« ForrigeFortsett »
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON.
1838, at the burning by a mob of Pennsylvania Hall-built by Abolitionists, because they could be heard in no other-his little property, consisting mainly of papers, books, clothes, etc., which had been collected in one of the rooms of that Hall, with a view to his migration westward, was totally destroyed. In July, he started for Illinois, where his children then resided, and reached them in the September following. He planted himself at Lowell, La Salle county, gathered his offspring about him, purchased a printing-office, and renewed the issues of his "Genius." But in August, 1839, he was attacked by a prevailing fever, of which he died on the 22d of that month, in the 51st year of his age. Thus closed the record of one of the most heroic, devoted, unselfish, courageous lives, that has ever been lived on this continent,10
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON, born in obscurity and indigence, at Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805, and educated a printer, after having tried his boyish hand at shoe-making, woodsawing, and cabinet-making, started The Free Press, in his native place, directly upon attaining his majority; but Newburyport was even then a slow old town, and his enterprise soon proved unsuccessful. He migrated to Boston, worked a few months as a journeyman printer, and then became editor of The National Philanthropist, an organ of the Temperance movement. He left this early in 1828, to become editor, at Bennington, Vermont, of The Journal of the Times, a "National Republican" gazette, and about the ablest and most interesting
newspaper ever issued in that State. Though earnestly devoted to the reelection of John Quincy Adams, as President, it gave a hearty support to the Temperance, Anti-Slavery, and other Reform projects, and promoted the extensive circulation and signature of memorials to Congress, urging the banishment of Slavery from the District of Columbia. But its patronage was unequal to its merits; and, Mr. Adams having been defeated, its publication was soon afterward discontinued.
Mr. Garrison was, about this time, visited by Lundy, and induced to join him in the editorship of The Genius at Baltimore, whither he accordingly proceeded in the Autumn of 1829. Lundy had been a zealous supporter of Adams; and, under his auspices, a single Emancipation candidate for the Legislature had been repeatedly presented in Baltimore, receiving, at one election, more than nine hundred votes. Garrison, in his first issue, insisted on immediate and unconditional Emancipation as the right of the slave and the duty of the master, and disclaimed all temporizing, all make-shifts, all compromises, condemning Colonization, and everything else that involved or implied affiliation or sympathy with with slaveholders. Having, at length, denounced the coastwise slave-trade between Baltimore and New Orleans as "domestic piracy," and stigmatized by name certain Baltimoreans concerned therein, he was indicted for "a gross and malicious libel" on those worthies, convicted, sentenced to pay fifty dollars' fine and costs, and, in default thereof, committed to jail. A judgment
10 Condensed from the "Life of Benjamin Lundy," by Thomas Earle.
in behalf of one of these aggrieved was adopted as a principle some years later; as was the doctrine that "The [Federal] Constitution is a covenant with death, and an agree ment with hell." To wage against Slavery an uncompromising, unrelenting war, asking no quarter and giving none-to regard and proclaim the equal and inalienable rights of every innocent human being as inferior or subordinate to those of no other, and to repudiate all creeds, all alleged revelations, rituals, constitutions, governments, parties, politics, that reject, defy, or ignore this fundamental truth-such is and has been the distinctive idea of the numerically small, but able and thoroughly earnest class, known as "Garrisonians."" They for many years generally declined, and some of them still decline, to vote, deeming the Government and all parties so profoundly corrupted by Slavery, that no one could do so without dereliction from principle and moral defilement. And, though the formal and definitive separation did not take place till 1839, the alienation between the Garrisonians and the larger number of AntiSlavery men had long been decided and irremediable. A very very few years, ment commenced in usurpation and oppression; that liberty and civilization, at present, are nothing else than the fragments of rights which the scaffold and the stake have wrung from the strong hands of the usurpers. Every step of progress the world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold, and from stake to stake. It would hardly be exaggeration to say, that all the great truths relating to society and government have been first heard in the solemn protests of martyred patriotism, or the loud cries of crushed and starving labor. The law has been always wrong."-Ibid., p. 14.
