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SANCTIONED BY THE BIBLE.
TIHE FIRST PART OF A
GENERAL TREATISE ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION.
JOHN RICHTER JONES.
LiLc ur-r C.:a hn 1 .-.: I -.nir, cs L:. Eo .-
J. B. LIPPI2NCOTT & CO.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1 61, by
JOHN RICHTER JONES,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Uunted States for the Eotern
Distriod of Panusylvania.
.*'*,. .. sPf^t^^-,.."./..^-."-L^v^f.^^.A..*-,^.f--.F^*r***f." -^ty/-..'**-FY"^.*Vw'w".^".
TO THE CLERGY OFi NEW ENGLAND,
THIS AT'TEPT OF A LAYMAN TO "SEAIRCl TITR BORIFTURESB" ON THE RTLAVIRr
QUESTIFQ IS RUIbiSCrTFULLY DEDICATED.
Thus far, my clerical friends, you have been more like the men of
Thessalonica than those of Berwia. With no other scriptural war-
rant than your mere assumption of the meaning of the word of God,
you have preached a political and moral crusade against slavery.
With facts from novels and campaign documents, and with principles
furnished by infidel sophists, you have rnisltc yourselves and the
floc;ks intrnsteod to your charge. If you had searched the Scriptures,
you could not have been mirled, and would not now have the respon-
sibility of this terrible national crisis,
It is your work-the result of your teaching-that large portions
of the Nurth regard slaveholders generally as heinous transgressors
of the law of God, with whom no Christia.n fellowship isi amisnsible,
and no political compacts binding: your work, that recrimination
haa driven the South into feelings equally unchristian, and into
measures even more unconstitutional: your work, that countrymen
and brethren are mutually exasperated, and ready for the signal of
fratricidal war: your work, that a land but yesterday the most
prospvruus the sun shines on, is suddenly visited by a fearful
pouring out of the vials of the wrath of God."' And if the end
is not yet; if-after the rivers of blood which must flow in the
civil strife of our warlike raco-the great Republic, divided and
broken, shall float down the course of time in jarring fragments, until
united again by anarlchy and despotism; if this home of freedom-
home of the oppressed of all nations become itself a house of
bondage; if the grand experiment of self-government, with the po-
litical progress and general evangelization of man, be irretrievably
blasted: the work will be yours, the responsibility yours.
Oh men of God mon of God 1 it is a terrible respmonibility.
The responsibilities of those churchmen who ext.inguishod the reli-
gious light of the Netherlands in blood, or of those who ordered
the massacre of St. Bartholomew's, were a feather's weight to
yours. They stood oa the same plea of consdienue as. you do
now: just as you do now, they thought themselves serving the
cause of God and religion: if told that their conscience was erro-
neous, they would have mocked at the admonition-as you do at
mine. They will be fearfully wakened up in that "day of wrath,"
when all of us shall stand before that great white throne" of Him,
from whose "face the earth and the heaven flee away." God in
his mercy grant that your wakening up may not be in eternity!
Has it ever struck you, my clerical friends, that possibly, only
poasibly-but the merest possibility is enough to mike the stout
heart quake---possibly your conscience, in regard to slavery, may be
erroneous? possibly you may have mistaken the "law of God" and
the spirit and principle of the Gospel ?" If I can rouse you to
this possibility; and lead you to -earch the Scriptures" faithfully
and prayerfully for "the mind and will of Christ," I shall have
done a good work in the "Master's" service.
YOUR LAY BROTHER.
SLAVERY SANCTIONED BY TIE BIBLE.
MY POSITION DEFINED.
As a tract for the times," I propose making a calm, logical examina-
tion of the slavery question. The times do indeed require somcthiig of
A question which is breaking up our nationality; renderiug the.Amer-
ican people what Mexico is, and Italy hba been; exposing us as fe.hble,
separate States, to the contempt of the world; and which at the same
time is putting in hazard and donht the very experiment of self-govern-
ment itself: a question the mot mnomentonsO tlat. ever agitated a omn-
munity, has not been discussed at all, or discussed with angry passions
and reciprocal abuse. The hbrm is incalculable. A just exhibition of
facts at an early stage, with a full discussion of priurciples, might have
scattered the storm harmlessly before it came to a head.
The cloud at first was "no larger thnn a man's hand." But human
nature afforded ready elements of cumulation. Those generous impulses
of the heart which revolt at oppression everywherep-impulses which
sympathize blindly in a tale of woe, like moved whether it be real or
fietitious-were appealed to by a single emissary of foreign fanaticism,
and a single fanatical press in the capital of New England. Cases of
cruel treatment of Southern slaves, real or fictitious-if real, isolated and
anomalous; if fctitiouis, of core highly colored-were kept continually
before the public. Principles of liberty and equality, so dear to the Amer-
ican heart, were persistently ivivked, No one in the North felt interested
in discussing, much less in defending, slavery. Pictitious acts and unjnst
inferences passed unchallenged; iuapplicable theorios-and the theories
of the Declaration of Independence are practically applicable only where
men are capable of self-government-were not scrutinaied: thus judgment
against slavery went by default, Through assumptions of fact and mis-
applications of theory, the public opinion of the North was gradually led
to regard slaveholding as iaconsiatent with Chrisliati morality and Amer-
SLAVERY .ANCTTONED BY THE IIBLE.
ican republicanism.u Such was eapcci11ey the case in New England, and
with the men everywhere of New England blood or affinities.
This general antislavery sentiment-which unquestionably pervades
more or less the whole North, and also the English, Frcnch, and German
races abroad-is the quic e lemet lent of abulitionism. Special causes
concurred to raise a storm; or the element might have remained possibly
harmless. First, may mention politics: the Democratic party was
strong in the South, and blackening the South and its institutions wai-
damaging t the Demoerwy; thus the partisan press came Into the field and
turned its energetic batteries against slavery. Next, the church: the
clergy of New England enlisted almost unanimously in the antislavery
ranks; for the same reasons, perhaps, that arrayed them with similar
unanimity against Jefferson. Next, literature: that one work, "Uncle
Tom:s Cabin," touching with consummate artistic power those impulses
which were already vivified, was a most potential agent; more so than
any other singly. Politics, religion, and literature were causes more
than ulffieient. AbhorrncTe of slavery grew at length into hatred of
slaveholders, Christinn charity and gentlemanly courtesy toward those
who were held up us "those opprc.sorTS of their fellow-men, the cruel task-
masters of the down-trodden slavo," ceased to be a duty. Terms of re-
proach and abuseB such ns are seldom resorted to, even for the lowest and
worst of mnnkind, were nnsparinrly used by the press, in sermons and
]mt.ureu, and even in the halls of Congress. The compacts of the
national constitution, with "men worse than pirates and murderers,"
were pronounced a league only fit for devils," and in defiance of the
clearest stipulations for the rendition of slaves, personal liberty laws were
passed, Finally, the "irrepressible conflict"---an unceasing war on
slavery everywhere-was inaugurated as a moral and political duty.
In the storm which is tearing our nationality to pieces, the masses of
the people have been passive elements carried along by the angry pas-
sions of the few. Of Pennsylvania, my own State, I can say positively
that we h1ave very little active abolitionism. And in the more Northern
States, if the antislavery case could be separated entirely from polittei,
1 do not believe that one-twentieth of the voters would countenance in any
way the irrepressible conflict. The present storm iu thus like popular t1u1-
posts generally, one of those blastK which speedily blow themselves ont.
Bat the aitislavery sentiment of the North generally is deeper seated, and
more dangerous, and likely sooner or later, unless corrected, to destroy
the National i:nino of the American people. While Northern Chris-
tians regard slaveholders as unworthy to worship at the same altarN,
there can be no real cordiality; while Northern legislators regard slavery
as at variance with those fundamental principles of liberty on which our
SLAVERY SANCTIONED BY THE BILL
nationality is founded, they will not heartily enforce the clauses of the
Constitution for the rendition of slaves; while Northern philanthropists
see in slaveholding only brutal oppression, humanity and religion-higlier
authorities than human laws will be enlisted in the cause of disorganiza-
tion. Until Northern men generally look on slaveholders, not. as enemies
of morality, religion, and liberty, bnt as follow-citizens and countrymen,
whom peculiar circumstances oblige-unfortunately oblige-to adopt
peculiar Institutions, which are neither imuural nor barbuarou, there van
be no permanent hope for the Republic.
To contribute something toward a sounder public opinion-to relieve
slavery from a false position, which is vastly detrimental to the national
weal-is the purpose I have in view. My tract for the times is a sober
appeal to te "sober second thought of the people of te phe North, and I
appeal to them as men who are not willingly unjust, though under the
inftlence of haman passions, (humianum es. emrrare,) liable to bo often
temporarily wrong. Appeals to the South against the secessiion frenzy,
which is pulling down the pillars of the Union on their own heads and
on ours, will be made I IruiL by SouLheru men; nothing from any Northern
source would be of any use now.
