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which tend to rock in the cradle of effeminacy those who are to be our defenders, and the supporters of our unalienable privileges, at a future period. We suffer ambition to mo. nopolize the rewards that should be conferred on virtue ; nay, we supinely behold our fellow citizens, not only enslave and murder thousands of their innocent, unoffending fellow crea. tures periodically, but we permit them, by this unjust and unwarrantable medium, to gain not only riches to fill their coffers, but also political influence in our national councils, the permanent right of suffrage and sovereignty. For it is a lamentable fact, that for every two slaves the dealers in hu. man flesh smuggle from Africa, or breed, they gain the same influence at elections, as a free citizen inherits in his own person ; and a planter that purchases two hundred negroes, not only replenishes his purse thereby, but also gains one hundred and twenty times as much influence in the nation, as the virtuous and honourable patriot who nobly refuses to prostitute his political and religious character, by participating in such unparalleled duplicity, hypocrisy, and villany. Is such in. equality consistent with a republican form of government ; is it consistent with justice, generosity, or even common sense ? No; it is a canker that eats, and will of itself eventually destroy our constitution. If there was no other enemy to excite our fears and alarm our sensibility, this surely is sufficient. No less than sixty odd thousand slaves an. nually increase the representation.
Can we blame them if they withdraw their confidence and support from their degenerate fellow citizens ?
It is not the fang of the impetuous lion I dread, but the venom of the snake in the grass ; that reptile which in. sidiously steals on its belly, and imperceptibly creeps to de. stroy. But I detest, I abhor, I execrate the toleration given to slavery in this free country. Free did I call it ? can a nation be free, when two and a quarter millions of its inhabitants are in the most humiliating and tormenting slavery? The supposition is an insult to common sense, common honesty, and common feeling. It tends to exhibit us to the whole world as a nation of political hypocrites and legal impostors. To whom shall I look, who shall I call upon, to execrate such diabolical, abominable principles, and deprecate the effects which they will infallibly produce in this infant
country? Ye ministers of God, I conjure you by all that is sacred, to join with me, in vindicating the cause of our wretched fellow men; the honour of our God, the sacredness of our holy religion, enjoins the important duty. Continue no longer in torpid indifference, look no more on this subject, as the Levite beheld the man that fell among the thieves, or us foreign from your ministerial function. Remember re. ligion without mercy, and sympathetic commiseration, is the religion of hell. I appeal to the wisdom and patriotism of the general government, to support the justice, and defend the honour of their country. I call upon the judges, the magistrates, the counsellors, and every individual of the na. tion, in whose veins a drop of patriotic blood flows, in whose heart a particle of tender pity palpitates, or in whose soul the honour attached to the citizens of America resides. I conjure you to reverence your ancestors, your government, your country, yourselves, and unanimously agree to eradicate the pollution with which you are stigmatized individually, and tarnished collectively. I call finally upon the humanity of the country, and the genius of the constitution, to vindi. cate the character and support the honour of the union, and destroy the seeds of discord which are already engendered, before they destroy the commonwealth. Let us, in the name of all that is virtuous, and in defence of all that is dear to us, endeavour to secure our safety, if not our glory; our lives, if not our national respectability; and in all our endeavours let us ever keep full in our intellectual view the honour of our progenitors, and safety of our progeny. Let us ever bear in mind, that slavery effeminates and debilitates the nation, that wantonness enervates it, and thạt sensuality will event. ually destroy it. But if any, after all the proofs we have adduced, should contend, that the danger resulting from the inequality and cruelty connected with African slavery is not as prominent as I insinuate, by arguments which I think are conclusive, I will therefore appeal to the hearts and consciences of my fellow citizens. If, for instance, a law was enacted in the national councils, by which the citizens of the north should be entitled to one vote in our elections (in ad. dition to their own personal votes) for every two head of cattle they purchased and placed upon their farms, and so on in proportion to the number of their cattle, I ask those who
are the supporters of slavery, would you not consider such a law as a monstrous violation of the law of nations, of recti. tude, and common sense ? and would you not be clamorous to have it instantly repealed, or separate from the general government ? No doubt
consequent on such a law being passed, would not be' half so pernicious and destructive to the public weal as the laws in favour of slave traders : for surely we cannot suppose that horned cattle could gnaw the vitals of the body politic, be always on the brink of commotion, and, as it was in Hispaniola, when the community was harassed with internal factions, or external invaders, embrace the opportunity and repay their tyrants in their own coin, in OPPRESSION, CRUELTY, AND
When I take a glance at that unhappy country, and view the human skeletons of thousands, and tens of thousands, whiten the shore, who were some years ago the same as the southern planters now are, and used the same paltry subterfuges and futile arguments in favour of slavery, my emotions are unutterable, and I can scarce maintain equanimity and moderation necessary to the elucidation and amplification of our discussion. Were I possessed with the voice of a trumpet, and adamantine lungs, methinks I would make all America reverberate with my remonstrances. My voice should swell “over the hills and far away;" the in. habitants of each city, town, village, and cottage should hear sounded in their ears——Awake from your false security, arise from your seductive repose! Behold with your intellectual eyes, your sacred rights already infringed, and the ways and means providing to annihilate as well as infringe them. For since your opponents of the south have gained their myriads of votes by their increase of slaves, and continue thus to accumulate their rights of suffrage, where are the privileges of the citizens of the north to be found ?-whirled into the vortex of the politics of the citizens of the south ; and alienated from themselves and their own true interests. This will ever be the case if they do not repel, with becoming magnanimity, such ungenerous encroachments in time. If the friends, the real friends of liberty, will make a resolute stand in opposition to the inequality of such measures, there is no doubt but matters may be accommodated amicably.
