Page images

lar to that of condemning the dishonesty of the slaveholder, and yet purchasing and consuming his nefariously gotten goods. But are the cases similar?

The slave

The miller's business is a lawful business. holder's business, however legalized by wickedness for a time, is always eminently unlawful! The miller works for you himself, or pays a fair equivalent for the work which he gets performed for you. The slaveholder in order to supply you, is guilty of the most atrocious robbery: he gets sugar for you at the expense of bereaving your guiltless brother of all that is most dear to man! and he does not do this incidentally: but fundamentally, as an inherent and essential part of his system, so that remaining a slaveholder he can no more supply you, without thus horribly robbing your brother, than he could live without breathing; this atrocious felony committed against his down-trodden brother, being as inseparable from forced servitude, as breath is from life. In rebuking the miller for his dishonesty, you obey the divine commandment, Lev. xix. 17. In continuing to deal with the miller, (I mean in any ordinary case, such as I doubt not my friend intended,) you suit your own lawful convenience: "You cannot disentangle yourself from connexions of this kind without going out of the world," 1 Cor. v. 10. But were the miller a thief, and you knew it! whenever you took your grist to his mill, were he to go out amongst his neighbors, and, with the lash suspended over them, were he, to your knowledge, to drive them like beasts to grind your grain, and then to dismiss them without wages, merely giving them some pittance in order to preserve their strength for another similar occasion, could you then, as a kind and honest man, send your grist to him, or purchase his grist thus obtained by violence and fraud, or if you did do so, would you not plainly be a partaker in his sin: a tempter and a sustainer of his iniquity?

But to me the most grievous part of my brother's argument is, his representation of abstinence from slave produce, as a physical expedient; and when he inveighs against it as a physical expedient arresting moral evil. What does he mean by a physical expedient in an objectionable sense? Does he mean that when I know a tradesman to be an idler or a drunkard, or a lawyer a villain, or a professor of religion a hypocrite and a cheat, and therefore refuse

to employ them, that I am guilty of an objectionable physical expedient? or that regard for God's law and for human virtue and happiness, does not prohibit my giving them countenance in their iniquity? Does he mean, that when I know intoxicating drinks to be the direct and dreadful source of such a vast accumulation of vice and misery as is pouring over the land, my refusing to buy or use the liquid poison, is an objectonable physical expedient? or that holy love does not require me neither to touch, or taste, or handle the polluting and accursed thing? Yet if he do not mean such things as these, how can he fancy that refraining from slave produce is an objectionable physical expedient? I will not deal with an idle and drunken mechanic; I will not deal with a treacherous lawyer; I will not support a religious professor who is a hypocrite and a cheat; and my brother, I suppose, approves of my prudence and my benevolence. But do I do a more grievous wrong to the law of God or to human virtue and happiness, by countenancing a drunken mechanic, or a roguish lawyer, or a professor of religion who is a hypocrite and a cheat, than I do by countenancing a slaveholder? or, which is the most destructive character in society; and which does holy love most loudly call upon us to discountenance, the poor, idle, drunken laborer? or the treacherous lawyer? or the hypocritical pro. fessor? or the deliberate and unbending plunderer under a system of complicated mischief framed by law, of all that is dear on earth to his guiltless brother? And if because intoxicating liquors are pouring vice and misery over the land, I rightfully and benevolently refuse to deal in them, with their makers and venders, and users-why should it be an objectionable physical expedient for me to refuse to deal in slave produce, with its perpetrators or venders, or users, because it sustains a system of vice and misery more deep and deadly than even that which flows from intoxicating drinks? Intoxicating liquors are physically poisonous, and therefore should not be used; slave produce is replete with moral poison, should it be used? or, am I bound to be more careful of my body than of my soul? or, of the virtue and safety of the freeman, who, in this country, is always more or less able, if willing, to take care of himself, than of the guiltless and writhing slave, who is dumb? whose soul is scathed, and whose mouth is sealed by desperate oppression? or is

drunkenness a greater enemy to God and man, than tyranny? Which are doing most evil to this nation, drunkards or slave masters? which yield the most mighty and horrible power? which produce most mobs? which practice most lynching? which threaten the Union most? which are the proudest, the most irascible, imprudent, factious, rebellious, untameable, cruel, impure and unjust? Are they not mates, alike immense, misshapen, destructive and portentous! and can we then rightfully and benevolently encourage and sustain one, while we are doing, and are bound by duty to do, all that we can to bring the other to repentance? Can we lawfully take from drunkenness its meat and drink, yet nurture slavery with the choice food on which it revels and destroys? Take away intoxicating liquors, and drunkenness is gone! Take away slave produce, and slavery is extirpated! Shall we call it a righteously moral means to refrain from the aliment of drunkenness, and an objectionably physical expedient, to refrain from the aliment of slavery? Shall we deem it love, to starve the one and to nourish the other? Can we with righteous consistency come over at the cry of his misery to the help of the drunkard, yet turn a deaf ear to the wail of the slave?

