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contained in the Expression of Views in 1818, and in 1849 proclaimed that "there has been no information before this Assembly to prove that the members of our Church, in the Slave States, are not doing all they can (situated as they are, in the providence of God) to bring about the possession and enjoyment of liberty by the enslaved,"
it is as certain as that "fine words butter no parsnips," that slaves continued to be bought, held, and sold by members of the "New," as well as of the "Old School" Presbyterian Church, and that, while Abolitionists were subject to continued and unsparing denunciation in the common as well as the special organs and utterances of these rival sects, slaveholders often filled the highest seats in their respective synagogues, and Slavery regarded their aimless denunciations and practical tolerance with serene complacency.
With the Baptists and Methodists -two very numerous and important denominations-the case was somewhat different. Each of these churches was originally anti-Slavery. The Methodists, in the infancy of their communion, were gathered mainly from among the poor and despised classes, and had much more affiliation with slaves than with their masters. Their discipline could with great difficulty be reconciled with slaveholding by their laity, while it decidedly could not be made to permit slaveholding on the part of their Bishops; and this impelled the secession, some twenty years since, of the "Methodist Church South," carrying off most, but not all, of the churches located in the Slave States. The General Conference held at Cincinnati in 1836 solemnly disclaimed
"any right, wish, or intention, to interfere with the civil and political relation between master and slave, as it exists in the slaveholding States of this Union," condemned two ministers who had delivered Abolition lectures, and declared the opponents of Abolition "true friends to the Church, to the slaves of the South, and to the Constitution of our Country."
The Baptists of Virginia, in General Assembly, 1789, upon a reference from the session of the preceding year, on motion of Elder John Leland,
"Resolved, That Slavery is a violent deprivation of the rights of nature, and inconsistent with republican government; and therefore we recommend it to our brethren to make use of every measure to extirpate this horrid evil from the land; and pray Almighty God that our honorable Legislature may have it in their power to proclaim the great jubilee, consistent with the principles of good policy."
But no similar declaration has been made by any Southern Baptist State Convention since field-hands rose to $1,000 each, and black infants, at birth, were accounted worth $100. On the contrary, the Southern Baptists have for thirty years been among the foremost champions of slaveholding as righteous and Christian, and the Savannah River Baptist Association in 1835 gravely decided that slave husbands and wives, separated by sale, should be at liberty to take new partners; because
"such separation, among persons situated as our slaves are, is civilly a separation by God, it would be so viewed. To forbid death, and they believe that, in the sight of second marriages, in such cases, would be to expose the parties not only to greater hardships and stronger temptations, but to church censure for acting in obedience to their masters,” etc., etc.
THE CHURCHES AND ABOLITION.
Thus adapting Christianity to Slavery, instead of requiring that Slavery be made to square with the requirements of Christianity. And this is a fair specimen of what has passed for religion at the South for the last thirty or forty years.
In full view of these facts, the Northern and Southern Baptists met for thirty years in Triennial Convention, over which slaveholders usually presided, and wherein the righteousness of slaveholding could not, therefore, without seeming rudeness, be questioned. Abolition might be freely stigmatized; slaveholding was tacitly admitted to be just and proper by the very constitution of the body. And by no sect or class have antiSlavery inculcations been more virulently reprobated than by the Baptists of the South.
The Free-Will Baptists, several bodies of Scottish Covenanters, and other offsets from the original Presbyterian stock, with certain of the Methodist dissenters or seceders from the great Methodist Episcopal organization, have generally maintained an attitude of hostility to Slavery. So, of late years, have the greater number of Unitarian and Universalist conventions. But all these together are a decided minority of the American People, or even of the professing Christians among them; and they do not at all shake the general truth that the anti-Slavery cause, throughout the years of its arduous and perilous struggle up from contempt and odium to respect and power, received
* Witness Lundy and Garrison at Boston, 1828. "Alas! they had been friends in youth; But whispering tongues can poison truth, And constancy lives in realms above;
far more of hindrance than of help from our ecclesiastical organizations. And this fact explains, if it does not excuse, the un-Orthodox, irreverent, and "infidel" tendencies which have been so freely, and not always unreasonably, ascribed to the apostles of Abolition. These have justly felt that the organized and recognized religion of the country has not treated their cause as it deserved and as they had a right to expect. The pioneers of "modern Abolition" were almost uniformly devout, pious, church-nurtured men, who, at the outset of their enterprise, took the cause of the slave' to the Clergy and the Church, with undoubting faith that it would there be recognized and by them adopted as the cause of vital Christianity. Speaking generally, they were repulsed and resisted, quite as much to their astonishment as their mortification; and the resulting estrangement and hostility were proportioned to the fullness of their trust, the bitterness of their disappointment. It would have been wiser, doubtless, to have forborne, and trusted, and reasoned, and remonstrated, and supplicated; but patience and policy are not the virtues for which reformers are apt to be distinguished; since, were they prudent and politic, they would choose some safer and sunnier path. No insurance company that had taken a large risk on the life of John the Baptist would have counseled or approved his freedom of speech with regard to the domestic relations of Herod.
