. It was the grandest funeral procession that I saw while in the county. As the procession moved
along, I involuntarily asked myself the question, whether his soul had gone to heaven!
I have observed that, when colored men become wealthy in the South, they take sides, in a majority of cases, with the whites against the oppressed class of their own color. The possession of wealth, by such colored men, goes far, in the South, to mitigate the rigors of color.
It is painful to reflect that this man, after having tasted the bitter cup of slavery himself, should, in his state of freedom, have become the oppressor of his own brethren. This case, however, proves the necessity of good laws; for some men will do any act, however atrocious, which has the sanction of legal authority. The white man oppresses the Indian and the negro. The Indian enslaves the negro. The negro sometimes owns the negro; and, according to the testimony of slaves themselves, he is the worst of masters, and the most cruel of overseers. The minister of the Gospel who turns slaveholder is the worst of slaveholders.
THE tobacco plant is intimately associated in my mind with negro slavery. It is the emblem of filth and degradation. Its cultivation exhausts the richest soils, and increases the price of bread, which is the staff of life. I have been informed that the slaves employed in its cultivation are worse treated than any other class, because more exposed. To the philanthropist and the Christian its extensive and increasing use is most painful and alarming. Its probable cost to the people of this country, every year, is not far short of $40,000,000, a sum sufficient to pay the yearly tuition of every boy and girl, white and black, throughout the United States of America. Its use is not necessary to sustain life, or to promote health. If needed for a medicine, let it be labelled as other poisons. It is one of the prolific causes of dyspepsia, the
mother of "blue devils," suicide, and misery indescribable. We shall soon earn, by its use, the inglorious epithet of the "filthy nation!" Look at our streets, hotels, offices, stores, halls, court-houses, capitols, and churches, besmeared with the juice of the vile weed! Even our bedrooms and parlors are not secure from the evil! The tobacco-smoker pollutes the pure air of God which surrounds him; he invades the rights of his neighbors, and therefore should be indictable at common law. So unpleasant is the stench arising from the weed when we are confined in a close room, stage-coach, or omnibus, that I will not say that he who uses it is not a good man and a Christian, but that he would be a better man and a Christian, in every respect, without it. Its tendency is to kindle libidinous passion. Christian ministers should desist from it, especially those under fifty years of age. It injures their health and their usefulness. Their labors necessarily tax the brain. They need to carry no additional weight. This habit lessens the dignity of their office. It is in very bad taste for a minister of the Gospel to smoke in the thoroughfare. It demonstrates to the infidel
that he loves the things of the flesh, if not of the devil. It consumes time that should be spent in reading, in study, in prayer, and in pastoral work. The man who uses tobacco is in great danger, in time of trouble, of trusting to it for consolation, instead of looking to our Lord Jesus Christ.
The use of tobacco is driving men from the different churches on the holy Sabbath. Many smokers will not forego their pleasures long enough to hear a sermon; and when they do go to church, the "Amen" is the most joyful part of the sermon, so anxious are they to rush out and consume the noxious weed.
Here is a special argument addressed to Methodist preachers: The chewing of tobacco is driving hundreds of respectable people, and entire families, from the Methodist Episcopal into churches that have pews, for our churches generally are free-seated. Persons not members of our church do not feel at liberty to take seats near the pulpit. They take their seats near the centre of the church, or toward the door. Here rowdies and tobacco-chewers congregate, and eject their filthy saliva on the floor, where
no gentleman or lady can kneel in prayer. Decent persons become disgusted with such conduct, and go to churches where they can rent a pew, and thus shut out such creatures as neither reverence the house of God nor respect the requirements of good-breeding; and where their wives and daughters can worship in some cleanliness and peace. To an American Methodist, this is, in my opinion, the strongest argument which can be brought forward in favor of pews. Though opposed to pews as a general thing, yet I confess, after what I have seen a hundred times in our town and country churches, I can blame no man for renting one. A sexton in one of our churches in town said to me, after the service was over, on beholding the floor flooded with tobacco juice: "How is it that the very men who treat our church so badly never think of spitting on the floor when they go to the Presbyterian church in this town?" The reason is this: They felt that the pews were private property, and respected it as they would a man's parlor. But a free-seated church they regard as public property, and respect it no more than they do a bar-room or court-house.
It is rumored that other churches are adopting the free-seat plan. But mark what I tell you, dear reader; they will soon abandon that plan, if this nation continues to be cursed with millions of tobacco-chewers and snuffrubbers. I have seen the women's side of some country churches horribly defiled by the spitting of snuff against the wall and on the floor. A man who will deliberately spit tobacco-juice in a house of prayer, and thereby prevent others from worshiping and conforming to the rules of the church, should be invited to leave, and be requested not to return until he learns to behave himself genteelly.
But what shall I say of those preachers who chew in the pulpit, and thus defile the holy of holies; who pile their cold "quids" under the sacred desk, to the great annoyance of their anti-tobacco successors? A fat, easy, good-natured brother preacher told me that he desisted once from its use; but that he became so fat by abstaining that he could not cross his legs, and had to take to the weed again. I thought him excusable. The habit once acquired, becomes imperious in its demands. A
who has never used tobacco can scarcely conceive of the delicious pleasure it affords its votaries. I once used it myself; and though several years have elapsed since I gave it up, yet when I see a nice piece of cavendish, the appetite revives, and but for a sense of duty, would rather taste it than strawberries or ice-cream, of which, like most people, I am very fond. I can sympathize with those who have the appetite.
It has been said that "conscience makes cowards of us all;" certainly tobacco makes beggars of all that use it. White and colored here occupy common ground. It is a universal leveller. See that proud slaveholder, as he rides through his fields. He has forgotten his tobacco. He searches his pockets in vain. He determines to fast for once; but his resolution soon fails him. He calls for Pomp, and begs a piece of his common weed. Perhaps he literally bites it off with his teeth. It is true that it does not taste like his best Richmond cavendish; but it is better than none. He throws a ten-cent piece to Pomp, and the poor fellow is pleased with the double honor conferred on
him, kind words and money from his master. I suppose that the 800,000 members of the M. E. Church annually spend $500,000 for tobacco. One brother told me that his cigars had cost him as high as $100 a year. Poor men frequently spend for this luxury five, ten, and twenty dollars a year. I judge that at least 6000 slaves are owned by members of the M. E. Church; these, at $500 each, would amount to $3,000,000. The sum of $500,000 will buy 1000 of these poor creatures, many of them our brethren and sisters in Christ.
It is said that not a single preacher in the Irish Methodist Conference uses tobacco. I hope this Conference will send us a deputation to preach repentance on this subject. Hundreds annually perish from the effects of the insidious weed, who have never suspected the cause of their decline. The time will come, I think, when the merciful Redeemer will raise up men who will go through our land, and preach against tobacco as they have preached against intemperance. A vast amount of property is annually destroyed through carelessness in the use of pipes and cigars. Hear me, my friends,
for my cause, and your cause--the cause of sweet breath and of sweet sleep.
On every circuit I travelled, I made it a matter of conscience to attend to the colored friends--these poor sheep in the wilderness. Many of them are taken in church without baptism. I generally called their attention to this ordinance, and have baptized as many as forty at a time, some of whom had been members of the church for years. On a certain circuit, in the early part of my ministry, I promised to hold a protracted meeting for our colored brethren at a specified time. When the period rolled round, it found me unable to walk and confined to my room with inflammatory rheumatism. The ground was covered with snow. My boarding-house was not far from the church. The night came. The congregation was waiting. Two of the sable brothers came to see me. When they saw my affliction, they were cast down. The disappointment was great. I was responsible for their meeting. I was not fit to leave my room; but, seeing their disappointment, I told
them, if I could be taken to church, and seated in a chair, I would try and preach. They offered to take me in their arms. I accepted; and accordingly was gently conveyed to the house of the Lord, placed in a chair, and preached. And thus was I taken to and from the church, night after night, in the arms of these brethren. Many professed religion; and I trust that eternity will disclose some good results from that meeting.
Within the bounds of a circuit I once travelled was a Presbyterian Church. The congregation had been without a pastor for some time. Eventually, a young man belonging to the New School was called, and commenced his labors among them. Things went very smoothly for a little while. In the simplicity of his first love and zeal for Christ, the young man thought that he ought to seek to benefit all classes in the neighborhood. After laboring in the morning of the Sabbath with the white part of his flock, he set apart the afternoon for the instruction of colored children, that were roving over the
neighborhood, and growing up like the colts of wild asses. The children were delighted, and a flourishing Sabbath School was soon in operation. The young man's heart was cheered at the prospect of doing good. But, alas, for him and his school! Soon the cry was started that he was an abolitionist. The clouds gathered darkly above his head; the lightnings flashed, and the rumbling of thunder was heard in the distance. The poor fellow's heart was sad. I suppose he had heard that I had got up a Sabbath School for the colored people on my own circuit. He came to me with his troubles. I loved him and sympathized with him from that hour. I told him not to surrender. He had said nothing against slavery, and perhaps the storm might blow over. But it continued to increase, and the young man gave up the school, as his own members would not sustain him. Soon after, he resigned his charge. If he had been a foreign missionary, and if the Roman Catholics had broken up his school, the circumstance would have been rung through all the church papers. O slavery! slavery! the half has not been told concerning thee! Thou hidest thyself in darkness! Thou
hatest the light! But the light will come, if it has to come in balls of fire from heaven.
On this same circuit I got up a colored school. It was not popular. It added nothing to my acceptability. If I were a healthy, effective man in this Conference, I would not, as I have never done, refuse to go to any circuit within its bounds; but I would define my position on slavery to my elder or Bishop. If sent among a slaveholding community, I would tell the steward, on my arrival, that I believed slavery a sin, and should advocate my sentiments privately among the members of the church, and seek, wherever practicable, to establish schools. Should the members reply that I could not be their preacher on these conditions, I should ask to be removed to free territory. If my request were not granted, I would ask for a transfer to Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, or Minnesota, where I would live in a log cabin, eat "corn-dodgers," bear-meat, and be a free man, and preach a free Gospel to rich and poor, white and colored. I would much prefer this to a good salary and a fine table, with a padlock on my mouth. If a man embraces a certain doctrine or
opinion, and cannot utter his sentiments to another, he has within him a fire that more or less consumes his happiness. I don't believe that any conscientious antislavery minister can be happy in a slave State. He is constantly beholding offences which he cannot rebuke. A temperance man sees drunkenness everywhere; but in every State of the Union he can give vent to his feelings by public speeches against it, and thus relieve the heavy pressure of responsibility he feels in relation to that particular evil. Alas, how different is it with the question of slavery!
A kidnapper is a stealer of men. He deals in human flesh, and differs from the negro-buyer thus: the former pays nothing for his human chattels, while the latter does. The kidnapper is despised by all classes in the South. The slaveholder hates him, for the fellow may steal his human property. The slave fears him as a devouring lion. The free negro dreads him as his greatest enemy, for his operations are principally confined to this class, who have less
power to punish him than the master of slaves. Even those reverend divines who contend that slavery is right condemn kidnapping. Thousands of free colored people have been reduced to slavery by this bloodthirsty wolf. It is to be feared that many persons, who prowl about the borders of the free and slave States, persuading slaves to run off, are kidnappers in disguise. What produces kidnappers? What makes the business profitable? Chattel slavery! If no person bought or held slaves, the kidnapper would have no market for his chattels, and his occupation would cease as a natural consequence. The fact that such a class of men exists in any society is proof positive of deep corruption in that society.
"The merciful man is merciful to his beast." The lower counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the southern counties of Delaware, are the purgatory of horses and cattle. The sufferings endured by these dumb animals from various causes is immense.
1st. From the want of shelter during the
fall, winter, and early part of spring. A few wealthy and scientific farmers, of late years, have taken great pains with their stock, and provided their beasts with close and warm stables; but these are the exceptions to the rule. I have seen cattle along the corners of the fence shivering and trembling, and nearly drawn double, from exposure to the north-east wind and rain.
2d. For want of food. Better keep one well-fed cow than six half-starved ones. When spring arrives, it finds them feeble; the young grass often proves their death, and they become food for the vultures. The cows are badly milked. This is the process: A colored woman and a boy go to the cow-pen. The woman sets her bucket on one side, takes a cup, and strips one tit at a time, very slowly. The boy stands off, holding the calf by a rope around its neck. When the milk ceases to flow, the calf is permitted to approach the cow in order to get her milk down. The calf is then pulled off, and the woman proceeds. For weeks the calf is permitted to suck its dam at the time of milking. The result is, the cow soon goes dry.
3d. From the cruelty of slaves. Slaves are noted for their cruelty to horses, mules, and oxen; at least, this is my experience. They are very kind to dogs, and their own pigs. I have seen slaves beat oxen for the mere pleasure of it. Free negroes are as kind to animals as white men. Slavery is a cruelty inflicted by the master on the slave; and cruelty begets cruelty. The slave cannot retaliate on those above him; he therefore gratifies his vengeance on those beneath him by nature, but not by law. Having no motive to work, he makes it his study to do as little as possible without being punished; and what he does accomplish, he performs in as slovenly a manner as he can. He often neglects to feed and water the animals intrusted to his care.
While travelling, last September, on a Bay steamer, several well-dressed and cultivated men were near me discussing the politics of the day. From the conversation I inferred that they intended to support Mr. Buchanan. Only one of them I knew; a young man of noble personal
appearance, fine manners, excellent education, and of a humane heart. Though a slaveholder, I never heard him charged with cruelty to his slaves. His mother, wife, and sister are among the most accomplished ladies of his native county. One of the company remarked to the other: "Have you heard of the mobbing affair that took place in Baltimore the other night?" This remark attracted my special attention. The speaker then stated that some few men, supporters of Mr. Fremont, had held a meeting in favor of their candidate, and that a mob had broken the meeting up, and inflicted some injury on persons who were present. This intelligence was received with delight and approbation by all the company, except the young man alluded to. One remarked that, if he had been there, he would have made one of the mob: "Wouldn't you?" said he to a person standing beside him. "O yes!" Nearly all the company uttered similar sentiments: but when the question came round to the young man referred to, he answered with emphasis, "No!" He then arose to his feet, and said: "I am opposed to Mr. Fremont; but those who support him have as much right as we to
hold meetings and express their sentiments." That remark closed the conversation upon that subject.
I felt proud of that young man on account of my native State; and it was pleasing to think that there was at least one slaveholder in Maryland who was in favor of freedom of speech.
There is a vast amount of talent among the first lawyers of our country. Politically, they are the most important class of men in our nation. From this class spring our judges, Congressmen, and influential politicians. They make the laws, explain them, and enforce them. They are accused of not being over-righteous, yet many of them are good men; and no class of men have greater respect for a truly honest man. In the South, they have more influence than in the North. There, most people are so ignorant of law that they run to them for advice in the most trifling affairs. Ministers of the Gospel should attend our court trials occasionally, for from lawyers they may receive many useful hints.
In many of our county towns two or three of the ablest and most experienced members of the bar get nearly all the important cases. But many talented young men waste their lives in attending unimportant cases, which neither strengthen the intellect, improve the morals, nor fill the pocket--most of which cases may be thus summarily illustrated:--
Now, would it not be better for these young men, especially in the slave States, to leave the hotels in our county towns, go into the country, take a common school, and be useful to themselves and the community, by teaching the "young idea how to shoot"?
But I must not digress. My object is to relate the substance of a speech which I heard, in the South, delivered before a jury by a learned counsel. The nature of the case seemed to be this: A free negro had committed some trivial offence against a white man. The counsel for the negro arose, and addressed the jury substantially
thus: "Gentlemen of the jury: In presenting the case of my client before you, I ask nothing for him but justice at your hands; that the verdict which you shall render shall be in accordance with the evidence and law in the case. I entreat you, gentlemen of the jury, not to let any considerations growing out of the lowly condition of the prisoner at the bar, no prejudices against his class or color, bias your minds against him. My client is a man, and as such, stands, in the eye of justice, on an equal footing with any other man." These seemed to be excellent sentiments, nobly expressed. The jury paid no particular attention to them, and the lawyer soon after took his seat.
I presume that the lawyer was a slaveholder himself. Suppose I had taken him aside, and a conversation like the following had taken place: "My friend, does that man in your office belong to you?" "Yes!" "Well, that man labors all the week for his board and coarse clothing, and goes home to see his free wife on Saturday night with nothing in his pocket; and when his little children gather around his knees, and
climb up in his lap and look in his eyes, and ask him for a frock or a pair of shoes, he tells them that they must go to mother for every thing; that he is a slave; that his money goes to buy a costly gold watch and trinkets for his young mistress. Now, is it just for you to take his labor without his consent, and deprive his overtaxed wife and children of bread?" "O, but he is black! It would not, of course, be right to treat a white man so." "But did you not say, in pleading to-day, that, in the eye of justice, color and caste count as nothing?" "O well, I said that for Buncombe. I did not mean my remark to be taken literally, but in the abstract." It is within the range of possibility that this same counsellor-at-law would have stepped aside, after our private interview, and said to some of our town rowdies: "Boys, there is an abolitionist in town; you can have some fine sport to-night with tinpan music and blackguard songs. Don't kill him, but tell him to 'make tracks' before twenty-four hours: that, if he doesn't, he may get a coat of tar and feathers."
IT must be borne in mind that the masses of the South are illiterate. I mean they are not readers. The slaves are the principal manufacturers of tales and stories; and really they produce some tales far more exciting than many of our three-cent novelists of the North. Come, my Northern brother, and let's take a ride, this cold, bracing January evening to neighbor Goodliver in the country. Don't be too critical. Here is our old-fashioned worm-fence, made of sap pine rails, that has to be mended every year. Here is brother Goodliver's farm of 300 acres. Except his potato and turnip patches, where he has penned his cows and fattened his hogs, it is poor all over. You are ready to say that, if he would sell one-half of his farm, and buy fertilizers for the other half, he would make more money than he now does. Perhaps so.
But he will tell you that his father farmed just as he does, and that his father knew all about it. Well, here we are at the gate; its hinges are broken, and a fence-rail leans against it. No matter; pass on. Here is an old house which they call barn. See the cats, how they run and hide themselves. You have heard of the peculiar wildness of barn cats. Well, this is the carriage-house. It is open in front. There is a good carriage inside; but the top of it is soiled, because the chickens roost on the rafters above. Here is the old cherry-tree; its limbs bending beneath the weight of large turkeys, who, like some politicians, are quarreling and gobbling for a good place. The dog barks; out comes Brother Goodliver, exclaiming: "How do you do? How glad I am to see you! Get out, get out! Here, Bob, take this horse, and feed him well." Our Northern brother expresses a desire to go and assist Bob. But our host objects. Brother Goodliver introduces us to the kind wife and smiling daughters. A good oak or hickory fire is blazing, and we are soon made comfortable. Soon supper is ready. Hot coffee, fried hominy all smoking, fresh butter, fried
sausage, cold fowl, hot biscuit, and perhaps fried oysters.
Yet our friend is restless. He fears that Bob has not fed his horse well; that he has not handled him aright, and has spread no warm straw bedding under him. Supper is over; then comes a series of direct questions on matters and things in general.
It is now eight o'clock. We go through the quarter, and see Uncle Jenkins and Aunt Chloe. We take a seat on a stool. A good fire is blazing, with plenty of heart pine-knots to give a bright light. Uncle Jenkins is making doormats and horse-collars out of corn caps or husks. Sam has just finished beating his hominy; he has put away his iron pestle, and is now fanning it up. Sal has some sweet potatoes before the fire, and ash-cakes covered up beneath the hot coals. Aunt Chloe is darning the old man's shirt.
The young folks, white and colored, are seated around. Uncle Jenkins is telling of a man he saw in the graveyard dressed in white, who told him that he was a lost soul because he sold his colored man to Georgia. Uncle
Jenkins had seen horses without heads; had seen the devil with chains and a long tail; had heard strange noises in haunted houses; had been led by Jack-of-the-lantern through marshes and swamps; and had spells put on him by witches and wizards. The children, with mouths wide open, are drinking it all down, till they are afraid to go from the kitchen to the house. The time for family prayer has arrived. The servant girl that waits on the table is called in. Those in the quarter, or the field-hands, have no invitation. Then comes a good night's rest, followed by a breakfast which corresponds with the supper; for we are in a land whose people, Bishop Asbury said, dig their graves with their teeth. We bid good-by to our kind host. The horse is brought out, and we pursue our journey.
Our Northern brother complains. His horse had no bedding, and shivered with cold all night; its hair is all matted, it was rubbed down hastily with a corn-cob. He declares that he would rather not have fared so well himself, provided his poor dumb beast had been better
treated. He insists that he will attend to his own horse hereafter, no matter whom it offends.
Mormonism, socialism, freeloveism, and spiritualwifeism, have existed in the South for one hundred years, under different names, in the peculiar or domestic institution of chattel slavery. If Joe Smith had been born and brought up in the slave States, with his brutal tastes and licentious habits, he would never have thought of being the founder of a sect. Among the million of female chattels in the South, the supply would have been equal to the demand. You never hear of freelove associations in the South. From the very structure of slave society, there is no necessity for them. They never will receive general favor while 1,000,000 females are considered, in law, as having no virtue, and incapable of any. Mormon preachers will never make many converts in the South. Pure men will have nothing to do with them; and licentious white men will laugh at them, for the latter can command all the beastly pleasures of Mormonism without its cost, industry, notoriety,
and punishment. Amalgamation, with polygamy in all its disgusting forms, is the twin sister of chattel slavery. Hence the number and variety of white, mulatto, and chestnut-colored slaves, especially in our county towns and State capitals.
