xt7x696zwv9j https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7x696zwv9j/data/mets.xml Rankin, John, 1793-1886. 1833  books b92e449r2118332009 English Garrison & Knapp : Boston, Mass. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Slavery --United States --Controversial literature --1833. Letters on American slavery, addressed to Mr. Thomas Rankin, merchant at Middlebrook, Augusta County, Va. text Letters on American slavery, addressed to Mr. Thomas Rankin, merchant at Middlebrook, Augusta County, Va. 1833 2009 true xt7x696zwv9j section xt7x696zwv9j 


























L e t t e r s w e r e o r i g i n a l l y d e s i g n e d for the benefit o f F o r his c o n v e n i e n c e they

t ho B r o t h e r to w h o m they were a d d r e s s e d . to p ublic v i e w .

w e r e inserted in the C a s l i g a t o r , a n d b y that m eans w e r e first brought T h e s olicitations o f a few friends, in c o n n e c t i o n with the desire o f a i d i n g a n d e n c o u r a g i n g e v e r y eflbrt for the liberation o f the e n s l a v e d a n d d e g r a d e d A f r i c a n s , w e r e the m e a n s o f b r i n g i n g them before tho p u b l i c a s econd l i m e , a n d in another form. A n d s ome e fT h e y h ave r e c e i v e d s e v e r a l alterations a n d additions. i ts original f o r m ; but s till, i t is far from possessing

forts have been m a d e to render the w o r k more complete than it was in that excellence o f Therefore, c o m p o s i t i o n which the i m p o r t a n c e o f its subject requires.

i t i s desired that its imperfections m a y be attributed to the weakness o f i ts author, a n d not to that o f the cause it is intended to support. B u t l ittle c a n reasonabty be h o p e d in relation to the s uccess o f this w o r k , w h e n it is c o n s i d e r e d that, in addition to the difficulties a r i s i n g f rom its o w n imperfections, it must bear the c h a r g e o f fanaticism, a n d c o n t e n d with prejudices that have been r a p i d l y increasing for I n opposition to it, more than ten thousand e n v e n o m e d t he cause o f injustice. T h e s e difficulties, h o w e v e r , should be c o n s i d e r e d as so m a n y a r g u ments i n favor o f the w o r k . more necessary I f but a little g o o d c a n be d o n e , it is tho be done. T h a t involuntary government, that that little should a ges. tongues, a n d

p ens dipt in the g a l l o f unrelenting a v a r i c e , m a y be e x p e c t e d to p l e a d

s l a v e r y is a v e r y dangerous e v i l , a n d that our nation is i n v o l v e d in it, n one c a n , with truth, d e n y . A n d that the s afety o f our a n d t he happiness o f its subjects, d e p e n d u p o n the extermination o f



N o r is it lesa

t his e v i l , m ust be obvious to e v e r y enlightened m i n d .

e v i d e n t , that it is the d u t y o f e v e r y c i t i z e n , a c c o r d i n g to his station, t alents a n d o p p o r t u n i t y , to use suitable exertions for the abolition o f a n e vil w h i c h is pregnant with the g r o w i n g principles o f r uin. b u r i e d ; n or s h o u l d a n y opportunity o f d o i n g g o o d f a m i l y , d e m a n d p r o m p t a n d powerful exertions. Surely, n o station s h o u l d be u n i m p r o v e d , no talent, h o w e v e r s m a l l , should be be lost, w h e n the s afety o f a vast n a t i o n , a n d the happiness o f millions o f the h u m a n E v e r y thing that c a n b e d o n e , either b y fair discussion, or b y a n y other lawful m e a n s , ought t o be d o n e , a n d done s p e e d i l y , in order to avert the hastening r uin t hat m ust otherwise soon o v e r t a k e us ! L e t a ll the friends o f justice a n d suffering h u m a n i t y , d o what little t h e y c a n , in their several circles, a n d a c c o r d i n g to their various stations, c apacities a n d opportunities j a n d all their little streams o f exertion w i l l , i n process o f time, flow together, a n d constitute a m i g h t y r i v e r t hat shall s weep a w a y the y o k e o f o p p r e s s i o n , a n d p u r g e our nation f rom t he abominations o f s l a v e r y .