Those who have feeling in their hearts, candour in their
minds, and knowledge in their heads, will themselves anti. cipate ideas connected with our subject, and which perhaps it would not be prudent for me to develop.
Will any call all I have said, or will say, rhapsody or ranting? To such calumniators I would say—your language would be far, far different from what it is, were you in the forlorn situation of the persons whose cause I have espoused, and whose injured innocence I endeavoured to vindicate. But I would ask such patriots, is it only despots that must be censured, when they trifle with the lives, spill the blood, and laugh at the tears of their subjects! Are those who profess to be the votaries of republicanism to remain irresponsible, unreproveable, unimpeachable, and unreprehensible when they commit the very same crimes peculiar to the most despotic governments ? Must the cabinets of kings be reproached, when the senates of republics pass on with impunity? I hope not. Are the principles of our government, in which we boast, and the corrupt materials of other administrations which we invalidate, merely themes of idle speculation or declamation, introduced to decorate the senator's speech, and president's proclamation? Is it possible that men can produce such moral mischief, by their mental prostitution, and feel no compunction, nor suffer no reproach for the same? Can they risk the dearest interests of pos. terity without remorse or shame? I will be bold to say, that by neglecting the warning I give, and suffering slavery to grow and flourish in the land, is to invite the repetition of the tragedy that was acted in Hispaniola and Jamaica, to be re-acted in America. The planters, therefore, by neglecting to abolish slavery in time, virtually solicit the introduction of anarchy. And our administration, if they act in the same manner, will be answerable for the widow's anguish and the orphan's wo, who will consequently suffer the same calamities which the planters of Cape François endured. They must be likewise answerable to their country, to their consciences, and to their God for their pusillanimity and neglect. This is no theatrical exhibition ; there can be no inaccuracy in the scenes I have exhibited, and which still recur to my mind, and haunt my slumbering, as well as my wakeful moments. Experience in the case of others has proved the authentic prophet, to apprize us of what will sooner or later
come to pass; and methinks I already hear the shrieks of the victims of our imbecility, and it seems as if the voice of weeping and lamentation issues already from the shade of the wilderness or the declivity of the fertile picturesque mountains. With my mind's eye, I view the negro crying with uplifted hands, “ Am I not a man and a brother ?" and the next moment (when redress for his wrongs, or mitigation of his sufferings seems impossible) grasping the sword and pike and sallying forth to be revenged on his fell tyrants. These tragic scenes are already open to my imagination, and I fancy that I hear the yells of infuriated desperadoes, mingling with the groans and shrieks of their expiring victims, while the eastern wind conveys the mingled echo from the distant settlements of the south. If none but the citizens of the south were to suffer in the event of such a crisis, the case would not be so tragical ; but the warfare will be general, and nothing will satisfy either race, but the extinction or ex. tirpation of one or the other. The Africans are now reduced to beasts of burden, they will then be metamorphosed to beasts of prey ; superior force can only give security ; to talk of reconcilement will be fallacious ; “ for true reconcile. ment never grows where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.” The futility and versatility of the arguments and dispositions of slaveholders have judicially blinded their eyes : but is that any reason they should hoodwink their fellow citizens? Do they, or can they expect, (admitting their measures will have no worse tendency) that they will tamely bear the re-endurance of their former degradation under royal villany? Can they expect so far to debauch the public mind, as to cause others to subscribe to their rapacity, and legalize their villany, without receiving any thing in return, and losing every thing? Can they suppose that we will suffer ourselves so far to be mentally and morally prostituted as to sacrifice our characters at the shrine of avarice, ad. mitting the pecuniary reward to be ever so splendid and sumptuous ? Do they imagine that the people of the north have lost their minds, their memories, and their eyes also ? Or do they expect that they shall still succeed in replenish. ing their own personal finances and impoverishing their fellow citizens; importing thousands of young and vigorous Africans, and suffering periodically hundreds of old, debili.