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A BOLITION IN THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE.
THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF ABOLITION.
THE General Congress which con-| Abolition Societies were largely comvened at Philadelphia in 1774, framed posed of the most eminent as well as articles of Association between the the worthiest citizens. Among them colonies, one of which was a solemn were, in Maryland, Samuel Chase, agreement “ that we will neither im- a signer of the Declaration, and port nor purchase any slave imported Luther Martin, one of the framers after the 1st of December next;" be- of the Constitution; in Delaware, ing moved thereto by State action of James A. Bayard, afterward in like character, wherein Virginia and Congress, and Cæsar A. Rodney, North Carolina were honorably con- who became Attorney-General. The spicuous. Most of the States, accord Pennsylvania Society had Benjaingly, prohibited the Slave-Trade min Franklin for its President, during or soon after the Revolution. and Benjamin Rush for Secretary Throughout the war for indepen -both signers of the Declaration. dence, the Rights of Man were pro- This, among other such societies, claimed as the great objects of our memorialized the first Federal Construggle. "General Gates, the hero gress, then sitting at Philadelphia, of Saratoga, emancipated his slaves against Slavery, asking • in 1780. The first recorded Aboli
“that you will be pleased to countenance tion Society--that of Pennsylvania the restoration to liberty of those unhappy --was formed in 1774. The New
meri who, alone in this land of freedom, are
degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, York Manumission Society was found
amid the general joy of surrounding freeed in 1785: John Jay was its first men, are groaning in servile subjection ; President; Alexander Hamilton its
that you will devise means for removing
this inconsistency of character from the second. Rhode Island followed in American people; that you will promote 1786; Maryland in 1789; Connecti mercy and justice toward this distressed
race; and that you will step to the very cut in 1790; Virginia in 1791; New
verge of the power vested in you for disJersey in 1792. The discovery that couraging every species of traffic in the persuch societies were at war with the
sons of our fellow-men.” Federal Constitution, or with the Congress courteously received this reciprocal duties of citizens of the and similar memorials, calmly conseveral States, was not made till sidered them, and decided that it had nearly forty years afterward. These no power to abolish Slavery in the States which saw fit to authorize and New York provided for Gradual cherish it. There was no excitement, Emancipation in 1799. In 1817, a no menace, no fury. South Carolina further act was passed, decreeing that and Georgia, of course, opposed the there should be no Slavery in the prayer, but in parliamentary lan- State after the 4th of July, 1827. guage. It is noteworthy, that among Ten thousand slaves were set free at those who leaned furthest toward the once by this act. petitioners were Messrs. Parker and New Jersey passed an act, in 1804, Page, of Virginia—the latter in due designed to put an end to Slavery. time her Governor. They urged, not It was so very gradual in its operathat the prayer should be granted, tion, that the census of 1840 reported
of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, who de- sonal dignity and independence to the capricious voted the best of his life to the cause of the mandate of party discipline, the slaveholders Cherokees, has summed up, in a letter to a sym
would not have received aid enough to carry
their point.”—Life of Jeremiah Evarts, Boston, pathizing friend, his convictions as to the ulti
1845, p. 367. mate cause of the perfidy and oppression of which they were the victims:
1 Father of one of her present U. S. Senators. "Without that disregard of human rights which is to be found among slaveholders only,
| 2 Franklin, then 84 years of age, signed this nothing could have been done against the Indi- | memorial on the 3d of February, 1790, and died ans; and without the base surrender of all per- / on the 17th of April following.
and respectfully considered.
as still held in that State.
