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him to employ a servant, is called upon to decide for himself, whether he will be a slaveholder or not. Thousands of the natives of the north-young men, and men more advanced-men in every business and profession--are continually becoming citizens of the south, and there find that the question of the morality of slavery is to them a question personally and immediately practical.

The subject is important to us all, in another aspect. We at the north, are fellow-citizens with slaveholders; and between us and them, as fellowcitizens, there is, and must be, a constant intercourse. We and they not only meet by our representatives in the national legislature, but meet personally, both in our part of the country and in theirs. Many slavemasters are associated with us, in our various benevolent and Christian enterprises. Often individuals from among them, brought hither by business, or in pursuit of health, come and worship with us in our temples, or as members of sister churches, sit down with us at the table of the Lord. Not less often, one and another from among us, finds himself carried by his business, or is driven by disease, into those parts of the country where slavery prevails; and there slaveholders not only offer him the civilities of ordinary hospitality, but, if he is a professor of religion, invite him to worship with them in their families and in their temples, and to commune with them in all religious ordinances. Thus, it is an important question to all, how ought we to regard these fellowcitizens? And this is only another form of the question respecting the morality of slavery. On the one hand, we are urged to believe that they are without

any responsibility, in relation to the existence and continuance of slavery among them. On the other hand, we are visited by traveling lecturers on slavery, and inundated with pamphlets and papers, urging us to believe that every slave-master is, as such, a criminal of the deepest die, a "felon in heart and deed,” whose crime is only inferior “to intentional and malignant murder,” a “thief,” a “robber," a “ tyrant,” who deserves to be regarded as the common enemy of the human race. These circumstances certainly give great importance to the inquiry respecting the morality of slavery.

First of all, in this inquiry, it is necessary to define distinctly the subject in debate. What is slavery ?

Before attempting a direct answer to this question, it is to be remarked, that there are many varieties of slavery ; that the laws of different countries and ages limit and modify the relation of master and slave, in many different degrees; and that, therefore, the answer ought to include slavery in all its forms. There may be slavery, where the master has, by the law, an absolute irresponsible power over the persons and lives of his slaves; and there may be slavery, where the master has no power to put his slave to death, and if he inflicts any punishment beyond a certain measure of severity, he must be called to account at a public tribunal. There may be slavery, where the slave is by the law incapable of acquiring property, incapable of marriage, incapable of testifying in a court of justice, incapable of complaining to a magistrate against the cruelty of his master or of any other person; and there may

be slavery, where the slave is invested with all these rights, and protected in them. There may

be slavery, where the slave is allowed to be sold like a horse, at the pleasure or necessity of his master, and to be torn away by force from all the objects of his natural affection; and there may be slavery, where the slave cannot be transferred from one proprietor to another, except with his own consent. There

may be hereditary slavery, entailed upon unborn generations; and there may be slaves, whose children are free-born. There may be a slavery for life ; and there may be a slavery limited to a term of years. We say, therefore, the definition of slavery ought to include all the varieties of servitude which the word slavery properly denotes, and ought to exclude everything else.

Shall it be said, then, as is often said by those who talk most on this subject, that, for a man to have property in his fellow-men, is slavery? How are we to understand this definition? Has not the master a property in his apprentice—the father in his children—not to say the husband in his wife, and the wife in her husband? Is all the property which one human being may have in another, slavery? Who is he that would abolish slavery, by proclaiming it as an axiom, that it is a crime for one human being to claim property in another ? Let him preach that doctrine, if he will be consistent, to his apprentices, or to the apprentices of his neighbor, and exhort them to make the application for themselves. Will it be said, that the master cannot sell his apprentice as the slaveholder can sell his slave? We ask in reply, Is there no slavery where the slave

cannot be transferred from one master to another, without his own consent ? Suppose a law to be enacted, forbidding the master to sell his slave, except with the slave's consent, and making the slave's voluntary signature in the presence of a magistrate essential to the validity of the transfer :-is that the immediate, unconditional, and unqualified abolition of slavery? Is it said that the master has no property in the person of his apprentice, but only a property in his time and labor, a title to his services ? We ask in reply, Is it necessary to the existence of slavery, that the slaveholder shall have any other kind of property in his slave than what the master mechanic has in his indented apprentice? Suppose it to be declared by legislation, or by some judicial decision, that the master's property in his slave is simply a property in his time and labor, and not in his blood and bones, and that the slave is only a

person held to service or labor” for his lifetime, and transmitting the same condition to his children :-would that be the immediate and complete abolition of slavery?

Shall it be said, then, that slavery consists in the obligation to work without wages ? But is not the apprentice bound to work without wages? The apprentice has indeed a compensation for his labor; he does not work for nothing; he receives, ordinarily, his food and clothing, and he receives instruction in his trade. And so the slave may have a compensation. It is not essential to his condition that he shall work for nothing; it may be that he has his daily food, his cabin and his clothing; it is not impossible to imagine that he has food and cloth

ing for his children, and even a shelter and the comforts of animal existence for his aged and disabled parents; nay more, he may be provided with medical attendance in sickness, and with religious instruction on the Sabbath ; and the master may regard all this as due to him in consideration of his services; while yet his service is the service of a slave. Will it be said that his compensation is inadequate? We admit it; but are all men slaves who work for an inadequate compensation? In how many parts of the world may men be hired, by thousands, to work for no other compensation than bare shelter and support?

Shall we adopt Paley's definition, that “slavery is an obligation to labor for the benefit of the master, without the contract or consent of the servant ?" But may not a man sell himself into slavery? Did not the Hebrew servant, who, at the end of his sixth year of servitude declined the privilege of becoming free, consent and contract to be a slave forever?

We know not how to define slavery more accurately than by saying, It is that artificial relation, or civil constitution, by which one man is invested with a property in the labor of another, to whom, by virtue of that relation, he owes the duties of protection, support, and government, and who owes him, in return, obedience and submission. The right which a father has in his children, is a natural right; the relation which involves it, is a relation instituted by the Author of nature. The right which the master has in his apprentice, is the right of the father transferred, within certain limits, and for the convenience and by the consent of the parties, to another person.

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