Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2003 Issue

Slavery in the United States <br> Chapter 10

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Fanaticism is in like manner the most dangerous enemy to all rational, civil, and political freedom. We mean that freedom which is guarantied by the faith of constitutions, and administered through the medium of laws emanating from the people, and therefore challenging their respectful obedience. What has it long been about, and what is it now doing among the free people of the United States? Denouncing with senseless violence that constitution which is the great guarantee of their rights and property; demanding of congress to disregard that sacred compact which knits us together, and prevents the United States from becoming rivals and enemies, instead of members of one great and beneficent confederation, under whose protecting auspices we have distanced even our own hopes, and more than realized the fears of others; exciting and stimulating millions of ignorant blacks to a war with society itself, by promulgating the pernicious doctrine, that " slavery absolves them from all obligations to mankind," thus realizing the prophecy concerning the children of Ishmael, whose hands were to be against all men, and the hands of all men against them. It sees but one object in the world; it has but one good; and whether it be real or imaginary, for that it will sacrifice everything but its own safety, which is too indispensable to the approaching millennium to be placed in jeopardy. See what they say of the charter of our rights, the constitution, and the ark of our safety, the union :—
"We are for union, but not with slavery. We will give the union for the abolition of slavery, if nothing else will gain it; but if we cannot gain it at all, then the South is welcome to a dissolution— the sooner the better. The slaveholders may as well understand first as last, that ' The Union' may have other uses for them than that of a lash to shake over the heads of northern freemen."
Another of these pious incendiaries maintains the right and duty of the slave to cut the throats, or poison, or consume with fire, his master and all his family, if by so doing he can free himself from bondage. A third, in a sermon delivered from the pulpit, calls upon him " in the name of the LIVING GOD, and of his only Son, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, to assert his freedom by every means;" of course by conspiracy, murder, and indiscriminate massacre. A fourth organ, in the shape of a convention of abolitionists, lays it down as a principle, that " the condition of slavery absolves us from all the obligations of mankind,'- thus giving the slave the right of a wild beast to prey upon its fellows, and cutting up by the roots the entire social system of the United States. There is no end to these wild and wicked extravagances, which, addressed to enlightened men, would excite no other feeling but indignant contempt; but which, intended as they are to operate upon the feelings of ignorant slaves, are firebrands cast into the harvest field just ready for the reaper.

The conduct and sentiments of the abolitionists are marked by an utter disregard, a ferocious hostility to those laws and institutions which stand in the way of their mad schemes, and under whose salutary influence the people of the United States exhibit a spectacle of happiness and prosperity without a parallel. In the pretended pursuit of the rights of human beings, they trample on all the feelings of humanity, and immolate the laws of their country on the altar of a wilful misrepresentation of the law of God. Some of their defenders have denied the language that has come forth under the auspices of their own acknowledged organs, and the inferences which have been drawn from their own declarations. But it will not do: we impeach them as enemies of the law of the land, the constitution of the government, the union of the states, the common courtesies of life, the precepts of religion, and the rights and lives of millions of our countrymen. We charge them with using every exertion, straining every nerve, and resorting to every device, open and underhand, to produce, to foster, and to inflame feelings between the master and the slave, the South and the North, that cannot but be productive of consequences as fatal to the happiness of the former, as to the friendly relations and salutary union of the latter. The proofs are their own declarations, their words and their actions ; and to these we appeal.

Where shall we find barriers to defend us against the consequences of the doctrine, that human laws, sanctioned by an independent people, and sanctified in their happy consequences, may, nay, must be disregarded, on the authority of a text of Scripture, interpreted by fanatics to suit their own purposes? Where shall we look for security to our rights, or stability to our institutions, if they are thus to be sacrificed to a presumptuous interpretation of the law of God and the rights of nature? No constitution declaring and defining the principles on which nations choose to repose their rights and liberties; no laws for restraining wrong or maintaining right; no institutions, however productive of the general happiness of those who alone had a right to create them, can stand against such a system of daring innovation. Every knot of mad or malignant fanatics, foaming at the mouth with a ferocious abhorrence of the civil institutions of a free people, or writhing with envy at their own innate insignificance, and sighing for notoriety; every such association may thus overturn the whole fabric of human rights, and destroy all personal liberty, all freedom of action or mind, by the instrumentality of a text interpreted to suit their purposes, or a dogma which they cannot sustain but by a perversion of the Scriptures.

This is the way in which the duplicity of cunning has always assailed the credulity of ignorance, and brought it to crouch at its footstool. Such were the systems of government which prevailed among mankind in the darkest ages of the world. They were the sport of priests and oracles, declaring the will of God just as it suited their interests, or as they were swayed by presents of golden tripods, or talents of silver. All civil rights were at the mercy of these arbitrary interpreters of the will of the gods, who one day pronounced one thing contrary to that will, the next day something else, until, at last, mankind retained no rights except what their oracles were pleased to allow them.