Whether my diwkciiou can effect any change of public opinion, or
change even a single individual, I do not know. I know this, however,
my own views have been changed by examining the question; and con-
siderations which have changed the opinions of one Ian may change
those of others. I shall hope so at least. All I ask of my readers is a
fair hearing: "strike, but hear."
I amr ntd the advocuLe of slavery. I regard it as a great evil, and so I
do despotism: both are evils, but both under certain eireuimsta.necs prefer-
gble to worse. The despotic government of Napoleon the Third is better
than the republic of Robespierre; the slavery of Sonth Carolina is better
than the freedom of Dahomey or St. Domingo; better for the present
happiness of the negro, better for his progress in civilization, better for
his religious hopes, and moral condition. If men were as they ought to
be, there would be no slavery, nor deupotic government. As men actually
are, both have existed in all ages as far back as history runs, and will I
fear, continue more or less generally, antil man's fallen nature be changed.
The stubborn fact being so, and governments and institutions being in-
tended fur men as they actually are, not as they ought to be, we must
organize or tolerate what suits their actual conditiUL Establishing a
republic prematurely among a people unfit for self-government is idle
mockery, and ends eventually where it were better to have begun. So
the abolition of slavery among negroes prematurely only renders their
condition worse, Meanwhile I cannot consider those who exercise des-
BLAVhlY SANCTIONF.D RY THE BIBEL
pio icl owers-and all powers not derived from the consent of the governed,
even those of the queen ;nd pcerni of England, are despotic-nor those
that hold slaves, s violating the laws of God; though I do admit that
using tlhote powers unrighteously, in either case, is sinful Speaking not
as the advocate of slavery, but as the exponent of sound principles of
political and social organization, I regard the antislavery sentinmen.tality
of the North as a political and moral mistake.
On this basia I lay down the following propositioirs, which I propose
to discuss and to maintain:
1. That slavery, so far from being prohibited, is sanctioned by the
2. Slavery is not in antagonism with the Dec~1LaLtiL1on of Independence.
3. Property in slaves rests on the same title as any other property.
4. SlavcholLling is not iuconsistent with humanity and civilization.
As I have already virtually said, 1 intend my arguments for those
moderate antislavery men who are open to conviction, and willing to
change their opinions when convinced of error, That clams who never
change, because they never are wrong, I do not liope to move, and I
shall not try.
Before I commence my discussion, however, I will define and. explain
The term slavery is as vaguuely used as any word in our language.
Some understand by it an unlimited power of l[fir and deal.li, such as the
Roman patch rfamiltias uxcrc!i'teL ; otl.hei'r transfer the atrocities of Daho-
mey to our Southlteri States others are satisfied with the milder, though
still inhuman scenes of Uncle TomNs Cabin," But the slavery of foreign
lands, and of fictitious literature, and of the Now Englad imagination,
have been before the public more than sonficently already, being in fact
the main clement of uboliLioriinim; and my subject is the slavery of actual
]ife. The slavery which I propose to discuss is the political and social
condition of the negro bondmen of our Southern Sttais; that condition
which is recognized by the real laws and actual usages of the South, and
brought into coutuct with the North in the rendition clause of the Consti-
tution, a clause which not only presents us the only aspect of slavery
which our positive constitutional obligations require us men of the non-
slaveholding States to recognize, but also affords an accurate definition
of it. Let us examine the clause:-
"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws
t.hereor, is~apini ijuLn another, shall in cons.equence of any law or regula-
tion thereof be discharged from such service or labor, but shall Lb dte-
livered up, on cltLil of the party to whlom such service or labor shall be
SLAVFY BSANCTIONED) BY THlE BETbLE
According to this definition a. slave is a "person held to service or labor"
under the laws of any SLate. He is called a person : so he actuIully is by
the laws of the Southern States: he is uniler many disabilities, but he
has also many personal rights; the right to life for instance, as fully as the
miater himself He is a person to whose service or labor another man
has a legal claim, and over whom that other man exercises such legal
authority a1 is necessary to enforce his uluims. Our Northern rhetoric
calls the slave a thing. Southern laws do not make him such, any mure
than our No'rthern laws make the indentured apprentice a thing; in fact,
there is considerable, norilogy. The master has a claim to the service or
labor of his apprentice; ho ha legal authority to enforce his clain by
corporal chastisement, and he derives his claim from the same source as
the Southern master-the law.
I am well aware that some Southern law hooks call the slave a clinttel.
The phraseology iA inaccurate. The slave is not a chattel in the common
law sense uf the word; though the claim to his service or labor mIuy
perhaps be called a chattel interest. If we analyze Southern legi.lat.ion,
we find that the property is only in the slavc's service or labor, with lim-
ited powers over his person. In fact no human laws can give one man
unlimited powers over t.he pTeron-which involves not only the body but
the whole moral responaLbilities-of another man; and the South has not
atterpLted it. The distinction, that slave property is in the service or labor,
not in the person, is not more refined than many we are accustomed to in
questions atreitting rights
My definition presents the abstract form of iIavery, and my right to
place myself on so narrow ground will pruobbly be qcueftioned. I must
take into the argument, it will be said, ll the c:TMNeituences of giving oue
mian arbitrary powers over another. I am perfectly willing to do so as
soon as we can agree on those COTn1e.!lquete; agree from the fats, I
mean; not the facts of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," or of sensation scrmonre,
or of campaign ido~uients, but the fits of actn l life. At Iresent, I
fear, we are not ready for a case stated. In my belief, on the evidence-
partly my own observation, twenty-five years ago, for I have not been
south of the Potomac since.-slvves are as well treated generally as
Northern apprentices; I even believe them to be better off, generally,
than our Northern free blaks--always excepting a few abolitionist pets.
I also believe their religious and moral condition not only vastly better
than if their race bha remained in Africa, but, judging from the number
of professing Christians, a.s good comparatively as the rest of mankind.
You, my abolitionist friend, do not agree with me, of course; for if you
did you could not be an abolitionist; stand you will refer me to your view
of the facts. All very well, when we have the evidence; but meanwhile
BLAVERY SANCTIONED BY THE BrBLE.
I must be allowed to stand on my own belief Still there ar Some facts
which I am willing to concede. During my own visit to the South, I did
not see a single slave actually whipped, though I saw many who ought
to have been; still I am willing to concede that individual cases of cruelty
-equal even to the treatment of Uncle Tom "-have occurred in the
South. I believe it, not became you tell me so-for I do not believe any
of your fact could be verified satisfactorily to a Pennsylvanian jury-but
on the evidence of human nature. There must be mean men In the South
as well as elsewhere. In the North we are obliged occasionally to annul
indentures of apprenticeship on account of cruelty: I have done so my-
self judicially, even in Philadelphia; and I am not willing to believe
Philadelphia masters worse than those of the South Of course there is
cruelty in the Sonth; for men are of like passions there as everywhere.
I concede the individual cases of cruelty, but I believe them exceptions:
it would he just as unreasonable to condemn the whole class of Northern
masters from isolated instances of cruelty toward their apprentice& or
Northern parents generally, on the brutality of that father who kept his
child naked in an outhouse for several year, as to anathematize all slave-
holders because there may be among them one monster like Mrs. Stowea'
WhilQ the facts remain as they are, disputed and unsettled, we must
discuss slaveholding in the ab-t.ract, if we have any logical discussion at
all. I is the attempt to argue from disputed facts which has made the
bitterness of this controversy. In truth, however, my definition covers
the whole ground. Slaveholding in the abstract, without reference to
local exLgencies, or extenuating circumstanc.q, is held up as a "gross vio-
lation of the most precious and sacred rights of human nature," and
"utterly inconsistent with the law of God." To meet and confute thia
abstract denunciation involves the substance of the controversy.
THE OT.L TF.STAMTNT SANCTION.
THE BO" OF ,HR.R-1i.q.
SLAVXEHtOjDENr, so far from being probibAted, is actually sanctioned"
by the Bible.
So stands my first proposition. With rare uuanimity the clergymen of
Now ERngand, who differ o 1 widely on most points of scriptural riding,
have decided this point in the negative. Tie-'c-. -prim. farwie case being so
overwhelmingly agaiu~nt in, it is fadventnrous-presuniptuous I Tniight say
aL ocuu, for so "the sisters" will regard it-for a single layman to LLudor-
take to reverse the decision. But I have known the judge. of our courts,
who study the law as carefully as oar clerical friends do the GORIcel, to he
clearly mistaken; to own their mistakes; and even to correct. thert.
