Slavery and Abolitionism, as Viewed by a Georgia Slave

Slavery and Abolitionism, as Viewed by a Georgia Slave.
By Harrison Berry, the Property of S. W. Price,
Covington, Georgia: Berry, Harrison, b. 1816
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, By A. M. EDDLEMAN &
BROTHER, For the use of Harrison Berry, (a slave, the property of S. W. Price,
of Covington, Georgia,) in the Clerk’s office of the District Court for the
Eastern District of Tennessee.


I could not hope for the acquiescence of my Southern masters in this my views
on Mr. Lincoln’s Inaugural, were it not from the fact, that his party is a mixed
up affair of colored and white, all equally bent and determined to carry out
their views, regardless of the affecting consequences whatever; and when we
read the speech of a colored man by the name of Charles L. Redmond, delivered
in Boston at an Anti-slavery Convention, held in May, 1856; when we hear him
say, "remembering Washington as a Slaveholder, he (Redmond) could spit
upon him;" and when we hear him applauded in the highest degree of mirth,
by his factional party, while the conservative men groan under the sound of
that blasphemous language, may be an excuse for one poor Slave whom that party
pretends to be helping, (but is actually doing him harm;) and when my Southern
masters take into consideration the many tricks fixed up to deceive the poor
Europeans, who are constantly immigrating to their States, by telling them that
if they vote for the pro-slavery candidate, it will be the means of enslaving
them, I am in hopes will be a pleader for their sympathies with this my presumption.

The Anarchy predicted by my first edition, written some eight months before
the election, stating that the election of a sectional man to the Presidency
would inevitably bring about the state of things which stands before us in a
monstrous form at the present time, may be conceded to me as a good guesser,
at least. Under these considerations, together with others stated in the commentary,
I hope they will forgive me for Making the attack, and extend to me that sympathy
I do so earnestly desire.

>From Hon. L. J. Gartrell.
From evidences in my possession of the most reliable character, I am satisfied
that the Slave, Harrison Berry, is the author of a pamphlet, entitled "Slavery
and Abolitionism, as viewed by a Georgia Slave." I know him personally,
have conversed with him, and believe him capable of writing it.
LUCIUS J. GARTRELL, Late member of Congress, 4th District.
Atlanta, April 14, 1861.

>From W. W. Clark, Esqr.
I am the owner of the wife of Harrison Berry–have had him hired for two years–have
seen and read his manuscript–and can certify to the fact that he is the author
of a pamphlet entitled "Slavery and Abolitionism, as viewed by a Georgia
Slave." He is a "Southern Rights" negro–a good and honest servant,
and his book is worthy of public consideration and patronage.
Attorney at Law, Covington, Ga.
Covington, April 10, 1861.

>From A. G. Ware, Esqr.
I have had ample opportunity to know, and am satisfied beyond doubt, that Harrison
Berry is the author of a pamphlet entitled "Slavery and Abolitionism, as
viewed by a Georgia Slave." I saw the original manuscript, and have read
the printed work–they are identical. I have known Harrison for several years,
and know him to be competent to write such a work.
A. G. WARE, Agent Macon & Western Railroad, Atlanta, Ga.

>From Rev. Lewis Lawshe.
I have known Harrison Berry since 1842. I know his old master, the late David
Berry, and all of the family. Harrison has all the time been a good servant.
It has always been his highest ambition to do his duty at anything his master
set him at. Harrison is a sensible boy, and pretty well educated, and is, without
a doubt, the bona fide author of the pamphlet entitled "Slavery and Abolitionism,
as viewed by a Georgia Slave." He has expressed the same sentiments to
me in conversation, that are set forth in his book, saying that he would let
Fred Douglass, and other Abolitionists, know that the slaves of the South were
not fools enough to believe that they were benefitting them, or even intended
to try to benefit them. There is not a shadow of a doubt, in my mind, but what
Harrison Berry did write the above named book, as I have had sufficient opportunity
to know the fact, having been acquainted with him for the last nineteen years.
It would be well for every Planter to obtain a copy of his work, and read it
to his slaves.
LEWIS LAWSHE. Atlanta, Georgia, April 18th, 1861.

>From the Banner & Baptist.
"ABOLITION AND SLAVERY," BY A SLAVE.–This pamphlet is now going on
its mission. Many, no doubt, would be pleased to see it, besides those who have
sent their orders. The work bears ample evidence of having been written entirely
by the professed author. No one will suppose that a negro, with but limited
education, could write anything like a model work on such a subject. But Harrison
Berry has done well, and his book ought to be, and will be read. We think no
farmer would be the loser to read it to his negroes.

>From the Journal of Commerce, Jr.
THE TESTIMONY OF A SLAVE.–We have received from Atlanta, Georgia, a pamphlet
entitled "Slavery and Abolitionism," written by a negro who subscribes
himself "Harrison Berry, the property of S. W. Price, Covington, Georgia."
This man is a full blooded African, forty-five years of age, and learned to
read and write while employed as an errand boy in a law office. He has since
been a hard student, and has acquired a fair amount of information. This pamphlet
is published by himself, and copy-righted for his benefit exclusively. He says
in the preface: "I am a slave, and have been all my life, and therefore
claim the opportunity, at least, of knowing what Slavery is, and what it is
not." He was induced to write upon the subject of Slavery from a firm conviction
that Abolitionist agitators are the worst enemies of the slave.
There could be no more befitting rebuke to the Abolition meddlers, than is conveyed
in the words which come from this oppressed subject of their sympathy, who is
"a slave," and "knows what slavery is." Moreover, the simple
facts noted above, are evidence sufficient to refute the assertion that the
slave is a down-trodden creature, kept in ignorance, and debarred from all privileges.
But it seems he is able to speak for himself.

>From the Griffin Union.
HARRISON BERRY.–We have just finished reading a pamphlet from the pen of this
personage. We know Harrison, and know him to be a Slave, and a black one at
that; and although the matter of his pamphlet is not arranged with that perspicuity
and system that would mark an accomplished writer, there are truths told by
Harrison that it would be well for many white men, and all black ones, to ponder
and profit by. That Slavery is the proper status for the black man, no one can
doubt, who will properly investigate the subject. In his native wilds he is
a savage, with no hope of improvement. A free man among white people, he is
inferior, and cannot rise to a level with his neighbors, and has all his work
to do when in health, under disadvantages that few can overcome; and, when sick,
he has no one to care for him; whilst the Slave has only his work to do when
in health with all the advantages his masters position and superior management
can afford him, and, when sick, his master is bound by law and interest to provide
for his necessities. And it is true, as Harrison says, that the Abolitionists
are his worst enemies, inasmuch as all their efforts only tend to draw the cords
of servitude more tightly around him, and deprive him of many indulgencies that
he would otherwise enjoy.


IN offering this address to the public, I do it with the most profound humility,
knowing it to be a task worthy of a better learned and more intelligent writer
than myself. But when it is taken into consideration, the cause by which I was
actuated may be an excuse for my presumption; for I am a Slave, and have been
all my life, and, therefore, claim the opportunity, at least, of knowing what
Slavery is, and what it is not. And in showing the effect the agitation of Slavery
has upon the Slaves generally, I have endeavored to keep within the boundaries
of moderation, unless forced by undoubted facts to depart therefrom. In speaking
of the citizens of the Northern States, I have, in a great many places, summed
them all up together; but my intention is to cast no reflections, whatever,
upon the conservative citizens of that section. My address is to the fanatical
Abolitionists, who call themselves Republicans. To them, and them alone, have
I written.
The property of S. W. Price, residing in Butts county, Georgia.

HARRISON BERRY, the author of these pages, was born in Jones county, Georgia,
November, 1816, and is now a little more than forty-four years old. He was born
a Slave, and became the property of Mr. David Berry, but was given to his daughter
as a part of her marriage portion. This daughter married Mr. S. W. Price, who,
in turn, became the owner of Harrison, and so remains at the present time. Harrison
removed, with his old master, David Berry, to Butts county, Georgia, when about
ten years old, and was placed in the Law Office of John V. Berry, a son of the
former. His business was to wait upon his young master, run on errands, go to
the Post Office, and to perform other like service. These employments were such
as to leave a good deal of time at his own disposal, which he was induced to
improve in learning to read and write.
When he became older and stronger, he was put to work on the farm, but continued
to improve his mind by reading such books as were furnished him by the younger
members of the Berry family; so that by the time he had grown to man’s estate,
he had made considerable proficiency in History, and had picked up a fair share
of general information.
At the present time he is engaged in the business of Boot-making. He was induced
to write upon the subject of Slavery from a firm conviction that Abolitionist
agitators are the worst enemies of the Slave, and from the settled opinion that
Slavery is according to the Divine Law. He believes, furthermore, that Southern
Slaves are in a much better condition than if they had remained in their native
land, and this opinion has been formed after a fair and impartial examination
of the subject in the light of history, philosophy and religion. While the work
has imperfections, (and what human work has not?) still the reader will find
much to interest him in these pages, and I would bespeak for the author a favorable
reception of his little offering to the cause of Truth and Justice.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, February 26, 1860.


COVINGTON, July 7, 1860.
HARRISON:–I have been so busily engaged that I could not reply to your first
letter. By this letter I give you full permission to print and publish your
MS. I presume that this statement will be sufficient, as I give you permission
to use this letter as may best suit your desire. I wish you success.

