Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE ABOLITIONIST:

OR RECORD OF THE

NEW ENGLAND ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.

EDITED BY A COMMITTEE.

BOSTON:

PRINTED BY GARRISON & KNAPP.

1833.

EO

[blocks in formation]

THE ABOLITIONIST.

VOL. I.]

JANUARY, 1833.

THE ABOLITIONIST.

THE object of the Abolitionist, as its name indicates, is to promote the abolition of slavery, and also to improve the condition of the free people of color in the United States. The work will be under the editorial supervision of a Committee of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society.

We believe that very unsound opinions and unchristian feelings, in regard to slavery, prevail throughout our country. Even in the states in which slavery is not tolerated, the great majority of the people are its apologists and supporters. Many, while they acknowledge that slavery is an evil, seem quite unconscious that to keep men in bondage is a sin. They pity the unfortunate slaveholder, but have no sympathy for the wretched slave. While they lament that a large portion of our country should have its morals corrupted, its wealth and strength impaired, and its future prospects shrouded in gloom, by the institution of slavery, they with the greatest inconsistency brand every one as an unprincipled incendiary, who attempts to point out any remedy for these present and future evils.

[NO. I.

no admission in the Abolitionist, and will receive from it nothing but reprobation.

We shall address ourselves to the reason and humanity of our countrymen. We see among us a large proportion of our population distinguished from the rest only in color and features, who are yet, on account of this distinction, made the victims of an inveterate and unchristian prejudice. Knowing that our countrymen are men, and that the great majority of them are Christians, we shall endeavor to show that this prejudice is not sanctioned either by reason, religion, or humanity. We shall, therefore, call on every individual, who feels convinced of this truth, to exert himself to impress it upon his neighbors. Believing in a superintending Providence, we cannot doubt that truth and justice will finally prevail.

We shall recommend the moral and intel

We shall advocate IMMEDIATE ABOLITION. Let not our readers startle at the words. We shall show by abundant facts before the year is out, that wherever the experiment of immediate abolition has been tried, it has been successful. Even the history of Hayti, which has been so much misunderstood and misrepreWe contend that slavery is as proper a sub-sented, affords unanswerable evidence of this ject of discussion, as any other topic in which truth. large numbers of men are concerned; and no good reason can be shown for restraining the liberty y of the press on this subject, which will not apply to many others. Bonaparte, and other despotic rulers, have thought that no measures of government ought to be freely canvassed in the public prints. If it be once admitted that there is any one topic in which the public is concerned, on which the press may not speak freely, there is no principle on which the freedom of the press can be defended.

While, however, we advocate the unrestrained right of expressing opinion, we are far from recommending the publication of any thing designed to excite the slaves to insurrection. Pieces with such an object will find

VOL. I.

lectual education of the people of color in our country, both bond and free. Even corporeal liberty is of little comparative value to its possessors, while their minds remain enenslaved to ignorance, sloth and sensuality.

We cannot, in the course of these brief introductory remarks, present our readers with all our opinions on the momentous subjects which will be discussed in our publication. All that we can promise is, hearts devoted to the great cause in which we are engaged. If our publication shall in some degree, however small, promote it, our labors will not be in vain.

1

2

CIETY.

New-England Anti-Slavery Society.

NEW-ENGLAND ANTI-SLAVERY SO-[ has been shed where all was obscure, though in some instances the darkness 'comprehended it not.'

The First Annual Meeting of this Society takes place on the second Wednesday of Jan- The Society commences its operations for uary, instant, on which occasion a general in- another year, with a rich accumulation of exvitation is given by its Managers to all the perience, hope and zeal. Cheered by the friends of the colored race in New-England to promises of Him who cannot lie, relying upon be present. A particular account of the pro- His gracious assistance, and warmed by a love ceedings (which are expected to be of an in-toward all classes of men which many waters teresting character) will be given in the Abo- cannot quench, it resolves to persevere in its litionist for February.

This Society was formed on the first of January, 1832. The second article of its Constitution explains the purposes of its organization:

Article 2. The objects of the Society shall be to endeavor, by all means sanctioned by law, humanity and religion, to effect the abolition of slavery in the United States, to improve the character and condition of the free people of color, to inform and correct public opinion in relation to their situation and rights, and obtain for them equal civil and political rights and privileges

Iwith the whites.'

benevolent enterprise, through evil as well as good report, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. May all its measures be such as to commend themselves to all who sincerely desire the welfare of their fellow men, and be acceptable in the sight of the Most High God, 'who has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth'---who regards the cries of the prisoner, and has given us his word that he

'will maintain the cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor'!

We think it may be truly said, that no society, commencing under such adverse cir- Whatever differences of opinion may precumstances and possessing such limited vail, respecting the best mode of attacking the means, has ever risen so rapidly in import- slave-system, there is one object cherished by ance, or so widely operated upon public sen- the Anti-Slavery Society, for the promotion timent, or at the expiration of its first year of which all parties and denominations should given so much promise of usefulness, as the coalesce---namely, 'to improve the character Anti-Slavery Society. It is true, extraordi- and condition of the free people of color.' nary efforts have been made to crush it, by How many more of this unfortunate class are the enemies of full and immediate restitution we determined to scorn, and proscribe, and to the slaves; hideous caricatures of its fea- ruin? Do we not owe them an immense debt, tures have been held up to the public view; for years of suffering, infamy and oppression? its claims for the victims of southern oppres- -Public odium, like the atmosphere, sursion, although graduated by the lowest scale rounds them. A sense of inferiority is made` of justice, have created in various quarters to press upon them with a mighty weight. alarming apprehensions, simply because they (With what face can we, who are persecuting have been misinterpreted by ignorance, or ex- our colored brethren here, assail southern opaggerated by prejudice :---but, in despite of pressors? If we are unwilling to do justly by the opposition of a rival, well-disciplined and powerful association, and of these various hindrances, the Anti-Slavery Society has accomplished much for the cause of liberty and justice, by a wide dissemination of its principles, and the employment of a zealous and intelligent Agent. Probably, through its instrumentality, more public addresses on the subject of slavery, and appeals in behalf of the contemned free people of color, have been made in New-England, during the past year, than were elicited for forty years prior to its organization. These efforts have excited a spirit of inquiry, and a vigorous discussion in the community; the hearts of multitudes have been touched with a flame of sympathy; light

