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the upward spirit of the age. They did not emanate
from those who in wonder and awe were styled The world's Eras, for the most part, have been prophets, but from those who were of the people, mighty efforts of courage or intellect, perverted to and uttered what many felt and acknowledged, and base uses. The love of what is noblest has not often
so shall be honored even when a purer philosophy been honored by pillar, or temple, or poet's song, or shall have pointed out to mankind some flaws in stateman's advocacy, or orator's eulogium, or his their positions. Magna Charta shall not have a torian's record. Tyrtæus, because he was full of
name more imperishable than they. The world's the spirit of carnage, has always sung of battle-fields; archives do not contain nobler voices from masses and as his songs were to Spartans, Spartans treasur- of men. They are Eras in the march of Soul. ed them up above any purer strains.
1. noble aspirations donbtless graced the ages that have fied. The heart of man, though not perfect, has fre
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. quently beat for the true and right. Demosthenes,
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776. though a coward at Chæronea, was bold for Freedom in the popular assemblies; Tancred, though some. By the Representatives of the United States of Ame. times fierce, was often kind and pious; and even
rica, in Congress assembled. Xerxes, nurtured as he was with no feeling of When, in the course of human events, it becomes brotherhood for his millions of serfs, wept with in- necessary for one people to dissolve the political voluntary pity at what he conceived would be their bands which have connected them with another, and miserable fate. Then, too, Isaiah and Jeremiah and to assume among the powers of the earth the sepa. David and Confucius and Socrates, by close union rate and equal station to which the laws of nature with God, felt and knew nobleness so in advance of and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect their age, that the truth of it all is not even yet for the opinions of mankind requires that they acknowledged by the mass of mankind. Then, too, should declare the causes which impel them to the thousands have gone down to their graves unwept separation. and unremembered, whose voices full of divine ac- We hold these truths to be self-evident—that all cents, falling upon ears not ready to receive them, men are created equal; that they are endowed by died with the passing breeze.
their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that The high task of weaving the fragments of nobleness among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap. that remain into a Philosophico-Religious history, and piness. That, to secure these rights, governments deducing from them invaluable conclusions with re- are instituted among men, deriving their just powers gard to God's government and man's duty, is reserv- from the consent of the governed; that whenever ed for some Freeman whose heart beats warmly for any form of government becomes destructive of these the right, and whose intellect can recognize truth even ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to when covered by the dust which Malice and Ignorance abolish it, and to institute a new government, lay. have so liberally flung upon it. We need that the Soul's ing its foundation on such principles, and organizing progress from its lower to its higher destinies should its powers in such form, as to them shall seem be exhibited in the strong light of history. We need most likely to effect their safety and happiness. to be assured by infallible proofs that each age has Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments made advances upon that which preceded it, even long established should not be changed for light and when at first glance the reverse would appear; and transient causes; and accordingly all experience that in every age Love when exerted has been more hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to sufpotent than Hate and Violence to bring men to its fer, while evils are sufferable, than to right them. measures ; and that Freedom has never led to license, selves by abolishing the forms to which they are but Tyranny always; and that Truth with her pure accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and confiding aspect has ever been more revered even by usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, her enemies, than Falsehood with her gorgeous trap- evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despings and millions in her train. We need to have potism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off our Infidelity, in God's goodness and power, rebuked such government, and to provide new guards for by stern facts that shall shame us into heroism that their future security. Such has been the patient will not doubt of victory in God's causes, but will sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the be as fully assured of it when arming for the assault necessity which constrains them to alter their formas if the white flag already streamed from the bat- er systems of government. The history of the pretlements. We need that no storm breaking upon sent King of Great Britain is a history of repeated our brows should quench the fire of hope that burns injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object in our bosoms.
the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these Within a few years have appeared three docu- States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a ments, which are worthy of all note as indicating candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most whole- For abolishing the free system of English law in some and necessary for the public good.
a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbiHe has forbidden his governors to pass laws of trary government and enlarging its boundaries so as immediate and pressing importance, unless suspend- to render it at once an example and fit instrument ed in their operation, till his assent should be ob- for introducing the same absolute rule into these tained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly colonies :neglected to attend to them.