HARRISON is the property of Mr. Price, of Butts county, Georgia; is a Shoemaker
by trade, and has been steadily employed at his trade for many years. In the
latter part of 1853 he was employed by F. M. Eddleman & Bro., Shoe dealers
in this city, and remained in their employ for several years afterwards, with
some intermission. As I was one of that firm, and actively engaged in the business,
I had every opportunity to become acquainted with his sentiments, and to judge
of his ability to express himself upon paper. I am not aware when and where
he learned to write, but when he came into our employ he could write legibly.
This pamphlet was written under most unfavorable circumstances, and is, as I
know, the result of much labor on his part. His daily service was performed
in the Shoe-shop, and his nights, and I might add Sundays, were devoted to reading
and writing. The original manuscript was written, for the most part, in the
shop, and as conveniences for writing are not usually provided in such places,
the lap-board was converted into, or, at least, made to serve the purpose of
a table. I frequently found his manuscript in the shop, and would sometimes
read it, as a matter of amusement. As I saw it in this way, it was, to me, quite
an unconnected affair. Nevertheless, in its chaotic state, the ideas intended
to be conveyed were often forcibly and truthfully set forth. I was not aware,
until 1857, that he had any notion of collecting this matter together in the
form of a pamphlet, and, while I did not doubt his ability to do so, still I
did not, at that time, suppose he would do so. In the latter part of 1857, however,
he informed me that he had prepared and arranged the manuscript, and desired
that I should read it. I did so hurriedly, and returned it, advising him to
get others to examine it.
The original manuscript was, however, afterwards sent to Col. Logan, of Griffin,
for his inspection, and while in his possession was destroyed by fire.
In 1860, Harrison applied to me again to examine his production, which he had
re-written, and made some additions. I read it carefully, and wrote him that
there were some errors of fact in it that should be corrected before it went
to press. He afterwards informed me that he had gone over it and had made the
corrections to which he supposed I alluded, and thus it went to the press.
I will not merely say that I think he wrote it, for I can safely say that I
know him to be the author–the sentiments are his for I have heard him express
them time and again, long before I ever dreamed of his writing a book.
Harrison fully understands the position of a Slave, and has uniformly kept himself
in his proper place. He is neither insolent or impudent, but humble and polite.
He is honest and trustworthy, and has ever enjoyed the confidence of those who
know him. His complexion is fully up to the African standard, not having, I
suppose, a particle of white blood in his veins. He says he was, when a boy,
the blackest, ugliest little negro in the region, and was frequently annoyed
by travelers stopping, as they were passing the road, to comment upon his extreme
color. He has been, and is yet, a hard student; has read a great deal, and his
reading has been varied.
While in the employ of my brother and myself he read Josephus, and compared
it minutely with Sacred History. He reads for information, and not for amusement,
and always put forth his greatest effort to understand his subject.
His hate for an Abolitionist is supreme, and when expressing his contempt for
them, generally exhausts the vocabulary of adjectives at his command. At first
I thought this strange, and had my doubts as to his sincerity. But now I have
no doubt on that point. I have heard him give his reasons frequently, and consider
them forcible and good. He has remarked to me often, when applying for a pass,
that the privileges of Slaves had been curtailed on account of the foolish interference
of Abolitionists. He thinks that but for this interference of Abolitionists,
Slaves would be allowed all the privileges they are capable of enjoying. He
thinks Slavery is the proper condition for the negro, resulting in more happiness
than nominal freedom. He has often remarked in my hearing, that there was no
such a thing as a free negro in this country, (meaning the whole country.)
His pamphlet is published by himself, copy-righted for his benefit, and the
profits from its sale, should any arise, will be his. I cheerfully commend it
to the public, believing that it should be liberally patronized. The time he
has devoted to writing his book, is generally occupied by other Slaves in making
their pocket change.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, February 26, 1861.

