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which preceded the war; that doctrines were then inculcated which could not be applied to slavery without destroying it ; that the logical tendencies of those doctrines were generally perceived and produced a strong effect in all the colonies, and that in the North they culminated in such action as swept slavery, in due course of time, out of existence.
The first State to get rid of slavery at a blow was Massachusetts. In 1780 her people adopted a Constitution in which was inserted some “ glittering generalities ” about liberty. It does not appear that the clause was adopted with any view to the uses which it served. It was in the Bill of Rights, and was simply a rehearsal of the current views in relation to popular liberty. Here are its words:
All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
In the following year some suits, similar to the “liberty suits” which have been mentioned, were decided by the lower courts—some in one way and some in another. Among them was one “for assault and battery and false imprisonment,” which was carried up and, in 1783, tried by the Supreme Jndicial Court. The defense of the master was that the black was his slave, and that the beating, etc., were the restraint and correction necessary to secure obedience. This was answered by citing the clause above quoted from the Bill of Rights. The court held that the master had no right to beat or imprison the Negro under that provision,* and he was found guilty and fined forty shillings. This settled the question of slavery in Massachusetts, and at the next United States census no slaves were registered against that State.
In 1776 the remaining Northern States, as appears from a table in Blake's “ History of Slavery,” had slaves as follows:
* The same judges and the same public opinion would have delivered Virginia under the Bill of Rights, which stands or stood at the head of the Constitution then in force. Its declaration of rights is as follows: “All men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity, namely, the enjoyment of life, liberty,” etc.—Bigelow's Constitutions.
Rhode Island, 4,373; Connecticut, 5,000; New Hampshire, 629; New York, 15,000; New Jersey, 7,600 ; Pennsylvania, 10,000.
Vermont, not one of the thirteen original States, passed laws against slavery while yet a Territory, in 1777, and was admitted as a free State. Maine, also not an original State, was under the government of Massachusetts, and her condition in regard to slavery followed the action of the parent State. New Hampshire, like Massachusetts, had slavery destroyed by a clause in her Constitution. Pennsylvania passed an act in 1780 which forbade the further introduction of slaves, and
freedom to all that were born in the State after that day. ould seem that the new impulse given to liberty was more effective in Pennsylvania than in any other State. In 1776 she is reported as having 10,000 slaves. Four years later she passed her act for gradual emancipation, and when the first census was taken, in 1790, she had only 3,737 slaves. Connecticut and Rhode Island passed similar laws in 1784. New York passed an act for gradual emancipation in 1799, when she had 20,000 slaves.
In 1827 she passed a supplementary act, declaring all her slaves free on the 4th of July of that year. New Jersey followed the example of New York.in 1804, but without the supplement. She consequently had slaves later than any other State.
The condition of these States, as to the number of slaves, after acts of emancipation were passed, may be learned from the table below, made up from the United States census :
Such are the facts developed by this simple history. Clearly they do not sustain the charges of selfishness and greed which are sometimes hurled at the North by heated partisans. Undoubtedly there were cases of fierce opposition and bitter coinplaint. Undoubtedly there were some who endeavored to make the most of their shattered property, and hurried it off
to a market. There were, we know, cases of merchants who endeavored "to turn an honest penny” by pushing the horrible African slave-trade; but these cases were few, and against the general sentiment of the country. There is nothing more certain in the whole range of history than the fact that slavery at the North was abolished because of the general conviction that it was wrong; that it was contrary to the doctrine of natural right; that it was incompatible with republican institutions; that it could not be reconciled with Christian morals, and was a disgrace to Christian civilization.
It grew up in the North and in the South under nearly the same influences, becoming stronger and stronger as the colonies increased in population and wealth, and rooted itself so deeply in the habits and interests of the people that practical men shrank away from every serious effort to disturb it, till an overwhelming public sentiment demanded that it should be swept away. It was struck with the same death in the North and in the South ; but in the South its more vigorous condition and the fertilizing influence of cotton carried it through, and it recovered its former strength and power, and went on to wage war with its deadly enemy—the free public opinion of the nation.
This view does not entirely harmonize with the claims of the antislavery leaders of Massachusetts, some of whom have stoutly maintained that slavery was never legal in that State, and was always adverse to the general sentiment of its people. It has seemed to us that this view is not sustained by the facts current in her history, some of which have been cited in the foregoing pages, and that, aside from the ameliorating influences of Congregationalism, slavery in Massachusetts was not greatly different from slavery in South Carolina.