persons of $1,000 and costs was likewise obtained against him on a civil suit, but never enforced. He remained forty-nine days in prison, during which his case excited much sympathy, a protest against his incarceration having been issued by the Manumission Society of North Carolina. At length, the fine and costs were paid by Arthur Tappan, then a wealthy and generous New York merchant, who anticipated, by a few days, a similar act meditated by Henry Clay. Separating himself from Lundy and The Genius, Mr. Garrison now proposed the publication of an anti-Slavery organ in Washington City; but, after traveling and lecturing through the great cities, and being prevented by violence from speaking in Baltimore, he concluded to issue his journal from Boston instead of Washington; and the first number of The Liberator appeared accordingly on the 1st of January, 1838. It was, from the outset, as thorough-going as its editor; and its motto "Our Country is the World -Our Countrymen are all Mankind" -truly denoted its character and spirit. "No Union with slaveholders"
11 "The broadest and most far-sighted intellect is utterly unable to see the ultimate consequences of any great social change. Ask yourself, on all such occasions, if there be any element of right or wrong in the question, any principle of clear, natural justice, that turns the scale. If so, take your part with the perfect and abstract right, and trust God to see that it shall prove the expedient."— Wendell Phillips's Speeches and Lectures, p. 18.
"The time has been when it was the duty of the reformer to show cause why he offered to disturb the quiet of the world. But, during the discussion of the many reforms which have been advocated, and which have more or less succeeded, one after another-freedom of the lower classes, freedom of food, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, reform in penal legislation, and a thousand other matters-it seems to me to have been proved conclusively, that govern
"An intelligent democracy says of Slavery as of a church, This is justice and that iniquity.' The track of God's thunderbolt is a straight line from one to the other, and the Church or State that cannot stand it, must get out of the way."Ibid., p. 267.
THE CHURCHES AND SLAVERY.
their votes, or to throw them away on candidates whose election was impossible, but persisted in voting, at nearly every election, so as to effect good and prevent evil to the extent of their power.
dating from 1832-3, when the New | Slavery, refused either to withhold England and the American AntiSlavery Societies were formed respectively, sufficed to segregate the American opponents of Slavery into four general divisions, as follows: 1. The "Garrisonians" aforesaid. 2. The members of the "Liberty party," " who, regarding the Federal Constitution as essentially anti-Slavery, swore with good conscience to uphold it, and supported only candidates who were distinctively, determinedly, pre-eminently, champions of "Liberty for all."
3. Various small sects and parties, which occupied a middle ground between the above positions; some of the sects agreeing with the latter in interpreting and revering the Bible as consistently anti-Slavery, while refusing, with the former, to vote.
4. A large and steadily increasing class who, though decidedly anti
An artful and persistent ignoring of all distinction between these classes, and thus covering Abolitionists indiscriminately with odium, as hostile to Christianity and to the Constitution, was long the most effective weapon in the armory of their common foes. Thousands, whose consciences and hearts would naturally have drawn them to the side of humanity and justice, were repelled by vociferous representations that to do so would identify them with the "disunion" of Wendell Phillips, the "radicalism" of Henry C. Wright, and the "infidelity" of Pillsbury, Theodore Parker, and Garrison.
THE CHURCHES AND SLAVERY.
We have seen that the Revolution- | deed, a religious opposition to Slaveary era and the Revolutionary spirit of our country were profoundly hostile to Slavery, and that they were not content with mere protests against an evil which positive efforts, determined acts, were required to remove. Before the Revolution, in
12 Sundry differences respecting "Woman's Rights"-whereof the Garrisonians were stanch asserters and other incidental questions, were the immediate causes of the rupture between the Garrisonians and the political Abolitionists, whereby the American Anti-Slavery Society was convulsed by the secession of the latter in 1840;
ry, whereof the society of Christian Friends or Quakers were the pioneers, had been developed both in the mother country and in her colonies. George Fox, the first Quaker, bore earnest testimony, so early as 1671, on the occasion of his visit to
but the ultimate causes of the rupture were deeper than these. As a body, the Garrisonians were regarded as radical in politics and heterodox in theology; and the more Orthodox, conservative, and especially the clerical Abolitionists, increasingly disliked the odium incited by the sweeping utterances of the Garrisonian leaders.