HAVING, for several years, viewed the agitation of the question of Slavery to
be an evil dangerous and highly detrimental to the common good, and particularly
that of the South, I was moved, in 1857, to write an address to the Abolition
party, showing, as plainly as I could, the inconsistency of their proceedings.
I gave it to the editor of the "Empire State," at Griffin, after it
had been examined by gentlemen of Atlanta, Covington and Newnan; but its being
consumed in the late conflagration in Griffin, necessitates me to write another.
Seeing my views forcibly exemplified in the late treason at Harper’s Ferry may
be a guarantee to me, granted by all conservative men, the privilege of addressing
them again. This privilege might be more readily admitted, when you take into
consideration that I am one of those whom the Abolitionists pretend to be helping.
I will now examine what this monster is–this seven-headed, ten-horned beast.
It seems to be one of considerable power, for it now threatens the dissolution
of a Union formed by men who are not paralleled by any that have graced the
annals of history. Well, then, if this Union was so dearly obtained, it then
follows that its citizens ought, of all things, to love and cherish it. And
one who does not do it, is unfaithful to his country; but one who seeks to disturb
its peace, while it is endeavoring to deal, with an impartial hand, to each
constituent, the portion designed him by the Constitution, is a traitor of the
deepest dye.
Yet, we find men doing it. And for what? For nothing but because the people
of one section of the country wish to engage in a branch of business which would
not be profitable to those of the other, notwithstanding it is as lawful a branch
of business as that of manufacturing–the Constitution granting them, each,
the same protection. Nevertheless, they claim it to be unlawful; and when it
is shown to be both Constitutional and lawful, they then, being left no other
alternative, flee from that to the Higher Law–which I intend to discuss in
its proper place.
Kind reader, I expect, by this time, you would like to hear what that question
is. I answer, SLAVERY. Well, let us see what Slavery is. An eminent writer says:
"A Slave, in the ordinary sense of the term, is an individual at the absolute
disposal of another, who has a right to employ him and treat him as he pleases."
But let us see what he says after this. Hear him: "But the state of Slavery
is susceptible of numerous modifications; and it has been usual, in most countries
where it has been long established, to limit, in various ways, the power of
the master over the Slave." You see, this eminent writer talks like a book.
Kind reader, I now beg you to bear with me a little, while I discuss, in a very
abridged manner, the origin of Slavery. It seems that an authentic account of
the origin of Slavery is hard to get hold of. The best to be found is only probable;
and I think the most probable conjecture is, that it grew out of a state of
war. The captives taken in war, in ancient times, seem to have belonged to the
victors; and these they had the exclusive right to treat as they pleased. And
it was the custom of the Africans to put to death all that could not be advantageously
enslaved, centuries before it existed in any part of Europe or America. It is
not only in Africa we find Slavery existing centuries ago, but in the midst
of the chosen people of God; for it was the law in Judea for the parents to
sell their children. So it was in Rome. And it did not stop at that; for if
a citizen got in debt over what he was able to pay, he was taken and sold for
the same. So we see Slavery existing thousands of years ago.
But let us see where and when it commenced with us. We find that in 1442, the
Portuguese commenced the traffic. It was, however, of trifling extent, until
the sixteenth century, when, in consequence the rapid destruction of the Indians
employed in the mines of St. Domingo or Hayti, that Charles V. authorized, in
1517, the introduction into the island of African Slaves, from the establishment
of the Portuguese on the coast of Guinea. The importation of Africans once begun,
it rapidly spread itself over Europe and America. Sir John Hawkins was the first
Englishman who engaged in it; and such was the ardor of our countrymen engaged
in it, that they exported, from Africa, over 300,000 Slaves between the years
1680 and 1700; and between 1700 and 1786, 610,000 Africans were imported into
Jamaica; and, adding those imported into other continental colonies, and those
shipped to the other Islands, the quantity must have been immense.
The same writer says: "But those who inquire dispassionately into the subject,
will come to the Conclusion, that, instead of being injured, the Slaves have
gained by being carried from the New to the Old World."
Let us see what he says next. He says: "Speaking generally, the Negroes
are in the lowest state of abandonment, possessing merely the rudiments of the
most indispensable arts–a prey to the vilest superstition and tyranny, without
any tincture of learning, and with little or no regard for the future. The circumstances
under which they are placed in their native land may, perhaps account for the
low state in which we find them. But, however explained, the genuine Negroes
of Africa are admitted, even by those least inclined to depreciate them, to
be, for the most part, either ferocious savages, or stupid, sensual and indolent."
So, we see what he says; but I shall not stop to comment on that now, but will
notice it in its proper place.
Kind reader, I will now jump over the years from 1786 to 1794, and see what
Congress thought of Slavery at that time.
By the Act of March 22, 1794, the Slave Trade was prohibited. The Act of May
10, 1800, applied to foreigners residing in the United States, and forbid citizens
being engaged in foreign ships in the Slave Trade. By the Act of March 2, 1807,
vessels with Slaves on board were to be forfeited–the naval forces to be employed
to enforce the Act. By the Act of April 20, 1818, the importation of Negroes,
or persons of color, to be held to service or labor, was prohibited. By Act
of March 3, 1819, the naval ships would send to the United States, for confiscation,
any ships detected in the Slave Trade; and a bounty was offered, of $25, for
each Negro captured and delivered to the United States Marshal. By Act of May
15, 1820, the Slave Trade was declared to be piracy; and any citizen detected
in the Trade should suffer death. By the Act of September 20, 1850, the Slave
Trade in the District of Columbia was prohibited; no Slaves to be brought into
the District for sale as merchandize, and all Slave depots to be broken up.
Now, it does look to me like Congress was working at the abolition of Slavery
the right way, and the only way it can ever be accomplished. For Slavery might
be abolished in the States for awhile, but if it were not stopped at its source,
it would only break through with tenfold velocity. It would inevitably diffuse
itself throughout the world in such a manner that it would be next to impossible
to ever stop its progress, or mitigate its effects. But these Northern agitators
of Slavery were not satisfied with the proceedings of Congress on the subject.
They, I suppose, intended to abolish it in the States first, and then march
their forces to the Atlantic, and embark them on board of canoes, and take the
vessels on the high seas engaged in the Slave Trade, and bring them to taw,
too! These would-be-called philanthropists seemed to have forgotten the old
maxim that, "if you wish to find the spring, go to the head of the branch;"
for they could stop the boil, and then the strength of the current would be
greatly mitigated. But their discrimination seems to be quite limited. Had it
not been, they could have seen, long ago, that the agitation of Slavery put
a manacle on the hands of every Slave south of Mason and Dixon’s Line. But I
don’t think they cared for that. The Sacred Scriptures, by which they pretend
to be governed, would have taught them, at a mere glimpse, that to preserve
peace in a country, even at a sacrifice, was the best mode of sustaining their
I will simply point out a few passages of the Scripture, by observation, and
not by the letter, as they will be perfectly understood by ten-year old boys,
familiar with the Bible. It is well known that the New Testament teaches peace–peace–peace–prosperity
and happiness, from the first of Matthew to the end of Revelations; and that,
too, in one uninterrupted chain of admonition. We see Slavery in Judea long
before the coming of Christ, for we see it in Abraham’s days. He had some three
hundred born in his own house; and, certainly, if they were born in his own
house, they must have been his. And if it had been a sin in the sight of God
and His angels, Abraham, being a righteous man, conversing with and entertaining
angels directly from Heaven, would, it is very likely, have been very severely
rebuked for having those illegal servants, and requiring them to wait on and
serve the angels, while they dined in his house. But this is but one of hundreds
of instances of the like character. But, coming down to the Christian era, we
find it more fully developed; for it was not an angel, but God Himself saw it,
was among it, tolerated it, and supported it, in, and by, the teachings of His
sublime Gospel. For He was willing for Cæsar to have his, and God His.
We see, then, that Christ did not hesitate a moment to cause to be restored
to its rightful owner the penny with the image of Cæsar, that Pagan usurper,
that idol-worshiper, who would compel whole nations to adore his wicked and
polluted idols. This wicked monarch’s image we see thus acknowledged by Christ
Himself; to be honored, rather than disturb the peace of the people. And how
much more ought it to be the duty of a wicked and rebellious set of Abolitionists
to render unto the South her rights? We see the Apostles teaching peace all
through the New Testament. We see, in the Epistles, they exhort Servants to
be obedient to their masters; and not only in words do we find this, but in
all their practice. For, on one occasion, when a Slave had run away from his
master, and went to Paul, he does not hesitate a moment, but sends him back
to his lawful owner. This shows that Christ and the Apostles had quite a different
view of Slavery to that of our modern factionists of the United States.
I might enlarge on this question in this place, had I time and space; but, as
I shall have to recur to the Sacred Writings again, in the course of this address,
I will leave it for the present.
We will now examine some of the leading principles of the Abolition party. It
is not that I am opposed to freedom, that actuates me to address them in the
manner which I do, for I believe it to be one of the greatest blessings earthly,
when not contaminated with fanatical dispositions. But rather would I die, were
I a citizen of the United States, than to disturb the peace, or act in any way
that would be detrimental to the onward progress and prosperity of my country.
For, of all the Governments that now exist, or have ever existed, this perhaps
is the least contaminated with injustice–the Constitution granting to every
native born, or adopted citizen, the freedom of speech, and the power, at the
ballot-box, of making their own laws to be governed by. What a lesson it ought
to be to the American citizen, to view four-fifths of Europe and Asia having
no more power to make the laws by which they are governed than the Slaves of
this country who are not citizens! I sometimes think that a man living in, and
enjoying, the many advantages this country has over others, and who would act
with a party that is endeavoring to frustrate the conservative ones, ought to
be denounced as a traitor, and excluded from all public trust, from the simple
fact that he would prostitute all the power guaranteed to him in his office;
and consequently, is no longer worthy of public confidence. In this land of
Republican freedom, such a character is, of all citizens, the most dangerous.
The management of the Government being in the hands of the people, it is emphatically
their duty to brand with infamy any person, or persons, who would presume to
rebel against the great Constitutional compact; that others might know the Consequences
of entering into a like rebellion. But, yet, we have some such, standing in
the first positions within the gift of the people. And how do they get there?
I answer, by deceiving and gulling the great masses of the people; that is how
they get there. Let every man give to his children the best education he can
afford, and the natural capacity of the child is capable of receiving; and let
the parents instil into their bosoms the importance of the Union of the States,
and the preservation of peace and harmony. Thus educated and instructed, while
a child, it would be as hard to erase it from his heart as to mar the natural
form of his body; and, in a few years you would have a majority that could,
and would, defy all the fanaticism that could be engendered by the whole combined
Abolition faction. We have no cause to complain of the hard tried Editors of
true patriotism. God knows they have had every thing to contend with. It matters
not how wide may be the views of conservative Editors on questions of internal
improvement, taxes, tariffs, or any other question of policy. Whenever the rights
guaranteed to them by the true patriots of ’76 is encroached upon, they present
one solid phalanx, and drive back the opposers of their liberties. These are
they who stand on watch, as sentinels, for the main army of occupation. These
are the ones who sit on the towers of the walls, and when they see danger, cry
with a loud voice, "To arms, to arms!" But what must I say about the
fanatical Editors? Can I say they are not designedly deceiving their followers?
Don’t they know that the old hobby horse is down long ago? Don’t they know that
the one they now have in the field is the same old horse, and that everybody
knows the old fellow’s make, notwithstanding they have rubbed vitriol all over
him, and have changed his color? You had just as well turn the old fellow out
to grass, for he’s broken down–he never had any bottom at first. But, say you,
we have never had a fair chance, from the fact that we never had a rider until
the last race.
Kind reader, I must now stop nonsense, and proceed to facts. In the first place,
I should like to know for what purpose the Abolitionists oppose Slavery? Secondly,
I should like to know what advantage it is, or can be, to them? If they don’t
wish to speculate in some way or other, why are they so sensitive on the subject
