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and accountable being, the instant his Creator has breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Over this infant heir of immortality no mother has a right to watch-no father may guide his feeble steps, check his wayward appetites, and train him for future usefulness, happiness, and glory. Torn from his parents, and sold in the market, he soon finds himself labouring among strangers under the whip of a driver, and his task augmenting with his ripening strength. Day after day, and year after year, is he driven to the cotton or sugar-field, as the ox to the furrow. No hope of reward lightens his toil—the subject of insult, the victim of brutality, the laws of his country afford him no redress-his wife, such only in name, may at any moment be dragged from his side-his children, heirs only of his misery and degradation, are but articles of merchandize his mind, stupified by his oppressors, is wrapped in darkness-his soul, no man careth for ithis body, worn with stripes and toil, is at length committed to the earth, like the brute that perisheth.
This is the system which the American Anti-slavery Society declares to be sinful, and ought therefore to be immediately abolished; and this is the system which the American Colonization Society excuses, and which, it contends, ought to be perpetual, rather than its victims should enjoy their rights in" the white man's land."'
pp. 126-130. Such is American slavery. We must now lay before our readers a sample or two of the laws against the free blacks.
In South-Carolina, if a free negro "entertains" a run-away slave, he forfeits ten pounds, and if unable to pay the fine, which must be the case ninety-nine times in a hundred, he is to be sold as a slave for life. In 1827, a free woman and her three children were thus sold, for harbouring two slave children.
In Mississippi, every negro or mulatto, not being able to prove himself free, may be sold as a slave. Should the certificate of his manumission, or the evidence of his parent's freedom, be lost or stolen, he is reduced to hopeless bondage. This provision extends to most of the slave States, and is in full operation in the district of Columbia.
In South-Carolina, any assembly of free negroes, even in the presence of white persons, "in a confined or secret place for the purpose of mental instruction," is an unlawful assembly, and may be dispersed by a magistrate, who is authorized to inflict twenty lashes on each free negro attending the meeting.
In the city of Savannah, any person who teaches a free negro to read or write incurs a penalty of thirty dollars. Of course a father may not instruct his own children.
In Maryland, a justice of the peace may order a free negro's ears to be cut off for striking a white man. In Kentucky, for the same offence, he is to receive thirty lashes, "well laid on." The law of
Louisiana declares "free people of colour ought never to insult or strike white people, nor presume to conceive themselves equal to the whites; but, on the contrary, they ought to yield to them on every occasion, and never speak or answer them but with respect, under the penalty of imprisonment according to the nature of the case."
The corporation of Georgetown, in the district of Columbia, passed an ordinance making it penal for any free negro to receive from the postoffice, have in his possession, or circulate, any publication or writing whatsoever of a seditious character.
'In North-Carolina, the law prohibits a free coloured man, whatever may be his attainments or ecclesiastical authority, to preach the Gospel.
In Georgia, a white man is liable to a fine of five hundred dollars for teaching a free negro to read or write. If one free negro teach another, he is to be fined and whipped at the discretion of the court! Should a free negro presume to preach to or exhort his companions, he may be seized without warrant, and whipped thirty-nine lashes, and the same number of lashes may be applied to each one of his congregation.
In Virginia, should free negroes or their children assemble at a school to learn reading and writing, any justice of the peace may dismiss the school with twenty stripes on the back of each pupil.
'In some States, free negroes may not assemble together for any purpose, to a greater number than seven. In North-Carolina, free negroes may not trade, buy, or sell, out of the cities or towns in which they reside, under the penalty of forfeiting their goods, and receiving in lieu thereof thirty-nine lashes.
The laws of Ohio against the free blacks are peculiarly detestable, because not originating from the fears and prejudices of slave-holders. Not only are the blacks excluded in that State from the benefit of public schools, but, with a refinement of cruelty unparalleled, they are doomed to idleness and poverty, by a law which renders a white man, who employs a coloured one to labour for him one hour, liable for his support through life!
