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my father has done this man no wrong. was committed long ago. What can we now do to remedy all the evils of generations gone by? They who enslaved our blacks, had gone to their account, long before we were born. We find them in slavery; what ought we to do for them? That is the question, and the only question.
The brother applies to slave-holders the language of our Lord to the Jews, where He told them that their fathers killed the prophets, and they garnished their sepulchres. But the cases are not analogous. They would be if we were answering those who stole and enslaved the blacks, or if we ourselves were to steal and enslave others. The Jews said, if they had lived in the days of their fathers, they would not have slain the prophcts; while they theniselves persccuted and put to death Christ and his apostles. Thus, they did indeed fill up the measure of their fathers. But what analogy is there between this case, and that of a man who buys a slave at his own earnest request ? Did a prophet ever come to a Jew, and say,--pray, do persecute me a little?" [A laugh.) I do not claim the right of going to Africa and purchasing slaves on speculation. The case the brother has brought, is as far from ours as the poles.
And now for his replies to my argument from the Old Testament.
He says my argument is bad, because the position I take is equivocal: at the North it is understood, that slavery is not wrong because God permitted, that, is, did not hinder it among the Jews; while at the South, it goes the whole length of maintaining that God sanctioned slavery among them. Is this a candid statement? Have I ever said that God permitted slave-buying to the Jews, in the sense of not hindering it, as he did not hinder polygamy? Never. The brother knows, and you know better. My position was, and is, that God expressly permitted it in the words of the Jewish law, given from himself by Moses. No man, in his senses, could understand the argument as meaning simply that God did not hinder the Jews from buying and holding slaves. No,
my position is not equivocal; it is plain, open, and above board. It means at the North what it means at the South : it means at the South just what it means at the North, and no more, viz: that God gave the Jews permission to buy and hold slaves, because, as I suppose, their condition would be thereby improved.
As to the brother's quotation from the Alabama Baptist, I have only to say, I have nothing to do with it. I never have said that slavery is no evil; nor is that my belief. But on this subject the gentleman flatly contradicted himself, by saying, at one time, that my doctrine was highly agreeable to southern slave-holders, and at another, that they could not endure it. He changes his position more frequently than the wind changes its course.
In reply to my argument from authority, he says that the able scholars and critics to whom I referred, were misled by Dr. Paley. Now it happens, somewhat unfortunately for this reply, that they lived, (at least many of them,) before Paley. [A laugh.] And besides, Dr. Paley himself, though a pleasant and ingenious writer, never was regarded as a giant on questions of morals. There is no evidence that the eminent and able men, with whom I agree, and from whom Mr. Blanchard differs, in their exposition of the passages I quoted from the Old Testament, were misled, or in the least influenced by Dr. Paley.
But he says, that they looked at slavery through "slaveholding spectacles.” Well, and where is the evidence of this? Why, Matthew Henry wrote his Commentary not more than 30 miles from Liverpool, where slave-ships were fitted out for the African trade; and he was afraid to speak out his real sentiments on the subject! The gentleman pays quite a compliment to that eminently good and wise man! But there may have been much sin beside slave-dealing committed in less than thirty miles of him. Was he afraid to expose this? But he has told us what persecution he endured in consequence of his fidelity to the truth. How faith
ful he was! How much more fearless than
Matthew Henry! [A laugh.]
But he has a general reply, which sets aside forever the authority of critics and commentators. He says, they are generally men of timid minds. And, pray, what causes exist to make them more timid than others ? It is the busisiness of lexicographers and commentators not to engage in any exciting controversies, but to define words, and expound the Word of God. Moreover, their reputation depends upon their accuracy and ability in their work. What, then, should cause them, more than others, to depart from known truth! The reply is simply nonsensical. The gentleman feels the difficulty in which he and his cause are involved, from the fact that all learned men, commentators, critics, and lexicographers give to the language of the Bible, on the subject before us, an interpretation widely different from his; and he would fain destroy their influence by simply saying“O, they are timid-minded men--they do’nt know every thing—they are mere babes—can't go to bed without a committee !" Such an attempt cannot succeed with intelligent
He quoted the opinion of the clear-headed" Grotius, concerning slavery. Now will he please inform us whether Grotius gave to the scriptures I have quoted an interpretation different from that which I have given?
The opinion of John Wesley has also been quoted. Did Wesley speak of the injustice of slavery as a system, or of the sin of individuals involved in the evil ? Did he denounce and excommunicate men, simply because they were slave-holders? If he did, why have not his followers done the same? Does the Methodist Church in these United States make slave-holding a bar to Christian fellowship? It does not:
Dr. Engles has also been quoted. Now I happen to know something of the views of that gentleman on the subject of slavery; and I know, that, though opposed to slavery, he is no less opposed to abolitionism, in theory and in prac.
tice. It is by quoting isolated passages from the writings of men, without regard to the connection, they are made to utter sentiments they never held. For example, what they say of slavery as a system, or of traffic in slaves for gain, is applied to individuals involved in slave-holding.
The gentleman has quoted Dr. R. J. Breckenridge. He is indeed one of the last men whom I should have expected to hear quoted in favor of modern abolitionism. He is well known as an anti-slavery man; but it is equally well known, that he engaged in a public debate of several days' continuance, with Thompson, a rampant abolitionist of Scotland, and it is said, that he effectually used him up.
We have also been treated to the opinions of George Washington, and Patrick Henry, both of whom held just about as much abolitionism as your humble servant.
Thus far has the gentleman got on, and no Bible. All he has done, or tried to do, is to defend himself against the Bible. In attempting to do this, he says:
1. The bondmen of the Jews, were not slaves, because their servitude was not perpetual. We are not discussing the question whether perpetual slave-holding is sinfulwhether the relation of master and slave is sinful, if it continue perpetually. If the gentleman desired to discuss this question ; why did he not say so? We are discussing the question, whether the relation of master and slave is in itself sinful; for if it is, it is sinful to have it continue one hour. Then, if we admit, that Jewish servitude was not perpetual, but ceased at the fiftieth year--the jubilee; what does it prove in favor of my opponent? It is certain, that they were bought with money; that they were declared to be their master's money ;
that the master claimed their services, and might enforce obedience by severe chastisement. It is certain that those purchased immediately after the jubilee, might be held in bondage forty-nine. years, and that to a large portion of them, bondage would be perpetual; for they would not live till the
of release. And to many who would live to see the time, their freedom would be a poor boon;
for their advanced age and infirmities would disqualify them for the enjoyment of it. But the duration of the servitude, does not affect the principle. If I may hold a man in servitude forty-nine years, I may hold him longer, if there be no express law against it?
2. But the law concerning returning property, Mr. B. tells us, did not apply to the Jewish bond-servants, and, hence he infers that they were not slaves. I answer, that the law which forbade the Jews to return a slave who had escaped from his master, and required them to allow him to dwell where he pleased amongst them, related not to Jewish bondmen, but to the slaves of cruel heathen masters, who had escaped into the land of Judea, and who, if forced back, would not only be forced into pagan darkness, but might meet a cruel death on their return.
The law was, indeed, a merciful one. If I were to see a child escaping from a cruel father, who was accustomed to treat him unmercifully, I would not think of forcing him back. But does this law prove, that the bond-servants of the Jews, bought with their money, liable to be chastised, if they disobeyed their masters, were not slaves ? Surely, we have singular logic from the gentleman.
The brother urges again his crowning argument, that if the Hebrew word meant slave, our English translators would have rendered it slave. I have asked him, in reply, what was the meaning of the English word servant in England, at the time our translation was made, under James I? I have reminded him that servus is the Latin word for slave, and mancipium for a man caught and enslaved. Servant is but servus, with an English termination. Besides did they not render the word by the word bondman? What, I ask, does the word bondman mean? Does it mean a free man?
How does the gentleman understand those passages of scripture, where the bond and the free are placed in contrast with each other? For example, God calls the fowls of the heaven to come, " That they may eat the flesh of kings, and