Whether the cloth" have equal magnanimity-not being sowcll acquainted
with them as with ny own profession-I cannot. confidently say. I trout,
however, that St. i'aul (2 Cor, iii. 15) was not hitting them over the
heads of the Jews. 3eing on clerical ground, however, where my fooL-
steps are necessarily not so firm as in the neighborhood of tle forum, T
Hall principally let the Book itself argue the question. It is nut pre-
sumption-in our 'rote-tatut land at least-for a layman to search the
ScripLurCe ;" nor to note down the passages he finds.; nor, if he do not
understand the meaning himself, to ask his clerical friends; nor in all
bumilily to mention his own opriions, even in respectful dihsent From heir
betWtr ktolwledge. In this deferential way I begin with the Book of
The first passage of Geneis-and of the Bible, of course-which has
any reference to slavery, is .Noah's curse of Canaan, the son of Ham
(Gen. ix. 25):
"And he said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of servalnt shall he be
unto his brethren."
Of course you uget.lemn ofl the cloth" know betLer than I do what
authority Nuah had over the children ol' :un,n Judging from his words,
without reference Lo his utthori.y, it looks very much like an intention to
-- I --------- "e L--)~rr~-----rl~~~"~-ol..~cr. *---------- -----
8JAVERY SANOTIONED BY THE BIBLE.
enslave that unfortunate race ; and, if the negroes belong to it, as some sup.
pose, account for that perpetual bondage which ha; always been their
lot. But, my clerical friends, what is your opinion of the pasag~ae ?
"It means," answers some representative D.D., "the national subjec-
tion of Canaan's posterity to the descendants of his brethren: I have
preached from the passage, and shown satisfactorily that this is the proper
construction, Of course it is. Slavery being inconHistent with the law
of Cod is certainly not referred to."
Excuse my interrupting you; hut assuming slavery to be inconsistent
with the laws of God, and proving the meaning of the pasa.ge from this
assumption, logiciania would call a petitio principii; it is logic we are
not. used to at the bar; in f~ct, my friend-with deference for your cleri-
cal habits-it is really not available out of the pulpit Suppose we take
a more scholar-like course. You have a Hebrew Hihle lying on your
table; if you will allow me to trespass on the manor lands of the Church
so far as to dig after a Hebrew root, I will find the passage. The orig-
inal reads, ngacbed nyabaldi-m; excuse my poor pronunciation, hut I
taught myself the Hebrew, in order to study more thoroughly the word
of God, and I know nothing about the pronunciation of the schools. Now
let me have your lexieon; I see you have a Boston edition of Gese-
nius, and little faith as I have in Yankee school hooks generally, I accept.
its authority. Let us read the definition: "ngabed, a servant who amoug
the Hebrewq was also a slave, whether horn in the house or bought with
money:" Ngabfrdim, being the plural of n~gbed, the passage ought to
be translated, according to the Bost.on lexicon, "a slave of slaves."
S"No, sir, never P1 exclaims my D.D. somewhat warmly; "the patriarch
never meant slavery t never, sir I never Snuh a construction is totally
irreconcilable with the benevolence of God I A I'I I thought not l"
Here my clerical friend brightens up. "Look further down the page;
ngabed is also used in the complimentary address of s jects to their
prince, such as, I am your majesty's humble servant."
Excuse me again, my friend, bat we are back once more to our old
assumption of premises. However, you are right in one respect; ngabed
is sometimes used in a complimentary sense; but, deferentially of course,
NoSh's curse looks to me very little like paying compliments to the chil-
dren of Ham, On the whole, our understanding of the passage is so very
wide apart that there is one only point of harmony between us: it is not
a condemnation of slavery.
So ends my colloquy with the representative D.D. In fct, he has been
so long used to assumptions that he regards them as legitimate premises,
and is unwilling or unable to argne on any other footing. Still it is suM-
eient for my present purpose, that in the earliest panago of the Bible,
10 :---- -- --- ---- --
8LAVBItY .ANCTIfON i BY THE BIBLE.
where slavery ia mentioned, it is not prohibited, I may add, however, to
my criticism on the word ngqaeed, that it is translated in the Septuagint
oike/es, a house slave, so that the proper rendering of the Greek version
is, "a house slave of house slaves shall he be."
. The next reference to the subjer't which we find is the cnumcration of
the property acquired by the patriarch Abraham in Egypt (Gcn. xii. 16):
"And he [Abraham] had sheep, and oxen and he-asses, and me-ser~va.ts
and maid-scrvar .e, and she-asses and caunels."
Were the men-servaiits and maid-servants thus seedulod with the other
property of the patriarch, bondinen ? The word "had"' of our English
version implies possession. The original of man-servauts" is ngabadim,
the plural of ngabed, which we have already defined of mlid-eervaulas, the
Hebrew is shtpleak'ol, translated in the Sel.uagiut .'r;.are, (paidisi:ai,)
and defined in the lexicons, female household slaves. No critic disputtes
the meaning of either word : a philanthropUit possibly may ; but with a
philanthropist who is not a critic, there being no common ground on which
we can meet, I can have no argument. One point, however, even philan-
thropy will concede: the pa.eage certainly does not prohibit slavery ; and
this concession is all I ask at present,
Next in order is Cenesis, xiv. 14, the rescue of Lot by his martial rela-
tive, the patriarch Abraham.
"And when Abraham heard that his brot.hor was taken captive; he
'armed his trained servant, born in his own house, three hundred and
eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan."
Who were these trained servants born in the patrinreh's own house ?
Some philanthropists say subjects; others set them down as hired men.
Commoiin sense, from the reading of the passage, says they were certainly
slaves, and philology and the lexicons agree with common scnso. The
original words for "servants born in his own house" are translated
into one Greek word ,rzorw-iw (houseborn,) by the Septuiagiut, and
defined in the lexicons as vernce, houseborn slaves. The Ineaunug of
the passage will not be disputed by any one afquaibtudl with the woris.
But even the all-poweriful assumption that so good a man as A braham
could not possibly have been a slaveholder, cannot. construe this narrative
into a prohibition of slavery.
My next reference is to Abraham's circumcision of his household-
Genesis, xvii, 12.
"12, And he that is eight days old shall be UirciIu I ised amunii you,
every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or
bought with money of any stranger which is not of thy seed.
1 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy
money, must needs be circuuinsed.
ElAWEILY BANOTIONED BY THE DIBJ
S23. And Abraham took Ishmael, htR son, and all that were born in
his hons.e, and all that were bought with his money."
"All that were bought with his money" is certainly as significant of
slavery as the Anglo-Saxon could make it, and the Anglo-Saxon is a
faithful translation. How would yoa translate it, my clerical friend ? or,
if you are satisfied with the present version, how do you interpret it, so as
to avoid the couclaion that the patriarch bought his fellow-man with his
The other pasages of Genesis I shall refer to without comment, as
they are meTely cumulation of evidence on a point already more than
Now Sarai, Abraham's wife, baro him no children; and she had a
handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar."-Genesai, xrL 1.
Ch. xxi. 9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which
she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, cast out tjis bondwoman and
her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son,
even with hIsc."-xxi. 10. The Apostle Paul also speaks of Hagar as a
"And Abraham aid unto his eldest servant of his house that ruled
over all that he htad.1-G n. xxiv. 2.
After the days of Abraham, the next notice of slavery we find is in the
history of Jacob; besides the mention of Zilpah and Bilhah as hand-
maidens, (Gen. 30,) it appears from a schedule that his property, like his
grandfather's, included men-er-ruinis and -maid-secrants.
"And the man (Jacob) increased exccrdingly, and had much cattle,
and maid-servants and men-servants, and camels and asses."-Genesis,
The same enumeration is mubsequently repeated, Gen. xxxfl. 5. "And
I have oxen and asses, and flocks, and mon-servants and women- ervants."
The last reference to slavery which I find in the book is the ease of
"Then there passed by Midianitea merchantmen; and they drew and
lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for
twenty pieces of silver and they brought Joseph into Egypt.'-Genesis,
Ch. xxxix. 1. '"And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar,
an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of
the hands of the Ishmaelites."
5. And the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake;
and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in
nr --I- _IIIIL~--~ ---
SLAVERY BANOTIO1NTFT) T THE] B1nLBE.
So much for the Book of Geiresis, the sta.rting-point of our religion.
Thl'ere i not a word in condemnation of slavery, anw there is much which
may fairly be construed as a annt.iou.
THE JEWIRjr oCrt MOtSWPALTRA AS DECIDErDLY PRO-BLAETRY AB SOrTH CARODIA.
After a thorough examination of the Book of Genesis, I proceed to the
other books of Moses, and to the rest of the Old Test.ament. The pas-
sages which relate to slavery are principally, if not altogether connected
with the constitution and laws of the commonwealth of Israel. Slavery
was a peculiarr institution" of that conrmonwealth, jnsit as unquestion-
ably as it is of South Cerolina or Virginia, This fact, of course well
known to our clerical friends, completely nullifies the inferences against
slavery which some of them are so fiuld of drawing from the deliverance
of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. My proof of the fact isthe
slave law itself. (Levit. xxv. 44.)
