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Hence slavery sows the seeds of social weakness and disorder. By the economy of nature, we may ascertain that slavery is the grand impoverisher of a state; it diminishes industry, and discourages population. What I here advance is abun. dantly exemplified by the history of our own country ; by slavery national prosperity must be impeded or must decline. Then since the unanimous voices of reason, religion, humanity, and patriotism concur in deprecating an evil, and condemning a system so pregnant with ruin, to the body politic ; there. fore, whether we are aristocrats, democrats, or federals, we are bound (who have children or relatives, if we feel natural affection for them) to unite all our force, and labour for the annihilation of such a barbarous commerce. Solicited by so many cogent considerations, our representatives will not, I flatter myself, be deterred by all the clamours of injustice and avarice, to relinquish their laudable endeavours for the safety of their constituents, and prosperity of their country.
Columbus, the first discoverer of St. Domingo, was not only an enterprising adventurer, but also a humane person ; yet the Spaniards who followed him, were monsters of cruelty, which their brutal conduct, in destroying the original natives of this island in cool blood, will abundantly demonstrate. They massacred no less than three millions of men, women, and children, who were shot like birds of the air, hunted and torn to pieces by bloodhounds like beasts of the forest, till they were extinct.
Thus we see, in the most obvious and convincing manner, the melancholy effects of such wicked policy; indeed, it is utterly impossible for a reasonable and intelligent African, to be in any respect favourable to the government, that is the implacable enemy of his nation, in open hostility with all his countrymen, and of all his colour. If he is reconciled, he is, in fact, a tory, and worse than a tory, a traitor. Consistency and virtue are the primary pillars of civil government; take these away, and it begins to nod to its fall. [The govern. ment therefore should change its policy, and by exhibiting the spirit of justice and friendship, secure the love and support of the coloured citizens.]
The poor whites, much less the poor blacks, cannot have confidence in the legislators, who one moment declare, as the palladium of their political sentiments, and federal go.
vernment, that all men are by nature free, and yet, forsooth, in the same breath, assert many to be slaves; and those who concur in this sentiment, proclaim their villany, as well as inconsistency to the world, and virtually caution men of com. mon discernment not to place any confidence in their official acts or private contracts.
It is certain the state governments of the south are nourish. ing evils that will eventually sap the foundations of their con. stitutions, and prove their downfall. A folio volume would not contain even a specimen of those evils, which are the spontaneous offspring of slavery. It destroys social inter. course, by transforming one part of society to demagogues, and degrading the other part to brutes. It encourages and produces in one part indolence, dissipation, sensuality, du. plicity, imbecility, effeminacy, and a train of concomitant evils too tedious to enumerate ; and in the other, wretched. ness, misery, despondency, starvation, degradation, contam. ination, the art of deception, and all manner of depravity. The fact is, slaveholders are not only pests to society them. selves, but render their slaves destructive nuisances. Every person must allow this, who allows that industry is the very nerves of a free nation, and idleness its bane; consequently, whatever system encourages indolence, and at the same time "discourages industry, (for it is well known that white persons who work in the south, are despised by their idle, dissipated neighbours,) proves a prelude to the ruin of the state or government where it is supported. But slavery destroys all sense of moral rectitude and natural justice, for those who are instructed from their infancy, to consider negroes as their property, without rights or privileges, must be prone to con. sider poor white people, especially if they are very much tanned by the sun, or if they are Spaniards or Portuguese, in the same point of view. Those who think it no sin to rob and enslave a black, a mulatto, or even a mustee, cannot think it a sin to do so to a poor white person. In short, it is s the fear, not the love of either God or man, which precludes slave traders from enslaving poor white people as well as black.” Another evil attending slavery is, it eventually de. stroys chastity in females, by putting a great number of them in the power, and subjecting them to the will of the males. The evils resulting from this are incalculable, as well as
complicated, and are of such an indelicate nature that I must pass them with an astonished silence, which will leave room for the reader's imagination to depicture what would be im. prudent for me to recapitulate or particularize.
