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Cox as one of the committee. In this number is an address from the committee to the English public, exhorting them to exertion in the cause of universal abolition. "Will you," says the address, "rest satisfied with limited success? will you who have struck the fetters from British slaves, you who have dashed the poisoned chalice from their lips, leave millions unpitied and unassisted, to drink it to the dregs"? The same number announces the following among other modes, by which the influence of Great Britain is to be brought to bear upon slaveholding states, viz.
By the mission of properly qualified persons to these countries, with the view of awakening the public attention, in pressing the public conscience and forming the public opinion on the guilt and impolicy of slavery.
"By originating anti-slavery societies in such countries, the object of which shall be the immediate and entire abolition of slavery.
"By moving the various religious bodies in Great Britain to exert their influence upon the religious public of other countries, particularly the United States of America.
How far the Baptist delegate was "a properly qualified person" for the mission on which he was sent, will presently be seen. It seems he was not unapprized of the dangers and difficulties he would encounter in promoting the sacred cause of negro emancipation in this country. The Rev. Thomas Price, another member of the Baptist Union, stated at a public meeting in London, that after the appointment of the delegates, and before their departure, he remarked to one of them," Dr. Cox, you know the prejudices that exist in America against colored people-what will you do"?
The answer was, "I go in the spirit of a martyr." Such were the circumstances, the expectations and the pledges under which this gentleman came to the United States.
He arrived at New-York in April 1835, and proceeded to Richmond to attend the Baptist triennial convention, which commenced its session on the 29th of the same month. In their addresses to this assembly the English delegates did not think proper to make the slightest allusion to "the sacred cause."
The Rev. Dr. Welch, a Baptist clergyman at Albany, of much distinction, addressed a letter to Dr. Cox previous to his return home, and which has since been published in
England. In this strange epistle, to which we shall hereafter revert, the English delegate is lauded for his "decision of character"! We will now give some illustrations of this decision.
While at Richmond attending the convention, the Doctor received from New-York a written invitation, to take part in the proceedings of the American Anti-Slavery Society in that city on the 12th of May. About two weeks elapsed, and no answer was returned. "The reason of that silence" says the Doctor, "was chiefly an indeterminate state of mind, upon the question of appearing at the Anti-Slavery Anniversary."* To relieve this indeterminate state of mind, he resorted to the following expedient: "It was entrusted "to a brother in whom the fullest confidence might be re"posed, to invite those with whom it would be most impor"tant to confer, and from whose conversation the most im"portant information might be obtained, to guide our judg "ments relative to a public co-operation with the abolition agency, and the society about to hold its anniversary in "New-York." The deputies tell us they found "scarcely any of the influential Baptist friends abolitionists;" yet they summoned a council in Richmond, the capital of a slaveholding state, to learn from colonizationists and slaveholders whether it would be advisable for them to co-operate with the Anti-Slavery Society! The delegates have not seen fit to record the advice given by this council; nor was it necessary, as no one can have a doubt respecting it. The result of the council seems not however to have relieved Dr. Cox from his "indeterminate state of mind." He left Richmond without having decided on the course he would pursue, and proceeded to New-York, where he arrived from Philadelphia on Monday. The Anti-Slavery Society were to meet the next morning at 10 o'clock. The whole of Monday, he tells us in his book, was "employed in discussions with some of the leaders both in the Anti-Slavery and Colonization Societies." It was really a pitiable case for one so distinguished for "decision of character," to be thus baited by
"The Baptists in America," p. 167-a work published by the deputation since its return-republished in New-York.
+ Baptists in America, p. 92.
rival partizans, when a single monosyllable, a yes or a no, would have instantly terminated the struggle. But he was environed with difficulties-conscience was urging him to do his duty-the expectations of his English brethren who were bearing his expenses, and his own pledges and avowed principles, were weighing heavily upon him. On the other hand, the advice of the Richmond council, and the frowns of the influential Baptist brethren, and above all, the apprehension of personal danger, all united in recommending a position of neutrality. It unfortunately happened, that the New-York Courier and Enquirer, the most malignant pro-slavery paper in the city, announced on Monday morning, that Dr. Cox and George Thompson were to speak the next day at the Anti-Slavery Society, and added "we shall "not attend the meeting in question, but if we did, it would "be to aid in tarring and feathering the impudent foreign "pretenders who have dared to present themselves among "us, to sow the seeds of discord and disunion. Let them "beware of the experiment they have attempted."