And life is thorny and youth is vain;
THE PRO-SLAVERY REACTION.
The Liberator, by its uncompro- | be. mising spirit and unsparing denunciations, soon challenged and secured, to an extent quite unprecedented, the attention of adversaries. Treating Slavery uniformly as a crime to be repented, a wrong to be righted at the earliest moment, if it did not convince the understanding of slaveholders, it at least excited their wrath. Before it had been issued a year, while it had probably less than a thousand subscribers, and while its editor and his partner were still working all day as jour-nity of their respective States; and in at least one case a formal requisition was made upon the Governor of New York for the surrender of an Abolitionist who had never trod the soil of the offended State; but the Governor (Marcy), though ready to do what he lawfully could to propitiate Southern favor, was constrained respectfully to decline.
neymen printers, sleeping, after some hours' editorial labor, at night on the floor of their little sky-parlor office, and dreaming rather of how or where to get money or credit for the paper required for next week's issue than of troubling the repose of States, they were flattered by an act of the Legislature of Georgia, unanimously passed, and duly approved by Governor Lumpkin, offering the liberal reward of $5,000 to whomsoever should arrest, bring to trial, and prosecute to conviction, either of them under the laws of that State-the arrest being the only difficult matter.' There was no reason to doubt that the proffer was made in good faith, and that the stipulated reward would have been more promptly and cheerfully paid than Southern debts are apt to
1 Harrison Gray Otis, the wealthy and aristocratic Mayor of Boston, being required by a Southern magistrate to suppress The Liberatorwhich was probably the first he had heard of it -in due season reported that his officers had "ferreted out the paper and its editor, whose office was an obscure hole, his only visible aux
Other such rewards of $10,000, $50,000, and even $100,000, for the bodies or the heads of prominent Abolitionists, were from time to time advertised; but these plagiarisms were seldom responsibly backed, and proved only the anxiety of the offerers to distinguish themselves and cheaply win a local popularity. Their aspect was not business-like. In several instances, Southern grand juries gravely indicted Northern "agitators" for offenses against the peace and dig
That "error of opinion may be safely tolerated where reason is left free to combat it," is a truth that does not seem to have occurred either to the Southern or Northern contemners of the Garrisonian ultras. In fact, it does not seem to have irradiated the minds of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees of Christ's day, nor those of the hereditary champions of established institutions and gainful traditions at almost any time. The South
iliary a negro boy, his supporters a few insignificant persons of all colors"-whence the said Otis concluded that his paper ought not to disturb the slumbers of the quite significant and potent Southrons. The superficial, purblind Mayor!
'Jefferson's Inaugural Address.
GEN. JACKSON FOR PENAL LEGISLATION.
ern journals and other oracles imperiously, wrathfully, demanded the instant suppression and extinction of the "incendiaries" and "fanatics," under the usual penalty of a dissolution of the Union ;3 to which was now added the annihilation of Northern prosperity and consequence through a retributive withdrawal of Southern trade. The commercial and political interests at the North, which regarded Southern favor as the sheetanchor of their hopes, eagerly responded to these overtures, clamoring for penal enactments and popular proofs of Northern fidelity to Constitutional obligations. The former were not forthcoming; in fact, the most adroit and skillful draftsman would have found it difficult to frame any such law as was required-any one that would have subserved the end in view-that would not have directly and glaringly contravened the constitution or bill of rights of even the most "conservative" State. Yet President Jackson did not hesitate, in his Annual Message of December 2, 1835, to say:
"I must also invite your attention to the painful excitement produced in the South by attempts to circulate, through the mails, inflammatory appeals addressed to the passions of the slaves, in prints, and in various
The following is an extract from the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle of October, 1833.
"We firmly believe that, if the Southern States do not quickly unite, and declare to the North, if the question of Slavery be longer discussed in any shape, they will instantly secede from the Union, that the question must be settled, and very soon, by the SWORD, as the only possible means of self-preservation."
February 16, 1836, both houses of the Virginia Legislature agreed to the following: "Resolved, That the non-slaveholding States of the Union are respectfully but earnestly requested promptly to adopt penal enactments, or such other measures as will effectually suppress all associations within their respective limits purporting to be, or having the character of, Abolition societies."
sorts of publications, calculated to stimulate them to insurrection, and to produce all the
horrors of a servile war.