It is thus with the sect of fanatics which has rallied under pretence of vindicating the rights of the slave. Their whole proceedings are in direct hostility to all freedom of person and property; for if they can find one text of Scripture which renders it imperative on the master "instantly"— as they maintain in their great manifesto—to manumit his slaves, there is no knowing but that in good time they may detect in the dream of Isaiah, or the Song of Solomon, another, which commands us to restore to the Indians the lands which they once held within the limits of the United States. And what security have we against a law of the Most High, enveloped in the vague obscurity of some inspired mystification, but which may one day be interpreted by these learned commentators into a solemn injunction to restore the kings of Israel and the Jewish hierarchy, under penalty of everlasting condemnation? There is no mischievous absurdity that may not be imposed upon us, where the code is a text, and its interpreters madmen or impostors.

Fanaticism, when assuming the garb of universal philanthropy, is equally opposed to all patriotism, and all the social relations of life. It has no fireside, no home, no centre. The equal lover of "the entire human race," such as Mr. Garrison and his associates, is in effect a traitor to his country, a bad citizen, a coldhearted friend, a worthless husband, and an unnatural father, if he acts up to his principles. He is false to his native land, to the nearest and dearest ties and duties, moral, social, and political, for he stands ready to sacrifice them all for the benefit of strangers, aliens, and enemies. He will not fight for his country, for all countries are alike to him; he will not devote his time, his talents, his labours, and affections to the happiness of his wife, his children, and his household friends, for he equally loves the whole family of mankind, and leaves them to the fostering care of the "entire human race," while he wanders away to the uttermost parts of the earth to overturn the social relations of nations, and establish a universal brotherhood. He scorns the sordid interchange of reciprocal duties, and disinterestedly devotes himself to those who are equally beyond the reach of benefiting by or returning his good offices.

His heart is never at home. The centripetal force never operates on him. He is for ever receding from the centre to the circumference, and his sphere of action is the whole universe. Nothing less than the great human family can awaken his sympathies. Wives, children, relations, friends, and country, are not half so near and dear to him as the negroes of Africa, or the Indians of Polynesia; and as to all the little insignificant ties and associations that form the cement of families, neighbourhoods, and communities, the solace of human life, they are as burnt flax, scorching, smoking, and finally consuming in the fiery furnace of red-hot fanaticism. Nothing will content him but the sacrifice of his country to a world or a dogma.

Hence, beyond all question, arises that gradual decay of real piety and practical religion which, notwithstanding all the cant and pretence of the age, cannot but be palpable to every calm observer. We seem to be exporting so much of our zeal and religion to distant countries, that there is scarcely enough left for our own consumption; and like the old woman whom Rhadamanthus beckoned to the left hand, claim the rewards of Heaven, not on the score of our own reformation, but the pains we take to reform others. Such is fanaticism, which, setting itself above the restraints of law, and the supervision of earthly tribunals, arrogates the sanction of Heaven for all its excesses, and is consequently as deaf to argument as it is blind to the dictates of common sense. It neither reasons nor listens to reason. We therefore do not address ourselves to the fanatics, but to the rational, reflecting citizens of the United States, a vast majority of whom are always on the side of their country and their constitution. We shall as little heed their reproaches as we respect their principles, or the course by which they are illustrated. Their sincerity, even if conceded, is no apology for madness. The madman who shot at the president was unquestionably sincere, yet is now expiating his error by a seclusion from that society of which he was the enemy. It is only persons afflicted with a harmless distortion of the mind that we allow to go at large, and we cannot include the abolitionists among this fortunate class.

It is difficult to discover to what denomination of Christians the clergymen who have taken the lead in this crusade, or given their sanction to the declarations and proceedings of the abolitionists, belong. A convention of the Methodist church of Ohio, one of the most numerous and respectable in the United States, not long since disavowed their proceedings in an admirable report, expressly stating that their discipline recognised and enforced submission to the civil power. A convention of the Presbyterian church of Pennsylvania, which assembled in Philadelphia a few weeks since, in like manner disclaimed all affinity or co-operation. The Baptists, as we are informed, are opposed to their whole course, and have dissented from them; the Episcopal church has given no sanction; and the Catholic is strongly opposed to their dangerous designs.

To what Christian church, then, do these brawling disturbers of the public peace appertain? By what authority, other than a perversion of the Scriptures, do they presume to speak, in their holy calling, in opposition to those numerous and respectable sects, which comprise almost the entire people of the United States? Are they supported by the canons, creed, doctrines, or discipline of any known church or have they cast away all communion with them, and set up for themselves? Do they affect superior piety or orthodoxy or have they attained to a greater degree of perfectibility, that places them above the restraint of all religious, as well as of all moral and legal codes? If so, it would seem full time for the humble, old fashioned followers of the Scriptures to proclaim to the world that they do not aspire to this sublime elevation above the restraints of the law, and the institutions of society, and will no longer be responsible for these daring eccentricities. They will then stand alone in the imbecility of their glory, and may justly lay claim to all the honours of immediate abolition, as well as its twin cherub, amalgamation.

