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THE NATIONAL SIN.
The Mosaic law required the liberation of Hebrew servants at the end of every sixth year. This law had long been disregarded, when Zedekiah at one time attempted to enforce it. He induced the people to enter into si covenant" to observe it; and those who had been unjustly retained in bondage were accordingly set free. The principles of the law were acknowledged to be just and of binding force. This spirit, however did not long continue;-—but passed away apparently with the circumstances that called it forth. The liberated servants were again brought into subjection, in contempt of law, and in violation of solemnly acknowledged principles of right. In these circumstances, Jeremiah was sent to the Jews with a message of solemn expostulation and warning. He reminded them of the original law-of the neglect of it by their fathers—of their own solemn and practical recognition of its obligations, which he declared to have been right in the sight of the Lord--then upbraided them with their relapse into the same sin in circumstances that greatly increased its enormity, and ended with a terrible warning, which begins thus:
“Therefore thus saith the LORD: Ye have not hearkened to me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine."*
Now we as a nation have sinned just as those Jews did. The principles of right, in accordance with which we have from the first settlement of our country claimed to be treated ourselves, we have refused to apply to the case of our brethren whom we hold in bondage. That liberty, the claim to which on our part, and the principles of which as we have acknowledged and proclaimed to the world, we know to be right we have withheld. We have known the right, and have boastfully proclaimed our knowledge of and allegiance to it; but have refused or neglected to extend its benefits to our slaves.t And we are thus exposing ourselves to the very curse threatened by the prophet. So far as we have as individuals, failed to do our duty in regard to making this whole people consistent in applying the principles of American Liberty, just so far ought we as individuals, to regard as addressed to ourselves, the expostulations and warnings of Jeremiah.
In such circumstances what are we, in Vermont, to do? Can we be silent and inactive? What course can we take in order no longer to be partakers in the guilt connected with the continuance of slavery? How can we best combat the spirit of slavery; how most successfully labor to secure to its victims what is required by justice and the law of love?
We answer, by continuing to support the Colonization Society on antislavery principles. In connexion with what we do, let our principles in regard to slavery be fully and earnestly proclaimed. Let it be seen that we think and feel, and act under the control of deep convictions of duty on the subject; and that we are willing to labor and to make sacrifices in obedience to these convictions. Let our support of this society be such, and given on such grounds, as to prove our readiness to do our part towards making every man in the United States an intelligent freemaan. Such support given to the cause here would operate in favor of the abolition of slavery in several ways-of which we will now mention only one:
It would increase the Anti-Slavery influence of the Colonization Society in the slaye-holding states. When a man liberates his slaves in order to
*See the 34th Chapter of Jeremiah.
+ We speak of the people of the United States as a people bound by the laws of love and righteousness. Some of the States, as such, have become consistent. But as Christians, and friends of liberty, we are bound, to the extent of our influence, to see that such con. sistency prevails throughout the whole country.
emigrate to Liberia, he attracts the attention of his friends, and of all slave. holders in the vicinity, to the subject of manumission. His character is known. Those who thus liberate their slaves, are men whose characters command respect. The subject is urged home on the others by the authority of such an example. It is Anti-Slavery preaching of the most powerful kind; and we can use it, here and there throughout the whole South, without, by the manner of our approach, barring minds and hearts against our appeal. Such examples of manumission will increase just in proportion as we succeed in making our Colonies desirable homes for the blacks, and in providing funds to defray the expenses of their passage, &c. The subject may thus be kept before the mind and urged on the conscience of the slave-holder, without the intervention of any of that prejudice and illwill that are two easily awakened by more direct appeals from non-slayer holding States.--[Ibid.
[From the National Intelligencer, August 30.]
FREE PERSONS OF COLOUR.