"44. Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have,
shall be of the heathen, which are round about you; of them sliall ye buy
bondmen and bondmaids.
"45. Moreover of thL chillrcnT of the srlingers tlht do sfojorn'i amUong
yon, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which
they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
"46. And ye shall take them as an inheritnncc, for your children after
you, to inherit them for a poiession ; they shall be your bondminen forever :
but over your brethera, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule, one over
another, with rigor."
I shall not ask you, my clerical friend, to preach from these verses, but
I shall ask you to point meo o any law f of our Southern States, which
more unequivocally establish slavery.
In addition to the laws, whlchll made strangerm and heatthen the "Ibond-
men forever" of the Israelites, and the "inheritance" of their children,
tle legislation of Moses went a step further; a step further oven than any
of our slaveholding States. Under certain circumstances wIich are laid
down, the JewH are allowed to hold as slaves their own brethren of tho
Israelitich race: a condition of servitude common enough in a.nieut
ttues, and in Africa now, but unknown among us. This legisIation we
fnd in the Book of Exodes. (Ex. xxi.)
"2. If thou buy a Hebrew servanL, six years shall he serye, and in
the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3. If he ciiTe in by 1hitmVilf, he shall go out by himself: if he were
married, then his wife shil[ go ouu. with him.
4. If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons
SLAVERY SANC'r tONED BY TIE BIBLE.
or daughters, the wife and her children shall he her masters, and he shall
go out by hinmsel
"5. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife and
my children, I will not go out free,
"1. Then his mnslor shall bring him unto the judges: he shall also
bring him to the door or unto the door post: and his master shall bore
his car through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever."
This passage, is, of course, familiar to my clerical friend; perhaps his
ingenuity has before now interpreted it into a prohibition of slavery; but
if he can point me to as harsh a phase of slavery in any regions of the
South, I will surrender my case at discretion.
In the Books of Exodus and Leviticus, there are so many passages
rcfcrriug to slavery, and legisTating for it as an established in-s.itutlion,
that to oquote them all would be idle ctuulation. There are some, how-
ever, which my subject requiires me to cite. LeviEicus (xxv, 39-40)
shows how well the distinction between bondmen and hired servants was
understood in the Israclilish community:-
39. And if thy brother, that dwellotli by thee, he waxen poor, and be
sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a hond-servatt,
40. But as a hired servant, and as a sojourner he shall be with thee,
and shall serve thee unto the yetr of jubilee."
In another verse of the same chapter, we find an additional recogni-
tion of the distinct condition of the hired servant:-
53. And m a yearly hired servant shall ho be with him, and the
other shall not rule with rigor over him in thy sight."
Tbhi passago refers to the case of an impoverished Israelite selling
himself to a rich "Rojourner or stranger;" who could not hold the
Israelite in perpetual servitude, but only as a hired servant until the year
In the Book of Exodus (chap. xxi. 20) we have legislation on the
power of chastisement which Lhe Jewish master might exercise over bis
heathen bondman; more conformable to the rigor of ancient servitude,
and more extensive than any now allowed.
20. And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he
die under his hand; he shall surely be punished.
"21. otwit.hstandig, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be
pushed ; for he is his money."
None of the laws of our Southern States exempt a master from punish-
meut under similar circumstances. The reason also whith is given for
the exemption will, I fear, shock not a little our Northern sensibilities;
"for he is his money;" stronger certainly than calling a man a chattel;
so strong, indeed, that I must remind our philanthropist that the expres-
BLAVERT 13ANCITIONIED MT THLI BI13M~
sion is not mine, and ask them to visit Moses and not me with their "Just
In the same chapter of Exodus (xiL 16) we find the law against "steal-
ing a man ;" which shows how full the Jewish legislation on slavery was.
"16. And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in
his hand, he shall surely be put to death."
The best illustration or the utter poverLy of antislavery logic I can
poiut to, is the curious fact that this passage is the main scriptural
authority which is cited against slavery. So. far from being against
slavery, it shows clearly its legal existence in the Jewish eoinmmuiy ; for
If property in slaves had not been recognized, the prohibiting the "steal-
ing a man" would have been very useless legislation. You cannot steal
a man, so that he be found in your hand in Puenusylviuia; in a lare
State you may. If, therefore, the other Jewish laws, which I have qurftcld,
were swept away, this provision would be Hmiffiient for my argument.
To complete my digeat of the Mosaic legislation on slavery, I shall
mention only the law prohibiting the rendition of bondmen who esMape
within the burd ri of Israel from the surrounding nations. (Deuleronomry,
"15. Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant who is
escaped from his master unto thee.
"16. He shall dwell with thee, even among you in that place which
he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best ; thou shalB
not oppress him."
This passage has been the text of thousands of sermons against the
fugitive slave laws, and is probably the foundation of that erroneous
Northern conscience which appeals to "the higher law" against the ren-
dition clauses of the Constitution. If the higher law has no bettor
foundation than thi, it is certainly built on the sand, and some day, great
will be ita fall.
The passage refers to hondmen who escape from masters in surround-
Ing nations; otherwise it is in conflict with those laws which I have cited,
as well a with the settled historiCal foits of Jewish history. If it referred
to Jewish masters-if a servant who escaped from his Jewish master
became virtually free-bondmen would have been a very unprofitable
pssess&on," and a very mean inheritance ;" and the Jews would not
have remained, as they mnriniably were, always Blaveholders. No one
can read the sixteenth verse carefully without acknowledging that the
"thee, even among you," and the "one of thy gates, where it liketh him
best,' refer to the Jewish people and not to an individual. On the whole,
if this is the text of the "higher law," our Northern conscience is a
baseless fabric; as long as the Union continues, at all events, and we re-
imain one nation.
18 SLAVERY SANMTTONED IRY THE BIBLE.
I have but one point left in connection with the Jewish commonwealth,
the Decalogue. That great code itself contains a recognition of prop-
erty in slaves, (ExodnH, xx.)
"10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord: in it thou
salt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-
servant, nor thy maid-scrLant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is
within thy gates.
It. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet
thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his
ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."
You have read these commandments a thousand times, I presume; but
has it ever struck you, my clerical friend, that thy neighbor's man-serv.ut
and maid-servant are enumerated aA his property ? If not, the vail ha.
be.e on your heart, while you were reading the very moral code which it
is your business to tauch. You will take, perhaps, the old ground, that
the maid-servant and man-servant mean hired servants. The original
Hrbrew is the same word ngahed which we have already examined; you
know better than I do-at least it is your business to know better than I,
a mere lawyer-that there is anuothcr Hebrew word for hired servant
The recognition which the Decalogue makes of property in slaves, I am
using now merely as enmulative evidence to show the pro-slavery charac-
ter of the Jewish commonwealth. This is ill the present stage of my
argument requires. UHreafter perhaps, if I judge it necessary, I shall
refer to these commandments as the moral code of nil generation. of men,
as binding on us now as on the people of Israel-a position my clerical
friend will not dispute-and their sLauction of slavery as a Just foundation
for modern conscience, and a just rule of modern morality.
There is nothing in the Old Testament contradictory of what I have
cited, and additional references would overload, without strengthening my
argument. No evidence would establish more conclusively than I have
already done, that there is no prohibition of slavery. Next, it is equally
clear, that the man who stands in high moral relief among the men of
those early generationg-the "father of the faithful," in whose seed all the
nations of the earth were to be blessed-was salaveholder; and that the
iitstitutioni of G(od's chosen people were pro-slavery. To the extent of
the ground which the Old Testament covers, I have now a right to say,
that my proposition is sustained, and that the Bible sanctions slavery.
This is all I claim at present. I do not claim the defective institutions of
the Jcws-to whom so much was conceded on account of the "'hardness
of their hearts"-as modern standards. But whenever in the slavery
controversy any reference to the Old Testament is made, I have a right to
the vantage ground of having shown it to be unequivocally pro-slavery.
- ;; -C I
THE NEW TESTAMENT,
NO IXPR9a8 PROHI]ITIfOiN OF LIAVEIT-
UP to the point we have now reached, there has been properly nothing
to discuss. It has been a trial by the record; and the record which I have
produced show conclusively that the Inr of God, as far as the Old Testa-
ment legislation goes, does not probiit slavery. There is no getting over
the clear language of Moses, unless we are in the condition of those
spoken of by the Apostle, (2 Oor. iii. 15,) "Even unto this day when
Moses is read the vail is on their heart;'" or unless, like the inuidel
sophists, who are the only consistent antialavery logicians, we repudiate
his authority altogether.