I r eceived yours of the 2d December, w i t h m ingled s ensations of pleasure and p a i n ; i t g ave m e pleasure to hear of your health, and pain to hear of your purchasing s laves. I consider involuntary slavery a n ever f ailing f ountain of the grossest i mmorality, and one of the deepest s ources o f human misery ; it hangs l ike the mantle of night o ver o ur republic, and shrouds i ts r ising g lories. I sincerely pity the man who tinges h is h and i n the unhallowed t hing that is fraught w ith the tears, and sweat, and groans, and blood of hapless m illions o f innocent, unoffending p eople. A m istaken brother, who has manifested to me a k i n d a nd g enerous h eart, claims my strongest sympathies. W h e n I see h i m involved i n what is both s i n ful a nd dangerous, s hall I n ot strive to liberate h i m ? D oes he wander from the paths of rectitude, and s hall n ot fraternal affection pursue, and c all h i m from the v erge o f r u i n , a nd the unperceived precipice of wo, to t he f air a nd pleasant walks of piety and peace ? S h a l l I suffer sin upon my brother ? N o , his kindness to me f orbids it, f ratertiai icrvB f orbids i V a a d w hat is s till m ore to be regard-ad, flii'lwif .CrGd-farbid's i t. T h o u g h A 2 '



h e has wandered for the moment, may I not hope to s how h i m his error, and restrain his wanderings ? U nder s uch views and feelings, I have resolved to a ddress you, in a series of letters, on the injustice of e nslaving the Africans. T h i s I hope y ou w i l l r eceive as an expression of fraternal affection, as w e l l as of g ratitude to you for former favors. I entreat you to g ive me that candid attention which the fondness of a b rother solicits, and the importance, oj'the subject demands. In the commencementjl think it proper to a pprize you that severaT things, connected w ith the p resent condition of the Africans, tend to bias the m ind a gainst them, and consequently incapacitate it for an i mpartial d ecision w ith respect to their rights. I . T h e i r color is very different from our own. T h i s l eads many to conclude that Heaven has expressly marked them out for servitude; and when the mind once settles upon such a conclusion, it is c ompletely fortified against the strongest arguments t hat r eason can suggest, or the mind of man invent. I n o rder to save you from a conclusion so false and ; Unreasonable, let me invite your attention to the b ook i of inspiration ; there you w i l l find that the blackness ' of the African is not the horrible mark of C a i n , n or the direful effects o f Noah's curse, but the mark of a s corching sun. 'Look not upon me because lam TRack, because the sun hath looked upon me : my mother's children were angry with me ; they made me the keeper of the vineyards.' C anticles 1 : 6 . In this p assage the Church of C hrist e vidently speaks of h erself under the figure of an Ethiopian, on whom the sun had looked w ith s uch intensity as changed h is c olor, and so    rendered i b m i :the."object of hatred to the rest of- m ankiild', W ho-'with himself originally

L E T T E R I.


s prang f rom the same mother, and were in reality his b rethren. T h e text may be thus paraphrased. L o o k n ot upon me (with indignation) b ecause I a m b l a c k ; b ecause t he sun hath looked upon me (so as to make m e black) my mother's children were angry w ith m e. T h i s c onveys e vidently the true meaning of the passage, and shows that the Divine S pirit b y whom it w as dictated, assumed it as a correct principle, that t he blackness of the Ethiopian's s kin i s caused by the sun. T h e word E t h i o p i a n , which is frequently f ound in Scripture, denotes, according to its derivation, a p erson w hose v isage is changed to blackness b y burning. T h e same t ruth i s evident from the face o f the world, which exhibits various shades of human c olor, according to a l l its variegated climates. T o prove that color is the effect o f climate it is o nly necessary to attend to certain facts w h i c h are n otorious to the slightest observation. G eographers have divided our earth into five z ones   the t orrid, t wo temperate, and two f rigid z ones. T h e t orrid z one, extending 23 1-2 d egrees on each side of the equator, forms a belt of 47 degrees, r u n n i n g from east to west quite round the jrlobe ; to every part of w h i c h the sun is vertical at l east once i n the year. T h e ancients supposed that t his r egion was not habitable, i n c onsequence of the i ntense heat of a vertical sun. In this they were m istaken. It is found supporting, i n general, as dense a p opulation as either of the temperate zones, w hich l ie between it and the polar circles; w ith, h owever, this remarkable difference   its inhabitants are black, or approaching to black. A s this zone i n i ts w hole breadth s weeps o ver the continent of A frica, i t e mbraces most of its inhabitants, who are c onse1 1