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most He has refused to pass other laws for the accom. valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms modation of large districts of people, unless those of our governments :people would relinquish the right of representation For suspending our own Legislatures, and declarin the legislature-a right inestimable to them, and ing themselves invested with power, to legislate for formidable to tyrants only.
us in all cases whatsoever. He has called together legislative bodies at places He has abdicated government here, by declaring unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the repo- us out of his protection, and waging war against us. sitory of their public records, for the sole purpose of He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeated people. ly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions He is, at this time, transporting large armies of on the rights of the people.
foreign mercenaries to complete the work of death, He has refused for a long time after such disso desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumlutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the stances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the returned to the people at large, for their exercise; head of a civilized nation. the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken cap. the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions tive on the high seas, to bear arms against their within.
country, to become the executioners of their friends He has endeavored to prevent the population of and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands. these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, for naturalization of foreigners: refusing to pass and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of others to encourage their migration hither, and rais- our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose ing the conditions of new appropriations of lands. knowu rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruc
He has obstructed the administration of justice, tion of all ages, sexes, and conditions. by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judi- In every stage of these oppressions, we have pe. ciary powers.
titioned for redress, in the most humble terms : our He has made judges dependent on his will alone, repeated petitions have been answered only by refor the tenure of their offices, and the amount and peated injury. A prince whose character is thus payment of their salaries.
marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent unfit to be the ruler of a free people. hither swarms of officers, to harass our people and Nor have we been wanting in attention to our eat out their substance.
British brethren. We have warned them, from time He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing to time, of attempts made by their legislature, to armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
He has affected to render the military independent have reminded them of the circumstances of our of, and superior to, the civil power.
emigration and settlement here. We have appealed He has combined with others, to subject ns to a to their native justice and magnanimity, and we jurisdiction, foreign to our Constitution, and unac. have conjured them by the ties of our common kinknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to dred, to disavow these usurpations, which would their acts of pretended legislation
inevitably interrupt our connections and correspon. For quartering large bodies of armed troops among dence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of
justice and consanguinity. We must therefore acFor protecting them by a mock trial, from punish- quiesce in the necessity, which denounces our sepament for any murder which they should commit on ration, and hold them, as we hold the rest of manthe inhabitants of these states :
kind-enemies in war-in peace, friends. For cutting off our trade with all parts of the We, therefore, the Representatives of the United world :
States of America, in General Congress assembled, For imposing taxes on us without our consent :- appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, for the
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by of trial by jury
the authority of the good people of these colonies, For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for solemnly publish and declare, that these United Co. pretended offences :
lonies are, and of right ought to be, free and inde
pendent states; that they are absolved from all alle. shalling in arms s—the hostile array-the mortal engiance to the British crown, and that all political counter. Ours shall be such only as the opposition connection between them and the state of Great of moral purity to moral corruption, the destrucBritain is and ought to be totally dissolved; and tion of error by the potency of truth-the overthrow that, as free and independent states, they have full of prejudice by the power of love--and the abolition power to levy war, conclude peace, contract allian- of slavery by the spirit of repentance. ces, establish commerce, and to do all other acts Their grievances, great as they were, were trifling and things which independent states may of right do. in comparison with the wrongs and sufferings of those And for the support of this declaration, with a firm for whom we plead. Our fathers were never slavesreliance on the protection of Divine providence, we never bought and sold like cattle-rever shut out mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, from the light of knowledge and religion-never suband our sacred honor.
jected to the lash of brutal task-masters.
