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diately abolishing Slavery, was established in Boston, in 1832. The first AntiSlavery Convention was held in Philadelphia, in December, 1833, and was attended by delegates from ten States out of the twenty-four (from the six which compose New England, from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio). At the end of 1834, the Auxiliary Anti-Slavery Societies amounted to 200.
“Even in this short notice, it would be injustice to omit the mention of Mr. Wm. Lloyd Garrison, as the earliest promoter, the founder, indeed, of these institutions. Associated with him have been many men and women who are alike an honour to their nation and their race.
“No object of public benevolence in our country, however zealously promoted, can convey any idea of the labours, the trials, the dangers of the American Abolitionists; and the history of philanthropic enterprize records no more disinterested and devoted labourers in the cause of humanity than have graced the ranks of this noble band. Unappalled by the murder of some of their number, by the imprisonment of others, by threatenings of death, by various acts of personal violence, by the hostility of the public generally, in the Free, almost as much as in the Slave States,-unsubdued by the coldness and reproaches of their friends and connections, by the indifference, and too often by the censures, of the ministers of that religion, the precepts of which had called them to their work,—they have proceeded steadily in the consecration of their time, their talents and their property, to the interests of the oppressed and friendless Slave.”
Though the writer of the “Brief Notice” avoids entering upon a description of the peculiarities existing among the Anti-Slavery organizations of America, his opinion is most favourable to that of which Mr. Garrison is the President. He says,
“In affording to the American Abolitionist that sympathy and assistance which he solicits and deserves from the land of his forefathers, it is not necessary for us to enter into the peculiarities that distinguish various societies. To all sincerely interested in freeing their country from the crime, the consequences and the odium of Slave-holding, we may unhesitatingly bid God-speed. But from a conviction that, upon the whole, the mode of action of the AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY is best suited to the magnitude of the evil to be struggled against, the writer of these remarks will hold principally in view this Association and its various auxiliaries, amongst which are the Massachusetts AntiSlavery Society' (the original one that was formed in 1832), and the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society,' established in the autumn of 1835, and remarkable for the distinguished ladies to whom it is indebted for its eminence and efficiency."
The Section upon the Difficulties of the Abolitionists may be considered as one of the most important in this tract-certainly that in which we feel the greatest interest. We have found it very difficult to understand, with such conflicting statements as are from time to time brought before us, both in American publications and by visitors from the United States, the precise position of the American churches, especially of those in the Free States, in reference to the Slavery question. Some of these points are clearly brought forward in the “Brief Notice," and with a fairness which leads one to regard the writer as an observer, and not as a partizan. We doubt, indeed, if what are called
thorough-going Abolitionists will not think him too lenient towards · those who differ from them. The subsequent extracts will be suffi.
cient to give our readers a general view of what the Abolitionists consider the great obstacles in the way of the reform at which they aim.
“ The Abolitionists declare, that if the clergy saw it to be their duty to
denounce, as they would any other sin, that of robbing human beings of their natural rights and treating them as chattel property, Slavery could not exist another year in that country. And, in addition to this apathy on the part of the clergy, they describe the ramifications of the Slave-holding system, through the medium of commercial pursuits, family and social connections, political predilections and church associations—to be so interwoven with the feelings, habits and interests of the inhabitants of the Free States, as to blind their moral sense to the magnitude of the evil which is undermining the national character and portending incalculable calamity to their future welfare.
“ Most painful are those parts of the statements of the American Abolitionists, in their public meetings and in their printed annual reports, which refer to the conduct of their clergy in relation to Slavery. It is almost impossible, in perusing them, not to sympathize in the deep feeling of regret and disappointment which these statements express. On the other hand, we are bound not to be led away by a contemplation of the wrongs of the Slave, from putting a charitable construction upon the motives and conduct of others. And while making allowance for the absorbing interest in their enterprize felt by the Abolitionists, and for the difficulty they may find in comprehending the reasonings of those who have ever been accustomed to regard the subject in an entirely opposite point of view, we have no right to consider every Slaveholder as rapacious, inhuman and irreligious; nor every Christian minister as faithless to his high calling, who does not denounce Slavery as the Abolitionists wish him to do. If we are inclined to regret that the minds of the clergy are not more enlightened and their consciences more awakened, still we are not justified in concluding that they do not act agreeably to the dictates of judgment and their convictions of duty.