Amalgamation is increasing at a horrible rate throughout the slave States; and will continue to increase while wealth and luxury prevail in one class of the community, and degradation in the other. There are many pure and virtuous men in the South, who are, and who have been so, even from their childhood; but, as such, they labor under a temptation twofold greater than persons who occupy the same social position in the free States. It is admitted, by truthful men in the South, that slavery is a source of unbounded licentiousness; but they contend, also, that the white women of the South are more chaste, according to a given aggregate of the white population, than the same class in the North. This I deny. The poor white girl at the South has no more protection against the rich seducer than the poor girl at the North. She has not the same chance, enjoyed by the
latter, of getting an honest living. The licentiousness produced by slavery is a clear addition to be set down to a sum-total of wickedness in the slave States which of itself fully equals that existing in the free States. It is with pain that I express the conviction that one of the reasons why wicked men in the South uphold slavery is the facility which it affords for a licentious life. Negroes tell no tales in courts of law of the violation by white men of colored females. He who defends chattel slavery must defend polygamy, for it is polygamy under another name. If Utah should ever be admitted into this Union, it will come to pass that certain pro-slavery preachers, as well as politicians, will attempt to defend polygamy from the Bible. They will contend that it was practiced by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon; that Paul only forbade it in bishops and deacons, and did not enjoin it on the laity. They will attempt to prove that it is a civil institution, and as such that they have nothing to do with it; that it is their business not to preach politics, but the pure gospel. Pro-slavery men
will assuredly stand up for Utah in the day of her trial.
Uncle Stephen was a free colored man, and for many years a member of the Methodist Church. He died in the "faith once delivered to the saints." His unsullied honesty and pure life won for him the esteem of the community. He belonged to the same class as Uncle Levi. He left two sons, who, walking in his footsteps, are an honor to the people among whom they live. Both are commanders of vessels.
Such is the disposition to undervalue whatever is good in colored members of the church, that, when they die, no person furnishes obituary notices of them in the "Christian Advocate and Journal." The only way in which colored persons get their names in the newspapers is when they run away, when they are sold at vendue, or when they commit some crime, and are hung. Though many of them live the most exemplary lives, their names perish among men. Nevertheless, their record is on high; for "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of
his saints!" When flaming obituary notices have appeared in the Advocate concerning slaveowners, the question might have been asked: "How many human beings have they left to be sold for debt? how many have they left in perpetual bondage to their heirs-at-law?" Let me die the death of Lazarus rather than die with the sin of slavery fastened upon my skirts!
The following incident was related to me by a noble specimen of the Christian gentleman, a resident of one of the large towns of Maryland. A venerable colored man, a member of the Methodist Church, died. His life and holy conversation had been proverbial. The narrator, with three more of the most substantial citizens of the town, begged the privilege of being his pallbearers; and, with their own hands, they bore his body to the tomb. He said they did this to show to the colored people that they intended to respect and honor moral worth, though found beneath an African skin. This was the first case of the kind I ever heard of in a slave State. Their example is worthy of all imitation.
The day that an itinerant Methodist preacher leaves home for the first time, to enter upon the untried duties of his calling, is one never forgotten in his history. A thousand associations of boyhood and manhood--the dear homestead, the play-ground, the old school-house, the skating-pond, the angling rod, the gun and the dog--start up before the mind. The tender farewell of father and mother; the kiss of an affectionate sister; the good-by of classmates and Sunday-school companions; the tremendous sense of responsibility; the unseen future; the criticism to be endured; the consciousness of dependence on strangers; all conspire to make the day a memorable one. If a Southern man, some good Aunt Dinah may bless him with her prayers, and part with him in tears.
I well remember the day that I bade farewell to the kind family*
* LEVIN COTTINGHAM, Esq., of Worcester County, was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He died in 1839. I boarded in his excellent family for several months before I entered the ministry. Mr. Cottingham was no bigot. He was honest, open, and generous. His natural talents were of a high order. He was a man who would never forsake a friend in time of trouble. He despised hypocrisy, as all true men do; for a hypocrite, or a time-server, is a walking caricature of humanity.
Aunt Sarah was a hired servant in his family. Both master and servant were in good health when I left them; and both were dead when I returned, a few months after.
with whom I had been living.
* LEVIN COTTINGHAM, Esq., of Worcester County, was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He died in 1839. I boarded in his excellent family for several months before I entered the ministry. Mr. Cottingham was no bigot. He was honest, open, and generous. His natural talents were of a high order. He was a man who would never forsake a friend in time of trouble. He despised hypocrisy, as all true men do; for a hypocrite, or a time-server, is a walking caricature of humanity.
Aunt Sarah was a hired servant in his family. Both master and servant were in good health when I left them; and both were dead when I returned, a few months after.
Mounted on a fine bay horse, with new bridle and saddle, my saddle-bags containing, besides a few items of clothing, a Bible, a Hymn-Book, and a Discipline; with my over-coat lashed behind, and umbrella in hand, I parted with Aunt Sarah, a genuine specimen of the African race. She took leave of me with tears and prayers for my success. As I moved slowly off, I heard in the distance her loud sobs and wailings. I hastily brushed the falling tears from my cheeks, and pursued my journey, in the hope of again seeing the whole family in the course of a few months.
Aunt Sarah, it seems, had an impression that she had seen me for the last time; and, sure enough, her fears were verified. When I returned, she had passed into the heavens. Tell me not that the African has not love and
gratitude. Tell me not that he has no soul. O, ye scorners and mockers of God's images, the day will come when you will wish that you had treated them as human beings, that you had been their benefactors, and not their oppressors!
Courtship and marriage are exciting and important questions everywhere, but especially in the slave States. Among a sparse population, where there are comparatively few social topics to enlist attention, many long winter evenings and summer days are spent in discussing the minutest incidents of a courtship. If a marriage is to come off, the bride's lace on her nightcap is a subject of criticism. Colored people take a deep interest in the marriage of their owners. Courtships are frequently conducted through them. They carry the mail, and the letters are not always sealed. Many a young man has borne off a beautiful and wealthy bride, in spite of opposition from relatives, through the good offices of Uncle Toby and Aunt Dinah. Many a man has lost a fair lady by incurring the displeasure of servants. Reader, did you
ever hear the servants in the kitchen criticizing Miss Julia's beau? One mimics his voice; another his language. Bill shows how he walks. Aunt Sucky, in tracing his genealogy, relates how his grandfather killed a negro, and how his father sold one to Georgia. If Miss Julia gets him, Tom expects to be sold to the Georgia trader. Jim doesn't like him because he has too much white in his eyes. Sambo knows him to be lazy and stingy, for be once refused to give him a chew of tobacco. Uncle Lister says that Mr. Willard's slave girl, Nell, is his half sister; and that he is too intimate with Mr. Sturgeon's yellow girl, and hopes Miss Julia won't have him.
On one occasion I delivered a lecture to a congregation of colored persons, on the fourth chapter of Genesis, dwelling particularly on the conduct of Cain toward his brother Abel, who, when the Lord inquired for Abel, impudently asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" At the conclusion, I told them that they were at liberty to propose any questions they chose, relating to the chapter,
and that I would answer them if I could. A colored man, now in the spirit world, immediately arose, and asked me if I thought it was right for one brother to sell another. The meaning of his question was, whether it was right for one Christian to sell another Christian.
This question was wholly unexpected and unlooked for. If I had received a blow on the head, I could not have been more confused. The blood mounted to my cheek. I painfully felt that I was in a land of despotism; and, what was worse, that I myself was a slave. Had white men alone been present, and had the question been proposed by them, I should, regardless of consequences, have answered immediately that to sell a human being under any circumstances was a sin against God. But, for the sake of those who composed the assembly, I did not answer the question. I addressed them thus: "Colored friends, It is best for you not to discuss such questions here." And they acquiesced.
I will here take occasion to remark that the Gospel preached in the slave States is an adulterated Gospel. What preachers in the South
can say with Paul that they have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God? Are they not as mild as the moonbeam dancing on the silver wave, in their ministrations to the slaveholders of this generation? In the fifteen years of my ministry among slaves, I have always refrained, in their presence, from discussing the question of liberty and slavery. To have done so would not only have been a breach of confidence reposed in me by their masters, but the slaves need no instruction on this subject, as their Great Creator has stamped with his own hand the love of liberty in their hearts, so that they feel and know by instinct that slavery is an outrage upon their natures. Nevertheless, I have discussed the question with their masters, and have denounced it in their presence.
No man of a cruel and unfeeling disposition can be a gentleman, according to my estimate of the character. The man who bows, and scrapes, and takes off his hat to the accomplished and beautiful daughter of the honorable and wealthy Mr. Philander, and who the next
hour insults the poor slave girl that has no protector but God, and makes slang remarks to her as she passes the street, is no gentleman. The true gentleman is a man of kind and humane feelings. He treats all human beings with respect, according to their position in society; and never takes advantage of circumstances to insult the weak and the defenceless.
I have seen sad specimens of the former class of men in the South. They will almost jump out of their boots to wait on a rich lady. But a poor white woman, or slave, they will treat with insult or contempt. These are the men generally who contend that there are no virtuous women in the world. A high-spirited young man, whom I shall call D., related to me the following incident: A man of the class referred to asserted, in his presence, that there were no virtuous women. "Well," said D., "do you mean to say that your mother is not virtuous?" "O no! I make her an exception," he replied. "Then," said D., "do you mean to say that my mother is not virtuous? If you do, I will knock you down, or try to do so." "O no!" said the fellow; so the cowardly wretch made
two exceptions. No high-minded father, husband, or brother should ever countenance such wholesale slanderers of their mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters.
When your little ones bow the knee before you in the evening, and say "Our Father who art in heaven," and you kiss them good-night, does it afford you pleasure to think that no man can come, when they are sweetly asleep, and say: "These children are mine; I have paid so much money for them, and they are my property," and tear them from your warm embrace, to be seen and heard of by you no more forever?
Yet your colored sister of the South cannot, as you do, claim her own children. She knows not at what moment the hunter of human flesh may pounce upon them. Will you not pray daily to the God of justice and mercy to bring about the redemption of the millions of human beings now held in bondage? Never justify slavery, under any circumstances. Your influence may not be apparent, yet it will be powerful
against slavery. Men in the South will justify the system in all its shocking details; but I have never put the question to a mother, with direct application to the separation of children from parents, without hearing her condemn it.
To the young ladies of the free States, especially those who support themselves by honest employment, I would say: It is your duty, it is your interest, to oppose slavery. One of the bitter fruits of the system is to lead Southern masters, in order to justify themselves in holding slaves, to draw comparisons between the morality of slaves and that of the factory girls of the North. I have been shocked, in the South, at hearing the morals of laboring girls put on a par with those of Southern slaves. I know the reason of such slanders. Where will you hear the contemptuous epithet, "greasy mechanics," but in slave society? And how many of your fathers, brothers, and lovers belong to the class thus insultingly spoken of? Would there be cause for wonder if people should seek to avoid farm labor and mechanical employments, when the South is branding all
such employment as worthy only of negro slaves? Southern politicians and editors do immense harm in the North by their insolent sarcasm.
The Southern aristocracy is composed of great lawyers, doctors, clergymen of different denominations, military and naval officers, planters, merchants, and other educated and wealthy individuals. It is not so learned, polished and refined as the French or English aristocracy; but it is by far more powerful than either at the present time. I would not include in this class more than 100,000 of the white inhabitants of the South. But, small as it is, it rules 4,000,000 slaves with absolute sway; and it dictates to all others what shall be taught in politics and religion. It fills all State offices in the South, and controls every appointment of the General Government for that section of the Union. It has nearly all the wealth, and controls the press, and all the institutions of learning, in the South. Its power is not based on the affection and love which the masses bear to it, but on the
perfect union which exists among its members upon the one great subject of slavery. In olden times, when Europe was under the feudal system, one baron or lord would wage war against another; and the slaves of each baron, participating, as they did, in the strife, would be drawn into close contact with their leader. Not so in the South. No great planter, with his 200 slaves, goes to war with his neighbor. The political parties of the South may differ upon various points, but they present an unbroken front when antislavery influence is to be opposed; hence those parties in the North which sustain slavery may expect their undivided support. It is thus in the church. Methodists and Presbyterians may differ from each other on the Five Points, and both may differ from the Baptists as to the true mode of baptism; each of the three may differ from the Episcopalians as to apostolical succession; and all denominations of Christians may unite in denouncing the infidel; yet, should a public meeting be called to crush antislavery influence, they would shake hands in cordial union. By this unanimity of purpose, the Southern aristocracy governs
millions at the North. If a merchant in Philadelphia or New York is known to oppose slavery, the Southern merchant cuts his custom. If a bookseller or publisher favors freedom of speech, the South marks him. Deference to the institution is exacted from our medical and collegiate institutions that seek patronage in the South. The South pushes her principles into the North, even invading the social circle and the halls of science. Some men in our Northern cities are actually afraid to whisper their antislavery sentiments above their breath. The wealth of our large cities is made tributary to the great evil. Our moneyed aristocracy sympathizes at heart. with the aristocracy of the South. The latter is chargeable with the ignorance of the poor whites, who are deprived of common schools, without which they never can be elevated. It is chargeable with the mob spirit that prevails in the South. True, you do not find Southern gentlemen at the head of a mob. They only shut their doors while the storm rages without, and are careful to render no assistance to the poor creature that seeks the protection of the law. A frown from some of them would
deter any mob. The Southern aristocracy has grown up in the last fifty years. It now flourishes like a green bay tree; but, like Jonah's gourd, it has a worm at its roots; for the millions of poor whites will some day find out who are their oppressors!
THE Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church claims the same relation to her sister Conferences, that Virginia does to her sister States. Virginians boast that she is the Old Dominion. Members of the Baltimore Conference are loud in their praises of the Old Baltimore Conference. Both have produced some great men, whose memory I love to honor. The Baltimore Conference has been fitly denominated the Breakwater Conference, with special reference to the slavery question. And, sure enough, it has done more to roll back the genuine New Testament antislavery feeling among the laity, than any Conference in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
My first appointment as a travelling preacher was at Lewes, Delaware. Here is the great national work, the "Breakwater," extending along the bay in front of the town. Ofttimes
in the morning have I looked out upon the waters of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic, when the sky was clear, when the billows were at rest, and when not a vessel was to be seen behind these huge piles of stones. But as night would approach, and dark clouds would loom up from the east, you would see ships from the bay and the ocean taking shelter behind the stony walls of defence. In vain did the waves dash high before the angry storm. The vessels at anchor bade defiance to the tempest. When the church has sought to reach the laity that hold slaves for gain, the Baltimore delegation has stood up in the General Conference, and said: "You may do what you please with our travelling preachers, who, in an undisguised manner, hold slaves; but don't you touch our pious slaveholders of Prince George, Carroll, Calvert, St. Marys, Charles, and Anne Arundel counties, in Maryland, and of several counties in Virginia. If you do, we will leave you." The Baltimore Conference professes to be antislavery, and yet opposes abolitionism. What does she mean by these terms? From her practice, it seems to be this. If you condemn
the holding of slaves by the travelling preachers, that is antislavery; and if you oppose the same thing in private members, and wish them expelled, that is abolition. Hence, private members are just as secure in slave-breeding as if they were under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Conference of the M. E. Church South.
In proof of this position, I will quote some resolutions passed at the late session of the Baltimore Conference, held in Baltimore, and taken from the "Baltimore Sun" of Tuesday, March 17, 1857. These resolutions would do credit to any convention of Southern politicians.
"Resolved, by the Baltimore Conference, in conference assembled, that we highly deprecate the agitation of the slavery question, which has already resulted to the great detriment of the political and religious interests of the country.
"Resolved, that, as heretofore, we will oppose with zeal any aggression which shall be attempted by the abolition agitations of the country."
Rev. Henry Slicer defined his position as a conservative, thorough State-rights man, and
wished the resolutions of the Conference of 1846 reaffirmed. Rev. John A. Collins supported the resolutions. Fourteen voted against them out of a Conference of nearly 400 ministers. I wish I had their names, so that the church might see that fourteen men were not overawed in a slaveholding city. I have a few reflections to make on the resolutions, and on the course pursued by Rev. John A. Collins and Rev. Henry Slicer. The first resolution deprecates the agitation of slavery. Observe carefully. The Conference does not deprecate slavery, but it deprecates resistance to the aggressions of slavery. The Conference does not deprecate the fact that 4,000,000 of our brethren are in hopeless, and worse than Egyptian bondage; that they are increasing at the fearful rate of 100,000 a year; that the day on which they passed the resolution 250 human beings came into the world with the slaveholder's brand of infamy upon them. The Conference did not deprecate the introduction of slavery into Kansas, the late inhuman and antichristian decision of the majority of the Supreme Court in the case of Dred Scott, the existence of the slave-pens in the very city in
which they were assembled. Perhaps, at the very time they were debating the above resolutions, several of their brethren in Christ were being handcuffed and marched down to some ship bound for Charleston, or New Orleans; husbands were parted from wives to whom they were united by some of the very preachers who were pledging themselves zealously to oppose all denunciation of the infamous traffic in human flesh; children were separated from their mothers, though offered to the Lord in holy consecration, and baptized, perhaps, by these very ministers, in the name of the Holy Trinity. Yes! that very hour, perhaps, violated females of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopal churches were crying to God for mercy and support, while their shepherds were pledging themselves to human wolves and bears that they would not interfere to rescue them, and would not suffer others to do it. O, ye degenerate sons of the immortal Wesley! how shall ye escape the condemnation of outraged Christianity and civilization? The future historian of the Methodist Episcopal Church will blush with shame when he comes to
the proceedings of this annual session of your Conference.
It is my humble opinion that Mr. Collins and Mr. Slicer have done, and are now doing, more to tighten the chains of the oppressed in Maryland and Virginia, than William A. Smith of the Virginia Conference. They have done more to crush out the antislavery feeling among the young preachers of the Old Baltimore Conference than any other two men. It is true that they helped to suspend Harding for holding slaves; but when you come to touch the Methodist laity for holding slaves, that is quite another matter. To this they are as inflexibly adverse as Wm. A. Smith. They are opposed to discussion, to free speech on the subject. They know full well that slavery can only be kept at bay by exposing its enormities. Drunkenness and profanity are kept in check by opposition and denunciation. The very worst class of pro-slavery men are those who dislike free pulpits and a free press. The slave-breeders and slave-traders would not ask more of the preachers of the Baltimore Conference than to keep silent themselves, and oppose,
as best they can, the Methodist preachers of the North and West, who can neither be intimidated nor coaxed into silence while Christ is dishonored in the house of his friends. The very stones are ready to cry out against the sum of "all villanies." I trust that the General Conference of 1860 will preach the funeral sermon of slaveholding in the M. E. Church, so that her garments may thenceforth be without spot or taint. Rev. Mr. Torrence, a member of the Conference, a Bible agent in Pennsylvania, and a resident of Philadelphia, offered the following resolution: "Resolved, that as the position of the Baltimore Methodist Episcopal Conference is well known, the introduction of such a question as slavery into its consideration was highly inexpedient, either pro or con." This gentleman considers the question of slavery as of so little importance, so much beneath the dignity of the Rev. Divines of the Baltimore Conference, that it should not enter into their deliberations! Two things always sicken me--a pro-slavery Bible agent, and a pro-slavery chaplain of the United States Senate.
No man is fit to be a Bible agent who is a propagandist of slavery, or, what is the same thing, one who deprecates the agitation of the slavery question.
The Baltimore Conference may say to me that if she took, at the present time, the ground that I advocate--that it is sin for the laity, including class-leaders and local-preachers, to breed and hold slaves--the earthly prospects of scores of the preachers would be blasted; that many of their sons and daughters, who may own slaves, would be subjected to insult; that her preachers, when they fail in health, could not get offices in Washington under pro-slavery administrations. All this may be true. It is sufficient to answer that we ought to be faithful to Christ, being assured that, "if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." But I have no hope that the Baltimore Conference will be guided by this lofty motive. She is more pro-slavery to-day than she was in 1844 or 1847. She stands on the same foundation now that she stood on ten years ago, despite the developments of late years as to the irrepressible tendencies of the system; despite the rapid progress
of slavery in that period. Witness, for example, the passing of the inhuman Fugitive Slave Law; the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; the Kansas outrages; and the late decision of the Supreme Court. The Baltimore Conference is incorrigibly pro-slavery. The majority report of the committee on slavery, appointed by the late General Conference, has strengthened her pro-slavery position. That report was an unfortunate one. It conceded too much antislavery action to the Border Conferences. If the president of that committee, Dr. Reymond, will visit the Philadelphia Conference, I can take him where he can find mercenary slaveholders and advocates for slavery; and I have no doubt that of such the Baltimore Conference has two to one, compared with the Philadelphia Conference. For the last thirty years the Baltimore Conference has exerted more power in the General Conference than any one of her sister Conferences. But her glory is departing from her. She will be willing to remain in the M. E. Church, so long as the Discipline shields, as at present it does, her slaveholding laity. But if the General Conference makes non-slaveholding a test of
membership, then, I believe, she will secede. The present position of the M. E. Church is a serious one. If she does not alter the Discipline, so as to exclude mercenary slaveholders, she will lose thousands of souls in the North, and gain nothing in the South. The M. E. Church South charge the laity of our church with mercenary slaveholding; and, as an honest man, I must say that the charge is true to the very letter.
The doctrines of the M. E. Church are more clearly and beautifully expressed in her standard Hymn-Book than in the Discipline, or in Wesley's "Sermons," or in Watson's "Institutes." The Hymn-Book contains both our creed and our liturgy. We teach the people to sing our theology. To its frequent use in the church and at social meetings may be attributed the harmony of doctrine throughout the borders of our church. The Hymn-Book is the colored people's only catechism. Many of them could state the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel in the language of song. I have been conversant with
their class-meetings for years, and am familiar with their peculiar manner and language in the relation of their experience. By putting language in the mouths of imaginary speakers, I shall endeavor to give the reader a correct idea of the ordinary exercises of a class-meeting composed of colored persons. I shall give many of the very phrases I have heard them use. I shall do this, not to gratify impertinent curiosity, or to provoke the smile of a scoffer at things sacred, but to complete our picture of slave life.