q uently black or nearly so. A s we r ecede f rom theequator toward the poles, the complexion of the i n habitants becomes g radually lighter, u ntil i n the extremities of the temperate and i n the f rigid z ones, w h i c h l ie around the poles, they are white. ' S uch is the fact. A n d this fact alone, were we u nable in the slightest d egree to account for it, ought to be sufficient to satisfy the honest inquirer aftertruth, that color is the effect of climate. B u t the fact m ay be, we apprehend, i n some d egree at least, accounted for. Various anatomical experiments prove, b eyond a l l contradiction, that the human s kin c onsists of two lamina or coats, which are i n a l l cases w hite ; a nd that the color depends on a coagulated substance, w hich l ies between those coats. T h e exterior c oat, b eing transparent and exceedingly porous, permits the s un's rays to act upon the coagulated substance freely ; w hich, i n every instance, if the action be sufficiently p rotracted, gives a tinge or coloring proportioned to the intensity of the sun's heat. ' T o this it may be o bjected, t hat the color of the i nhabitants of the several countries of our g lobe i s n ot invariably the same i n both parallels. T h i s is a dmitted ; but the objection, when examined, goes to e stablish o ur position. It is w e l l known that the i n tensity o f the sun's heat depends much on the nature o f the earth's surface. F r o m a smooth, level surface, t he power of reflection is much greater than it is on a b roken and irregular surface ; and it has long been r emarked, that the inhabitants of the level sandy c ountries of A frica a re much blacker than those o f the h i l l y a nd mountainous parts. ' A n d no matter what the. original complexion of the emigrants to any country may have been, it is



a lways found to a ccommodate i tself to the hue peculiar to that country or climate. Hence the Jews, w ho were doubtless originally a l l of the same complexion, a nd who never intermarry w ith the nations a mong whom they sojourn, are found to be white i n G ermany a nd Poland, swarthy i n Spain and Portugal, o live in the Barbary States and i n E g y p t , and black i n H indoostan. A n d h ence a c olony of Ethiopians, w ho settled at Colchis, on the Black Sea, two thousand y ears ago, have now become w hite, and the P o r t u guese w ho settled two hundred years since on the c oast of A frica, b lack. ' B u t s till w e are asked, " If color be the effect o f c limate, w hy the n egroes b orn i n the United States a re not w h i t e ? " W e answer, various reasons may be given. T h o u g h we are i n a great measure ignorant o f the e conomy of nature, yet we see that the c omplexion as w e l l as the form of the b ody i s propagated from father to son, and that any change which t akes place i n either form or complexion, must be effected by the tardy but certain operation of n atural c auses. W e know also that it is an established law o f nature, that it is much easier to communicate a stain t han to purge it away. Hence we frequently see a swarthy hue contracted by boatmen and sailors i n a f ew months, which it requires years to remove. I t should moreover be recollected, that ours is not the country of white men n a t u r a l l y     a n d that, as has a lready been remarked, the color n atural to our c l i mate w i l l be swarthy, probably very nearly that of t he Spaniards who live i n the same parallels. A r e w e then to be surprised that the A frican, w ho, under a t ropical sun, bears the accumulated stain of a thous1