“ This subject is not only a painful, but a very difficult one for us to investigate, so as to arrive at satisfactory conclusions. The American ministers maintain that we in this country cannot possibly be aware of the various circumstances of their position which prevent them from taking an open and decided part in opposition to Slavery, and entreat us to give them credit for acting as wisdom and conscience dictate, though they may not adopt the course we think they ought to pursue. We readily accord to them this claim, yet we venture to ask if, removed as we are from the influences which may tend to mislead their judgment and embarrass their action, we may not have the power of seeing more clearly than they can the pointings of their duty ? And when we consider the vast extent of the efforts of the Anti-Slavery Associations during the last fifteen years, the immense number of their publications, the defence of their principles and conduct against an almost unprecedented amount of opposition, obloquy and persecution ;-when we see these societies not only surmounting all attempts to put them down, but daily increasing in number, and the promoters of them free from all suspicion of selfish objects, defying the Slave-holders of the South and the Slave-supporters of the North to impeach their motives, to refute their arguments or defame their characters, justice to the Abolitionists demands of us the admission that they have at least put us in possession of some important elements for forming a judgment on the merits of their case.
“One fact, at any rate, is within the scope of our observation. In the heart of a civilized, Christian nation-one exulting in the freedom of its laws and government is an institution outraging the laws of God and man, by allowing three millions of human beings to be robbed of their birthright, sold as cattle and treated with severe cruelty, against which comparatively few of their clergy raise an audible voice."
The direct mode in which the churches in the Southern States uphold Slavery, and the way in which the ministers of the Free States countenance the system by declining to denounce it, may be learned from the following quotations :
“* The churches of the South,' they tell us, hold Slaves, both in their church capacity and through their individual members, and are sustained as Christians and as Christian churches in so doing, by the churches and Christians at the North.' The lawfulness of Slavery is maintained by some ministers by appeals to the Bible. A Slave has been sold for the purchase of communion plate. The theological Synod of South Carolina and Georgia recently sold eight human beings to procure money for educating Presbyterian ministers. The clergy at the North generally condemn the Abolitionists as a body of fanatics. Few would venture publicly to pray for the freedom of the Slave; while giving notice of an Anti-Slavery meeting would frequently subject ministers to the severest censures of members of their churches. There exists among them a conventional agreement to speak of Slavery in the abstract as a great evil, but they take no measures for its removal. The Abolitionists say to the ministers of the Free States, If you disapprove of our measures, if you think us too violent and injudicious in our course, let us see that you are sincere in your professed horror of Slavery by your adopting other measures for its removal. Do not foster the prejudice against colour by treating free men residing in your own cities with contumely and scorn, because they happen to be less white than yourselves; do not exclude them from mixing with white children in charity schools; do not in your churches separate them from the rest of the congregation, and compel them to occupy
Negro pews; do not insult them even in death, by insisting that they shall be buried at a distance from their white brethren. With such a sphere of influence as you enjoy, do not dare to incur the awful responsibility of maintaining that • silence is your duty on this question.' Petition for the abolition of the Slave-market in the free city of Washington, where the Congress holds its sittings. Demand the abrogation of the laws compelling Free States to surrender fugitive Slaves to their masters. Insist that a State cannot be called free if the Slave have not the same liberty there that he would find in going a little farther north, to the British possessions in Canada. In your public ministrations, preach in behalf of the Slave; pray for his liberty. "We do not ask you to join our societies or adopt our plans, but we call upon you to DO SOMETHING for the Slave ; we ask you to prove, by your open conduct in contending against the sin of Slave-holding, the sincerity of your professions as men and as Christians. We call upon you, as persons who will have here after to give an account of your stewardship, to exert the power you possess over the great mass of American society, to arouse their attention to the deep sin with which the nation is stained, and to exertion for its removal,"
Upon a calm consideration of the preceding statements, which do not bear any stamp of unfair prejudice, we certainly think there is cause for regret that the American clergy do not evince more earnestness in the attempt to put an end to the institution of Slavery; and we find it difficult to satisfy our minds that their social position does not demand of them a greater use of the moral influence they possess in awakening the consciences of the people to the sin of Slave-holding, than they appear to exert. We do not forget that they have many difficulties to encounter; yet, keeping all the circumstances of their situation in view, we cannot deny that our sympathies and approbation accord more with those who have seen it to be their duty to speak out on the subject, as Channing has spoken, than with such as do not feel themselves called upon to express more than a conventional disapproval of Slavery.
The leading members of the Abolition Societies may be violent and coarse in their language, uncompromising, overbearing, intolerant; they may be people whom many would find it difficult and disagreeable to
act with; but we cannot doubt that any American minister, who is sincerely desirous of exerting his influence against Slavery, may do so himself, and induce others to follow his example, without uniting with any of the existing Anti-Slavery parties.