By a late law of Maryland, a free negro coming into the State, is liable to a fine of fifty dollars for every week he remains in it. If he cannot pay the fine, he is SOLD.
In Louisiana, the penalty for instructing a free black in a Sunday School, is, for the first offence, five hundred dollars; for the second offence, DEATH!
Such, in a greater or less degree, is the situation of three hundred thousand of our fellow-citizens; and the only comfort, the only consolation, the only mitigation of their sufferings, which a Society, said to be "full of benevolence and the hallowed impulses of Heaven's own mercy," proposes, or even wishes for them, is their transportation to Africa!' pp. 15-17.
Some of these atrocious facts will not be new to our readers, since, in our review of Mr. Abdy's volumes, we had occasion to introduce a portion of this evidence in illustration of the cruel and antichristian antipathy which, in that Article, we endeavoured to analyse*. Referring our readers to the lengthened observations we
* Eclectic Rev. for August, 1835. Art. I.
then felt it our duty to submit, we shall now take leave of the revolting subject with a few general reflections.
In the first place, we renew our protest against those indiscriminate and unqualified invectives levelled at our American brethren, as a people, which certain parties in this country are apt to indulge in, who have not heretofore been distinguished by their zeal in the cause of abolition. We will not soften down our language in stigmatizing the atrocious guilt of the system of American slavery; but we cannot forget how small was the band of philanthropists who stood forward in this country, as Jay, and Cox, and Tappan are now doing in their own, as abolitionists of slavery and the slave-trade, when, as now in America, the Court, the Church, the Government, the Press, and the great mercantile interests were all arrayed against them. In 1776, as Judge Jay reminds us, the British House of Commons rejected a resolution, that the slavetrade was contrary to the laws of God and the rights of man. Yet that trade is now piracy by Act of Parliament. In 1788, on a bill being introduced into the House of Lords to mitigate the horrors of the trade, Lord Chancellor Thurlow ridiculed the sudden fit of philanthropy that had given it birth. In 1791, Colonel Tarleton, in the House of Commons, speaking of the proposed abolition of the slave-trade, declared that the measure was fit only for the bigotry and superstition of the twelfth century. Nor were these the sentiments of solitary individuals: the majority of both Houses were with them.
In 1793, the Duke of Clarence, now William IV., in his place in the House of Lords, declared the Abolitionists to be fanatics and hypocrites, and so far violated parliamentary decorum as to apply these epithets to Mr. Wilberforce by name. Yet has he lived to crown the labour, and fulfil the hopes of Wilberforce, by giving his assent to the bill abolishing slavery in the British dominions.
• Ten times did Mr. Wilberforce bring the subject of the abolition of the traffic before parliament, and ten times was he doomed to witness the failure of his efforts; nor was this detestable commerce suppressed till thirty years after the first motion of it had been made in the House of Commons.'
When the Abolitionists of the United States think of these facts, and recollect the reproaches heaped upon Wilberforce and his colleagues by a chancellor and dignified senators, well may they, says Judge Jay, thank God and take courage.' And surely, when we recollect these facts, it becomes us neither to despair of witnessing a similar revolution of public feeling in the American republic, nor to glory in the assumed superiority of our national character or institutions. The country which has given birth, in these days of its political degeneracy, to such men as Judge Jay, Professor Cox, and their colleagues, must still be
regarded as a land which, for the sake of the righteous within it, Heaven will spare, and British Christians ought to intercede for with affectionate sympathy.