"There is, doubtless, no respectable portion of our fellow-countrymen who can be than that of indignant regret at conduct so so far misled as to feel any other sentiment destructive of the harmony and peace of the country, and so repugnant to the principles of our national compact, and to the dictates of humanity and religion. Our happiness and prosperity essentially depend upon peace within our borders-and peace depends upon the maintenance, in good faith, of those compromises of the Constitution upon which the Union is founded. It is fortunate for the country that the good sense, the generous feeling, and the deep-rooted attachment of the people of the non-slaveholding States to the Union, and to their South, have given so strong and impressive a tone to the sentiments entertained against
fellow-citizens of the same blood in the
the proceedings of the misguided persons who have engaged in these unconstitutional and wicked attempts, and especially against dared to interfere in this matter, as to authe emissaries from foreign parts who have thorize the hope that those attempts will no longer be persisted in. But, if these expressions of the public will shall not be sufficient
to effect so desirable a result, not a doubt can be entertained that the non-slaveholding States, so far from countenancing the slightest interference with the constitutional rights of the South, will be prompt to exercise their authority in suppressing, so far as in them lies, whatever is calculated to pro
duce the evil.
"In leaving the care of other branches of this interesting subject to the State authorities, to whom they properly belong, it is nevertheless proper for Congress to take such measures as will prevent the PostOffice Department, which was designed to
Resolutions, similar in spirit and demand, were adopted by the Legislatures of South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and doubtless other Slave States.
4 The Richmond Whig, in the course of a fulmination against the Abolitionists, said:
"The people of the North must go to hanging these fanatics if they would not lose the benefit of the Southern trade, and they will do it. *** Depend upon it, the Northern people will never sacrifice their present lucrative trade with the South, so long as the hanging of a few thousands will prevent it."
Not a bad calculation, provided "the Northern people" and the enjoyers of "the lucrative trade" aforesaid had been identical; but they were not.
foster an amicable intercourse and correspondence between all the members of the confederacy, from being used as an instrument of an opposite character. The General Government, to which the great trust is confided of preserving inviolate the relations created among the States by the Constitution, is especially bound to avoid, in its own action, any thing that may disturb them. I would therefore call the special attention of Congress to the subject, and respectfully suggest the propriety of passing such a law as will prohibit, under severe penalties, the circulation in the Southern States, through the mail, of incendiary publications intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection."
Had the President been asked to justify his charges against his fellowcitizens of having "attempted to circulate, through the mails, inflammatory appeals, addressed to the passions of slaves, in prints," etc., etc., he must have answered that he had heard or read charges to this effect, and had believed them. But it was in vain that the Abolitionists remonstrated, and protested, and called for proofs. The slaveholding interest detested and feared them; the mob was in full cry at their heels; and it was the seeming interest of the great majority of speakers and writers to join in the hunt."
Governor Marcy followed in the footsteps of his party chief. In his Annual Message of January 5, 1836 -five weeks later than the foregoing
"Relying on the influence of a sound and enlightened public opinion to restrain and
control the misconduct of the citizens of a free government, especially when directed, as it has been in this case, with unexampled energy and unanimity, to the particular evils under consideration, and perceiving that its operations have been thus far salutary, I entertain the best hopes that this remedy, of itself, will entirely remove these evils, or render them comparatively harmless. But, if these reasonable expectations should, un
5 "Now we tell them [the Abolitionists] that when they openly and publicly promulgate doctrines which outrage public feeling, they have no right to demand protection of the people they insult. Ought not, we ask, our city authorities
happily, be disappointed; if, in the face of numerous and striking exhibitions of public reprobation, elicited from our constituents by a just fear of the fatal issues in which the uncurbed efforts of the Abolitionists may ultimately end, any considerable portion of these misguided men shall persist in pushing them forward to disastrous consequences, then a question, new to our confederacy, will necessarily arise, and must be met. It must then be determined how far the several States can provide, within the proper exercise of their constitutional powers, and how far, in fulfillment of the obligations resulting from their federal relations, they ought to provide, by their own laws, for the trial and punishment by their own judicatories, of residents within their limits, guilty
of acts therein, which are calculated and intended to excite insurrection and rebellion in a sister State.
* * * I cannot doubt that the Legislature possesses the power to pass such penal laws as will have the effect of preventing the citizens of this State and residents within it from availing themselves, with impunity, of the protection of its sovereignty and laws, while they are actually employed in exciting insurrection and sedition in a sister State, or engaged in treasonable enterprises, intended to be executed therein."
A legislative Report responsive to these recommendations was made in May following, just at the close of the session, which assumed to pledge the faith of the State to pass such laws as were suggested by the Governor, whenever they shall be requisite! This report was duly forwarded to the Southern Governors, but not circulated at large, nor was any such action as it proposed ever takenor meant to be. Governor Edward Everett (Whig), of Massachusetts, sent a Message to the Legislature of his State, communicating the demands of certain Southern States that anti-Slavery inculcations in the Free States should be legally suppressed, and saying:
"Whatever by direct and necessary ope
to make them understand this-to tell them that they prosecute their TREASONABLE and BEASTLY plans at their own peril ?"-New York Courier and Enquirer, 11th July, 1834.
January 6, 1836.