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: I never mean, unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it, to possess another slave by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law.-Letter to John F. Mercer.

Because there are, in Pennsylvania, laws for the gradual abolition of slavery, which neither Maryland nor Virginia have at present; but which nothing is more certain than that they must have, and at a period not remote.-[Reasons for depreciation of southern lands in a letter to Sir John Sinclair.]

CAMBRIDGE, February 28, 1776. ↑

MISS PHILLIS,-Your favor of the 26th of October, did not reach my hands till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important occurrences, continually interposing to distract the mind and with draw the attention, I hope will apologize for the delay, and plead my excuse for the seeming, but not real neglect. I thank you most sin cerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant lines you enclosed; and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical talents; in honor of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the poem, had I not been apprehensive, that, while I only meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public prints.

If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near head-quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favored by the Muses, and to whom nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations. I am, with great respect, your obedient humble servant.-Letter to Phillis Wheatley. [An African.]

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations, cultivate peace and harmony with all; religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence, Who can

doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?-Farewell Address.

Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that all my slaves, which I hold in my own right, shall receive their freedom. To emancipate them during her life, would, though earnestly wished, be attended with such insuperable difficulties, on account of their intermixture by marriages with the dower negroes, as to create the most fearful sensation, if not disagreeable consequences from the latter, while both descriptions are in the occupancy of the same proprietor; it

not being in my power, under the tenure by which the dower negroes are held to manumit them. And, whereas, among those who will receive their freedom according to this clause, there may be some, who, from old age, or bodily infirmities, and others, who, on account of their infancy, will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire that all who come under the first and second descriptions, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live; and that such of the latter description as have no parents living, or if living, are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the Court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years: and in case where no record can be produced whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgment of the Court upon its own view of the subject, shall be adequate and final. The negroes thus bound, are by their masters and mistresses to be taught to read and write, and to be brought up to some useful occupation, agreeably to the laws of the commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the support of orphans and other poor children. And I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the said commonwealth, of any slave I may die possessed of, under any pretence whatever. And I do, moreover, most pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it upon my executors, hereafter named, or the survivor of them, to see that this clause respecting slaves, and every part thereof be religiously fufilled, at the epoch at which it is directed to take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the crops which may then be on the ground are harvested. Particularly as it respects the aged and infirm, seeing that a regular and permanent fund be established for their support, as long as there are subjects requiring it, not trusting to the uncertain provisions to be made by individuals.-Washington's Will.


The day is passed-the 4th of July, 1776, will be a memorable epocha in the history of America. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, &c., from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward for ever! You will think me transported with enthusiasm; but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these states; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory.-I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; and that posterity will triumph although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not.-Letter, Philadelphia, July 5th, 1776.

Great is Truth-great is Liberty-great is Humanity; and they must and will prevail.-Letter to a friend.


While I am indulging in my views of American prospects, and American liberty, it is mortifying to be told that in that very country, a large portion of the people are slaves! It is a dark spot on the face of the nation. Such a state of things cannot always exist.

1 see in the papers, that there is a plan of gradual abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia. I would be doubly happy of it, for the measure in itself, and because a sense of American pride makes me recoil at the observations of the diplomatists, and other foreigners, who gladly improve the unfortunate existing circumstances into a general objection to our republican, and (saving that deplorable evil) our matchless system.


The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions; the most unremitting despotism on the one part and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriæ of the other. For if the slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves, a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep for ever; that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.

What an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and death itself, in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose

power supported him through his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose. But we must wait with patience the workings of an overruling Providence, and hope that that is preparing the deliverence of these our suffering brethren. When the measure of their tears shall be full-when their tears shall have involved heaven itself in darkness-doubtless a God of justice will awaken to their distress, and by diffusing a light and liberality among their oppressors, or at length by his exterminating thunder manifest his attention to things of this world, and that they are not left to the guidance of blind fatality.

I am very sensible of the nonor you propose to me, of becoming a member of the society for the abolition of the slave-trade. You know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition, not only of the trade but of the condition of slavery; and certainly nobody will be more willing to encounter every sacrifice for that object. But the influence and information of the friends to this proposition in France will be far above the need of my association.—Letter to M. Warville, Paris, February, 1788.

DEAR SIR, Your favor of July 31st was duly received, and was read with peculiar pleasure. The sentiments breathed through the whole, do honor to both the head and heart of the writer. Mine, on the subject of the slavery of negroes, have long since been in possession of the public, and time has only served to give them stronger root. The love of justice and the love of country plead equally the cause of these people; and it is a moral reproach to us that they should have pleaded it so long in vain, and should have produced not a single effort, nay, I fear, not much serious willingness to relieve them and ourselves from our present condition of moral and political reprobation. It is an encouraging observation, that no good measure was ever proposed which, if duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end. We have proof of this in the history of the endeavors in the British Parliament to suppress that very trade which brought this evil on us. And you will be supported by the religious precept, "be not weary in well doing." That your success may be as speedy and complete, as it will be honorable and immortal consolation to yourself, I shall as fervently and sincerely pray as I assure you of my great friendship and respect. -Letter to Edward Cole, Esq., August 25, 1814.


We conceive that it is our duty, and we rejoice that it is in our power, to extend a portion of that freedom to others which has been extended to us, and relieve from that state of thraldom, to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered. It is not for us to inquire why, in in the creation of mankind, the inhabitants of the different parts of the earth were distinguished by a difference of features and complexion. It is sufficient to know, that all are the work of an Almighty hand.

We find in the distribution of the human species, that the most fertile, as well as the most barren parts of the earth are inhabited by men of different complexions from ours, and from each other; from whence, we may reasonably, as well as religiously infer, that He, who placed them in their various situations, hath extended equally his care and protection to ali, and that it becometh not us to counteract his mercies. We esteem it a peculiar blessing, granted to us, that we are this day enabled to add one more step to universal civilization, by removing, as much as possible, the sorrows of those who have lived in undeserved bondage, and from which, by the assumed authority of the kings of Great Britain, no effectual legal relief could be obtained. Weaned by a long course of experience from those narrow prejudices and partialities we had imbibed, we find our hearts enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards men of all conditions and nations; and we conceive ourselves, at this particular period, extraordinarily called upon by the blessing which we have received, to manifest the sincerity of our professions, and to give a substantial proof of our gratitude.

And whereas, the condition of those persons who have heretofore been denominated negro and mulatto slaves, has been attended with circumstances which not only deprived them of the common blessing they were by nature entitled to, but has cast them into the deepest afflictions, by an unnatural separation and sale of husband and wife from each other, and from their children; an injury, the greatness of which, can only be conceived by supposing that we were in the same unhappy case. In justice, therefore, to persons so unhappily circumstanced, and who, having no prospect before them, wherein they may rest their sorrows and their hopes, have no reasonable inducement to render the service to society which they otherwise might, and also, in grateful commemoration of our own happy deliverance from that state of unconditional submission, to which we were doomed by the tyranny of Britain. Be it enacted, That no child hereafter born shall be a slave, &c.



Where Liberty dwells, there is my country.

Two other societies were also established in Philadelphia about this period, founded on the principles of the most refined humanity; one "for alleviating the miseries of public prisons," and the other, "for promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race."-Of each of these, Dr. Franklin was president. He had as early as the year 1772, strongly expressed his abhorrence of the traffic in slaves, as appears by his letter of the 22d August, in that year, to Mr. Anthony Benezet, inserted in the first part of his Private Correspondence. According to Stuber's account, Dr. Franklin's name, as president of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February, 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in

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