But those for whose emancipation we are striv
ing-constituting at the present time at least one11. sixth part of our countrymen,
-are recognized by
the law, and treated by their fellow beings, as marketDECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS OF THE AMERICAN able commodities, as goods and chattels, as brute ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.
beasts; are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil The Convention assembled in the city of Phila- without redress; really enjoying no constitutional delphia, to organize a National Anti-Slavery Society, nor legal protection from licentious and murderous promptly seize the opportunity to promulgate the outrages upon their persons, are ruthlessly torn following Declaration of Sentiments as cherished by asunder-the tender babe from the arms of its franthem in relation to the enslavement of one-sixth tic mother—the heart-broken wife from her weepportion of the American people.
ing husband at the caprice or pleasure of irresponMore than fifty-seven years have elapsed since a sible tyrants. For the crime of having a dark band of patriots convened in this place, to devise complexion, they suffer the pangs of hunger, the inmeasures for the deliverance of this country from a fiction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servi. foreign yoke. The corner stone upon which they tude. They are kept in heathenish darkness by laws founded the Temple of Freedom was broadly this expressly enacted to make their instruction a crimi
that all men are created equal; and they are en nal offence. dowed by their Creator with certain unalienable These are the prominent circumstances in the rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the condition of more than two millions of our people, pursuit of happiness.” At the sound of their trumpet. the proof of which may be found in thousands of call three millions of people rose up as from the indisputable facts, and in the laws of the slavehold. sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood ; ing states. deeming it more glorious to die instantly as free- Hence we maintain,—that in view of the civiland men, than desirable to live one hour as slaves. religious privileges of this nation, the guilt of its opThey were few in number-poor in resources; but pression is unequalled by any other on the face of the honest conviction that Truth, Justice, and Right the earth; and, therefore, were on their side, made them invincible.
That it is bound to repent instantly, to undo the We have met together for the achievement of an heavy burdens, to break every yoke, and to let the enterprise, without which that of our fathers is in. oppressed go free. complete; and which, for its magnitude, solemni. We further maintain,—that no man has a right to ty, and probable results upon the destiny of the enslave or imbrute his brother- to hold or acknowworld, as far transcends theirs as moral truth does ledge him, for one moment, as a piece of merchanphysical force.
dize-to keep back his hire by fraud-or to brutalize In purity of motive, in earnestness of zeal, in de his mind by denying him the means of intellectual, cision of purpose, in intrepidity of action, in stead. social and moral improvement. fastness of faith, in sincerity of spirit, we would not The right to enjoy liberty is inalienable. To inbe inferior to them.
vade it is to usurp the prerogative of Jehovah. Their principles led them to wage war against Every man has a right to his own body—the protheir oppressors, and to spill human blood like ducts of his own labor—to the protection of law, water, in order to be free. Ours forbid the doing of and to the common advantages of society. It is piraevil that good may come, and lead us to reject, and cy to buy or steal a native African, and subject him to entreat the oppressed to reject, the use of all car- to servitude. Surely the sin is as great to enslave nal weapons for deliverance from bondage; relying an American as an African. solely upon those which are spiritual, and mighty Therefore we believe and affirm- that there is through God to the pulling down of strong holds. no difference in principle, between the African slave
Their measures were physical resistance-- the mar.' trade and American slavery:
That every American citizen who detains a human , national compact, has no right to interfere with any being in involuntary bondage as his property, is of the slave states, in relation to this momentous according to scripture (Ex. xxi. 16) a man stealer : subject;
That the slaves ought instantly to be set free, and But we maintain that Congress has a right, and brought under the protection of law:
is solemnly bound, to suppress the domestic slave That if they lived from the time of Pharaoh down trade between the several states, and to abolish slaveto the present period, and had been entailed through ry in those portions of our territory which the Consuccessive generations, their right to be free could stitution has placed under its exclusive jurisdiction. never have been alienated, but their claims would We also maintain that there are, at the present have constantly risen in solemnity.
