Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

undertake to maintain that, in thirteen years he has learned nothing. The only changes made, besides the removal of some verbal inaccuracies, incident to the haste of writing for a periodical publication, are the correction of one passage which when first published, gave unintentional offence, and the omission of two or three allusions, in the earlier essays, to the controversy which the Anti-Slavery Society was then maintaining with the friends of African colonization. That controversy, since our Anti-Slavery friends have done so much at colonization in Canada, seems to be at rest; and I have no wish to revive it.

Some of my friends have expected that I would reply to the address issued against the American Board of Missions, by a convention lately held at Syracuse. That address, I doubt not, is capable of most abundant refutation, but I do not conceive that it devolves on me to reply to it. In the details of such a reply, and the numberless questions of fact which it would be necessary to consider, the original question of principle, the question of the relations of Christianity to slavery, the question whether a master of slaves may in any instance be recognized as a Christian, would be quite forgotten.

It is no part of the object, in any of these essays, to prove that the slavery which exists in these American States is wrong. To me it seems that the man who needs argument on that point, cannot be argued with.

What elementary idea of right and wrong can that man have? If that form of government, that system of social order is not wrong—if those laws of the southern states, by virtue of which slavery exists there, and is what it is, are not wrong—nothing is wrong. Such a book as Wheeler's “ Law of Slavery," leaves no room for any argument to prove that our southern slavery is wrong, if only the reader is gifted with a moral sense. It is, therefore, taken for granted in these essays, from first to last, that every man has rights, and that our American slavery -which denies all rights to some two millions of human beings, and decrees that they shall always be held at the lowest point of degradation is too palpably wrong to be argued about. The wrong of that slavery, however, is one thing, and the way to rectify that wrong, is another thing. The wrongfulness of that entire body of laws, opinions and practices is one thing; and the criminality of the individual master, who tries to do right, is another thing. These essays, therefore, treat chiefly of the way in which the wrong can be set right.

New Haven, April 24th, 1846.

OCCASIONAL ESSAYS.

SLA VERY *

[QUARTERLY CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR, 1833.]

The author of this book is an intelligent and able minister of the gospel, in the Presbyterian Church. A few years ago, he was pastor of a congregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Born and educated in that State, and having spent more than forty years there, in the midst of a slaveholding population, he entertained those views of slavery, which, we believe, are common to pious and reflecting men in all parts of the country; he believed in “the moral evil of slavery, and the duty of Christians to let no selfish interest prolong the sin and injustice, but, in the fear of God, to do all they can, in consistency with duty, to fit for and restore to freedom those in bondage.” This view led him to favor the Colonization Society, to take up contributions for that object, and to attempt founding an

* LETTERS ON SLAVERY : Addressed to the Cumberland Congregation, Virginia. By J. D. PAXTON, their former Pastor. LEXINGTON, Ky., 1833. 12mo. pp. 207.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »