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LETTERS

ON

AMERICAN SLAVERY,

ADDRESSED TO

MR. THOMAS RANKIN,

MERCHANT AT MIDDLEBROOK, AUGUSTA CO., VA.

BY JOHN RANKIN,

PASTOR OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES OF RIPLEY

AND STRAIT-CREEK, BROWN COUNTY, OHIO.

AMERICAN

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LIBRARY

BOSTON: SOCIETY

PUBLISHED BY GARRISON

No. 11, MERCHANT'S HALL.

1833.

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PREFACE.

The following Letters were originally designed for the benefit of the Brother to whom they were addressed. For his convenience they were inserted in the Castigator, and by that means were first brought to public view.

The solicitations of a few friends, in connection with the desire of aiding and encouraging every

effort for the liberation of the enslaved and degraded Africans, were the means of bringing them before the public a second time, and in another form.

They have received several alterations and coadditions. And some efforts have been made Mto render the work more complete than it was

in its original form ; but still, it is far from possessing that excellence of composition which the importance of its subject requires. There

fore, it is desired that its imperfections may be attributed to the weakness of its author, and not to that of the cause it is intended to support.

But little can reasonably be hoped in relation

MAY

to the success of this work, when it is considered that, in addition to the difficulties arising from its own imperfections, it must bear the charge of fanaticism, and contend with prejudices that have been rapidly increasing for ages. In opposition to it, more than ten thousand envenomed tongues, and pens dipt in the gall of unrelenting avarice, may be expected to plead the cause of injustice.

These difficulties, however, should be considered as so many arguments in favor of the work. If but a little good can be done, it is the more necessary that that little should be done. That involuntary slavery is a very dangerous evil, and that our nation is involved in it, none can, with truth, deny. And that the safety of our government, and the happiness of its subjects depend upon the extermination of this evil, must be obvious to every enlightened mind. Nor is it less evident, that it is the duty of every citizen, according to his station, talents and opportunity, to use suitable exertions for the abolition of an evil which is pregnant with the growing principles of ruin. Surely., no station should be unimproved, no talent, however small, should be buried ; nor should any opportunity of doing good be lost when the safety of a vast nation, and the happiness of millions of the human family, demand prompt and powerful exertions. Every thing that can be done, either by fair discussion, or by any other lawful means,

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