I shall make one remark with regard to class-meetings generally. They are not secret societies, in the proper sense of those terms. I have attended them for twenty years, and never heard any thing in them that I would be ashamed for any sensible infidel to hear.
Travelling preachers now-a-days seldom meet colored classes, or know their colored members when they see them. This may be accounted for thus: The circuits are getting wealthy and compact. Each appointment demands preaching every Sabbath. This requires three sermons a day from the preacher. He has therefore no time for meeting his colored flock on Sunday,
and this is the only time the slaves have at their disposal. This throws them exclusively into the hands of the white leader, who is, practically, preacher and pastor, receiving and expelling members at his option. The leaders are generally pious, good men; for no man will be a negro class-leader who is not crucified to human applause.
Come, dear reader, let us go to the Sunday morning class. The leader enters. His flock is waiting. He kneels in silent prayer for a few moments, then takes the Hymn-Book and reads:--
And are we yet alive,
And see each other's face?
Glory and praise to Jesus give
For his redeeming grace.
After the hymn is sung, all kneel down, and the leader addresses the Throne of Grace in fervent prayer, responded to by hearty Amens by the class. After prayer, all take their seats. Some member, in a clear, full, strong voice, sings:--
Vain, delusive world, adieu,
With all of creature good!
Only Jesus I pursue,
Who bought me with his blood.
O that I could all invite
This saving truth to prove;
Show the length, the breadth, the height,
And depth of Jesus' love.
The leader relates his own experience in a few words, and addresses a short exhortation to the class.
A class consists of from 25 to 50 persons. Their names are recorded in a book, called the class-book; and are set down, not according to age, but with reference to the time each joined the church. Colored persons often take the names of their owners; hence a husband may have one name, and his wife another, if she belongs to a different master. Opposite each name are ruled lines, at the top of which is the day of the month. Here is the name of William Benson. If he is present, p is marked opposite his name; if absent, a; if distant, d; if sick, s; if dead, or sold to the South, his name is struck off the book. The announcement that a member has been sold produces a greater sensation than the announcement of his death would produce. Slaves raised in educated families use good language; but, in general, their words and illustrations
harmonize with their lowly and oppressed condition. Fearing no criticism or conventionalities, they are perfectly themselves.
The name of John Gladding is called. John arises, and the leader thus addresses him: "Tell your class how you are prospering in religion."
John.--"My brothers and sisters, I had a great desire to come here to tell you how I have been getting along in religion, in the past week. I tell you, brothers, that religion is good all the time, 'long the fence-roads as well as in the church. I feel Jesus in my soul. I am bound for the kingdom. Pray for me that I may hold out, and hold on, and get to heaven when I die."
"Amen!" says one; "Glory!" ejaculates another.
Leader.--"Watch and pray, John; he that endureth to the end shall be saved." A sweet hymn is sung:--
A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify;
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
Leader.--"Hannah More, what are your prospects of heaven?"
Hannah.--"My class-mates, I have deep waters to pass through; but, when I kneel in secret prayer, the Lord does clear my sky. I have had two children sold to Georgia. I hope to meet them in heaven where parting will be no more, and see Jesus as he is. Glory be to his name forever!"
Henry Orum.--"Brethren, I have my difficulties; sometimes up and sometimes down; but the blessed Lord knows that I do love him. I feel the witness in my bosom. I have nothing but a poor slave body; but when I get to heaven, I expect to be free, soul and body. I expect to endure hardness as a good soldier, and plough the furrow to the end, the Lord being my helper."
Another hymn is sung:--
"How tedious and tasteless the hours,
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The midsummer sun shines but dim;
The fields strive in vain to look gay:
But when I am happy in Him,
December's as pleasant as May."
Aunt Milly.--"Children, I have been travelling the narrow road for fifty years, and am not tired of the way yet; the nearer the fountain, the sweeter the water. Children, I never shall forget the day when Jesus washed my sins away. I was awakened under the preaching of the great Freeborn Garretson. I thought I was good enough till the Spirit got hold of me; then I felt that my heart was very wicked. I fasted and prayed; but my heart got harder. Then I thought that there was no mercy for me. I was miserable. Old master said I was going crazy, and told me to keep away from the crazy Methodists; if I did not, he would give me thirty-nine lashes on my bare back. Then I went to Uncle Joseph, who had religion; he told me to pray on; that the darkest hour was just before the break of day; to look right up to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. I knelt down, and Uncle Joseph prayed for me; and I cried, 'Lord, have mercy on a poor African soul!' and bless you, children, I saw the light coming as a great ball of fire. My sins rolled off; I felt as light as a feather. My soul was full of love. I had the witness of the Spirit to bear witness to
my spirit that I was the child of God. Then I prayed for old master. I joined with the people of God, and from that day to this the Lord has been my helper. My old class-mates have crossed over Jordan, and I am left alone; but soon I expect to join them, and walk the golden streets of the New Jerusalem. The old Methodists, children, fasted every Friday, and prayed three times a day in secret, and they went to class and preaching through cold and heat, rain or shine. Be faithful, children; the old woman will soon leave you for bright glory above."
"When life sinks apace, and death is in view,
The word of his grace shall comfort us through;
Not fearing or doubting, with Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting, 'The Lord will provide.'"
Henry Banning.--"Brethring, my soul is hot; hot as pepper. Before I sought de Lord, I was a very bad negro. I got drunk, and took de name of de Lord in vain; but now I am a new creature in Christ Jesus, and on my way to hebben. I toats the witness in my breast! Bress de Lord, I feel dat my name is roten on his hands."
"He ever lives above,
For me to intercede;
His all-redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the Throne of Grace."
Edward Ross.--"My class-mates, I feel sometimes that I have no friends, like a strange horse in a pound, with all the rest of the horses kicking at him. I am trying to be honest, to watch as well as pray, to do as well as say. I don't want to be a hypocrite, to come here on Sunday and bleat like a sheep, and act like a goat all the rest of the week. Pray for me, my brethren."
Silence for a few minutes.
Aunt Sue.--"My brothers and sisters, I am looking to Jesus. I have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. My soul is bowed down with sorrow and trouble. I think sometimes I shall go crazy. Pray for me, my dear class-mates, that I may get safe home at last."
The class sings as follows:--
"Though troubles assail, and dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail, and foes all unite,
Yet one thing secures us--whatever betide,
The promise assures us, the Lord will provide."
Aunt Sue was a free colored woman, of remarkable piety. But there was so much anguish of soul depicted in her countenance that I felt sorrowful whenever I saw her, knowing, as I did, the trouble through which she had passed. Her husband was sold under the following circumstances: He was a slave, but sought to buy himself, paying the required amount in regular instalments. He had nearly succeeded in paying for himself, when his master died or failed in business. The poor fellow was seized by his master's creditors just as the golden prize of liberty was nearly within his grasp. I shall never forget his personal appearance. He was tall and well made, and was skillful in the use of the broad axe in hewing ship-timber. He was at work in the woods when the negro-catchers and kidnappers surrounded him. I learned that he at first had resolved to defend himself with his broad-axe, but, seeing his antagonists were too numerous, he surrendered, was handcuffed,
and dragged from his wife, cheated out of his hard earnings, and consigned to hopeless slavery. This was the result of one man holding the legal right of property in another man. When high Heaven shall let loose the fires of righteous retribution on this adulterous and sinful nation, who shall be able to stand!
There are more free colored persons in Delaware, according to population, (if I mistake not,) than any other State. In Newcastle County there are very few slaves, if any. This result is due to the influence of the Friends or Quakers. Wherever the Quaker goes, he bears silent testimony against slavery. Who ever heard of a Quaker being killed by a negro? If the slaves of the South were emancipated, and there was any danger of an insurrection, one Quaker preacher would do more to suppress it than a hundred soldiers. The city of Wilmington is the only place in the State, so far as I know, that permits freedom of speech. If Delaware would buy all the slaves in the State, and proclaim herself a free State, she would
immensely augment her wealth, and, what would be still better, she would elevate the moral tone, and increase the intellectual culture of her citizens. There is something very grating to my ears in the word "slave," as an appendage to a State or nation. How would it sound if applied to European nations? Were we to apply the stigma to England, to Holland, to Switzerland, and to France, with what scorn would the insult be repelled! Yet Southern men sometimes speak of Southern States as slave States, and even glory in the name.
Slavery should, under no circumstances, be permitted to advance further over the free territory of the American Government. Many reasons might be adduced why soil now free should remain free. I shall advance but one. It is this. In behalf of the industrious whites of the South, and of those antislavery men who will, by force or other causes, be driven from the South, it is our duty to hold this territory as a place of refuge. The time is coming when all who will not bow down to
slavery will have to leave the South. Where shall they go? To the Eastern and the Middle States? No. These States are already full. They must go to the territories. The North, then, for the good of the natives of the South alone, apart from her own interest in the matter, should resist to the uttermost the encroachments of the unhallowed institution. When the slave trade is reopened, lawfully or unlawfully, the free negroes will either be reduced to slavery, or driven from the South. These also must have a place of refuge. To resist the encroachments of slavery on free soil is a high and sacred religious duty.
The free colored people of Philadelphia are in bad repute in the South. Southern merchants, and other travellers coming to Philadelphia, stumble over a few drunken negroes in Bedford-street, and, when they go home, report that the slaves of the South are better off than the free negroes of the North. Not so fast, gentlemen! I have taken some pains to examine into this
matter, and I rejoice to know that their condition is fifty per cent. better than I expected to find it. The committals at Moyamensing prison will show you that more whites are there incarcerated, according to population, than blacks. Do you infer from this that the slaves of the South are better off than the white people of Philadelphia? Let me say, as a Southern man, that I have seen, in one day, more drunkenness, brutality, and degradation on holiday occasions among slaves, than I have seen in Philadelphia in three months. It is an insult to the colored people of Philadelphia to compare them, in mind or morals, to Southern slaves. Every candid man in the South will say so; if he will come to this city, and visit their eighteen or twenty churches; their splendid new Masonic Hall; their classical high school, with its colored professors from New England and Jamaica--a school such as I have never seen on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; their private day-schools, and their two beautiful cemeteries. Let him listen to their orators and lecturers, and then say, if he can, that these men are worse off than Southern slaves. I
pity the man from my heart that could arrive at such a conclusion.
Baltimore is the Paris of all the cities of the slave States, so far as elegance and refinement are concerned. Witness, for example, her hotels, her monuments, her churches, her spacious streets, and her elegant private residences. But in moral sublimity she is far behind Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cincinnati. These cities possess something far nobler than a marble monument to the father of his country. They have freedom of speech, free discussions, free newspapers, and free pulpits for white and colored persons; and this cannot be said of the beautiful city of my native State.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Dred Scott, has sent a thrill of sadness to the hearts of the good and benevolent throughout our country. By this decision nearly 500,000 Native Americans have been outlawed from the protection of
the stars and stripes, which, proudly floating in all seas, is unfurled from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Many of these are our brethren in Christ, and ambassadors from the Court of Heaven to sinful men. Those whom Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio claim and protect as citizens of their respective States, are regarded by the National Court as aliens, and unprotected as citizens by the Federal Government. Let no man after this insult Christianity by calling this Republic a Christian Government. Such a decision would not have been given by the Supreme Court from 1794 to 1820. But slavery has poisoned our theology; it has corrupted the vast majority of the pulpits of the land; it now controls many of the great ecclesiastic bodies of the Union, and has full possession of all departments of the National Government, the single distinctive measure of which seems to be to extend slavery, so that it shall henceforth be a national institution. The next step in the programme will be the reopening of the foreign slave-trade. The destruction of Liberia is to follow, if she interposes any barrier to the traffic; for our Government has always refused
to acknowledge the independence of that republic. I also predict that the slave States will pass laws to enslave the free negroes within their jurisdiction; then to enslave the antislavery men of the free States who may visit them; next, to reduce their own poor whites to chattel slaves by selling them for pretended debts; and, finally, to place the government under a military despotism. To the poor men of the free States, I say: "Arise, and shake yourselves from the dust, for the Philistines are already upon ye!" Henceforward I shall welcome with more joy than ever the thousands of foreign Protestants who shall arrive on our shores. I have noticed that nearly all Englishmen, Protestant Irish, and Germans are opposed to chattel-slavery; and by their assistance alone can the native American freemen successfully combat the slave power, backed up as it is by Romanism and rum. Slavery is as much opposed to Christianity as it is to patriotism--to the laboring white man as to the colored man. The antislavery foreigners should be welcomed as brothers beloved, for the power of slaveholders is more to be feared
than that of such foreigners. Slavery is the common enemy of freemen of all nations, tongues, and races; just as Romanism is the common enemy of all Protestant denominations, freemasonry, and odd-fellowship.
THERE are certain professions and avocations in the South, which slaves cannot follow. The labor performed by these chattels--such as fieldwork, house-work, and certain mechanical trades--becomes, in the minds of the whites of the South, associated with the slaves themselves. In other words, such labor is regarded as dishonorable. Now, when the poor white man engages in such labor, he falls to the level of the slave himself in the estimation of the slave's master. Hence the effort of the whites in the South to avoid all labor usually performed by slaves. They will seek to hide themselves in obscure places, and live in idleness; or they will move to free States. But the evil stops not here. When the slaveholder comes North, and observes white men engaged in the same labor performed by his slaves, he regards them with secret contempt. The odium attached to
domestic service on the part of poor white women in the North is the result of Southern slavery. Perhaps no nation on earth suffers so much family inconvenience and discord on account of female labor as our own. Slavery insults the free labor of the North. To dishonor labor in itself is one of its infallible results.
Degrade a man to a chattel, and you degrade labor. Elevate the chattel to a man, and the elevation of labor follows. Hence the free laborer is bound by every principle of self-respect, as well as by his affection for his children, to oppose slavery everywhere and always to the uttermost. Slavery converts a lazy loafer into a gentleman, and degrades an industrious man to a slave.
When this institution prevails to any extent in a country, it performs all the offices usually performed by war, pestilence, and famine. Go to my native county in Maryland, and travel the main road on the Worcester side from New Town to Snow Hill, a distance of fifteen miles; and what do you behold but barrenness, desolation, and gloom, with houses rotting down, and fields turned out! Fifty or one hundred Jersey
farmers and gardeners would make this spot blossom as the rose. Slavery resembles the dog in the manger; it is not only unproductive itself, but permits productiveness nowhere within the range of its influence. In Maryland and Virginia there are thousands who, by emancipating their negroes, selling half their farms to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware farmers, and employing skilled and cultivated white labor, would realize considerable gains.
Such is the moral constitution of man, that familiarity produces singular results, both for good or evil. A cultivated young man who had contracted the exceedingly sinful habit of profane swearing, told me that he had never been guilty of profanity until verging on manhood; that the first oath he swore thrilled him with horror and remorse; but that, by continuing to use profane language, finally he could swear with impunity. What is more alarming at first than pestilential death? Some three years ago the town in which I resided was visited with cholera for the space of three months; and
nearly as many persons perished, according to the population, as died of the yellow fever in Norfolk. On its appearance it created great alarm. Some of the inhabitants moved from the town. I buried nearly three-fourths of all that died. Although suffering with the chills myself, I would leave my sick-bed at the hour of midnight to baptize and comfort the dying. A friend would be talking to you in the afternoon, and be dead before morning. Yet, after three or four weeks, all classes became somewhat composed. The sight of a funeral procession lost its solemnity, and the burial-service its impressiveness. Persons at a distance were astonished that all who could leave did not escape from the afflicted village. "Why don't you leave?" said a friend. "No; I shall stay with the afflicted, and trust to Providence." A brother minister from a distance called one day for a few hours. "Come," said I, "and go with me to see a lady dying with the cholera." In evident alarm he exclaimed: "No, no; I must be going; I must have my horse." The law of familiarity had not operated sufficiently long to reconcile him to this awful pestilence.
Now apply this law to slavery. There are many things about slave life that shock the moral sensibility of a Northern man or an Englishman, and when he speaks of them to Southern men, the latter will get into a passion and deny the allegations; and thus things which are odious to others have ceased to make any impression upon their memory or hearts.
How are the Southern people to be roused from this insensibility to the effects of slavery? Simply by directing their attention to them, no matter if they do become angry. Two friends were travelling through snow and cold. One said he "felt sleepy, and wished to lie down a little while." His fellow-traveller became alarmed, for he knew to sleep was to die. He told him he must not lie down; that, if he gave way to his feelings, he would sleep in death. But the drowsy man was unwilling to listen to the voice of love and reason, and insisted upon lying down, declaring that he would sleep only a little while. His companion saw that the only chance of saving his friend was to be resolute and active, to forcibly drag him along, and to give him no peace till
he got him safe at home. When seated before the blazing fire, with a sense of security from danger, the poor fellow could appreciate the kindness which saved his life despite his will. Slaveholders and their friends say, "Let us alone. The blood of four million slaves be upon us and our children." The real enemies of the slaveholders say: "Sleep on; you ought to have rest." While, upon the other hand, their true friends say: "We will not give you the dangerous rest. We will cry aloud, and spare not. You shall have no rest till out of danger."
The South is out-heroding Herod. She is getting more zealous than papal Rome. She has her "Index Expurgatorius." Indeed, she has several of them; for nearly every village, town, and city is establishing one. Book after book is being prohibited. Author after author is falling under Southern bulls and edicts. The song is getting to be, "O, the bliss of ignorance!" Booksellers are running like rats from a barn on fire. Publishers in the North must
mind their P's and Q's, or forfeit their Southern custom.
In one of our Northern cities, I once attended church among the colored people, knowing no one, and unknown to any one in the congregation. I took my seat at the door, and certainly had no expectation of hearing any thing upon the subject of slavery. What was unexpected by me, the sermon was delivered by a Quaker, who preached with much energy, and made a vigorous onslaught on the institutions of the South. He took his seat, and a colored preacher got up to exhort. I will give the substance of his speech:--
"My Brethren: I was much pleased with the sermon of my brother. It had truth enough in it to save the whole world. But, brethren, I can be nothing but a Methodist; I am a corn-field preacher. My brethren, I think the abolitionists have done a great deal of good for us colored people; but some of my colored brethren say that the abolitionists have made it worse for them; that they are not so well off as before
the abolitionists came about; that the masters are worse on their slaves than they were before! Now, brethren, Moses was an abolitionist. The Master told him to go to Pharaoh, and tell him that the Lord says: 'Let my people go, that they may serve me.' But Pharaoh said: 'Who is the Lord? I will not let his people go.' So Pharaoh oppressed the people more and more; and then they went to Moses and told him that he had made things worse than they were before; and they blamed Moses for stirring up Pharaoh. Now, my brethren, we must make the devil mad before we can do any good. The abolitionists have done good, because they have called the attention of the people to our brethren, who are under their taskmasters."
The Sabbath was made for man. As was said of the Bible, by a celebrated writer, it has "God for its author, and salvation for its end." It is the emblem of the visible presence and authority of the Lord of heaven and earth. The closing of banks, of stores and of factories;
the plough resting in the furrow, and the scythe hanging up in the barn, all indicate the weekly visit of this angel of the Lord. Take away the day of rest for the body, and of religious worship for the soul, and religion, on her golden pinions, would fly away to her native heaven. Our churches, unfilled with worshipers, would crumble and decay. Civilization itself would be succeeded by barbarism.
I am painfully impressed with the conviction that the Sabbath is not, and will never be extensively observed, according to the spirit and design of the institution, in any country where slavery exists. Slavery degrades labor. It seeks to reverse the law of the Allwise Creator, who has stamped it with honor. It is impossible for a lazy community to appreciate the Sabbath, for to such all days are alike. Slavery puts a premium on idleness. In the free States labor is the rule--idleness the exception; and the exception is generally found among those who are the Sabbath-breakers, or who keep it as a day of frolic and amusement. In the South laziness is the rule, and industry the exception. Hence the Sabbath is there the great day of
visiting and feasting. Thousands of servants are kept from church in order to prepare warm dinners. The majority of the professors of religion feel no scruple about conversing on worldly business before and after the services of the morning. The remainder of the day is one of pleasure. Where other things are equal, the most intelligent communities exhibit the strictest observance of the Sabbath. But slavery deadens all intellectual life among the masses of a community, and the latter are therefore irresistibly impelled to place a high value on physical enjoyments. Hence, in the slave States, you will see every Sabbath desecrated by droves of negro-boys and girls roving through the woods and highways. Any one who should attempt to educate them in the word of Christ would be persecuted and disgraced. The rich and wealthy of the South are not, as a class, church-going people. Out of their towns it is with the greatest difficulty that Sabbath-schools can be sustained. Their teachers come principally from among the unmarried, to whom the Sabbath is the great day of courtship. Labor and the Sabbath
are divinely married; and a divorce would be fatal to both.