of Slavery? The agitation excludes them entirely from a religious design, as
I have shown above. For, without that peaceful and philanthropical principle
taught by Christ and His Apostles, no genuine religion can exist. It would be
better for them, if they are acting on religious principles, to suffer wrong
for the preservation of peace, than to exact their rights at the expense of
disturbances. This is plainly proven by Holy Writ, when it says, "Blessed
is the peacemaker." Well, then, tell me what business have you with Slavery?
It is known, by all sensible men, that it existed before the formation of the
Constitution of the United States Government; and if it was tolerated then,
it must, without a change in that instrument, be so now. You call yourselves
Republicans; and if you are, in the strict sense of the word, you are compelled
to abide by its teachings; and if governed by its teachings, you must necessarily
be governed by the teachings of the Supreme Court. Its decisions are the laws
of the land. It cannot be said that you are so ignorant as to believe that you
are benefitting the Slaves, for you are an educated class of gentlemen, who
take the Southern papers, and are thereby enabled to see and read for yourselves,
that the Slaves are much worse treated when that question is agitated. My dear
sirs, upon you and your heads will cry more blood than any planter, or planters,
of the South; for when the masters and Slaves are getting on just as well as
they wish to, you commence your infernal agitations. The master goes to town,
he gets his paper, he reads that the Abolition party is making a great to-do
about freeing the Slaves; he becomes sullen, contrary and ill; he goes to the
field, and if the least thing is wrong, he is in the right humor for a fuss;
he accuses the Slave of idleness; the Slave commences quarreling, the master
makes at him; the Slave perhaps runs away; he is caught, and then made to feel
the anger of a master goaded to madness by the officious intermeddling and hypocritical
sympathy of a people who neither understand, nor wish to understand, his true
position or his interest. And for what? Simply because the Abolitionist is endeavoring
to take the property of a half century’s hard labor, and leave the poor old
man without a Slave, who had invested the last cent he had in Slaves; and now
the Abolitionists are to take them from him, and leave him penniless. Now, to
say that this is a general thing, I have no intention of doing; but that such
a state of things has happened, under my observation, is without a doubt. And,
as I have said above, speaking of Congress legislating on the Slave Trade, if
you intend to find the spring, go to the head of the branch. Now, if our masters
were allowed to enjoy the property acquired by the toils of so many years, in
peace and safety, what do you suppose would be the relation between master and
Slave? I need not add, that the use (disconnected with the abuse) of Slavery
is not a sin. So your fanatical factions, causing the abuse, become the primary
oppressors of the Slaves. Yes, indeed, you are absolutely the worst enemy the
Slave has ever had to encounter with yet, and, I hope, ever may have. But the
present state of things is nothing to what it would be, if you were permitted
to carry out your pernicious proceedings, now being organized under the name
of Republicanism. But I will recur to that when I have done with the States.
Now, as the master waits all night for the return of the Slave that has run
away from him, seeing, in the morning, he is absent, he goes over to his neighbor’s
house, and asks him to look out for him. Says he, "I went to town yesterday
after my paper, and when I had gotten it, I saw a statement of the organization
of an Abolition Convention, resolving that Slavery was a sin, and a reproach
upon any free people, and that they would never desist from its agitation, until
they had eradicated the last string that bound it to the country. I, of course,
became somewhat grum when I saw it; and, on going to the field, after getting
home, in that grum state, I, perhaps, might have been too much vexed to have
judged correctly the amount of work that should have been done. I, at any rate,
thought they had not done enough, and scolded Tom for not having done more;
he commenced muttering, which only added fuel to the fire already kindled within
me; so I was in a bad fix to take his insolence, and made at him, when he ran
away. I would like to get hold of him, for if any of those Abolitionists should
happen to get hold of him, they would carry him off."
Now, let us hear the consolation of his neighbor. He says: "Yes; and let
me tell you what happened at my house last Sunday. As I was going to the lot,
I saw my Bob have a newspaper, reading very attentively; and, on going to him,
and asking him to let me see it, I found that he was reading the paper that
had the very same proceedings of that Convention of the Abolitionists you were
speaking of. So I lurked around my negroes’ houses that night, to see if I could
hear Bob say anything about the Convention to the other negroes; and, sure enough
I did, for I heard him tell them that they would not be Slaves much longer,
for the Abolition party intended to set them all free, at the risk of their
lives. He was going on at a terrible rate; and, on peeping through a crack,
I saw two of Mr. Jones’ boys there too. So I slipped back to the house, and
thought I would watch their manoeuvres the next morning; and when morning came,
I found them to be dull, careless, and very slothful. So I took them up, and
whipped every one of them, and gave Bob two hundred lashes; then I got on my
horse and rode over to Mr. Jones’, and told him what I had heard Bob say in
the presence of his two boys, and what I had done to mine. He called up his
two boys and whipped them too. So you see how the thing is shaping. We must
have our property protected against this diabolical set of Abolitionists, and
our Legislatures must give us more power over our Slaves. And any man that will
not agree to make the laws more binding on Slaves, can’t get my vote, nor any
one else that I can in the least influence."
Thus, they extort from their candidates a promise to legislate on the laws regulating
the privileges of Slaves. The question is argued before the House, and, in the
course of their argument, this circumstance of Bob’s reading the paper is fully
detailed, and hence proceeds the law prohibiting Slaves to be taught to read
in this State. Now, it is not all astonishing to me to see this law so vigorously
enforced, when aided by such an allied army of fiends as you Abolitionists are.
Well, kind reader, leaving the States, we will take a short view of the modern
party that call themselves Republicans. They deny the name of Abolitionists,
and call themselves the only true Republican party now existing, who, consequently,
must be right. But when we view the treason of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry,
we must beg leave to pause for a moment, at least. But think not that I shall
undertake to detail the attempt of Brown’s treason, for that would be more than
I could do, had I the wisdom of a Solomon, the expertness of a Byron or the
discrimination of a Webster. The horror lying at the bottom of that attempt
is more than I could describe. All I could say would not change its position
before the people. My nerves would not suffer me to write it down, were I calculated
to do so. Therefore, I can give you nothing but my imagination. I can imagine
that I see gibbets all over the Slave-holding States, with negroes stretched
upon them like slaughtered hogs, and pens of lightwood on fire! Methinks I hear
their screams–I can see them upon their knees, begging, for God’s sake, to
have mercy. I can see, them chained together by scores, and shot down like wild
beasts. These are but shadows to what would have been done, had John Brown succeeded
in his plan of getting up a rebellion among the Slaves. Yet these gentlemen
say they have nothing to do with Slavery in the States. It would be hard to
give you a correct account of these fanatics, were I not in possession of the
Inaugural Address of the Governor of the State of Ohio, delivered January 9,
1860. I take it for granted that he must be a leading character of the would-be-called
Republican party, by his majority. I shall detail what he says on the Slavery
question–i. e., the most prominent points; and I shall, at the same time, offer
an abridged commentation throughout the address.
Hear him. He says: "On the subject of Slavery, the people of this State
occupy no equivocal position." (All hands and the cook Abolitionists.)
"They reject the modern dogma, that Slavery is essential to Republics,
that such systems must fail without it, and that Slavery must be extended and
perpetuated to extend and perpetuate our form of Government." But, in opposition
to it, they have deliberately declared "that, in their judgment, Slavery
is a pernicious wrong, and that patriotism and humanity unite in demanding their
resistance to its extension into any free Territory, now, or that may be owned
by the United States."
See what he says next: "They deny the binding authority of the dictum of
the Supreme Court of the United States, asserting a right of property in one
man over another, as a fundamental principle, and making the Federal Constitution
the instrument of rendering it universal, as not limited to the reach of the
local power which created the relation of master and Slave; but, on the contrary,
we declare that the idea that there could be property in men was expressly excluded
from the Constitution; which contains no such words as Slave, or Slavery, in
any of its provisions, and in which every clause construed, or that can be construed,
as referring to Slavery, regards it as the creature of State legislation, and
dependent wholly upon State legislation for its existence and continuance."
Now, let us see what this means. He calls the decision of the Supreme Court
a dictum, which, if his party had made, he would have called a dictus! He don’t
think it right to abide by it; notwithstanding it was referred to that Court,
and owns to its authority to decide. He wants the Territories shaped in such
a manner that he can carry his hogs there, but don’t want a Southerner to carry
his slaves there, He don’t want Slavery to be tolerated because the Constitution
don’t say Slave or Slavery.
"They deny that the Constitution guarantees to the Slaveholding States
any other than their local rights, in connection with the use of Slavery, but
such as it expressly declares: First, that the Foreign Slave Trade should not
be abolished before 1808; second, that any law or regulation which any State
might establish in favor of Freedom, should not impair the legal remedy supposed
at the time of the adoption of the Constitution to exist by Common Law for the
reception, by legal process, in such States, of Fugitives from labor or service,
escaping from other States; and, third, that three-fifths of all Slaves should
be counted, in settling the basis of representation in the several States. Beyond
these, the framers of the Constitution intended to make no peculiar concessions
to the Slave-holding States, and these were made because they had a Union of
the States to create; and, to their ardent and generous minds, the voluntary
removal of Slavery by the actions of the States themselves, without Federal
interference, seemed not only certain but close at hand. The people of Ohio
have further declared that in their opinion, the people of a Territory have
no power under the Constitution, or from any other legal source, to establish
Slavery as one of their institutions during their Territorial existence; that
the exercise of such a power would be a manifest usurpation of the individual
rights of the citizens of the Territories, and utterly subversive of all popular
sovereignty, which demands, as a primary essential condition, the recognition
of inalienable personal rights. They insist, also, that coupled with the power
is the duty of Congress to prohibit, by express enactment, the extension of
slavery into any Free Territory of the United States–that the exercise of this
power has been repeatedly approved of by every department of the State and National
Government, and to the universal acceptance of the people, and that its recognition
as a fundamental principle to be hereafter exercised, whenever occasion may
be presented, is indispensable to restore the simplicity and purity of the Government,
and to carry out the great purposes of the Constitution as declared in its preamble:
to form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity. Such are the judgment of the people of Ohio, repeatedly expressed,
on the subject of Slavery, as a social and political question."
Well, kind reader, we will see how we can interpret this part of the Constitution
ourselves. The Governor has made the best job of it he could, I reckon; but
I think the Constitution has as much right to protect the Georgian’s property
as it has the Ohioan’s. The Governor may think a hog that would cost him $20
would be of more importance than a Slave that would cost $1,000 in Georgia.
If the Governor thinks the Constitution meant only to protect Slavery in the
States, where it then existed, why did they not cut short the importation of
African Slaves at once, for you say all the Slave-holding States, at that time,
were in the act of abolishing Slavery? I can tell you, Governor, why it was,
because the people had found the Northern clime was not congenial with the African’s
nature, and, having but little Territory South at that time, thought it best
to free their Slaves, as they were only an expense; but the framers of the Constitution,
knowing that there would be Southern Territory as soon as the country could
get properly on her feet, granted the continuance of the importation of African
Slaves up to 1808. How can you say, Governor, that the framers of the Constitution
never intended to protect Slavery as well as any other species of property?
Is it not specified in the Constitution what unlawful proceedings consist of?
If they had intended that Slavery should not be carried beyond the limits it
then had, they certainly would have left some signs, as they did in other things
that they did not want practiced nor imposed upon their citizens–as in the
case of attainder and ex post facto laws. If they did not intend that Congress
should protect Slavery, they should have cut it off from the Constitution, and
made it a separate law; for, as it now stands, it is included in that clause
regulating the individual rights of all property owned in any part of the Union
by its citizens.