But now we are on debatable ground. The position of slavery under
the Gospel dispensation is not so clear that much cannot be said on both
aide, There is room for difference of opinion, which cannot be said in
reference to the Old Testament, but at the same time the weight of the
argument seIQT to me vastly in favor of my proposition.
As a first point, I take the position that the moral code of the -New
Testament contains no express prohibition of slaveholding. f do not
think this position will be disputed. If there is any such law, I cannot
find it; and if you, my clerical friend, will find it for me, I will haul down
my flag and turn uabclitionist. I have before me now a resolution of
sormc ecclesiustical body-General Assembly, or Presbytery-which em-
bodies so fully the aspect of the question, as I find it among antislavery
Christians, that I extract it as evidence that no such positive law is
claimed to exist.
"We consider the voluntary enslaving of one part of the human race
by another as a gross violation of the most precious nnd sacred rights of
human nature, as utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires
us to love our neighbor as onrself, and as totally irreconcilable with the
spirit and principle of the Gospel of Christ, which enjoins, that all things
that ye would that men should do to yon do ye even so to them."
In this exposition of antislavery Christianity, the law of God, which
SLAVERY -SA UCI'IONED BY TIE BIBLE.
slaveholding is said to be inconsistent with, is the precept "to love our
neighbor as ourself.' The founding an inferential condemnation on this
general precept, is a concession that no specific law against slavery exists.
Such is certainly the case. The opponents of slavery are obliged to de-
pend exclusively on what the above resolution calls "the spirit and prin-
ciple of the Gospel of Christ." How utterly fallacious that dependence
is-how perfectly inapplicable those general precepts are-I shall show
hereafter. At present I ask attention to the Important fact, that slavery
is not expressly prohibited by the legislation of Christ.
My cerical friends know better than I-is it not their proper business ?
-that the moral laws of the New Testament are full and definite. Mur-
der, and theft, and perjury, and fornication, and hypocrisy, and countless
other moral affensee, down to grades as light as "evil speaking one of
another," are expressly prohibited by the lips of the Divine Lawgiver, or
the pens of his inspired representatives. None of those offenses are left
to the vague jurisdiction of "the spirit and principle of the Gospel of
Christ" To place slaveholding on that footing is totally irreconcilable
with the whole character of the Gospel code; especially if it be regarded,
in the lurid light of abolitionism, as a combination of murder and many
other henious offenses. For my part, if I thought as badly of slavehold-
ing as some of my clerical friends do, and could find no express prohibi-
tion of it in the Bible, I would renounce the moral code of the book and
go over straight into the infidel camp. But, my learned friends, with all
deference to your biblical studies, I must tell you frankly, you have mi-
taken the character of scriptural legislation.
When we consider, that slavery was an institution of the Jewish nation,
established by Moses, recognized in the 1ecalogue, handed down through
all the changeful fortunes of their national history, it fall vigor at the
coming of our Saviour, it is impossible to believe that he would not have
prohibited it expressly, if he had regarded it as you do. However, these
considerations belong properly to a fntnre stage of my argument. All I
wish at present to lay down is, that there is nowhere in the New Testa-
ment an express prohibition of slavery.
"TH SPIRIT A.1) PRINCIPLE OF THE GOSPEL.1
It being settled--coneeded, I mny Rny-that there is no express pro-
hibition of slavery in the New Testament, and that the prohibition, if any,
is by "the spirit and principle of the Gospel of Christ," our next step is
to deficie that "spirit and principlle.i Terms so general and indefinite can
not profitably be used in any discussion which has certainty and truth for
SLAVEUY &ANCTIONED BY TEE BIBLM.
In my clerical antislavery resolution I find a description which I am
willing to accept as a definition: "The spirit and principle of the Gospel
of Christ, which enjoin that all things which ye would that men should
do to yon, do ye even so unto them,'" if extended to include the other
precepts of the Sermon on the Mount-and of course my clerical friends
do not object-it will place the legislation which is called "the Spirit of
the Gospel" on definite ground.
Those exalted precepts of Him "who apake as never man spake" may
e called the laws of the kingdom of Christ; which he says is "not of this
world," and which necessarily implies legiRlation not for the things of this
world. Moses, Lycurgus, and Justinian legislate for the outward actions
of men; Christ for the feelings and impulses, atid for "the thought of the
heart," He does not repeal their laws-those against theft, murder, and
other ordinary crimes-for he did not come "to destroy but to fulfill,"
and he fulfill by rendering unnecessary-unnecessary because his sublitme
legislation, literally carried out by all men, would render all other laws
superfluous. If every man loved his neighbor as himself, and did to other
men what he would have them do to him, all the ends of human laws and
hamau government would be answered without legiRsfltures, court, or
magistrates. Truly the sublime legislation of Christ does not destroy,
but fulfills the law and the prophets.
The laws of the kingdom of Christ are not among "the things which
are Cesar's." Those laws caunooL be administered by human hands; and
the attempt, whether by Spanish inquisitor or New England clergy-
man, while it usurps Christ's prerogatives, violates man's "must sacred
and inalienable rights." The only earthlyjurisdietion is the individual's
own conscience. In fact, even if the right existed, those laws could he
administered prulcically in no other forum. For illustration, consider the
law: "All things whatsoever ye would that nieu should do unto you, do
ye even so to them"' No one bat the individual himself can apply it to
the practical duties of life, because no one else can know what he would
that others should do to him. We, who are outside of his feelings and
thoughts, miny imagine and conjecture what he would have others do, but
it would, after all, be only our vague conjecture. So of the other great
law: "Love your neighbor as yocuelf," we may infer what love for one's
self would lead another than ourselves to do, but we can have no cer-
tainty : for instance, we might infer that it would prevent a man from
taking another's life, and yet in the case of a man bent on suicide, the
inference would lead astray. However, I do not think this point will be
disputed at the present day; at least until we are prepared for the inquisi-
tion and other means of sustaining the kingdom of Christ by external
SLAV9rBY AKCTXONEDr IBY THlE BIBLE.
My next point is that these elevated precepts or laws stand on peculiar
ground. They were primarily enacted for the moral government of those
persons who are called from darkness unto light, who arc born ag in from
above, ("ye must be born from above,") who have new hearts given
them, (" a new heart will I give yon,") and who are the proper citizens
of the kingdom of Christ But Ihey seem too elevated even for them;
one might almost aay th ey were enacted fur man in a more advanced state;
either the millennium on earth or that hereafter, which is the inheritance
of the "hlessed made perrect" Certain it is, at present, even those that
profess to love Christ do not live up to these his peculiar laws. This is
my next point.
It is an unfortunate truth, my clerical friend, that none of us, not even
yourself, I am afraid, live up to these laws, which form "the spirit and
principle of the GoMspel of Christ." For myself, I make the confession
sorrowfully but in sober truth: I confess I do not love my neighbor as
myself; if I did, I would follow the construction put on this law in the
days of the Apostles: "For as many as were possessors of lands a~mi
houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold
and laid them down at the A poles' feet; and distribution was made to
every man according as he ha need." I confess I do not obey that
other great, law; "Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy
right eheek, turn to him the other also." My conscience nalows me tu
defend myself against evil men, to the extent even of the death of an
assailant, or of half a dozen assailant--their blood be on their own
heads. There are so many of these laws, however, which I do not live up
to, that I omit the recapitulation. So much for my confessionL Now
for yours, my clerical friend. Read over the Sermon on the Mount, and
answer faithfully, how many of those sublime precepts you fairly keep:
onc-half? one-fourth If one-fourth, 1 shall sLand rebuked before you
and humbly qwn that your "manner of living is more reconcilable than
mine, with the spirit and principle of the Gospel of Christ." May GoI
in his grace enable us to keep all these his commandments ; but our chance
of heaven will be poor indeed' if it depend on our present obedience.
" Oh wretched man that I am,"slys St, Paul, "who shall deliver me from
the body of this death t"
If these principles are sound, they reverAe our clerical condemnation
of slavery. It is not for New England clergyman or infidel sophist to
decide that any mau's ct--slaveholding even-admittedly not condemned
by any express law of Scripture, is "totally irreconcilable with the
spirit and principle of the Gospel of Christ:" that decision is for his
own conscience: who art thou who judges another man's servant V"
To apply the law of God, Love your neighbor as yourselves," to any-
fLAYELY 3ANCTIONED BJY THlE BTELE
body's ease but one's own, is a gross violation of the most sFwred and
precious rights of human nature "-the rights of contiinsre. It is the
same principle exactly which influenced the inquisition; and which, begin-
ning on the hope to save meln's souli, ended with the burning of their
bodies at the stake. In like manner the effort to coerce slaiverolders to
love their neighbors as themselves, may end in bringing the horrors of
St. Domingo on Virginia and Carolina.