In 1853, I established, in St. Michael's, Talbot County, Md., a Sabbath school for colored persons, slave and free. Previous to its organization, I unfolded my purpose in regard to it to a brother in the church, who advised me to desist from the undertaking, as I was already denounced as an abolitionist; stating that it would injure my influence among the white people, and cut off my prospects of getting a support for my family, which, as I was in poor health, was dependent, to a great extent, on the community for support; and finally, that he feared, if persisted in, I should receive personal violence. I replied: "Is it not just and right that they, as well as the whites, should be taught to read the Scriptures?" That proposition he would not dispute. Then I said: "I will trust in the Lord. I will get up a school, regardless of consequences." Miss--, a noble Christian lady, proffered to assist me; the school was put in operation; and afterward, its government and continuance principally devolved upon
her. I received insulting and scandalous anonymous letters, one containing the portrait of a colored person. Such letters none but blackguards could have written. During March and April, 1855, a report was in circulation that the negroes were going "to rise and kill the whites" in Talbot County. A public meeting was called in Easton, and resolutions were adopted. I received a letter from an officer of the county, warning me to stop my Sabbath school. The circular letter was signed, among others, by James L. Martin, a distinguished lawyer in Easton; by Mr. Holliday, ex-secretary of State for Md.; by Mr. Johnson, editor of the "Easton Gazette;" and by Thomas K. Robson, editor of the "Easton Star." Mr. Robson I knew well. He had always treated me with great personal kindness. But, in opposing antislavery principles and influences, he "knows no man after the flesh;" he suffers no considerations of personal regard to keep him from opposing what he calls abolitionism. With such earnestness and singleness of purpose all antislavery men ought to act, and will have to act. The officer handed me the letter in presence of several men. I told
him that I would not stop the school; that, if he did it, he must take the responsibility; that I considered the letter an insult to Christianity. I asked why these gentlemen did not send circulars to all the rumsellers in the county, warning them against selling rum to the negroes, the very thing that stimulates the amorous and murderous passions. I requested the officer to tell the gentlemen that the report of the insurrection was false and slanderous, and that I was ashamed of their conduct.
The terrified whites recovered from their fears in two or three weeks, and ought to have felt ashamed of being actors in such a miserable farce. No blood was shed, no lives were lost, and the poor frightened negroes were restored to their usual privileges. Some of our Southern gentry occasionally succeed in "gulling" some Northern advocates of slavery into the belief that the master and negroes are very happy. What kind of happiness is that where both parties are in constant dread of each other? I have seen slavery in its mildest form, and I can truly pray: "From it, good Saviour, deliver me and my children, the poor slaves and my whole
country, and the church of Jesus Christ throughout the world!"
My father's house was immediately on the Pocomoke River. This river, I presume, takes its name from a tribe of Indians long since extinct. A vessel of considerable size, which had done good service in the past, having been abandoned as unseaworthy, and dismantled of ropes and sail, was permitted to drift from the town, and by some means sunk in the river opposite my father's house, where the stream is about 150 yards wide. Her hull was submerged while her masts projected several feet above the surface. Her name, if I remember rightly, was the "Fair American." Before she became permanently fixed in the mud, it was amusing, on a pleasant summer evening, when the river was of glassy smoothness, to sit and watch the masts. The mast-heads point up the river, in the direction of the late tide. The floating chips have now become stationary, indicating that the tide is about to turn. The sturgeon leaps more than his full-length out of
the water, suggesting to you that "there are as good fish in the sea as were ever caught out of it." The whippowil has struck up his evening song, and the sweet and dying notes of the swamp-robin tell you that he is hanging his harp upon the dark green-cypress for the night. A short time has elapsed; the tide has turned, and is ebbing toward the sea. Now watch the masts, how slowly they turn,--gradually--gradually. Now they are again upright, and for a moment stationary; again they waver--then yield to the ebbing water, till their heads nearly touch its surface. And so, twice a day, they shift and turn to the motion of every tide. Now for the moral.
We have thousands of men amongst us who, in politics and religion, blow hot and cold continually on the subject of slavery. When they are in the North, they are opposed to slavery; when in the South, they favor it; if they are on the Border, they quiver with the changing tide of public sentiment--one day pro-slavery, the next antislavery, and at another time neither the one thing nor the other.
This extensive swamp lies between Snow Hill, Worcester County, Md., and Dagsboro', Sussex County, Del. I suppose it is about thirty miles long, and from three to ten miles wide. It abounds in cypress timber, which is riven into shingles by the "swampers." Hundreds of bushels of the finest whortleberries can there be gathered every year; and it might not be unprofitable for gentlemen engaged in the fruit business to visit the place at the proper season, well provided with air-tight cans; the cost of gathering the fruit would be trifling, compared with the profit the labor would yield.
There are hundreds who inhabit the neighborhood of this swamp who are in as much ignorance and degradation as wild Indians. They never mingle in refined society, and have no wish to cultivate their minds or their morals. Intelligent shingle-merchants will sometimes settle in the vicinity of the swamp to obtain the lumber. Outlaws can here take refuge with tolerable security from molestation. On one occasion I had to preach on the borders of this
swamp, and I was under the necessity of putting up at the house of a shingle-merchant, by whom I was treated kindly. It was a winter evening when I arrived at the place; and I was belated. A grog-shop, kept by an abandoned black man, stood on the border of the swamp. A number of drunken white men were shooting at a target in the county road. As I rode up, I called to them politely to desist, and let me pass. They told me to come on. When I was opposite the grog-shop, its owner ordered me to stop. I reined up. The negro came up and asked me if I was a preacher. I answered in the affirmative. "Then," said he, "are you the man that turned out a barrel of cider for me at camp-meeting?" I told him no; that I did not travel that circuit at the time he alluded to, and knew nothing of the circumstance. He then let me pass; but if I had been the preacher he inquired for, he could have hired those white men to shoot me for a quart of whisky. Those who knew the man said I was in great danger. A gentleman told me that he had seen him drink his own blood after being bled.
At another place, on the border of this swamp,
there was a grog-shop called the "Goose Nest." At this spot I made an appointment to deliver a temperance address to the "swampers." The time was evening, and there was a large gathering. While I was depicting the evil effect of liquor, one of the party shouted out, "That's a lie!" I gave no heed to the remark. Soon he interrupted me again thus: "Mr., what was liquor made for?" I replied, "I will answer your question if you will answer me this: What were rattlesnakes and mosquitos made for?" My question settled him. My auditors threatened to "egg" me for that speech, but never put their threat into execution.
On one occasion I was thrown off my guard while speaking upon temperance to an ill-favored crowd. When I was about half through my speech, a half-drunken fellow rose to his feet, and said: "Mr., that's a good speech; you ought to be paid for it; here is twelve-and-a-half cents, any how." The remark created much laughter, and was made in such good humor that I had to smile myself.
MARYLAND hospitality is far-famed and proverbial. I wish to detract nothing from her real merit in this respect. I have been the recipient of it in sickness and in health. Truth demands, however, that I should say that it is a good deal exaggerated. I will not flatter my native State at the expense of truth. I despise the whole tribe of flatterers, whether native or foreign. They are commonly hypocrites. Maryland hospitality is too often one-sided and conditional. If you are known to be a sound pro-slavery man, or if you will agree to withhold the expression of your sentiments on the subject of slavery, the moment you cross Mason and Dixon's line, you will be treated--should you be a distinguished man--with great attention. But should you intend to oppose slavery publicly, or denounce it privately, then you will find the hospitality quite another thing.
Northern clergymen and authors seldom see the disagreeable side of slavery. Suppose a Northern doctor of divinity visits Maryland for the purpose of taking observations of slavery, would he be likely to see it in its revolting aspects? No. He would be taken to Col. A.'s, thence to General B.'s, and thence to Squire C.'s. He would see finely-dressed house-servants and sumptuous tables. At family prayers in the morning he would recognize those same servants. If superficial in his examination he might return home and report the kindness of masters and the apparent happiness of slaves; and thus perhaps make himself ridiculous in the estimation of his neighbors, and be a subject of jesting on the part of the slaveowners. But, while this doctor was praying over the finely-dressed house-servants, he was not permitted to see the field slaves, who had been marched from their huts, at day-break, by their overseers. He was not asked to visit the filthy quarters of the common slaves; to take a walk to the adjoining plantation or field to witness the downcast and dejected looks of those who are watched constantly by a "nigger-driver,"
with his cowhide in hand. And, moreover, before a great dignitary in the church, everybody will put on his best clothes and exhibit his best Christian deportment. The very eminence of his social position will be an obstruction to his seeing slavery as it is. But let the common man, who is supposed not to have sense enough to take notes, visit the same individuals, and he will have a much more accurate range of vision. To him even the wolfish overseers are off their guard. He may pass through the fields, and they will not refrain from cursing the poor slaves in his presence. According to my notion, true hospitality does not compel my visitor to think as I think; nor does it depend on the fact that he assents to my views on slavery. A true gentleman ought to be above restricting his hospitality to those only who subscribe to his political or religious creed.
I was defining my views on slavery to a gentleman, who remarked that I was a "Southern man with Northern principles." I replied that
I was not; that I was a Southern man with Bible principles. Antislavery principles claim a higher origin than Old or New England. They were written by the finger of God upon the heart of the first man, and they have been transmitted from generation to generation till this hour. It is gloriously true that those principles prevail more extensively in New England than in the slave States. Some men advocate slavery lest they should be branded as traitors to the South. Slavery perverts, with all the skill of Jesuits, our very patriotism and love of home. It is the slaveholder that is not true to the real interests of the South. If to oppose slavery is treason, then I glory in being a traitor. If, to be true to the South, I must ignore God and humanity, then I will prove false to the South.
When I hear a man talk of knowing no North, no South, no East, no West, I set him down at once as a pro-slavery man.
While riding on horseback, on a cold winter day, through an oak swamp in Kent County, Delaware, I came to a pen on the roadside from
which smoke was issuing. The pen was about six feet high and six feet square. I had seen negro-huts of all sizes; but nothing like this as the home of a human being. It was like a hog-pen, with planks thrown flat across the top. It contained no fire-place; no floor; no bed; no furniture except a stool, a few old rags, a coffeepot, a wooden mortar in which to beat coffee, and a large oven-lid, which covered a few coals, and prevented the wind from blowing them about. In this pen breathed a little white woman, apparently about sixty-five years of age--a woman who gave intelligent answers to my questions, and was by no means as ignorant as many others. I asked her how she kept dry when it rained. By standing, she replied, under a certain portion of the planks, which kept the rain from falling directly upon her. I gave her some money, and left her. I think she was found dead some time after my visit. I called on a gentleman some miles distant, who gave me the following history of her case. She was very poor, and had been sent to the almshouse; but there she would not stay. He stated that she was the last of a family that
lived a wild sort of life in the swamps, maintaining themselves by stealing hogs and cattle, and in sleeping under trees and in pens, exposed to the weather, so as always to be on the alert for officers of justice; that in the spring the members of this family would climb oak-trees and skin the bark off them, and get the lumbermen to take it to Milford in exchange for whisky, tobacco, and flour; that the time had been when the woman I am speaking of could lie out drunk all night, on the frozen ground, without injury.
There are thousands of poor whites in Delaware and Maryland whom slavery has driven on the borders of our swamps and marshes, where they can become squatter-sovereigns, in company with bull and spring-frogs, greenheaded flies, mosquitos, seedticks, whippowils, and jiggers. There are white heathens in our midst for whose souls but few care.
The king-bird is about the size of the English mockingbird. It devours the honey-bee in great numbers; it oppresses the weak and kills
the laborer. I have never admired the bird, though I have often been struck with his courage and audacity. When a boy, I often stopped my play to see him encounter the crows, and was puzzled to divine why it was that so large a bird should be attacked and frightened by so small a bird. I have been vexed at hearing the caw! caw! caw! of the crow begging for life, when, if he had faced his enemy, he might have killed him with one stroke of his wing.
I have always despised the crow for his cunning, cruelty, and cowardice. He will pick out the eyes of the innocent lambs, and caw with affright at the little king-bird.
Once upon a time, a nation, living upon a certain planet of the Solar system, occupied a territory which was divided into two parts, called the North and the South. This nation was governed by delegates, who met in a great council every winter, in a building called the Capitol. For many years the North sent to this council nearly all crows, while the South sent king-birds. When the crows behaved themselves, and were duly obedient to the king-birds, things went on smoothly. But when
they proved refractory, the king-birds would fly at them, and cow them into submission. The North at last got ashamed of its crows, and sent to the council a few golden eagles. Now the eagle is a strong and far-seeing bird, and full of courage; and his presence created great alarm and consternation among the king-birds, for one eagle is more than a match for a dozen of them.
I. Red Pepper.--Persons cannot be too careful how they meddle with medicines of which they know nothing. On one occasion, I was slowly recovering from a severe illness. A protracted meeting was in progress on the circuit. In the exercises of this meeting I was deeply anxious to participate; and it was of the utmost importance to my health that I should run no risk of taking cold. To counteract the liability to this, I was advised to put red-pepper in my stockings. Accordingly I procured some African bird-pepper--the strongest kind known--poured a tablespoonful into my stockings, next to my feet, and started for church on a rainy evening. Soon after the preaching commenced, I felt a shock from feet to head like that produced by a galvanic battery. My sufferings momentarily increased. Every shock came at
shorter intervals. I hastily left the congregation, and started for my boarding-house; where, with my clothes saturated with perspiration, and utterly exhausted, I had to take stimulants to keep from fainting. I did not fully recover for two weeks.
II. Charcoal.--During the heat of summer, I was once very ill with bilious fever. A kind Christian brother was sitting up with me. The windows were open. A charcoal furnace was burning in an adjoining room. As I was sleeping, he thought he would lie down at the foot of my bed. Forgetting the furnace, he shut down all the windows, and fell asleep. I awoke with excruciating pain in the heart and lungs. If a dagger had been run through me, it would not perhaps have hurt me worse. I also felt a sensation of cold, as though ice had been applied to the back. I groaned and swooned away. The noise awoke my friend, who, feeling oppressed himself, suspected the cause. He threw open the windows immediately, and sent for the doctor. I was placed in warm water and brought to. But for that sigh, both of us might have slept the sleep of death.
III. The Revolver.--Good men have often thoughtlessly and by accident inflicted the greatest suffering upon others and themselves. I was in company with several Methodist brethren. Mr. A. had taken a six-barrel revolver from a drunken neighbor. Mr. B., without reflecting, suddenly took it from his friend's hand, and placing the pistol to my breast, said: "Bro. Long, I will shoot you." Mr. A. again seized it, and fired it off. It was discharged at the slightest touch of the trigger. Mr. B. apologized, and was alarmed at the danger to which he had exposed me. I had, it was afterwards remarked, made a very narrow escape.
IV. The Ball of Fire.--In September, 1856, I came to Philadelphia, rented a house, and returned to my residence in St. Michael's, Talbot County, Md., to make preparations to move. By the 17th of October, I was nearly packed up. On the 16th the weather was quite cold. When I arose on the morning of the 17th, the heavens were overcast with clouds. It was raining moderately. My four boys (the oldest being twelve years) had just left their bed-room. I came down before my wife, and approached the stove,
around which were gathered the boys and the servant, the latter getting breakfast. While standing immediately before the stove, I was struck senseless for a moment by lightning, and was thrown violently against the door. The first sensation I experienced was that of lightness; of being raised up. I found myself trying to stand against the door. I heard the terrific explosion, and saw balls of fire in every direction. I had a strange feeling in my side. I was not aware immediately that I had been struck, nor until I made an effort to walk did I find that I was injured. No other member of the family was harmed. The house was full of smoke, and smelt strongly of brimstone. A lady living near by, who was feeding her chickens, saw what appeared to be a ball of fire, larger than a half-bushel measure, leave the clouds and dart upon my house; and so terrible was the sight that she put her hands over her eyes. The ball struck the roof, tearing up the shingles, and the fluid passed down in three streams through the building. The splinters from the mantelpiece would have killed or maimed all my boys had they been in their own room at the time. Passing
down into the kitchen, the electric fluid tore up the floor, and even melted the zinc under my feet. When I was put to bed, it was found that my left foot was burned almost crisp. The cotton and woollen stocking I had on that foot was in some parts burned to a cinder. That on my right foot was also singed, though the foot itself was uninjured. I was unable to walk for two weeks without assistance. I fear that my foot will never be well. For two months subsequent to this accident, my diseased lung was better than it had been for two years. The citizens of the town showed me great kindness on the occasion. On a review of all the circumstances of the case, I can say: "O Lord, thy hand alone delivered thy servant from instant death!" Previous to this occurrence, I was deeply impressed with the duty of getting a lightning-rod, but excused myself on the ground that I could not afford the expense.
A clerical friend, who came to see me during my affliction, good humoredly and wittily remarked that the day Lot went out of Sodom the
Lord rained down fire and brimstone out of heaven. I replied that I had not got quite out.
Is the Discipline of the M. E. Church antislavery or pro-slavery? The question is not, "Do the vast majority of the ministers and laity of the M. E. Church hold antislavery or pro-slavery sentiments?" I believe the majority are antislavery. But I must sorrowfully admit that a layman can, according to the Discipline, hold slaves as chattels and give them away to friends who may sell them at pleasure, while no preacher in the church can expel him therefor. Hence the Discipline should be so altered that be who holds a slave for gain shall be expelled from the church. The church should regard all slaveholders as mercenary till they prove the contrary. Some wish the M. E. Church to extend the range of its operations further South. I trust that such will not be the case unless she is accompanied thither by a free Gospel, which shall proclaim liberty from sin to the master, and liberty of soul and body to the slave. Some of our preachers are in danger of becoming pro-slavery
by the alliances they contract in slave territory. It is true they may not hold slaves directly, but they can hold them indirectly. How strangely inconsistent is it in the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences to forbid their members holding slaves while they suffer them to be held by exhorters and class-leaders? If the one is contrary to sound morals and religion, so is the other. On the supposition that some of our preachers hold and breed slaves, why should we rather refuse to meet them in good fellowship than preachers belonging to the M. E. Church South? Southern preachers are regarded with much favor in Philadelphia and New York. This recognition of their claims to our Christian confidence and regard is the most emphatic of admissions that we do not consider it sinful in preachers to hold slaves. If the question were asked me, "Have you one or more slaveholding members of the Philadelphia Conference?" I should answer, that I would neither affirm nor deny the fact. And no one can deny the fact, unless the roll of the Conference were called, and the following question emphatically answered in the negative by every individual
belonging to that body: "Do you own slaves, directly or indirectly? If not directly, have you not exchanged them for other property with your relatives, when it was your duty to set them free?" If this question, I say, were answered in the negative, then, and not till then, would any one be justified in saying that there is not one slaveholder among the members of the Philadelphia Conference.
PRO-SLAVERY MEN.--Class A. Those who profess to believe slavery wrong in the abstract; those who profess to deplore slavery among us, yet contend that it is better to hold human beings in bondage than set them free among us; thus depriving such persons of the rights of humanity, and holding them subject to all the liabilities of chattels. Such persons are persecutors of free negroes, and oppose those who contend that freedom, partially enjoyed, is better than absolute slavery. We have many persons, in all our churches, who hold to these doctrines. Class B. Those who affect to believe that the negro is a brute; that he has not
descended from Adam and Eve; that slavery is a blessing to him; and that he was never intended for any thing else than a servant of the white man. Yet such persons bold in equal subjection the whitest quadroon and the blackest Congo. Class C. Those who sell their slaves or exchange them for lands or stock, and move to the West or the North, while they prate against slavery and denounce the slaveholder. Such persons enjoy the rewards of slavery without its troubles and inconveniences. They are the worst of proslavery men.
ANTISLAVERY MEN.--Class A. Those who disbelieve the Bible, and reject Christ as the Redeemer; who offer to the slave freedom for the body and despair for the soul. Class B. Those who regard the holding of our fellow-beings as chattels, as a sin against God and man, as opposed to the sweet spirit of the Gospel, and as subversive of the doctrine which proclaims the universal brotherhood of the race, taught in the Bible; those who regard the negro as a man and neighbor, as a being redeemed by the blood of Christ; those who oppose slavery by all the political, moral, and religious agencies of which they can
avail themselves, regardless of ease, honor, reputation, and persecution; those who regard chattel slavery as the direst enemy with which Christianity has to contend in this nation, and the only thing that endangers the stability of our Union.
I. The Africans are no part of the human race. They are a superior species of the orang-outang.
Refutation.--If so, why do you pass laws to keep them from learning to read? Why are they ever subjected to the forms of a jury trial? Why fear a competition with them in the social and professional walks of life? Why dread their eloquence and talent? Why amalgamate with them? for, if they are mere brutes, such amalgamation becomes a horrible and unnatural crime--a crime which is more prevalent near our court-houses and State capitals than any where else in the South.
II. They are a part of the human race, but under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be
Canaan! A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."
Answer.--The African race has no part or lot in this matter. The quotation had reference to the Canaanites in their national capacity, as the descendants of Ham. The Canaanites were as white as the Jews who expelled them for their wickedness from their native soil.
III. Admitting slavery to be wrong in the abstract, yet it has proved a great blessing to the negroes, for it has been a means of civilizing and Christianizing them.
Answer.--The All-wise Being has saved thousands of slaves in spite of slavery. But this does not prove that slavery is right or good in itself. When Joseph forgave his brethren for selling him into Egypt, his forgiveness did not prove that they had acted rightly towards him. Their consciences told them otherwise. I believe that two white persons in our land have been hopelessly paganized in consequence of slavery, for every slave who has been Christianized by its agency. Had England and America never engaged in the slave-trade, I have not the least doubt that one hundred
white missionaries would be in Africa where there is now one; that two Africans would have been made Christians on their own soil where one is now made on American soil. The white missionary who justifies polygamy among slaves in America, and goes to Africa to condemn it in the native, ought to be driven home by the negro for his shameful inconsistency. No church that tolerates or justifies slavery is fit to be a missionary church among the heathen.
IV. But we have a legal right to our slaves. We hold them according to the laws of the State.
Answer.--So you do. But your right is based neither on morals nor religion. Your slaves were stolen from Africa, and sold here without their consent; and time cannot make that right which was originally and intrinsically wrong.
V. We have got the negroes here, and it will not do to set them free.
Answer.--The question to be settled is this: "Is slavery wrong? Is it unjust?" If it is, then it is clearly wrong to perpetuate injustice.
VI. If our slaves were set free, the whites and the blacks would amalgamate.
Answer.--Not so much as they do now in a state of slavery.
VII. The whites would never receive the negroes on a footing of social equality.
Answer.--Suppose they did not. Is that any reason why the whites should hold them in bondage? The Jews do not receive the Christians, nor do the Christians receive the Jews, on such a social footing. They seldom intermarry. Is that any reason why the Christians should hold the Jews as slaves? The learned rich do not meet the poor and ignorant whites on terms of equality. Is that any argument to justify the rich in reducing the latter to chattels?