a nd g enerations, is not, i n our climate, bleached white i n two or three V T h u s y ou see that reason and observation unite i n c onfirming the t ruth o f revelation w i t h r egard to the c olor of the Africans. Hence we conclude, w ith s afety, that a black s kin i s no peculiar mark of h eaven's displeasure, nor any evidence that he who w ears it is d oomed b y the Creator to endless s ervitude. T h e Africans are the children of our common m other : let us not be angry w ith t hem b ecause t he s un h ath looked upon t h e m ; the change of complexion o ught never to break the ties of humanity. G o d ' h a t h m ade of one blood a l l nations of men.' W h e n ever we f ind a m an, let us treat h i m as a brother w ithout r egard to his color; let our kindness sooth h is s orrows and cheer his heart. I I. T h e Africans are deeply degraded. T h e hand o f oppression has pressed them down from the rank o f men to that of beasts; they are bought and sold, a nd d riven from place to place l ike m ere a nimal h e r d s     T h i s fetters the m ind, a nd prevents that expansion o f soul which dignifies man, and ornaments c ivilized l ife. T h e y seldom have any opportunities o f improvement, any encouragement for the efforts o f genius, or any inducements to enter the field of s cience. Hence, i n many instances, the strongest p owers of m i n d remain unfolded, over them oppression d raws her sable mantle, on them she lays her c ruel h and, and forbids them ever to rise. U n d e r s uch c ircumstances they sink into the grossest ignorance, and appear to be very destitute of energetic p owers of m ind. T h i s leads many to conclude that t hey are n aturally i nferior to the rest of m a n k i n d i n r espect to strength of m ind, a nd that the Creator has




t hus m arked them out for servitude. B u t how false, h ow ungenerous, how unreasonable is such a conclusion ! W h a t people, i n s imilar c ircumstances, have e ver given stronger marks of genius than are exhibited by the enslaved Africans i n the United States ? A better exhibition of mental capacity than they give o ught not to be expected from a p eople l ong enslaved a nd s orely oppressed. Under such oppression, powers of mind, merely ordinary, cannot u n f o l d ; the g loomy prospect of perpetual bondage h overs continually a round, and cuts off every enterprise which m ight e licit the native energies of the soul, or give o ccasion for the vigorous efforts of genius. Hence t alents, t hat, under other circumstances, would appear to very g ood a dvantage, are totally obscured. A n d , e ven after a p eople that have long been enslaved are e mancipated, it w i l l r equire them to pass through s everal g enerations i n order to regain their original s trength of mind, and give the world a f air e xhibition of the powers they really possess. U n d e r this view of our subject, it is easy to account for the apparent w ant of talent i n our A f r i c a n s ; it is owing, totally o wing, to the cruel hand of oppression. There is but one other source from w h i c h we s uppose i t w i l l be p retended it has originated ; w h i c h is that of a different organization from the rest of mankind. B u t such o rganization w ould be universal i n its effects, and t hus p rohibit a single instance of prodigious g e n i u s ; for i f it admit of one, it may, on the same principles, a dmit of a thousand. A m o n g the Africans there are m any who possess the strongest powers of mind ; this I a pprehend n one that are well informed w i l l d eny. I n a n eighboring state lives an A f r i c a n boy, who, w hilo h e was a slave, and before he arrived to twenty



y ears of age, by his own exertions, without the benefit o f a school, save for the space of two weeks, acquired the science of Reading, W r i t i n g , A rithmetic and G e ography, and made some a dvances i n Astronomy. W o u l d S i r Isaac Newton have d one m ore, had he b een a slave? W h i l e other slaves spent i n idleness the few leisure moments allowed them, this youth w as engaged i n acquiring useful knowledge, and he h ad w hat is generally called a humane master, who, p erhaps, g ave h i m some i nstruction. W o u l d not this y outh, u nder other circumstances, have dazzled the e yes o f the civilized world by the b rilliant d isplay of p owerful intellect? Not the mountain weight of oppression could wholly suppress his gigantic power    i n v ain s lavery w ith h er sable mantle attempts to s hroud his luminous m i n d     i t breaks through the d arkest shades   its noble energies rise beneath the p onderous mass, scan the power of numbers, grasp the circumference of the earth, and stretch a line to t he stars. S u c h an instance of remarkable genius a mong the Africans, shows that the organization of t heir m ental powers is equal to that of the rest of m ankind. A n d how can it be otherwise, seeing all m ankind o riginally sprang from one common parent, a nd c onsequently possess p recisely the same nature ? I II. I n connection w ith the bias of mind which m ay arise against the Africans, in c onsequence o f t heir c olor and degradation, I wish to mention another w hich i s more powerful i n its nature, and more i n j u rious i n its effects; it is that which arises from love o f gain, and has a most blinding influence upon the m i n d     w i t h t housands it is heavier than sand, while t he strongest arguments are lighter than feathers. T h e love of gain is the polluted fountain whence