We have already alluded to the agitation that has been produced among the members of the Free Church of Scotland, threatening a serious division in that body. In Dublin, Belfast and Cork, in London, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Bridgewater, Taunton, thousands upon thousands have been listening to the eloquent harangues of Frederick Douglass, who is now visiting various places in England for the purpose of exciting attention to American Slavery. It would be idle to affect any doubt of the powerful influence this remarkable man will have upon the thinking population of this kingdom. He has been joined by William Lloyd Garrison, the great leader of the Boston Abolitionists, whose object is said to be to explain to the friends of the Slave in this country the manner in which the cause of human freedom can be best promoted, and to vindicate the American Abolitionists from the charges so often brought against themselves and the measures they advocate.
In accordance with the belief that if the churches of America would oppose Slavery, it would soon cease to exist, it appears an important object with the Abolitionists now in England to induce the religious bodies of this country to exhort their brethren in America to adopt some decided measures in behalf of the Slave; and they strongly recommend that no church-fellowship or friendly intercourse should be held with such societies in the United States as do not obey this call. As the most numerous class of religious professors in America is the Wesleyan Methodists, as they own some hundred thousands of Slaves, and as their Conference has decided upon offering no opposition to Slavery, the Abolitionists earnestly invoke the Wesleyan body in Britain to refuse admission to their pulpits to those Methodist ministers from the United States who have not seceded from their pro-Slavery body. They trust the same course will be adopted by all our religious communities that hold church-fellowship with similar societies in America. The Abolitionists insist that there is little hope for the Slave while Slave-holding is made respectable; that it is an affectation of philanthropy to denounce the sin of Slave-holding, and shield the sinner from condemnation. With regard to the propriety of the course of the Abolitionists upon these points, as well as upon others that may be considered to constitute a system of personal attack upon all in the United States who do not raise their voices against the Slave-system, we do not feel equal to give a decided opinion. We cannot but fear that the virulence of invective and want of Christian charity which have been manifested in some recent Anti-Slavery speeches, resolutions and correspondence, will repel from the ranks of the Abolitionists many whom a gentler tone might have allured to them. We can make all due allowance for the harassing opposition against which the American Abolitionists have to struggle: we will not contend (though, perhaps, we might with truth) that the unmeasured language they use may not be necessary to rouse their own nation to Anti-Slavery action; but we hesitate not to assure them that this mode of proceeding is utterly repugnant to the taste, the feelings and principles of the English nation, and that unless they more apply themselves to observe the
“ suaviter in modo" with “ fortiter in re," they will assuredly lose the opportunity of gaining many coadjutors who would do both service and honour to their cause.
We have extended this notice to an unusual and unexpected length, and will conclude with only one more remark.
We do not accord with those who take the ground that this country ought not to interfere with the United States in regard to their Slavesystem, and that all such proceeding on our part must be necessarily offensive, and may retard the progress of emancipation.
That objectionable and improper modes of interference may be adopted, we do not deny, and most anxious are we that discretion and kindness should temper the Anti-Slavery efforts of British Abolitionists. And, were the subject of controversy an affair of tariffs, of glory, of national honour or etiquette, we might think it well to leave it to be settled by our Governments. But we cannot have so little faith in the soundness and efficiency of Christian principles, as to believe that a gentle, earnest, affectionate entreaty to our enlightened brethren in America to unite with us in the accomplishment of an object from which we can derive no personal advantage, but which will promote their best interests and the welfare of the human race, could either excite permanent disapprobation, or prove injurious to the high purpose contemplated. We are, however, unable to express our views upon this point more strongly than in the words of Dr. Channing, with which the author of the “ Brief Notice” concludes his tract:
“ The position is false that nation has no right to interfere morally with nation. Every community is responsible to other communities for its laws, habits, character: not responsible in the sense of being liable to physical punishment and force, but in the sense of just exposure to reprobation and scorn. And this moral control communities are bound to exercise over each other, and exercise it more and more in proportion to the spread of intelligence and civilization. The world is governed much more by opinion than laws. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms. In this state of the world, all attempts of the Slave-holders to put to silence the condemning voice of men, whether far or near, is vain, I utterly deny that a people can screen themselves behind their nationality from the moral reprobation of the world.”
Jean Paul.–VIII. ON SEEING AN INFANT'S COFFIN. It is a touching sight, that of a diminutive human creature thus hidden, as it were ; one who has passed at once from the slumber before life to the sleep of death; whose eyes were shut to this glorious world without once beholding even the parents who with moist eyes look down on it; whose little tongue withers away without having uttered a sound, as its face does without once smiling on the absurdities of life. These buds of the earth, thus broken off, may one day light on a branch on which mighty fate may engraft them. These flowers, like others which shut up in sleep at early morning, may one day be opened again by a rising sun.