That great French writer, M. de Tocqueville, the author of "Democracy in America," has said that there is as much prejudice in the free States against negroes as there is in the slave States; and this opinion has been reechoed by hundreds. I deny the assertion. There is not half so much prejudice against color in the North as in the South. I admit that a vast amount of prejudice exists against the free negroes on the part of Northern people. But
what respect white men in the free States do show to colored men is at least rendered to their manhood. In the South no such respect exists on the part of a master to his negro. The daughter of a wealthy slaveholder may take her servant-maid into her bed-room, and if the young miss is afraid of ghosts, and trembles at the thought of a visitor with raw head and bloody bones, for the belief in which she is indebted to the slave, she may go so far as to insist on her servant sleeping in the same bed with her; but it is on the same principle precisely that she would let her cat sleep on her bed. I have seen the daughters and wives of wealthy slaveholders sit in a close carriage with jet black negro men, when they would have felt themselves disgraced had they permitted a white mechanic to ride with them. They did not ride with their negroes because they recognized their humanity, but because they regarded them in the same light that they did the horse that pulled them. Both were father's chattels. You will see the rich master very familiar with a favorite negro; but it is on the same principle that he is familiar with his favorite dog. Let
that negro assert to his master that he is a man and ought to be treated as a man, and his master will be as indignant at him as he would be at his dog who should refuse to flush a covey of partridges.
VII. But the negroes would rise and kill the whites if set free. Look at St. Domingo.
Answer.--Not a fitting comparison. St. Domingo was a distant colony of France, and contained, perhaps, more blacks than whites at the period of the revolt, while France itself was in a state of revolution. Moreover, the abolitionists of the North, even the most rabid of them, would march to the rescue of the whites in case of an insurrection among the negroes growing out of emancipation. We are in promixity to the South, which, at nearly all points, is readily accessible by our steamers and railroads. Accordingly, a successful and widespread insurrection, from the cause indicated, would be utterly impracticable.
VIII. But the Old Testament allowed slavery.
Answer.--So it allowed polygamy and private vengeance. No such slavery existed among the
Jews as American chattel slavery. Every slave Jew was free at the expiration of six years. The Jews were commanded to protect all fugitive slaves from the heathen nations around them.
IX. But the New Testament sanctions slavery. Paul says: "Servants, obey your masters."
Answer.--And he also says to slaves, "If thou mayest be free, choose it rather." We must look into this defence of slavery more closely, for in the South it is more depended on than any other. The intelligent slaveholder perceives plainly that if the church should withdraw her support from slavery, the system would fall. Hence nothing is more grateful to his ear than the declaration, on the part of Christian ministers, that slavery is sanctioned and confirmed by the Christian religion, even though he secretly despises those who proclaim the doctrine; even though such ministers thereby quicken into bloom and vigor the germ of infidelity which is already in his heart. In the days of St. Paul, the Roman empire was at the height of its power. The Romans were a warlike people,
and had subdued every civilized nation on the globe. Their government was not founded on justice and liberty, but was one of force; it was, in other words, a great military despotism. The Christians living under this government had no power to make or unmake laws. The cruel and infamous Nero was emperor during a part of Paul's life, and, it is supposed, had the illustrious apostle beheaded. Yet Paul exhorted the Christians to render obedience even unto him. What better could he do? If Paul were now living in these United States, would he exhort the people to change their government from a republican to a despotic form? Would he urge them to substitute an emperor for their President? Certainly not. Paul exhorted wives to obey their husbands; yet the Roman husband could take the life of his wife for certain crimes. But in our day no civilized State will permit, nor will any church authorize, a husband to take the life of his wife for any crime. The relation between husband and wife, as it existed among the Romans, our modern Christianity has abrogated. Paul also enjoined children to obey their parents. Yet the Roman parent could
take the life of his son, and sell him at any time, even when that son had arrived at maturity. Our civil government has broken up the relation between father and son, recognized by pagan Rome, for the sufficient reason that such relations conflict with the dignity of humanity, and are therefore opposed to love, justice, and mercy, which pure Christianity enjoins. He said to slaves: "Servants, obey your masters." What else could he say? for no resistance, unless miraculously aided, would have rendered null and void the relations sanctioned by a government of despotic force. Were Paul living under our government, where the majority of its rulers profess allegiance to Christ instead of idols, can any one suppose that he would have hesitated to advise us to conform our laws to the law of Christ, who requires us to love our neighbor as ourself?
Peter says: "Fear God, and honor the king." Some persons might thence argue that every government without a king is not in accordance with the Bible. But such logic would make no serious impression on the minds of the American people. Government is an institution
of God; but the form of a government is left to the judgment and growing sense of mankind. Submission to authority is required by Heaven; but chattel slavery results from the abuse of legitimate authority, just as tyranny is an abuse of government. But the argument from the Bible proves too much. The Romans held white people as slaves. Do slaveholders claim that right? Paul says nothing against gambling, yet he inculcates honesty, industry, and sobriety, which effectually prevent gambling on the part of those who practice his doctrines.
THE Fourth of July is our national anniversary. In bygone years its recurrence stimulated sentiments of freedom and liberty. How changed are the times! In the slave States it affords an opportunity for beardless lawyers and preachers to spread their newly-fledged wings. To such it affords a fine occasion for turgid declamation about the star-spangled banner and the spread-eagle, and our glorious country, with many bombastic utterances concerning the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the gold mines of California.
The great slaveholders of the South take little or no interest in the celebration of this anniversary. The fact is, the occasion recalls to mind too vividly the principles of the immortal Declaration, which, if indiscriminately lauded, might find their way to the hearts of talented mulatto slaves. There is little doubt that the
Declaration of Independence, published in a tract form, and spread throughout the South, would be considered incendiary in its tendency.
Some years have elapsed since I participated in one of these celebrations of our national anniversary; and I felt much condemnation of spirit for the part I then took in the exercises. On the occasion to which I allude, a military company met in one of our Southern courthouses to honor the day. I was called on to open the exercises with prayer. A young orator followed with an eulogium on our free country. Now the next day, at the very door of the house where he was then speaking might have been seen men with as much natural intellect as those who had listened to him, sold to the slave-trader at the highest bid, and handcuffed like criminals, though guilty of no crime. I felt that I had lessened my ministerial dignity by giving my countenance and example to so solemn a farce. Should I again participate in the exercises of the day, it will be to advance liberty, morality, and religion.
The poor whites of the South constitute a class of poor peculiar to the slave States of the Union. They are unlike any class of poor found in the free States or in Europe. They are the Arabs, the Bedouins of our moral desert; the Ishmaelites of slave society. Despised by the large slave-holder, hated by the small farmer and mechanic, and treated with contempt by the body-servants of the aristocracy, their condition is pitiable indeed. They number hundreds of thousands. They are easily recognized by a Southern man, whether found in Maryland or Texas. Among them we do not include the mechanic, or the farmer, or the man of regular labor. These creatures live from hand to mouth, and despise labor, in the proper sense of that term. They are squatter-sovereigns of the purest water. They are gipsies of American origin, the pioneers of our swamps, and marshes, and sedgefields. They hunt the racoon, the opossum, the squirrel, the muskrat, the otter, the mink, and the rabbit; catch the snapping-turtle, fish, and clams; gather wild fruits, hunt fugitive negroes,
and deal and associate with the lowest class of slaves and free negroes. The height of their ambition, if they live in the country, is to get an old horse and a pair of wheels, with corn-husk collars and rope reins, by means of which they may obtain sufficient money to buy a quart of whisky, a pound of coffee, and a plug of tobacco, with pipes and snuff for their women. The shrewdest among them sometimes rise to the dignity of grog-shop keepers, nigger-drivers, horse-jockeys, cock-fighters, and bobtail-gamblers. If they live in towns or villages, they sometimes aspire to the office of bailiff, which gives them an opportunity to whip colored persons, and thus get their grog free.
They are servile to the aristocracy, and impudent when they dare be. They have all the superstitions of the negroes, without their habits of labor. Now and then one finds his way to the jury-box. A lawyer of age and experience, in one of our slave States, in recounting to me some of the incidents of his professional career, referred with regret to one act of his life. It was this. He acted as the counsel of a man who had perpetrated a wilful murder. One of
the jury was an ignorant, superstitious man, who believed in ghosts. This the lawyer knew. When the case came before the jury, the lawyer, fixing his eye on this ignorant fellow, told the jury that if they brought in a verdict of guilty against his client, and he was hung, the ghost of the dead man would haunt them as long as they lived. The jury retired. There were eleven for conviction; but this superstitious man declared that he would not leave the room till they brought in a verdict of not guilty; and to the astonishment of the community, such a verdict was rendered.
Some of these poor fellows are quite shrewd, and are keen at retort. A gentleman in Maryland related to me the following anecdote: One of these creatures was before court as a witness. A knowing young lawyer asked him several questions, to which he obtained very unsatisfactory answers. The lawyer got into a pet, and asked him to tell the court what he did know, inasmuch as he had told them what he did not know. "Well," said the fellow, "I know that I have a hound-dog at home; and if his tongue were slit in the middle, he would make a good second-hand
lawyer, like yourself." At this remark the audience roared, and the bar and court were convulsed with laughter.
To these uneducated persons, the howling of a dog is a sign of death; a horse-shoe nailed over the door is a sure protection against witches. Some of them will not suffer a woman to come to the house on New Year's day; nor will they go to the church the first Sabbath after moving. Indeed, the name of their charms and wonders is Legion. When infirm with age or disease, they often suffer much for food, for want of shelter, for lack of clothing and medical attention. In case of a servile war in the South, these fellows would be the most dangerous enemies to Southern society
The greatest victory that slavery ever gained in this country was the annexation of Texas, a country as large as France, with a rich soil and splendid climate. It could support the whole slave population of the Union. This annexation brought on the Mexican war. While this war
was in progress, I regretted its existence in the presence of a citizen of a slave State, who justified it on the ground that it would serve to kill off a number of rich men's sons, who were a source of trouble to their parents and a nuisance to the neighborhood in which they resided. This was, I confess, a novel view of the advantages of war, though it failed to convince me that the contest was a righteous one. Yet it required a corrupt state of society to suggest the remark.
Slavery degrades the white man to a greater extent than it degrades the negro or the slave. It defies God, for it is at war with his moral and physical laws. It sears the conscience, hardens the heart, and violates the sense of justice implanted in the breast by our Creator. It falsely interprets the Bible, and makes a mockery of our National Constitution. It reads ancient history backwards; it contradicts experience; and it interposes an insurmountable barrier to profound theological and philosophical inquiries. It is the assassin of free speech and of a free press. Loving darkness rather than light, it confounds moral distinctions, glorifies materialism, and is about as healthful to the soul as leprosy is to the body.
The reader will, I trust, pardon me for referring to the following incident for an illustration. My father was compelled to remain six months in the city of Naples. When a boy, my imagination would kindle into a blaze at his vivid descriptions of that gorgeous city, of her magnificent bay, and of Vesuvius, towering in awful grandeur to the skies, and terribly sublime during the partial eruption which he witnessed. He was in Naples during stirring times. He was present at the coronation of Murat and his queen, who was the sister of Napoleon.
My father and all his shipmates were captured by a French privateer, and taken in chains to Naples. The vessel in which they sailed was almost in sight of the city of Palermo, to which she was bound, laden with a cargo worth one hundred thousand dollars. The pirates claimed her as their lawful prize under the Berlin and Milan Decrees, promulgated by Napoleon Bonaparte, which doomed every American vessel, boarded or examined by a British man-of-war, to be a lawful prize to the French government. The
ship in question had not been overhauled by any man-of-war up to the time of her seizure. To make her a prize, then, it was necessary to get one or more of the crew to perjure themselves. All the crew, the officers excepted, were chained to a bar of iron in the hold of the privateer; and while the ship was towed into port, tempting offers were made to each of the company to take a false oath; but all spurned the bribes of the robbers, except two men. For a part of the prize, these men agreed to swear that the ship was boarded by a British man-of-war at the mouth of the Mediterranean. The two Judases were, accordingly, immediately released; while the remainder of the crew were kept in chains, became foul with vermin, and were as cruelly treated as the negro in the slave-barracoons. When the case was brought before the proper tribunal for adjudication, the whole ship's company directly and unequivocally impeached the evidence of the perjured villains, whose testimony, moreover, was contradictory. To enable the testimony of the two traitors to outweigh, in the estimation of the aforesaid tribunal, that of the officers and the rest of the crew, it was only
necessary for them to profess to be converted to Romanism. Converts they accordingly became; and in evidence thereof, each wore a large cross on his breast. The oaths of the entire heretical crew could not avail anything against these newly-converted sons of the church. The vessel was condemned as a lawful prize, and these faithful seamen were thrown upon the mercy of the American consul; while the two perjured men, accompanied by their mistresses, rode in splendor through the streets of Naples, having obtained their share of the prize-money.
From the facts recited, we learn that a Protestant or heretic is not assumed to tell the truth in Naples, when his statements come in conflict with the asseverations of a Roman Catholic. Yet the reader may spare his indignation, for a still more absurd thing obtains in certain Protestant churches in his own country. Let him take, for example, the M. E. Church in Maryland and Virginia. She gives license to colored men as exhorters and preachers; and yet if a white man, not a member of the church, prefers a charge against them in the church, they are not allowed to prove an alibi by persons
whose skin has the same hue as their own. If a colored preacher were to see his own wife approached in an unseemly manner by a white member of the church, his evidence to that effect would be discredited, simply on account of his skin. We preach that the "Gospel is the power of God to salvation to all that believe," of whatever race or color; yet we practically assert that the Gospel affords the colored man no security against falsehood when he comes in contact with a white man. It is high time that this fashionable religion, which is considered only fit for the white man, should be sternly rebuked.
Colored exhorters and local-preachers among us are members of the Quarterly Conference, and their license must be renewed every year; yet they have no voice in voting for one another, or for others. Thus, even in the midst of their brethren, they are made to feel that they are not one in Christ Jesus.
Edward was a jet-black young man, of sober and industrious habits. He possessed an intellect
of more than average power, and thirsted for knowledge. By "hook or by crook" he had learned to read well, and to write a beautiful hand. He lived near my father's house, and when he had spare time he would often beg me to teach him arithmetic. It flattered my boyish vanity to think that I could teach a grown-up man, and it gratified my love of authority to see him so obedient to my instructions; and I was always ready to leave my sports to teach him. He soon reached the level of my capacity to instruct him, and was considered quite a prodigy among the ignorant whites. His master, at first, seemed to be proud of him. But, alas for poor Edward! His intelligence was construed into impudence, and he was tied, handcuffed, and sold to the negro-trader. His body, soul, and intellect were converted into money, and put into the pocket of his master; and some of this money was used to buy whisky. Some years after the slave was sold, his master presented himself to the altar of prayer as a seeker of religion, at a meeting which I was conducting. He professed to experience religion, and joined the church, but soon withdrew. If he
is still living, and should read these lines, I trust he will make another effort to seek mercy; for nothing less than the atonement of Christ can ever wash from his conscience the stupendous sin of having sold Edward into hopeless bondage.
Education and learning are wholly incompatible with chattel slavery. If a man holds slaves, and wishes to elevate them, the very first thing he must do is to emancipate them. If a person intends to hold his slaves for life, and leave them to his children, then he should treat them like brutes; for the more they are enlightened and refined, the more galling is the yoke of slavery. Pro-slavery preachers contend that the relation of master and slave is a permanent scriptural relation, just like that of parent and child. I would ask: how is it that education is subversive of that relation? How is it that masters are afraid to let their slaves read the Bible, which, they say, recognizes the relation as a just and proper one? Parents do not fear that learning will destroy the affection of their children for them. Even slaveholding
parents are anxious to place the Bible in the hands of their children.
From the case of poor Edward we learn that a knowledge of reading and writing subjects a slave to constant suspicion, fear, and envy on the part of his master, and the neighborhood in which he may reside.
I love the sailor, with all his faults. I am not speaking of the fresh-water mill-pond variety. I refer to the pure old ocean's full-grown son--he who rises from a cabin-boy to a commander. My father was a sailor, a regular graduate of Neptune's school. No class of men, according to their numbers, have done more to raise this nation to its present wealth, power, and fame. And no class of men, except Southern slaves, have been more despised, neglected, and brutally treated. I hesitate not to express the opinion that no captains on the globe are, as a rule, so tyrannical to their men as those belonging to our merchant and naval service. If this be so, what is the reason? In my opinion, chattel slavery. It is slavery that gives
an overbearing tinge to the American character, from New Orleans to Boston. Many of our naval officers are natives of the South. Accustomed from boyhood to implicit obedience from slaves, they seek to exact, the moment they as midshipmen touch the quarter-deck, the same obedience from the common sailor. When my father exchanged the forecastle for the quarter-deck, he never flogged his hands. He found kindness and decision better than cruelty. When a boy, I have sat with delight, during the long winter evenings, and heard him recount some of the incidents of his life on the "ocean's wave." A few of these incidents deeply impressed themselves upon my youthful memory. In his fourteenth year he was the cabin-boy of a new ship which sailed from Norfolk to Amsterdam. The captain was a large man, and a tiger in disposition. During the voyage he flogged every sailor on board, except his cabin-boy, and him he frightened half to death by his profanity. One of the crew died from the effects of the scurvy and the savage brutality of the captain, who would make the poor fellow go aloft, and then shoot at him with
a pistol charged with powder. At night the fiendish captain was afraid of the dead man's ghost.
On a voyage my father made to the city of Palermo, in Sicily, he went ashore with others to get a barrel of water, and while there narrowly escaped capture by a party of Algerines, who would have reduced him to slavery. Had he been made a slave for life, and had some Algerine dignitary, with pious and unctuous phrase, told him that bondage was a wholesome and conservative institution, it is probable that conviction would have entered quite as deeply into his mind, as it enters into our own minds when some sanctimonious, Union-saving, cotton doctor of divinity proclaims the institution to be in accordance with the gospel of Christ.
Miss Darrah was a member of the Old School Presbyterian Church in Newcastle, Delaware, and died in 1849. During my ministry, I have resided there three years, and I had an opportunity of ascertaining her Christian standing in the community, and of observing her Christian
deportment. What Hester Ann Rogers was in the Methodist Church--what Miss Allibone was in the Episcopal Church--Miss Darrah was in the Presbyterian Church. No person that I ever knew more nearly lived up to what I conceive to be the duties enjoined in the following words of the inspired writer: "That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
This accomplished Christian lady possessed the peculiar talent of introducing religious subjects, on all occasions, in a cheerful and easy manner. Her religion did not end in the parlor and at the church door. It was something, more than a sentimental sanctification. She was a sister of charity without the name or the fame of one. She was an incarnate angel among the poor of all colors in Newcastle. If any were sick, she would nurse them; if any hungry or naked, she would feed and clothe them. The ignorant she would instruct. She helped to get up and sustain a Sabbath school of neglected colored children. She often invited
me to lecture to them, which I did with pleasure. She died suddenly, having just time to express her confidence in her heavenly Father. The sad intelligence produced a shock in all hearts, for all felt that they had lost a friend.
Sleep on, Christian lady! The golden trump of the archangel will awake thee, in the resurrection morning, to glory and to God.
In M-- County of Maryland might have been seen every day, in and about the tavern, a healthy-looking man, dressed in black cloth, with a fine pair of gold spectacles mounted across his nose. I saw him frequently during the space of two years. He never spoke to me, but he eyed me with a savage fierceness. A few years previously he had, with a hatchet, killed a poor white man in the town. He fled to New Orleans, whither his wife and children followed him. The Governor of Maryland offered several hundred dollars reward for his apprehension. He returned to the town of M--, voluntarily surrendered himself, and was tried and acquitted. He abandoned his
wife in the South, and ruined one or two poor white girls in my neighborhood. By the laws of Maryland he could not ruin any colored woman. How did he support himself? He was a blackleg. Had he lived subsequent to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, he would have made a capital negro-hunter. He would have carried out the requirements of the law to the very letter. I have gazed on that man, and marvelled how he could look so fat and cheerful, with his hands reeking with a brother's blood. But he died. Come to his death-bed, reader, and learn an awful lesson. A Methodist brother of the highest standing, who never was, and I trust never will be a slaveholder, described to me his last agonies. While in health he seemed to be utterly callous; yet, at the approach of the dread monster, he was terror-stricken. Starting up from his bed in wild horror, he would declare that he could see the dying man whom he had killed, with his blood and brains running from his head! And thus he died. Where is the hapless creature now? Echo answers--where!
I was once preaching on the future judgment, to a congregation in --. Among other characters, I endeavored to depict the rumseller approaching the Eternal, in the presence of an assembled universe, with his victims to confront him. A rumselling Methodist in the audience rose to his feet, took his hat, and walked out immediately. He called for his class-leader, and demanded that his name should be stricken from the church record, assigning as the reason for such action that I had publicly insulted him. All this took place while I was yet speaking. He was perhaps the wealthiest man at that appointment. I was very glad that the church had got clear of him so easily. I refused to apologize for the plainness of the sermon.
A few weeks after, being in his neighborhood, I heard that he was ill, and, feeling that I was his friend and not his enemy, I went to see him. To my surprise he received me with cordiality, expressed deep regret at the course he had pursued, and said, if he had taken my warning sooner, he should have escaped the dreadful
affliction under which he was then suffering. He had not only sold rum for years, but drank it secretly, and now his sin had found him out, and he was laboring under all the horrors of delirium tremens. He would exclaim: "O, Mr. Long, look at those slimy snakes crawling down the bed-post! Here they come at me!" And he would cover his head with the bed-quilts, trembling with affright, while the cold clammy sweat would ooze from every pore. Again he would exclaim in wild terror: "Look at the black devils in the corner of the room, grinning at me!" I tried to soothe him; but to no purpose. When the paroxysm would go off, he would be perfectly rational. He told me that he feared he should be lost. I commended him to the compassionate Jesus in prayer. He is now in the spirit world. And the Judge of all the earth will do right. Young man, beware of the first social glass of intoxicating liquor! Had the previous pastors of this church dealt plainly with this man, he might have lived for years a blessing to his family and church.