A deputation from the committee waited on Dr. Cox to receive his answer to their invitation. He told them that he had been informed within half an hour, that if he went to the meeting it would be at the risk of his life-that he would get a jacket of tar and feathers. George Thompson, who was present, replied, that he would go with him and share the jacket. The Doctor however demurred to the proposed partnership, and proceeded to say, "you know there is a political bearing in the question." He was assured the society had nothing to do with politics; but the ony reply that could be extorted from this gentleman of decided character, was, "I cannot give an answer now : send at half past nine in the morning and I will give an answer" ! !*
It may well be supposed, that the Doctor's slumbers that night were unquiet; the next morning, half an hour before the Society assembled, he sent the following answer to the invitation he had received two weeks before:
"MAY 12, 1836. "Gentlemen-If I decline the honor of appearing on your
It is but fair to state that the account of this interview is taken from a speech delivered by George Thompson in a Baptist Chapel in London, published in the London Patriot of 1st June.
platform this day, on occasion of your anniversary meeting, I must be understood to assume a position of neutrality, not with regard to those great principles and objects which it is well known Britain in general, and our denomination in particular, have maintained and promoted, but with regard solely to the political bearings of the question with which, as a stranger, a foreigner, a visiter, I could not attempt to intermeddle.
I am, gentlemen, yours, respectfully,
F. A. COX."
Had the author been a wise man, he would have known, as he has since discovered, that this cunning letter was in fact a very foolish one. He has involved his character in perplexities from which it will never be relieved, merely because he had not courage enough to tell the truth. Dr. Cox was not sent to this country merely as an abolition agent; he came as delegate to the Baptist churches in the United States. At the time of the meeting, there were many of these churches yet to be visited; and the cordiality of his reception by these churches would probably have been diminished, had he publicly co-operated with the abolitionists. If therefore he believed, as he was no doubt instructed by his colonization friends,* that his attendance at the anti-slavery society would interfere with the primary object of his mission, a frank declaration of this belief would have been accepted as an excuse for his non-appearance. But unhappily for himself, he took other and totally different ground. Again, this gentleman was a stranger to the character of American mobs; he knew not how far their ferocity might be carried; and from the violence and malignity of the pro-slavery press, he had cause to be apprehensive for his personal safety. He moreover was assured on Monday, that he could only go to the meeting at the risk of his life. Now as the whole of Monday was spent by him in discussions with some of the leaders of the Anti-Slavery and Colonization Societies, we may readily imagine from what quarter these assurances were received, nor can we be surprised that they produced the intended effect on the indeterminate state of the Doctor's mind. Had he
* It appears that Dr. Cox spent the morning of the Anti-Slavery meeting, in company with a zealous colonizationist, in visiting the deaf and dumb Asylum.
under these circumstances told the committee that he was informed by certain gentlemen of great professional and official influence-gentlemen whom he as a foreigner was bound to believe would not deceive him, that if he made a speech at the meeting, he would be torn in pieces by the mob; and that he really believed he could promote the sacred cause of negro emancipation more effectually by keeping a whole skin, his answer, although not creditable perhaps to his nerves, would have been vastly more so to both his head and heart, than his miserable jesuitical note. The assertion in this blundering epistle that he could not make a speech against slavery when requested, because the question has political bearings with which as a stranger, a foreigner, a visitor, he could not attempt to intermeddle," was at once indelicate, inconsistent, unfeeling, and untrue. The invitation he had received, was a compliment paid to his character and station, and he returns the compliment by rebuking the abolitionists for their want of tact in asking him to do what would be highly improper. Nor was this all. Mr. Thompson like the Doctor, was a strana foreigner, a visitor, and was known nevertheless to be an agent of the Society, and was to deliver an address against slavery the very day the note was written, and of course the Society was impliedly censured by this foreign gentleman, for permitting Mr. Thompson to intermeddle. And how long we may ask, had the Doctor himself been aware of the impropriety of this intermeddling? It is a pity he did not make the discovery in time to lecture his English brethren on the political bearings of slavery, before they raised money to send him, a foreigner and stranger to promote in America " to the utmost of his power the sacred cause of negro emancipation." It is a pity he did not enlighten his fellow officers of the British abolition society on this subject before they made public their intentions in sending Mr. Thompson to this country, viz.
"To lecture in the principal cities and towns of the free states, upon the character, guilt and tendency of slavery, and the duty, necessity, and advantages of immediate and entire abolition. These addresses will be founded upon those great principles of humanity and religion, which have been so fully enunciated in this country, and will consequently