i ssue a l l the dreadful evils that pervade our w o r l d     i t g ives energy to the tyrant's sword, it drenches the e arth w ith b lood, and binds whole nations i n c h a i n s     f rom it every argument is drawn i n favor of cruel i njustice; i t is the nauseous source of every hateful c rime. T h e love of gain first introduced slavery into the world, and has been its constant support i n every a ge. It was the love of gain that first enslaved the A frican r ace, and it now invents every possible argument against their emancipation. T h i s is equally m anifested in the social circle, and on the legislative floor   individuals a nd states w i l l a rgue i n favor of s lavery i n proportion as they view their interest at s take. A n d no doubt they often argue according to w hat they suppose to be r i g h t ; though n aturally h onest as other men, they are pressed to the side of i n justice by the weight of interest. A n d thus we often see the love of gain weighing down the finest feelings o f the soul, blunting the most acute powers of perception, crushing the strongest faculty of judgment, b reaking the most powerful ties of humanity, f alling u pon the unhappy A frican, a nd binding h i m in chains o f perpetual bondage ! W h e n once i t takes f ull p ossession of the heart, the strongest faculties y i e l d to its influence   it triumphs alike over the polished s tatesman, the c ourageous g eneral, the accomplished g entleman, and the humble peasant. Its principal p ower lies in concealment; it operates under a thousand different m a s k s ; unperceived, it obtrudes itself u pon every order, it pervades the bar, finds its way to the hearts of j udge a nd j u r y ; it even enters the s anctuary, a nd climbs the a ltar. T h e best of men a re liable to yield too far to the love of gain, especially w hen large sacrifices must attend a right de-



c ision. A n d you, my dear brother, have considerable a t stake; you must w ade t hrough much loss, i f you w ould come to a right conclusion, and obey the i m perious v oice of j u s t i c e     B u t remember that loss w i l l be temporal, and from it may spring eternal gain. T herefore it is better to lose for the sake of doing j ustice, than to gain by oppression. Hence I intreat y o u let temporal interest have no influence upon y our mind, divest yourself of every prejudice, throw open a l l the faculties of the soul for a f air a nd f ull i nvestigation of the subject u nder consideration, and l et a n ardent desire to know the very t ruth be the g overning principle, and you s hall n ot wander long i n the maze of error, nor stray far from the path of t ruth. G i v e me, I pray you, a candid ear while I p lead w ith y ou for a p oor, d ejected, a nd despised p eople, w ho dare not plead for themselves, and for w hom, a l a s ! too few w i l l e ither l ift the t ongue or m ove a p en. L e t not their color, their degradation, n or the predominating principle of self-interest, bias y our m i n d against them. L e t their miseries excite y our pity, and incline you to justice. I n m y next I w i l l e ndeavor to prove from the nature of the Africans that they were not created for
s lavery. F R O M Y OUR B R O T H E R .



I h ope, b y this time, your mind is divested of every p rejudice against the Africans, and that you have o pened a candid ear to their plea for liberty. Inspired b y this hope I n ow proceed, according to promise m ade i n my last, to prove from the nature of the A fricans that they were not created for slavery. T h e Creator is infinitely wise, and consequently m ust have created every being i n his universe for o ccupying some p articular station i n the scale of c reated existence. T o suppose h i m to create without d esign, is to suppose h i m unwise. A g a i n , if he has c reated every being to o ccupy a p articular station i n the scale of existence, he must have adapted the n a ture of every being to the station for which it was i ntended. T o create for a particular purpose, and n ot adapt the thing created to that purpose, would a rgue the greatest want of wisdom. Hence we conclude that i f the Creator formed the Africans for s lavery, h e has suited their nature to the design of t heir c reation, and that they are incapacitated for f reedom. T h i s would be according to the whole a nalogy of creation, i n w h i c h every creature has a n ature s uited to the station for which it was intended. B u t w e find that the Africans are rational creatures, are of the human species, possess a l l the original p roperties of human nature, and consequently are c apacitated for freedom; and such capacity shows the design of their creation. It is most absurd to