This case is but one among many cases tending to confirm the truth of the following observations.
1. Of all the rumsellers I have known, eight out of ten have died drunkards. "They that kill by rum shall die by rum," seems an inevitable law.
2. Every rumseller whom I have known has been a pro-slavery man, and in favor of the oppression of the negro. I am not the enemy of rumsellers because I tell them the truth. No; I glory in being their true and faithful friend.
3. I fear thousands of slaveholding Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians have gone down to darkness through the unfaithfulness of their preachers. Too many of these slave-breeding professors, I am afraid, when they stand before Christ at the last day, will be thus addressed: "Depart, ye cursed! for I was with you in the person of that poor slave-mother when you tore her babe from her arms; I was with you in the person of that heart-broken wife when you handcuffed her husband and sold him like a brute; I was with you in the person of that poor slave who asked to be taught my dying requests written in my own Book, and you shut the door of knowledge against him, and voted for laws made on purpose to degrade him. Depart, I say, for I know you not."
A SHORT time before leaving for Philadelphia, in October last, a negro-catcher, with whom I had some business, described to me, with great gusto, the circumstances connected with his selling a woman and her child. During the hot weather of last summer, he said, he was employed to convey the woman to jail and dispose of her to the trader. He boasted of his success in getting the rival buyers to bid against each other, and ultimately succeeded in obtaining two hundred dollars more for her than her owner anticipated. For this service he received fifty dollars. He depicted, with the utmost minuteness, the poor colored mother, as she held out her sick and dying child to him, and, sobbing aloud, besought him not to buy her. My negro-catching narrator called her a "black hussy," and told her, if she did not hush her whining, he would cowhide her. He stated that the buyers refused to give any
thing for the child, as it was nearly dead with the summer-complaint; saying they wished it was out of the way.
I listened to the narration with painful feelings; but what was my astonishment, when he informed me that her owner was a member of the highest standing in the M. E. Church! "Can it be possible?" I asked. He asserted that it was a fact. And so it was; I had always entertained the highest opinion of the character of the owner, who, I was not even aware, had ever held slaves.
O what will not men do when they possess unlimited power over their fellow-creatures! No man or woman can safely be trusted with such power. Here was a woman, a mother, with a dying babe, in a professed Christian community, lodged in jail, separated from her husband--her innocent child especially requiring fresh air, good nursing, and medical attendance in the sultry season of the year--and sold by one pretending to be a meek and lowly follower of the crucified Jesus! What must have been the feelings of that mother, at the midnight hour, when she gazed in silence on her dying loved one!
The barking of the town-dogs alone broke the monotony of that gloomy vigil! Did she look, in her heart-rending anguish, to the great Comforter for consolation, and for that mercy which she could not receive from man? The negro-catcher is now a member of the Methodist Protestant Church.
Antislavery Methodists may draw two conclusions from the preceding narrative: 1. That it is a very easy matter in a slave State to sell slaves through the medium of negro-catchers, and thus to avoid detection and church trials. 2. The only remedy for such gross inhumanity is to have a law of the Discipline to bar out every slaveholder from our churches. As well might one attempt to bail the Chesapeake Bay dry with a spoon, as to extirpate slavery in the M. E. Church by now and then expelling a member for selling slaves, while he is permitted to breed, to hold, and to work them as beasts of burden.
I will here add an important fact. Of all the slaveholders whom I have known in Delaware and Maryland, I have found none that could not emancipate their slaves, if they desired to
do so. All of them hold slaves from choice, for pecuniary advantage, with no regard to their good. I never found one that denied the fact.
Under the denomination of African M. E. Church, I include all divisions of colored Methodists in this country; for they all originally sprang from the M. E. Church. This church numbers several hundred preachers, some of whom are quite talented, and nearly sixty thousand members. Success to the African M. E. Church! May she prosper a hundredfold! I hope she will send to our next General Conference a fraternal delegation. In 1840 we had, in the Philadelphia Conference, 34,000 white, and 8,700 colored members. In 1857, 48,000 white, and 9,000 colored. Increase of whites in seventeen years, 14,000; increase of colored, 300. In the last thirty years, in Delaware and Maryland, we have driven off from the M. E. Church thousands of colored persons by our cold neglect. In all the new congregations established in our church in slave territory, we have made little or no provision for
them. As a general rule, they are not desired in our fine churches. And they know the fact as well as we do. Even the portion of the galleries allotted to them they must resign to the whites frequently on Quarterly Meeting occasions, when the latter are crowded for room. On the other hand, if more colored people are present than can be seated in the gallery, and the lower floor, reserved for the whites, is not half full, they must leave the church without hearing the Gospel, though they may be standing on the brink of eternity.
I have generally assisted in building churches for colored people, not that I approved of separate edifices for them; but I have regarded the arrangement as one of necessity, inasmuch as a half loaf is better than no bread at all; as a little religion is better than none. Our fathers used to shake hands with colored preachers and exhorters; but many of our modern preachers are too dainty for such contact. We have neglected the colored people to please the South, or rather, to borrow the eloquent and brilliant language of Dr. Stevens, "the Great South;" and what have we gained by it? The Great South
has gone off and left us; and, moreover, despises us for our inconsistency.
There are more free colored persons in Maryland than in any State in the Union; and I attribute the fact, as I have already stated, to the first Methodist preachers, who zealously opposed the aggressions of slavery, and preached against it publicly. Of this class was the celebrated Joseph Everett. Had the preachers of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences continued to bear the faithful testimony of such men against the institution, Maryland at this day would have been rid of the evil.
The Wilberforce University is an institution for the education of colored persons situated in Ohio, and is under the patronage of the M. E. Church. Rev. John F. Wright is the agent. Wealthy antislavery Methodists in the South would do well to send their young emancipated slaves to this school.
In reading the New Testament, I have been struck with the fact that our Blessed Redeemer and his apostles denounce covetousness
more frequently than any other sin. It is the only sin that men constantly, and with apparent success, cloak under the garb of religion. The miser is an incarnate atheist, notwithstanding he may profess the most orthodox creed in the world. He is a materialist, and an idolater. There is nothing that so effectually converts a human heart into marble and brass, as the pursuit of money for its own sake. To the miser, the wail of the widow, the cry of the orphan, and the groans of the slave, are as music to the ear. When one of these men gets into a Christian church, woe be unto that Society! Does he dress plainly? It is to save money. Does he oppose the establishment of schools and colleges, and the building of churches? It is to save money. Does he own slaves? Poor creatures! Who shall write your history, and tell the tale of your sufferings? Is the miser in the pulpit? Does he blubber in our love-feasts? Then are poor thoughtless girls, wearing a ribbon or a breast-pin, threatened with fire and brimstone, while the whining, hypocritical slaveholder is listened to with loud "Amens" as he relates, with minute accuracy of detail, the day and the hour
of his sanctification, even though, at the same time, he is not endowed with sufficient humanity to gain admittance into a Mohammedan temple; even though, should you go to his negro quarters, you might witness vulgar Mormonism in its various stages of development!
Men and women ought to dress plainly because the Gospel requires it, and because, by so dressing, they are enabled to bestow more liberally on beneficent objects. The various religious bodies of the South have, to a great extent, divorced humanity, justice, and mercy from religion. Their standard of morality depends on latitude and longitude. Were a man in Philadelphia to force a colored girl to work for him without wages, and then to cowhide her if she should murmur, he would be called a villain and expelled from the church. If he does the same thing in Maryland, he is none the less a first-class Christian. Hence the infidel takes advantage of us, and says we have no standard of right and wrong. I once asked a little colored boy if he said his prayers. "Yes, massa!" he replied; but added, that saying prayers was not praying. I treasured up that
remark. Professions are not always a true test of Christian excellence.
There is nothing which all classes of men so utterly loathe as cool and deliberate contempt, whether by word or action, aimed at their manhood, and designed to wound their self-respect. Nothing is so difficult to forgive on the part of the good; nothing is so rarely forgiven by the bad. The poor slave is no exception to this rule, and this fact proves his title to manhood. If you wish to plant a thorn in the heart of a colored man, call him "Nigger" in derision and your power over him is gone for ever, so far as any good you can do him is concerned. "Darkey" and "Donkey" are felt as still more degrading epithets. I could never hear these degrading terms applied to them, without involuntarily exclaiming to myself, "O, how wrong!" They love to be addressed as "Colored friends," or "Colored brethren." They have no objection to being called African. They do not like the word Negro because of the resemblance of the word to "Nigger."
I have a word of counsel to such boys and girls as may read my book. Let them read the second chapter of the Second Book of Kings, and they will there find a significant instance of the deep displeasure with which the Supreme Being regards contempt and mockery. "Go up, thou bald-head! Go up, thou bald-head!" said the children of Bethel to Elisha; and their punishment was as signal as their offence. I have often heard wicked boys in the South call out to colored persons, "Nigger!" "You black nigger!" Now, my young friends, we should never reproach a blind man for being blind, or a lame man for being lame; and for this excellent reason--they cannot help their condition. We should not insult the colored man by calling him, in derision, "Nigger!" for he did not make himself. We reproach God when we act thus, and commit sin.
I trust that my young readers will never follow the example of some grown-up boys, who are guilty of the mean and unmanly offence of insulting the African by the cry of "Woolly heads! Woolly heads!"
The prayer-meetings of the more degraded class of slaves are conducted after the following manner: The colored exhorter or leader calls on two or three in succession to pray, filling up the intervals with singing tunes and words composed by themselves. At a given signal of the leader, the men will take off their jackets, hang up their hats, and tie up their heads with handkerchiefs; the women will tighten their turbans; and the company will then form a circle around the singer, and jump and bawl to their heart's content, the women always making more noise than the men. At this stage of the exercises, I have seen colored men, who made no pretensions at all to religion, jump as high as the most devout. After a prolonged continuation of these violent evolutions, some will swoon away; their muscles will become perfectly rigid, and they will lie as motionless as though they were dead. Sand thrown in their eyes, while in this state, will not make them wink. Many persons think this condition is the result of supernatural power, and regard the subjects of it
with reverence. I think it is the result of sheer nervous exhaustion, and has no necessary connection with religion whatever. I knew a white man, of dubious moral character, who could throw himself into a rigid state, and recover his suppleness at pleasure. He would play off such tricks upon religious persons to create amusement.
The poor slaves that worship in the manner we have described do the best they can. They are permitted to use their heads only to a limited extent; hence the extravagant use of their heels. I have remarked that free colored persons who can read, generally stand aloof from such exercises. Liberty and education would put a stop to much of this boisterous extravagance in religious worship among the slaves.
It is a serious thing to die. The good have need to pray for dying grace. The wicked have not a moment to spare in seeking mercy. Reader, have you property to dispose of? Make your will while in health. Do not burden your dying bed with worldly thoughts and cares.
If you be a slaveholder, do not make a will, in sickness or in health, such as I am about to describe.
Within the last seven years, a member of the M. E. Church, of the highest standing, made a will, by which he left his slaves to be sold at auction to the highest bidder, the money to be invested for the use of his family. After his death, the will was carried out to the letter. This act was regarded as a shrewd business transaction by the community in which he had lived, and was not thought to reflect in the slightest degree on his Christian character. The newspapers eulogized his virtues in extravagant language.
A widow of one of the preachers of the Philadelphia Annual Conference died since January of the present year. She resided in Maryland; she was wealthy, and a slaveholder. Shortly before her decease, she gave three or five hundred dollars towards building for our preachers one of the finest parsonages on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She left a portion of her wealth to the M. E. Church South. We thus see that
the pro-slavery feeling is not quite dead yet in our Conference.
I have often thought that Pennsylvania Methodists should refrain from sending their preachers or agents into Maryland to beg money to build churches for their own free State. Let the Methodists of Maryland devote what funds they can spare for charitable and religious uses to the purchase of some pious colored persons who are groaning in helpless bondage.
Volumes, filled with hair-breadth escapes, thrilling adventures, and heroic deeds, might be written concerning runaway slaves. Humanity and letters have both suffered loss for lack of a pen adequately to record the feats of noble daring achieved by the African in the pursuit of freedom. All things considered, there is nothing in our revolutionary annals that surpasses such heroism. Our fathers sought liberty in company. They fought an enemy three thousand miles distant. The solitary fugitive seeks freedom with an empire for his foe, and himself in its midst. The very attempt has in it all the elements of the great and the sublime.
The parties described in the following narrative lived in my native State. I was not acquainted with the aged mother; but the father and son I knew well. The venerable couple were kindly cared for by their master, and lived in a cabin by themselves.
Moses, their son, in the common parlance of the South, was considered a very "smart nigger." He was sold to the negro-trader; and, as one of a slave-drove, was transported to New Orleans. His aged parents mourned him as worse than dead.
The injury inflicted on parents, wives, and children by selling their relatives to the traders, is a far greater injury than that which death itself produces. What adds tenfold keenness to the blow is its unexpectedness. So rudely are the cords of affection snapped asunder, so sickening a thrill of horror does the shock create, that, ofttimes, the whole machinery of the soul seems, forever after, to be unhinged. Parents in the free States, who have lost by accident the object of their tenderest affection, know how much more poignant the shock has been, than if their beloved one had lingered for weeks in their presence,
thus enabling them to become, in a measure, prepared for the stroke.
But to my story. Time rolled on. The flowers still bloomed. The birds still sang their joyous songs. The moon walked as peerless in her nightly robes, and the great orb of day shone as brightly as though nothing had occurred. The "old folks at home" thought and spoke of their boy as lost, as though they would never see him again till the resurrection morning. But Moses had a noble soul in him; his heart kept alive with the fires of hope. A favorable opportunity presented itself, and he ran away. Then commenced a career of suffering almost unparalleled. He was hunted like a wild beast. Two or three white men attempted, on one occasion, to recapture him; but he overcame them all. He had to travel by night, and suffered at times all the pains of starvation. He had to steal what he ate, all the way from Louisiana to Maryland. Just before he reached Baltimore, he narrowly escaped with his life. Before daybreak he had hidden himself in a pile of tan-bark, that he might commence his travels when night came on; but, unfortunately, the workmen in the tan-yard
commenced grinding bark in the mill, close by him. The small particles of dust from the mill nearly suffocated him. He had to endure the infliction all day, or be captured. At length night came to his relief, and he pursued his journey. God and the North Star were still his friends.
'Tis the hour of midnight. Wood and lawn are clothed in darkness. The watch-dog alone is wakeful, and whiles away the lonely hours by baying at the stars. A man with stealthy foot approaches the log-hut of the aged couple, and in an under-tone calls: "Father! father!" "Who is that?" says the old man. "It is I, father. Please get up, and let me in. It is your son Moses!" "No, it is not," replied the old man. "Poor Moses was sold to the Georgia trader." "Yes, it is your son Moses, father!" The aged mother of twelve children exclaimed: "It is my boy; I know his voice." She sprang out of bed and opened the door, and the poor father and mother fell on their son, and wept tears of joy, as though he had risen from the dead.
Moses cautioned his parents to beware how they conducted themselves, for, should his
arrival be known, the negro-hunters would again consign him to slavery. He remained with the "old folks" for a short period, being concealed in the daytime, and meeting them at night. He then bade them a final adieu, and they soon after heard of his safe arrival in New York. The parents of Moses, if I remember rightly, were both members of the M. E. Church. They have gone to eternity. Does Moses still reside in New York? If so, is he an humble follower of the blessed Jesus, with a good hope of meeting his parents in heaven?
The picture that I shall attempt to paint is no fancy sketch. I am not capable of delineating the features of the character I am speaking of in all their terrible deformity. I will omit the name of the person out of respect to his relatives. He lived in one of the most beautiful counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and died as he lived. I preached his funeral sermon in 1854, and those who heard it will bear me witness that I did not preach him to heaven. I suppose he was sixty-five or seventy years of age.
His fiendish traits of character have furnished fireside-talk for the families of his neighborhood, and will furnish more for years to come. I have good authority for my statements. A volume might be written in describing the heartlessness of his conduct. He was a man of intellect, and devoted much of his leisure to reading old books, among which he seemed particularly fond of the Old Testament Scriptures. But he was an infidel. He never looked into the New Testament; and, when reading the Old, would profanely swear at the persons therein described. To him, the Bible was a book of history, to be believed or rejected, to be applauded or condemned, as it might suit one's taste and humor. He was in affluent circumstances, owning several farms and a number of slaves. He was a bachelor. His cruelty to his negroes continued for many years, and seemed to be the result more of calm deliberation than the outburst of passion. He had iron collars made for some of his men-servants, and would occasionally chain their ankles, so that, when they walked, they could only step a certain distance. These leg-chains and neck-collars were sometimes worn by the poor
fellows while toiling in the field; they served a twofold purpose--that of preventing their escape, and of permitting the master to perform his cruelties with impunity.
In the winter season, he confined one of his most valuable negro women in a log poultry house with no food but bread and water, without fire or bed-clothes, for several weeks. The only way she kept from freezing to death was by catching the chickens, and holding them to her feet and body. She afterwards succeeded in running away from him, and now resides in the city of Baltimore.
He made his slaves work on the Sabbath; and occasionally would dress some of them fantastically, place them in an old coach, and send them to church. He would not suffer his women to have husbands, nor his men to have wives. His slaves at one time were driven to desperation, and came near beating him to death. Afterwards his severity was somewhat moderated; and his negroes were not fettered as formerly. Occasionally, however, his old habits would get the mastery, and his savage acts would be perpetrated anew.
He was full of malice, and if he took a dislike to his neighbor, would seek revenge upon his property.
Professors of religion were the especial objects of his hate; and if neighbors dared to speak out against his brutality, their stock or their servants were in danger of being injured, if found on his premises. His negroes wore dejected countenances, looking as though hope had for ever fled from their hearts. They looked upon their owner as a monster, as the impersonation of all that is horrid and cruel.
Being a great coward, he had his house built with double doors. He lived in constant fear, hating every one, and despised by all who knew him. I shall give no more facts in this man's life. I have already said enough to indicate his character, and probably to nauseate my readers. I have not dragged this monster of iniquity before the public to show that moral men in the community in which he lived approved of his conduct; far from it. We hold him up to the gaze of the public to show the wickedness of the laws which confer power so unlimited on such an outlaw from humanity. This man could
have bought as many quadroon girls as he wanted, could have robbed them of their virtue, could have destroyed their happiness, and the laws of Maryland were powerless to harm him, unless some white persons could be found to testify against him. But his neighbors were not altogether innocent. Why did they suffer him to commit outrages in their midst, at which humanity shudders? Why did they not call a public meeting, and warn him to desist or to leave the county? "O," says one, "we had no right to interfere; his slaves were his property as much as his horses were. He had the law on his side, and could halt or abuse either, of both, at his pleasure." I ask, "Did you seek to have those wicked laws abolished? Had I gone to your county, and publicly preached against the wickedness of those laws, a public meeting of saints and sinners, of moralists and blackguards, would soon have been called, and I would have been tarred and feathered, or driven like a criminal from your midst. You could not tolerate freedom of speech when it conflicted with your interests, though outraged humanity might be crying to heaven for assistance.
Yet you could tolerate that monster, and would, had need required it, have protected him by force."
There were slaveholders, perhaps, who used this man as a scarecrow, to frighten their servants into obedience. A threat to hire or sell them to him was all-powerful in subduing the most obdurate slave. Like objects of terror, placed in a cornfield to frighten off the blackbirds, he served the purpose, in the community, of carrying dismay into the hearts of the poor negroes.
I know another monster in a neighboring county, and would draw his infamous picture, but his children are living, and I have no wish to wound their feelings.
On the forehead of slavery, as it exists in the Southern States of the American Union, and as I have faintly endeavored to picture it in these pages, may be inscribed these burning words of terrible significance, from the Book of Revelation: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
The counties of the Slave States, numbering over eight hundred, sustain at least three hundred newspapers. These newspapers are generally printed on bad paper, and with poor type; yet the subscription price is as high as the best of our city weeklies. With some noble exceptions, the conductors of these county papers are as destitute of good sense as they are of moral principle. They are frequently seedy politicians, taken from the purlieus of grogshops and tavern bars. Their original communications, if what is worth reading were selected from one thousand of their yearly issues, might be contained in a volume of the size of Webster's Spelling Book. These newspapers are supported mostly by the advertisements of negro-traders, negro-breeders, negro-hunters, negro-hirers, and negro-sellers as owners, administrators of deceased persons, constables, auctioneers, and sheriffs. As some animals are taught by their masters to sit erect on their hind legs, and beg for the crumbs that fall from their masters' tables, so these fellows beg and whine for the patronage of their
lordly masters, the great Negro Aristocracy of the South. They frequently quarrel among themselves, and entertain their readers with choice specimens of Billingsgate obscenity. They are the literary curs and the editorial bloodhounds of the South. What the nigger-driver and the negro-catcher are to the slave, these fellows are to the white anti-slavery man, and especially to the anti-slavery preacher. They scent them out, and by inflammatory appeals to the brutal passions of the mob, urge them on to their murderous work. They labor to slander and vilify the free negroes; they degrade the slave; and they abuse the best men and women in the world. To these editors--not including the exceptions specified--may be applied the language of Paul in the third chapter of Romans: "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."
