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their torrents of abuse and falsehood. At one time they have represented abolitionism as dying away, just gasping for breath, and at another as wielding a tremendous power and commanding by means of enormous and secret wealth an agency which would soon dissolve the Union, and overturn the liberties of the country. Nor have they contented themselves with railing at the Anti-Slavery Societies, but the constituted authorities, when they have ventured to favor the doctrine of equal human rights, have come in for a share of abuse. The legislatures of Vermont and Massachusetts, the Governor of Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, now have to bear the reproach of fanaticism to which our ears have become quite familiar. To illustrate the utter profligacy to which many of our leading presses have proceeded, we quote a paragraph from a column published in one of the papers of New-York, which boasts a circulation of 10,000 copies daily among "the better part of the community." The subject of its abuse is the decision of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts against the right of any persons to introduce and hold slaves in that state. Says the distinguished editor:
"Under this decision, property in one state is not property in another, and any state may interdict its being brought into it, or take it away when there, from its lawful owner.
"The conscientious people, who live under the code Lynch, cannot but be marvellously comforted at seeing the decisions of their oracle thus sustained by the Chief Justice of the peaceable and orthodox state of Massachusetts. The code Lynch is founded on an utter disregard to the rights of person and property, the laws of the land, and the Constitution of the United States. The code Shaw rests on a basis similar in all respects to that of the code Lynch. Let us compare the two together, and the identity will be apparent."
Had an abolitionist placed the act of even an inferior officer of one of our courts on a level with the outrageous proceedings of a lawless mob, the welkin would have been made to ring with the outcry against him. But strange as it may seem, here is the respect paid by a large portion of the newspaper press to every man or body of men, high or low, who presume to advocate the doctrine of human liberty! The mischiefs of such presses are counteracted only by the very general conviction among their patrons that their veracity and honesty are always secondary to their interests.
But the most effective opposition we have met with has been from the professed ministers of Christ! The leading influences of the most extensive denominations of Chris
tians, while they are making no effort whatever against the enormous crime of holding men as property, have spared no pains to thwart the purposes of others who are. Well aware of their influence on every subject pertaining to morals, they have used it to the utmost against the doctrines of equality of rights and immediate emancipation.
The general quadriennial Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which met last spring in Cincinnati, a body which in 1780 declared slavery to be contrary to the laws of God, man and nature-contrary to the dictates of conscience and pure religion, passed the following resolutions," the first by a vote of 122 to 11, and the second of 120 to 14.
"Resolved, by the delegates of the annual conferences, in General Conference assembled, That they disapprove, in the most unqualified sense, the conduct of two members of the General Conference, who are reported to have lectured in this city recently upon and in favor of modern abolition.*
Resolved, by the delegates of the annual conferences, in General Conference assembled, That they are decidedly opposed to modern abolitionism, and wholly disclaim any right, wish, or intention, to interfere in the civil and political relation between master and slave, as it exists in the slaveholding states of this Union."
It was with good reason that this Conference prefixed the epithet modern to the word abolitionism. The denomination was founded little more than half a century ago by men who were uncompromising abolitionists, and no sin was more pointedly excluded by its rules than slavery. To have expressed unqualifiedly their decided opposition to abolitionism, would have been to unchurch their own venerated Wesley. They were obliged therefore to pretend that the abolitionism of the Anti-Slavery Societies is different from that of their founder, a pretence which proves to be miserably hollow whenever the two sorts of abolitionism are placed side by side. The earliest Methodists rigidly excluded slaveholders from their churches; subsequently they were admitted but enjoined to free their slaves as soon as practicable, last spring it was stoutly claimed that the southern church ought to be allowed a slaveholding bishop, and a secession is threatened if this request is not granted by the next Conference.
The use which the Southern portion of the church claim to make of these resolutions is abundantly illustrated by
In the debate on the floor of the Conference the Rev Wm. A. Smith, of Virginia, allowed himself to say of the Rev. Orange Scott, of Massachusetts, "I would to God he were in heaven, where he is prepared to go." No retraction was required by the Conference.
the following extracts. First, we have a letter from George W. Langhorne, a methodist minister, to the editor of Zion's Watchman, dated Raleigh, N. C., June 25, 1836:
"I, sir, would as soon be found in the ranks of a banditti, as numbered with Arthur Tappan and his wanton coadjutors. Nothing is more appalling to my feelings as a man, contrary to my principles as a Christian, and repugnant to my soul as a minister, than the insidious proceedings of such men.
"If you have not resigned your credentials, as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, I really think that, as an honest man, you should now do it. In your ordination vows, you solemnly promised to be obedient to those who have the rule over you; and since they have spoken, and that distinctly, too, on this subject, and disa probate your conduct, I conceive that you are bound to submit to their authority, or leave the church."
Again, at a public meeting held at Orangeburgh, S. C., on the 21st of July, 1836, which had been called for the purposes of considering what should be done with a copy of Zion's Watchman, which had been sent to the Rev. J. C. Postell, a member of the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist E. Church, Mr. Postell read an address to the citizens of that place, which was published in the Charleston Courier of Aug. 5, 1836, and of which the following is an extract:
"From what has been premised, the following conclusions result: 1. That slavery is a judicial visitation. 2. That it is not a moral evil. 3. That it is supported by the Bible. 4. It has existed in all ages.
"It is not a moral evil. The fact, that slavery is of DIVINE APPOINTMENT, would be proof enough with the Christian that it cannot be a moral evil. So far from being a moral evil, it is a MERCIFUL VISITATION-"IT IS THE LORD'S DOINGS, AND MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES." And had it not been for the best, God alone, who is able, long since would have overruled it. IT IS BY DIVINE APPOINTMENT.'