Approving of the patriotic design, our best wishes have always attended the exertions of the American Society for colonizing on the coast of Africa such free persons of color as desire to go thither, for the purpose of enjoying all the privileges of a free government, and have rejoiced to see the Society hitherto supported by the joint contributions of benevolent individuals in every part of the Union. We have also observed with pleasure, that the Colonization Society of Maryland (formerly an auxiliary of the Parent Society) has lately purchased Čape Palmas, on the coast of Africa, for the purpose of forming a separate establishment for that State, to be supported by the resources of the State, and under the entire control of that society; for the maintenance of which the Legislature has generously appropriated $20,000 a year for ten years. But, after the State of Maryland had made so liberal an appropriation in behalf of its institution, we regretted to see that the Society had employed agents to solicit aid from the citizens of Massachusetts for carrying into effect their project; because we feared, that in doing so, they would, in proportion to their success, deprive the Parent Society of its usual support, which depends entirely on the voluntary contributions of individuals and auxiliary societies; and if these were to fail, no further additions could be made to the Colony, the emigrants at present in Liberia would necessarily be exposed to great want and distress, and the Society itself expire for want of that support which is indispensable to its existence.
The young men of Pennsylvania, or rather of Philadelphia, have also lately formed themselves into a Colonization Society, with a view of establishing a settlement at Bassa Cove, within the limits of Liberia: the Society to be auxiliary to the Parent Society, and the colonists to be governed by the general laws of the present colony, and such other municipal regulations as may be provided, subject to the approval of the Parent Board; the expense of settlement to be defrayed by funds to be raised by themselves within their own State.
Whatever separate colonial establishments may hereafter be formed on the African Coast by any of the States (if others shall be found desirable,) we think it would be but just towards the Parent Society, and expedient as regards the general cause of colonization, to confine themselves to their
own State for support, and leave the collections made in the churches, and the donations of individuals and auxiliary societies in the States generally, as at present, to go to the support of the Parent Society.
PROSPECTS OF LIBERIA.
The chances of success for the Colony of Liberia are; after making all due allowance for the inferiority of the blacks, just as fair as were the daring attempts of the early white settlers upon the continent of North America. Were not the expeditions of Columbus, Cabot, Raleigh, Hudson Winthrop, Oglethorpe, &c. also deemed visionary ? Suppose our Puritan, Protestant, Catholic, German, Dutch, Swedish ancestors, had been of such timid temperament that they would have been deterred by the dissuasions of the croakers of that day? Our glorious empire would have still been a wilderness of savages, and this great experiment which we are making to demonstrate the capacity of man for self-government, would have been to this day an Utopian dream. With our own proud example, therefore, before us, we should be the first to encourage this noble attempt to reconquer degraded Africa from her miserable vassalage by the light which her own liberated children take back with them from this free country. The day may come when Liberia shall prove another rock of Plymouth, and Timbuctoo the seat of another Harvard—when Africa, the land of the moor, of the desert, and the camel, shall have its oases peopled by the sovereign States; and the inappreciable blessings of education and of republican institutions shall extend over her sandy plains from the gates of Hercules to the mouth of the Niger.-N. Y. Star.
LETTER FROM A COLONIST.
In our number for October, 1833, (African Repository, Vol. 9, p. 250,) we published a letter from Hanson Leiper, a respectable Colonist, to a gentleman in Georgetown, D. C. He has since addressed to the same gentleman another letter, dated "Edina, Grand Bassa, 11th May, 1834,” from which we have been favoured with the following extract:
“I am very happy to inform you that I am well at present, and hope these few lines may find you the same. I received your letter with great delight, which afforded me great pleasure. I have almost come to the conclusion to come over in twelve months from this date. I have not lost the spirit of farming and 'agriculture; though a few months past, I have spent in exploring the interior of this country. I have travelled about 50 or 60 miles back in the interior, and in all the course of my travels, I have found the natives kind and benevolent. Camwood can be bought very plentifully, providing I had means; bullocks and fine goats may be purchased also plentifully in that section of the country. I have made several discoveries of metal, which I consider valuable; a sample of which, I have sent you in this letter. I, myself, agree with you that agriculture is one of the greatest things we can turn our attention to, either in the United States or Africa; although we in Africa, being somewhat in a diminutive state, are obliged to attend to the agricultural and commercial business. It has been about two weeks from this date, since we have drawn our forty-eight acres of land on the southeast side of St. John's river, and I must acknowledge, that I have never seen finer land or better timber any where else as yet, than that contained in our survey; which myself, with the thirty-three of our volunteers, intend to go on to, in our pursuit of farming. We have yet got along tolerably well since we have embarked at this place, with the exception of one of the chiefs named Yellow Will-he has made a little disturbance for a few months. This disturbance originated from a jealousy of one of the chiefs who we consider almost as one of our citizens, named Bob Gray, against whom Yellow Will de. clared war. This warfare interfered with us in stopping the paths so our commercial business could not go on. On the third day of May, our superior, together with our Chief Magistrate and the Chiefs of the surrounding tribes, called a Council, had the subject properly investigated, and our friend, Bob Gray, gained the suit. At present, we are perfectly in peace and harmony."