SAMUEL GREEN, a free colored man of Dorchester County, Maryland, was sentenced to ten years' confinement in the Maryland State prison, at the spring term of the County Court of the present year 1857, held in Cambridge, Md. What was the crime imputed to this man, born on American soil--a man of good moral character--a local preacher in the M. E. Church, as I have been informed--a husband and a father? Simply this--a copy of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was found in his possession. It was not proved that he had read it to the colored people. He had recently paid a visit to his son residing in Canada. Previous to his arrest, several slaves had escaped to the land of the free. The slave-holders of Dorchester County thirsted for an object upon which to vent their rage; hence poor Green's arrest and conviction. He has fallen a living sacrifice to the fiendish despotism of the Cotton Aristocracy of the North and South. Dorchester County is almost exclusively a Methodist County. If the members of
the M. E. Church of Dorchester had been liberty-loving, slavery-hating Methodists, no judge or jury would have dared to consign their brother in Christ to ten years' incarceration in a State prison, separated from wife and children, for having a book in his possession which might have been found on the shelves of the very Judge that pronounced the sentence. To the best of my recollection, I never saw a jury at any County Court on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that was not partially composed of members of the M. E. Church. The Judge who pronounced the sentence was, when I was a boy, a member of the New-school Presbyterian Church in Snow Hill, Md.; and, I presume, he is still a member of that church. He ought to have resigned his seat rather than have pronounced such a sentence. The Methodists of Maryland could have poor Green pardoned in six months, should they desire it. May the prayers of all the good go up to the Throne of Grace for this oppressed brother! I blush for my native State when I think of her bloody code of laws--a code that would disgrace a savage tribe. I blush for the Methodists, the Presbyterians,
the Episcopalians, and the Baptists of Maryland, who, united, could wipe off from the statute book the black laws that tarnish her fair fame. Maryland denies the humanity of one hundred thousand slaves, and oppresses seventy-five thousand free negroes. May the Omnipotent speed the hour when American slavery shall be blasted by the thunders of His power, amidst the shoutings and hallelujahs of a redeemed race!
Since the publication of the first edition of my book, a friend inquired of me whether I had ever known one member of the church to be arrested for selling a slave to another member of the church. I answered that I never had. If one member of the church wants money, and another member of the church residing in the neighborhood wants a slave, the sale is made, and no more attention is paid to the sale than would be paid to the selling of a horse. It is not considered a violation of the discipline, for it is but an exchange from one mercenary slaveholder
to another. I know a recent case in which a member of the highest standing in the church sold slaves to another member of equal standing; and the sale was regarded as a common business transaction. If a church member who is a farmer needs a hand, he buys a slave, if he wishes to do so, either of saint or sinner, or at a public sale, as best suits his purpose, with the intention of reaping the fruits of his involuntary labor. I appeal to the preachers of the Philadelphia Conference who have travelled in Maryland and Virginia whether this is not the fact.
The facts in the case are substantially these. A free colored man, and cousin of Frederick Douglass, who was liberated by Capt. Thomas Auld, of Talbot County (and I will just here say, without the knowledge or consent of Capt. Auld, that he has manumitted some six or eight young colored men and women since 1844), married a
woman who was also free. They had no children of their own; but a free colored woman, on her decease, had left them her little daughter to bring up. This man was sober and industrious, and a good painter. The little girl was old enough to be of great service to his wife, who was afflicted with partial blindness. According to the laws of Maryland a white man can seize a free colored man's children, take them before a magistrate, and have them bound to service against the consent of the parents. On the holy Sabbath, a rich Methodist, accompanied by a constable, went to the house of the colored man while he was absent, carried off the girl, and on Monday morning took her before a magistrate and had her bound to service. A Methodist of standing took the part of the poor colored man, and appealed to the Orphans' Court of Talbot County; but the Court decided that the oppressor had violated no law, and the counsel of the latter stated to the Court that the laws of Maryland did not recognize the parental relation among negroes any more than they recognized that which exists among brutes. I then urged the preacher in charge to have the
delinquent brought before the church. A committee was appointed; but the man was acquitted. And this moral and religious kidnapper is still in the church, and, I suppose, contributes his mite towards sending missionaries to convert the heathen.
[NOTHING that interested mankind was a matter of indifference to the founder of Methodism. Though eighty-three years have elapsed since the publication of his "Thoughts upon Slavery," no Christian philanthropist can now read, unmoved, his noble and stirring appeal to the justice and humanity of England and her colonies. The energy, the eloquence, and the earnestness with which, almost single-handed, he combated an institution recognized by the public sentiment of Christendom are an additional proof of the daring moral courage which characterized him as a Christian and as a man. How pitiful and mean appear the cringing, fawning, and time-serving crowd who offer up their homage to the great Southern idol, alongside of this true champion of liberty, who could neither be cajoled, nor flattered, nor intimidated into outward respect for that which he felt in his heart to be intrinsically wrong!
From Mr. Wesley's tract I quote the following pungent remarks on slavery and the slave-trade:]
"Men-buyers are exactly on a level with men-stealers. Indeed you say, 'I pay honestly for my goods; and I am not concerned to know how they are come by.' Nay, but you are; you are deeply concerned to know they are honestly come by. Otherwise you are a partaker with a thief, and are not a jot honester than him. But you know they are not honestly come by; you know they are procured by means nothing near so innocent as picking of pockets, house-breaking,
or robbery upon the highway. You know they are procured by a deliberate series of more complicated villainy (of fraud, robbery, and murder) than was ever practiced either by Mohammedans or Pagans; in particular, by murders of all kinds; by the blood of the innocent poured upon the ground like water. Now, it is your money that pays the merchant, and through him the captain and the African butchers. You therefore are guilty, yea, principally guilty, of all these frauds, robberies, and murders. You are the spring that puts all the rest in motion; they would not stir a step without you; therefore the blood of all these wretches who die before their time, whether in their country or elsewhere, lies upon your head. 'The blood of thy brother' (for whether thou wilt believe it or no, such he is in the sight of Him that made him) 'crieth against thee from the earth,' from the ship, and from the waters. O, whatever it costs, put a stop to its cry before it be too late: instantly, at any price, were it the half of your goods, deliver thyself from bloodguiltiness! Thy hands, thy bed, thy furniture, thy house, thy lands, are at present stained with blood. Surely it is enough; accumulate no more guilt; spill no more the blood of the innocent! Do not hire another to shed blood; do not pay him for doing it! Whether you are a Christian or no, show yourself a man! Be not more savage than a lion or a bear!
"Perhaps you will say, 'I do not buy any negroes; I only use those left me by my father.' So far is well; but is it enough to satisfy your own conscience? Had your father, have you, has any man living a right to use another as a slave? It cannot be, even setting Revelation aside. It cannot be, that either war, or contract, can give any man such a property in another as he has in his sheep and oxen. Much less is it possible that any child of man should ever be born a slave. Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right which he derives from the law of nature.
"If, therefore, you have any regard to justice, (to say nothing of mercy, nor the revealed law of God,) render unto all their due. Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you but by his own act and deed, by his own
voluntary choice. Away with all whips, all chains, all compulsion! Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do unto every one as you would he should do unto you."
[This eminent theologian was a worthy disciple of the illustrious Wesley. As an earnest, faithful, and able minister of Jesus Christ, as a profound writer on divinity, and as a weighty teacher on all questions which lay within the range of his investigations, his claims to respect are universally conceded by the Methodists of the United States. His reputation is by no means confined to the denomination with which he was connected. His comprehensive mind was quick to discern the evils of a system which fettered the bodies and souls of 800,000 British subjects. His broad and generous heart scarcely needed the stimulus of duty to enable it to beat responsive to the claims of justice. Hence, on all occasions, we find him a consistent and undaunted advocate of the moral and intellectual progress of the human race.
In 1830, the Wesleyan Conference adopted a series of antislavery resolutions, and recommended such of the members of the Methodist societies as enjoyed the elective franchise to vote for those candidates alone who should pledge themselves to support, in parliament, the most effectual measures for the entire abolition of slavery throughout the colonies of the British empire.
In furtherance of this resolution, a meeting was held in the City Road Chapel, at which Mr. Watson delivered a speech, from which we quote the following remarks:]
"We stand," said Mr. Watson, "near the grave of a man who was one of the first to lift up his voice against West Indian bondage, and to plead the wrongs of Africa with an eloquence which is at once touching from its pathos, and irresistible from its power.*
* Alluding to Mr. Wesley's able and stirring tract against slavery; and the very strong views on this subject which that eminent man was known to entertain.
Were that voice now living, it would give its sanction to our efforts; and in this place,
* Alluding to Mr. Wesley's able and stirring tract against slavery; and the very strong views on this subject which that eminent man was known to entertain.
where that voice has been so often heard, we may feel that 'though dead,' on this subject especially 'he yet speaketh.'
"The slave-trade, so far as it consisted in the transporting of slaves from Africa, for sale in our colonies, is indeed no more; but slavery, and a colonial slave-trade still exist. So far indeed the cause of humanity has advanced, that no one now is found to advocate the justice of man-stealing on the coast of Africa, or to palliate the horrors of the middle-passage. By common consent, or by silence at least, all acknowledge this branch of African oppression to be indefensible; but there is an argument suspended from this very acknowledgment which the advocates of colonial slavery must, I think, be very dexterous, satisfactorily to dispose of. If it was wrong to steal men from Africa, to reduce them to a state of bondage; it is, for the same reason, wrong to retain them in slavery. If you condemn the first thief, and the first receivers of the stolen goods, how will you justify those who, knowing them to be stolen, continue to retain them? I confess that I cannot see how the perpetuation of an injury can cause it to cease to be an injury, or by what process an acknowledged wrong can be transmuted into a right by continuing in it. My argument then is, if it was wrong to enslave the negroes, it is wrong to keep them in hopeless bondage; and it follows, that, after this country had renounced the African slave-trade, it was bound, by the very principles on which that wretched traffic was repudiated, to have taken measures for the liberation of all who had thus been wickedly reduced to a state of captivity, at the earliest period at which their liberation could have been made consistent with their own interests, and long before this time to have converted them into a free, industrious, and happy peasantry. Then, indeed, should we as a nation have brought forth 'fruits meet for repentance;' but the very reason why so much remains to be done by us is, that the principle of interminable bondage has been set up by the holders of slaves, and that while justice forbade us to drag any more of the inhabitants of Africa into bondage, it was perfectly just to rivet the chain upon those already dragged into this unhappy condition from generation to generation.
"Now to this principle we oppose ourselves; and we contend, that the free inhabitants of Africa have not a stronger claim of justice to set up against being reduced to slavery,
than the African race, originally carried to our colonies, have to be liberated from it. As to the slave-trade, we have indeed abstained from wrong; but as to colonial slavery, we still perpetrate a wrong of the same kind; and that after we have professed to blush with shame at its recollection, and when we are endeavoring to persuade other nations to renounce it after our example. Here we and our opponents meet. We go up to parliament to urge in behalf of negroes the redress of a manifest injury; they deny that it is an injury at all.
"I think it will not be difficult for us to make good our view of the question; and it will perhaps bring us more fairly into its merits, if we glance at a few of the reasons which have lately been put forth by the pro-slavery party, to prevent the people of this country from giving their signatures to antislavery petitions. We are first told that it is assumed without any sufficient proof that slavery is wrong in the abstract. My answer to this is, that neither party has any need to go so into the discussion of abstract cases. The simple matter at issue is, not slavery in some imaginary form, but West Indian slavery; and when we have stated what it is, we may boldly ask whether that be morally right.
"Let it then be observed that West Indian slavery is slavery inflicted upon persons who have committed no offence, and therefore never forfeited liberty, but possess that natural right unimpaired; and it follows therefore necessarily that it would be quite as right for the black slave to reduce his master into bondage, as for the white master to hold in it his sable bondsman. If one be right, then is the other. I will not multiply illustrations; I rest it here; if liberty be forfeited by no crime, the right and the wrong are as much on the side of the slave as the master; and a kind of slavery, I contend, which, considered abstractedly, rests upon the principle of taking away personal liberty without forfeiture by offence, bears upon it the broad, the indelible character of a high and flagrant moral wrong. And the matter comes home to every one. If a hand we cannot resist were laid upon any of us, and we were told that we were to be slaves for life, and our children after us, should we not naturally exclaim, 'What have I done?' And if no crime meriting the punishment could be alleged, should we not all exclaim against it, as a ruthless tyranny? And would it alter our
moral view of the case at all, to be told that it is difficult to prove slavery in the abstract to be a moral wrong?
"We are further told, however, that the moral wrong of slavery cannot be assumed, because it was practiced by the patriarchs and Jews under the Old Testament. This is a mere sophism; of which the fallacy here consists in this, that it is assumed that West Indian slavery stands upon the same ground as that mentioned in the Old Testament. Now I shall show that they differ both circumstantially and in essence; and that this reference will not only not serve the advocates of colonial slavery, but is fatal to all their pretensions to the slightest coloring of right.
"The circumstances differ. The slaves mentioned in the Old Testament were a part of the family; not left, as West Indian slaves, to be worked and abused by hirelings, while their masters were resident in a distant country. The wretched prejudice of color and caste did not exist against them, as in our colonies,--a contemptuous feeling, from the effects of which nothing can free them, but a restoration to the rank of freemen. They were under the protection of mild and equal laws, which our slaves are not. They were not governed on a principle of fear, which our slaves are. They could demand their liberty, if treated with cruelty; but ours have no such redress. They had all the rest of the Sabbath, of which ours are deprived. They were made partakers of the religion of the patriarchs and Jews; while ours have been almost systematically and contemptuously excluded from Christianity. If they were of the Hebrew nation, they could not be held in perpetual servitude; but the negroes born in our colonies are as much of our nation as the peasants born in our counties; and yet they and their children are doomed to hopeless servitude. Husbands and wives, parents and children, were not separated. Cruelties, unheard of among the patriarchal and Hebrew masters, are daily perpetrated in our colonies. None of these ancient slaves were worked under the cart-whip, but rendered a willing service for a comfortable home and maintenance; and then, to mark the difference still more strongly, while, in all our sugar colonies, the murderous system of overworking is diminishing the population, under the milder system of ancient times the population was continually
increasing--a proof of the superiority of their condition.
"Now, who, taking these circumstances into account, will be bold enough to identify the severe system of slavery, as it generally exists in our colonies, with that mentioned in the Old Testament?
"But the difference between the two is essential; and this turns the argument with overwhelming force against the advocates of African bondage. We know the origin of slavery in ancient nations. It took its rise from two customs. The first was, of taking the insolvent debtor as a slave, in lieu of payment. Now, this practice cannot be objected to on the ground of injustice, because all were equally liable to it; the rich, as well as others, if they squandered away their substance; and the master upon this principle might become a slave. Here was a principle of commutation of liberty for pecuniary obligation. The other source was war: the lives of persons taken in war were spared, on condition of becoming servants. Milder and better customs have been introduced by Christianity; but here was at least no partiality, no injustice; all were placed on equal ground. Then, as to slavery among the Jews, as far as it respected the Canaanites, they were under a Divine malediction; by virtue of a special revelation which, I suppose, our West Indians will not plead in their favor. Here, then, the ancient slavery, however objectionable it might be on civil grounds, involves, strictly speaking, no moral wrong; no injustice, no partiality; liberty was forfeited by debt, by war, or by a Divine malediction. But, let it be observed, that during these very times, when slavery existed in these forms, the compulsory reduction of unoffending man to servitude was an acknowledged and punishable crime. It is branded as 'man-stealing,' both in the Old and New Testaments; among the Jews it was punished with death; and under the Gospel it is ranked with the crimes which bring upon men the penalties of a future state. But this is precisely the origin of West Indian slavery. It was man-stealing in its origin; and with this vicious origin it remains tainted to this day. It would be as hopeless a task to wash it off, as to wash the Ethiop white. Characterized as a crime against God and man, the thin gauze of sophistry cannot conceal its hateful aspect; and the attempt to find a
palliation for it in the Old Testament, only makes more audible those thunders which are launched against it, as one of the most odious crimes, both in the Law and in the Gospel.
"But the advocates of slavery take us to the New Testament as well as to the Old. I am sure we can have no objection to follow them. Their argument is, that the apostles utter no denunciations against slavery, although in that age it was practiced in most of the countries in which they preached; but rather exhorted servants to obey their masters; from which, they tell us, that we rush much too hastily to a conclusion, when we represent slavery as contrary to the spirit and to the laws of Christianity. I greatly mistake if this argument from the New Testament will not, upon examination, sink as completely under them as that from the Old, already examined.
"Bad as the slavery was which existed among the Greeks and Romans in the apostles' time, it stood not generally upon the vicious, odious offence of 'man-stealing.' The Greeks made a distinction in favor of those slaves who had been kidnapped by perfidy, and opened the way for them to release themselves from servitude; so that the very principle of our colonial slavery was condemned by these pagans, whose treatment of their slaves was, in other respects, severe enough. But though ancient slavery had not this criminality upon it, it is a vain attempt to show that it was regarded with any complacency by Christianity. It is indeed surprising enough, that, with the fact before them that Christianity has abolished slavery in all the ancient countries where it obtained predominant influence, that any persons should dream that, in its earliest periods, when it glowed with all that warmth of charity with which it burst from the fountain of the Divine compassion, it should enter into any alliance with it. To hold property in men is a thing agreeable enough to human nature, as we have proof in the present day: it flatters man's pride, it gratifies his love of power to see his fellow-creatures tremble before him, and to be the absolute lord of their life and happiness. If, then, before Christianity commenced a war upon slavery, was it ever attacked by any other system of religion, or was it ever bound upon the conscience to free a fellow-man from hereditary servitude, or thought a work of religious merit to do so, to what
is this to be attributed, but to the acknowledged and felt spirit of Christianity? And if to its spirit, in vain shall we look to its letter for a justification of it. The argument, however, is, that the apostles say, 'Servants,' (slaves,) 'be obedient to your masters.' But this is nothing more than our missionaries are properly enjoined to say, and is said by them, although as hostile to the whole system as we ourselves. The fact is, that deliverance could not come to the body of slaves in ancient times by the resistance of the Christianized slaves, any more than to those of our colonies; and from the operation of the justice and mercy of Christianity upon the ruling powers only could they be taught to look for it. It is enough to know that the principles of Christianity are opposed to it; and that when the rulers professed Christianity, they were then bound by its principles. Such is the case now. Ours is professedly a Christian government, and by its principles it is bound; the masters of these slaves profess Christianity, and by those principles are bound. They tell us that the apostles did not command pagan governments to loose their slaves; and they take shelter here, as though they could plead this black privilege of pagan despotism. But we hold them to their profession; they profess Christianity; and therefore they must be tried by its laws; and by one of these laws we are content that the whole question of the consonancy of Christianity with slavery shall be tried: 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, so do ye also unto them.'
"Let it also be observed, that the apostles do no more in this case than counsel submission in a state of slavery to their converts, as submission to an evil, and an affliction; they never speak of it, like our West Indians, as a privilege, a happy state in which men ought to be content for its own sake. On the contrary, St. Paul sets freedom before the Christian slave as a good after which he ought to aspire by all lawful means: 'If thou mayest be free, choose it rather.' I believe this language would have conducted him to a jail in Jamaica; but it is his language; and it proves that he regarded slavery as an evil, and liberty as a good to be sought by every Christian slave. If the apostle were a friend to slavery, why did he thus exhort the slaves? And if he thus urges them to seek their liberty, then in vain do our Scripture-quoting slaveholders plead apostolical authority.
"Here, however, I find the advocates of slavery fall into a marvellous inconsistency: they now tell us, and they have long told us, that we ought to leave it to the influence of Christianity gradually and slowly to abolish slavery in our colonies, as it did in Europe. This reason, which has been within a few days urged to induce the public to refrain from signing petitions to parliament for the abolition of slavery, gives rise, in my mind, to two inquiries.
"The first is, why they should allow that Christianity ought, at any future period, to abolish slavery. They tell us that it is a very good thing; that the slaves are in a much better condition than if they were free; and that, to make them free, would only be to render those wretched who are now contented and happy. Now, if this be true, why at any future time, any more than at present, ought Christianity to deprive them of their felicity? I confess that I cannot comprehend this. If the fetter be so comfortable an ornament to the African limb, that, in the name of mercy itself, we are conjured not to snap it at a blow, why should it be allowed, why should they give us their full consent to deprive them of it by a slow process of filing, which may take some fifty or a hundred years to effect their liberation from it? I leave the solution of the difficulty to them; but my conclusion is, that if slavery is to be destroyed by Christianity, either tomorrow, or a century hence, then the one is inimical to the other, on their own showing, and they give up the argument which has been just refuted. They take the same ground, in fact, with us; and they too allow that there is something in slavery so inconsistent with a religion of judgment and mercy, that they cannot permanently coexist.
"But, as they may urge that Christianity, when more largely diffused among the slaves, will the better prepare them for freedom, my second inquiry is, Are they really anxious to extend the influence of Christianity among the slaves? And here, I am sorry to say, I believe not; and that this is a hollow pretence, assumed in order to paralyze our exertions. 'Leave the slavery of our colonies to be terminated by the gradual influence of Christianity,' say the planters; and yet what steps did they ever take to Christianize the hundreds of thousands of pagan slaves over whom they have absolute control? Truly none; but every attempt to give religious instruction to them has come from other
quarters; and, when offered, has either been treated with indifference, or resisted with contempt. They, indeed, are the men to speak of the gradual influence of Christianity upon the slaves at some future time, who will not allow the slaves its Sabbath for their worship! and who, by excessive toil, disqualify the slave from effectual attendance upon those means of instruction which might in the evenings of other days be afforded!--they who have never introduced among them, on any large scale, the sanctities of marriage, and who have never hesitated to separate parents and children, husbands and wives, by selling them to different proprietors, or different islands, and thus to break up without remorse those family connections which form the only soil on which public morals and private virtues can be planted!--they who have been contending insolently and factiously with government in order to acquire the right to pass persecuting acts, and to restrain the Christian missionary from Christianizing their slaves by the fear of fines and imprisonment; who have manifested in most instances as much rancor against the zealous clergyman of the parish, as against the missionary who had not the same patronage; and in whose skirts are found the blood of martyred men, hated and persecuted to death, only because of their zeal to extend that very Christianity for the diffusion of which they bid us hope! Those who know the spirit with which Christianity is treated in a slave colony know how to value all such pretences. We may, without the slightest breach of charity, brand them as hypocritical, as they are intended to mislead the public; but they can mislead none who know the parties from whom they emanate."