Again, the ",spirit and principle of the Gospel of Christ," is not lived
up to generally; not even, I venture to say, by the gentleman who wrote
the very revoluLion I have quoted; certainly was not by St. Paul-T have
bhl own authority for saying so. If not generally lived up lt, if all of
us fall short in so many partienlars, if none of us-not even our clerical
friends-love our neighbors as ourselves, why do we make slaveholding
an exception ? Why do we require of slaveholders a Mtricter obedience
than we ourselves yield? On our Sanviour's rule-let him among you
who is without sin east the first stone-if slaveholders are to wait until
some one who loves his neighbor as himself can be found to begin, their
condemuation will be sumfielvatly long postponed.
Ar.L TI-HWIH WHAr.TOBVER Y WOULD TUAT MtH siAll:atr I. TWO :TO TOYI DO YTB EsY 80
The considerations I have already presented are suficient for my argn-
ment; yet a special examination of this memorable precept will cover the
ground more completely. In fact, the precept involves the very snbstance
of the supposed prohibition of slavery by "the spirit and principle of
the Gospel of Christ." If we would not wish to be bondmen of others,
we ought not hold other men in bondage.
By this broad construction, the precept certainly decides the slavery
question-and mnch more. It decides that no citizen can enforce a private
right, nor public officer execute an oflcial duty, by compulsory means. A
judge is esLopped in a eas before him by the consideration that changing
places with the losing party he would not like a decision against himself;
the Hheriff is in a similar predicament when he undertakes to arrest a
criminal; and so every other public functionary. In fact, this broad con-
struction supersedes legislatures, courts, and magistrates, and inaugurates
the millennium; millennium rules for good men, while the bad still live
under the code of Pandemonium. We are not yet, quite prepared for
the "good time coming," when "the lion shall lie down with the lamb,
tnd a child shall lead them ;" when war and despotism, and slaveholding
even shaII cease; when mieu will need no government, but the rule of
SLAVERY SBAPTICIK T BY THE BIBI.E.
their own conscience. The absurditics to which the antialavery con-
struction of this precept necessarily Ieads, coiifirm-prove a posleriori I
may say-the soundness of the views I presented in my last section,
But enough has been said; a construction which abolishes slavery, by
abolishing all law and all government, confutes itself.
The fact is-I am sorry to be obliged to say it, and I say it with great
deference-the views of our clerical friends oD "the spirit and principle of
the Gospel of Christ" are exceedingly crude. Unless we confine those
spiritual laws to spiritual matters, and allow the administration exclusively
to the individual conscience, we place them in antagonism with human
government and make them inconsistent with rights under human laws.
For illustration: "Love your ntaighbor as yourself," when not left to a
man's own cou[cience, is in collision with his right of property; though
on this point the practice of "the cloth "is better than the theories;
few, if any being especially willing to divide surplas good things among
poorer neighbors. However, I recommend-if a layman's recommenda-
tion counts anything in such matters-as a part of the regular theologi-
cal course, a more thorough study of the whole subject from the Saviour's
command, "Render uuto Cmnsar the things that are Casar's;" to St.
Paul's dictum, "The powers that be are ordained of God." Meanwhie-
that is, until our clerical friends become better acquluinted with the question
than they are now-I lay down a proposition to guide them clear of absurdi-
ties the duties enjoined by "the spirit and priuniple of the Gospel of Christ *
are not inconsistent with rights vested under human laws, nor with the
duties imposed by human government, unless in extreme cases, where
human laws are violations of the clear, that is, the express laws of God.
The application of this principle to slaveholding carries us back to our
first question, whether or not it is expressly prohibited.
THE l5W rFETAKENT 8ANCTION.S BLAVkrT.
I have but one link more in the argument on my first proposition. I
have shown, incontrovertibly, that slavery was an institution or the com-
monwealth of Israel; I have also shown, virtually by antislavery con-
cession, that there is no express prohibition in the New Testament. In
reference to the supposed condemnation of slavery by "'the spirit and
principle of the Gospel of Christ," I have shown that the principle in-
voked is theoreiL'ally inapplicable to the question; is practically not
the standard of our ordinary moraJity; and if applied by any other author-
ity than a man's own counsience, begins with absurdity and ends with sub-
SLAVERY BANCrlONEgD AY TI-R BiBLE.
version of law and government. This last position will be strengthened
by my argument on the next point; for whatever shows that slavery is
sanctioned by the New Testament, also shows that it is not irreconcilable
with "the spirit and principle of the noaptel of Christ."
In welding my last link, the first stroke-not a heavy one, I frankly
admit-is the reticence of the Saviour himself.
In his day slavery prevailed so universally that, as far as we know from
history, there was not a single nation of the earth which did not hold
slaves. The Jews, his countrymenTI after the flesh, availing themselves
fully of their legal privileges, held numerous Ihbndmren. The Romans,
the sovereigns of Judea and of the civilized world, were slav1hoFlders on
a scale which has never been rivaled. Slavery at that period was much
more barbarous than now. The Jewish master pos-se-ed almost the
powers of life and death. The Roman possessed them fully in the days
of the republic, and even under the more rigid government of the empire
was seldout limited except in such terrible eases as that of the epicure
who was Iuanished for feediug his carp with the bodies of his slaves.
If slavery, at the present day, is "a gross violation of the most sacred
and precilms rights of human nature, utterly inconsistent with the law of
God, totally irrconcilable with the spirit and principle of the Gospel,"
much more was it all this in the days of the Divine Lawgiver himself; if
denunciatiou of slaveholding is a moral duty now, much more was it then.
But the Saviour does not denounce it. If a single word of the .simiplest
condemnation, much less dennnctation, can be found in the four gospels, I
will join the crusade against slavery. That is a fair offer, certainly. Will
you, my clerical friend, take'issue with me, and if you cannot find any
denunciation, let slavery alone? If this fair settlement of thie question
involves the imorLification of owning yourself to have been in the wrong,
and is more than 1 have a right to ask even from a minister of the Gospel
of peace, I may certainly ask some explanation of the reticence itself.
Why did not the Saviour condemn slavery ? Answer aatisfaciLorily, or I
may certainly ask yon, in the present disastrous times, when agitation of
the subject is plunging our country into civil war, not to make a point of
conscience of not following his example, lMeanwhile I hold up his reti-
cence &q an inferential sanction.
This sanction of slavery, inferable from the silent consent of the Divine
Lawgiver, I do not press as far as I am entitled to, because there is no
necessity. The positive sanction is too clear. If the Apostle Paul knew
"the mind and will of Christ," there can be no doubt. His exposition of
"the spirit and principle of the Gospel" is so decided as to leave my
clerical friends no resource but to class him, along with myself, as a
~ ___II __~I_
S6 SLAVERY SANCTION OD BY THE BIRI.B.
As a starting-point, I cite the Apostle's code of reciprocal duties for
masters and slave, as we may fairly call it, which is found in chapter
sixth of Ephesiann.
5, Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to
the flesh, with fear and trembling in singleness of your heart as unto
6- Not with eye service as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ
doing the will of God from the heart
WiLh good will doing service as to the Lord and not to men.
8. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall
he receive of the Lord, whether he be band or free.
"9. And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threat-
euiug: knowing that your mrst.r also is in heaven, neither is there any
respect of person with him."
In the Epistle to Titus, Cii. 9,) we find some additional laws:
"9. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters and to
please them well in all things; not answering again;
"10. Not purlulning, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn
the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
If this short but complete code of the reciprocal duties of master. and
servants is not a sanction of slavery, I know not what can be called so.
The only door of escape is the assumption-- most unwarrantable one,
without any philological basis whatever-that the "servants" (oi douloi)
are hired persons, and not bondmen. The resorting to such an argument
only shows the barrenness of the antislavery field. The mere reading
of the passage, especially the apposition of '"bond" to "free," in the ninth
verse, negatives the supposition. But the meaning of the word JAw me
is not doubtful. It always means slave, or bondsman, or something which
implies a servile condition. The Helots were the douloi of the Sptrtans,
and there is the same reason for applying the term "hired persons" to
them as to the servants addressed by the Apostle. The word for hired
person is mistho ~ (prutwrfu), as we find in the parable of the prodigal
son-" Make me as a hired servant."
In 1 Corinthians we have another exposition of the moral duties of
bondmen. (Chap. vii. 21, etc.)
"21. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou
mayest be made free, use it rather.
14. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's
freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
23. Ye are bought with a price: be not ye the servants of men."
"If thou mayest be made free, use it," says the Apostle. Our clerical
friends would announce, in the words of their resolution, thy master's claim
IEL&VEIY S3A.NCTIONEDI BY TILE BIBLE.
ia "a gross violation of the most sacred and precious rights of human
nature, and inconsistent with the law of God;" thou art free of course.