time, the highest obligations resting upon the people That all those laws which are now in force, ad- of the free states, to remove slavery by moral and mitting the right of slavery, are therefore before God political action, as prescribed in the Constitution of utterly null and void; being an audacious usurpation the United States. They are now living under a of the Divine prerogative, a daring infringement on pledge of their tremendous physical force, to fasten the law of nature, a base overthrow of the very the galling fetters of tyranny upon the limbs of milfoundations of the social compact, a complete extinc- lions in the southern states; they are liable to be tion of all the relations, endearments, and obligations called at any moment to suppress a general inof mankind, and a presumptuous transgression of all surrection of the slaves; they authorize the slave the holy commandments—and that therefore they owner to vote on three fifths of his slaves as properought instantly to be abrogated.
ty, and thus enable him to perpetuate his oppresWe further believe and affirm-that all persons of sion; they support a standing army at the south for color who possess the qnalifications which are de- its protection; and they seize the slave who has esmanded of others, ought to be admitted forthwith to caped into their territories, and send him back to the enjoyment of the same privileges, and the exer- be tortured by an enraged master or a brutal driver. cise of the same prerogatives, as others; and that This relation to slavery is criminal and full of dan. the paths of preferment, of wealth, and of intelli- ger : it must be broken up. gence, should be opened as widely to them as to per- These are our views and principles-these our sons of a white complexion.
designs and measures. With entire confidence in We maintain that no compensation should be given the overruling justice of God, we plant ourselves to the planters emancipating the slaves ;
upon the Declaration of our Independence and the Because it would be a surrender of the great fun. truths of Divine Revelation as upon the Everlasting damental principle that man cannot hold property in Rock. man;
We shall organize Anti-Slavery Societies, if pos. Because slavery is a crime, and therefore is not sible, in every city, town and village in our land. an article to be sold;
We shall send forth agents to lift up the voice of Because the holders of slaves are not the just pro- remonstrance, of warning, of entreaty, and rebuke. prietors of what they claim; freeing the slaves is We shall circulate, unsparingly and extensively, not depriving them of property, but restoring it to anti-slavery tracts and periodicals. its rightful owners; it is not wronging the master, We shall enlist the pulpit and the press in the but righting the slave--restoring him to himself: cause of the suffering and the dumb.
Because immediate and general emancipation We shall aim at a purification of the churches would only destroy nominal, not real property; it from all participation in the guilt of slavery. wonld not amputate a limb or break a bone of the We shall encourage the labor of freemen rather slaves, but by infusirg motives into their breasts, than that of slaves by giving a preference to their would make them doubly valuable to the masters as productions : and free laborers; and
We shall spare no exertions nor means to bring Because, if compensation is to be given at all, it the whole nation to speedy repentance. should be given to the outraged and guiltless slaves, Our trust for victory is solely in God. We may and not to those who have plundered and abused be personally defeated, but our principles never. them.
Truth, Justice, Reason, Humanity, must and will We regard as delusive, cruel, and dangerous, any gloriously triumph. Already a host is coming up to scheme of expatriation which pretends to aid, either the help of the Lord against the mighty, and the directly or indirectly in the emancipation of the prospect before us is full of encouragement. slaves, or to be a substitute for the immediate and Submitting this declaration to the candid examitotal abolition of slavery.
nation of the people of this country, and of the We fully and unanimously recognise the sovereign- friends of liberty throughout the world, we hereby ty of each state, to legislate exclusively on the sub- affix our signatures to it; pledging ourselves that, ject of the slavery which is tolerated within its under the guidance and by the help of Almighty limits; we concede that Congress, under the present God we will do all that in us lies, consistently with
this Declaration of our principles, to overthrow the invaders, no individual possesses that right in his most execrable system of slavery that has ever been own case. The unit cannot be of greater importance witnessed upon earth-to deliver our land from its than the aggregate. If one man may take life, to deadliest curse-to wipe out the foulest stain which obtain or defend his rights, the same license must rests upon our national escutcheon-and to secure necessarily be granted to communities, states, and to the colored population of the United States all nations. If he may use a dagger or a pistol, thry the rights and privileges which belong to them as may employ cannon, bomb-shells, land and naval men, and as Americans—come what may to our forces. The means of self.preservation must be in persons, our interests, or our reputation—whether proportion to the magnitude of interests at stake, we live to witness the triumph of liberty, justice and the number of lives exposed to destruction. But and humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this if a rapacious and blood-thirsty soldiery, thronging great, benevolent, and holy cause.
