페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

nature; but I must be permitted to say, strangers were held in servitude by
that the dispensations of unsearchable this pattern of righteousness, is entirely
wisdom are always adapted, not only gratuitous. It is no where asserted
to the nature, but also to the condition that they were held as slaves. They
of man. If the patriarch Abraham, may have been purchased from mo-
the father of the faithful, was permit tives of humanity, to be redeemed
ted to hold slaves, whom he purchased from slavery; or they may have been
from his idolatrous neighbours, to sub purchased of their needy parents, to
ject them to his mild paternal govern serve during a limited period.
ment, and to bring them into covenant From the whole tenor of the patri-
with the true and living God, it ap archal history, it appears difficult to
pears to me something allied to blas find even an example, not to say an
phemy, to infer from thence that we authority, for personal and hereditary
are divinely authorised to purchase slavery. We find Jacob in possession
and hold in bondage, the children of men-servants and women-servants,
born among us, without regard to when returning from Padanaram; yet
their spiritual welfare. The authority when we look round in search of those
given to Abraham, if authority it was, brethren whom he called to witness the
to retain the servants thus purchased, covenant with Laban, none can be ·
is accompanied with the most solemn found except those servants, who were
obligations. The duty enjoined is the employed in the care of his family and
more prominent feature. If we plead flocks. The family of this patriarch
the example, we must take it with all are afterwards named, upon their in-
its responsibilities. We must follow gress into the land of their subsequent
the example in regard to religious in bondage; but these servants have dis-
struction as well as magisterial autho- || appeared. If they had been heredi-
rity. We must not hold our slaves tary slaves, it is to be supposed they
merely as property, and ministers to would have somewhere left their trace
our pleasure and ease, but as objects on the historian's page. The proof
of paternal solicitude and religious with respect to the practice of that
oversight. The testimony given of day among this chosen people, is con-
Abraham, “I know him, that he will fessedly defective; we may therefore
command his children and his house make our own suppositions on the
hold after him, and they shall keep the subject. But while I admit that hypo-
way of the Lord, to do justice and thesis is not argument, I insist that a
judgment,” presents a conclusive rea supposition in favour of universal free-
son why he might be safely trusted dom is quite as good as one in defence
with power, which was not designed of slavery.
to be always purchased with money. I venture to assert, without fear of
It must have been a privilege of no refutation, that no unequivocal testi-
trivial kind, to be domesticated in such mony can be produced to support the
a family.

hypothesis, that either Abraham, Isaac, But if we examine a little more or Jacob was ever possessed of a slave. closely, we find that the hypothesis, The instance of Hagar has been adthat those who had been purchased of duced, though our orator has over

looked it, as evidence in the case. This argument, like the champion She, it is true, is called a bondwoman, of Gath, is vulnerable in the forehead, but we have no account how long her and may be despatched with its own term of service was to continue. She

weapons. may have been bound for a limited The command, as our pleader calls period, which had not expired at the it, to hold slaves, is thrown in among time of Ishmael's birth. We have no the prohibitions, and evidently amounts intimation that she was held to service to no more than a modification of a after she had born Abraham a son. restriction. The children of Israel Her relation to Abraham, as the mother were not to hold their brethren longer of his only son, sufficiently accounts than six years, but might apply to the for her continuance in the family, with purchased heathen a less lenient rule. out resorting to the unauthorised as But certainly the man who chose to sumption of her continuance in servi perform his labours with his own tude. If, however, our brethren will hands, and buy neither Hebrew nor insist that Hagar was a slave, and heathen bondmen, could not, on that plead the example in defence of negro account, be charged with a breach of slavery, it is to be hoped that they the divine command. This authority will not forget the sequel of her his to hold the heathen in bondage, being tory. They may, perhaps, agree to only permissive, must be so construed follow Abraham's example in one or as to preserve the force of the positive two instances; why not then give it precepts. “Ye shall hallow the fiftieth its most salutary influence? Hagar year, and proclaim liberty throughout and her son were unquestionably set the land to all the inhabitants thereof,” free, and that expressly by divine com is an unequivocal injunction. The mand. If such a command was given | permission applies expressly to those for her previous detention in servitude, whom they should buy; no grant of it has escaped my inquiries. The case, the child, because the parents had been therefore, turns out rather against than bought, appears in the text. in favour of slavery.