In the First Epistle to Timothy we have another expression of the
Apostle's views. (1 Tim. vi, L)
1. Let as many servants (douloi) n asre under the yoke count their
own masters as worthy of all honor, that the u.ame of God and his doc-
trine be not blasphened.
2. And they that have believing masLers, let them not despise them,
because they are brethren; but rather do them service, hbmiuse they are
faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit, These things teach and
"8. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words,
even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is
according to godliness;
"4. He is proud, knowing nothing." *
I do hope, my clerical friend, this passage is not in your copy of the
Testament. If it is, you do not consult the book as much as you ought,
or you would have seen it; and certainly would have ended all fellowship
with the Apostle of the Gent.ilea. Not only does he recommend "ser-
varnt. unTier the yoke" to honor their masters." but he says that those
" who teach othcrwiso"-mi.ning you, my frielnd-"do not consent to the
words of our Lord Jesus Chrijl," aud "are proud, knowing nothing."
A after this you certainly would not admit the "dough-face" Apostle into
With these passages of the Scripture-and others which might, be
cited-all so clear and conclusive, staring them full in thi! fae, it is one
of the curiosities of ccclesiastienl litrattre fll tlht our clerical friends could
pronounce slavery "utterly irreconcilable with the spirit and principle of
the Gospel of ChriLstL The only plausible supposition is, that by sorie
c(onfislion of identity they have mistaken themselves for the, other division
of the antislavery army, that which nmarcbes under the iii idel flag.
With an apology to one portion of my readers for overloading my
evidence, and a diwhlaimer of any wish to satisfy that other portion, who,
like the brethren of Dives, would not be convinced "though one should
rise from the dead," I shall end my references with the Epistre to Phile-
mon. I mean the whole Epistle, which I recommend you to read care-
fully; that is, unless you senrch the Sirip[iurei" only to confirm yourself
in your antislavery prejudices; in which case, do not read it at all.
If it is pussiblei to express facts clearly in words, it is clear: first, that
One iimus was a slave, (doU.ds;) second, that lhr. had flpd from his mas-
ter, Philemon, but his views of duty Ieing changed by his conversion,
that he was now willing to return; third, that the Apostle, instead of
ff kLVI RE KNCTINED f BY THE iMiuu'.
considering the relation of master and slave as void, and aiding or oven
advising the slave to e.ape, actually sent him back tn his owner. With
such a case as this against yon, my clerical friend, I will not press the
argument; I even offer you my condolence. Consider me as condoling
with you on your having to admit that the antislavery Christianity, which
you have been teaching for years, is "not according to godliness."
And now I close t]le argument on my flirt proposition. What say you,
gentlemen of the Now Eugland pulpit, is my proposition sustained ? If you
decide against me, I must appeal to the commnlon senseofthe lay community.
But let me tell you, gentlemen, yon are darmaling the authority of the
word of God itself when yon interpret it, not on its obvious meaning,
but according to your assumptions of its .nppoScd spirit and principle.
If you Mn caonstran the Bible into condemnation of slavery, you can con-
strue it to condemn any institution and any principles, and into any mean-
ing. But you are treading on dangerous grLuuid. You are destroying
all certFinty in the interpretation of Scripture. You are giving up to
the infidel sopbists, your natural enomies, though at present your tempo-
rary allies, the very key of your poi4iou, which hereafter they will use
against you and all Christian belivcra.
ULAYVER, A THARE OF GOVERNMENT.
BEFORE I leave the religious part of my subject I must answer the
question, why our Divine Lawgiver did not legislate on slavery. He an-
swers it himself when he says, My kingdom is not of this world." His
legishition is Irrmrl and spiritual. His laws regulate our moral relations
with one another and our sHpiritual relations with himself.- Ife came on
earth to deliver us from the bondage of sin; to purify the impulses and
thoughts of the heart; to elevate us, and render us fit to associate here-
after with the "just inade perfect." L
Forms of guvecunmert-rights of person and property-regulation of the
legal rights and duties of husband nd nd wif, parent and child, master and
servant-fell not within the scope, and are not the objects, of his legisla-
tion. He has prescribed no form of government, and he has proscribed
none. In his day, through the unjust laws of conquest, tLt Jews were
the subjects of the grand old Roman Empire, and the empire itself was
ruled unrighteoUnly by imperial tyrants; yet there is not a word of ob-
jection to that twofold despotism; and the memorable "Render unto
Caesar the things that are Cesar's" even recognizes its sovereignty.
The absence of laws on these points in the Now Testament legislation
is an illustration, if not an evidence, of its divine origin. The Mosaic
laws, enacted for a single race, under peculiar circumstances, regulate the
political and social relations of men. The laws of Christ, designed for
all the races of men, under every variety of circumstance and every con-
dition of civilization, leave it to men themselves to adopt such institutions
as their various circumstances demand. With one race, utterly incapable
of self-government, despotism may be a necessity; another may be capa-
ble of semi-self-government, and resort to constitutional monarchy;
another may be civilized enough, or adventurous enough, for a republic.
Nor does the omission of political objects render the legislation of
Christ in any respect defective. While he prescribes no forms of govern-
ment, his precepts prescribe moral duties on those who administer every
form; while e organizes no domesLic insLitiLtons, the spirit and prin-
ciple of the gospel of Christ" extend to all, and regulate the duties of
all. Slavery stands on the same moral ground as the rest; not prohibited,
30 SLAVERY SANCTIONED BY THE BIBLE.
not established, but regulated. The development of this idea completes
what I have to say on the scriptural aspects of my question.
Analysis of slavery shows, that it is a phasA of government; a phase of
government adapted to the special case of different races intermingled
together; one capable of self-government, the other not. Such is the
position of our RSothern States. The African rtce--if there is any faith
in the historical experience that a constitutional monarchy, much more a
republic, has always been above its civilization-is utterly incapable of
self-government. Whether they are the children of Ham or not, the
curse of Noah has always been on them, and "servants of servants"
always have they literally been. Judging from fact and history, and not
from theoretic assumptions of what is supposed to be the benevolence of
God-but which is really the vain imagination of man-despotism and
slavery seem the normal condition of the negro race. At all events, their
present habits cerLaiuly do not practically fit them for self-government.
Such a race, in a country of their own, left to themolvesc, are necessarily
not freemen, and in our Anglo-Saxon community, allowing them political
privileges, at the best impairs, and when they are superior in numbers,
inevitably subvertH, rtpublieii irntitutions. The great law of necessity-
which justifies despotic powers of government in preference to anarchy-
justifies the domestic institutions of the South, and places them, philo-
sophically, on the same mural platform with kings and parliaments, and
constitutional sovereigsa generally.
The fact is to be retnembered, however, though we men of the North
often lose sight of it, that we ourselves have settled the main points of
the slavery question on Southern principles. The political servitude of
the negro race is as complete in Pennsylvania, where the constitution
acknowledges none but free white citizBns, as it is in Virginia. If the
negro's right of making the laws which govern him, is one of those
Smost precious and sacred rights of human nature," which slavery grossly
violate., our own constitution is as inconsistent with the law of Godl as
those of the Southern States. In addiLion to our legislation, the South
only denies certain industrial and social rights, important undoubtedly,
but a~ mere rights entirely subordinate and secondary.
If it is conceded, or proved, that men have a moral right to adopt such
forms of government and such subordinate domestic institutions as their
necessities require, my moral question is settled. Slaveholdiug is a modi-
fication of that patiiarehal government which was the earliest form, and
probably universal until the days of Nimrod, that hunter of men; that
form which the Roman commonwealth recognized in the power of life and
death it allowed the 1upatefamilits; which still survives in the limited
household powers of fathers over children, and in this form underlies all
the law and order of modern society. There is the same moral warrant
BLAVERY SANCTrONED BY THE M1ULE.
for the power of the master as there is for that of the fiathcr over his
grown-up sons, whose actions and industrial rights he controls : both are
given by laws founded on the same necessity. There is the same moral
warrant for slaveholding as there is for the non-represeutative powers
of czar, king, or peer. When necessity inaugurates those powers, to
treat them as a violation of the laws of God, is to canonize anarchy and
barbarism. Slavery itself, so far from being what the vain sophists of
.New England call it, a barbarous insiitulion, is the best means of bring-
ing barbarians under the blessed influences of civilization.
The true moral responsibility is in the exercise of those powers. King,
peer, or slaveholder, the man must some day give an account of the
deeds done in the body. It is a fearful responsibility to possess those
high powers of royalty or slaveholding, which charge one's conscience not
only with the temporal well-being of our fellow-men, but in a measure
with their moral interests. It is a moral respouiibility which no thought-
ful man should take on himself lightly, but which, when imposed by the
exigencies of his situation, he should look fully in the face; with fear and
trembling, as the Apostle says, in singleness of heart as to Chrisl., knowing
hlat there is a Master in heaven with whom there is no respect of person,
and before whose judgment-scat bond and free shall alike stand. The
slaveholder who meets his moral responsibilities conscientiously "fights
the good fight of faidlh against many temptations, above those which
beset us Northern Christians, and shall receive the more abundant rewu-rd.