As a majority of the laws of Virginia, which were in force during the monarchy, were incompatible with the principles of republicanism, the first assembly which met after the organization of the commonwealth, appointed a committee, men of the first talents and respectability, to revise the whole code, and report it to the assembly; part of which revisal Mr. Jefferson relates in the following words, which shows, not only the ingenuity of his head, but also the generosity of his heart.
“ To establish religious freedom on the broadest bottom.
“ To emancipate all slaves born after the passing the act. The bill reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition ; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up at the public expense, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their gerides, till the females should be eighteen, and males twentyone years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of household and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c, to declare them a free and independent people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they have acquired strength; and to send vessels at the same time to other parts of the world for an equal number of white in. habitants," &c. &c.
[What place can possibly be more cheap, convenient, and proper, than their own native soil of America ? that the country will be so liberal as to declare them free, trans. port, and settle them in colonies, and lose all their valuable labour, is to presuppose a liberality adequate to colonize them at home ; that is, make them free citizens where they now are, and save the immense expense and risk of removal, and secure their services to the country.]
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
I AM well aware that the language of some will be, the alarmist sees dangers which never will be realized, and have no existence, except in the author's enthusiastic brain. This was the language of the Antediluvians, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Trojans, the Athenians, the Thebans, the Corinthians, the Carthagenians, the Babylonians, the Mace. donians, the Jews, who were the peculiar favourites of hea. ven, and even the Romans, who were the conquerors of them all, prior to their overthrow; and I might add many nations even in modern times, particularly the Swiss and Batavian republics, who were hurled into the labyrinth of despotism and degradation, at the moment they were expecting to see their liberties consolidated on the most substantial basis. Their histories will demonstrate the uncertainty of human greatness, and the vicissitudes which await the most prosperous nations, when immersed in the sink of popular degradation.
Why do we talk of barbarism? What Oriental nation, what savage people ever encouraged and supported such a cruel commerce in human flesh, or kept so many of their fellow-men in ignoble bondage, as the Americans as well as the other refined nations of Christendom now support and keep ? None to my knowledge ever did. I allow that canni. bals are devourers of their prisoners, but not their systemati. cal tormentors. Witness for a moment the contrast between the wretched state of African slaves and the cannibal that is just conquered, and about to be devoured by the victors : his tremulous heart no doubt palpitates with anguish, in the
intermediate space between the conquest of the victors and the slaughter of the vanquished, which is but a short time; as the captive is devoured as soon as possible after he is taken ; because confinement would only tend to render him an unwelcome morsel for his voracious conquerors. Con. sequently his sufferings are soon terminated: but this is far from being the case with the poor unhappy negro: the votaries of Christianity tear him from his family and friends ; his wife and children ; his country and kin ; and in short, all that is near and dear to him: not to terminate his suffer. ings in a few days, by devouring him, but, alas, to assassinate him by slow but sure degrees, with the three epidemic disorders peculiar to the West Indies and the southern states of America ; I mean hunger, the cowskin, and extreme labour. But the greatest misfortune of all is, while the poor unhappy slave is thus murdered, corporeally by slow degrees, he is, alas, contaminated mentally by the example and precepts of his tyrants in a precipitate manner; while the massacre of his body is procrastinated, the ruin of his soul is accelerated; his body is indeed butchered in the most inhuman manner, while his soul is poisoned by the most detestable crimes, to which his forefathers were utter strangers in their own country. But the evils connected with slavery are so dreadful and profound, that Satan, if possible, himself, could not hear them developed without a blush! or the most voracious cannibal with. out a sympathetic tear. I will be bold to say, that this crime of itself is sufficient to force the slumbering vengeance from the skies, especially when it is remembered, that the perpe. trators, the abettors and supporters of it, all know their mas. ter's will, and of consequence, (if the scriptures are true,) will be beaten with many stripes. Any person who will for a moment reflect upon the moral justice and mercy of God, and the immoral actions and cruelty of the inhabitants of the new as well as the old world, will be constrained to believe, that without speedy repentance and reformation, the scourge of God and besom of destruction will eventually sweep them away. For surely we cannot suppose an impartial God, who has punished unenlightened nations for their iniquity, will, or indeed can, according to his moral justice, and equitable attributes, let those that are enlightened pass with impunity, who have been guilty of the same crimes with