At the same meeting, the Rev. Mr. Postell read a letter which he had addressed to the editor of Zion's Watchman, of which the following are extracts :
"To LA ROY SUNDERLAND, Editor of Zion's Watchman, New York:
"Did you calculate to misrepresent the Methodist Discipline, and say it supported abolitionism, when the General Conference, in their late resolutions, denounced it as a libel on truth? Oh, full of all subtlety, THOU CHILD OF THE DEVIL.' 'All liars,' saith the sacred volume, 'shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone.'
"I can only give one reason why you have not been indicted for a libel. The law says, the greater the truth, the greater the libel; and as your paper has no such ingredient, it is construed but a small matter. But if you desire to educate the slaves, I will tell you how to raise the money, without editing Zion's Watchman: you and old Arthur Tappan come out to the South this winter, and they will raise One Hundred Thousand Dollars for you-New Orleans of herself will be pledged for it. Desiring no further acquaintance with you, and never expecting to see you but once in time or in eternity, which is at Judgment, I subscribe myself the friend of the Bible, and the opposer of Abolitionism,
Orangeburgh, July 21, 1836.
J. C. POSTELL.
The New-York Conference actually proceeded so far, as to exact a pledge of its candidates for the ministry, that they would not agitate the subject of slavery. Unblush
ingly, over the yet fresh graves of Wesley, Watson, and Clarke, did they record the following resolution, for the purpose of curtaining out of sight unutterable abominations:
"Resolved, That although we would not condemn any man, or withhold our suffrages from him on account of his opinions, merely, in reference to the subject of Abolitionism, yet we are decidedly of opinion that none ought to be elected to the office of a deacon or elder in our church, unless he give a pledge to the Conference that he will refrain from agitating the church with discussions on the subject and the more especially as the one promises "reverently to obey them to whom the charge and government over him is committed, folowing with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions;" and the other with equal solemnity promises to "maintain and set forward, as much as lieth in him, quietness and peace, and love among all Christians, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to their charge."
The General Conference, to which we have already alluded, had in its Pastoral Address exhorted all under its care to "abstain from all Abolition movements and associations, and to refrain from patronizing any of their publications;" but it was reserved for a Conference in a nominally free state to go further, and interdict all discussion on the subject! Though scarcely less than 70,000 members of this communion are themselves either groaning under the yoke of bondage, or enjoying a nominal freedom but little better than slavery-bought, and sold, and driven as brutesdenied the reading of the Scriptures, and the security of domestic relations-and, indeed, subjected to the most cruel and degrading despotism ever enforced by man; every candidate is required by this Conference, for the quiet and peace of the church, to pledge himself not to agitate her communion by "discussions on the subject." He must not only refrain from Anti-Slavery Societies, but must shut his mouth to the wrongs and woes of tens of thousands of his own Methodist brethren! A stranger would be tempted to inquire, What body, but a band of robbers, could deprecate the agitation of such a subject?
The proceedings of the last General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, presided over by a slaveholder, are too interesting and instructive not to be noticed at some length. The Assembly of the previous year had received numerous memorials and petitions, praying for the reprobation of slaveholding as a sin against God. These were referred to a Committee, to be reported on to the Assembly of 1836. The following is the report which was presented by a majority of that Committee, through the Rev. Dr. Miller, its chairman :-
"The Committee to whom were referred, by the last General Assembly, sundry memorials and other papers touching the subject of slavery, with directions to report thereon to the General Assembly of 1836, beg leave to report
"That after the most mature deliberation which they have been able to bestow on the interesting and important subject referred to them, they would most respectfully recommend to the General Assembly the adoption of the following preamble and resolutions, viz.:
Whereas, the subject of slavery is inseparably connected with the laws of many of the States in this Union, with which it is by no means proper for an ecclesiastical judicatory to interfere, and involves many considerations in regard to which great diversity of opinion and intensity of feeling are known to exist in the churches represented in this Assembly. And whereas, there is every reason to believe that any action on the part of the Assembly, in reference to this subject, would tend to distract and divide our churches, and would, probably, in no wise promote the benefit of those whose welfare is immediately contemplated in the memorials in question. Therefore,
"1. Resolved, That it is not expedient for the Assembly to take any further order in relation to this subject.
"2. Resolved, That, as the notes which have been expunged from our public formularies, and which some of the memorials referred to the Committee request to have restored, were introduced irregularly-never had the sanction of the church--and therefore never possessed any authority-the General Assembly has no power, nor would they think it expedient, to assign them a place in the authorized standards of the church."
The pitiful weakness of this attempt to shuffle off the eternal obligations of justice and mercy, is on a level with its wickedness. Is the subject of slavery more closely connected with the laws of any of the states, than is the subject of distilling and lottery gambling with some of them? Is it more closely connected than it was in 1818, when the General Assembly declared "the voluntary enslaving of one part of the human race by another, a gross violation of the most precious and sacred rights of human nature," and "utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves." But is it possible, that a teacher of theology in the nineteenth century, could maintain before a body of Christian ministers, that the license of an immorality by the civil government is a reason why a religious body should neither interdict it, nor express any opinion concerning it? Could the Rev. Dr. Miller, of Princeton, maintain a doctrine that would have forbidden the Presbyterian church to discipline her members for frequenting the "hells" that are licensed in New-Orleans? But there was a "diversity of opinion," and "an intensity of feeling" in the churches, in relation to slavery! We suppose the same was almost equally true, in regard to some points of theology. Was it considered a good reason why the Assembly should not investigate and decide upon the case of Rev. Albert Barnes? Again, says the report, action would distract the churches. Would not the argu