i magine that beings created w ith c apacity for liberty w ere designed for b ondage. D i d the capacity for f reedom stand alone, it might itself be considered an a rgument sufficient to establish our point; but it s tands not alone ; it combines w ith i t all the original p roperties of human nature   with it a l l these unite as so many heralds, sent by the A l m i g h t y to declare t hat m an never was formed for involuntary slavery. E v e r y m an, who possesses a l l the original properties of humanity, desires to obtain knowledge, wealth, r eputation, l iberty, and a vast variety of other objects w hich are necessary to complete his happiness. N o w w ho does not see how inconsistent slavery is w ith the a cquirement and enjoyment of all these objects o f desire, a nd how directly it is opposed to the happiness o f man ? It obstructs the n atural c hannels i n which a ll h is passions were designed to flow, contracts the w hole sphere of mental operation, and offers violence to the strongest propensities of his nature. D oes h e d esire to enter the delightful paths of science, and store his mind w ith s uch knowledge as is calculated to expand the noble powers of the soul, and raise m an to the dignified station for which he was designed ? T h i s is forbidden, an indignant master f rowns upon h i m , and drives h i m back into the shades of ignorance and hopeless t oil. D oes he wish to acquire such property as may be necessary to render h i m comfortable i n his passage through life? E v e n t his is denied him ; he is d oomed to labor a l l h is d ays i n heaping up treasure for another; and to d eath, fraught w ith t errors as it is, he must look for d eliverance, and to the gloomy grave he must go as h is o nly asylum from his sufferings and toils. D oes h e incline to m ove i n the honorable and useful



s pheres of c ivil s ociety ? It is considered a crime for h i m to aspire above the rank of the grovelling beast: h e must content himself w ith b eing bought, and sold, a nd d riven i n chains from state to state, as a capricious avarice may dictate. D oes h e. desire to enter the conjugal state, and partake of h y m e n i a l enjoyment? T h e pleasure of any unfeeling master may f orbid the object o f his choice, and cause h i m to l anguish b eneath the ravages of disappointed affection. O r i s he a tender husband ? H e must see the object o f his warmest affection bleeding beneath the torturing l ash   her cries and her tears penetrate the inmost recesses o f his heart, and seem ready to burst the tender fibres that twine around the seat of l i f e ; floods o f tenderness r oll f rom his e yes, b ut his sympathies c annot stay the cruel hand of the vengeful tyrant, nor h eal the wounds inflicted by his malice. H e dare not e ven attempt to c onsole h er grief by the language of t enderness, nor to wipe away her tears w ith the soft h and o f compassion. I cannot c onceive h ow flesh a nd b lood can bear so much ! Y o u , brother, o nce s ustained the relation of husband, and doubtless p ossessed a l l the tenderness of that endearing relation ; a nd t hough the object o f your warmest embraces now l ies c old and silent i n the grave, yet her-very dust is d ear to you, and her memory awakes the liveliest e motions i n your heart; and how dreadful was the h our of final s eparation, when cruel death closed her y outhful e yes, that beamed upon you w ith s uch innocence a nd love as banished the sorrows and cares of l ife ! A n d how cruel was that shroud w h i c h inclosed f rom your sight the beauteous form that so often enraptured y our heart! T e l l m e, dear brother, how e ould you have endured to see her tender frame