"Ah," said a young slave in Jamacia, a few years ago within the hearing of one my of acquaintances, as with his fellow slaves, he was rolling a hogshead of sugar to the shore, "if the people in England knew how much of our blood, and how brutally, has been shed to make the sugar in this hogshead, there is not a kind heart amongst them that would ever taste a grain of it." A friend of mine returned from the same island about three years ago. I visited him just before I last left England. "A short time before I started," he said to me- -"I was conversing wtih a very intelligent slave on a sugar plantation and asked him, if it was really true that they suffered as much as was reported. I found it difficult to persuade him that I was in earnest, but when at length satisfied that my question was serious, he exclaimed with every gesture of surprise and pain. "They masse, dem not know, dat kill me?" In other words. What sin! don't every body know that it kills us? Many years have not elapsed, since the moral expedient of starving out drunkenness, by abstaining from the food on which its existence is dependant, appeared as chimerical, as now appears

the equally moral expedient of starving out slavery by abstaining from the food, by which alone it lives. But should this last expedient, notwithstanding its sound and sacred morality, prove at last chimerical, what will be the reason? Will it be want of power in the consumers of slave produce thus to extirpate slavery? Certainly not, for no proposition in mathematics is more plain or more undeniable, than that they have the absolute power, whenever they please to extirpate it. All that is wanting, is the will, and if the will be wanting, whose fault is it? Is it not the fault of every individual who does not do his share, without waiting for any body? Is it not yours, and yours, and mine, brother, who look more to human concurrence, than to the divine law? Who will not do our part, which we can do whenever we please, because we cannot get others to do their parts? But if so we live, and if so we die, will not our brothers' blood be found in our skirts ?

My dear brother is unwilling that the Anti-Slavery Society should also become an anti-slave produce society. So am I—but on grounds different from his. I am unwilling on the same grounds, on which I am unwilling, that the Sunday School Society, or the Temperance Society, &c. &c., should become also, an Anti-Slavery Society. Those societies sin, I think grievously by rejecting Anti-Slavery facts and Anti-Slavery principles, so much as they do, from their measures and their publications-in this respect, they are guilty I think, of a base and criminal subserviency to public wickedness. Noble and lovely, and beloved as they are, yet better in my opinion were it, that they should cease to be, than that they should thus compromise God's law and their outraged brother's cause. But yet, I would by no means have them become anti-slavery societies. Their appropriate cause is already marked out, and it is a glorious one. They have enough to do, each in its own department. No important work can be accomplished efficiently, without a wise division of labor. The little pin is made and afforded so abundantly and so beneficially, by twenty different and distinct trades, working separately and appropriately at it. The body wants toes and feet, as well as fingers and hands and head and heart. So the glorious work of love through Christ flourishes, by the various associations, which conduct its different parts. Bible societies, must not become Sunday

[ocr errors]

school societies-nor Sunday school societies, temperance societies-nor temperance societies, anti-slavery societiesnor anti-slavery societies, anti-slave produce societies, any more than feet must become fingers, or fingers, brains.— Hands and feet and eyes and ears are bound indeed to serve one another; and so are benevolent societies, and they sin when they do not-but still they must not be confoundedeach must retain its own distinctive character. The Bible Society is bound to sustain the Temperance Society; and the anti-slavery society, is bound to urge and sustain abstinence from slave produce. But each of these departments, in order to be conducted beneficially, needs a distinct and appropriate organization--and they can no more be rightfully confounded together, than they can rightfully stand aloof from one another, whatever be the motive, or whatever the influence when they do stand aloof from one another, they are recreants in that particular, from the common cause. They prefer their own parts to the whole. They seek partial, not universal righteousness, they are Sectarian, not Christian.

One other position of my brother, I feel bound to combat, He says, "suppose the whole world," (one twentieth part of it would suffice,) "should abstain from these products, and "the slave states should thereby be compelled formally to "abolish slavery. So far as the abolition was produced by "these means, it would rest on no principle but necessity, it "would be a slavish act. The sin would be unrepented of, "and the chance is, that the reformation would be rather "nominal than real. For there could not be, in the southern "states, as in the West Indies, hosts of special justices, to "watch the unwilling benefactors, and secure the rights of "the weaker party."

But does my dear brother mean, that the rescue of sufferers from suffering, is not desirable, unless the inflictors of suffering repent? Would he leave his neighbor's house to burn, until he could prevail upon the incendiaries to be heartily sorry? Would he leave slaves perishing, until slaveholders are brought to repentance? If, in traversing the ocean, he should be cast away on the shores of Morocco, and reduced to slavery there, would he reject the rescue, and a restoration to his native country, until his Arab master, could be convicted of sin and brought to Christ ?Would he reply, "no! my master's releasing me under these

« PreviousContinue »