From various notices we have seen of abolition meetings in Boston and elsewhere, it would appear that the abolition societies consist principally of females. If such be really the case, we would take this occasion with all that respectful deference to the sex, which is the distinguishing characteristic of freemen, gently to remind them that the appropriate sphere of women is their home, and their appropriate duties at the cradle or the fireside. It is there they best fulfil their most high and honourable destiny. It is there they become what they were intended to be, blessings to man and blessed by him. Surely they cannot be aware of the direct inference which must and will be drawn from their support of the disgusting doctrine of amalgamation, namely, that they stand ready and willing to surrender themselves to the embraces of ignorance and barbarity, and to become the mothers of a degraded race of wooly headed mulattoes. If they are sincere in their adhesion to these societies; if they are willing to carry out their principles, such must be their practice. Gracious heaven! What a prostitution!

Though Martha was gently reproached by the Saviour for her exclusive attention to domestic occupations, we do not find that Mary, though praised for her pious devotion, ever so far forgot the delicacy of her sex, or the timidity of a virgin, as to become the dupe or the instrument of false prophets and impudent impostors; or that she abetted conspiracies against the dignity of woman and the peace of society. Nothing is said of her assuming the character of a man; exposing herself to insults and violence in order to become the protector of a thief pardoned, not like him on the cross by the Saviour of mankind, but by a worldly master. Still less did we ever hear of her contributing her money and her influence in furtherance of a conspiracy to debase the race to which she belonged, and scatter the land of her birth into contending atoms. She never became the disciple of a Matthias, or the follower of a Thompson.

Her example cannot therefore be pleaded in justification of a neglect of female duties, nor a degradation of the female character. Still less does it sanction the women of the United States in their co-operation with impostors and fugitives from crime in a war against the civil institutions of their country. Neither is it by thus becoming the dupes of ignorant or mischievous deluders, that they can find respectability and happiness, or administer to that of the other sex. It is not at midnight meetings of conspirators against the repose and integrity of the United States; nor in listening to the brawling declamations of sublimated incendiaries, advocating violations of the laws of man as well as the decorums of woman, that she can qualify herself for the fulfilment of those sacred duties, the performance of which makes her the guardian angel of the happiness of man; his protector and mentor in childhood ; his divinity in youth ; his companion and solace in manhood; his benign and gentle nurse in old age. Thus is she twice his mother; once in the cradle, and again on the verge of the grave; and thus while supporting the fabric of man's happiness, she lays the surest basis for her own, in the bosom of HOME.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STEINBECK, John (1902-1968). <i>The Pastures of Heaven.</i> New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam, 1932. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). <i>Tender is the Night.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STOKER, Bram (1847-1912). <i>Dracula.</i> Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> GOLDING, William (1911-1993). <i>Lord of the Flies.</i> London: Faber and Faber, 1954. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> SALINGER, J. D. (1919-2010). The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). <i>The Torrents of Spring.</i> New York: Scribner's, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HUXLEY, Aldous (1894-1963). <i>Brave New World.</i> London: Chatto & Windus, 1932. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> WELLS, H.G. <i>The Time Machine, an Invention.</i> New York: Henry Holt, 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> DAHL, Roald (1916-1990). <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.</i> New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HERBERT, Frank (1920-1986). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1965. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> KESEY, Ken (1935-2001). <i>One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.</i> New York: The Viking Press, 1962. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> VONNEGUT, Kurt, Jr. (1922-2007). <i>Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade.</i> New York: Seymour Lawrence Delacorte Press, 1969. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
    <center><b>California Virtual Book Fair<br>March 4-6, 2021<br>www.abaa.org/vbf</b>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother (horizontal),</i> silver print, 1936. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Group of 32 WWII-era identification badges for manufacturing & military-related companies, 1940-50s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Julia Margaret Cameron, <i>Alfred, Lord Tennyson,</i> albumen print, 1869. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Arnold Genthe, <i>Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt,</i> silver print, circa 1908. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Edward Curtis, <I>Oasis in the Badlands,</I> toned platinum print, 1905. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Francis Frith, three volumes, approximately 140 photographs, 1860-70s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Eugène Atget, <i>20 Photographs,</i> gold-toned silver prints by Berenice Abbott, 1898-1927. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Neil Leifer, <i>Muhammad Ali,</i> chromogenic print, 1965. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b><br>A group of approximately 50 Photomatic selfies of the same man taken over a period of time, 1940s. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.

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