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BENJAMIN RUSH-ANTHONY BENEZET.

them by the Constitution, in discouraging the traffic of the human species. This was his last public act.-Memoirs by Wm. Temple Franklin.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion, and is still the birthright of all men, and influenced by the strong ties of humanity and the principles of their institution, your memorialists conceive themselves bound to use all justifiable endeavors to loosen the bands of slavery, and promote a general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. Under these impressions, they earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of slavery; that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men, who alone in this land of freedom, are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who amidst the general joy of surrounding freemen, are groaning in servile subjection-that you will devise means for removing this inconsistency from the character of the American people-that you will promote mercy and justice toward this distressed race-and that you will step to the very verge of the power vested in you for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow men.

Philadelphia, Feb. 3, 1790.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, President. [Federal Gazette, 1790.]

BENJAMIN RUSH.

The [cruel] master's wealth cannot make him happy.—The sufferings of a single hour in the world of misery, for which he is preparing himself will over balance all the pleasures he ever enjoyed in this lifeand for every act of unnecessary severity he inflicts on his slaves, he shall suffer tenfold in the world to come.

His unkind behaviour is upon record against him. The gentle spirits in heaven, whose happiness consists in expressions of gratitude and love, will have no fellowship with him. His soul must be melted with pity, or he can never escape the punishment which awaits the hard-hearted, equally with the impenitent, in the regions of misery.— Paradise of Negro Slaves.

About the year 1775, I read a short essay with which I was much pleased, in one of Bradford's papers, against the slavery of the Africans in our country, and which, I was informed, was written by Thomas Paine. This excited my curiosity to be better acquainted with him. We met soon afterwards at Mr. Aitkens' bookstore, where I did homage to his principles and his pen on the subject of the enslaved Africans. He told me it was the first piece he had ever published here.I possess one of his letters written to me from France upon the subject of the aboliton of the slave-trade.-Letter to Cheetham, July 17, 1809.

ANTHONY BENEZET.

I can with truth and sincerity declare, that I have found amongst the negroes as great variety of talents, as among a like number of whites; and I am bold to assert, that the notion entertained by some

that the blacks are inferior in their capacities, is a vulgar prejudice founded on the pride or ignorance of their lordly masters, who have kept their slaves at such a distance as to be unable to form a right judgment of them.

PATRICK HENRY.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!—I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

HANOVER, January 18, 1773.

DEAR SIR,-I take this opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of Anthony Benezet's book against the slave-trade: I thank you for it. It is not a little surprising, that the professors of Christianity, whose chief excellence consists in softening the human heart; in cherishing and improving its finer feelings, should encourage a practice so totally repugnant to the first impressions of right and wrong. What adds to

the wonder is, that this abominable practice has been introduced in the most enlightened ages. Times, that seem to have pretensions to boast of high improvements in the arts and sciences, and refined morality, have brought into general use, and guarded by many laws, a species of violence and tyranny, which our more rude and barbarous, but more honest ancestors, detested. Is it not amazing, that at a time, when the rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country, above all others, fond of liberty, that in such an age, and in such a country, we find men professing a religion the most humane, mild, gentle and generous, adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity, as it is inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive to liberty? Every thinking, honest man rejects it in speculation how few in practice from conscientious motives!

Would any one believe that I am master of slaves, of my own purchase! I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living here without them. I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want of conformity to them.

I believe a time will come, when an opportunity will be offered to abolish, this lamentable evil. Every thing we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and our abhorrence for slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthermost advance we can make towards justice, it is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law, which warrants slavery. I know not where to stop. I could say many things on the subject; a serious view of which gives a gloomy perspective to future times!-Letter to Robert Pleasants.

I repeat it again, that it would rejoice my very soul that every one

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JAMES MONROE-JOHN JAY JUEL BARS V.

of my fellow beings was emancipated. As we ought with gratitude to admire that decree of heaven, which has numbered us among the free, we ought to lament and deplore the necessity of holding our fellow men in bondage.—Debate in Virginia Convention.

JAMES MONROE.

We have found that this evil has preyed upon the very vitals of the Union; and has been prejudicial to all the states in which it has existed.-Speech in the Virginia Convention.

JOHN JAY.

The state of New York is rarely out of my mind or heart, and I am often disposed to write much respecting its affairs; but I have so little information as to its present political objects and operations, that I am afraid to attempt it.-An excellent law might be made out of the Pennsylvania one, for the gradual aboliuon of slavery. Till America comes into this measure, her prayers to heaven will be impious. This is a strong expression but it is just. Were I in your legislature, I would present a bill for the purpose with great care, and I would never cease moving it till it became a law, or I ceased to be a member. I believe God governs the world, and I believe it to be a maxim in his as in our court, that those who ask for equity ought to do it.—Letter from Spain, 1780.

Our society has been favored with your letter of the first of May last, and we are happy that efforts so honorable to your nation are making in your country to promote the cause of justice and humanity relative to the Africans. That they who know the value of liberty, and are blessed with the enjoyment of it, ought not to subject others to slavery, is like most other moral precepts, more generally admitted in theory than observed in practice. This will continue to be too much the case while men are impelled to action by their passions rather than by their reason, and while they are more solicitous to acquire wealth than to do as they would be done by. Hence it is that India and Africa experience unmerited oppression from nations who have been long distinguished by their attachment to their civil and religious liberties, but who have expended not much less blood and treasure in violating the rights of others than in defending their own. The United States are far from being irreproachable in this respect. It undoubtedly is very inconsistent with their declarations on the subject of human rights, to permit a single slave to be found within their jurisdiction; and we confess the justice of your strictures on that head.— Letter to an English Abolition Society from the Manumision Society of New York.

