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that it was my indispensable duty, as a man and a Christian, At the present crisis, no subject can be presented to the public eye more deserving of their serious attention than the present ; our prosperity, nay, our very existence as a nation depends upon the question before us, viz:
Whether new slave-holding states, particularly Texas, shall be annexed to the American republic, till the planters of the South gain the sole sovereignty, as they ever have held the balance of power by a preponderating influence in congress, or not? For instance, every cargo of slaves imported by the citizens of the South, and every additional slave state, not only enhances their riches, but increases their political influence ; for, according to the constitution, five slaves in the South are equal to two citizens in the North, with respect to the rights of suffrage.
BUYING STOLEN GOODS
A French writer observes, “ That he cannot look upon a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood :" and Dr. Franklin adds, “that, had he taken in all the consequences, he might have seen the sugar not merely spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain.”
The inconsistency, and, I may add, the injustice, of pur. chasing and using the produce of African slavery, appeared evident to me as soon as my intellectual eyes were opened to see the enormous villany of the slave trade, and the con. comitant catastrophies attending it. I, therefore, at that time, abstained from using the produce which had the bloody signature of West India despotism stamped on it ; and it seemed to me then, that every Christian, possessed of the true love of God and Christian charity, must also see how culpable they appear in the sight of that impartial Being, who is no respecter of persons; but who loves, with the same paternal affection, both his black and white children; al. though thousands of the former are to be found amongst those who spill their blood, and lose their lives, in cultivating that plant which the latter idly waste.
But I would ask, What is the darling attribute of God? mercy. What is the most cogent duty he enjoins upon his creatures ? mercy. What divine disposition, implanted into the soul of a human being, can make him most like his Al. mighty Parent ? mercy, What disposition does God require of us towards every living creature, in whose nostrils he has
breathed the breath of life? mercy. And what is religion ? it is showing mercy to our fellow creatures, and doing unto thom as we desire they should do unto us, and loving God supremely. Is making slaves of his rational creatures, or buying and using the price of their blood, their lives, their labour, consistent with such a religion ? No; it is utterly incompatible with the very first principles of moral rectitude, much more religion.
Again ; I would ask, can a Christian do a thing that is absolutely wrong, (though it may appear small in the eyes of the world,) and persist in doing that thing, yet maintain his integrity, and remain guiltless? It is impossible. If, therefore, to buy and use the price and produce of human blood -(though custom has rendered it fashionable and human laws made it legal) is wrong, it is, of course, sin ; and God cannot behold sin, with any measure of allowance, in either saint or sinner.
But, in order to convince such as love their appetites so well, that they will be inclined not to believe it is wrong, as the judgment of the epicure is glad to have some plea, on moral and philosophical principles, to legalize the propriety of using that which gratifies his corporeal, while it poisons his spiritual appetite; he will say to himself, look where I will, I see slavery and oppression prevail; and buy what I will, perhaps the produce of slavery is connected with it. This is the only argument which can be suggested, with even the appearance of propriety, against my hypothesis, and which I will answer by the following similitude. My neigh. bour clandestinely and feloniously enters the premises of his neighbour, in a hostile manner, and robs him of his property before my eyes ; and, when he is done, brings it to me to sell. I know the articles are my neighbour's property, and are stolen goods; yet I purchase them, and allege for my excuse, that if I do not purchase them some other person
will. Am I right or wrong in purchasing these goods! Every one answers, you are undoubtedly wrong. But this similitude will fall very far short with respect to the slaves; for they are robbed of their lives, their offspring, their labour, as well as their property. The neighbour above could accumulate more property, in the room of what was plundered from him; but this is far from being the case with the slaves.
We are only guilty of stealing, according to the proverb, when we buy the goods that we know are stolen ; and who is it that does not know that the produce of the southern planters, as well as West India produce, is stolen with a vengeance, and that a vengeance must attend both the buyers and sellers; that is, if God is as just and impartial to punish vice and reward virtue, now as he has ever been. But leav. ing moral evil out of the question, I would ask, can compassion for the case of the wretched sons and daughters of Africa dwell in the heart of that man, or can the tear of tender sensibility glisten in the eye of that woman, who purchases periodically, and uses daily, the produce of their toil, as well as the price of their blood ? Surely not. If they are possessed of the finer feelings which ennoble human nature, certainly they must be lying dormant in some sequestered part of the human soul. I would ask, does not oppression disturb the economy of nature ? Certainly. Why then is it encouraged ? Why is no mercy shown to poor Africans by those who expect mercy to be shown to themselves ? If God has no more compassion upon many Christians than they have upon the poor unhappy objects whose cause we are vindicating, what will become of them when they die ? Be assured, if we show no mercy, we shall find no mercy shown to us in our turn, when sickness seizes and medicine fails the rich as well as the poor.
We should let our tender sympathy be extended to every creature susceptible of feeling, even to the insect that crawls beneath our feet. pathy is transcendently amiable in the sight of God, as being congenial to his own nature.
I smile to myself, when, with my mind's eye, I view the philanthropist and the divine, with the pathos of social elo. quence, declaiming against the vices of the age, particularly that of oppression, over a bowl of punch, the principal compounds of which are produced by bitter slavery ; but I blush when I view the fair votaries of religion, prior to their going to their house of worship, sipping their green beverage, sweetened, or made palatable, by the sweat, the blood, the tears of their own tender sex, who have to toil and labour in the same gang with the men, and in the same manner, to produce the execrable plant, and whose blood must manure the ground on which that fatal plant grows; and, perhaps,
these same fair devotees, at the moment they are sipping their tea, are declaiming against the inconsidency and villany connected with the slave-trade, and the cruelty of those dealers in human flesh; and yet, forsooth, these, fair philanthropists purchase and use the essence of that same Aesh with impunity.
Reader, if thou art a person desirous of vindicating the propriety of using the produce of slavery, put thyself, for one moment, in the same condition in which the poor unhappy slaves now are ; and view, from the West Indies, the votaries of liberty and religion, in America, drinking out of their jovial bowls, or China tea cups, the produce of thy labour, thy sweat, thy tears, and thy blood ; and then, and not till then, let thy conscience answer, is it right or wrong? is it just or unjust ? is it pleasing or not to that impartial holy Being who is no respecter of persons ? The fact is incontrovertible, let who will shut their eyes, that they may not see it; or let who will prostitute their consciences, that they may not believe; that the buyer of the produce is as reprehensible as the seller. We may, therefore, very properly, compare the slave-dealer to the drover who buys cattle, the planter to the butcher who kills the cattle, and those who use the sugar to the citizens who buy the beef, take it home, cook, and eat it.
What humane mind can refuse to exert its whole influence, however small-what benevolent mind would not willingly sącrifice many gratifications for the extermination of so accursed a traffic ? Yea, what mind would not REJOICE to be able to embrace an opportunity of making such sacrifices, and thus to give a full proof of its abhorrence of what it professes to detest ? Rejoice then, ye benevolent and humane ; for, such an opportunity is now offered you. Slavery depends on the consumption of the produce of its labour for support. Refuse this produce, and slavery must cease. Say not that indivi. dual influence is small. Every aggregate must be composed of a collection of individuals. Though individual influence be small, the influence of collected numbers is irresistible. It is only by such collected individual influence, that any im. portant end is attained; any great design is accomplished by
The power of numbers supplies the want of sufficient force in the individual ; and their being collected, so as to act with an unity of power, renders them as efficacious and