shall be your bondmen for ever," may The most formidable argument is be construed, this class of bondmen still behind. Both thy bond-men and shall continue to be bought and held, thy bond-maids, which thou shalt have, as long as this law continues unreshall be of the heathen that are round pealed. The purchased servant was

of them shall ye buy bond transmitted to the children of the purmen and bond-maids. Moreover, of chaser. But when the year of jubilee the children of the strangers that so came, all the inhabitants must become journ among you, of them shall ye free. If Moses had designed that the buy, and of their families that are with liberty proclaimed in the jubilene year you, which they beget in your land, should be limited to a part of the inand they shall be your possession. habitants, we cannot rationally supAnd ye shall take them as an inherit pose he would have been less particuance for your children after you, to lar in regard to personal freedom than inherit them for a possession; they to the possession of property. A house shall be your bondmen for ever, (Levit. within a walled city, if not redeemed xxv. 44, 45, 46.)

within a year, was established for ever

" They

[ocr errors]

about you;

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to the purchaser; but he adds, through- || jubilee, and the release of alienated out his generations, it shall not go out property twice in a century, would in the jubilee. Had 'hereditary servi encroach inconveniently upon our usual tude been intended, doubtless some habits, and necessarily break down the equivalent expression would have been system of negro slavery more rapidly used.*

than the warmest abolitionists would But admitting that hereditary slave venture to advise. ry was sanctioned by the Jewish law, To assert that the permission given what is that to our purpose? It was

to the Israelites to hold slaves is an evian authority to the Israelites to buy dence of the moral rectitude of slavery, and retain the heathen. We do not would be to give the lie to a much find a clause transferring that autho higher authority than Moses himself. rity to us. We have no reason to sup Many things were permitted to that pose ourselves descended from either hard-hearted and stiff-necked people, of the twelve tribes, to whom the per which refined morality, not to mention mission was given. If the passage

has

Christianity, absolutely prohibits. any direct application to the people of One reason for the detention of heathe present day, it proves a great deal thens in the service of the Israelites, too much; for it proves that the Jews may have been, that the former might or any of the scattered tribes, may thereby become converts to the true lawfully buy us and our children as religion. If we hold negroes for the slaves. If we could agree with some same reason, we ought at least to be modern authors, that the Indian na assiduous in the work of conversion, tions are descended from the followers I fear we fall in this respect below our of Moses, we should not readily sub friends on the south of the Mediterscribe to the practical application of ranean. Conversion to Islamism is these precepts. If we take Moses for often attempted by the Mahometan our master, I fear he will condemn a master, and the converted slave bemuch larger part of our practice than comes free. The superiority of our he will justify, while at the same time religion is but a lame excuse for the he may probably admit some inconve inferiority of our practice. nient innovations into our new model Lastly, the precepts of the gospel led society. The authority to buy and are invoked, but with lamentable suchold slaves, is at most a permission, cess, in support of a system which the not a command; but other parts even common sense of mankind has long of this favourite chapter, without look agreed to condemn. The injunction ing further, contain various positive to masters to render to their servants injunctions, which it is presumed the that which is reasonable and just, can people of these states would be very afford no evidence of the rectitude of slow to adopt. The strict observance slavery, until it is proved that personal of the sabbatical year, the general li freedom is reasonably and justly withberation of servants on the year of held. The admonition to servants to

serve their masters faithfully as in the * A more particular examination of

sight of God, even if the address was this subject may be seen in pages 87

made solely to slaves, no more proves and 254 of this journal.

that slavery is sanctioned by the gosVol. 1.-45

pel, than the injunction to turn the other cheek to the smiter, proves the propriety of the original aggression. To infer from this passage, that slavery is authorized by the doctrines of the gospel, is about as logical as to conclude, from the command "bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you,” that cursing and persecuting the disciples, was consistent with their master's will.

The case of Onesimus, a supposed runaway, is again brought forward, for perhaps the five hundredth time. As there is no shadow of evidence that Onesimus was a slave, little need be said upon the case. The supposition of the apostle, and we observe it is expressly only a supposition, that possibly Onesimus had wronged or was indebted to Philemon, proves, if it proves any thing, that he was not a slave. It indicates a capability of contracts which belonged only to the free.