In the next place, if the democracy,' the republican institutions, the voluntary principle,' the non-Establishment polity of the United States are to be held responsible for the crime of slavery, with all its demoralizing consequences, how can we escape from the inference, that the aristocracy, the monarchical institutions, the Church and State system, the Tory ascendancy of the reign of George III., must be tried by the same test, and denounced as the parent source of the moral and political evils connected with the slave-trade and slavery,-the Lynch law of the Colonial Church Unionists, the persecution of the missionaries, and all the atrocities of the penal codes of the slave colonies. It may be very convenient to forget that the Church of England was, till very recently, a slave-holder; that the aristocracy of England, with a few illustrious exceptions, were the chief upholders of slavery; that the communication of instruction to the negroes in our colonies was discountenanced and opposed, when undertaken by the despised voluntaries. All this must be forgotten before we can with decency inveigh against American republicans and voluntaries for acting in the same way as English nobles, merchants, and churchmen did a few short years ago. But the Americans have not quite such short memories; and they will not fail to retort with justifiable severity upon the flippant hypocrisy of their present Tory rebukers*.
We must confess, however, that, as we do not think that the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-nine Articles had much to do with the English slave-trade, so we imagine that the American Constitution, the fundamental principle of which entitles all the free inhabitants of the States to all the privileges and immunities of citizenship, is not the cause of conduct in direct violation of that principle; nor is Republicanism the origin of that system of slavery which existed in America, under the fostering protection of the British crown, before the Colonies separated from the mother country. We admit that the conduct of the American slave-holders and black-haters is rendered the more flagrant by their vaunts about their own political freedom; but Mr. Burke remarked long ago, that, in countries where slaves exist, those that are free, are by far the most proud and jealous of
* See the Record Paper of Nov. 19, a journal infamous for the part it took during the struggle for the abolition of slavery, in defending the lawfulness of slavery in precisely the tone and spirit of the Colonizationists, and which now hypocritically turns round and reproaches the politicians and churches of the United States for not taking part with the Abolitionists!
their freedom, the haughtiness of domination there combining with the spirit of liberty. It is undeniable, however, that a very marked departure has taken place in America from the fundamental principles of the Constitutional Republicanism; and if we can no longer refer with satisfaction to the United States as the land of the free, the asylum of the persecuted, it is because there has taken place, to an alarming extent, an apostasy from the principles of the Fathers of American Independence, the founders of the social structure. What would Washington, what would Jefferson think, could they rise from the dead, of the present aspect of the Republic?-Jefferson, who, speaking of a contest with insurgent slaves, said, 'The Almighty has no attribute ' which can take sides with us in such a contest.' Washington, whose unsullied name has been desecrated by being bestowed upon the central slave-mart of the Union-the most infamous metropolis in Christendom, the American Algiers !
But how has this disastrous change been superinduced? Can it be traced to any defect in American institutions to any excess of popular liberty, any feebleness in the powers of government, any deficiency of the means of religious instruction, any retrogression of the public mind in intelligence? Nothing of the kind can be alleged; or, at least, no such explanation can be rendered even plausible by the shadow of evidence. The root of the whole mass of evil is single; and it is adequate to account for all that is anomalous and threatening in the present position of affairs. Slavery, says Mr. Abbott, is the fruitful source of 'nearly all our national difficulties. Slavery is the origin of the Tariff strife, and the parent of Nullification.' Slavery is the national crime which threatens, if not repented of, to draw down the exemplary punishment of Heaven. Slavery has entailed upon that which calls itself the freest Republic in the world, that hideous mass of legislative enactments which are a mockery of law, and which render the Turkish despotism mild by comparison. It has placed in the heart of the country a servile foe, more to be dreaded than any foreign enemy; an element of danger which may at any time burst forth with exterminating fury. It has created new States which have brought to the Federal Union a dowry of political mischief and moral corruption, and which are to the Old States of the Federacy, what a dead carcase would be, tied to the living. It has rendered every American who talks of the rights of man a hypocrite, and made the braggart of liberty a secret coward. And, worse than all, it has polluted the waters of the sanctuary, mingled unhallowed fire on the national altar, set the ministers of religion at variance, brother against brother, darkened the fairest prospects of the Church, and given occasion to the enemies of our Zion to insult and triumph over those who exhibit this palpable inconsistency. Slavery has induced that