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eloquently that they need not be enforced by argument. If you
hold your homes dear, you must consider, and ere long you will consider this question of slavery.
To us who live upon “ the land lying between Pennsylvania on the East, Mississippi River on the West, and the Lakes on the North; i.e. in the territory north west of the Ohio River,” no question can be more interesting than this now in debate. By the ordinance of 1787, July 13th, sixth article—" There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory otherwise than for crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” No soil on earth was ever so committed and pledged to liberty as this. In the language of Webster; this ordinance « lies lower than the local constitution” itself. Now the question is, whether the churches within this territory shall receive into fellowship as not sinful, a practice, which the States themselves have barred out as a crime?
If slave-holding be not sinful, then that is no sin in the church which the State, in self protection, has agreed to treat as a crime. Can we debate out from under us the foundation of our social fabric? The ordinance of 1787 is very
root of all the institutions of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, from which they derive all their sap and vigor. To destroy it would be to destroy the titles of the people to their houses and farms. They hold their property by force of the territorial rights acquired under the ordinance of 1787. And if my brother succeeds in convincing the people that the cardinal principle of that ordinance is an error, he will achieve a ruin more dreadful than if he should strike out the underpinning of our houses and let them tumble to the earth. It would be a small evil to throw down our dwellings, compared to the terrible calamity which must result from destroying the first principle and vital source of all the laws by which our houses and our persons are protected.
Fellow citizens, we must bear in mind that we are not met to discuss the slavery of the negro, but the slavery of
The practical question we have before us is, whether
slave-holding is sinful. Not whether American slave-holding alone is sinful. If we establish the doctrine that it is not sinful to hold slaves, then we shall commit no sin, if, at some future period, one portion of us shall drive the daughters of the other portion into the kitchen, and their sons into the field. We are discussing our own right to freedom, and the right of others to enslave us and our posterity. If any one thinks that the question now before us applies only to the African race, let him be reminded that white slaves have been no rarity in the history of mankind. Thousands of our English ancestors have been sold into slavery. Mr. Pitt, quoting Henry's History of Great Britain, has this passage, 6 Great numbers were exported like cattle, and were to be seen exposed for sale in the Roman market.”
Before the Congress of European Sovereigns at Vienna and Aix-la-Chapelle, there were 49,000 white slaves in the Barbary States alone. Moreover, those who prove slavery to be sinless, prove it from the Bible—and the argument, if it proves anything, justifies the slavery of white people as well as black. For the bond-men of the Scriptures, from which they draw their arguments, were colored like their masters. The Bible knows nothing of determining men's rights by the hue of their skin. (A voice.—Good.)
No, Gentlemen : No, 'fellow citizens! When he proves from the Bible that slave-holding is not sinful, he has justified the men who, at some future day shall hold my child, and the children of other poor men, in slavery. If any one still supposes that white children cannot be enslaved, let him look at the case of Mary Elmore in Philadelphia, the child of Irish parents, who was taken when eight years old, and sworn to by eight men as the property of the man who seized her, and would have been dragged into hopeless slavery but for the interposition of God in raising up friends who proved her free-born.
Read also the case of Sally Muller, lately freed from slavery in New-Orleans:-a German girl, who was held and treated
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not my intention to invent a desinition of siavery from which toy season, but to bring you to the ting siselt the living faol.comthe somal reality as it exists. In a late Probstzahme der nasion of this subject, by two eminent Bapest minvatare, my soul was pained to observe that the wicie Ceinte pasparring slavery was compromitted, and the whole almart self confused and darkened, by the admission of Dr. Proyen definitions of slavery as the basis of their argument No moral probeerophene's definition is fit to be used in the
discussion of practical questions, without first'ascertaining whether it represents the thing defined—the living fact as it is.
Dr. Paley's definition of slavery—"an obligation to labor for the master without the contract or consent of the slave, is most obviously and fatally erroneous. For, in morals, as in mathematics, “it is essential to a perfect definition that it distinguish the thing defined from every thing else"—which Paley's definition by no means does. It makes slavery, nothing but forced labor, or labor without contract or consent." Such is the labor required of paupers, of convicts, of the sheriff's posse, of impressed men in national peril, and even of children during minority. These all labor without their contract or consent.” And to give a definition of slavery which includes all these, is scarcely short of absurd. It is certainly erroneous. If slavery is only forced labor, then the paupers who labor in the poor-house are slaves. But the pauper asks for bread, and society asks for a consideration in the shape of labor, which is a just demanb. We set beggars to work, because idleness is a crime. Is that slavery? The person of a pauper is as sacred as yours or mine—and he is no more a slave. The State does not compel him to be a pauper. But if he comes to the community and demands bread, the community has a right to require his labor without his “contract or consent." So in case of the other kinds of labor named above. Neither the sheriff, the press-gang, the prison-warden, nor even the parent, wait for contract and consent" when they require labor. And as Paley's definition includes all these, it is obviously false. For that which does not distinguish a thing from other different things, is surely no definition of it. No wonder that, with such a definition, Dr. Wayland should concede slave-holding to be not sinful.
But there is a still stronger objection to Paley's definition. It leaves out the whole relation between the owner and his slave, and defines only one of the incidents of slavery, to wit: the compulsory labor of the slave. Slaves are slaves,
work or no work. Mark how the very terms of the definition show its absurdity. He says—"slavery is an obligation to work for the master without the contract or consent of the slave.” The very terms show that the master is a master, and the slave a slave, before the “ forced labor” begins. Now that which makes the master a master, and the slave a slave; That is slavery—that is the property-holding power-the ownership of mankind. He who owns a slave, owns a
He who sells him, sells a man. He sells not only his flesh and blood, but he sells his good qualities. If he has a good disposition or any good quality or superior talent, the auctioneer is sure to tell of it while he is under the hammer, and this enhances the price. Yes, he sells the soul of the
If a man owns a plough and a horse, these will not furrow his field. He wants an intellect to guide the plough and direct the horse, and for this purpose he buys a slave. In buying him, he knows that he is buying the soul of the
Dr. Paley's definition goes no farther than to give the master a right to the services of the slave. It puts one incident of slavery for slavery itself, and makes one right of the owner to be the whole of ownership-one spoke in this wheel of torture, the whole infernal machine.
To illustrate the absurdity of this definition, suppose a slaveholder, robber, and murderer, on trial, and Dr. Way. land employed in their defence. He stands up to address the Court; solemnly adjusts his wig and gown, takes a volume of Paley, or some other learned doctor, from beneath his arm, and reads the following definitions: “I define slavery to be an obligation to labor for the benefit of the master without the contract or consent of the ser vant." (Paley, B. 3. C. 2.) “Robbery, I define to be an obligation to relinquish property to the plunderer without the contract or consent of the plundered;" "and I define murder to be an obligation to yield up life to the murderer, without the contract or consent of the victim.” Where, I ask, is the difference in the merit of these three definitions ? and what but a smile of compassionate contempt would such definitions excite, in