The moral duties of slavernastrs are laid down clearly in the Apostle
PauPs code, and by that spirit und principle of the gospel of Christ"
which those "who are proud and know nothing" have erroneously invoked
against slavery itself. The specific application of those moral laws is
the affair of Southern conscience not of mine. There are one or two
points, however, which I shall allow myself to refer to. It is the moral
duty, I think, of Soutl.hrn legislation, to provide against the separation of
slave families, and for the more formal recognition of the marriage rela-
tion. It is also a moral duty, if my principles of the moral blns of
slavery are sound, to establish some system by which the negro who is fit
for self-goverument should be allowed to purchase his own freedom-with
a provision of deportation, however; the intermingling of cegro fremncn
without the right of suffrage standing theoreltic!lly on the same ground as
slavery itself, and only justifiable from the same principle of necessity.
These suggestionI are founded on principles and usngea which already exist
practically in many parts of the South. If they were legalized every-
where, the moral duties of slaveholders would, in my opinion, stand on a
platform which ought to satisfy the tenderest conscience of Northern
THE first part of my treatise has led me away from my ordinary
pursuits and studies. In fact, my acquaintance with the Scriptures
being such only as every educated layman ought to have, I would not
venture to discuss a doubtful point with those who make the word of
God their speRianty. But my point is not doubtfru The anti-slavery
construction is like the old anti-Copernican clerical astronomy: once uui-
versally orthodox, now looked back to only as an illustration of human
My other propositions place me on more familiar ground. In dcmon-
strating, as I think I can, that slavery is not a "violation of the most
sacred and inalicnnble rights of man," [ shall be among principles which
are, or ought to be, the study of every lawyer. Perhaps, however, I shall
go more deeply than my case absolutely requires, into the consideration of
political and industrial rights- Independently of the present question,
some discussion of rights is greatly needed. We have Fourha-of-Julied
liberty to death; though from ignorance that the vital spark has left her,
we have not yet laid her in the grave.
In the North we have talked sentimentally over the rights of man, until
we have forgotten that he has duties also, and until wo have lost sight of
his iuLerests. In the South, psans have been sung to State rights and
independent sovereign tie. and confederacy of republics-all very well when
subordinate to constitutional nationality-until public opinion is prepared
for seession : that rope of sand to anchor the ship of State with,
The evil is deep seated, Publie opinion of both sections has gone
radically astray. Liberty does not mean license, but restraint; the re-
strant of the laws of man's nature, and of those subordinate laws which
the knowledge of his own nature ]lads him to impose on himself. With-
out such restraint btere is no security for life, person, and property m nen
take their own protection into their own hands; anarchy follows; and
finally some strong hand reduce the chaos to order: "order reigns in
Warsaw." AbulitioAism, whether of the lawless mob, rescing fugitive
__ 1 __
slaves from FP eral officers, or in flie more spceious, forrm of personal liii-
erty i1N, is a step toward anarethv; 7m-ti-s-cn Is a short, cat U) tiw same
fatal bourne; brth aro derived from the same quam-LrrtL-igrnrance of the
true nature of liberty.
SINcJE my tract was written, (lie progress of sec-Esison iInmI.l the mnnt
pr-eiig 41 M1 ckuecmn duih! onrr very ciLzeni. For onC--4jT,,-o Christiain -iti-
zen-I can WILSW'iT, I do not u11t11 of rOfMY dutielg I o0 nDUt flitlcelI From11 my
rT h ose d utie.q rin d re p oL sil ii iI.i.cs a re, in mR rki. w, iVbrqD rI f
thaun the slavery qiuesi-on ; broader flmi:ii I1.artty aflthit. und p-blitic.-. The
i~pw iclri ix not Ihw ~which party S11l21 goVern l Lc country, 1)1). whether wt
01.n11i hlnvO Ih-rcClter aniy country at all.
IBy the Ictter of tOlnL ]av, secession i4 treason; but i4 is treavoii wilh "a
cricir of ri,,it :"' that rovolationitiry right whiitch ilmiLerlies all lawsr aand all
govcrtim'ucnt The people of the sl-achci)ding Stah-siH;L~G that thwir
rights Lave been violated; that. (lie National flrov-.riminent has beenl unable
or unwilling to viudicate thq-),e rigblht and tiL11N has failicd ilL tile r.jeclLa
for whii-1h iti high POWerg Were intr MLANI.
S0ects'sion-the. taklti g of the vInili]viirf.iri into Ilir own han'.i-is clearly
11ot fEjUridd oa iCli Constiiltitin ; is clearly nut a poIitcal, niuch leq a logal
right. it istn tll apcLa from all ririi~ry magistrn6i-s and jurieAlctions to
the Ilicijie Ol]4WIINe']-es in tlit-ir nitimate n-moercignty. To tnkce sulci uti
dp*ll r1WO ji TMl 1rPnil ri:]1t, but it Involv theii most sioijiia moral lreiqinoi-
bilkiy I (iff.ril Nod anLd Tr11at which a Ilmlan behiii can take. If the CiMse
are hmufflfiitrjl-, lulie citizen wvho aFppeals 14 rcrvolution hm on hir soul tlAo
gu~lt of perjiiry-, in dkr&ardincr bis oath of allegimicoL', and the guilt of
4.1w IJtlou which. may be ,ed in un6-gl11tCOUR rCiil I.r. Evein (PTI lfic:cri1.
cause, no thoughJitruiI inin will lighlitly make 4Lr terrible an appeal.
Fciji l he Oplieucnts of se~erssion, whtellhr il the -Northl or the So:ilutb.
flwert: trir respoursi"lUiei. almost equu2y graVe. v We have to 41tri.i-id hi-iW
far it is ucru' Ilr~licintious duty to susltaiji the Natii~iia1 Govemrnnit';i
agairi4, thus wbirnn the law rcrardg ui. guilty of Iremson and rel.belliorn.
The dccjlluii dupvflid on the f rmt9 wrehil are the ground of tiln1tr appeal.
If their hiavlt e have really beon infrJIL7~1 "' vre have .1 itlore Cmoral right to
coerCe them into o Aediw-ric than GCkorgc 111. hIad to coerce hii r0-i&1linu-q
eul ni ic a.
For tItyhl af-ausrweriuI-r for my ownt liclkf and nay own con.-eifnwme
sely-I 1jL~ e thjai their righk' hjaVc lj)n knfrbigil. VVhenVe I- tCh e0
rights shall be fully assured-but not before-I am willing to take on my
conscience all the responsibilities of co-operating to sustain the National
Government, and ready to answer to God at the great day for all the
consequences. This is my conviction of duty; and my opinion of the
duty of all other citizens, North or South. On this platrorrm, bat on no
dther, the Republic can be saved. Until these rights be assured, the
North, so far from being unanimous, will receive no hearty support
frTom the men of that great party which is beaten but still powerful, and
still resolute in the cause of justice and right. But even if unanimnrmal,
numbers and resources can no more subdue the South contending for
just rights, than the overwhelming power of the British crown could sub-
due the infant colonies. If political leaders make the attempt before every
just right be assured, they will sow the wind to reap the whirlwind. As
Hoon as rights shall be assured, secession will fall to the ground of itself-
as the Blue-light Massachusctts secession did at the peace of Ohent; or
sink under the weight of public opinion ; or he crushed easily by the
armed hands of the American people-as our Pennsylvania insurrection
was by the armies of Washington.
Rights being first assured and justice fully done, I believe in the moral
duty of protecting the social organization, national and local, against the
bad passions of human nature and the treasonable measures of factious
men. As a corollary, I believe that we, the people of the United States
of America," have no moral right to dissolve our Union, but are morally
bound-as our fathers were for their Declaration of Independence, on
which the Union is founded-to pledge for it "our lives, our fortunes, and
our sacred honor:" and I believe it bettor for true liberty, progressive civ-
ilization, and genuine humanity, to save the Union at any present cost of
life, than to choose for ourselves, and as the inheritance of our children,
the vastly greater evils of Becession, disintegration, and anarchy: and I
also believe-despite of puling sentimentality, which, by shrinking from
drops of hTood in the present support of the laws, will open hereafter the
very arteries of the community-that there is manly patriotLimi enough
left, to bear the stars and stripes unflinchingly against all eneruies, foreign
or dornestic. If you, my brother citizens, believe as I do, we are on one
platform now, whatever our past politics may have been, and we will
exchange that cheering watchword, which rang in the Senate house of
Rome, and saved her, when Hannibal thundered at her gates-
"Neverirde.pair of thv RJmpublil"
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