Again, you say that, coupled with the power, is the duty of Congress to prohibit,
by express enactment, the extension of Slavery into any Territory of the United
States, thereby giving Congress the exclusive power to prohibit Slavery in a
Territory, without the power to protect it. Now, we will suppose a case: Suppose
a man from any Territory belonging to the United States should come to Ohio
and take one of your hogs, and the State authorities should fail to indemnify
your losses, where would you look, and who to, for an indemnity? Would you not
either carry it to Congress or to the Supreme Court? I think you certainly would.
But if the same man take a slave, the master has no right, outside of his State,
to claim indemnity; so here goes a loss of at least $1,000, for want of the
protection of Congress; whereas you have the right to recover $20 for your hog
by the very same authority unto which the Southern Slaveholder has as much right
to look for protection as you have. It then follows, what is the cause of this
difference? I answer, it is founded in the false conception of your party in
regard to the Constitutional claim of the Africans residing in the United States.
Well, we must endeavor to see what that Constitutional claim is. We all know
that the Constitution of the United States never has, since its formation, recognized
the African as one of its citizens. The word Freedom does not necessarily imply
citizenship, for, were that the case, all foreign emigrants would become citizens
as soon as they landed, (Africans excepted,) for, by the Constitution, they
are free. And there are hundreds of free persons here, but that don’t make them
citizens. If Freedom constitutes citizenship, it is something strange to me
that the laws of your Free State (Ohio) prohibits a man being entitled to suffrage,
if it can be proven that he has one drop of Negro blood in him. And I have seen
twice, in the newspapers, where colored men, emigrating from other States into
the State of Illinois, were taken up and sold into slavery for a length of time,
sufficient to raise the sum of fifty dollars, to indemnify the State against
the violation of a law prohibiting colored people entering that State. It is
true, you can extend the citizenship of your State to any class you please,
but that don’t make it a Constitutional law of the United States.
The 6th Article of the Constitution of Liberia holds that, "Inasmuch as
the essential object of its foundation was to offer an asylum for the scattered
and oppressed children of Africa, and at the same time to regenerate the people
of the vast continent of Africa, yet enveloped in the darkness of ignorance,
none but persons of color will be allowed to become citizens of the Republic."
Well, suppose the laws of that Republic recognized Slavery in some of its counties,
would you be exempt from Slavery then? If the State of Ohio was at war with
Kentucky, and the Kentuckians were to conquer you, and a vessel from Liberia
was ready to sail, and the Kentuckians should take you to the ship and sell
you to the Liberians, would you be their lawful property, or not? And when the
ship arrived in Liberia, you not being entitled to suffrage, what kind of a
position would you be in? I answer you would be subject to sale; and any citizen
of Liberia buying you, would hold you to Slavery for life, or during the confederation
of the counties, or the duration of the Constitution. But there is another clause
in the Constitution of the United States, that crowns all others in relation
to Slaves being subjects of Commerce, and that is: when the framers of the Constitution
were regulating duties on foreign commerce, they laid, and commanded to be levied,
$10 on each person imported for service into this Republic. Now, if that don’t
constitute the African a commercial piece of property, I am at a loss to know
what commerce means.
In considering these facts, the Slave-holder only asks the protection of his
property in any of the States or Territories subject to the Constitution of
the United States, and this only amounts to an equality. This is what their
Representatives are instructed to demand; and this is what, and all, they have
demanded. The Southern members of Congress have always contended for this, and
no more. But when they are sternly told that they cannot get it, it is enough
to drive them to dissolution. Mark, what I say to you, citizens of Ohio, whenever
this Union is dissolved, and the Slave-holders have cut loose entirely their
commercial connection with you, there is no State in the Union that can, or
will, feel it more forcibly than yourselves. Mark it, and keep it in your mind,
that when the amount of pork and bacon sold to, and consumed by, Southern Slave-holders
are cut short, you will then see what advantage the Slave-holder is to you.
When we view the quantity of pork and bacon shipped from Cincinnati to the several
intermediate points between there and New Orleans, you had better take care
that your poor are not worse off than if they were living in Slave States. I,
therefore, leave the subject with you, hoping that you may consider and reconsider
it, and, at last desist from your agitation, and allow the Slave-holder his
rights in the Union, and thereby cheat the spirit of Dissolution.
Kind reader, I suppose you have come to the conclusion, by this time, that I
do not intend to recur to the Governor’s Inaugural any more. Well, I have concluded
about the same thing; for, as his views are before the country, and as they
are hostile to the well-being of the Slave all the way through, and as the Governor
has taken such a winding course to prove the non-protection of the Slave-holders,
by the executive power, I shall only recur to his views at intervals.
Now, I will give you my candid opinion as regards the Black Republican party.
It may seem harsh to them, but, in my opinion, it must inevitably work out that
way, unless prevented by Divine agency. I hold that they are contaminated as
regards the Dissolution of the Union; notwithstanding their contemptuous manner
of speaking of the Slave-holder. For well do they know that it is the agitation
of Slavery which is driving the Southern people to the necessity of doing such
a thing. Well do they know the Southerners’ whole peculiar and dependent interests
are in his Slaves. According to an old proverb, "Touch a man’s pocket,
and you touch his heart." Now, the Black Republicans, knowing the Slave-holder’s
whole interest to be connected with Slavery, make war on that point, in order
to force the Southern States to secede, that they may have the honor of remaining
in the Union as the only true citizens. Nor would this satisfy them; for all
know, that after the Southern States may have withdrawn from the Union, and
divested themselves of the right of protection by the Federal Government, the
spirit of innovation and encroachment would not only grow rampant, but new incentives
would be given to insurrectionary movements against a people no longer their
brethren in the Union. Notwithstanding they know that their officious interference
between master and servant will but increase the bonds of the servant; and notwithstanding
they know that the intelligent portion of the Slaves of the South thank them
not for their pretended sympathy, yet they will still presume upon the influence
which they think they can have upon the more ignorant and credulous of our race,
by promising them a rich and flourishing country in Central or South America.
But let the non-participation of the Slaves, at the Harper’s Ferry treason teach
them a lesson of Negro feelings in the South. This was but the A B C; if they
will try it again, they will get to the pictures.
I have no doubt, in my mind, but such a state of things would follow a dissolution
of the Union, for Governor Dennison, of Ohio, in his Inaugural, of January the
9th, 1860, urged, emphatically, the acquisition of Central America, or some
portion of South America, for a settlement of the free colored people of this
country and Africa. And as we see the late attempt of John Brown, who, from
all accounts, was one of their leading men, how can we doubt, for one moment,
the above conclusions? It does seem that Brown’s failure to instil into the
breast of the Slaves rebellious notions, ought to be a lesson for the balance
of the fanatics; but I would not trust them on their oats, unless I had them
in manacles so that I could retain them for punishment. But just let them march
their motley corps into the Slave-holding States, expecting the aid of the Slaves,
and they will find that the old Brown’s gibbet will confront many a one of them.
I tell you, fanatics, the Slaves of the Southern States are getting too old
to be humbugged by your eternal cry of freedom! They have heard it too much,
and felt the effects too often, to be gulled any more. I would to God that every
Slave had the discrimination to view your position, and your motives, in their
proper light. But they know enough now, by severe experience, growing out of
your infernal agitation, to enable them to resist any attempt you may make to
persuade them to rebel against their masters. You must recollect, fanatical
sirs, that the Slave children and their young masters and mistresses, are all
raised up together. They suck together, play together, go a hunting together,
go a fishing together, go in washing together, and, in a great many instances,
eat together in the cotton-patch, sing, jump, wrestle, box, fight boy fights,
and dance together; and every other kind of amusement that is calculated to
bolt their hearts together when grown up. You had better mind how you come here
and jump aboard of our masters; for I tell you, though we sometimes fight among
ourselves, if another man jumps on either, we both pitch into him. You must
recollect that we are not oppressed here like your nominally free there. We
can go into our masters’ houses and get plenty of good things to eat; and we
can shake hands with the big-bugs of the country, and walk side-by-side with
Congress members on the side-walks, and stand and converse with gentlemen of
the highest rank, for hours at a time. So, in short, we can do anything, with
the exceptions of those privileges wrested from us in consequence of your diabolical,
infernal, Black Republican, Abolition, fanatical agitation.
But, perhaps, you will say, in the face of all this, "our colored people
are not subject to a separation from their families, as the Slaves are; for
when they marry they have the same chance to live and remain with their families
as we do, for we have no law to separate them." That all may be; but when
we consider the many deprivations the colored man is subject to in a country
granting him these lawful privileges, we would wonder that the colored man is
held in such low esteem, were it not that we are posted on the social relations
in which he stands in the non-Slave-holding States, it is a common thing to
see poor, half-naked, and starving creatures, standing on corners, begging every
one passing by for a penny. And it is not at all surprising, when we consider
the prejudice existing there against them. As for myself, I would rather have
the law against me, and prejudice in my favor, than to have the law in my favor
and the prejudice against me. For the decisions of the law are always, in a
greater or less degree, subject to prejudice. The colored man is a colored man
anywhere. He is but the tool North, and the servant South.
Perhaps the reader has not forgotten what I stated in the first of this address.
I there stated that Slavery consisted in the absolute power one individual had
over another. It matters not from what source this power is derived; it is all
the same with the subordinate, with the single exception that the Slave is a
Slave for life, with a master that is bound, by the laws, to protect him; and
the other, a subordinate for life, with no protection. So you see, the Slave
has some one that is pecuniarily interested in his welfare, who, therefore,
extends to him every advantage that will preserve and augment longevity; whereas,
the other is in a subordinate condition, in a climate that is not congenial
to his health, and no one to care for him. He is restricted to this climate,
too, without any thing, or any person, or power, to protect him, other than
the common law, and that being over-powered by prejudice against him, buries
him in infamy never to rise, only at the option of the oppressor. So, viewing
these circumstances in their proper light, I would rather have my wife sold
ten thousand miles from me, with a master that I knew was bound by the laws,
and his interest, to protect her and the children, than to be with her and the
children without food, and no way under God’s heaven to make it–sitting in
some damp cellar, almost stifled with the stench arising from the putrefaction
and filth; there, sitting and shivering, with scarcely clothing sufficient to
hide their nakedness, and nothing to eat. This is a nice fix to leave your colored
people in, in the North, to come here and make war upon Slave-holders! It is,
But the Governor, in his Inaugural, says: "Slavery is detrimental to the
poor whites; for," says he, "the poor whites having no land, nor Slaves,
are reduced to Slavery themselves." A contradiction to that statement would
be unnecessary, as every body, in this section, knows that the poor whites are
ten times better off here than in the non-Slaveholding States; and the every-day
occurrence of their emigrating from there here, is a positive proof without
any further comment.
With all the facts stated above, in regard to the constitutionality of Slavery,
that party has but one more prop to sustain them, and that is William H. Seward’s
claims on the Higher Law. Well, you must watch me very closely in dealing with
this subject, for I consider it of more importance than the whole of the United
That there is a Higher Law of Supreme Power, and that to this Power, kingdoms,
empires, principalities, republics, and all other potentials, are subject, and
ought to fall down before Him and do homage, is without a doubt. But in order
to arrive at a correct understanding of this Law, it is our indispensable duty
to calculate the greatest possible happiness to mankind generally. For, without
taking it in a general sense, we might confine it to the narrow precincts of
our selfish conceptions. I will now give my views of the Higher Law.
I contend that the circumstance of Melchisedeck meeting Abraham in the wilderness,
and blessing him, and giving him bread and wine, emblematic of the body and
blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, was a manifestation of the Higher
Law. I contend that the blindness of Isaac, which caused him to be cheated into