Of the Committee to whom was referred the subject of the Religious Instruction of the Color. ed population, of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, at its late Session in Columbia, 8. 0.- Published by order of Synod.
(CONCLUDED FROM p. 207.)
4. Another benefit is, we shall promote our own morality and religion.
The influence of the negroes upon the moral and religious interests of the whites, is destructive in the extreme. We cannot go into special detail. It is unnecessary. We make our appeal to universal experience. We are chained to a putrid carcase; it sickens and destroys us. We have a millstone hanging about the neck of our society, to sink us deep in the sea of vice. Our children are corrupting from their infancy, nor can we prevent it. Many an anxious parent, like the missionary in foreign lands, wishes that his children could be brought up beyond the reach of the corrupting influence of depraved heathen. Nor is this influence confined to mere childhood. If that were all, it would be tremendous. But it follows us into youth, into manhood, and into old age.
And when we come directly in contact with their depravity in the management of them; then come temptations and provocations and trials that unsearchable grace only can enable us endure. In all our intercourse with them, we are undergoing a process of intellectual and moral deterioration, and it requires almost superhuman effort to maintain a high standing either for intelligence or piety.
The effort to evangelize them, will tend directly to increase and to encourage the growth of grace in our own souls. This is the testimony of those who have made the attempt.Consequently, the Church will take a higher stand for piety, and realize the promise, “He that waters shall be watered also himself.” And as God crowns our labors with blessings. the negroes will become more modest, more elevated in intelligence and morality;-our youth will be defended from contamination, and our riper years from overpowering trials. As the one class rises, so will the other;—the two are so intimately associated, that they rise or fall together—to benefit servants, evangelize the masters-to benefit the masters, evangelize the servants.
5. Much unpleasant discipline will be saved to the Churches.
The offences of colored communicants against Christian character and church order, are very numerous, and frequently heinous. The discipline is difficult, wearisome and unpleasant. Excommunications are of continued occurrence, and are usually, in a short time, followed by applications for re-admission; for with them, to die under sentence of excommunication, is eternal ruin itself. There never will be a better state of things until the negroes are better instructed in religion.
6. The last benefit we shall mention is, one that we convey to servants, instrumentally:It is the salvation of their souls. .
The great object for which we would communicate religious instruction is, that their souls may be saved. To this all other objects should be subordinate; and we believe that God will bless our instructions according to our desire. Strengthened by faith, let us be willing to sow in tears, for we shall reap in joy. Let us be willing to go forth weeping and bearing precious seed, for we shall come again with rejoicing, bearing sheaves with us. ' If the rest of Heaven is sweet to any human being, it is to the poor African. If the cheering hopes of a blessed immortality are necessary to any human being, to animate and sustain him in his pilgrimage below, they are necessary to the poor African. All souls are mine saith the Lord; and his glory may be advanced as much in the salvation of the soul of an African servant, as in the salvation of the soul of any other man whatever.
According to the Providence and word of God, it is our duty to impart the Gospel to our servants; and the duty is to us both privilege and interest; but to this present hour it has been neglected. And why neglected ? Have we any excuse to offer, that God will accept? We tremble when we affirm, that the guilt of this neglect to perform such obvious and important duty, falls unrelieved upon the Southern Church; for we believe, that we can present not one excuse that will bear the test of candid examination.
Shall we say that our servants already partake of the Gospel? Have we not shown, that they do not to that extent that their necessities and our duty demand?
Shall we say, that they are incapable of receiving it ?
Dare we contradict his own most Holy Word? and incur the guilt of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, whose renewing influences are distinctly seen in numerous instances.