The frequently reiterated Southern Vermont framed a State Constitu- assertion that the Northern States tion in 1777, and embodied in it a “sold their slaves to the South, and Bill of Rights, whereof the first arti- then abolished Slavery,” is abundantcle precluded Slavery.
ly refuted. Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts framed a constitu- and doubtless most other States, by tion in 1780, wherein was embodied their acts of emancipation, imposed a Declaration of Rights, affirming severe penalties on the exportation that
of slaves. Delaware, though a Slave “All men are born free and equal, and State, long since did, and still does, have certain natural, essential, and inaliena- | the same. ble rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, and that of acquiring, possessing, and | The North emerged from the Misprotecting property."
souri struggle chafed and mortified. The Supreme Court of that State, It felt that, with Right and Power upon the first case arising which in- both on its side, it had been badly volved the question, decided that this beaten, through the treachery of cerprovision had abolished Slavery. tain of its own representatives, whom
New Hampshire was, in like man-it proceeded to deal with accordingly. ner, held to have abolished Slavery Few, indeed hardly one of those by her Constitution, framed in 1783. Northern members who had sided
Pennsylvania passed a Gradual with the South in that struggle were Emancipation Act, March 1, 1780. reëlected. That lesson given, what All persons born in that State after more could be done? Missouri was that day, were to be free at the age in the Union, and could not be turned of twenty-eight.
out. Arkansas was organized as a Rhode Island provided by law that Slave Territory, and would in due all persons born in that State after time become a Slave State. What March, 1784, should be free. use in protracting an agitation which
Connecticut, in 1784, passed an had no longer a definite object ? Mr. act providing for gradual Abolition. Monroe had just been reëlected PresiShe had still two thousand seven dent, and the harmony of the party hundred and fifty-nine slaves in 1790. would be disturbed by permitting THE SOUTH REBUKES EDWARD EVERETT. 109 the feud to become chronic. Those ed by the South. Mr. Mitchell, of who perpetuated it would be most Tennessee, though himself a slaveunlikely to share bounteously in the holder, pointedly dissented from it. distribution of Federal offices and Mr. C. C. Cambreleng, of New York, honors. Then a new Presidential (a North Carolinian by birth and contest began to loom up in the dis- training), said: tance, and all manner of speculations
“The gentleman from Massachusetts has were current, and hopes were buoy gone too far. He has expressed opinions ant, with regard to it. Yet more:
which ought not to escape animadversion.
I heard them with great surprise and regret. the Cotton culture was rapidly ex
I was astonished to hear him declare that panding, and with it Southern trade, Slavery-domestic Slavery-say what you bringing the Northern seaports more
will, is a condition of life, as well as any
other, to be justified by morality, religion, and more under their sway.
and international law,” etc., etc. There had been an effort, in 1817,
And John Randolph, of Virginia to secure the passage through Con- | gress of a more effective Fugitive
-himself a life-long slaveholder and Slave Law, which was defeated, after
opponent of the North-saw fit to a most spirited discussion. In 1826
say: (March 9th), the subject of Slavery
“Sir, I envy neither the head nor the
heart of that man from the North, who rises was brought before the House by Mr.
here to defend Slavery upon principle.” Edward Everett—then a new and very young member from Massachu So that, so late as 1826, the docsetts-who incidentally expressed his trine of the essential righteousness and hostility to all projects of violent Abo- beneficence of Slavery had not yet lition, his readiness to shoulder a mus- been accepted in any quarter. ket to put down a slave insurrection, and his conviction, with regard to Virginia, in 1829, assembled" a Slavery, that, while it subsists, Convention of her people to revise where it subsists, its duties are pre- their Constitution. Ex-President supposed and sanctioned by religion," James Monroe was chosen to preside, etc., etc. But this strange outburst, and was conducted to the chair by instead of being gratefully hailed and ex-President James Madison and welcomed, was repelled and reprobat- Chief Justice Marshall. The first
3 Roger Brooke Taney-late Chief Justice of may be attained. And, until it shall be accomthe United States-in defending as a lawyer, in plished, until the time come when we can point 1818, before a Maryland court, Rev. Jacob Gru
without a blush to the language held in the
Declaration of Independence, every friend of ber, charged with anti-Slavery inculcations and
humanity will seek to lighten the galling chain acts, thus happily set forth the old Revolution
of Slavery, and better, to the utmost of his ary idea of Slavery, and the obligations it im
power, the wretched condition of the slave." poses: "A hard necessity, indeed, compels us to en
4 At Richmond, October 5th. dure the evils of Slavery for a time. It was imposed upon us by another nation, while yet
5 Mr. Monroe, in a speech (November 2d), on we were in a state of colonial vassalage. It can- the Basis of Representation, said, incidentally of not be easily or suddenly removed. Yet, while
Slavery: : it continues, it is a blot on our national character, and every real lover of freedom confidently! “No imputation can be cast on Virginia in hopes that it will be effectually, though it must this matter. She did all that it was in her power be gradually, wiped away, and earnestly looks to do to prevent the extension of Slavery, and to for the means by which this necessary object | mitigate its evils so far as she could."