the bestowal of the blessing upon Jacob instead of Esau, was a manifestation
of the Higher Law. I contend that the circumstance of Jacob having to flee from
the wrath of Esau to a foreign land, and his ultimate marriage with Rachel,
thus establishing the lineage of the Messiah, was a manifestation of the Higher
Law. I contend that the circumstance of Joseph being sold as a slave into Egypt,
and his subsequent elevation to power and consequence among the Egyptians, was
a manifestation of the Higher Law. I contend that the circumstance of Moses,
in consequence of the edict of Pharaoh, being placed in a rush cradle and taken
thence into the care and education of the King’s daughter, thereby fitting him
for the course of his manifestation of the Higher Law. I contend that the circumstance
of Moses’ slaying the Egyptian, and having to flee to the wilderness, in which
he was afterwards to wander, was a manifestation of the Higher Law. I contend
that the circumstance of David having placed Uriah in the front of the battle,
where he was slain, thus enabling himself to raise, by Bathsheba, a legitimate
son, who was to be endowed with wisdom above all men, was a manifestation of
the Higher Law. I contend that the overthrow of Jerusalem, by the wicked and
idolatrous Nebuchadnezzar, and the carrying away of the children of Israel to
Babylon, affording them an opportunity of embracing the true Religion, was a
manifestation of the Higher Law. I contend that the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ, and the redemption of fallen man, was a manifestation of the Higher
Law. I contend that the circumstance of the primitive Christians having to flee
into the wilderness, with the Holy Bible under their arms, in order to escape
the persecution of the then chaotic world, thereby saving the Bible, with other
valuable histories, was a manifestation of the Higher Law. I contend that the
circumstance of the Africans being sold to the Europeans, and from them to the
Americans, as Joseph was to the Egyptians, thereby bringing them into a land
flowing, as it were, with the milk and honey of the Gospel, making them familiar
with a code of laws not to be surpassed by those of any nation on earth; extending
religious liberty to all, fitting them for teachers in the various precepts
of civilization, morality and religion, so necessary in the establishment of
enlightened and Christian society; fitting them for useful missionaries to their
benighted brethren in Africa, thereby preparing the way for the glad shout of
"Hallelujah to God and the Lamb" in benighted Africa, is a manifestation
of the Higher Law.
Reader, I expect your patience is somewhat threadbare; but I have been thus
particular, in order to show Mr. William H. Seward my views, on the subject
which he seems to base the whole of his strength upon. I shall present a short,
statistical account of the Slave Trade, and wind up. I quote from good authority:
"It is estimated, that in the city of New York, alone, about twelve vessels
are fitted out every year, for the Slave Trade; and that Boston and Baltimore
furnish, each, about the same number, making a fleet of thirty-six vessels.
If to these be added the Slavers fitted out in other Eastern ports, besides
Boston, we will have a total of about forty, which is rather under than over
the actual number. Each Slaver registers, from 150 to 250 tons, and costs, when
ready for sea, with provisions, Slave equipments, and everything necessary for
a successful voyage, about $8,000. There, to start with, we have a capital of
$320,000, the greater part of which is contributed by Northern men."
A writer on the subject, states the amount of capital vested in the course of
a year, and says that the men engaged in it receive a profit beyond belief.
And there is no doubt but most of the men engaged in it are those fanatics who
make the most fuss about Slavery.
Now, my Northern brethren, if you are so philanthropic in our cause as you pretend
to be, you can bestow your kindnesses on those poor creatures who are not acquainted
with our laws and customs; you can concentrate your whole force against those
lawless vandals, who purchase for speculation and sell for gain, without interrupting
us, who are far better off than they are. But that would not answer your purpose,
for you are not law-abiding citizens, though you pretend to be all the ones
that are. If you could get in power, and buy or steal Central America, and place
your freed or stolen colored brethren there, you would then have things as you
want them; for it would not be long before some Slave would be endeavoring to
get over where he could be "free indeed;" and on demanding them, the
Slave-holder would, inevitably, be insulted, which would produce anarchy, which
would naturally draw in your fanatical party, and W. H. Seward, straddling his
hobby–Higher Law nag–would march at the head of his party into Central America,
and form an alliance with the Central Americans, and march the allied forces
against the Slave-holding States, and utterly overthrow them, and set up a monarchial
government, and crown William H. Seward king.
I am of the opinion, that if the conservative men of this Republic do not concentrate
the two great national parties, and form a redoubt, and stay within its precincts,
you will never rue it but once, and that will be all your lifetime. Hence, in
this enlightened and (ought to be) patriotic Republic, where the people are
their own king, their own emperor, their own monarch, having one of the sublimest
forms of government in existence, to suffer a set of diabolical fanatics to
be the instruments of an overthrow of their much-honored country, would render
them a hissing and a by-word for every nation, and an everlasting stigma upon
the wisdom and patriotism of its citizens.
Having viewed this subject in what I conceive to be the proper light, I now
proceed to prove it to be true. And, in order to do that, I shall have to lay
before you the inconsistency of the Abolition cause. They pretend to be governed
by the Higher Law principle, which, they say, teaches the inestimable right,
guaranteed to all men, to govern themselves nationally, domestically and personally.
Well, we will view this subject, but while we most emphatically acknowledge,
that all men were, originally, born free, we are constrained to acknowledge
the power of Him who created all things out of nothing, to change any part of
His creation as best suits Him; or, in other words, change original things so
that they may be productive of the greatest amount of good to mankind, generally.
This I mentioned in my preliminary remarks upon the Higher Law. I only mention
it again to lay a basis sufficiently impregnable to enable me to refute their
pretensions to the claims which all men have upon that Law. Now, it matters
not what, or how, a thing was in the creation, nor so long as we have reason
to believe that the continuance of the original, or the change, as we find them,
was caused by the Creator of the thing Himself. So, under this consideration,
I hold that both the original and the change are constitutionally right, for
we read, in the beginning, that man was happy, and had nothing to do but eat,
drink, and be lord of all he surveyed; and, that, too, without an effort on
his part, to provide for the same. But mark the sequel: after he transgressed,
he was driven out of the garden, and forced to manual labor for a sustenance.
We cannot say it was wrong in the Creator, for man did it himself.
Well, we have one change caused by the created. Now let as hunt up another.
I shall only note two others, as I have spoken at some length on this subject
above. But I must mention here, before going further, that the Creator works
by means and instrumentalities, so that whatsoever He commands, or authorizes
His faithful servants to do, is ratified at His tribunal, and, consequently,
is as legitimate as if He had done it Himself.
The next circumstance I shall present to refute this claim on the Higher Law,
is the case of Noah and his sons. We read in the ninth chapter of Genesis that
after the waters abated, Noah set himself to till the earth; and after having
raised a good crop and made much wine, he drank of the same, and was made drunk.
His clothes being displaced, his younger son saw his nakedness and laughed at
him. Now, when Noah knew it, he was angry, and in that mood he pronounced the
first curse of servitude. Certainly, this must be another departure from the
original Higher Law claims, for Ham was as free born as Shem and Japhet, yet
we see that Shem and Japhet were to dwell together, and poor Ham had to serve
them. I wonder if there were any agitators, or abolitionists, then to kick up
a fuss with Noah, about making a Slave of his son? and with his two brothers
for making him work for them? I guess not, for I don’t think the devil had that
much power so soon after the flood. We will now proceed to the other circumstance.
We read in the ninth chapter of Joshua, that when the Israelites found that
they were deceived by the men of Gibeon, they were sore displeased, but, in
consequence of their oaths, they could not slay them as they had done others.
But mark the sequel: they were constituted perpetual servants to the children
of Israel as hewers of wood and drawers of water. So we see, in these few instances,
that the claim on the Higher Law will not do; and men having the confidence
of their respective States to enable them to become legislators for the people
at large, holding forth such doctrines to the ignorant classes of the United
States, are guilty of blasphemy against God and the Constitution, and are, most
emphatically, contaminated with dangerous deceit.
It is enough to know, that such are entitled to citizenship, but when they are
placed at the head of Government, we may well quake with fear.
I will now endeavor to show how the course of these fanatics affects things
generally. I shall prove that, according to their own interpretation of the
Constitution, there is property in man; for they admit this fact, that the Constitution
recognizes an inferiority in the Slave where it says that three-fifths of all
slaves shall be taken in settling the basis of Representative population. Here,
they must acknowledge an inferiority, for it takes five slaves to make three
white men. The next instance we see, is the certainty that the framers of the
Constitution recognized property in man. This we can easily do from these three
clauses: The first is, where it says fugitives from service, escaping into another
State, shall be rendered up to the rightful owner, on the demand of the same.
The next is, a levy of ten dollars’ tax on all persons imported into this country
for service. The third is, the prohibition of the importation of persons held
to service in 1808. Well, let us now consider the probability of these three
clauses. We find the first acknowledging an inferiority in the Slave. I would
like for the Abolitionists to tell me why that was done. But as they are not
present I shall have to answer for them: My opinion is, that as the Africans
never emigrated to this country, but were brought here and sold as Slaves–they
being found in that condition at the formation of the Constitution, they were
left in the same condition. Now, as the right to property is inherent in all
things coming to him through that channel, it then follows that those who had
invested their all in Slaves, had the right to hold and demand the rendition
of them, when fled from service into another State, with the same propriety
as a brother of his had to demand his horse, or any other species of property.
I think the other two clauses need no comment, for they explain themselves.
Let us suppose a case: Suppose you, or any of you, were, or are, mechanics,
and had an apprentice bound to you to learn a trade, after you had been bound
by law to support and protect him comfortably, during his apprenticeship, would
it be law in the same law not to give you power to hold him as your rightful
property during his term of apprenticeship? And would it not be right for you
to demand him, anywhere in the United States in case he should run away? And
if you had the right to do so, would that not constitute the right of property
in him during his term of apprenticeship? I think it would. Well, if the Southerner,
by hard labor and strict economy, saves money enough in five or six years to
buy a Slave, and the same should run away and get into a Free State, can not
he demand his rendition of the authorities of that State, by the Constitution?
This you acknowledge was the true meaning of the clause, and if it is, will
not that constitute property in man? It is impossible for you to dodge this
question, for your Black Republican Governor of Ohio, in his Inaugural, admitted
that that was the meaning of the fugitive clause.
This being true, how can you say the decision of the Supreme Court is not a
final adjustment of the Slavery question? You say, indirectly, that the rendition
of fugitives, escaping from service, is constitutional, but turn right to the
opposite side, and say that the Constitution does not recognize property in
man. What folly! what folly!! A ten year old boy, born and raised in Georgia,
would know better than to lay claim to a piece of property that he could not
prove to be his by the laws of the State. I know you must see the inconsistency
of your course; but that you care nothing about. All you care for, is to provoke
the Southerners to anger so as to get them divided far enough apart to admit
your factional bandits. Your schemes have been ingeniously laid, and they are
working harmoniously; but I am in hopes, and do earnestly pray, that the conservative
men will become sensitive, and awake in time to defeat your sectional fanaticism,
by rallying around one of the conservative candidates for the Presidency. For
the election of a Black Republican to that office, would put manacles on every
Slave south of Mason and Dixon’s line. Even now the oppression has commenced,
but where it will end God only knows.
Who are you, who call yourselves my friends? who cause me to be ten times worse
oppressed, by your pretended friendship? Who are you, who say that all men,
by the teaching of the Higher Law, should be free? when, at the same time, that
very Law contradicts it, and shows, conclusively, that from the earliest period
to the present day, one man was commanded to serve the other. Who are you, who
deny that persons have been born Slaves prior to the enslavement of the Africans
in America? when St. Paul said, nearly two thousands years ago, when speaking
to a multitude of feud makers, such as you are, that he was freeborn; showing,