But if we cannot entirely accept all the strong claims of Mr. Sumner, still less can we accept the distorted pictures drawn by passionate partisans in the South. The editor of this Quarterly in the preceding number noticed an article in the Southern Review, by Rev. J. W. Scott, touching Bishop Andrew and the General Conference of 1844, in which he quotes Mr. Scott as saying: “These men, whose sires had waxed fat on the traffic in human flesh, were now in hot pursuit of Bishop Andrew for the sin of slave-holding,” etc. It need hardly be said that this is the language of passion, and
not of criticism. But if such words are to be taken for truth, the question arises as to who the men were that thus “ waxed fat." The general tenor of pro-slavery sentiment seems to have been that slave-holding in the North was an unprofitable business, and that slavery died out because it did not pay. Hence it was that Mr. Webster protested against any enactment excluding slavery froin certain Territories because it was “re-enacting the law of God.” It was not, therefore, the men who were so unfortunate as to hold slaves who “had waxed fat.” Indeed, the words used pretty plainly imply that Mr. Scott referred to those who were engaged in the "traffic.” But there could be no profitable “traffic” in a commodity that could not be sold and had no market. It was not, therefore, the trade in “human flesh" within the Northern colonies or States on which any body “waxed fat.”
waxed fat." But there was a “traffic” which was profitable, and in which Northern men, to some extent, participated. In Massachusetts, for instance, with a population of four hundred thousand, there were some gamblers, a few thieves, now and then a murderer, and one or two slave-merchants. These last fitted out their ships in Boston, and sold their cargoes in the West Indies. They took the risks and braved the odium of the “traffic,” just
traffic,” just as a gambler or a house-breaker braves the law; and because it was a stench in the public nostril and no honorable man would engage in it they had a monopoly and undoubtedly “waxed fat” on their trade in “human fiesh.” But does the Rev. W. J. Scott mean seriously to maintain that all the men in that General Conference who voted against Bishop Andrew were the sons of these freebooting slave-pirates? If he does not, he had better reconstruct his words.
We have said that slavery in the North was abolished from principle. It was, in fact, struck down by the conscientious convictions of an awakened people, by the overwhelming power of public opinion. In Massachusetts it began to decline from the day that the “writs of assistance” were argued. In Pennsylvania, where the action of the Quakers had prepared the way, manumissions were even more frequent than in Massachusetts. The act for gradual emancipation was not passed without bitter opposition from a strong minority, but the rapid decline that followed shows how strong and general was the
sentiment against it. In New York, under the operations of the act of 1799, the slaves fell off from 20,000 in 1800 to 10,000 in 1820. But the decrease was too slow to meet the popular demand, and the Legislature, in 1827, struck out the balance at a blow. Every-where public sentiment was in favor of the speedy overthrow of the system. The people felt that the action of the States should be consistent with the platform of the nation; and if all men were “created equal," a part should not linger in slavery. If liberty was good for the white man, it was good for the black man; if it was hard to be oppressed by England, it was still harder to be oppressed by a selfish and cruel master; if men had inherent rights as against political power, they had also inherent rights as against individual tyrants. The argument was irresistible, and the heart of every true man beat in unison with his brain.
THE CHURCH LYCEUM.
The Church Lyceum. Its Organization and Management. By Rev. T. B. NEELY,
A.M. With an Introduction by Bishop HENRY W. WARREN, D.D. New York: Phillips & Hunt. Cincinnati: Walden & Stowe. 1883. The chief design of Methodism was the promotion of the spiritual life; but a movement which was "cradled in a university” could not be indifferent to the mental culture of the people. Its field preaching and its literary institutions have a contemporaneous existence, and both are significant facts in the progress of the great evangelical revival. The Academies, Colleges, and Theological Seminaries of Methodism, established and supported wherever the denomination has obtained a foothold, in Europe and America, in civilized and pagan lands, tell the story of the devotion of this spiritually aggressive Church to the important work of education.
The provision made by the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1876, for the organization, on each pastoral charge, of a Church Lyceum“ for mental improvement” and for other kindred purposes, is in harmony with the genius and history of the Methodistic movement. The work which we make the text for this article was prepared