them, how shall we plead for justice toward the slaves? If we refuse to educate their children, and leave them in their degradation, how shall we dare arraign the people of the south for keeping their slaves in a similarly ignorant condition? Before New-England can go forward boldly and efficiently in the cause of emancipation, she must elevate her colored population, and rank them with the rest of her children. Reform, not partial but entire--not in the letter but the spirit----must first commence at home. Philanthropists and Christians! come forth, then, to sustain by your contributions the Anti-Slavery Society in this benevolent work, and the blessings of many shall rest upon your heads.

American Colonization Society.

AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY.

3

It finds a cruel prejudice, as dark and false as sin can make it, reigning with a most tyrannous sway against both. It finds this prejublush, We are too wicked ever to love them dice respecting the free, declaring without a as God commands us to do—we are so reso

Our reasons for vigorously opposing this mighty combination will be stated, from time to time, in the pages of the Abolitionist. Some of them are forcibly expressed in the following extracts from a Circular, put forth in Eng-lute in our wickedness as not even to desire land by CHARLES STUART, Esq. a gentleman who, by his zeal and activity, now occupies a high rank among the philanthropists of that

country.

to do so and we are so proud in our iniquity that we will hate and revile whoever disturbs

us in it-We want, like the devils of old, to be let alone in our sin-We are unalterably determined, and neither God nor man shall move

fellow subjects never shall be happy in their native land.' The American Colonization Society, I say, finds this most base and cruel prejudice, and lets it alone; nay more, it di

"The American Colonization Society direct-us from this resolution, that our free colored ly supports the false and cruel idea that the native country of the colored people of the United States is not their native country, and that they never can be happy until they either exile themselves, or are exiled; and thus pow-rectly and powerfully supports it. erfully conduces to extinguish in them all 'The American Colonization Society finds those delightful hopes, and to prevent all that 2,000,000 of its fellow subjects most iniquiglorious exertion, which would make them a tously enslaved-and it finds a resolution as blessing to their country. In this particular, proud and wicked as the very spirit of the pit the American Colonization Society takes up a can make it against obeying God and letting falsehood, as cruel to the colored people, as it them go free in their native land. It lets this is disgraceful to themselves; dwells upon it, perfectly infernal resolution alone, nay more, it as if it were an irrefragable truth; urges it, as powerfully supports it; for it in fact says, as such, upon others; and thus endeavors with a fond and feeble father might say to some all its force, to make that practically true, overgrown baby before whose obstinate wickwhich is one of the greatest stains in the edness he quailed, 'Never mind, my dear, I American character; which is one of the don't want to prevent your beating and abugreatest scourges that could possibly afflict sing your brothers and sisters-let that bethe free colored people; and which, in itself, but here is a box of sugar plums-do pray is essentially and unalterably false. For be give them one or two now and then.' The the pertinacity of prejudice what it may, in American Colonization Society says practicalasserting that the blacks of America never ly to the slaveholders and the slave party in can be amalgamated, in all respects, in equal the United States, 'We don't want to prevent brotherhood with the whites, it will not the your plundering 2,000,000 of our fellow subless remain an everlasting truth, that the wick-jects of their liberty and of the fruits of their edness which produced and perpetuates the assertion, is the only ground of the difficulty, and that all that is requisite to remove the whole evil, is the relenting in love of the proud and cruel spirit which produced it. Could the American Colonization Society succeed in establishing their views on this subject, as being really true of the people of the United States, it would only prove that the people of the United States were past repentance; that they were given over, through their obstinacy in sin, finally to believe a lie; to harden themselves, and to perish in their iniquity. But they have not succeeded in establishing this fearful fact against themselves; and as long as they continue capable of repentance, it never can be true, that the proud and baneful prejudices which now so cruelly alienate them from their colored brethren, may not, will not, must not, yield to the sword of the Spirit, to the Word of God, to the blessed weapons of truth and love.'

"The American Colonization Society looks abroad over its own country, and it finds a mass of its brethren, whom God has been pleased to clothe with a darker skin. It finds one portion of these free; another enslaved!

toil; although we know that by every principle of law which does not utterly disgrace us by assimilating us to pirates, that they have as good and as true a right to the equal protection of the law as we have; and although we ourselves stand prepared to die, rather than submit even to a fragment of the intolerable load of oppression to which we are subjecting them-yet never mind-let that be-they have grown old in suffering, and we in iniquity— and we have nothing to do now but to speak peace, peace, to one another in our sins. But if any of their masters, whether from benevolence, an awakened conscience, or political or personal fear, should emancipate any, let us send them to Liberia that is, in fact, let us give a sugar plum here and there to a few, while the many are living and dying unredressed-and while we are thus countenancing the atrocious iniquity beneath which they are perishing.' In this aspect I find the American Colonization Society declaring itself a substitute for emancipation, and it is in this aspect that I contend with it, and that I proclaim it, as far as it has this character, no farther, a bane to the colored people, whether enslaved or free, and a snare and a disgrace to its country.

« PreviousContinue »