earnest collision was on the White for the White Basis, with some help Basis, so called—that is, on the pro- from the East; and it was computed position that representation and po- that the majority represented 402,631 litical power should be apportioned of Free Population, and the minority to the several counties on the basis but 280,000. But the minority was of their White population alone. The strong in intellect, in numbers, and Committee on the Legislative depart- in resolution, and it fought desperatement decided in favor of the White ly through weeks of earnest debate Basis by 13 to 11–James Madison's and skillful maneuvering. President vote giving that side the majority; Monroe, in December, resigned the but he voted also against the White chair, and his seat, and his constitBasis for the Senate, making a tie on uents offered the latter to General R. that point. A strong excitement B. Taylor aforesaid, who declined, having arisen on this question, Gen when it was given to a Mr. Osborne. eral Robert B. Taylor, of Norfolk, an Finally, a proposition by Mr. Upshur advocate of the White Basis, resigned, afterward Secretary of State) was so and his seat was filled by Hugh B. amended, on motion of Mr. Gordon, Grigsby, of opposite views. At as to prescribe, arbitrarily, that thirlength, the Convention came to a teen Senators should be apportioned vote, on the proposition of a Mr. to counties west of the Blue Ridge, Green, of Culpepper, that the White and nineteen to those east of it, with Basis be stricken out, and the Feder- a corresponding allotment of Deleal Basis (the white inhabitants with gates in four parcels to the various “three-fifths of all other persons”) natural divisions of the State, and be substituted. This was defeated— was carried by 55 Yeas to 41 Nays— Yeas 47 (including Grigsby afore- a motion that the Senate apportionsaid); Nays 49—every delegate vot-| ment be based on Federal numbers, ing. Among the Yeas were ex- and that for the House on the White President Madison, Chief Justice population, having first been voted Marshall, Benjamin Watkins Leigh, down-48 to 48. So the effort of Philip P. Barbour, John Randolph the West, and of the relatively nonof Roanoke, William B. Giles, John slaveholding sections of Virginia, to Tyler, etc. Among the Nays (for wrest political power from the slavethe White Basis) were ex-President holding oligarchy of the tide-water Monroe, Philip Doddridge, Charles counties, was defeated, despite the F. Mercer, Chapman Johnson, Lewis sanguine promise at the outset; and Summers, etc. As a rule, Western the Old Dominion sunk again into (comparatively Free) Virginia voted the arms of the negro-breeders." THE YOUTH OF BENJAMIN LUNDY.