these shores from abroad, with intent to commit Done at Philadelphia, the sixth day of December, A.D. 1833. rapine and destroy life, may not be resisted by the
people or magistracy, then ought no resistance to be
offered to domestic troublers of the public peace, or III.
of private security. No obligation can rest upon DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS
Americans to regard foreigners as more sacred in Adopted by the Peace Convention, held in Boston, their persons than themselves, or to give them a September 18, 19, and 20, 1838.
monopoly of wrong-doing with impunity. Assembled in Convention, from various sections The dogma, that all the governments of the world of the American Union, for the promotion of peace are approvingly ordained of God, and that the pow. on earth, and good will among men, we, the under- ers that be in the United States, in Russia, in Tursigned, regard it as due to ourselves, to the cause key, are in accordance with His will, is not less which we love, to the country in which we live, and absurd than impious. It makes the impartial Author to the world, to publish a Declaration, expressive of human freedom and equality, unequal and tyranof the principles we cherish, the purposes we aim nical. It cannot be affirmed, that the powers that to accomplish, and the measures we shall adopt to be, in any nation, are actuated by the spirit, or carry forward the work of peaceful universal re- guided by the example of Christ, in the treatment of formation.
enemies : therefore, they cannot be agreeable to the We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human will of God : and, therefore, their overthrow, by a government; neither can we oppose any such go-spiritual regeneration of their subjects, is inevitable. vernment, by a resort to physical force. We recog. We register our testimony, not only against all nize but one King and Lawgiver, one Judge and wars, whether offensive or defensive, but all prepa. Ruler of mankind. We are bound by the laws of a rations for war; against every naval ship, every kingdom which is not of this world; the subjects arsenal, every fortification; against the militia sysof which are forbidden to fight; in which Mercy and tem and a standing army; against all military chiefTruth are met together, and Righteousness and tains and soldiers ; against all monuments commePeace have kissed each other; which has no state morative of victory over a foreign foe, all trophies lines, no national partitions, no geographical boun- won in battle, all celebrations in honor of inilitary daries ; in which there is no distinction of rank, or or naval exploits; against all appropriations for the division of caste, or inequality of sex; the officers defence of a nation by force and arms, on the part of of which are Peace, its exactors Righteousness, its any legislative body; against every edict of governwalls Salvation, and its gates Praise ; and which is ment, requiring of its subjects military service. destined to break in pieces and consume all other Hence, we deem it unlawful to bear arms, or to hold kingdoms.
a military office. Our country is the world, our countrymen are all As every human government is upheld by physi. mankind. We love the land of our nativity, only as cal strength, and its laws are enforced virtually at we love all other lands. The interests, rights, the point of the bayonet, we cannot hold any office and liberties of American citizens are no more dear which imposes upon its incumbent the obligation to to us, than are those of the whole human race. do right, on pain of imprisonment or death. We Hence, we can allow no appeal to patriotism, to re- therefore voluntarily exclude ourselves from every venge any national insult or injury. The Prince of legislative and judicial body, and repudiate all huPeace, under whose stainless banner we rally, came man politics, worldly honors, and stations of authonot to destroy, but to save, even the worst of ene- rity. If we cannot occupy a seat in the legislature, mies. He has left us an example, that we should or on the bench, neither can we elect others to act follow his steps. God commendeth his love toward us, as our substitutes in any such capacity. in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It follows that we cannot sue any man at law, to
We conceive that if a nation has no right to de compel him by force to restore any thing which he fend itself against foreign enemies, or to punish its | may have wrongfullly taken from us or others; but,