JOEL BARLOW.

Nor shall I strain

The powers of pathos in a task so vain,
As Afric's wrongs to sing, for what avails
To harp for you these known familiar tales;
To tongue mute misery, and re-rack the soul
With crimes oft copied from that bloody scroll,

SAMUEL ADAMS-KOSCIUSKO.

Where slavery pens her woes, tho' 'tis but there
We learn the weight that mortal life can bear.
The tale might startle still the accustom'd ear,
Still shake the nerve that pumps the pearly tear
Melt every heart and through the nation gain
Full many a voice to break the barbarous chain.
But why to sympathy for guidance fly,
(Her aid 's uncertain and of scant supply,)
When your own self-excited sense affords
A guide more sure, and every sense accords?
Where strong self-interest join'd with duty lies,
Where doing right demands no sacrifice,
Where profit, pleasure, life expanding fame
League their allurements to support the claim.
'Tis safest there the impleaded cause to trust,
Men well instructed will be always just.

Tyrants are never free, and small and great,
All masters must be tyrants soon or late;
So Nature works, and oft the lordling knave
Turns out at once a tyrant and a slave.

Struts, cringes, bullies, begs, as courtiers must,
Makes one a God, another treads in dust,

Fears all alike, and filches whom he can,

But knows no equal, finds no friend in man.

Ah, would you not be slaves with lords and kings!
Then be not masters, there the danger springs.
Equality of right is Nature's plan,

And following nature is the march of man.—
Enslave her tribes! What, half mankind emban,
Then read, expound, enforce the rights of man!
Prove plain and clear, how Nature's hand of old,
Cast all men equal in her human mould!

Their fibres, feelings, reasoning powers the same,
Like wants await them, like desires inflame;
Write, speak, avenge, for ancient sufferings feel,

Impale each tyrant on their pens of steel,

Declare how freemen can a world create,

And slaves and masters ruin every state.-The Columbiad.

SAMUEL ADAMS.

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"His principles on the subjeet of human rights, carried him far beyond the narrow limits which many loud asserters of their own liberty have prescribed to themselves, to the recognition of this right in every human being. One day the wife of Mr. Adams returning home, informed her husband that a friend had made her a present of a female slave. Mr. Adams replied in a firm decided manner, She may come but not as a slave, for a slave cannot live in my house; if she comes, she, must come free. She came, and took up her free abode with the family of this great champion of American liberty, and there she continued free and there she died free."-Rev. Mr. Allen, Uxbridge, Mass.

KOSCIUSKO.

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General Kosciusko, by his will, placed in the hands of Mr. Jefferson a sum exceeding twenty thousand dollars, to be laid out in the purchase of young female slaves, who were to be educated and emancipated. The laws of Virginia prevented the will of Kosciusko from being carried into effect.-Aurora, 1820.

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HORATIO GATES--WILLIAM PINKNEY.

HORATIO GATES.

A few days ago, passed through this town, the Hon. General Gates and lady, on their way to take possession of their new and elegant seat on the banks of the East river. The general, previous to leaving Virginia, summoned his numerous family and slaves about him, and amidst their tears of affection and gratitude, gave them their freedom; and what is still better, made provision that their liberty should be a blessing to them.—Baltimore paper, Sept. 8, 1790.

WILLIAM PINKNEY.

SIR,-Iniquitous, and most dishonorable to Maryland, is that dreary system of partial bondage, which her laws have hitherto supported with a solicitude worthy of a better object, and her citizens by their practice countenanced.

Founded in a disgraceful traffic, to which the parent country lent her fostering aid, from motives of interest, but which even she would have disdained to encourage, had England been the destined mart of such inhuman merchandise, its continuance is as shameful as its origin.

Wherefore should we confine the edge of censure to our ancestors, or those from whom they purchased? Are not we EQUALLY guilty? They strewed around the seeds of slavery-we cherish and sustain the growth. They introduced the system-we enlarge, invigorate, and confirm it.

That the dangerous consequences of this system of bondage have not as yet been felt, does not prove they never will be. At least the experiment has not been sufficiently made to preclude speculation and conjecture. To me, sir, nothing for which I have not the evidence of my senses is more clear, than that it will one day destroy that reverence for liberty, which is the vital principle of a republic.

While a majority of your citizens are accustomed to rule with the authority of despots, within particular limits; while your youth are reared in the habit of thinking that the great rights of human nature are not so sacred but they may with innocence be trampled on, can it be expected that the public mind should glow with that generous ardor in the cause of freedom, which can alone save a governmeut like ours from the lurking demon of usurpation? Do you not dread the contamination of principle?

The example of Rome shows that slaves are the proper, natural implements of usurpation, and therefore a serious and alarming evil in every free community. With much to hope for by a change, and nothing to lose, they have no fears of consequences. Despoiled of their rights by the acts of government and its citizens, they have no checks of pity, or of conscience, but are stimulated by the desire of revenge, to spread wide the horrors of desolation, and to subvert the foundation of that liberty of which they have never participated, and which they have only been permitted to envy in others.

But where slaves are manumitted by government, or in consequence of its provisions, the same motives which have attached them to tyrants,

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