6 November 16th.
almost as senseless herds of black slaves, or the ? Hezekiah Niles, in his Weekly Register of Oc free, tax-paying inhabitants of the State, shall tober 31, 1829, thus forcibly depicted the mo
have political power. Very important events
will grow out of this convention, and their effect mentous issues for Virginia and the country,
will not be confined to Virginia. We hope and then hinging on the struggle in Richmond: believe, that the free white population of the
“ VIRGINIA CONVENTION. The committees State will be adopted as the basis of representahaving chiefly reported, 'the tug of war between tion in the popular branch of the Legislaturethe 'old lights and the new has commenced; and indeed, it cannot be popular without it; but perthe question is to be settled whether trees and haps the Senate may be apportioned according stones, and arbitrary divisions of land, with / to federal numbers,' in which three-fifths of the appeal in favor of Gradual Emancipation, which commonwealth-the old families,' as they are
Some years later (in 1831–2), on the in America. Many who lived before occurrence of the slave insurrection in and cotemporary with him were AbSouthampton county, known as Nat. olitionists : but he was the first of our Turner's, her people were aroused to countrymen who devoted his life and a fresh and vivid conception of the all his powers exclusively to the cause perils and evils of Slavery, and her of the slave. Born in Sussex county, Legislature, for a time, seemed on the New Jersey, January 4, 1789, of point of inaugurating a system of Quaker parents, whose ancestors for Gradual Emancipation ; but the im- several generations had lived and died pulse was finally, though with diffi- in this country, he injured himself, culty, overborne. Several who have while still a mere boy, by excessive since cast in their lot with the Slave- labor on his father's farm, incurring holders' Rebellion-among them Jas. thereby a partial loss of hearing, from C. Faulkner, late Minister to Eng. which he never recovered. Slight in land—at that time spoke earnestly frame and below the common hight, and forcibly for Emancipation, as an unassuming in manner and gentle in imperative necessity. And this is spirit, he gave to the cause of Emancinoteworthy as the last serious effort pation neither wealth, nor eloquence, by the politicians of any Slave States nor lofty abilities, for he had them to rid her of the giant curse, prior to not; but his courage, perseverance, the outbreak of the Slaveholders' Re and devotion were unsurpassed; and bellion.
these combined to render him a for
midable, though disregarded if not BENJAMIN LUNDY deserves the high despised, antagonist to our national honor of ranking as the pioneer of crime. Leaving his father's farm at direct and distinctive Anti-Slavery nineteen years of age, he wandered
slaves are counted. If the latter may stand as important operations of agriculture or the arts, a peace-offering to the departing power of the except the cultivation of cotton, sugar, tobaco old lights, we would let them have it—in a few and rice (as at present carried on), is the cheapyears, under a liberal Constitution, the free pop est and the best. And in truth, it would not ulation of middle and western Virginia will be perhaps be straining the facts too far, to express so increased, that the power in the Senate, de an opinion, that the greatest question before the rived from slaves, will not be injuriously felt. Virginia convention is, the perpetual duration And then will the tacticians, who have kept Vir of negro slavery, or the increase of a generous ginia back half a century, compared with New and free white population." York and Pennsylvania, disappear, and give place to practical men—then will roads and ca 8 In 1849, when Kentucky revised her State nals be made, domestic manufactures encour
Constitution, Henry Clay formally renewed the aged, and a free and virtuous and laborious people give wealth and power and security to the
he had made, when a very young man, on the called-persons much partaking of the character occasion of her organization as a State; but the of the old nobility of France, imbecile and incor response from the people was feeble and ineffectrigible-pass away, and a healthful and happy,
healthful and happy, | ive. Delaware has repeatedly endeavored to bold and intelligent middle class rise up to
rid herself of Slavery by legislation; but partisweeten and invigorate society, by rendering labor honorable; and Richmond will not any
san Democracy has uniformly opposed and delonger be ALL Virginia, as a distinguished gen feated every movement looking to this end. She, tleman used to proclaim, in matters of politics, though slaveholding, has for sixty years or more or policy. The moral effects of these things over been truly, emphatically, a Border State. Slathe slave population of Virginia, and in the ad
very has only been kept so long alive within her jacent States, are hardly to be calculated. The presence of numerous slaves is incompatible
limits for the benefit, and by the strenuous with that of a numerous free population; and it l efforts, of the Democratic party. It is now eviis shown that the labor of the latter, in all the dently near its end.