most conclusively, that all men were not so born in his day. Who are you, who
say that the oppression of the Slaves of the South, is the prime cause of your
sympathy? when you know that your pretended sympathy oppresses the Slave tenfold
more. Who are you, who hate your brother Southerner, and accuse him of bringing
reproach and disgrace upon the Republic? when he is actually doing more for
the protection of the country than you are, for, whereas, you employ men to
work in your manufactories until you are overwhelmed with wealth, made on the
labor of the poor men working for such small wages, barely sufficient to keep
them comfortable while in the bloom of youth. What becomes of them when bowed
down with old age, without a penny in their pockets? Are they not thrown on
the public? Suppose this money, that is taken to support them, were paid into
the public treasury, would it not lessen the national debt, which is now forty-five*
(* It is now, in 1861, some sixty millions of dollars.) millions of dollars?
Who pays the physician’s bill of a poor man and his family, if taken sick while
working for you at a shilling a day? Do you take the money that they have made
for you to pay their expenses? or do you drive them out of your house into a
hospital, to be taken care of by the State until they sufficiently recover their
health, and go to work for you again? Thus you receive all meat and no bones;
for you get all the poor man’s labor, without incurring any risk whatever, by
throwing the expenses on the State. The country is impoverished at the expense
of your aggrandizement; but, on the other hand, the Southerner only gets the
labor of his Slave by paying all expenses during his youthful days, and when
he is old and unable to work, he is bound, by the laws of his section, to take
care of him with the same money he earned when young. Now, after supporting
him during his health, if the Slave should happen to become insane, the authorities
would grumble like thunder and lightning to have the insane Slave thrown on
their hands. They would say, that the owner ought to take care of him. This
looks like bringing reproach and disgrace on the Republic, don’t it? If you
would pay attention to the domestic affairs in your own States, it would be
more beneficial to your section, and less annoyance to the South.
With these views before you, I cannot see what grounds you can have to meet
and nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, when you know
that the President takes an oath that compels him to know no North, no South,
no East, and no West. How can he take the oath of fidelity to all sections of
the Union, when he is nominated and placed on a sectional platform, which says,
in its embodiment of principles, that, coupled with the power, it is the duty
of Congress to prohibit, by express enactment, the extension of Slavery into
any of the Territories belonging to the United States? Let us view this matter
a little. Suppose that in a short time after his inaugural, a Territory should
offer herself to Congress for admission with a pro-Slavery Constitution, a majority
of its citizens wishing it, what could you do with that petition? what can you
promise the people you would do with it? If you were to reject it, you would
show that you were not carrying out the principles demanded by the Constitution,
and if you were to receive it, you would violate the pledge made to your factional
party, who say it is the duty of Congress to prohibit the extension of Slavery
into the Territories. So what would you do? If I may be permitted to answer,
I say that my opinion is, you would reject the offer, with the pro-Slavery Constitution,
upon the Higher Law claims. That not being recognized by the conservative members,
Congress would be thrown into anarchy, and cry out encroachment! encroachment!!
Out of this would be sent up one eternal cry for equal rights! equal rights!
On this being denied the conservative members, what else could be expected than
the dissolution of the Union, and the government destroyed? The anarchy in Congress
would go with the velocity of a planet; and like the vapor rising from malarious
districts, would diffuse itself in every hole and corner of the United States,
and dampen the prospects of every conservative man. The last ray of light being
exhausted from their hopes, they would be left no alternative, but to unsheath
the sword against their brothers, for the protection of their rights. The final
result of these proceedings it is not with me to say, but look at it, you factionists,
and see if you can not prophesy as Ezekiel did of Jerusalem.
TO MASTERS AND THEIR SLAVES.–Masters, I most beseechingly wish you to read
the following to your Slaves, and tell them it is the request of one that is
their brother in bondage. For I believe, if the Slaves were undeceived respecting
their chance of enjoying freedom, any where within the incorporate limits of
the United States, or, in fact, any where on the continent of North America,
they would not change places with the poor white man North. But while they are
deceived in believing that they are worse off, and worse treated, than any one
else, it is natural that they should be dissatisfied. But if you remove this
gloom from over their eyes, and enable them to see, not only their true position,
but, also, that of the millions of the poor and oppressed, not only in Europe,
Asia and Africa, but in the Northern States of America; and if hundreds of them,
on plantations, even knew how hard run some are in the Southern cities to live
comfortable, they could see, clearly, that their enslavement, under all circumstances
by which it is surrounded, is not such a curse as they thought it was. After
they become convinced that their position is better than four-fifths of mankind,
they will cast aside all foolish hopes of bettering their condition, and be
enabled to view the four-fifths of the laboring population of the country as
being in a far worse condition than they are themselves. This would create within
them a satisfaction with their lots sufficient to make them trustworthy in the
most difficult times.
TO MY BROTHER SLAVES.–Brethren, let us reason together. I expect to prove to
you, in a very few words, that Slavery existed thousands of years ago, and that
it was a lawful institution long before the enslavement of the Israelites. We
read in the 14th chapter and 14th verse of Genesis, that Abraham numbered 318
servants, born in his own house. And we read again, in the same book, 50th chapter,
19th and 20th verses, where Joseph was speaking of his being sold into Egypt,
that it was done to save much people alive. And, coming down to the Christian
era, we find, all over the New Testament, admonitions to servants commanding
them to obey their masters.
I will give one instance, sufficiently conclusive, without stating many, which
would weary the mind. We read in Ephesians, the 6th chapter and 5th verse, as
follows: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according
to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your hearts, as unto
Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ,
doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the
Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the
same shall he receive of the Lord whether he be bond or free."
Now, this is sufficiently strong to show that St. Paul approved of Slavery;
but this is only one out of hundreds, equally strong. Well, if we find Christ,
and the Apostles favoring it, we must be very particular, or we might be found
fighting against God. Now, my kind brethren in bondage, if it be so that the
children of Israel were enslaved, for the express purpose of saving much people
alive, how much more might it be possible that the Slaves of America are enslaved
to save many Africans alive? They send us heathens, but we send them educated
Ministers in return. Tell me which of the two do you believe to be right: The
man who says he is your friend, but don’t want you brought from the heathenish
country, on account of your unworthiness to live with white men in an enlightened
and religious country, or the one that says, "bring them on, we will receive
them, for they naturally belong to a warm climate; and they, having no money
to pay us for our trouble in teaching them the rudiments of the true religion,
have to work, thereby fitting them both for agricultural and religious duties.
We will let them work our farms, and we will be bound to take care of them,
as long as they live." This rule is only applicable in the general acceptation
of the term. I now notice it in a domestic point of view.
My brother Slave, let me ask you one question: Which do you think are our real,
true friends, the Abolitionists, North, or our masters South? Perhaps I will
have to lay the matter before you to enable you to answer. I look at [it] in
this light, that "where your treasure is, there will be your heart, also."
This, I think, is easily proved by the natural disposition to love self best;
for if you work hard and lay up money enough to buy a horse, it is natural to
suppose that you will think more of him than a stranger would. You will, of
course, feel interested in him, and will do all you can to render him comfortable.
I hold, that the master, having labored hard, and accumulated two or three thousand
dollars, and laying it out in Slaves, is entitled to their service. Don’t it
look natural for him to have more sympathy, growing out of an interest for them,
than a man in New York, or Ohio, who never saw you, but who is making a tremendous
fuss about your welfare? Does it look reasonable for him to have as much real
sympathy for you, as the man who has spent the whole earnings of a quarter of
a century in purchasing you? This is the true feature of the case; our masters
buy us with the money they have worked hard for, and, of course, they will look
more to our interest than one who is not, in any shape or form, interested in
us. And the Slave has another advantage: the laws of the South compel our masters
to protect us against hunger, nakedness, or any other want of the necessaries
of life. This is reasonable, and I hope you will view it in its proper light,
so as to endear your masters to you as friends, and not make enemies of them.
But if you doubt their being better friends to you than the Abolitionists are,
I beg you to look, for a moment, at the effect their course of proceedings has
upon your happiness and privileges. The Abolitionist will tell you that you
ought to be free, and that if you will rise against your masters, they will
help you. But look at them after they succeed in getting a few poor, ignorant
Slaves, to join them; they will push the Slaves forward; and when our masters
are led to the light of what is going on, they commence abusing us. The Abolitionists
being behind, make their escape, and leave us to take all the consequences.
They know that we cannot get off, from the fact that we cannot travel without
a pass. Now, to prove to you that they are our worst enemies, just see how they
act, and that will convince you that they are the worst of all enemies to the
Slave. For when they flee from the neighborhood, where they have excited a few
foolish Slaves to rebellion, they go out of the reach of that neighborhood,
and propagate their slanders anew, accusing masters of abusing and oppressing
their Slaves. When they have effected an excitement in one neighborhood, and
fled from it, they will endeavor to get up another excitement where they are.
I wish to know, if any of you are so blind as not to see the inconsistency of
their pretensions to the friendship of Slaves?
But, perhaps, some of you may say, that, in case they should succeed in getting
off with you, you would be free. Just let me say to you, that as soon as you
were landed on free soil, your pretended friend would have nothing more to do
with you. He would tell you to go to work; but after you had tried in vain to
get something to do, and failed, you would, perhaps, hunt him up, and tell him
that you were without money, and could not get anything to do. He would point
out some other place, and send you there; but after you had tried all over that
neighborhood, and were told that they did not employ negroes while there was
so many white men, with families, needing work; and that you had better go back
to the man that brought you there; then you would begin to think that you had
better staid where you had some one to give you plenty of work to do, and plenty
of victuals to eat. And, more especially, would you feel the truth of what I
say, when you went back to the man that had decoyed you off, and he being tired
of your troubling him, might bring you a piece of meat and bread to the door,
and handing it to you, drive you away from his house. Such treatment might do
for those poor colored people there, who never knew any better, but it would
not do for a Slave of the South, accustomed to being treated as a human being.
So, whenever one talks to you about being free, tell him that you had rather
stay where some one is compelled to take care of you, than to go where no one
is, and where you are equally as subordinate as you would be where you had some
one to protect you. In fact, I hold that the subordination of the poor colored
man North, is greater than that of the Slave South.
Now, fanatical sirs, what authority have you to predict, for the American people,
the acquisition of some portion of Central or South America, to settle the colored
man upon, or the non-extension of Slave Territory? Are you the guardian Angel
of the American Republic, sent from Heaven, to set forth what is right, and
what is wrong? If you are, I think that Tribunal badly represented; for, instead
of your teaching peace and harmony, you are laying the basis of a destruction
of the Union. The continued feuds kept up in Congress, growing out of the agitation
of the Slavery question, ought to be a lesson to any patriotic citizen, to let
that question alone. And if you were truly patriotic citizens, you would let
it alone.
Hoping that you will see the folly of your course, and turn to the spirit which
actuated your forefathers, I bid you adieu. I ask your pardon for any misrepresentation
I may have made, in regard to your intentions–but for nothing more.
I beg the pardon of all conservative Northern citizens for not separating them,
in every instance, from the Abolitionists, in this address.
I beg the pardon of all Southerners, if I have said anything detrimental to
their wishes.
I beg the pardon of all colored people, if I have said anything offensive to
their feelings, hoping they will impute it to the sympathy I have for the oppressed
and benighted of my people at large.