b leed beneath the lacerating whip ? Could you have w itnessed her innocent tears and cries, without being o verwhelmed w ith the mingled floods o f compassion, r esentment and grief? L ittle l ess near to you is the d ear l ittle d aughter, and only c hild, w hom you cherish w ith a lmost unequalled tenderness ! H o w could y ou bear to see her tender s kin c ruelly torn by the t orturing l ash o f a wicked master, w hose h eart by c ruel i ndulgence has become t otally estranged from the feelings of compassion ? W o u l d not such a s cene s hock the whole current of your nature, and t urn a l l t he streams of tenderness into the channel of d ireful r evenge, w h i c h even the fear of a most terrible death c ould scarcely r estrain ? S lavery is often clothed w i t h s uch scenes o f cruelty and blood, and often sports w i t h e very t hing t hat is dear to man !     i t breaks the most t ender relations of l ife. T e l l m e not that the Africans a re destitute of the fine feelings of tenderness towards t heir w ives and children, w h i c h are manifested by the r est of m a n k i n d . T h e flood of grief that rolls over the sable and wo-worn cheek, when a wife or a c hild i s s natched from the embraces of the fond husband o r parent, speaks the passions of the soul i n a l anguage too strong to be resisted by any t hing l ess than i mplacable p rejudice! Slavery interferes w ith a l l the s ocial a nd relative duties, and what is s till a m ore s erious e vil, i t interferes w ith the divine prerogative o ver man, and robs the A l m i g h t y of the service w h i c h i s d ue to h i m from the creatures of his power. F i n a l l y , e very man desires to be free, and this desire the Creator himself has implanted i n the b osoms o f a l l our race, and is certainly a conclusive proof that a ll w ere designed for freedom; else man was created for disappointment and misery. A l l the feelings of




h umanity are strongly o pposed to being enslaved, and n othing but the strong arm of p ower c an make man s ubmit to the yoke of b ondage. W h a t , my brother, w ould be m ore d istressing to you, than to have the y oke of slavery put upon your neck and that of your l ittle d aughter, that you might, w ith h er, wear out y our life i n laboring for the wealth and ease of one w ho perhaps would not regard a single tender feeling o f your nature ? A n d though you think your slaves are i n very comfortable circumstances, and I have no d oubt but you treat them as k i n d l y as is compatible w ith t heir present station, yet were you and your l ittle d aughter i n the very same circumstances i n w h i c h t hey are now placed, I think I would cheerfully p art w ith a l l I possess to purchase your freedom, i f n othing less would procure i t ; and if I should not, I a pprehend you would think me an ungenerous and c ruel b rother. H o w then can you withhold from o thers what is so dear to yourself? T h e Africans possess a l l the original properties of humanity, and w ere, as we have f airly p roven from their nature, c reated for freedom, and therefore to enslave them is b oth unjust and cruel. I n m y next 1 intend to point out m ore f ully t han I h ave done i n t his, some of the evils that attend s lavery.



A s i nvoluntary slavery is opposed to a l l the o riginal p roperties of human nature, it may be expected to involve its subjects i n a vast variety of the most s erious evils. A n d some o f these, according to an i ntimation g iven i n my last, I am now to point out m ore f ully t han the l imits o f the preceding letter w ould p ermit me to do. A n d this I do in order to i l lustrate and enforce those arguments against slavery, w hich a rise from the nature of man. T h e first e vil I s hall m ention as resulting from a state of mancipation, is that of gross ignorance. It m ust be obvious, to every one capable of reflection, that a v ariety of circumstances combine to deprive s laves of the means of mental improvement. T h e y are chained down to a life of laborious servitude, w ithout the hope o f release, and the gloomy prospect of such a life sinks every r ising h ope, c uts off every i nducement to l iterary e nterprise, and totally i ndisposes the mind to the labor of acquiring useful k nowledge. A n d of such indisposition, gross ignorance is the certain result. Hence, were the means o f instruction afforded them, they would in many cases p rove entirely unsuccessful. But we often f ind on the part of the master s till less i nclination to afford such means, than there is in the slave to i m prove them when afforded. T h e education of slaves m ust be attended w ith m uch loss of labor as w ell as c onsiderable expense, and this is very inconsistent




w ith the main object o f their mancipation. T h e 6 V s ign of slavehokling is to make gain, and therefore f ew masters are w i l l i n g to u ndergo the expense a nd l oss of time from labor that must necessarily attend the education of their slaves. A n d this is no matter o f wonder, when many parents are loo avaricious to bear the expense of educating their own children. N o w when parental affection is often insufficient to b