The Hon. Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, has, in this year of grace 1857, delivered a judicial decision affirming divers things--and, among them, that slaves are property according to the Constitution of the United States; that the language of the Declaration of Independence, about all men being
created free and equal, was not meant to apply to colored people; and that in old times everybody believed these doctrines.
In the year 1819, the Rev. Jacob Gruber, a minister of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was tried in the Frederick County Court, Maryland, for "attempting to excite insubordination and insurrection among slaves" by preaching a sermon in which he set forth the evils of slavery and the duties of musters. Mr. Roger B. Taney was one of the counsel for the defence; and in a pamphlet account of the trial, published in 1819, at Fredericktown, Md., by David Martin, and now lying before us, we find Mr. Taney's views of slavery, of the rights of man, and of the Declaration of Independence, at that time. For the benefit of Mr. Taney's good name, and for the purpose of letting every one compare his former opinions with his recent decision, we offer a few extracts from his opening speech for the defence.
"You have already been told, that Mr. Gruber is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. And it is not necessary to tell you, that the religious society to which he belongs, is nearly as numerous as any other society of Christians in this State; and the equal of any other, in the general order and decorum of their behavior, in their moral deportment, and in their habits of obedience to the laws. It was at a very early period of his life that Mr. Gruber became a member of this society, and took upon himself the duties of a minister of the Gospel. In this vocation he has faithfully labored for more than twenty years; and he now fills a post of high rank, and great confidence, in his church; the reward of his fervent piety and unwearied zeal. We shall also prove to you by a most respectable witness, a minister of the same Church, whose duty it has often been, according to the Discipline of that society, to examine into the conduct and character of the accused, that, during the whole course of his ministry, the reverend gentleman who is now on his trial has sustained a character of spotless integrity.
"It is well known, that the gradual and peaceable abolition of slavery in these States is one of the objects which the Methodist Society have steadily in view. No slaveholder is allowed to be a minister of that church. Their preachers are accustomed, in their sermons, to speak of the injustice
and oppressions of slavery. The opinion of Mr. Gruber on this subject, nobody could doubt. And if any slaveholder believed it dangerous to himself, his family, or the community, to suffer his slaves to learn that all slavery is unjust and oppressive, and persuade himself that they would not of themselves be able to make the discovery, it was in his power to prevent them from attending the assemblies, where such doctrines were likely to be preached. Mr. Gruber did not go to the slaves; they came to him. They could not have come, if their masters had chosen to prevent them."
"Mr. Gruber feels that it is due to his own character, to the station he fills, to the respectable society of Christians in which he is a minister of the Gospel, not only to defend himself from this prosecution, but also to avow, and to vindicate here, the principles he maintained in his sermon. There is no law that forbids us to speak of slavery as we think of it. Any man has a right to publish his opinions on that subject whenever he pleases; it is a subject of national concern, and may at all times be freely discussed."
"Mr. Gruber did quote the language of our great act of National Independence, and insisted on the principles contained in that venerated instrument. He did rebuke those masters, who, in the exercise of power, are deaf to the calls of humanity; and he warned them of the evils they might bring upon themselves. He did speak with abhorrence of those reptiles who live by trading in human flesh, and enrich themselves by tearing the husband from the wife--the infant from the bosom of the mother; and this I am instructed was the head and front of his offending[.] Shall I content myself," continued Mr. Taney, "with saying he had a right to say this? that there is no law to punish him? So far is he from being the object of punishment in any form of proceedings, that we are prepared to maintain the same principles, and to use, if necessary, the same language here in the temple of justice, and in the presence of those who are the ministers of the law. A hard necessity, indeed, compels us to endure the evil of slavery for a time. It was imposed
upon us by another nation, while we were yet in a state of colonial vassalage. It cannot be easily, or suddenly removed. Yet while it continues, it is a blot on our national character, and every real lover of freedom confidently hopes that it will be effectually, though it must be gradually wiped away; and earnestly looks for the means by which this necessary object may be best attained. And until it shall be accomplished; until the time shall come when we can point, without a blush, to the language held in the Declaration of Independence, every friend of humanity will seek to lighten the galling chain of slavery, and better, to the utmost of his power, the wretched condition of the slave. Such was Mr. Gruber's object in that part of his sermon of which I am now speaking. Those who have complained of him, and reproached him, will not find it easy to answer him: unless complaints, reproaches, and persecution shall be considered an answer."
The pictures it contains are not those of the imagination, nor a sentimental aggregation in chapters, each chapter containing and completing a picture; but it is a book in which a picture of the Methodist Church is drawn, to look at which will call the shame blush to the cheek of every intelligent lover of our church, whether he reside on the Atlantic or the Pacific coast, on our northern or our southern geographical boundary. It is a book of observation, statement, illustration, and logic, which will show slavery on the border, in our church, in a very different light from that presented in the testimony speeches of those from slave-holding conferences at our last General Conference.
This is a 12mo. of 410 pages, and is devoted to portraying slavery as facts show it to be, especially in the northern slave States. Of course the pictures are dark ones. Slavery is all dark--all gloomy. Mr. Long is not an ornate writer; his pages are not specimens of polished authorship, nor designed so to be, but are earnest denunciations of a system which can never be reformed.
The remarkable feature of the book, however, is this: It comes into direct conflict with the statements made by the majority of the Committe on Slavery at the last General Conference; makes averments which are utterly irreconcilable with the assertion that the Discipline as it is is faithfully administered "on the border"--especially in the Philadelphia Annual Conference. This statement is now made by a member of that conference, amenable to it as his court of trial. Of course he is prepared to make good his assertions.
The book will have a wide sale, and may be ordered from the Depository, as Brother Doughty will have a small supply on hand. Price $1, with usual discount.
The old saying "murder will out," is equally true of all great crimes. The sin of slavery has been cloaked and covered up for ages, but, despite all covering, its essential enormity is beginning to be seen, and men stand abashed at the monstrous wrong, which even a partial exposure of the abomination presents to their view. All honest men evince a hearty detestation of the sin, while a few thoroughly cottonized and conscienceless people appear to have committed themselves to the defence of the system, notwithstanding its well known atrocity. These defenders of slavery have a
variety of excuses for the villany--such as that the negro is black, that he is inferior to the Caucasian race, that the constitution recognizes slavery--any one or all of which excuses would be just as decent and valid in support of highway robbery as in support of slavery. By this species of false reasoning and systematic befogging of the question, coupled with a peremptory and generally savage manner, these pro-slavery factionists have contrived to screen the horrors of slavery from public observation. Especially have the churches been duped in this manner, and made to believe that there was little or no slavery among them, when, in fact, their members were universally addicted to slave-holding and slave-breeding. It has long been asserted that our own church is nearly free from the evil; but the extreme zeal with which the interests of slavery were defended awoke suspicion, and now the facts in the case begin to appear. Men who were raised in slave States, and have spent their lives there as ministers, now come out and give us facts. We are likely soon to be informed pretty accurately as to the real extent and character of Methodist slave-holding in some of the border conferences. We are thankful that one Methodist in that region has the courage to speak the truth, and expose the slave-breeding propensities of border Methodism.
The Rev. John Dixon Long, a superannuated member of the Philadelphia Annual Conference, has just published a 12mo. volume of 410 pages, entitled, "Pictures of Slavery in Church and State; including Personal Reminiscences, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c." We are obliged to the author for an early copy. It will make a sensation. Mr. Long was born and raised on slave soil. His ministry was chiefly in a slave State, consequently we may rely upon his statements with implicit confidence. He is not a mere casual observer, whose opportunities were limited, and whose prejudices obscured his judgment.
This is the title, in part, of about as racy a sample of Anglo-American literature as has been belched from the very flatulent American press North for some time. Its author is a Mr. John Dixon Long, and Reverend at that. He is a native of Newtown, Worcester County, was last resident in Talbot, the son of a slaveholder, versed in slave tactics, acquainted with slave habits, familiar with slave dispositions, and a slave-teacher in secular as well as spiritual erudition, but in spite of all this, as he pretends, an abolitionist, and has retreated beyond slave borders that he may fire his small arms at slave institutions. He is certainly a marvel; or rather would be, if there were not several ways of accounting for such phenomena in the moral world. In the first place, he is superannuated in his spiritual functions, and, being so, has to do something less harassing and laborious than spiritualizing Ethiopians to supply the domestic exchequer; anglice, to find beef and potatoes for a beloved wife and four little boys. It was not exactly in accordance with his aspirations to apply to our poor-house authorities
to obtain relief for a starving family; nor did he think proper to let his friends of Newtown into the secret of his wants. Had he done either, no doubt he would have met with a favorable response; for the Talbot public never could have turned a deaf ear to the appeals of a reverend pauper--who, by the way, was treated with great kindness by this same public--nor would the benevolence of Newtown have been indifferent to sufferings in which the fair fame of that thriving village might have been involved. But a scheme less humiliating, and one too in which there is a little worldly ambition, presented itself to his fancy. It was to cater to Northern idiosyncrasy. "These abolitionist fools," thought he, "if they will receive such stuff as 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and Fred. Douglass' 'Bondage and Freedom,' as something worth encouraging, why not take a book from me? I can show them a thing or two. I am a Marylander; I have seen slavery in all its phases, and if I can manage to agglomerate a few lies, I can't fail to concoct a salable commodity. Indeed, these people will catch at it eagerly as coming from an eyewitness; and so profitable a speculation will relieve me from the necessity of straining my lungs in the market-houses, and of drilling negro babies in the a, b, abs."
Another way of accounting for the phenomenon is, to charitably suppose he believes all he has said. Of course, the supposition implies that he is more fool than knave; for none but a fool could possibly have had the experience he must have had with the negro population of Maryland and believe what he pretends to believe. Any shrewd man who will take the pains to observe and inform himself on the subject, whencesoever he may come, will not be slow in arriving at a correct conclusion as to the nature of the relation sustained here between the races, white and black, and will surely perceive that the inferior must be subordinate. Slavery is the normal condition of the African wherever found. It is inseparable from his very being. It has been so through all time, and will so remain as long as he is distinguished by the peculiar traits that now characterize him. This, Mr. Long would make us believe, he has not found out, notwithstanding his opportunities for observation. He had a Sunday school at St. Michael's. What success followed his efforts to impart lore to his colored disciples? Any? If so, he certainly has reason for self-gratulation in accomplishing what no man ever did before, although the attempt has been made thousands of times. He confesses he has no learning himself, and the confession is hardly necessary to establish the fact. How then was he to test the result of his scheme at educating negroes? Oh! he took it for granted that wherever there is brain there is susceptibility. Verily, how cheap a thing learning is! It is not to be believed, Mr. Editor, that you and the gentlemen who, with you, signed the letter addressed to him touching this said Sunday school seriously apprehended any evil consequences from the instruction he was likely to impart. You were no doubt influenced by other considerations in that step. You may rely on it, no harm will ever befall the country from negro learning. But negro combinations, not less than canine associations,
are a different thing, particularly headed by such men as Mr. Long, and sheep are abroad at night. Did this man ever occupy the position of master? It is to be presumed not. Either from a conviction that he was called to the ministry as a laborer in the great vineyard--which is right enough--or from natural indolence--which is more probable--he abjured all industry at an early age, and therefore had no opportunity to see what negroes are worth, nor what they are capable of. If he had been blessed with as much sense as piety, he would, before writing this book, have gone into their places of labor--into the fields where hoes, and not Bibles, are the implements of industry--or he would have taken some lessons in their habits of care, or have wandered out at night when corn was ripe in the fields, poultry ready for the knife, and bacon lusciously tempting under locks that may be forced. It is useless to say how instructive such a lesson would have been to him, if he be capable of learning anything.
Mr. Long is unquestionably a marvel. He has done what no man has ever done before, and what not even swine will do, rejected as that animal was by the Jews, as an article of food, on account of its filth. He has befouled his own bed and birth-place. It is quite instructive to see the variety of incident he introduces to illustrate his "Pictures of Slavery," all drawn from the knowledge he attained by his personal associations on the Eastern Shore. At one time he has some two or three women in conversation, during which a "brother's" habits are liberally commented on, and a bottle of snuff as liberally discussed. This is to show the tattling propensities of the sex, and what stimulates them to it, as connected with slavery. Whether this snuff scene is a part of a drama in real life, enacted at Newtown or St. Michael's, he does not inform us. Either place, however, must feel an equivocal sort of gratitude for the "picture" he presents of "slavery" and female habits. Who will wear the cap? At another time he has a colt eating his hat as a "picture of slavery;" not "old hat," but a bran new straw, for which he had paid out of his salary $1. Then there is the Southern love of military title as a "picture of slavery;" a white crow which he saw himself as a "picture of slavery;" an interview with Charles Clayton as a "picture of slavery;" with a thousand other things, equally relevant, all illustrating the condition of the circles in which he revolved. How do we poor Eastern Shore people feel at having such a chronicler and sketcher? In estimating his merits it is necessary to take notice that when he gives deductions without facts he exhibits about as much logical strength as any fool would, transported with the hope of making himself acceptable with his God by vilifying his fellow-men, and that when he essays to give a fact the lie is palpable on its very face. The writer of this has heard more thunder than he, and has had greatly the advantage of him for making observations of negro life; and, without having any interest in the "agitating question," his conclusions are precisely the reverse of this Mr. Long's, whilst the latter beats him all hollow at sight seeing.
I will leave this book for the present. The writer speaks of the
author of the article in your issue of Feb. 24th, referring to the reopening of the slave trade, as grossly ignorant of the African race. He who is so ignorant will commence the publication of a series of papers next week to show Mr. Long that he has informed himself of the Ethiopian race of whom any account has reached us from the Senegal River to the Straits of Bab-el-man-deb; and he will likewise show him that the condition of the American slave is as much superior to that of the African savage, as President Buchanan's lodgings are to the hovel of a backwoods pioneer.
Of the many books intended to expose the injustice and cruelty of slavery, and exhibit its direful influence upon religion and morals, that have been published of late, we do not remember one better adapted than this for general circulation and extensive usefulness. It is a magazine of fact and argument, which will be exceedingly serviceable to every opponent of slavery, and especially to every anti-slavery lecturer.
Mr. Long deals very faithfully with his Methodist brethren, and exposes the delinquencies of the church with an unsparing hand. His testimony on this head is especially valuable at this time, when so many Methodists at the North, ministers as well as laymen, are dishonestly seeking to produce the impression that theirs is an antislavery church, and defaming the Abolitionists for exposing the cheat.
THE REV. JOHN D. LONG.--This ingrate monomaniac and fanatic has issued a book entitled, "Pictures of Slavery in Church and State; including Personal Reminiscences, Biographical Sketches, &c.," and sent it to the world, professing to portray slavery as it exists in its mildest form in this State and Delaware. It may be well to state that this incendiary abolitionist, whilst he resided in St. Michael's, fed upon the mercy and goodwill of the people there, and was clothed entirely by the alms of slave-holders. He was then concocting this base libel upon the people of the South, slaveholders, and at the same time evincing the strongest attachment to the institution and its friends. A base hypocrite he was!
The above is the title of a fragmentary work just from the press of T. K. & P. G. Collins, professing to portray slavery in its mildest form, as it exists in Delaware and Maryland. The entire work gives evidence that it is the product of a diseased imagination--the dwarfish idea of an unfortunate man who had but one idea to place in market.
The large body of clergymen to which Mr. Long is attached, is known and respected throughout our country; and he does well when he announces in the preface that "no minister or layman in the Philadelphia Conference is accountable for it." Few men in
their senses would willingly father such a hash of nonsense. The superannuated ministers of the M. E. Church are those whose health fails, whose bodily strength is said to be "worn out," but who usually retain all their mental endowments. The author of "Pictures of Slavery" does not, therefore, fairly represent this honored class of veterans; his mind has been affected by corporeal ailments; his intellect, if ever really good, has yielded to physical suffering, and he comes before the public superannuated both in mind and body.
The work before us is simply ridiculous; it may cause some commotion in the church to which its author belongs, as he says many hard things of his brethren-- but elsewhere it will not produce a ripple. Mr. Long often mentions plantations and plantation slaves on the eastern shore of Maryland and in Delaware. We venture the assertion that, during all the time of his itinerancy, he never stepped upon a plantation; that, while he was eating and wearing the product of slave labor, and making a dyspeptic of himself by enjoying too fully the hospitality of slaveholders, he never saw a plantation slave. His prating, therefore, about things that do not exist, is sheer nonsense; the hobgoblins he is trying to fight exist only in an addled intellect. The old ladies of the abolition party should take care of him.
We may refer to this work again; in the mean time, if the fanatical or curious wish to read what a monomaniac has to say of our neighbors in Delaware and Maryland, let them buy the book. They will be surprised to find that any good man, unless he be insane--as we suppose Mr. Long to be--could be so false, so utterly absurd, as to declare that "On large plantations and farms, the slaves are as degraded as their ancestors were before they were stolen from the west coast of Africa." As the author of that sentiment is a minister of a respectable denomination of Christians, and as the Daily Times says he is "a good man," we are charitable enough to believe he is crazy.
This is a very timely and valuable book of 410 pages, from the pen of one who seems thoroughly imbued with an inveterate hatred of slavery in all its forms, and whose object is to array all classes against it as it exists in the Southern States of this Union. The book is written in a plain, unassuming style, and well adapted to the masses for whose enlightenment it is evidently intended. We earnestly hope that this book will obtain a very extensive circulation. We know of no work recently published calculated to effect more good than "Pictures of Slavery." The general question of slavery is dealt with in a very lucid and convincing manner, and we hail this new accession to our antislavery literature with gratitude and delight.
This is another valuable contribution to the cause of human freedom; fresh, unique, vital, outspoken--at once driving the nail and
clinching it. A most remarkable work it is in thoroughness of principle, straightforwardness of statement, and fidelity to the truth cut where it may. It is full of pith and good sense, as well as of deep sympathy and religious feeling, impressing the reader that its author is one whom John Wesley, were he now in the flesh, would be proud to embrace, and who belongs to that class of witnesses for God and humanity of whom the world is not worthy.
Without method, his remarks on the various bearings of slavery are thrown out in quite a desultory manner. Sometimes a short description, an anecdote, a few statistics or an argument, a satiric hit or earnest appeal--each and all have their places. Its chief value is, that it is a book of facts and impressions furnished by one whose opportunities of knowledge cannot be denied. There is no attempt at fine writing, no desire to be eloquent; in point of style it is defective; and while his volume was meant for the masses among whom he has lived and labored, he thinks that, even to the learned, some of his thoughts may prove suggestive. We think so too, and we believe that any candid reader will find in its pages a good amount of information illustrative of the evil he seeks to depict, as well as numerous particulars relating to men and customs of which he is entitled to speak from his personal sources of correct judgment.
A glance at the work induces us to think that it furnishes something of what is needed--an unimpeachable statement of facts. Good or evil, let us know the truth. Let falsehood, cowardice, and concealment stand aside, and let the light of the sun shine on all its parts and transactions. Take off the enchanting mask, and let the apologizing part of the church see for what it is they are pleading. Let it be bought, read, and judged by the thinking public.
The work is of rather a miscellaneous character; and, though somewhat disconnected, and unpretentious of literary merit, it is written with an earnest purpose, is a readable book throughout, and adapted to useful circulation, especially among the religious denomination to which the author belongs.
This is a startling, truth-telling work; the author is evidently a gap man raised for a special mission among his brethren as well as in the world. Its facts are overwhelming, and justify abundantly the movements against the gigantic fraud of human slavery now going on in the Church and State of this country. Send on your orders for the last and, in many respects, best book on this mooted subject.
This book, as we learn from its preface, is the production of gentleman who, born and reared, has also lived nearly his whole life thus far, amidst slavery and slave surroundings. A life of nearly forty years has given him time enough to mature his opinions; while seventeen years of ministerial labor in full view of the institution, where in its mildest form only it is supposed to be exhibited, certainly have fitted him for an honest and intelligent estimate of slavery in Church and State, in so far as Delaware and Maryland, the theatre of his life and labors, are concerned.
The book is strongly anti-slavery, and consists of personal reminiscences, biographical sketches, facts and illustrations, and which are, in the quaint yet beautiful figure employed in the introduction, "like a plate of strawberries or a quiver full of arrows, possessed of association, if containing but little arrangement." The arrangement and literary pretensions of the work, owing doubtless to want of practice in book making, may not always please the fastidious reader, and especially in its composition it may fail to please those who are admirers of the flashy writing so prevalent at the present day; but if earnestness, clearness, and force, speaking to both understanding and heart in fragmentary chapters; artless and earnest as childhood in its utterances; aiming to be honest, yet telling most unpleasant things of the Church and the State, and manifestly set down "more in sorrow than in anger;" if these be sufficient recommendation to induce those who desire to know the opinions of a good man, and one reared in a slave State, to read for themselves this unique production, then will it have a wide circulation.
"Pictures of Slavery" is the title of a book from the pen of Rev. John D. Long, published by the author, Philadelphia. His father was a slave-holder; he removed out of his native State that his children might be educated away from slavery. His book is a curious but interesting miscellany of anecdotes, didactics, warmhearted exhortations, and sweeping denunciations. Some of his constructions of documents we do not receive, and some of his local allusions are too severe--too severe to do good; but we have gone over the book with no little interest. If its style is sometimes denunciatory, it is generally hearty; and its illustrations of local manners and life, and its earnest, downright spirit, are such as never fail to interest even dissentient readers. We have an article from a correspondent for our next number on the volume.