Shall we say that we have not the means ?
Have we children can we not instruct them? Have we servants—and can we not instruct them?
What may we not do by our own personal efforts? We may read and explain the Bible; teach portions of it; converse with them on the subject of the soul's salvation, and implore the blessing of God upon them. In a thousand ways, if we feel as we ought, we may do something.
And what may we not do through members of our own families, or pious or willing neighbors, who may be qualified to teach? What may we not do through the employment of missionaries, to devote their whole time to the negroes? But missionaries must be supported in such labor ? Very true. But the expense borre by a neighborhood of planters, would fall lightly on each; while the peace of mind and the benefits resulting from such a discharge of duty, would counterbalance that expense. We know, however, that this is a delicate point, and men are hard to be moved to any good purpose touching it. The ministry to the whites is not adequately supported. There are very many great respecters and lovers of religion, who highly appreciate the privileges of the Gospel, and anxiously desire the salvation of perishing men; but who seem to think, that the instruments in this glorious work, require little or no pecuniary support; in a word, contrary to reason and Scripture, think that ministers should preach for nothing and find themselves. But can missionaries in sufficient nuinbers be procured? We answer they can. And the way to procure them is briefly this. In the first place, Pray ye the Lord of the har. vest, that He would send forth laborers into his vineyard. And in the second Associate yourselves—take up the work in good earnest, and employ all who present themselves; and if you have more fields than can be supplied, call for more missionaries, and they will be raised up and sent. The way to have our wants supplied, is to let them be known.
Shall we say, that Christianity meets with little success amongst them?
When we consider the influence of the circumstances of this people upon their religious character, our wonder should be, not that the Gospel meets with little success, but that it meets with any success at all, for their circumstances are in the last degree unfavorable to the cultivation of piety. We do not, however, make proper allowances in our expectations. We have lost much of our patience and benevolence. Having reduced them to ignorance and by our neglect of duty confirmed them in vice, we now quarrel with their stupidity and obduracy. If they are not made intelligent and pious in a few days, we are ready to cry out, that labor is vain; the field must be abandoned as an unprofitable one. We act unreasonably and uncharitably. We expect more of them than of ourselves, or any other people. They who would evangelize servants, must let patience have her perfect work.
It certainly comes with a very ill grace from us to speak of the little success of the Gospel amongst the negroes. That little success is our condemnation; for what great efforts have we made, that we should expect great success? Where we bestow no labor, we must expect no reward.
We may affirm, without fear of contradiction, that the Gospel meets with as much success amongst the negroes, as amongst any other unlettered heathen in the world, proper allowances being made. We should be encouraged, therefore, to put forth vigorous efforts in their behalf. God has designs of mercy towards them. When the soul is at stake, we are not to speak of expense and trouble in saving it. To overthrow the excuse at once, we add,-if the Gospel met with no success at all, it would be no reason why we should not undertake the religious instruction of the negroes. For if we certainly determine that it is our duty, (as we have already done) we should do it. The success of that instruction belongs not to us, but to God; nor are we to limit his sovereignty in granting or withholding a blessing at any particular time. We are to labor in faith, and labor on.This is the view which every Christian should and must take of the subject.
Shall we say that there are peculiar and great difficulties hard to be overcome ?
Such for example, as the ignorance, indifference, and in some instances, the opposition of masters-the want of funds of missionaries—of systems of instruction—the stupidity and viciousness of servants, and confinement to oral instruction entirely? We ask, will these and other difficulties that might be mentioned, be removed by being let alone? Are there any means now in operation for their removal? Will they ever be fewer in number than they are at the present time?
There are difficulties in every enterprise of benevolence, and if we wait in our efforts to do good, until all difficulties are removed, we shall never commence. Times are sud. denly and strangely altered in the world if Christians can do good without encountering much that will try the purity and firmness of their purposes. Shall we cower and retire before difficulties? By no means. We are to encounter them patiently, kindly, perseveringly; casting our care on God. He calls us to the duty. The work is His. In His strength we labor. Do difficulties present themselves? Remember God is great. Difficulties appear large in the distance; but the nearer and more resolute our advance, the