Barbadoes, against the prevalent cruelty and inhumanity with which negro slaves were then treated in that island, and urged their gradual emancipation. His letter implies that some of his disciples were slaveholders. Yet it was not till 1727 that the yearly meeting of the whole society in London declared "the importing of negroes from their native country and relations, by Friends, not a commendable or allowable practice." Nearly thirty years before, the yearly meeting in Philadelphia (1696) took a step in advance of this, admonishing their members to be careful not to encourage the bringing in of any more negroes, and that those who have negroes be careful of them, bring them to meeting, etc., etc. It thus appears that Quakers, like other Christians, were then not only slaveholders, but engaged in the SlaveTrade. In 1754, the American Quakers had advanced to the point of publicly recommending their societies to "advise and deal with such as engage in" the Slave-Trade. Again: slaveholding Quakers were urged not to emancipate their slaves-but to care for their morals, and treat them humanely. The British Quakers came up to this mark in 1758four years later; and more decidedly in 1761 and 1763. In 1774, the Philadelphia meeting directed that all persons engaged in any form of slavetrading be "disowned;" and in 1776 took the decisive and final step by directing "that the owners of slaves, who refused to execute the proper instruments for giving them their freedom, be disowned likewise." This blow hit the nail on the head. In 1781, but "one case" requiring discipline
| under this head was reported; and in 1783, it duly appeared that there were no slaves owned by its members. The coincidence of these later dates with the origin, progress, and close of our Revolutionary struggle, is noteworthy. The New York and Rhode Island yearly meetings passed almost simultaneously through the same stages to like results; that of Virginia pursued a like course; but, meeting greater obstacles, was longer in overcoming them. It discouraged the purchasing of slaves in 1766; urgently recommended manumission in 1773; yet, so late as 1787, its annual reports stated that some members still held slaves. But it is understood that Slavery and Quakerism, throughout the South, had very little communion or sympathy after the Revolution, and were gradually and finally divorced so early as 1800. Hence, as Slavery grew stronger and more intolerant there, Quakerism gradually faded out; so that its adherents were probably fewer in that section in 1860 than they had been eighty years before.
Of other religious denominations, none of the more important and popular, which date back to the earlier periods of our colonial history, can show even so fair a record as the above. By the Roman Catholics and Protestant Episcopalians, generally, Slaveholding has never been, and is not yet, considered inconsistent with piety, and a blameless, exemplary, Christian life. Individuals in these, as in other communions, have conspicuously condemned and earnestly opposed Human Slavery; but the general influence of these churches in our country, and especially of their
1 Clarkson's History.
THE PRESBYTERIANS AND SLAVERY.
hierarchies, has been adverse to the practical recognition of every innocent man's right to his own limbs and sinews, and to sell or employ his own labor as to himself shall seem best.
The Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, and kindred "Orthodox" denominations, have no very consistent or luminous record on this subject. Thus, the Presbyterian General Assembly did, at its session in 1794-long before its division into "Old School" and "New School" adopt a note to one of the questions in its longer Catechism, wherein, expounding and applying the Eighth Commandment, it affirmed that the Biblical condemnation of "man-ity. stealers"
delay than a regard for the public welfare demands!" and recommended that, if "a Christian professor shall sell a slave, who is also in communion with our Church"-said slave not being a consenting party to the sale-the seller be "suspended till he shall repent and make reparation !" It need hardly be added that, with few and spasmodic exceptions, the Presbyterian Church thenceforth was found apologizing for Slavery, and censuring its determined assailants far oftener than doing or devising anything to hasten that "total abolition," which it had solemnly pronounced a requirement of Christian
But, instead of requiring its members to clear themselves, and keep clear, of slaveholding, the Assembly exhorted them to "continue and increase their exertions to effect a total abolition of Slavery, with no greater
And, though the Synod of Kentucky, in 1835, adopted a report on Slavery, which condemned slaveholding broadly and thoroughly, and reprobated the domestic slave-trade as revolting, even horrible, in its cruelty, the same report admits that "those who hold to our communion, are involved in it;" and no action was taken whereby they should be nection with the Church and persistrequired to choose between their conence in buying, holding, and selling men, women, and children, as slaves.
Nor did the division of this Church, which occurred not long afterward, work any improvement in this respect. A majority of the slaveholding members, doubtless, adhered to the "Old School;" but the but the "New School" did not see fit to make slaveholding a bar to its communion. On the contrary, certain Presbyteries having done so, the General Assembly of 1843 censured their action, and required that it be rescinded. And though, in 1846, the next General Assembly reiterated, in substance, the broad condemnation of Slavery