This may, perhaps, be regarded as mere declamation, unworthy of further attention. But casual remarks sometimes disclose the intentions which sober policy would wish to conceal. A deeper policy than that of mere local attachments or antipathies, is plainly indicated in this rash declaration. The recent discussions on the floor of congress, furnish unequivocal evidence of the sympathies of the south with the question of slavery. There can be little doubt that this will continue to be a rallying point with the politicians south of the Potomac, including a few north of that river. An extreme jealousy evidently pervades the slaveholding districts, in regard to any chief magistrate chosen from the other section of the union. Certainly, whatever our opinions

be on the momentous question of slavery, and whether we consider its existence as the fault or the misfortune of those who support it, we must agree that neither the slave-holding nor the non slave-holding districts have a right to disfranchise each other. Having united together, with our institutions, right or wrong, already formed, we are bound to accede to each other all the political rights which the instrument of our union was designed to secure. If the privilege of raising an inhabitant of our own state to the first office in the government is judged an object of desire, certainly no state that can furnish a citizen worthy of the trust, and competent to discharge the duties of that important station, ought to be systematically excluded from the privilege.

As long as the free states can fur

may

NORTHERN PRESIDENTS.

Mr. Dorsey, a member of congress from Maryland, in a speech which he delivered on the 10th ult. in the house of representatives, uttered the following sentiment :

"As to what has been said respecting a Northern President, it never enters into our conceptions that we shall again have such presidents. Does not the gentleman from New York know that a law has gone forth, which decrees that we shall hereafter have no president north of the Potomac? We are not, therefore to be scared by imaginary terrors."'*-—National Gazette.

* It appears by a subsequent notice, that the speaker had informed the editor, that this was expressed sportively, and was so understood by the house. It is of but little importance how sportively the thing was expressed; a strong

propensity to act upon it in earnest, is too obvious to be easily overlooked.

nish their just proportion of statesmen equally qualified by talents, integrity, and experience, with those of the south, to occupy the presidential chair with advantage to the nation at large, it is a burlesque on the character of our government, to say that it can be safely administered by none but the holders of slaves. We may reasonably demand our share in the honours and profits of office. A just reciprocity requires, that of two candidates equally suitable, the choice should now fall on the northern one. Eight years balanced against thirty-two, do not furnish a just equipoise.

The twelve free states possessed, according to the census of 1820, a free white population of 5,021,800, while the twelve slave-holding states could boast of no more than 2,786,159, a ratio of something more than five to three. Should the former claim the privilege of selecting a president from among their own citizens five terms out of eight, it is not easy to discover upon what reasonable grounds the claim could be resisted. Such a claim, however, never has been, and probably never will be set up, unless the people of the north should be driven, by unjust and unconstitutional combinations in the south, to rise in the majesty of their strength, and assert the claims which justice cannot deny, and which the superiority of their representative, as well as absolute numbers, renders them fully competent to support.

If our representation had been calculated upon the free white population only, allowing, as is now done, a representative to every forty thousand, they would have stood thus: Maine 7, New Ilampshire 6, Massachusetts 12, Rhode Island 1, Connecticut 6, Vermont 5, New York 33, New Jersey 6,

Pennsylvania 25, Ohio 14, Indiana 3, Illinois 1, making in the twelve free states 119; Delaware 1, Maryland 6, Virginia 15, North Carolina 10, South Carolina 5, Georgia 4, Alabama 2, Mississippi 1, Louisiana 1, Tennessee 8, Kentucky 10, Missouri 1, comprising an aggregate of 64. Adding the free coloured race, the free and the slave states respectively gain four representatives, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana, each gaining one. Adding the slaves to the free population, Virginia gains six representatives, the two Carolinas and Georgia each three, Maryland and Kentucky each two, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana, each

Hence we perceive, that the slave population has given to the states where they are held, an addition of twenty-two' members in the house of representatives, and consequently an equal addition to the number of presidential electors. No complaint is made of this representation—it is a constitutional provision; but surely the representative of forty thousand freemen is not inferior to the representative of the masters of 66,666 slaves.

Taking the presidential electors as they are at present, the twelve free states furnish 147, and the slave states 114. The next census will probably increase the majority.

one.

DECISION RESPECTING COLOURED SER

VANTS.

Commonwealth
V.

In Lancaster, Pa.
David Evans.

By the Court, Franklin president. This was a habcas corpus to produce the body of Mary Whipper, a black woman, whom the defendant, David

« 이전계속 »