GENTLE READER, I do not expect to develop to you anything new in this, my addition,
other than my views on the Inaugural Address of the President of the remaining
part of the United States. For it would be useless to look up abstract questions
now to prove anything, while the position of the above named President is before
us; for the die is cast, "the deed is done," a Black Republican is
elected President. Yes! elected President of the United States. A sectional
man–a fanatical man–a man that was nominated by a sectional and fanatical
party, and placed upon a sectional and fanatical platform–this man we find
a few days ago taking the oath of fidelity to all sections of the country. Notwithstanding,
he said in his inaugural, a few minutes before he took this oath, that there
were different opinions in regard to the extension of Slavery, which would naturally
be as binding on him to give his aid in its extension, as in checking it. Is
it possible that the American people will continue to suffer this diabolical
faction to lead them on by degrees? Their mouths gape with that old Syrian song–
"Take time! take time!
Mind what you do!"
Is the election of an enemy, (and I liked to have said a sworn one,) to one
section of the country, sufficient cause for the suffering section to withdraw
from the other? If the Revolutionary fathers had danced to that tune, what would
have been your condition to-day? Is the world stronger than the Almighty that
formed it? or is the Constitution stronger than the people who made it? Reader,
it is not my intention to say anything about the Constitution being unworthy
the object for which it was formed; but that object being violated, it then
follows that there is an aggressor somewhere; and if you succeed in finding
him, and require of him an indemnity for the wrongs done to that instrument,
it is his indispensable duty to adjust the matter amicably and satisfactory.
And any selfish motive, sectional strife, party aggrandizement or fanatical
factions, ought to debar the aggressor, if proven guilty of these one-sided
principles, the privilege of presiding over that part of the section to which
he was known to be an enemy. This conclusion brings with it the position occupied
by the Republican party.
Let us hear what Mr. Lincoln says on this subject. He says: "Apprehension
seems to exist among the people of the United States, that by the accession
of a Republican administration, their property and their peace are to be endangered.
There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the
most ample evidence has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection.
It is found in all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do
quote from one of those speeches, when I declare that I have no purpose, directly
or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of Slavery in the States where
it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so–and I have no inclination
to do so."
Let us see how this will compare with the platform upon which the honorable
gentleman was elected. The party that framed the platform, and placed him on
it, vows vengeance to Slavery, and say that it is a pernicious sin, and that
humanity and religion ought to demand its cessation. Under this head the party
finds a pretext to back them in enacting laws to prohibit the rendition of fugitives
escaping from service; and under this pretext they shelter themselves, when
it is proven that the Constitution admits of Slavery being carried anywhere
within the incorporate limits of the United States.
But let me return to the President’s inaugural. He says:
"Those who nominated and elected me, did so with knowledge that I had made
this and many other similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more
than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves
and to me, the clear and emphatic resolutions which I now read:
"’Resolved, That maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and
especially the rights of each State, to order and control its domestic institutions
according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power
on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends, and we
denounce the lawless invasion, by armed force, of the soil of any State or territory–no
matter under what pretext–as among the gravest crimes.’"
The President then goes on to say: "I now reiterate these sentiments, and
in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence
of which the case is susceptible. The property, peace and security of no section
is to be in anyweis endangered by the incoming administration.
"I add, too, that all the protection which consistently with the Constitution
and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States, when
lawfully demanded for whatever cause–as cheerfully to one section as to the
We will see, by and by, what this self-delegated power intends to do with the
receding States. But here he goes:
"There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service
or labor. The clause I now read it as plainly written in the Constitution as
any other of its provisions: "No person held to service or labor in one
State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence
of my laws or regulations therein, be discharged from such service or labor,
but shall be delivered on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may
be due.’"
The honorable gentleman says, in regard to this, that–
"It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended, by those who
made it, for the reclaiming of fugitives Slaves, and the intention of the law-giver
is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution–to
this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that Slaves
whose cases come within the terms of this clause, shall be delivered up, their
oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make an effort in good temper, could
they not, with an equal unanimity, make and pass a law by means of which to
keep good that unanimous oath?"
The President acknowledges the right of each State to make and keep inviolate
her own domestic regulations; but the party he represents denies the right of
a Slave-holder to go into their Free States, and demand a fugitive Slave. Perhaps
he would think it a bad affair, if a man from Georgia was to go into his State
and steal $1,000 worth of property, and bring it to Georgia; and if he came
after it, the authorities should tell the honorable gentleman that he had no
business with it, and that he could not get it, he would feel pretty tolerable
bad, I reckon. But, oh! the honorable gentleman says that they must make the
effort in good temper. I declare I liked to have forgotten that. But I expect
it is a pretty hard matter for a Georgian to keep in a very good humor, after
he has paid $1,000 for a Slave, for him to run away (or be stolen) to a Free
State, where he would have to carry with him another man, at his own expense;
and after getting there, be indicted for slander, and a demand made of him to
pay his Slave for what time he had owned him; and, if he get him at all, it
might cost him more than the Slave was worth. I think it would be pretty hard
for him to make the effort in good temper.
But the President says there is some little difference of opinion in regard
to which authority, the State Executive, or the National, should be clothed
with the power. But this, he says, is a matter of little consequence, since
it matters not by what authority he gets his Slave. He also says the reason
they make such a great fuss about it is, that they do not want to make a mistake,
and take up a free man and give to the owner of the Slave. Poor fellow! you
certainly must pay but little attention to your darkies there, if you don’t
know them living in your own towns.
But the President says that all demands shall be given up when lawfully made.
But I reckon he don’t think it lawful for a Georgian to take a witness to Ohio
to prove a Slave to be his.
But I guess he will find it quite as unlawful, when he undertakes to coerce
the seceding States back into the Union, upon the ground that they had no constitutional
right to do so. Yet he says the intention of the law-giver is the law. He also
admits that there is no clause in the Constitution more plainly written than
the rendition of fugitives; and, in the face of all this, he has the hardihood
to appear on the stage and there declare, in the face of the civilized world,
his intention to coerce the seceding States back, when they have only withdrawn
for the vindication of their rights, which have been trampled on for years;
and, instead of getting better, it is getting worse.
It is true he may coerce them back, but it will be into their mother earth;
but never will they be forced back into the Union, without a sufficient indemnity
for the wrongs practised on them by your diabolical faction. Talk about holding
the public property, and collecting the revenues! I suppose the property of
the Southern States is not worth as much to her citizens as your would-be-called
revenues. Now you pretend to be so very conservative, promising to administer
the laws to all sections of the country with equal justice, no matter in what
shape or form. Let me see if you can stand one test. You being a lawyer, it
is an easy matter to answer the first question. Tell me, kind sir, what term
of years are required for an act of misdemeanor, unappeased for, to become null
and void? Does it not hold good against the offending party during the existence
of the same? It certainly does. Well, you say that you don’t wish to use any
hostility to the South. If you don’t, make this proposition to the Slave-holding
States: that the old family records, together with the executives, and let there
be a valuation acording to the value of Slaves during that day down to the present
time, and then compel the Free States to pay the valuation made by the Slave-holding
States; and you would do an act that would clothe you with more honor than all
the Presidents of the United States, and would be a lasting fame that would
not forsake you when you had long since mingled with your mother dust.
Now this request will never be made, of course, but it might be made with as
much accuracy as could the Republican party expect the South to give up the
property of their States, which had formerly belonged to the United States.
For she has hundreds of thousands of dollars, no doubt, invested in Slaves now
residing in the Free States; and, what is more than all, the authorities of
these States–nine* (* hear it stated that some of these States have abolished
this law.) of them–have met and passed laws hostile to the Fugitive clause,
which Mr. Lincoln says is as plainly written as any other clause in the Constitution.
Nevertheless, the people have passed these laws, and in order to give them all
the force that could be given to law, they have made it a criminal offence to
assist in any way in recapturing a fugitive. I don’t recollect the exact penalty,
but I think it is ten year’s imprisonment and $1,000 fine, in the most of the
The President, in treating of this very delicate matter, said that the Fugitive
Law was as well executed as well could be, and that a few would break over any
law. Now this kind of talk might do, had it been a few citizens of a State,
but when we find an overwhelming majority, so much so, that they made it the
law of those States and placed them on the statute books, is enough indeed to
cause the Southerner to think it a hopeless chance to get his Slave from them.
But the honorable President says if they would make the effort in good temper.
I should like to know if the Constitution says anything about the temper in
which the demand is to be made. The President being a constitutional man, of
course he would not set forth any doctrine not constitutional.
I will now try the President on the violation of this Fugitive Law. He says
that the Fugitive clause is as plainly written as any other clause of the Constitution.
Well, then, if so, hostility to that law must be so to the Constitution; and,
admitting that to be the fact, he, according to his declaration of constitutional
power, has the very same right to force the citizens of those States to strike
those unconstitutional laws out of their statute books, as he has to coerce
the seceding States back, that had withdrawn on account of its being placed
there. Now, let the honorable gentleman undertake to force that unconstitutional
law off of their statute books, and he will be told that, that is their business,
not his. But when the South withdraws herself from these States, on account
of the unconstitutionality of these laws, she is called, by the honorable President,
insurrectionary or revolutionary; consequently, is beneath the notice of the
honorable President; so much so that an application to that tribunal for recognition
would, I suppose, be treated with utter contempt. Such a course is folly to
the highest degree, and ignorance to the lowest abyss of unlearned men. But
the conception that party takes of the Higher Law will always keep them in darkness.
The reader, perhaps, by this time, may have come to the conclusion that I have
somewhat changed my position since writing the first edition, for I pressingly
recommended, in that piece, the importance of preserving the Union; and I held
on to the same views some time after the election of Mr. Lincoln, hoping that,
seeing the confusion his election had caused the country, he and his party would
at least modify, or cause to be modified, the hostility to the Fugitive clause.
But when I saw every offer made to that party refused and trampled under foot,
and when I saw that they were determined to carry out the unconstitutional principles
upon which Mr. Lincoln was elected, I could see no other alternative for the
Southern States but secession, and form for themselves a Southern Republic.
But I must return to the President and his inaugural. Hear what he says: "I
hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union
of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the
fundamental law of national Governments. It is safe to assert that no Government
proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue
to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the
Union will endure forever."
Well, we will see what this is made of. The President says that he holds that
in contemplation of universal law, the Union of these States is perpetual. Well,
I hold that his contemplation of universal law is utterly wrong, in that part
where he holds to Mr. Seward’s Higher Law doctrine, that teaches the birth of
all men being free, and that no change can legally be made that will hold good
against that contemplation, no matter whether prophetically, miraculously, ecclesiastically,
or civilly. As I set this forth in my first edition, I shall pass it by.
The President says, that it is safe to assert that no Government ever had a
provision in its own organic Constitution for its termination. That is all very
true, but if the people of the Government form it for the protection of their
property and themselves, and certain clauses in the Constitution of that Government
is violated, the people of one section of the Government being the sole sufferers,
while the others are dancing over their misfortunes caused by the very men that
were rejoicing over it, it does look to me like the time of its termination
had come with the suffering section at least.
But I must pass on, for I have already exceeded my first intention; for I then
promised not to meddle with abstract questions. But I have been forced to advert
to them in order to make the subject conclusive.
Reader, if you will but take the pains to read the inaugural all through, you
will there see the winding course the President has taken to deceive the people
of his conservativeness. The President, in the course of his inaugural, in speaking
of his intentions, and after saying he considered the Union unbroken, that his
intention is to execute the laws in all the United States, unless his rightful
masters–the American people–shall withhold the requisite means.
His pretension to conservatism, in this place, is very great indeed, but I doubt
the sincerity, for the majority of the American people are against his being
President, and have been all the time, but he don’t seem to back for that. A
majority acquiesce in the decision of the Supreme Court; but I find him speaking
of it in his inaugural with almost contempt. Let us hear what the Constitution
says in regard to this judicial power:
"The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising
under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or
which shall be made under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors,
other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admirality and maratime
jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;
to controversies between two or more States: between one State and citizens
of another State: between citizens of different States: between citizens of
the same State, claiming lands under grants of different States, and between
a State, as citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects, in all
cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in
which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.
In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellant
jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations
as the Congress shall make."
This is what the Constitution says in regard to the judicial power. Well, then
if it gives the Supreme Court the right to settle controversies between States,
why do we find the President’s party resisting that settlement? It was agreed
on all hands to abide by its decision; but when that infernal party saw that
the Supreme Court could not consistently decide their way, they flew all to
pieces, and said that honorable body was defective. But now, they having the
power in their own hands, can it be hoped they will not carry it out according
to their own notions and to Mr. Seward’s Higher Law doctrine? I think not, and
if the Slaveholding States are not justifiable in withdrawing from a section
that had not only declared hostility to their institutions, but had actually
commenced it, by bringing an armed force, with all necessary equipments to carry
on a servile war, and placed them at one of the armories of, and in the very
heart of a Slave-holding State. But yet we are told by the President that the
Southern States had no constitutional right to secede. Notwithstanding, his
very party sent them here, letters having been found with Capt. Brown from some
of the leading men of the President’s party.
The President when presiding over the whole of the United States had, I think,
the appointment of some 30,000 officers in the Southern States. These being
such men as he now has in his Cabinet, diffused all through this country, it
would not, it is very likely, taken them longer than one year to have accomplished
their design. I will now take a broad side view of Mr. Lincoln’s whole inaugural,
and wind up this addition. He states in the course of his inaugural, that if
the Slave-holder would make an effort in good temper. This, I suppose, implies
that if they would go to those States where the obnoxious laws are enacted,
and when they had advanced within eight or ten feet of the authorities, fall
on their knees, and beg them, for God’s sake, to please let them have their
fugitives, would be considered in good temper.
And, again, in the course of his inaugural, he asks the question, can a compact
formed by the unanimous consent of a majority of a nation, as people, be broken
without a majority of the same? I will answer his by asking him one. Tell me
if the members of this compact set forth by specified rules, by which each one
of the party were to receive justice, and thereby be benefitted: the object
being to extend their peace and prosperity, and secure their lives and property?
I ask if a part should be so ungrateful as to intrude upon the other’s property
and rights, directly contrary to the rule they had all agreed to maintain inviolate,
and on demanding a redress, fail to get it, but receive instead an insult, could
it be reasonably expected that the offended party would hold on, when the offending
party had worked corruption to the peace and property of the offended, and,
too, contrary to the letter of the compact? Would it not be right for the offended
party to withdraw, from the fact that the compact had failed to accomplish the
object for which it was formed, consequently was of no more use to them?
A governmental compact is binding as long as the laws are faithfully executed,
but no longer.
Again, he says that every member of Congress is sworn to support the whole Constitution,
and he says the Fugitive clause is as plainly written as any clause in the Constitution.
But yet we find him and his party resisting that clause. Now, I do not wish
to say anything that would in any wise invalidate the President’s nor his party’s
oaths, but it does look strange to me for men who had taken it, act directly
contrary to the purposes for which it was taken.
I, therefore, hold that the seceding States are perfectly justifiable in seceding;
and I also hold that if they had not done so,
after they had endeavored for a quarter of a century to quell an evil, that
they saw was sure to destroy their property, civil privileges, and the religious
morals of their children, would have been, I hold, unworthy the name of free
men. They, seeing this evil’s infernal effects upon their lives and property,
what more could they do for their children, than to separate as far as possible
from this evil, which had been a hinderance to their onward progress for a quarter
of a century; and, instead of it’s getting better, was actually getting worse,
so much so, that it had actually assumed a formidable position? I hold that
had the Slave-holding States, under these inauspicious circumstances, remained
in the Union, when every attempt to the claim of an equality in the Union had
been contemptuously treated, would have subjected themselves, for a verdict
to be given by their rising posterity, against the judgment and patriotism of
their forefathers.
Relying on Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will, we look
for prosperity and hope for success.